Tag: school

Should I be Concerned About My Child’s Handwriting?

Juliet Russo – Helping Hands Hand, Wrist & Arm Clinic

Dear Juliet, should I be concerned about my child’s handwriting?

Handwriting remains an important lifelong skill even in this technological world and it develops in early childhood. If a teacher or you are concerned,  then early intervention is the best solution. In general, poor handwriting legibility, fatiguing quickly or not keeping up with the class can indicate a problem.

Overall the most common problems identified are poor pencil grasp, inconsistent letter formation, sizing, letter reversals, mixed capital/lower case, too light or heavy pencil pressure. Additionally, not writing in a straight line or hand pain during or after writing also indicate a problem. 

If your child consistently demonstrates any of the above problems, they may benefit from handwriting remediation. If you’re concerned, contact the Helping Hands Clinic today. 

4755 2337


Find out more about Helping Hands Clinic here. 





Experience a Grammar Education

A Grammar education is an experience designed to open young minds to discovery and learning, as well as providing a rich environment for personal development. Children as young as four years of age can begin their learning journey at Townsville Grammar School and start receiving the benefits of a Grammar education.

There are a number of upcoming opportunities for families to visit, experience and learn more about Townsville Grammar School for Pre-Prep to Year 6.

Principal’s Open Mornings

Open mornings mean you can meet the Principal and Head of Junior School. You can also explore the Campuses and enjoy morning tea.

  • Annandale Campus – Wednesday, 12 August (9.00 – 11.00am)
  • North Shore Campus – Friday, 14 August (9.00 – 11.00am)

Junior School Experience Day (Prep – Year 6)

This is a great opportunity for your child to join in a class for a day and experience life at Townsville Grammar School.

  • Thursday, 27 August (8.30am – 3.00pm)
  • Annandale and North Shore Campuses

Prep Info Night

Prep Info Night lets you find out more about the Townsville Grammar School Prep Program. You can meet the teaching teams personally and explore the Prep Precincts.

  • Annandale Campus – Wednesday, 19 August (9.00 – 11.00am)
  • North Shore Campus – Thursday 20 August (9.00 – 11.00am)

Pre-Prep Info Night

Here you can find out more about the Townsville Grammar School’s Pre-Prep Program, meet the teaching teams and explore the Early Education Centres.

  • Annandale Campus – Tuesday, 1 September (6:00 – 7:00pm)
  • North Shore Campus – Wednesday, 2 September (6:00 – 7:00pm)

Townsville Grammar School has an enduring reputation as the academic leader in North Queensland, delivering consistently high academic outcomes from Prep to Year 12.

The Prep Program

  • Full-time Teacher Aides in each classroom
  • Optimised class sizes
  • Specialist lessons with specialist teachers
  • IT-enabled classrooms
  • Dedicated Prep precincts
  • Swimming program
  • Sports program
  • Music program
  • ‘Positive Education’ pastoral care program
  • Pre-Prep to Year 12 school culture
  • Transition to Year 1 program


Visit their website to rsvp and to find out more.



Read more from Townsville Grammar School here. 





Why Choose an All-Boys School?

Ignatius Park has proudly educated boys since opening in 1969. As Townsville’s only secondary school for just boys, the College focuses on the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional lives of the young men who attend. The College is built on the strong tradition of academic, personal and sporting excellence. They do this by providing the highest standard of staff, facilities and opportunities for students. There is a strong focus on pastoral care.

“Schools for boys recognise that they develop, think and learn in different ways to girls. Because of this understanding, we are able to tailor our curriculum and teaching strategies to best suit and support boys’ learning styles,” Principal Mr Shaun Clarke explains.

Schools for boys seek first to build good men. An all-boys school lays a good foundation in an environment that allows them to unpack their emotions, reveal their inner self and be open to who they are and what they feel. “Our Pastoral system nurtures and challenges our students to become confident, happy and responsible young men. In addition they have a highly developed sense of social justice,” Mr Clarke said.

Schools for boys celebrate the students and help them to discover and explore their full potential.

This kind of education can provide the freedom for boys to pursue their chosen interests with complete focus. This includes sport, art, languages and music. The College also offers a large range of subjects and co-curricular activities for students to explore their passions. This also helps to encourage them to go on this pursuit and discover themselves. Principal Clarke adds, “At Iggy, we strive to create an environment where each student can feel confident to both discover and achieve his full potential.”

Additionally, the school fosters lifelong friendships and meaningful bonds. It is this connectiveness in an all-boys school that allows students to develop a strong sense of ‘Brotherhood’. They can teach the next generation how to improve, to nurture respect, have respect for women and build a better society.

