21 Sep 2018

From the Head of Lindfield


Three years ago I came back from living with my family in West Papua. It was one of the best experiences of our lives. After four years however, we felt that our children’s education was not scaling any great heights and they had reached an age where being part of a larger community and having the opportunities to try new things in school, sport and music would be fantastic. Through good fortune the job at Newington College was posted and so Sydney was our next destination.

The last three years have been everything we hoped for as a family. The opportunities and the community have been fantastic for ourselves and our three children, Sydney is an incredible city to live in.

As a parent and an educator, my only concern is the pressure that some children and families may feel to be exceptional. The way some children are tutored, coached and pushed to be exceptional and the pressure that parents feel to keep up with others in Sydney is often likened to an arms race with children’s achievement as one of the measures. Sometimes it can feel, that in Sydney, not being exceptional is tantamount to failure.

Jeffrey Kluger wrote about this syndrome in a Time Magazine article called “In Praise of the Ordinary Child”. He cited the American context but it had a lot of resonance to what we see with young people here in Sydney.

Jeffrey Kluger wrote some kids “are being fed a promise, – that they can be tutored and coached, pushed and tested, hothoused and advanced-placed until success is assured… Somewhere between the self-esteem building of going for the gold and the self-esteem crushing of the win at all costs ethos there has to be a place where kids can breathe, where they can have the freedom to do what they love – and where parents accustomed to pushing their children to excel can shake off the newly defined shame of having raised an ordinary child.”        

Among achievement-obsessed parents, there’s a virtual contagion, says Harvard lecturer/activist Richard Weissbourd. “You see it in this arms race to get kids into selective schools. Kids who are strong academic achievers getting tutored from an early age, so you think you’re denying your own kid if you don’t do the same…”

Step one, says Kluger, is accepting that there is a downside to force-marching young people to very high achievement. “You can sign your kids up for soccer camp or violin immersion all you want,” he says, “but if they’re simply doing what they’re told instead of doing what they love, they’ll take it only so far.” Sometimes coaches or teachers see a spark of talent in gymnastics or dance or chess and push young people too hard, forcing them to focus prematurely and snuffing out the intrinsic motivation. When genuine interest flags, that’s a signal for parents, coaches, and teachers to back off. “Kids can persist with something difficult or boring only if they can connect with how it’s making them what they want to be,” says Harvard professor Nancy Hill.        

Children who are raised to believe they’re exceptional can experience a devastating crash when they get to university and find themselves surrounded by lots of other “gifted students”.

Parents who get overly invested in their children’s success and smother them with praise, which can raise the pressure to keep performing at unrealistic levels and make kids fearful of failure when they are faced with new challenges. “Parents begin to see their children as part of their own identity,” says Eddie Brummelman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, “and their kids’ ambitions become their own.” Young people who are brought up this way are often at a loss when they encounter stiffer challenges and competition and don’t know how to ask for help. “Having been so painstakingly raised and tended from birth,” says Kluger, “a student may arrive at university or the workforce as a kind of temperamental orchid, one that can’t possibly survive in the wild.”

The key is broadening the definition of exceptional. “It’s possible to raise a miserable billionaire,” says Kluger, “just as it’s possible to raise a happy shop owner or social worker.” But the current push for exceptionalism has made jobs like these seem less worthy. Parents and educators can get angry at the suggestion that a student might think about an associate’s degree aimed at trades, technicians, computers, or mechanics. “These are really good jobs,” says James Rosenbaum of Northwestern University, “jobs that let you use your head, and they’re jobs that society needs.”

We cheat ourselves and our kids, concludes Kluger, “if we view life as a single straight-line race in which one one-hundredth of the competitors finish in the money and everyone else loses. We will all be better off if we recognize that there are a great many races of varying lengths and outcomes. The challenge for parents and educators is to help their children find the one that’s right for them.”

At Newington, our aim is to provide an environment that gives opportunities for our boys to discover what they are really passionate about. There are three equally valued pathways for boys at Stanmore. The School offers the IB Diploma, the HSC and the VET (Vocational Education Training). VET is a pathway for boys who are going to be tradesmen, technicians and often the entrepreneurs and business owners of tomorrow.  

It is important that parents help the boys gravitate to the future that will engage and sustain them. Parents need to be careful to not crush their boys under the weight of their own aspirations. We need to help our young people move from boys of promise to men of substance. To do this, we must give our boys the confidence, the opportunities and the encouragement and let them discover what is possible in their own lives.

