04 Aug 2017

Tough for a Reason  

There is a line of thinking that children today are not ‘tough’ like the generation before them. The premise for this is that in previous generations children were expected to do more around the house and there was a ‘hands off’ mentality by parents in relation to their children and what happened to them. This meant that children learned to solve their own problems and sort out disputes with their peers. The same people who espouse this line of thinking talk about ‘helicopter parents’ who constantly intervene whenever a child has a problem.

Whilst there are elements of truth to what is said when you think back to what childhood was like for many people in previous generations, there aren’t too many reasons to get misty eyed. The old idea of toughness was related to being able to hide your emotions and to ignore the many unpleasant things that people would do to each other.  These unpleasant things were seen by some as ‘character building’, which really meant putting up with callousness and not saying anything.

Advocates for the ‘old ways’ who claim that young people today are less resilient may also blame modern parenting for this. I actually don’t believe that this is the reason. If you think about a resilient person, they are not necessarily tough in a traditional sense, but they are resolute. For someone to be resilient or resolute they cannot do this in isolation. People are not resilient for resilience sake, they are resilient because they are committed to a cause, ideal or relationship. They have a greater purpose which enables them to bounce back from setbacks, failures and difficulties. They are inspired by their feeling of purpose to continue to struggle forward.

Normal people show massive resilience in the face of adversity and this comes from a core belief in themselves buoyed by a clear sense of their own purpose. Ordinary people can be very tough, resilient and gritty when protecting or representing something they believe in. An amazing Australian model of grit and resilience that you may have heard of is Turia Pitt.  After being caught in a fire while running an ultramarathon in 2011, her life changed in devastating ways.  Not only did she bounce back from near death but she is now a humanitarian, passionate about helping burns victims in less fortunate countries.  She has also gone on to achieve athletic feats most of us wouldn’t even dream of.

If it is true that young people today are less resilient, then maybe it is that they lack purpose. We need to ensure that our young people are idealistic to a cause and committed to some worldview that puts temporary pain in the context of a wider hope.

Especially in this time when it is cool to be disengaged and cynical, it is people who know what they believe in who don’t let the world knock them down. If young people know who they are, what they believe and what they want to achieve, then resilience is more likely to follow.


About not giving up/ bouncing back


About giving back to communities/ sense of purpose




Welcome back to Term 3. 

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable time during the break and enjoyed the incredible weather we experienced. In eLearning we are excited about Term 3 and what it brings for the boys and teachers at Lindfield. A big focus will be towards Exhibition and how the boys can use technology to guide them through their inquiry.

During the holidays, I spent a lot of quality time with my wife and our little baby George. During the three weeks we went to a lot of cafes and tried to contain a baby on the move. We are well aware that we wanted this to happen but now wish she would just sit still for us every now and then. While out and about we noticed the amount of families that were at cafes or restaurants. On one occasion a family was sitting at a beautiful park cafe and were all completely engrossed in technology. There was not a single conversation had between anyone a part from the polite thank you to the wait staff. This got me thinking about families and how we are often distracted by our devices. How can we ensure that when spending time with our children we are present and engaged in conversation with them and not our phones?

#DeviceFreeDinner is a concept that has been around for a few years now and it is one that promotes families dropping their devices and engaging with each other over dinner. The website www.commonsensemedia.org has a large collection of resources to help aid a device free dinner. It offers conversation starters, video prompts and also resources to aid a healthy media diet. 

The resources offer insights into the benefits of family conversation at meal times. The research states that;

–      Family mealtime can contribute to greater academic success.

–      Family mealtime is linked to fewer behaviour problems.

–      Families who share mealtimes at least three times a week are more likely to eat healthy.


At home this term I am aiming to put some of these into play and have a device free dinner every night. If you have any further questions about this, please do not hesitate in contacting me or popping in to see me at school. 

Tony Cross – eLearning – Wyvern House and Lindfield Preparatory School

Faith Matters

Don’t Get Hooked 

Face it; some people are unwilling to take responsibility for their lot in life, so they plough through each day complaining about everything. Because they’re incapable of loving themselves, they can’t extend love to others. Often their negative edge just masks their real struggle. Deep down they’re afraid of being rejected, so they don’t get too close to anyone except kindred spirits.

