25 Aug 2017

A Message from the Head of Lindfield

Altruism – Doing things for the moral good

There are many people in society who believe that people are inherently selfish and we should set up societal structures with this premise in mind. The reality here at Lindfield Prep is very different, we are part of a school community full of people who are inherently selfless and community minded. Parents and staff give generously of their time, energy and resources to help others. They are motivated by the ideas of reciprocity, service and cooperation. Many people feel the need to do things for the moral good, and they do not do a cost/benefit analysis before acting.

There seem to be two lenses in contemporary society that are pervasive in our thinking around the idea of helping others, the moral lens and the economic lens. The economic lens says that people will help others if they have a financial incentive. In reality, this lens has shown to have a negative effect on people helping others. An example of this is if you have to pay to pick up children from after-school care activities. When providers do not charge for late pick up, parents try to get there on time to pick up the children out of consideration for the teacher or carer.  If there is a monetary penalty, parents think about the cost/benefit of being late and it becomes an economic transaction and respect to the teacher/carer and their time is no longer a factor.

Another example that may resonate with parents is when children help around the house because helping each other is the foundation that families are built upon. When pocket money is brought into the equation, household chores stop being about helping each other but about getting the money. The emphasis changes and the idea of helping others is not the motivation. Sometimes if you ask for a helping hand then your children will ask ‘how much?’

The moral lens believes that people are inherently good. Previously the moral lens was enhanced by religious affiliation, community organisations and other groups which are less prominent today. It could be argued that crowd funding, charities like Oz Harvest and other mechanisms for altruism have risen up in their places. We also have the rise of the economic lens where everything is incentivised for people to help others. As a result, we have a society that is less cooperative, less trusting and less effective.

An altruist is a person who is committed to a group or ideal. As a child, altruism starts with small acts of courtesy, holding a door, offering to carry things for others, being helpful and sharing belongings. The positive reaction that we often get when we are helpful makes us feel the power of altruism.

I think the Lindfield community is a living example of this reality. It is clear that people in our community have a natural propensity to help and enhance the lives of others. The parents and staff ensure that our boys understand that helping others is part of what makes communities rich and effective – but also what makes us happy and content. We endeavor to ensure our boys never see helping others in a cost/benefit or ‘what’s in it for me?’ way.

Ben Barrington-Higgs

Building Respectful Relationships at Home

Through our Pastoral Care Policy we focus on the total development of each student and the enhancement of the dignity of each person. We nurture success and have a commitment to forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation. As teachers, we seek to motivate young people to be socially responsible and committed to building a better world through a partnership of the school community, teachers and parents. We do this under the banner of ‘RESPECT FOR ALL’ which is visible in all our learning spaces and referred to regularly when working with students on their Social Emotional Learning, their behavioural choices and their interactions with each other and adults.

Teaching, modeling and developing students who understand, value and demonstrate an appreciation and application of the concept of respectful relationships requires collaboration from all stakeholders in the life of a young person; teachers, community members, peers, parents, friends etc.

As we continue to build the important links between home and school, the following information, taken from the Kids Helpline website, is particularly useful in supporting parents. The page contains a collection of tips to support parents in developing respectful relationships.


Respect is a word that often gets used but is quite difficult to actually define. Most people would tell you they know when they are being treated respectfully, but might have trouble identifying their own disrespectful communication styles. Self-respect is commonly spoken of, but it might be surprising to learn how often people struggle to consistently achieve it for themselves.

Respect can mean treating ourselves and others with consideration, care and esteem. To show respect means to have regard for other people’s feelings and to treat them with dignity.

Parents and carers play an important role in assisting children and young people to build self-respect, and then – through the child’s personal understanding of that experience – develop the values and skills needed to express respect to others. This interactional process becomes a continuous cycle, as children with strong self-respect engage in constructive positive behaviours towards themselves and others, attracting praise and reinforcement, thus building further self-respect and further facilitating the capacity to demonstrate respect for others. Of course the counter to that occurs when a child experiences continuous disrespect, fails to build healthy self-respect, and then responds to those destructive and negative feelings by treating others in similarly disrespectful ways. 