“In Praise of the Ordinary Child” by Jeffrey Kluger in Time Magazine, August 3, 2015, available for purchase at http://time.com/3969237/in-praise-of-the-ordinary-child/

Ben Barrington-Higgs

Pastoral Care


At school, we value the interests and work of our students in many different ways and always look for opportunities to celebrate learning in authentic and meaningful ways. The use of SeeSaw to share learning is just one of those ways as it provides a window into the learning that is happening at the time as well as an opportunity to reflect on past learning.

To this end, we are excited about the opportunity that our inaugural International Market next term has and will continue to provide for students to engage in entrepreneurial pursuits as a class and also share their school environment with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

The International Market will be held on Friday 16 November from 3pm to 7pm and all boys will be involved and expected to assist at their class’ stall for a short period of time during the evening (a class staffing schedule will be shared next term). When not working at their stall, the boys will be with their family enjoying what the market has to offer (food, games, market stalls, entertainment).

We currently have a planning committee consisting of the P&F Social Committee, Parent Volunteers and Teaching Staff who are giving up their time and energy to make this event possible which is much appreciated. We would like for this market to involve our students as much as possible so that it is a meaningful experience for them on many fronts. To this end the boys have been and will continue to be involved in the planning of class stalls and the general organisation of the market.

You will continue to be updated on plans via email and SPACES and will receive invitations early next term.

If you have any further questions or ideas regarding our International Market in Term 4, please do not hesitate to let us know via return email.


Pascal Czerwenka – Deputy Head of Lindfield

Faith Matters

Since I started work in ministry to young people some years ago there’s been one Bible reading more than others that has always stuck with me. It’s from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10.

Jesus Blesses Little Children

People were bringing little children to Him in order that He might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And He took them up in his arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

This reading has always stuck with me because I think it gives us a model in which we should treat children among us. In this story parents are bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed and the disciples were trying to move them away, no doubt they thought Jesus was too busy to have to deal with little children like this. Perhaps they thought He had more important things to do like teach or heal.

Jesus realised what was going on and insisted that the children be brought to Him. This, I think, shows us a model of welcome that should always be offered to children. Too often in society, not just in Churches, children are shunned away and ignored. Yet, this passage challenges us to extend an open welcome to children among us.

Recently, though, I’ve been challenged to look at this reading in a different way. When Jesus tells the gathered crowd that the kingdom of God belongs to these children it’s not simply saying that children are also welcomed. He’s going further than that and saying that children are the example for adults and we should be led by these children.

Children give us an example of inquiry and wonder that adults often don’t have. Children provide us with a permission to question and explore that adults often ignore. But how often are we as adults willing to be led by children in our midst?

This passage should provide a challenge for us in schools and in our family and daily lives. How can we provide a space by which children among us can influence and shape the way we as adults operate? It is more than just extending welcome to children among us, it’s being willing to be shaped and changed by the leading of children in our midst.

I hope all our Lindfield families have a fantastic and safe holiday and I look forward to seeing the boys back next term.

Pastor Richard La’Brooy

PYP – Curiosity and Creativity

The chicken or the egg? An age old conundrum

Curiosity and Creativity (PYP Learner Profile & Attitudes)

The same conundrum could be discussed in relation to curiosity and creativity. Are they connected? Can they be independent of each other? Is one more important than the other? Are either of them required to function in our global society? Are these important for employment opportunities?

There are many questions that we could put forward – being curious – and we can supply answers according to our experiences, our beliefs and values, or even just what we think about it (creativity). The IBO recognises curiosity and creativity in many ways – through the Learner Profile attributes and the Attitudes of the PYP.

Inquirers show curiosity by being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and cultures

Thinkers are creative by being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approach to problems and dilemmas

(IBO Learner Profile, PYP Attitudes)


In our classrooms we encourage these attributes and attitudes in learning.

For the vast majority of children, curiosity comes naturally. Faced with the unusual, unknown, unfamiliar, and uncertain, children might feel curious. It is a gift to nurture curiosity. After all, we don’t just want our children to be interested when something fascinating lies in front of them. We want them to be able to wield their curiosity on demand. We want them to be able to direct their attention to what they care about, develop passionate pursuits, and discover what is interesting in seemingly mundane and boring events. There is novelty and intrigue to be found nearly everywhere and it is during these moments when they feel curious, explore, discover, and grow, that children feel most alive.

