02 Nov 2018

From The Head of Lindfield

During the holidays I found myself reading a book called Spark: Research around Exercise and the Brain. It was an interesting book which claimed that exercise may actually be more beneficial for our brain development than our bodies. It argued that vigorous exercise is necessary so that people can learn. This is an interesting postulation for our boys and their academic development. I was also interested in the impact of this idea about the relative importance of exercise for our adult teaching staff and the parents at Lindfield.

My observations are that our boys are exercising regularly as part of the school program, some boys could be more active but we provide a strong baseline level of fitness for all our boys. Many of the teachers and parents in our community, however, are often consumed with the daily stresses of work, caring for children, running a household and rarely find the time or energy for regular vigorous exercise. It was the educational context and from the perspective of our Lindfield parents that I found this book quite compelling.

The book was written by John Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard, who has written previously about ADHD in education. He argues that exercise affects many aspects of our brain from mood, to anxiety and attention. Exercise increases our levels of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) which impacts our thoughts and emotions. The book also explains how high levels of stress destroy brain cells and how exercise can reverse this process. When we exercise, our muscles produce proteins that travel through the blood and into the brain. If you did half an hour of exercise this morning, you are more able to sit and focus on this paragraph. The brain having the right balance of neurochemicals sets the stage for much of the work and learning that the boys do each day.

The book shares some case studies about schools where increased physical fitness had a positive effect on reading and literacy levels. It advocated for students to participate in regular vigorous exercise to improve learning. It also explained in detail the science of how the brain works and, overall, states that exercise improves learning in three ways: it improves alertness, attention and motivation; it helps nerve cells to bind with each other and it leads to the development of new nerve cells.

Ratey also wrote at length about the physical and mental problems that long-term stress can have on people. This resonated also as I feel that many of our boys and their parents are exposed to continual high levels of stress through the pressures of living a modern life in Sydney. Ratey scientifically shows how exercise helps counteract the negative effects of stress on a cellular level. Ratey articulated similar benefits for people who are prone to anxiety and depression. Exercise helps to regulate the neurotransmitters  which affect depression and are targeted by antidepressants. Depression, like stress and anxiety, can cause structural damage to the brain and exercise can help reverse this process. Even without a diagnosis of depression, exercise is a valuable preventative measure.

On a school level, we have looked at what we do in terms of regular fitness and vigorous exercise for our boys in the context of our sports programs. On a community level, we need to think about how we as adults can include some form of regular exercise in our day, even if it is in short bursts to help us focus, reduce stress and help repair damaged nerve cells from stress and modern living. It is tempting to ignore advice about exercise when it is solely in the pursuit of body changes, but it is harder to ignore when it is shown to be scientifically linked to stress reduction, improved focus and better wellbeing for our boys and for ourselves.

Ratey, J. J., & Hagerman, E. (Collaborator). (2008). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. New York, NY, US: Little, Brown and Co.

Ben Barrington-Higgs – Head of Lindfield




It’s reporting time and teachers are busy gathering information, talking to students and looking carefully at work habits and effort to provide the best possible snapshot of their students.

Assessment does not mean ‘to test’. Rather, in the context of PYP, it is a time to evaluate what the students know, understand, can do and value at different stages in their learning journey that is a continuous process. In the PYP classroom the purposes of assessment is to promote student learning, provide students information about their learning by giving feedback and designing next steps for learning.

What does assessment look like in the PYP classroom?

Assessment happens everyday and can take many forms. It may look like a teacher observing and taking notes on what the student is saying or doing. It may be a video, photo or audio recording. It may also happen in the form of a group discussion or a presentation as a result of researching an important question of interest to the students. Assessment is also when the student reflects on the learning and their success in achieving the outcome for the lesson. The goal of all of these methods of assessment is to learn more about each child in the classroom.

Some examples of assessment by teachers and reflections by students in our school are:

Assessment for learning: quotes and questions

Professor Ranald Macdonald FSEDA, FHEA

National Teaching Fellow Chair, SEDA Research Committee Associate UK


Faith Matters

There seems to be one question that pops up around this time every year. You see it all over social media and it can be hotly debated between friends. That question being ‘When is it appropriate to start playing Christmas music?’

