EXCITING TIMES FOR ASHWOOD’S COMMUNITY-FOCUSED PARKHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL WITH THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW PRINCIPAL AND THE OPENING OF ITS NEW LEARNING SPACES
Ashwood’s Parkhill Primary School, situated on Parkhill Drive in the heart of the south-eastern suburb, is having a huge year so far. The first of its new learning spaces have just opened for the junior and middle years – a project that has been 18-months in the development. In an equally exciting move, the school announced the appointment of its new Principal, Elaine Brady, a long-term member of the Parkhill community.
The appointment of Elaine into the Principal role is a move that has been embraced by the school – students, families and teaching staff alike. Elaine is no stranger to Parkhill, she held the Acting Principal role for several months, was the Assistant Principal before that, and has been part of the teaching team for eight years. Elaine is well-placed to take on the role – she has worked in many different schools around the world and has made her home within Parkhill.
After undertaking her studies in the UK, she taught in England and Scotland before emigrating to Western Australia in 2007. She hasn’t just worked within a teaching capacity, she also undertook advancement roles such as a Numeracy Literacy Coach and has a strong understanding of the needs of each year level.
Elaine is passionate about Parkhill, not just for its academic side, but about embracing the school community and making school a safe, enjoyable place for young people and their families.
This focus of connecting the Parkhill neighbourhood on all levels is one of the drives behind the new learning spaces, which commenced construction at the end of 2016. The former classrooms were the original ones that were set-up when the school formed two decades ago. The structure no longer suited the style of teaching and inclusive learning that are at the heart of Parkhill.
“The new learning spaces are flexible in nature,” says Elaine. “Our lessons can be set-up in quiet, enclosed classrooms, where the children learn in a calm and quiet environment. They can also break out into the flexible spaces in-between the classrooms.
Every set of classes has a withdrawal room between them where the children can be clearly supervised through large glass windows. Each block has a wet area with a kitchen in it so that the children can cook and use the space for practical messy learning sessions, as well as science and maths.”
The aim of the new learning environment is to meet the needs of all the students under the care of Parkhill, and this extends into the forthcoming outdoor spaces, which are earmarked for upgrades throughout the latter part of 2018 and beyond. The portable classrooms – which were utilised during the construction period – will be removed to make room for new play spaces.
“It is our vision to develop a space where all children are connected and that they feel they have something and somewhere they feel they belong,” says Elaine. “Connecting with friends at playtime is a huge part of a child’s day at school. Imagine a space where children can play, laugh, learn and connect with their friends, their learning environment and nature. This is what we want to develop at Parkhill.”
Elaine, under her tenure as Principal, wants to continue to grow the community spirit that is already firmly part of Parkhill.
“We want to become connected on all levels, where everyone feels welcome and has that sense of belonging that only Parkhill has,” she says. “This does not stop with the child, but in essence must include the family. Our vision is to nurture success in all students throughout their learning – developing a sense of who they are, where they fit in and how they can make a difference. We aim to achieve this by providing a safe and stimulating learning environment, rich in our values of care, unity, respect, honesty and persistence. Students are encouraged and supported to become inquirer who are knowledgeable, thinkers, balanced, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, reflective communicators. We recognise that all children grow at their own rate and in their own way. In the partnership between home and school, the common aim is to help each child grow into a well-rounded individual.”
The Parkhill Parents and Friends Association, driven by a group of Parkhill parents, continues to fundraise to help support the development of the school grounds. Keeping up the community spirit, the teaching staff and parents alike regularly provide support for any children, and their families, who are undergoing hardships.
Being part of Parkhill is not just about going to school, it is about becoming part of the greater Parkhill community as a whole and fostering that family connection beyond.
Submitted by the PFA of Parkhill Primary School.
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