So what are some ways to cultivate curiosity and creativity in our children at home?

Teach them to be flexible thinkers and doers – Open-minded, Appreciation, Perspective

Teach them to view “facts” from multiple perspectives. Remind them that there is always more than one way to look at an issue and they should consider more than one whenever possible.

Provide an environment that supports their autonomy – Risk-takers

Children are more curious and find it easier to persist in the face of obstacles, and are more creative when they are given support to make personal choices.  Ensure that many of the activities in their lives map onto their interests and give them challenges that push their skills to the limit. Subscribe to

Help your child feel competent – Confidence

You might think that all your child needs to be curious is the ability to recognize what is interesting, complex, mysterious, and uncertain about the world around them. This is not enough. They also need to feel capable of comprehending the thing that caught their attention. Creating opportunities for skill-building and success is an important process. One way to do this is to allow time for play, free of constraints such as the fear of failure and mistakes and given them praise and constructive feedback.

Provide a safe haven for experimentation – Risk-taker, Inquirer, Confidence, Curiosity

This might seem counter-intuitive but to take risks, act on our curiosity, and experiment with new ways of thinking and acting, we need to feel safe. We are more curious when we possess secure, safe environments.  When we share our interests with other people and they listen and are responsive, these events become even more interesting and meaningful to us. When other people validate what makes us curious, we literally become more curious and want to pursue similar activities with greater enthusiasm.

Schedule regular doses of novelty and challenge – Knowledgeable, Confidence, Curiosity

Far too often, we select activities for our children that are easy for them to perform because we want them to feel successful and in control. We need to help them to select activities that require them to stretch their skills and knowledge to the limit. By repeatedly being curious, they become more open to new experiences, more comfortable dealing with troublesome situations, and more confident, knowledgeable, and resilient.

Our children can always be creative, open-minded, and curious as long as they are encouraged to be so.

Sue Gough – PYP Co-ordinator


Stage 1

Year 1 and 2 have begun their new Unit of Inquiry into ‘How the World Works’. The particular focus of this unit involves investigating the various sources of light and sound and discovering how light and sound travel to our eyes and ears, respectively. This unit is very science heavy and so we decided that the best way to get the boys thinking about light and sound was through a number of fun experiments.

Step into the Year 1 classroom and you will notice that it is already set up with the express purpose of getting boys to engage with light and sound through play. We have removed two of the cupboards in order to create an area that allows the boys to perform shadow puppet shows using different lighting colours. There are also light boxes, kaleidoscopes and other gadgets set up near our inquiry wall to get boys thinking about light and sound outside of formal lessons.

We began this week by looking into how the boys thought sound was made and how sound travels. Many boys said that sound was created by vibrations and travelled by sound waves, however when pushed individually for more detail only a few could offer an in depth explanation. This told me that the majority of boys had either heard from others or from a book how sound is created but had no real life experiences of this to support their claim. Hence why it was so important to have the boys engage in a number of experiments that would allow them to see, hear and feel how sound is created and how it travels.

Our first session involved three stations. At the first boys would hold a balloon in front of their faces and speak/shout into it. By doing so they were able to feel the vibrations of their voice echoing through the balloon. The second required the boys to make a rubber band guitar using a plastic container. When they plucked the rubber bands they made a sound and the boys could see them vibrating. Finally the third activity involved tying a metal coat hanger to two pieces of string and wrapping the string around their ears. The boys would then bang the coat hanger against different objects. To someone watching this experiment there would be no difference in sound, however for the person conducting it the results were stunning! The boys feel the vibrations rush up the string and the sound is louder and echoed around their ears. It’s truly an amazing sensation and one that solidified their understanding of the concept of sound as vibrations. Don’t believe me? Try it at home!

Having seen and felt how vibrations create sound we needed the boys to understand how these vibrations carry sound from a source to our ears. We used the analogy of a people in the school pool. When you drop the pebble into the pool ripples spread out from the source. This is just like an action which causes sound, the sound waves travel in all directions from the source. To demonstrate this we engaged in a timeless activity that children have enjoyed for generations, cup and string telephones. The boys made their own cup and string telephones and then tested them out with a friend. They quickly discovered that if the string is tight they can speak quietly into the cup and what they say will still be heard by the person at the other end. After much discussion we agreed that the tight string allows the sound waves in the form of vibrations to travel along the string, this reaches the cup and creates a echo and allows the other person to hear what is said.