Can you start listening to Christmas music from the 1st of November? Or do you have to wait until the 1st of December? Is it when the school holidays start? Or is it in the 12 days leading up to the 25th of December? Everyone has their different opinions.  For many people, the playing of Christmas music comes at the same time decorations appear in shopping centres. With that comes the dread of all that needs to be done before Christmas; the shopping, the preparing, the end of year functions. Very quickly this time of year can become just one long to-do-list that gets longer and longer.

At Lindfield this year the answer to that perennial question is that the Christmas music has started early. In RE classes this term we’ve started exploring Christmas and it’s meaning for us today. And in Chapel we’ve begun our own period of Advent with plenty of Christmas Carols.

Advent is the period in the Christian calendar that is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Traditionally in Churches the four Sundays before Christmas are part of Advent and allows Christians to spend some time reflecting on the Christmas story and its impact today. It gives people that chance to explore the meaning of Christmas and to spiritually prepare for this important time in the Christian year.

This year Advent starts on the 2nd of December. For us in schools this poses a little bit of a problem because by the time Advent properly starts we’ll basically be winding down. Which is why, at Lindfield, we’re having our Advent period in November.

Although, our Advent time doesn’t fall within this proper Christian calendar the message behind it is the same. The next four weeks in Chapel and RE will provide the boys with the opportunity to hear again the Christmas story in the Bible and to explore different elements of the story each week. This period of preparation before Christmas means that the boys can see what Christmas means for them today.

Yet, this period of preparation before Christmas is important for all of us. It can be so easy at this time of year to slip into the ‘to do list mode’ where we just focus on everything that needs to get done. But that means that we miss the point of the Season; the birth of a little baby that changed the world bringing with him a message of love, acceptance and peace for all.

I hope that when you start to hear Christmas music over the radio and see the decorations springing up in the stores that you see it as a sign to pause and prepare. Possibly a chance to reflect or pray instead of a sign of all that needs to be done. In the lead up to Christmas my hope is that you can find some time in the frenetic pace of the season to prepare to hear again the Christmas story.

Richard La’Brooy

2018 International Markets

Lindfield Spaces Page https://spaces.newington.nsw.edu.au/lindfield/pages/2764-international-market

Our inaugural International Market is fast approaching and with just under three weeks to go, the boys, the organising committee and the staff are very excited at what we have to offer on the night and the opportunity to engage with the community. Over the next three weeks you will be seeing many updates on SPACES in relation to the stalls, activities, performers and food choices that will be available on the night, so please keep a look out for these.


Friday 16 November from 3pm to 7pm at the Lindfield Campus

Invitations were sent home last week so please share this invitation with your family and friends. Please note that we have limited our publicity of this event to our school community (so you won’t see posters around the Lindfield area) as we are keen to provide an opportunity to engage our school community in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. As with the Carols Concert, which will continue to occur every alternate year, there will be some performances and a designated area to meet and eat.








The primary purpose of this event is to engage the community, to provide our boys with a meaningful and authentic engagement with entrepreneurialism and to support a worthy social justice cause. To this end, all money raised from this event will be donated to House of Welcome. The House of Welcome is a non-profit organisation that exists to welcome, shelter and empower people seeking asylum and refugees. You can find out more about the House of Welcome by watching this video, http://bit.ly/houseofwelcome, which the boys watched at school.


Donation of Christmas Presents

Each year we collect resources (food or otherwise) at our Carols Concert for those who are less advantaged than ourselves, and this year we would like to support the House of Welcome by collecting Christmas presents for boys and girls aged 0-16 years. On 8 December the House of Welcome will host a Christmas Party for asylum seeker families and would love any presents you are able to donate. There will be a Christmas tree setup outside the School Office so please place your presents under the tree (unwrapped or wrapped in cellophane).



The organising committee is thrilled to offer you an opportunity (or several opportunities) to win some great prizes. A list is on our SPACES page. These prizes have been made possible by the generous support of Lindfield parents and the Lindfield community. Our SPACES page will be updated as more prizes are added.  

The boys will have brought home two books of raffle tickets for them to sell at $2 a ticket. If more books are needed these will be made available as books are returned (with cash payment). There will be a prize of a Camelbak drink bottle (kindly donated by the Nickson Family) for the top seller in each class. Please return completed raffle ticket books to your son’s class teacher as soon as they are sold. All remaining books, partially sold or unsold, should be sent back to school by Wednesday 14 November.


