Tag: learning

What is a Grammar Education and Where Does it Begin?

Children as young as four years of age can begin their learning journey at Townsville Grammar School. The Pre-Prep and Prep programs are designed to give children a strong foundation to learning. This foundation then supports them throughout their schooling years.

What is a Grammar Education?

Townsville Grammar School has a long-standing reputation as the leading academic school in North Queensland. However, the experience is far wider, with academic learning as the foundation. Principal of Townsville Grammar School, Mr Timothy Kelly, said the schools offer a particular style of education. It focuses on values and developing young people of character. Furthermore, young people are encouraged and supported to strive for personal best, and who develop a mindset of service and giving back.

Personal Best

“We use the term “personal best” because it encapsulates our Grammar experience,” said Mr Kelly. “Personal best means something different to every
child, and does not mean getting an A. It is a mindset of always striving to do your best, which is an attitude that is vital in all facets of life.

“We are focused on educating our students in a culture that is values-based, where respect for others and respect for self is paramount,” said Mr Kelly. “Our students know they are supported and encouraged every day to try their best, to learn from mistakes and to celebrate their wins. In doing so we are developing young people of character. This is what a Grammar education strives to achieve.”

Benefits of Starting at in Pre-Prep and Prep

Starting early sets the foundation for the Grammar approach to teaching and learning.  The concept of striving for personal best begins here. Children in Pre-Prep and Prep are the youngest Grammarians. Because of this, they wear the uniform, they join in wider school events and develop an early understanding of the culture and values of Grammar. Additionally, children also benefit from the successful Pre-Prep transition program, ensuring they are ready and confident to start Prep in a familiar environment.

Want to Know More?

We have several opportunities to experience and visit our Junior Schools in Term 3. Parents are welcome at any time to book a personal family tour of our Junior School Campuses at Annandale and North Shore.

Read more here


Give Your Child the Best Start to Their Learning Journey

The Catholic Diocese of Townsville initiated its kindergarten, Mary MacKillop, in 2004. This was under the management of Townsville Catholic Education. They wanted to provide high-quality, accessible and affordable education for Kindergarten children in an environment of lived Catholic values, where children can get the best possible start to their learning journey. 

Sites were established on eight Catholic school sites in Townsville, Charters Towers, Mount Isa and Proserpine. Additionally a ninth site was established in the newly built St Benedict’s Catholic School site at Shaw. One of the greatest benefits of the kindy-school colocation is the continuity of learning. Our kindergartens provide children with opportunities to participate in the life of the Catholic school community. We do this by visiting the library, the local Catholic church, art/science programs, school sporting events, assemblies and special celebrations.

Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland’s newly appointed Executive Director, Carolyn Cousins, said the programs and curriculum have grown exponentially. This is due to the addition of the Outside School Hours Care and Holiday Programs on some sites. “The service has grown and changed over the years to meet the needs of the local community and the families across North Queensland,” she said. “Our partnerships with local Catholic schools enable the Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland centres to deliver quality education to families. They also allow us provide a clear pathway for their child’s educational journey.”

Throughout the Townsville Diocese, Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland are proud to offer a range of learning environments. These environments specifically enrich children’s engagement in the kindergarten.

Our experienced teachers implement high quality educational programs in a stimulating, safe and supportive learning environment. This environment provides the best start to your child’s learning journey and transition to school. “We believe children learn through the process of exploration within an educational, inquiry-based curriculum” Carolyn said. 

Enrolments for 2021 are currently being taken for all services. Centres are located at St Anthony’s Kindergarten Deeragun, St Clare’s Kindergarten Burdell, St Benedict’s Kindergarten Shaw, Ryan Kindergarten Kirwan, St Joseph’s Kindergarten North Ward, Columba Kindergarten Charters Towers, St Catherine’s Kindergarten Proserpine, St Joseph’s Kindergarten Mount Isa and St Michael’s Kindergarten Palm Island.

Read more here



Classrooms of the Future

Long gone are the ‘chalk and talk’ days that framed old ideas of teaching and learning. The focus in today’s schools is on designing and providing the best possible classrooms and environments for successful learning.

When parents think ‘classroom,’ our minds often think back to the old days of sitting in rows at individual desks. We would face the front and let the teacher fill us with knowledge, then we sat an exam to test our recall skills. However, modern research and observations of the way students learn show us that this is no longer considered best practice.

Understanding how children learn has inspired many administrators to rethink and redesign classrooms. Learning in the 21st century is underpinned by teaching methods and spaces that are engaging and challenge our traditional view on classroom teaching and learning. Referred to as flexible learning, it uses spaces and evolving pedagogies to provide environments for creative and energised students and teachers.