We still have two more experiments to conduct before we move on to light. We will be conducting an experiment to show the boys how sound travels faster in water and another to show how echoes work. So still plenty of exciting activities on sound to come!

Angus Lawson – Year 1 Teacher

Stage 3

As Term Three draws to a close, Year Six is building up to the pinnacle of its time at Newington Lindfield, presenting the 2018 PYP Exhibition.

Next Tuesday 25 September from 6:00pm-8:00pm, the culmination of this term’s work will be realised as the students show the results of their inquiry on the Transdisciplinary Theme of “How the World Works”.

The evening will begin with a musical item reflecting the theme and areas of investigation done this year as well as in past years before.  From there, the boys will move to their stalls or presentation spaces to receive inquiries and generate discussion through their thought creating displays.  Throughout the night, each boy will also have the opportunity to present a two minute speech on his journey of investigation in this unit.

As educators, it has been an interesting and rewarding exercise to see our boys take control of their learning.  It can be very difficult to ‘let go’ and trust the learning will take place, however, through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) attitudes, concepts and skills informing the education of the boys over the years at Newington, they are well placed to venture out on their own and take control of their learning.

The process is well defined, beginning with the formulation of lines of inquiry and questions.  From there, they move into planning, collecting, recording, organising and interpreting data. This includes connecting with and interviewing primary resources (people who may specialise in the field of the inquiry).

As I write, the boys are in their final stages of planning the presentation of their research.  For them, the journey is almost at an end and the celebration of that will be the Exhibition night itself. You are warmly invited whether you have a child in Year 6 or not to experience an integral part of the PYP programme in an IB school.

David Musgrove – Year Six Teacher

How can I support my child’s reading …..

Read aloud to your child.

Read together and take it in turns to read a page, turn the pages or discuss pictures.

Set an example and allow your child to see members of the family reading.

Set a specific time when reading is a priority for family members.

Share your own experiences of reading:

  • favourite books when you were a child
  • read for pleasure in front of your children
  • read you own book when your child is reading and share settings, quotes and characters
  • tell stories to your children and encourage them to make up an ending
  • give your child a favourite picture and encourage them to write a story about the picture to share

Add atmosphere when reading together:

  • read by torchlight
  • set up toys as part of sharing stories
  • read outside
  • in a cubby
  • record your child reading

Set the scene:

  • decide on an area where you can be comfortable
  • allow your child to choose whether they want to lie down, sit at a table, curl up on cushions or sit under a tree on a beautiful day.

Place a basket or shelf in an area where favourite books can be rotated and shared.

Have a notebook nearby:

  • so unknown words can be jotted down for future investigation
  • a new word can be written down for later use in writing
  • a question can be written down if reading independently
  • encourage recording of story ideas  

Go to a local bookshop and choose a book to purchase with their own money.

Encourage your child to read a series – just before each book in the series is completed by your child, send the next book to your child with instructions ‘not to be opened until the current book is completed’ – include a comment or perhaps a hint of what the next book might include.                              

Make a book about favourite stories – collect favourite stories from family and friends and create your own book.

Visit the local library or school library and choose a book together.

Do not isolate reading to books:

  • cook together and read recipes 
  • read articles together in the newspaper
  • ask your child to read the street directory (iPad) and give you directions to find places 
  • choose travel catalogues to plan your next holiday and read about locations
  • write a travel diary and share with family and friends
  • leave notes for your child – in their lunchbox, under their pillow, in their favourite book
  • add captions to favourite photos
  • television guide

Read interactive books on the iPad together. 

Play games that involve reading clue cards or directions – charades, Scrabble, BINGO.

Visit libraries and bookstores – look at covers of books and discuss what the story might be about.

As a special treat hide a ‘literacy gift’ – it might be a book, a favourite character toy from a book, a photograph of a book, a pen for recording notes or a special notebook. Write clues to find the item.

Always pack a book or two when travelling …… a pen and a notebook!
Happy reading…..

Katrina James – Learning Enhancement


What is going on in the Art Room?