Market Currency

To ensure staff and student safety on the night whilst also providing the boys with an opportunity to handle currency there will be a “market currency” in place. The currency is currently being designed and made by our Year 1 boys and will consist of $1, $5 and $10 notes. Next week, once you know more about what will be available at the market, you will be invited to pre-purchase market currency through SPACES and the currency will also be available to purchase at the event.


Student Stalls and Music Performances

Boys and their families are not required to remain at the market for the entire time though we do hope that you take the opportunity to do so. Based on survey responses and the scheduling of some music performances, class teachers will be allocating your son to a half hour time slot where he will be required to assist with his class stall. You will be notified of your son’s assigned time slot at the start of next week so please let your son’s teacher know if the assigned time is not suitable.


Student Involvement and Supervision

When working at class stalls or on set activities, boys will be under the supervision of their class teacher or a Newington Staff member. At all other times, the boys but must be under the supervision of parents/carers unless participating in supervised (by Newington Staff) play on the Mini Field.


Opportunities for Parents to Volunteer

Many parents have offered to assist on the night and we welcome your involvement.  We will shortly be finalising the schedule for the evening and the opportunities where parents can assist. We will share this information in the next week.

We thank you in advance for your support of this exciting new event and welcome any questions or feedback along the way and following the event.


On behalf of the International Market Organising Committee (comprising the P&F, Parents and Teachers)

White Ribbon Day

We are a White Ribbon School which means that we promote the White Ribbon movement www.whiteribbon.org.au. The White Ribbon movement promotes the development of respectful relationships to reduce and eliminate violence against women. This is a generational change and one that we are proud to be a part, especially as it ties into our existing practices and focus on ‘respect for all’.

Throughout the year, classes participate in activities and learning experiences (age appropriate) to develop their understanding and knowledge of this important issue and later this term, on Friday 23 November, we will participate in White Ribbon Day (nationally on November 25). Further information regarding the school event will be sent home shortly.

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.

The Australian Government have developed an online resource www.respect.gov.au containing a variety of resources to support initiatives of this nature and this very important issue. I recommend having a look at these resources, particularly the respect checklist as it provides some insightful prompts to have this important conversation with your son or daughter.




A practical checklist to help parents and family members identify some important aspects of respect to talk about with children.




“Adults have the greatest potential influence to shape positive attitudes among young people.”




Discover the hidden meanings of common expressions that can excuse disrespectful behaviour towards girls.

Kindergarten Writing Response

The Prime Minister’s job is to make our country as good as it can be. But every Prime Minister we’ve ever had has been a grown-up! What if the grown-ups weren’t in charge? What would children do if they ran the country?

Kindergarten loved reading the story, ‘If I was Prime Minister’ by Beck and Robin Feiner. After reading the story, the boys competed a writing activity in which they thought about what they would do if they were Australia’s Prime Minister.


“If I was Prime Minister I would make sure that all the animals were released from the zoos and give the poor people $1000000. I would make sure no one ever again used pollution”.  Angus Raffles

“If I was Prime Minister I would help people do more sports. I would help people to run faster and be very good at sport”.  Jeremy Tu

“If I was Prime Minister I would make trains fly so there would be no traffic jams on the road”.  Daniel Ren

“If I was Prime Minister I would get everyone to do sport. I would get everyone to cook every day”.  Callum Wong

“If I was Prime Minister I would protect the animals and the bushland. I’ll make sure everyone is sporty and joyful”.  Luca Valterio

“If I was Prime Minister I would let people share money and help the environment”.  Benjamin Shand

“If I was Prime Minister I would make fast trains. I would make trains which drive by themselves”.  Michael Thomson

“If I was Prime Minister I would make children play on the play equipment”.  Zach Jacob

“If I was Prime Minister I would make everyone healthy. I would make everyone not fight with swords and guns. I would make a robot that can do work for people”.  Sean Seeto

“If I was Prime Minister I would make sure no people torture rhinos by taking their horns”.  Christian Chien

“If I was Prime Minister I would make a robot to pick plastic up from the ocean”.  Leon Cheng

“If I was Prime Minister I would send 20 big long tubes out into the ocean to clean all the plastic and make sure that needles are found in strawberries”.  Rohan Dev

“If I was Prime Minister I would not let people smoke”.  Arjan Oberoi

“If I was Prime Minister I would make people eat junk food”.  Harvey Hafer

“If I was Prime Minister I would give poor people that have no money lots of money”.  Elliott Nickson


I think we can safely say that the future of Australia is looking bright.