Karl Fisch, who was behind the video Shift Happens, states that, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

If this is true then it is reasonable to say that the way children are being educated now should be very different to how it was in the past. Schools for tomorrow need to be focusing on core skills for life. These core skills include collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.

Schools outfit flexible classroom environments with appropriate furniture that allows teachers and students to adopt Professor David Thornburg’s archetypal learning spaces, such as:

The “Campfire”

A space where students can gather to learn from an expert or guru.

The “Cave”

A quiet and reflective space where students can activate their diffuse thinking. They can also shift their learning from external knowledge to internal belief.

The “Watering Hole”

An informal space where students can collaborate, as well as share both information and discoveries. They can bounce off each other, thereby it serves as an incubator for ideas.

These are all different ‘zones’ that have specific displays or purposes within flexible classroom models.

In a typical flexible classroom, you could expect to find:

  • Students who are active participants in their learning rather than passive vessels, who the school/teachers etc. challenge to think and do more
  • A design that promotes a sense of enquiry, wonder and excitement.
  • Teachers delivering flexible lesson content in either lecture-style, group-style, presentation-style or activity-style.
  • Moveable desks and furniture that accommodates different needs and different activities.
  • Areas that promote student and teacher communication and collaboration.

These classrooms provide students with a choice of where they undertake their learning tasks. Stadium seating, community booths and standing desks enhance connectedness. Movable furniture such as wobble stools, ottomans and carpet mats provide students with the sensory input they need without distracting themselves or others from learning.

In a research study by Castellucci, Arezes, Molenbroek, de Bruin and Viviani (2016), he found that characteristics such as high furniture, sit-stand furniture, tilt tables and seats had up to a 64 per cent positive effect on students’ physical responses and/or their performance. 

The benefit of a flexible classroom is its ability to provide an environment that motivates students to do their best work and allows them to express their knowledge in a range of ways. It’s an environment that has been built by the school and designed to promote curiosity. It’s also one that offers students the freedom to engage with content in the way that suits them best. Each child has their own strengths and limitations. So, a flexible model seeks to allow a ‘way in’ for every student – one that they may not have had in a more traditionally designed classroom.

In his study, Herman Miller (2008) revealed that “Giving people some control over their surroundings adds to their sense of well-being.” (www.Psychologytoday. com). Barrett Et Al. (2015) also supports that 28 per cent of classroom design factors that drive student engagement also relate to ownership and flexibility.

Technology plays an integral part in the success of these modern learning spaces. Interactive whiteboards, iPads and laptops all being common place. With new advances in technology, new opportunities for engagement and learning are created. Augmented and virtual reality tools are already available to students, enabling them to experience looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre from their classroom in Cairns. They could even fly through the Amazon Rainforest or engage in a submarine expedition.

Schools that wish to provide classrooms of the future will need to be constantly evolving to embrace these changes.

It is suggested that today’s learners will have between 10 to 14 jobs before they reach the age of 40. Take a step back in time… someone sent the first text message in 1992. But, today the number of text messages sent and received each day exceeds the world’s population. There are 600 tweets sent per second. If Facebook was a country it would be the third largest in relation to population size. So, with this in mind, just what are the future possibilities? Who knows how much schools will have to change as we head into the unknown possibilities the world will present to us.

The introduction of flexible classrooms in relation to space is just the first step. It’s closely followed by flexibility in pedagogy, understanding and assessment, presentation of knowledge and the development of core skills.

Schools will need to continue adopting best practice. They can do this by analysing research from around the world and constantly adapting their learning environments. This will ensure that every student has the opportunity to do their absolute best.

STORY BY Sarah Rowan, Head of Junior School – Peace Lutheran College.


Read more Peace Lutheran College blogs HERE. 






Breaking Habits and Building Your Ideal Life

Achievement isn’t about luck, it’s about lots of small considered actions. Your decisions shape your destiny. Every day we make thousands of decisions, many of which are subconscious. These will either take you to the life you desire or one that you detest.

It’s the little decisions that shape our lives. These are decisions such as what you eat, how you spend your time, what you spend your money on and many more. These determine the life you end up with. Here are a few ways small, daily decisions can add up to be something amazing. 

Healthy Eating

According to researchers at Cornell University, everyone makes roughly 226 decisions each day on food alone. If you went to the gym every day, you wouldn’t notice a difference on day one. You wouldn’t notice a difference after a week. You would probably start to notice a difference after two weeks. But it’s likely no one else would, and maybe others would notice after a month.