Boys are an integral part of our future. Overall, our role at Ignatius Park College is to help them each become the best man they can be.




Dispositions Necessary for Children to Learn

Recent events saw most children learning at home, under the guidance of their parents, and the direction of their teachers. Now, having returned to school, there are three conditions which are necessary for a child to LEARN. I am going to suggest that these conditions, or personal dispositions, are universally applicable to children everywhere.

The First of these Dispositions is Safety

First and foremost, for a child to be in a position to learn they must feel safe. Their safety would mean they have enough food, clothing and shelter, the basics for living a healthy life, so they can then concentrate on the task of learning.

In some circumstances, it is necessary for the school to take on that responsibility of providing food for a child. Breakfast clubs are quite common across schools in Australia, whereby children, who come from family environments that don’t have the capacity to provide breakfast for children, rely on the school to provide food, so the child has enough sustenance so they can concentrate in class. Clothing is occasionally also provided by the school. The school should provide children with second hand or even brand-new uniforms when their family cannot provide adequate uniforms. Uniforms help the child feel like they belong as they ‘look’ the same as their classmates.

The family home is the shelter in which most children live. Occasionally children may be living with other caring adults. Having a “roof over their heads” provides them with the third essential basic requirement. Other caring adults may include grandparents, other relatives, foster carers and family friends. Sleeping in a warm bed is important for children. The other element about being safe is that children know and understand their routines in life. They know who will be dropping them at school, and who will be picking them up. They have the confidence to walk out of the school gate at the end of the day knowing that someone who knows and loves them will be there waiting for them.

The Second Disposition is that of Connectedness

A child needs to have connections with their family and their social networks beyond their family. These networks can include their school or any cultural activities such as sport or artistic pursuits of the child. There needs to be connections between parents and grandparents who know and love the child. Then when a child moves to school, they will ideally find children with similar interests, potentially like-minded children with whom they make a connection and they form part of a group. The connections between a child and their parents and their school groups are critical so that they are part of a group which knows and cares about them. Being part of a group is key to a child’s well-being because human beings are social beings. We know, live, love, learn and work together.

The Third Disposition is that of Contentment

Originally, I thought the third disposition may have been happiness. But a wise colleague Jill Sweatman, the Brain Whisperer™, reminded me that happiness is an elevated state of joy that not everyone will reach. Everyone can reach contentment. My definition of contentment is that there is a degree of acceptance of someone’s current circumstances or lifestyle.

A child needs to accept their place in life; they need to accept the family in which they live; they need to accept the school which they attend; the social group of which they are a part; the limitations of their personal circumstances; and they need to accept (and embrace) the opportunities that life presents them. If a child is accepting, they have a degree of contentment, tolerance and understanding of their disposition in life. This then allows them to focus on the task at hand at school which is learning.

Children who are content and have an acceptance and an understanding of their circumstances may even find opportunities to embrace beyond their family and beyond school life. They already have a degree of solitude and comfort in themselves and their social network. Knowing that they are safe, knowing that they have connections, allows them to explore other opportunities beyond those to dispositions. (Please note acceptance of limitations of current circumstances does not mean that people should not strive to go beyond current situations for improvement. Striving to improve and excel should be a goal for all life-long learners).

The three dispositions described all have inks. It is not possible to have connections without being safe. Feeling connected without feeling safe is not possible. It’s not possible to feel content without having connections. And lastly, it is not possible to be safe without feeling connections These three dispositions are essential for a child to be able to attend to learning at school and beyond school.

Now that the majority of children across the country have returned to school, it only reinforces that those three dispositions are vital so a child has the framework and the capacity to attend to learning. If a child is safe, connected and content then they have the opportunity to switch on and to attend to the task at hand at school. Having returned to school recently it has been evident that the children who weren’t safe, who may not have had connections, and who were struggling with the changing circumstances over the last few months, may have struggled to attend to learning. Now that we have returned to our new circumstances, with the degree of some physical isolation still present, children are back in classrooms, back working with the teachers who know and love their job in providing high quality education for all children in front of them. We can reinforce these dispositions of safety, connection and contentment so that children will learn.

Once a child has these dispositions, they have the capacity to be receptive to learning. If any of these three dispositions are missing, threatened or jeopardised then the child’s capacity to learn is significantly impeded.

Let’s work together to ensure our children, our students, are safe, connected and content. Then they can learn and thrive.