Belinda Smallhorn – Kindergarten

Year 3 – Reader’s Workshop

You may ask yourself how do teachers facilitate students’ learning of reading and writing? One way is to teach in small groups where the teacher guides either students’ reading or writing practice by modelling, sharing strategies, explicit word choice to enhance students’ vocabulary and talking to one another.  

During mini lessons, students can read, write, talk, confer with their teacher and meet in small, needs-based groups. Mrs Bradshaw, Miss Peterson and myself were fortunate enough to attend a Professional Development session earlier this year which was presented by Debbie Miller where she shared her thinking about comprehension strategy instruction, the gradual release of responsibility instructional model, and planning for student engagement and independence. It was very insightful of how teachers can best meet the needs of the children sitting in front of them.

In Year 3, Reader’s Workshop is structured around two workshops each morning, three times per week where the boys have the opportunity to read, write, talk and apply what they have learnt. This year, I have had a number of different focuses with the boys such as finding facts, the main idea in passages, vocabulary, reading and comprehension strategies, story mapping, and themes in stories have just been some of the concepts we have discussed in our sessions.

Mrs Bradshaw’s Writer’s Workshop is where the boys have been explicitly taught the craft of writing. Mentoring texts have been used to develop students’ bigger understandings from authors, and linking reading and writing purposes. The boys’ written work is reflected upon and often shared at the end of the lesson.  

It is always important to remember that reading, oral language and writing all go together. Writing allows children to develop their ability to think and symbolically represent their ideas and when we share books with children, we are creating a special bond with them, and teaching them how important reading is.

Leonie Russell – Year 3 Teacher

Finishing the Year Strong

As ever, one of our main themes for the final term in Year 5 is to finish the year strong, right up until the very last day. It has been a genuine pleasure to teach this group of Year 5 boys as they have grown as both young men and learners throughout the course of the year. It was only twelve months ago that we welcomed thirty-two new boys into the grade, and to Newington, when they came for orientation, and it is great to reflect on the progress that each and every one of our boys has made this year. I am excited for next year’s Year 6 teachers, particularly for the Exhibition, as we have had a very engaged group of learners this year.

As I have begun to write reports and think back on the year as a whole, I have started to reflect on our approach this year. On a trip to the Gold Coast earlier this year for an education conference, I started chatting to a fellow delegate, Brendan McKerchar. A former professional rugby player from Scotland, I found out that he was the Sports Master at Harrow in the UK. He was running one of the many workshops offered at the conference, and his was on the Harrow student leadership model. Engaged by our initial conversation and wanting to find out more, I went along to his workshop. For me, the biggest take away was the ten-point doctrine that they follow at Harrow, that appeals to me as much as a teacher as a parent. We unconsciously do most of these things in our day to day lives with our students, and indeed our own children, and taking a similar approach in Year 5 this year has really benefited the boys.

The ten points are as follows:

  •     Model emotional intelligence
  •     Do not obsess over achievement
  •     Do not over praise, and praise work ethic rather than intelligence
  •     Let children experience risks and as a consequence, failure
  •     Say no, don’t overindulge children
  •     Challenge children to problem solve, particularly with social issues
  •     Show that you are human and as an adult, can be vulnerable too
  •     Never stop being encouraging
  •     Talk about leadership, recognise the individuals but also the value of the group
  •     Walk your talk, and commit to the above

Our Year 5 boys have a busy term ahead of them and they will be actively involved in a lot of projects, both as a grade and individually or in small groups. We have the exciting inaugural International Market to look forward to, a further respectful relationships collaboration with both St. Catherine’s and the International Grammar School, a musical collaboration with the girls from Roseville College, a gala day at Cromehurst and next year’s school leaders to consider, amongst many other things. The boys’ engagement this year has been excellent and we intend to keep it going until the very end of term.

By Week 8, we will be able to reflect on our IB PYP Learner Profile attributes – knowledgeable, balanced, risk-takers, caring, principled, inquirers, reflective, thinkers, communicators and open-minded – and know that the boys have made great strides in their growth after a successful 2018. I am very much looking forward to sharing in the boys’ success at the end of the year.

Sam Watson – Year 5 Teacher


What amazing possibilities learning a language opens for you?

To celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia, SBS Radio hosts this national-wide competition for all language learners aged from 4 to 18+ for a chance to win iPad Pros. For more details, please visit SBS National Language Competition 2018 – FAQs.