How to recognise a respectful relationship?

Respect is an important part of healthy relationships, and everyone has the right to be respected. A respectful relationship is characterised by the following:

  • people make their own choices and form their own views consistent with their age and developmental level
  • feelings of self-worth are fostered
  • people’s points of views and beliefs are valued
  • the rights of a person to be safe, valued and cared for are understood
  • people are accepted
  • people are able to disagree at times and say what they think or feel without being put down or hurt in anyway
  • people can listen and be heard
  • ‘No’ is accepted for an answer
  • a person can make mistakes and still be accepted and respected
  • it is never controlling, and encourages personal growth and fulfillment
  • it nurtures a culture of trust, honesty and happiness

As parents and carers there may be times when you find it difficult to show respect to young people – especially when a young person’s behaviour is really challenging. Remember, respect is an important ingredient in being a positive influence on the life of a young person.


Calm conversations with your kids will always be more productive.


What happens in the absence of respect in a relationship?

Respect is a key step in building strong relationships. When it is absent or lacking, conflict or relationship breakdown often occurs. Absence or lack of respect can lead to problems at an individual, family and/or community level.

What is the role of parents and carers?

Parenting experts believe that young people look to the adults around them for guidance and role modelling. For example, if an adult treats a young person with consideration, they will learn from this positive experience and will be able to build respectful relationships in the future.

Young people with parents and carers who respect each other are also more likely to form happy and healthy relationships with others and themselves. Parents and carers can actively promote respectful and caring relationships by modelling behaviours in their day-to-day living where each party feels safe, valued and cared for.


Let your kids know you care and remain approachable. 


How to help children and young people build respectful relationships?

It is important to note that adolescence is a crucial period for young people to learn how to develop and maintain respectful relationships with others. Building such relationships requires a range of capacities and skills. If adults develop these capacities within themselves and use them in their relationships they can become positive role models for children and young people and teach them about healthy relationships.

Following are some examples of skills and approaches that can help create respect in relationships. Please note, there may be some variation in what constitutes respectful behaviours from culture to culture. However, in any cultural context, respect is about behaviours that convey valuing and caring about another person.

Understanding and empathy

This is the ability to feel for others by trying to put ourselves in their shoes. As parents, empathy can be modelled by striving to understand a child’s point of view.

Empathic listening

This is the ability to listen and convey understanding. Parents can practice this with their children by hearing and considering their ideas or problems. They can also show interest in what their children have to say and avoid rushing in with ideas or solutions.

Anger management

Managing anger is about avoiding hurtful reactions. Some anger management skills include thinking first before speaking and using strategies to stay calm. You can model this behaviour to children by managing your own anger and assisting them with skills such as counting up to ten or taking deep breaths to help them calm down.

Taking responsibility for managing your own anger helps to avoid impulsive acts that are potentially destructive to yourself or others.

Conflict resolution

Disagreements are normal in any relationship and there are ways to respond to, minimise and resolve conflict. It is helpful to try to understand and consider the other person’s point of view. Winning an argument is not good if it makes the other person feel hurt or embarrassed. A win-win situation, where give and take on both sides is involved, is always preferred. Parents can model ways to have a difference of opinion with someone that is respectful, and how to accept ‘NO’ for an answer.

Problem solving and decision-making skills

It is easy to fall into the trap of telling young people what you think they should do. Parents can help a young person to develop their own capacities and solve their own problems by holding back on these thoughts for a time, allowing the young person to generate their own solutions. This also helps show that you value and have confidence in their abilities.

