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Supporting Your Child

National eSmart Week

S Charles

Derinya Primary School is participating in children’s charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s National eSmart Week from 2-8 September 2018, to show its commitment to keeping children, teens and adults safe online.

Held to coincide with National Child Protection Week, National eSmart Week creates awareness, solutions and ideas and encourages the whole community to be smart, safe and responsible when using digital technology.

"Teaching kids about the safe use of technology is an important part of being a parent and a teacher. As a society, we teach our children how to cross the road, we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, and we teach them about the world in which they live. Teaching them how to safely navigate the online world is just as important. Regardless of our own personal confidence in teaching kids about technology, we need to acknowledge this important responsibility that comes with being a parent.” Stuart Charles. 

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO, Lesley Podesta, said last year’s National eSmart Week initiative proved how important it was to Australian communities to protect young people online, explaining that Foundation programs such as eSmart Schools and eSmart Libraries are pivotal in educating people of all ages about cyber safety.

“The internet is a great place to learn, be creative and stay connected, but with one in five young Australians found to have been cyber bullied each year, it is important that we invest in giving our communities the skills they need to be responsible and safe online,” Ms Podesta said.

“The best way to build an eSmart Australia is to engage with the whole community. We know that National eSmart Week gives us the chance to promote important themes and messages by running engaging activities for all Australians.”

National eSmart Week is an initiative developed by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, in partnership with Telstra Foundation.

National Centre Against Bullying ( The National Centre Against Bullying (NCAB) is a peak body working to advise and inform the Australian community on the issue of childhood bullying. Find out more including the findings from the recent Economic Cost of Bullying Report.

eSmart – Alannah & Madeline Foundation (

Playing Minecraft

S Charles

This week, we opened up our new Maker Space to host a Minecraft Club. As you may have guessed, it was extremely popular and something we’ll have to do again soon. The space was buzzing with excitement and it’s easy to see how Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time. As a parent and school leader, it was very reassuring to see that the students that came along were not only engaged with their constructions (we play in CREATIVE mode only and we can’t play unless we play with a friend) but they were interested in what each other was building. They talked with one another, shared their creations, taught each other new tricks and of coursed bragged about their Minecraft skills. Social interaction for the Minecraft enthusiasts is alive and kicking.

Of course like everything our kids are interested in, balance is key. Too much of anything is not good for the holistic development of a child, so I did some research and came up with the following post from

Is it OK to let my child play Minecraft for hours?

An open-ended building game with seemingly endless possibilities, Minecraft can be mighty engrossing. On the plus side, Minecraft can reinforce geometry concepts as it strengthens players' thinking and reasoning skills, creativity, and even collaboration. The game has a strong, positive online community and even has an educational module teachers can modify for classroom lessons on different subjects. On the downside, as you've discovered, it's a time suck. Even "good" games can be played to excess, and homework, chores, family obligations, and real-world social activities can take a backseat when kids can't - or won't - stop playing. And even if your child is learning from the game, other areas of life are important, too. Help your kids self-regulate. Start by having a conversation about all their daily duties and figure out how much game time fits in. Create a calendar, have them set a timer, and reward them for sticking to the time limits. If you've tried this and want more control over their screen time, consider installing a parental-control program that lets you set daily screen limits for different programs.

Great advice! And as I’ve mentioned before in this column, don’t be afraid to get involved in what your children are doing on their iPads or their computers. Challenge yourself to learn the difference between a wither, a zombie and a creeper. Or go and ask your child where their nether portal leads. Your Minecraft-obsessed child will love it and you might too.

Read More in May

S Charles

How is your family's 'Read more in May' family challenge going? If you need some motivation then why not consider the following information, compiled by Scholastic:

If we want children to read independently, they need to have easy access to a wide assortment of fiction and nonfiction books, choice in what they read, and time to practise reading. Given a good selection of books, all kids read more. And those who read more books get more practice and become better readers.

Research shows that children who read books for just 10 minutes a day perform better in school.*

Here are some great ways to get your child reading:

  1. Set aside a reading time. Pick a reading time that is suitable for everyone. It might be before bedtime or even after homework.
  2. Pick a reading place. It is important that everyone is comfortable so they can enjoy the book. Try reading in the living room, or maybe seated at the dinner table works best.
  3. Read together. One person can read the book, or family members can take turns.
  4. Visit your local library. Enjoy free resources such as books and read-aloud events.
  5. Involve and engage everyone. Before reading, point to the book’s title, author and illustrator. Ask listeners, ‘What do you think the story is going to be about?’ As you read, ask your family members what they think will happen next. And be sure to use exciting voices to engage listeners!
  6. Fill your home with reading materials. Place books, magazines, newspapers, cookbooks and more throughout the house so your child is surrounded by things to read.
  7. Get caught reading yourself. When your child sees you read, they will be inspired to read.
  8. Have older siblings read to younger siblings. By reading to a younger sibling, the reader will gain confidence.
  9. Start seasonal traditions. Pick a book to read every year when your child goes back to school. You can also read the same special book during a holiday.
  10. Keep favourite books around. It can be comforting for a new reader to build confidence and fluency by practising when re-reading a favourite book.

*Research conducted by the National Centre for Family Literacy. 

Take Home Reading

S Charles

We hope you are enjoying reading the Take Home books with your children. Here are some tips for making this time an effective and enjoyable one for your family.

1.     Listen to your child read every school day; there is no substitute for regular practice. Find a time to listen to your child read and make it part of your routine. This reading should take approximately 10-15 minutes.

2.     Continue to read aloud to your child and discuss the books you are reading. If you would like to challenge or extend your child then this is a terrific way to do it!

3.     Learn how to prompt your child when they become stuck. Suggested prompts can be found in your child’s take home record book. A parent information night (Foundation parents Term 1, Junior parents in Term 2) will also cover this topic in more detail and all parents are encouraged to attend.

4.     Appreciate that Take Home books are for practice – don’t think that the books your child is bringing home are ‘too easy’. Trust that your child’s teacher is taking care to ensure your child has the correct level for take home reading practice.

5.     Briefly discuss the book with your child after it has been read as this will keep a focus on reading for meaning. Even while children are learning the “how-tos” of reading, we know that developing comprehension is an essential skill that students must practice.


S Charles

At Derinya we follow the Sound Waves program. As part of the program it is important for the children learn to sing the Sound Waves chant. If you get a chance to play this clip at home, or in the car, you will be helping your child to learn their sounds and the actions.