The theme of this year’s competition is: “What amazing possibilities learning a language opens for you?”

I bet, if you ask any average 11 year old boy the question above, the most likely response you would get is: a child shrugging his shoulders and mumbling “I don’t know! Can I go now?” Trust me, I know, because that was the conversation between my son and I when I was preparing this Prep Talk article.

Then an idea flashed through my mind, what if I use this opportunity to reflect and open up a meaningful conversation with my own children? I know, having a conversation like this sounds like a “luxury” in today’s busy family life. According to a UK study on average, parents spend 7 minutes to talk to their children per day.  It would be a good starting point to share your thoughts together. It also clicks with the PYP Transdisplinary themes in many different aspects.

Back to the topic, “What amazing possibilities learning a language opens for you?” How would you start a conversation without it being too awkward? Maybe talk to them about your personal experiences? When did you use the language? Who is the audience? How did it help you? And lastly, how do you collaborate all these ideas into a visual representation? I know I can’t take part in the competition, but I would love to give it a go.

In 18 years (x 3 more likely) of my life, I have been learning Taiwanese, Mandarin, English, a bit of Malay, Japanese, Italian here and there, plus many computing languages in my previous professional life before teaching. Learning a new language has taken me to places, brought me knowledge and wealth, but most of all I have had the privilege to connect with many people from different parts of the world. All that has enriched my life and made me the person I am today.  

Learning a language is like having a key in your hand to open a door to another world. Take the kids with you and go explore! The competition closes 11:59pm on Sunday, 18 November 2018 (AEST). You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Eva Angel – Mandarin Teacher


Term 4 is always a time of great reflection of all that the boys have achieved over the course of the year. 2018 has provided many sporting highlights from boys who started Kindergarten on day 1, not quite tall enough to reach the monkey bars who are now swinging and climbing with confidence through to many of the primary boys who have represented Lindfield and their families at CIS and PSSA level in many sports.

Our Representative athletes for 2018 are – Connor Mosely (Cross Country), James Fergusson (Softball), Sam Schultz (Snow Sports), Finn Wicks (Athletics & NSW 12 Years Rugby), Flynn Clatworthy (Athletics) and Tee Barrington-Higgs (Athletics).

The excitement does not stop in Term 4 though with the JP Swimming Carnival to come in late November, the IPSHA Basketball, Cricket and Touch Football Competitions that boys in Years 2 – 6 are competing in each Saturday morning and the IPSHA Gymnastics Competition.

Last Thursday four Lindfield boys – Henry Lea, Declan Williams, Toby Cameron-Tavendale and Tee Barrington Higgs represented Newington College Lindfield at the IPSHA Gymnastics Competition held at the State Gymnastics Centre in Rooty Hill. Henry competed in a large Level 1 Pool performing on the floor, vault, high bar, parallel bars and rings. Henry had a high score of 9.1 on the vault! A brilliant result. Declan, Toby and Tee competed in the Level 2 competition on the same apparatus with Declan also competing in the Pommel event. The boys placed on the floor, vault, rings and pommel.

2019 will bring many more sporting opportunities for the Lindfield boys, supported by the Sport Directors and Coaching Staff from our Stanmore campus. I encourage all boys to have a relaxing break but to keep up swimming and fitness amongst the Christmas celebrations ready for another big year!

Eliza Monaghan – Sports Co-ordinator

Learning Enhancement

If you read you will succeed!  

With the summer holidays approaching is important that all the boys continue reading during the extended break from school.  It is no surprise that practice makes proficient. The more that children read the better readers they become and the more they enjoy it.

Parents play an important part in modelling and fostering a love of reading.   According to the Scholastic Australia’s Kids and Family Reading Report children are more likely to become frequent readers when they read independently at school, are read to by or read to parents at home and are able to choose their own books.

Shared reading time allows children to engage with the books and story being told.  The Scholastic report found that 90% of children like or love being read to and described it as a special time with their parents.  90% percent of children interviewed also indicated that they are more likely to enjoy and finish a book they have picked out themselves.

What should you be looking for to encourage reading development?