Same goes if you ate a chocolate cookie every day. Maybe you started out at 60 kilos, but you’d likely put on a couple of kilos if you ate one every day. Do that for a few years and it will be quite a few more. Small committed changes with our health can make a massive impact, but like the Pantene ad tells us, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”. Think about small improvements you can make to your health that can have a massive impact over time.

Smart Spending

Every dollar you spend today is costing you nearly $5 in 20 years, and just over $10 in 30 years. How? Well, if you had a dollar and invested it at 8%, in 20 years it would be valued at $4.66.

Think about that five dollar a day coffee habit you have. This could add up to $1825 a year, which if invested and compounded at 8% would give you $92,021.83 in 20 years. So, now when you buy something for $5, remember it’s a value of $25 in 20 years. It may just make you reconsider that unnecessary purchase.

Learn, Learn, Learn

It’s your choice whether you invest in learning for 30 minutes a day. You COULD invest in watching TV for thirty minutes a day (or more) instead. That investment of 30 minutes a day adds up to 182 hours of learning something new. It’s the same with our kids. If they practice their time tables or musical instrument every day, there is no doubt they will improve. If we read to our child every night for 15 minutes, that will add up to nearly 100 hours of teaching them how to read in one year.

Do you want to master a skill? One researcher said it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That translates to about nine years (five days a week, spending four hours a day). They say it can take six months to develop a new skill. 20 hours to learn a skill “to perform well enough for your own purposes” such as playing guitar. So, think about your time, and how much you invest in learning. You could be playing guitar for the family or on stage in no time, or still watching old episodes of Friends that you’ve seen before. The decision is yours.

That’s the power of small decisions. If you aren’t careful, one sneaky bad habit can take you miles off course. Don’t sleep walk through your choices. You’ve learned every habit you have, so you can unlearn them too. Good luck.


My Vision Book

#LearnThroughThis Campaign Launched

VTech Australia, creator of Electronic Learning Products for children.,have a launched the new campaign called #LearnThroughThis. The campaign is seeking to support both children and parents during this challenging time, using its two brands: VTech Toys and the well-known LeapFrog. Grounded in discovery and learning, the company knows that now, more than ever, ways to encourage creative play and learning is important along. And, so is supporting the families that are vulnerable.

Free online Resources for Parents and Children

By offering a variety of resources, including free content, they hope to keep children entertained and educated. This is particularly important as many cannot attend school or preschool as usual. So, you can now access an extended free trial of the interactive learning program called LeapFrog Academy. In addition, you can get expert-recommended products that are key to supporting children with reading, writing and other developmental activities.

To find the program and products you can join the LeapFrog Learning Path, an online portal. This will also have all of the advice from learning experts. Advice covers a range of topics, from learning to read, to preparing children with important skills for the 21st Century. In addition, you can also find a suggested daily schedule, a list of educational websites and free printable activity books. These resources are designed to help you maximise your child’s extra time during COVID-19, all for FREE! 

Save the Children Australia

Perhaps the most important part of the campaign is the partnership with Save the Children Australia. LeapFrog and VTech Australia are encouraging both children and parents on social media to draw a picture that will inspire hope and positivity for other families. Every drawing shared will mean LeapFrog and VTech donate one toy to Save the Children Australia. Then, people will distribute to vulnerable families within care packages. Save the Children Australia created these care packages to ensure that children are kept safe, educated and happy while we navigate the challenges of isolation.

Together, we can support vulnerable families and spread the love through the #LearnThroughThis campaign. To help get toys donated, get involved and share your drawing in the comments of VTech Toys ANZ’s comments or tag them in your post. You can find out more on their Facebook Page. All you need is a pencil and paper!


Top Ten Ways to Use Your Isolation Time Wisely

With all this extra time we are spending at home it would be easy and understandable to start binge watching ‘all of the tv’ on all the platforms available. And no judgement, ‘you do you’ (I mean I end up in a Netflix rabbit hole as much as the next person),  but if you wanted to come out on the other side of self-isolation feeling a little more productive and maybe even gain a sense of accomplishment – here are 10 ways that you can use your isolation time wisely.

1. My Vision Book

Starting a journey of self-discovery is always a great idea, however a lot of us usually lack the free time to do so. Take this period of isolation and use it to focus on yourself; what you want to do better, what goals you can set for the future, and what kind of person you really want to be. My Vision Book was created to help give you clarity and establish what truly matters to you, and help you create a vision for the life you want.  Right now, we are stuck spending time with ourselves, so it’s the perfect time to get into it!