When helping your child with a problem, it can help to define the issue or concern, understand its impact and generate various options before making choices. Parents can help young people learn these skills by:

  • assisting them to name the problem
  • encouraging them to express any feelings around the problem and
  • inviting them to consider available options and their possible impact

This enables young people to effectively think through options and their impacts before making decisions.


Honesty is encouraged in relationships where there is trust and acceptance. You can encourage honesty in your children by being honest with yourself and true to your own feelings. Young people learn there is no need to lie when they are able to openly express themselves to others and feel accepted even when their choices may have been questionable. Young people will be more open to exploring constructive options with an adult when the reasoning behind their earlier choices has been listened to respectfully.


Assertiveness is about acknowledging another person’s request or need and being able to ‘own’ and speak up about their needs in a clear way. Being assertive also allows people to maintain healthy boundaries.

Learning to be assertive yourself can be a great way to encourage your children to develop this skill in their own life. If you can effectively stand up for yourself and say ‘no’ without being aggressive, you will also show your child how to stick up for themselves while still respecting others.

Assertiveness skills can assist young people to deal with a range of life experiences where they may feel pressured to do things they don’t want to do or that put them out of their comfort zone. Assertiveness skills can be helpful for many people who may be either too aggressive or too passive when feeling threatened.



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

Faith Matters

A prayer of even little faith can achieve great things.

A visiting preacher told the congregation that anyone needing prayer should come forward, though inwardly he was thinking about his past lack of results. Thirty people responded and he prayed for them. Later that week a woman called and said, “Last Sunday you prayed for my husband. He had cancer, and he died.” “Much good my prayers did,” he thought. The lady continued, “When we walked into church my husband was angry. He wanted to see his grandchildren grow up, and every day he cursed God. Being around him was unbearable. But after you prayed for him he walked out a different person. His last days were the best we’d ever had; we talked, laughed, and sang hymns together. He wasn’t cured, but he was healed.”

Only God knows why some are healed while others aren’t. But we are assured that God’s purposes are for our ultimate good.

Peter Morphew – College Chaplain


The Exhibition 2017

The Exhibition is the destination of the learning journey through the PYP for students in a PYP school. It is an event that occurs each year in all PYP schools and is the culmination of an 8-week unit of inquiry. The difference from other units of inquiry is the presentation to the wider community of the learning that has taken place throughout this time.

Our Year 6 students began the exhibition process with explorations into issues that are present in our world and of interest to them. Analysing the Transdisciplinary Theme (How we express ourselves), developing a central idea, determining conceptual questions that would become the focus of the inquiry and creating lines of inquiry to help guide understanding of focus issues and, consequently, the central idea, started the ball rolling in this focused time of learning and presentation.

Throughout the 8 weeks, teachers and mentors assisted the students to source information from many places using their skills of formulating questions, note taking and academic honesty to find current thinking and draw conclusions about their issue. Working collaboratively to synthesise their new and prior knowledge as well as determining ways action can be taken, the 15 groups focused their learning on:

  • aesthetic value of/in nature
  • alternative energy sources
  • equality
  • beliefs shaping action
  • environmental activism
  • extremism
  • treatment of animals
  • how climate change is viewed by people
  • pushing agendas and perspectives about global warming
  • ideas are shaped by community values
  • propaganda
  • music therapy
  • perspectives on the treatment of animals
  • values impact political decisions
  • why religion is so misunderstood

The students of Year 6 presented their research findings into these issues at the annual PYP Exhibition on Tuesday evening. The event showcased the student’s knowledge and understanding of the issue and also the skills, attitudes and learner profiles that they developed over the course of the unit.


Mrs Sue Gough – Teacher/Librarian/PYP Co-ordinator



Musica Viva Comes to Lindfield!

Musica Viva have provided live music opportunities to schools in Australia for more than 35 years. They specialise in presenting the best small ensembles Australia has to offer, made up of culturally diverse groups that perform in a wide variety of musical styles.  Attending a live concert performance is exciting in itself and when you add the element of fun by making it interactive, the whole experience is further enhanced.

