Primary Opening Newsletter

July 2016

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your families are enjoying your holidays!

Please read this Opening Newsletter carefully, along with the attached Student Parent Handbook. Both documents will help provide new and returning families with useful information for when we return in August.

What will be new this year?

As always, there is a great deal going on. Here are some of the more significant changes for the upcoming academic year.

Faculty and Staff: We are fortunate to have such minimal turnover this year. With the exception of Ms. Jane, our Technology Integration Coach, who is returning to work in Australia, all our teachers and Indonesian teaching partners will remain with us. This year, we will be welcoming Ms. Karli Walsh as an early intervention teacher. This is a new position that has been created to help us do an even better job of addressing the needs of our youngest learners. Ms. Nadia Demolder, our fifth grade teacher, is scheduled to return from her maternity leave at the end of August. In the meantime, Mr. Tim Shepherd will be co-teaching with Ms. Made Yunita in Grade 5.

We will make some internal changes this year to accommodate the need for a second 4th Grade class. Ms. Preeti Singh will work with Ibu Kadek Surtasih in one Grade 4 class, while Mr. Sam Watson will work with Ibu Ketut Indah in the parallel class. Ms. Heather McNaughton will remain in Grade 3 with Ibu Ketut Radnyawati and Ibu Dayu Dian. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Deb Plant who has been appointed as our new Early Childhood Coordinator. She will of course continue to co-teach with Ms. Siska Paramitha in Preschool.

Facilities/Resources: Over the summer, the most significant work project will involve transforming our current Grade 3 classroom into two smaller Grade 4 classrooms. We are also beginning to clear the ground behind what is lovingly referred to as ‘the haunted house’ in order to try and establish a ‘working farm’ for our learning community. There is more to come on this in due course.

For next year, we have invested in equipping the primary school with more computers in order to assist students as they inquire into and uncover new ideas. This means that we will have an additional trolley of portable computers, kindly donated by the PTFA. We will also increase the number of classroom computers to 6 in each room. In addition to this, our younger learners will begin to benefit from the introduction of newly purchased tablets.

Programme: Following our successful Accreditation/Evaluation visits by the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), there are numerous recommendations for us to follow up on. However, the key priorities in the primary school for next year and beyond include,

  1. Committing to active community engagement within and outside our school walls
  2. Ensuring that assessment is integral to all teaching and learning
  3. Encouraging instruction that accommodates different learner needs
  4. Developing a school wide initiative to improve student learning in science and mathematics

These priorities will ensure that we have some fabulous developments to look forward to this year. Here are some of the most exiting ones that you may have already heard about.

  • We will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary on Friday, September 2nd. Mark your calendars so that you can join us in celebrating our diversity all morning during International Day.  All of you should have received a message from the PTFA, inviting you to help set up a country stall for this special occasion. These stalls are not in competition with each other. Instead, they are intended to represent the diverse, yet unified nature of our community. They will share foods, drinks, crafts, songs, games etc. from our various cultural backgrounds. Please contact our parent coordinators Alison or Briged ( & if you would like to become involved in some way. You might also want to consider bringing back some clothing for you and your children that identifies you with your nationalities.
  • We are hoping to establish some Mother Tongue Clubs when we return. Research has consistently shown that it is pivotal for young learners to maintain strong levels of literacy in their mother tongues. The clubs will be open to Grade 1 to 5 students who speak a language other than English at home, and will take place on Mondays at 15:00 as part of our After School Activities Programme. It would be fantastic to see our children engaging with their mother tongue. We would also welcome your assistance if you are interested in becoming involved as a facilitator. Please direct all queries to our Mother Tongue Coordinator, Sylvain at You should already have received a message about this.
  • This year, we will be reinventing the primary student council. There will be no elections to determine positions of responsibility. Instead, we hope to instill a belief that every individual matters and can make a difference through respectful community engagement. We will try to provide authentic opportunities throughout the year for students to demonstrate their passions and leadership qualities.
  • Last year, we began to receive some lovely stories from primary children. Our intention is to begin to publish a selection of these fascinating tales. We would like to translate them so that they can be read in English or Indonesian. The idea is to share them with local students who attend our community center (Taman Bacaan), and perhaps get to share some of their stories. We think that this is a great way to develop mutually meaningful relationships with primary aged students from neighbouring local schools. If over the long break, your children are feeling particularly creative, I invite them to have a go at writing a really good story that they would be proud to share. Completed stories can be emailed to Please remind children to include their names and grade levels on their stories, and that these should represent their best efforts.

A note about campus security

As we begin our new academic year, I would like to remind everyone about one of our security measures that relies heavily on adult cooperation. We ask all parents and staff to bring their ID Badges when they come to school. Please understand that you will not be allowed to enter the school campus without your ID badge. Please treat the school guards respectfully as they try to enforce this rule. This is one way for us to help maintain a safe school environment for our students.

Is there an orientation day for new students?

Yes, there is a general orientation for all new students and parents on Thursday, July 28th between 09:00 and 12:00. Everyone meets in the Multi-Purpose Hall for a general introduction. Primary students and parents are then introduced to teachers and shown around the school. This is a good time to ask questions about lunch arrangements and school uniforms. The purpose of our orientation morning is to put new students and their parents at ease and to eliminate the anxiety that usually accompanies new situations.

On what day does school begin?

School begins on Monday, August 1st for most students. Some preschool students begin on Tuesday and Wednesday. This staggered start is a helpful way of maintaining a gentle transition for our youngest learners.

How does the start of the school day work?