About the Author 

Andrew Oberthur is the married father of two teenagers and a primary school principal, with over 30 years experience teaching and leading primary schools in Brisbane. Through his vast experience and own study, Andrew has developed three main areas of interest and expertise: School readiness for families / staff of children getting ready for school, building a culture of trust, collaboration and enquiry between parents and teachers, communication skills for teachers and parents working together for the benefit of their common interest – their children.

Andrew has presentations on each of these areas available for families and teachers, as he believes that parents and teachers MUST work together so children can thrive in our modern world. In 2018 he published his first book “Are You Ready for Primary School This Year?” which is about building a culture of trust, collaboration and enquiry between parents and teachers. His book is available from his website. He has done podcasts for PakMag, webinars with some leaders in their field, as well as various media appearances.


Read more PakMag Parenting blogs here



Catholic Schools’ Remote Learning Success Embedded for the Future

Everywhere that Cairns Catholic Education’s Executive Director Bill Dixon goes lately, he receives favourable comments about how well Catholic schools adjusted to the COVID-19 crisis to deliver remote learning.

Testament, he says, to the agility of leadership and staff in schools who stepped up with dedication. Additionally, validation of the huge investment in quality systems and technology that Cairns Catholic Education has made in recent years.

“Staff responded with professionalism to keep the welfare and learning of students at the centre of their actions.”

The technology in place made the transition that bit easier,. This is despite posing a steep learning curve for many, under less than ideal conditions.

Staff, students and families made huge leaps forward in their ability to use digital platforms for learning and communication during remote learning. The learning curve has been exponential. Fortunately digital learning environments have enabled the continuity of learning, communication and engagement.

Schools that were already incorporating digital technologies into their lessons found the transition to home-based learning much easier.

“By the time the coronavirus shutdown occurred, the Science Department already had Microsoft Teams in place as the system to interact digitally with students,” tells St Augustine’s College, Parramatta Park Head of Science, Jesse Zell. She says that students adapted very quickly to the online learning environment.

“You would never in your wildest dreams imagine a school thriving amidst such a challenge.”

But that’s exactly what the secondary college and other Catholic schools around the Cairns Diocese did. This includes St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch, which used their Digital Learning Environment as a digital hub for students to access all the learning tools they need,” explains the college’s IT Manager, Damon Thompson.

“The improved video conferencing and multimedia options now offered have excited our teachers. They plan to keep using their new skills with students going forward.”

Partnership with Parents

A strong relationship between the school and family has never been more important. Catholic schools recognise and value parents as the first educators of their child. We work in close partnership with them. The learning from home experience reinforced the importance of this relationship. It also ensured families felt supported by their school communities.

“The school supports all of my children and they have materials adjusted for their capabilities. They are busting to start their schoolwork every day and the quality of work shows just how dedicated the teaching and learning support staff are,” tells one parent at Holy Cross School, Trinity Park after the first week of learning from home.

Compassionate in Times of Need

COVID-19 has impacted all Far North families to some degree. Additionally, long after the country lifts restrictions, financial stress will linger, and we resume ‘the new normal’. Catholic schools are compassionate and accommodating to the needs of their existing and prospective families. They do this to ensure they do not deny a Catholic education to anyone due to financial constraints.

Tuition fee concessions of 100% are currently in place for those who are financially distressed. It will continue for all current and prospective families wanting a quality Catholic education.

“We are so grateful to Saints for how they fairly and proactively managed all aspects of the COVID-19 shutdown for our son and our family. The learning from home experience was well delivered and organised. Overall, we welcomed the removal of boarding fees during this difficult time,” tells one parent at St Augustine’s College, Parramatta Park.

In 2021, there will be no increase in tuition fees as our regional economy continues its recovery.

Setting Up for the Future

Catholic schools have a commitment to equip this next generation with the skills they’ll need as 21st century learners.

“One of the benefits of learning from home was that students had to develop digital literacy skills which will assist them immeasurably in the future,” tells Amanda Speziali, Year 6 teacher at Good Counsel Primary School, Innisfail.

Catholic schools are incorporating their learnings from this crisis to better position themselves for any future disruptions. It ensures that regular classrooms have the successes experienced during the period of online learning embedded into them so that students have enhanced educational opportunities. 

As Bill Dixon said in a special online coronavirus edition of Catholic Education’s Raise magazine, “No doubt there is still much more we can learn from our recent experiences and that has the capacity to greatly enhance how we think about schools of the future.”

When this generation graduates, the employment landscape will have evolved. Parents have a choice to find the right school for their child and can be responsive to their needs for the future. Catholic schools have proven they are up to the task.




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