2. Clear Out and Organise Your Wardrobe 

It is no secret that wardrobes are one of the best hiding places for clothes we don’t want to deal with at the time or items we don’t have a use for (but can’t quite get rid of). If you haven’t sorted through your clothes in a while, then you’re most likely going to need to say goodbye to multiple items. This might be sad however it gives you more free space and you can also save them to donate later, so they can be loved just as much.  Get some storage boxes to utilise space in the best way possible and keep things organised. You can also check out Marie Kondo’s website dedicated to the art of tidying up.

3. Learn an Instrument

Instruments are a great way to lean into your creative side while also providing a challenge. If you have any instruments that have been untouched in the house or an instrument that your kids have been learning, try picking it up yourself and giving it a go. There are so many ways to learn, whether it’s through a family member who is happy to give you lessons or through the internet. Free apps like Youcisian and Simply Piano are great for first time learners and guide you through at a pace that you decide. Other great websites with lessons and exercises for all abilities are musictheory.net and Sight Reading Factory . If you don’t have an instrument at home, you can play with a virtual guitar, piano, drums and more online at Virtual Musical Instruments

4. Create Your Own Herb/Vegetables Garden

There are many reasons why having your own vegetable garden is beneficial, and you don’t even need to buy seeds to be able to do it! All you need is the right tools and some vegetable scraps and leftovers. Check out our blog on how to replant vegetables to kick start your veggie garden. There are also so many guides and tips online, so get searching!

5. Learn a Language with Duolingo

Duolingo is a fantastic way to learn a new language no matter how much experience you may or may not have. There are over 30 languages you can chose from and they allow you to earn points, level up and receive grades. This makes it so easy to keep track of your progress. Duolingo makes learning a language fun, so create a free account on their website or the app and watch yourself improve fast.

6. DIY Projects

Get onto those DIY projects you’ve never had time to get to by renovating. You could also take part in an online renovation class before you dive in. Learn how to plan, design and style your dream home with a free online module through The Reno School. They’ll help you master kitchens and bathrooms and nail the basics of interior decorating.

7. Learn Online by:

  • Enrolling in a MOOC (massive open online Course). MOOCs are free courses offered by universities, colleges and other educational institutions from around the world. Platforms including Coursera and edX bring together MOOCs from around the world, including Australia. Find out more at The Good Universities Guide
  • Upskilling with LinkedInLearning – offering a month’s free trial to more than 14,000 courses including software development (including Swift; Apple’s programming language to build apps), data science, photography, leadership, Excel, graphic and web design. After the free trial, subscriptions start at about $40.00 a month.
  • General Assembly is also a great tool for online courses and digital workshops. Their workshops include web development, design, marketing, copywriting and coding. 
  • Join a YouTube Tutorial -there’s one for everything, whether it be learning to sing, taking amazing photos or renovate.

8. Refine Your Writing Skills

Always wanted to touch the world with the written word, but feel you may need to brush up on your grammar and spelling? Or don’t quite know where to start with a creative writing project?  Don’t let anything hold you back, there are a bunch of online writing groups, courses and free resources online to help. Daily Writing Tips, and Pro Writing Aid are just a couple to check out. 

9. Listen to Podcasts 

Tere is literally a podcast for everything, and a bunch of platforms that host them for your listening pleasure- for FREE. Try PodcastOne, Apple Podcasts, Libsyn and don’t forget our very own PakMag Parenting Podcast.

10. Get Fit

Was your New Year’s Resolution to get fit? Me too! Have you started yet? Me either.

The good news, we can invest in ourselves now and you don’t need to have a home gym or substantial equipment to do it at home. Simple strength exercises like squats, push ups, sit ups and lunges don’t need equipment.  Looking for weights? What about a can of food in each hand – voila!

There are also lots of great resources online or on apps to guide you, many for FREE or with FREE trials on offer at the moment.

Here are a few of our fave’s:

Chris Hemsworth aka Thor is the founder of Centr; a website/ app providing a holistic approach to your wellbeing with health, nutrition, mindfulness and training all in one place. Start your FREE 7 day trial and workout your mind and body with the experts.

Peloton are offering a 90 Day Free trial of their app Peloton with a huge library of workouts covering yoga, bootcamps, cycling, running and strength.

Adidas are offering premium access to Runtastic FREE for 90 days. Access workouts and training plans  at Runtastic

Want abs of steel? Bachelor star Tim Robards is offering his six-week program for FREE  with the code “FREEABS” – Get the 12-Minute Abs Challenge today at his website The Robards Method

—Access FREE Meditations to help you weather the storm at Headspace