All teachers arrive before 7:30. Playground supervision starts at 7:30, so parents are asked not to leave their children on the campus unattended before this time. Students and parents may go into the classroom from 7:30 onwards. The school day officially begins at 7:45. It is important that students are punctual for the start of the school day so that attendance can be taken and important routines established. We ask that all parents leave the classrooms at 7:45 so that teachers and students can focus on learning.

What if my child cries?

We ask parents to leave the classrooms at the start of the school day. Any parent who thinks their child may experience separation difficulties is invited to wait in the library for as long as you think necessary. Let the teacher know you are doing this. Some little ones become particularly distressed at being separated from their parents. We will come to you if this should happen and either bring you to the classroom or take your child to you. The teachers are skilled in this area and very often a child stops crying minutes after the parent leaves. If you are waiting, we will come by periodically to give you an update.

What about dismissal?

Students are dismissed from school at 14:45. Please note that all primary students, Preschool through to Grade 5, must be picked up by their parent, guardian, pembantu, driver or secondary school sibling. No primary students will be allowed to leave the main campus if not accompanied by one of these individuals. The classroom teacher must be aware of who is picking up your child. Students may only remain on campus if they are involved in the after school programme (which does not begin until week two) or if they are supervised by a school employee.

Primary students (accompanied by parents) may play in the primary playground area next to the primary office. School employees supervise the playground until 15:15 on days when it is not being used for after school activities. No student should be in the playground when school employees do not supervise it. Parents are asked to ensure this happens as it is another way for us to help maintain a safe school environment for our students.

If children have not been collected from the classroom by 15:00 because of some unforeseen delay, classroom assistants escort them to the library so that they can be picked up by adults to go home. Primary students who are waiting to be picked up are seated in allocated sofas by the entrance of the library for convenience. Sometimes, other primary students (and their parents) can also be found in the library after school. These are typically families who are waiting for siblings to finish after school activities, or are waiting to attend activities that begin later in the afternoon.

If students have after school activities at 15:00, they are escorted by classroom assistants and left with activity supervisors. When activities end, parents or guardians must collect primary students. This parental responsibility is fundamental to participation in the after school activity programme. If children are not collected by 16:00, they are escorted to the library. They are then reported to the Primary Office, where this delay is recorded and parents are contacted.

What happens if there is a last minute change of plan?

Last minute messages can be phoned through to the Primary Office. Our secretary, Ibu Denia, can also be contacted by email at with less urgent messages. Last minute messages should be for exceptional circumstances only.

When do we get time to speak with the teachers?

There are many opportunities for informal chats with teachers when collecting students after school. Every Preschool to Grade 5 parent has access to any teacher in the primary school most days between 14:45 and 15:00. No appointments are necessary for these interactions and drop-in visits. If you need to see a teacher for a longer time, please make an appointment by email. Appointments are recommended for more formal meetings to ensure sufficient time is available to discuss the matter in hand. Later in the year, the school schedules formal conferences.

What can I do to help my child prepare for a new school year?

You can help your child by discussing all that is written in this Opening Newsletter and the Student Parent Handbook and by making him or her aware of the school’s expectations. This is particularly true for those children who do not speak English. Working together to achieve the same objectives is a powerful learning experience for our youngsters.

Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and is in bed early. They will come home tired until they get into a new routine. Ensure that they are eating well and have opportunity for play and physical exercise.

Help them prepare everything they will need for school the evening before. Over time, it is important that they develop a good habit of taking responsibility for their own belongings.

Will there be an information evening?

Yes, Open House will be held on Thursday, August 11th at 13:15. The afternoon provides an opportunity for parents to meet the teachers and familiarize themselves with classroom programmes. Typically, we gather in the Multi-Purpose Room for some general information and important announcements before dispersing to our various grade level teams. Grade level presentations are repeated for the benefit of parents with more than one child.

Are there important dates I should keep free?

Yes, our calendar is packed with events, some of which I have already referred to. Please keep yourselves informed of all that is going on. You will receive more information in due course.

In the meantime, here are a few important dates to keep in mind for August and September.

  • Thursday, July 28th – Orientation for New Students
  • Monday, August 1st – First Day of School
  • Monday, August 8th – Morning Parent Presentation on Campus Security
  • Thursday, August 11th – Open House
  • Thursday, August 18th – Evening Meet the Teachers Cocktails
  • Monday, August 22nd – Morning Parent Presentation on the PYP
  • Friday, August 26th – Primary Share Time
  • Friday, September 2nd – International Day
  • Monday, September 19th – Morning Parent Presentation on Child Protection
  • Wednesday, September 28th – Conferences

Can I become involved in assisting the school?

There are many ways to help enhance what the school is able to offer all students. Apart from the occasions when teachers ask for assistance with learning experiences, there is a menu of meaningful possibilities that directly benefit primary students. These include,

  • Becoming a homeroom parent
  • Celebrating diversity by welcoming new families
  • Assisting with school organized curricular events
  • Serving on the school board to help provide strategic direction
  • Attending PTFA meetings to promote a sense of fun and engage with parent organized initiatives
  • Participating in ongoing, school endorsed community engagement projects
  • Assisting with after school activities to improve what is being offered.

These opportunities make a genuine difference to the learning experiences of our students. They also say something powerful to our children about how much parents value our school.

You will learn more about what is going on around the primary school from parent presentations/workshops, eNews, classroom bulletins, emails and of course face-to-face conversations. We hope that with your support we will continue to nurture a positive home/school partnership.

I look forward to seeing you all in August.

Warm regards,


Mr. Alan Lorenzini

Primary Principal