So how should you respond to such people? Don’t get hooked! If you can’t lift them up, make sure they don’t drag you down. When Nehemiah’s enemies criticised the wall he was building he replied, “I am doing a great work! Why should I stop it to come and visit with you?” And what was the result? The wall was finally finished just fifty-two days after he had begun! When his enemies heard about it, they were humiliated, and they realised that the work had been done with the help of God. Was it easy working around people like that? No. How did Nehemiah do it? When he started getting discouraged he prayed, “Lord God, please strengthen me!” Notice, he didn’t say, Lord, zap them. Or, Lord make them nice to me.? No, he asked for strength, maintained a good attitude and prayed that God would take care of his critics. And God did.

Peter Morphew – Chaplain

Pastoral Care

Respectful Relationships

In his article in this edition of Prep Talk titled ‘Tough for a Reason’, Ben states that “it is people who know what they believe in who don’t let the world knock them down. If young people know who they are, what they believe and what they want to achieve, then resilience is more likely to follow”. Through our pastoral care focus on ‘Respect for All’ at Lindfield, we aim to take boys of promise to men of substance and instill the values necessary to contribute positively to society.

Our pastoral care program comprises a variety of components including our buddy program, Second Step program, leadership opportunities, mindfulness, PALS program and circle time sessions. To further enhance our program and provide us with an additional opportunity to engage with the school and wider community, we are exploring the White Ribbon Breaking the Silence Schools Program.

Breaking the Silence is an award-winning professional learning initiative for principals and teachers that provides foundational knowledge, tools and strategies to implement respectful relationships and domestic violence education programs in schools.

Building on existing initiatives

The Program supports schools to bring about a commitment to stop violence against women. It builds on existing initiatives to strengthen a culture of respect and equality at all levels of the school community – through curriculum, role modelling from staff, policies and procedures, domestic violence education programs and strengthened family and community partnerships.

Breaking the Silence is independently evaluated and suitable for both primary and secondary schools. Through the Program, students learn and experience respectful relationships, gender equality and how to challenge attitudes which support violence. The aim is to create real generational change to stop violence against women in Australia.

Schools that complete Breaking the Silence are recognised as White Ribbon Schools, becoming a strong symbol of a safe, equitable workplace and vehicle for community change.

Why are schools important to stop violence against women?

From a young age, young people are exposed to information, messaging and behaviours that can support and condone violence against women. Young people are also already exposed to, and influenced by, domestic violence.

A critical time for forming ideas

During this critical life stage, young people are already forming ideas about men, women and their relationships. Exposure to harmful messaging and gender stereotyping can lead to attitudes that support inequality and disrespect towards women.

Exposure to violence against women also has a clear and negative impact on children and young people’s behaviour, mental health, and social development.

Breaking the cycle of violence

Schools play a pivotal role in breaking the cycle of violence by teaching young people how to recognise and challenge violence against women and build respectful relationships. Breaking the Silence engages the wider school community to promote and role model gender equality and create a safe, inclusive school culture to stop violence against women.


We look forward to sharing further information on this initiative as it develops.


Pascal Czerwenka – Year 5 Teacher/Deputy Head of Lindfield Prep


2017 Combined Prep Athletics Carnival Report

Wednesday 26 July saw 487 Prep boys from Lindfield and Wyvern descend on Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre prepared for a day of fierce competition! With bright blue skies and a handy tail wind blowing through the 100m straight it was perfect conditions to race, jump and throw! The earliest arrivals were the 800m runners who were warmed up and ready to earn the first points of the day. It was clear from the outset that it was going to be a day of brilliant individual efforts and tight House competition.

All of the boys were then taken onto the track as the shotput, discus, long jump, 100m & 200m sprint events occurred on a rotational basis to ensure that each boy had a chance to compete in each event. The 100m and 200m events were compulsory and each boy was given two chances in each field event before finalists received a third attempt. The boys moved around in House groups with boys from Lindfield and Wyvern spending the day grouped together to form friendships and experience a sense of inter-school competition.

The final events of the day were the 4 x 100m relays and despite being exhausted at the end of a huge day of competition, the boys chosen to represent each House in both the junior and senior relays did not disappoint with records falling in both events! The Junior relay runners ran first with a grandstand full of cheering from all Houses! Coates came out of the last bend first and were too quick for anyone to catch finishing in a record time of 1:04.49 with Kingswood in 2nd and Howe in 3rd. The Senior Boys relay set the stadium alight with the Kingswood and Rydal boys running well ahead of the record time the whole way around the track! As the Kingswood team finished, the clock showed a 3 second improvement on the old record at 58.67 seconds with Rydal finishing in 59.13 seconds and Coates in 3rd place at 1:03.05.