This year, the visiting group was Akoustic Odyssey who performed Music of the Mediterranean.  The boys attending the concert not only heard some familiar musical instruments but were introduced to some new sounds and techniques of instrumental playing such as the bowed bass guitar. 

Throughout Term 3, the boys at Lindfield have been listening to original compositions written by group members of Akoustic Odyssey and they have engaged in a variety of class activities based on the music.  Some of these included dancing, singing, playing percussion instruments, as well as exploring the digital resources supplied by Musica Viva to create a rich musical learning experience.  A particular favourite called ‘Shift the Telly’ was based on the Greek style belly dancing called Tsifteteli and included the sound of a bouzouki and toumberleki as well as cello, violin and guitar.  One brave teacher was chosen to dance out the front of the performance wearing the hip scarf, decorated with coins, that is a feature of the belly dancing costume!

During the concert, students used body percussion and movement to identify changes in tempo and dynamics and they recognised structural devices by responding appropriately with movement to the sections of the music.  In one piece, a group of students joined the ensemble and played kulup seeds creating an effective soundscape to mimic storms and the sea.

This is what two of our music monitors thought of the performance by Akoustic Odyssey.

‘I enjoyed hearing the music and it’s new to me.  I just like enjoying new music that I’ve never heard before.  Overall I think it was a very good performance because of the songs.  I liked them singing the song Shift the Telly since we’ve heard it before.’  Oli Barrington-Higgs 

‘I really liked the style of music and how they played the instruments to represent realistic sounds like the ship.’ Ethan Hardwick


Mrs Jodie Winton – Music Mistress (acting)







Why struggle?

As teachers and parents we like to see our boys succeed, with success in mathematics often defined as being able to work without error.  Does such a definition unwittingly deprive students of critical learning opportunities? Jo Boaler, professor of Mathematics at Stanford University would argue, yes.

Boaler, a prominent change agent, whose activism is challenging the way we teach mathematics, argues the need to move away from classrooms focused on results with minimal error towards a learning environment where students are encouraged to take risks as they tackle complex, challenging problems that stretch their thinking, perhaps even to the point of failure.  This point of struggle is where brain research suggests optimal learning takes place, but only when students have a mindset that appreciates the value of making and learning from those mistakes.

Thus it is incumbent upon us to communicate to our boys that process, challenge and failure are all key for growth. As educators, we must develop a learning culture not around end results but on communicating processes, evaluating strategies and celebrating struggle as a vital part of learning.

So next time you feel the urge to jump in when you see a student struggling, perhaps pause and observe – you may just be witnessing a precious moment of learning.

Boaler, J (2016) Mathematical Mindsets.

In Year 1 the boys enjoy engaging in maths tasks which challenge and stretch their thinking.  Failure and mistakes in learning are valued and celebrated.  We take time to talk through our mistakes and identify what might have gone wrong.  It is embedded into lessons so that the boys appreciate the importance of taking risks and actually feel cheated if the work they are presented with is ‘too easy’.  Allowing time and space for the boys to struggle is not always easy but watching how empowered and energised they feel when they self correct an error or arrive at a solution after considerable effort is certainly time well spent.

Ms Colleen Chan – Year 1 Teacher

Year 4 – Simple Machines

Year 4 have been investigating Simple Machines and found some examples around our school. We used our iPads to take photographs and then worked in groups to explain how simple machines work.