  •      Oral Language: spoken language is a fundamental to literacy and a predictor of reading development
  •      Phonics: The ability to match letters to sounds and sound out unfamiliar words
  •      Phonological Awareness: knowledge of the sound structure of words (e.g. syllables, rhyming, initial and final sounds of words)
  •      Fluency: reading accurately, at an appropriate speed and with expression.
  •      Vocabulary: making sure your child understands the words that are read or heard
  •      Comprehension: understanding the author’s messages and responding to it  

What can you do to encourage reading this summer?

  •      Limit screen time
  •      Have your child read aloud to you regularly
  •      Read aloud to your child regularly
  •      Discuss the books you read together with your child
  •      Allow your child to select their own books from the local library or book store
  •      Have a wide range of books available for your child to read’
  •      If you are travelling an e-book can be an easy way to access a variety of books.

Happy reading!

Miss Patricia Kazacos – Learning Enhancement Intern


On Sunday a Team of 3 boys represented Newington College Lindfield at the Sydney Academy of Chess’ Inter School Challenge. These boys were Ryan Ng (Year 6), Harvey Carnegie (Year 6) and Lucas Ni (Year 1). It is one of the biggest primary school team tournaments with 100 teams competing in the event, all with plenty of talented players. The event is open to any student of primary school age so long as they are prepared to play older students.

The tournament was played in the Chess Olympiad format, meaning that students competed in Teams of 3. The number 1 board is traditionally for your best player and captain, number 2 board for your second best and number 3 for your third best. Regardless, teams received a point for each game they won. There are 7 rounds and after each round teams play an opposition on a similar score, meaning that if a team keeps winning they play harder teams and if a team keeps loosing they eventually play teams more to their standard, resulting in a level of enjoyment for all participants. The winning team is the one with the highest score out of a potential 21 points at the end of the seven rounds.

Newington started incredibly well winning all 3 of their matches, including an amazing win by Lucas Ni in under 2 minutes! The competition was harder in round two against ANZAC Park’s A team. Ryan led the team well with a hard fought win, however Harvey lost to a very skilled player and Lucas’s game ended in a stalemate. From there on the boys found the competition harder but continued to climb the ladder despite a slip up in the final round against Haberfield A. 

Overall  the boys finished 29th out of 100 schools. Not bad considering it was their first time playing together with little practise. Ryan finished the day with 3 wins, 3 losses and 1 stalemate. Harvey finished with 3 wins and 4 loses. Lucas was our stand out performer with 6 wins and one stalemate. An amazing effort for a Year 1 student!

The boys thoroughly enjoyed the event and expressed an interest in representing Newington College at further school events. Mrs South and I are currently investigating some exciting options and will be passing this information on to the Chess Clubs.

Angus Lawson – Classroom Teacher

My Japan Rugby Tour Experience

My tour to Japan with my Lindfield Junior U12 Rugby Team last weekend provided me with really big insights into rugby in Japan and its culture.  The tour involved us playing two rugby tournaments against a New Zealand Team and 14 Japanese Teams, as well as attending the Bledisloe Cup Test in Yokohama.

Rugby in Japan is a lot more respectful than in Australia!  For instance, before and after every game you line up as a team in a row and bow and say “Arigatōgo” which means “thank you”.  It amazed me how enthusiastic the supporters and Japanese officials were, before, during and after the tournaments.  It made me realise just how passionate the Japanese are about their rugby.

The tour, however, was not only about rugby.

On the days when we were not playing rugby we attended classes at the boarding school where we were staying.  We participated in English lessons with Japanese students of our age and learnt a number of everyday Japanese words. We also learnt the basic skills of Kendo (Japanese sword fighting) which was really awesome and some simple Japanese writing (calligraphy).

We also attended two noodle museums in Yokamama.  The first was a museum all about the history and making of instant noodles.  We were allowed to design our own Noodle Cup and select our noodle toppings to take away with us.  Mine was so yummy!  The other museum was a ramen noodle museum.  It was set in the late 1940’s to look like Tokyo post World War II. It was fascinating looking at all the old buildings and learning about the history of ramen noodles and how they have not really changed since they were first developed.

One of the things that astounded me about Tokyo was just how clean and tidy it was.  I didn’t see one piece of rubbish on the streets!  I was surprised after the Bledisloe Cup Test when all the Japanese who attended the match took their rubbish with them and placed it in the big bins outside the stadium.  Us Aussies could learn from this!

I have developed a real appreciation for the culture of Japan and look forward to learning more when I go back next year to watch some of the Rugby World Cup matches with my Dad.  Can’t wait!

Flynn Clatworthy – Year 6B