The anticipation could almost be tasted in the air as the boys eagerly awaited the announcement of the winning house! Congratulations to Kingswood who take home the trophy for 2017! The full results can be seen in the table below:




















Congratulations to the following boys who were awarded Age Champions and Runners up in Age Group.




8/9 Years

Maks Saravanja

Liam Casey

10 Years

Sam Chittendon

Toby Cameron-Tavendale

11 Years

Arlo Merewether

Finn Wicks

12 Years

Finn Dundon

Charlie Burt


The day was characterised by good sportsmanship and striving from success from the 8-year-old competitors right up to the oldest boys. Each boy should be proud of their efforts and be looking forward to the opportunity to challenge their results in 2018!


Eliza Monaghan – Sports Mistress


Play-Based Learning in Kindergarten

Play-based learning can be defined as young learners actively constructing knowledge as they explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in playful and unique ways.  In the early years, it is through experience in play that learning occurs.

Research shows that “children who engage in complex forms of socio-dramatic play have greater language skills than non-players, better social skills, more empathy, more imagination, and more of the subtle capacity to know what others mean” (Edward Miller and Joan Almon 2009).

Put simply, children learn best when they’re having fun and we know that they are more likely to be having fun when they are playing!

In Kindergarten, it is our goal to have a balance between student-initiated play and more focused inquiry learning, planned, scaffolded and guided by teachers.

This term the boys have been having fun engaging in a range of play-based activities that have been planned to support and enhance understanding of their current inquiry unit into ‘products’. The boys were asked to share their thoughts about some of these play experiences.

Alex: “I like writing on the café menu board because I get to practise my writing.”

Christian F: “I like playing in the restaurant because the chefs get to make things.”

Sam: “I like getting the different types of money and buying things in the class shop.”

Play is also integral in the teaching of literacy and numeracy skills. The boys absolutely love playing games that have been designed to teach specific concepts.

William: “I love playing ‘Go Fish’ because it’s fun and you do some learning about sight words.”

Jonathan: “I like playing dice games because you learn how to add numbers together.”

Jackson: “I like the game ‘Bump’ because you learn about maths and it’s fun to bump people off the board.”

Ted: “I like the game ‘Bang’ because you learn to read words.”

During these play experiences, it has been wonderful to see the boys engaged in problem solving, posing questions, trialling solutions, refining learning and having fun!

Belinda Smallhorn – Kindergarten Teacher

Stage 2

Defying Gravity

In Stage 2 we have been building our knowledge of scientific principles.  The learner profile of knowledgeable requires our boys to explore concepts and ideas. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

We are currently building our knowledge of the scientific principles of gravity, friction and magnetism, as well as exploring how a scientist works to find answers.

The concept that challenged the boys thinking the most was – that every object falls to earth at the same speed.

“No it doesn’t!”

“Things definitely fall faster if they are heavier”

The disagreement of the boys rung through both the Year 3 and Year 4 classrooms. Through researching the relationship between gravity and our atmosphere through a variety of sources, the boys built their knowledge of how air resistance allows falling objects to defy gravity (at least for a moment).

The spark was set, defy gravity by building a system to reduce the speed at which a bead drops.

Our next step was to discover and learn from existing technologies that reduce the speed of falling objects by harnessing air resistance or pushing in the opposite way. Our thinking included

  •      Hand gliders
  •      Jet packs
  •      Helium balloons
  •      Helicopters
  •      Parachutes

The boys imagined a multitude of systems that would allow the bead to defy gravity using the materials available from our Design Thinking cupboards.  Unfortunately, we were unable to provide rocket boosters that left a few boys disappointed.

In pairs the boys explored their system design, by prototyping, testing and redesigning, as many times as possible in the allotted time. We spent the morning dropping beads off Mr Cs balcony and recording our times.  The most successful design was also one of our most simple, a plastic shopping bag, which caught a lucky gust of wind and defied gravity for 10.52 seconds!

Carol Peterson – Year 3 Teacher

Year 6

The Learning Pit

The boys are now in full steam ahead with the Exhibition, and it can be quite a bumpy road. At times there are great wins, and they can feel pleased with the progress, be it a response from an email or a great phone conversation, a Skype call or positive mentor meeting. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems as if nothing is working out the way it should. These times of struggle link with James Nottingham’s The Learning Pit.

