Volume 24 Issue 34 04 Nov 2016 3 Heshvan 5777

From the Deputy Head of Primary

Emma Clemens

Emma Clemens – Deputy Head of Primary

Brain Plasticity and Movement

Medical Daily recently published an article about research conducted at the University of Illinois that demonstrates a correlation between exercise and the brain size of children of 9-10 years. Their MRI studies showed that physically active children have a larger hippocampus and had higher results in memory tests. Exercise impacts our cardiorespiratory capacity, muscular strength and motor ability. This in turn impacts the brain and therefore academic performance. Children who are more active are more cognitively alert. Studies in North Texas and Spain had similar results. These studies revealed that students with superior motor ability and cardiorespiratory fitness also had higher reading and mathematics test results. Cardiorespiratory exercise include swimming, tennis, skipping, jogging, soccer, netball, basketball and cycling.

An article by Hottling and Roder in Neuroscience and Behavioural Reviews echoes a similar message about the benefits of physical exercise on neuroplasticity and cognition. The human brain adapts and changes by altering its neuroplastic properties when learning new skills. Physical exercise triggers processes that facilitate neuroplasticity, which in turn enhances the brain’s capacity to respond to cognitive training. The authors concur that increase in cardiovascular fitness has neurocognitive benefits.

Given the immense benefits of physical exercise on our health as well as cognitive ability, what is your family doing to stay fit and active? Are there opportunities you could use as a family to exercise together? On the weekend perhaps you could consider going on a walk, playing a game of tennis or going for a bike ride together. Don’t discount incidental exercise though, such as walking to school, to the shops or to a local restaurant rather than driving the car.

In the Primary School we place a high priority on exercise. Students in Years K-2 are involved in one PE and two Gross Motor lessons each week. Students in Year 3 have two PE lessons a week and students in Year 4-6 have one PE lesson and Thursday training and competition sport. Adam Ezekiel also runs our wonderful EActive program that provides additional opportunities to be a part of extra-curricular sport groups. Teachers are constantly looking for opportunities during school to engage students in incidental exercise, for example they may allow students to go for a quick run around the playground or play for a few minutes on the basketball court in order to foster opportunities for students to develop active and healthy bodies and minds.

Physically active children are not only more healthy but also have enhanced cognitive results. Given the health and cognitive benefits of exercise, how can you and your family plan to be more fit and active this term?

Chess Success

On Friday Jesse Herdan, Jesse Gothelf, Daniel Melamed and Zac Sidley competed in the Metropolitan Inter-Region Chess Finals. The boys played at Emanuel against St John’s Park Public School and won the competition 7-1. This is an incredible result and puts them through to the State competition. On Sunday Jesse Herdan, Jesse Gothelf and Daniel Melamed also completed in the Knox Grammar Interschools’ Competition where they tied second overall with Ironbark Ridge Public School. Congratulations boys on such a fantastic effort and thank you to Colleen Elkins for your ongoing support of the team.


This week students in Years K-4 all attended an excursion or incursion. Excursions are a wonderful opportunity for students to further their learning beyond the classroom. Below are a list of the excursions that students attended. Thank you to all of the teachers who have been so instrumental in planning and organising these exciting learning opportunities. 

  • Year K: Sydney Observatory to learn about meteorology through weather experiments
  • Year 1: Calmely Hill City Farm to learn about animals, the land and livelihood of farmers
  • Year 2: Centennial Park excursion to learn about mapping and types of parkland
  • Year 3: Recycling incursion to learn about composting and recycling
  • Year 4: Zoo excursion to learn about biodiversity and animal habitats

Night of Song

On Tuesday evening a number of students were involved in the Night of Song concert. It was a wonderful evening with performances ranging from solo items to choral pieces from the Infants, Junior and Junior Chamber Choirs. Thank you to Danny Burley for organising the concert and conducting a number of items. Thank you to Susan Longney and Adam Majsay for conducting their Junior and Senior Chamber Choirs and to Brendan O’Mahoney for accompanying a number of items. Thank you to David Gwilliam and Joanne De Araujo for their ongoing support behind the scenes to make the event possible.






A-thon World of Mathematics

On Monday and Tuesday next week the Primary School will be participating in the annual A-thon. The focus for 2016 is Mathematics. Students will spend a day engaged in hands-on Mathematics activities and will have the opportunity to participate in an incursion presented by World of Mathematics. Parents have received a student sponsorship form via email and students have also received a physical copy for their parents this week. Every dollar raised through the A-thon is matched by the JCA. The money raised will go towards a Primary School initiative or improvement in 2017. Thank you to Helen Maynard, Stacey Rosenfeld and Katie Narunsky for organising this fantastic event.

Upcoming Dates

  • 7 November: A-thon World of Maths Years 4-6
  • 8 November: A-thon World of Maths Years K-3
  • 8 November: IP Information Morning, 7:30-8:20 am, Millie Phillips Theatre
  • 9 November: Years 4-5 Football Gala Day, 8:30am-3:30 pm, Trimbell Park
  • 9 November: Year 3 Excursion Centennial Park
  • 9 November: Years 6-7 Transition Day
  • 10 November: Year K 2017 Information Evening, 7:00-8:30 pm Kindergarten classrooms
  • 11 November: Remembrance Day
  • 11 November: Year 6 Science incursion, 1:00-2:00 pm The Aron Kleinlehrer Performing Arts Centre
  • 14-16 November: Healthy Harold visits Years K-3
  • 15 November: Year 2 Instrument trials/Blow tests
  • 18 November: Year 2 Pathways 8:20-9:30 am Millie Phillips Theatre and Angles Leadership and Learning Centre
  • 18 November: Year 5 Leadership 2017 forms due

Term 4 K-2 Assembly 2:00pm in the Millie Phillips Theatre

  • 11 November Week 5: Year K Eilat (Mrs Buzo’s class)
  • 25 November Week 7: No Years K-2 assembly
  • 9 December Week 9: Years K-2 puppet club