A simple machine we chose to explore is an inclined plane. We found many inclined planes around our school.  An inclined plane helps us to move up steep slopes without using stairs. In Newington the inclined plane down to the bottom field lets us walk up and down a slope without steep stairs.  The inclined plane helps us to get from one area to another. (Jack M and Diesel)



A wheelbarrow uses a simple machine called a wheel and axle. A wheel barrow also uses another simple machine called a lever when you lift a load with the long handles. The wheel and axle let you move heavy loads by spreading the weight across the barrow and the wheel allows you to move it easily. (Declan, Lachlan, Hamish and Sam)



A simple machine we found were gears on a bike in the bike rack. The gears make it easier to pedal. A gear is like a wheel with teeth. The teeth of one gear fit between the teeth of another gear. When one gear is moved it moves the other one and means you have more power. (Chase, Will P, Oliver and Felix)


We found a fire hydrant that uses a simple machine to turn it on and off. As the large red handle on the fire hydrant is turned it opens and closes the small pipe that lets the water out from the large pipes connected to the water source. We thought it might have been a wheel and axle but decided the handle operates more like a large screw that opens and closes the pipe. (Jonathon, Chris and Mika)


We looked around the Junior Primary playground and found the JP bubbler uses a simple machine to work. You turn the handle clockwise to open the pipe and turn it the opposite way to turn it off. It winds like a screw getting tighter and closing off the water as you close it so the simple machine is a screw. A screw has a slanted surface like a spiral staircase and lets the valve open and close. (Declan, Will F and Chase)


In the Primary playground we found a giant simple machine that is a screw and an inclined plane. The spiral shape down the slide is like the slanted surface of a screw and that keeps you moving as you travel down on the inclined plane. (Will E, Sam and Ben)


We took a photo of the Junior Primary slide in the playground. We decided the slide was an example of an inclined plane. You start at the top and move down the slide gaining speed as you go down. You need the inclined plane to move down the slide. (Logan and Jack)


The simple machine we chose to look at is a handle on a door in the playground. The handle is an example of a lever – this means you push the handle down and it opens the lock.  Using a lever makes it easy to open and shut the door. When you push the bar down it releases the clip and when you let the bar go it re-clips. (Roy and Kolya)


We found a simple machine in the front area of our school. It is used everyday when we are at school and is called a pulley. The pulley connects rope to a flag and allows us to raise and lower the flag on the flagpole. When you pull down on the rope the flag goes up and when you release the rope the flag comes down. (Aidan and Luka)


We were looking at the buildings and saw the roof line had many different shapes. We decided the surfaces were inclined planes. An inclined plane is good for a roof as it allows the rain water to flow down the incline and be collected in the gutters. (Marcus and Arque)


Katrina James – Year 4 Teacher (Acting)

Year 5 – Innovation, Sustainability and Responsibility

The students in Year 5 have been on a journey of discovery throughout their current unit of inquiry, which concludes this week. The boys worked with the central idea, ‘An understanding and application of scientific principles allows people to be innovative, sustainable and responsible for the Earth’, with a particular focus on innovation, sustainability and responsibility.

From the start, the unit encouraged a lot of ‘tinkering’ which was beneficial to many of the boys who were keen to understand more about electricity and materials (scientific principles). Students were given the opportunity to open up and strip components from everyday electrical items such torches and fans, examine the circuitry, build their own circuits for a variety of purposes (primarily games), and motorise their own Lego jousting chariots.

Activities like these provided the boys with hands on, practical learning experiences – learning through ‘doing’. This was combined with frequent design thinking opportunities throughout the unit, as we continue to grow a culture around design thinking across the school.

The boys had the opportunity to visit the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Australia’s only nuclear reactor. It was a fascinating excursion for both students and staff, and really allowed the boys to better understand the concept of innovation, particularly in an Australian context.

The boys also conducted their own ‘mini inquiries’ looking into a sustainability issue currently affecting the world – deforestation, nuclear waste, ocean garbage etc. The boys enjoy the inquiry process and it is good to get them into a way of ‘Exhibition’ thinking in preparation for this time next year in Year 6. This research and presentation of ideas culminated in the Public Speaking Competition, which was very strong in Year 5 this year. Four boys from Year 5 will present to the rest of the school in the final, each of whom is passionate about their sustainability issue, and has researched responsibility and innovation related to their issue.

Sam Watson – Year 5 Teacher