The Pit is not a great place to be; it is confusing, scary, intimidating, perplexing … the list goes on, however, the deepest understanding, growth and learning happens when you figure the way out of the Pit for yourself. Entry to the Pit is easy; discovering the Central Idea and then engaging with the group’s issue is the welcoming mat. Only then does the challenge begin. Once in, the conflict begins with the boys being challenged to explain their ideas and inquiry in more and more detail. The introduction of more challenging questions from the teachers/mentors may add more confusion before the path begins to clear, as these are there to help focus the learning. The boys are in the murky depths of the Pit, and it’s hard. When we now hear the words ‘I don’t understand’, or this is ‘too hard’, frustration hits. Gradually, through collaboration and questioning of those around them, the boys will piece together the meaning for themselves and construct their understanding of why they were in the Pit in the first place. At last, they will have worked their way through and fully deserve their Eureka moment – clarity, comprehension, satisfaction and relief.  This moment is the reward for all the hard work and collaboration that has gone on into getting out of the Pit – Learning is not easy, in fact at times it is just plain hard.

Philip Trethewey – Year 6 Teacher


Can Art improve a child’s resilience?

As someone who has a passion for art I really hope the creative process and art expression are really manifestations of the drive toward health and well-being. There is no doubt by delving into art-based activities, emotional grounding and relaxation is enhanced. As Louise Bourgeois noted, “Art is a guarantee of sanity”.

A recently published pilot study (Kaimal, Ray & Muniz, 2016) proposes that adults may experience a measurable reduction in their cortisol levels after a 45-minute art making session. Cortisol is often defined as a “stress hormone” that is correlated with levels of stress in the body and what is commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. In brief, the study reports that nearly 75% of the participants had lower cortisol levels after art making than at the start of the session.

The resilience-enhancing capacities of art expression are not found in any one particular art-based activity, but within the characteristics of art making itself and also the relational dynamics between the individual and art making process.

After asking the Stage 3 boys for their thoughts it appears they believe art can self-help and self-sooth.

  •      ‘I believe art can help if you are going through tragedy as it can take your mind off it.’ (Justin)
  •      ‘I think art can help you because you can express your sadness on paper using different colours. You can put all your stress on the page.’ (Kyle)
  •      ‘You can draw your future. Draw what it was like not being stressed. You can picture yourself having fun.’ (Oscar)
  •      ‘Art can help you with stress as it will distract you from any type of problem you have.’ (Ethan)
  •      ‘Art is relaxing and releases stress.(Charlie)
  •      ‘I think art can help you deal with tragedy as it can take you away from what is happening, it calms you down and makes you zoom out from difficult experiences.’ (Saxon)
  •      ‘Art can help you deal with stress as it could show other people how you are feeling.’(Hugo)
  •      ‘You can feel happy when you are drawing. You can take the stress away with drawing.’ (Marcus)

Most of the boys realise that the art process can be used as a tool to self-regulate. You don’t need to be talented or an artist to receive the benefits. After analysing their responses, I am convinced the creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.

Kylie Bain – Art Mistress


Music Encounter

Just recently I was invited to tour with the Northern Sydney Symphonic Wind Ensemble (NSSWE) to the Southern Highlands and Canberra. On the tour we got the opportunity to perform for students and teachers at Mittagong and Goulburn South Primary schools and for the public at Questacon in Canberra.

This is the second tour I have joined NSSWE on and our focus is to perform for students at schools that don’t have music programs like we have at Newington. These concerts brighten the day for these schools and show the children what you can achieve with music. We introduce our instruments and invite the students to play percussion and to even conduct.

The NSSWE is a program that brings together students from Primary and Private schools from the Northern Sydney district. I play First Trumpet for the Junior Wind Ensemble, which is mostly made up of boys and girls from years six, seven and eight. I have been a member for 18 months having joined them at the beginning of Year Five after auditioning with a piece I composed called, ‘Walking Along The Thames’. NSSWE requires students to have completed a minimum of Grade Three AMEB at the Conservatorium of Music.

We also play paid concerts at The Concourse in Chatswood and this year we will be recording at the ABC studios in Ultimo. The pieces we play are designed to stretch our ability and they help me with my performances with Newington. Our conductor, Kylie Tyson encourages us to work professionally in a fun environment.

I would like to encourage other boys in our school to join NSSWE to gain extra experience and help to bring music to communities that are not as fortunate as we are at Newington to have an excellent music program.

Ethan Hardwick – 6W