The Unit of Inquiry that Kindergarten are exploring looks at materials and their properties. In Art, the boys have had the opportunity to use clay as a basis for their discoveries. The boys collaborated on what they knew about clay before venturing out to the bush classroom to make our clay forest faces. To help the boys understand how clay changes over time and how it’s properties transform, we will return to the Bush Classroom to see how much they have changed.

In Stage One the boys are looking at light in artworks, as well as identifying how artists use shadows and light in paintings. They created their own tin foil man to form a three-dimensional sculpture. As a part of this unit the boys also made shadow puppets, cutting out a shape and using cellophane to add translucent colour to their creations. The boys investigated a range of light sources when trying out their shadow puppets.

In Stage Two the boys are inquiring into the transfer of heat in artworks. After identifying warm colours and how warm colours are used in artworks the boys revised how to use ‘value’ in their work. Their work is displayed on the wall in the art room and they all look amazing. The boys have also painted work that demonstrates reflection and attempted work showing reflected light on water.

The boys in Year 5 have individually designed their own masks. After looking at a range of masks from around the world and asked “Why do different cultures in the present and the past use masks?” The boys focused on colour, line and texture when creating their works.

The boys in Year 6 have been highly focused and engaged whilst working on their ‘Catwalk Creations’ ready to share on Opening Night at the 2018 PYP Exhibition. They have taken PYP ‘Central Ideas since 2012’, (when they were in Kindergarten) and have made an artwork ready to share on the catwalk. A range of interesting forms and materials have been used in the creations, which they are excited to reveal very soon.

Kylie Bain – Art Teacher

Music – Term 3 Performances

Rehearsing and practicing hour after hour, day after day, week after week, all need an outcome and this is a performance.

Performing music is a fundamental and important part of any musician’s journey. Music is better shared and performing is a deeply profound experience for both the performer and for the crowd to experience.

It is really important for each ensemble at Lindfield to perform what they have been working on. The School Choir performed at the beginning of the term at the Founder’s Concert. This was a very special occasion, performing in the City Recital Hall.

The String Ensemble performed at the Swain Gardens Open Day. This was a beautiful day. It was the day after all the rain, the blossoms were out and playing in Swain Gardens is always a special day.

The School Band performed the pieces that they have been rehearsing for the term at last week’s school assembly. They too did an excellent job.

Performing is an important part of playing an instrument. People often refer to an ice-berg – the tip is the performance and the ice under the water is the rehearsing – lots of hard work.

Next term there are a number of performances – the String Concert on Tuesday 20 November will be show casing the string program and all the work the string boys have been doing during the year – years 2, 3 and the String Ensemble will be playing.

On Thursday 22 November the Lindfield Band will be performing – the beginner bands of Year 4 and Year 5, the intermediate band of Year 5 and then the more advanced band of School Band. All these groups have been practicing hard, at school and at home.

The Ensembles will also be performing at the International Market on Friday 16 November.

Vanessa South – Music Teacher

Martial Arts Club – Term 3

Staying Current

True to this aim, we have been updating our syllabus over the past few months, and making some small changes to belt colours to further tidy things up.  In line with this, we have also updated our identity to Gendai Jujutsu; it is our hope this change makes it more obvious that we are a provider of modern self-defence.

Leader Program

You may have been at Assembly a few weeks ago to see three of our more senior Leaders, Marcus C, Jaiden S and Dylan H, receive certificates for their phenomenal achievements in our Leader & Instructor Program.  Oliver F and Lorcan B have been progressing through their first level in Term 3 and are proving to be keen newcomers to the Program.

Extra Day!

Happily, and because of our growing popularity, we are delighted to announce that in Term 4 we will be providing an additional day for Y3-6.  Boys who wish to train on both days (Tuesday and Wednesday) may be able to sign up for both after final numbers for each class are in.  The school is very good at organising activities, so this option will be advised in time for T4.  There are quite a few interested, which is nice.


As you may recall, the key difference between the two classes (K-2, Y3-6) is that sparring is introduced for the older boys.  We believe sparring is critical to learning self-defence skills, allowing students to use the techniques they learn in a more real-life way.  We take a significant amount of time to ensure students are able to handle this new activity in a manner that makes it safe for both them and their partners, and we certainly do not allow any kind of hard striking.  And no need to use those heavy helmets on growing bodies!

All the best for a safe and happy holiday break.


Sensei Marice


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