Deputy Headmaster and Head of Preparatory School

Mr Jeff Symms

School camps

This week all boys in Years 4, 5 and 6 attended the outdoor education camps.  They all spent three days and two nights away undertaking a program that challenges them and develops their confidence, independance and resilience. Year 4 boys go to Tyalgum Ridge, a beautiful centre out past Murwillumbah, Year 5 head to Camp Goodenough in the hills of beautiful Bilambil and Year 6 go to Currimundi on the Sunshine Coast where they undertake a variety of activities including time spent in the surf.

There are many benefits from participating in the outdoor education program.  We see boys grow in many areas, but perhaps most of all in this modern, sanitised world, it is the opportunity to try new things and get out of their comfort zone, encounter problems and determine solutions that is the most important.

In visiting the Year 4 and 5 camps, I witnessed some boys who had been a little teary at departure from school or on the first night, engaging happily and readily by the second day.  I saw some boys who hold back a little in class, stepping up and taking the lead in activities and yet others were taking the chance to demonstrate skills that may never have come to light within the confines of the classroom.

I spoke to one mum this morning who in a previous discussion had said that her son was a bit anxious about going on camp.  I asked how he had fared and she answered ‘some highs and some lows, but on balance he had a good time’.  The really good thing that she had done, was take a positive spin to his experience – she had listened with interest to the good and the not so good (as her son perceived it) and talked him through his responses to both.  In telling him how proud she was that even though some aspects might have been tough, he had worked his way through and come out the other end stronger and more confident, she was validating his feelings, but placing the emphasis on his successes.    Helping him keep perspective and not give in to his fears is a big step forward.

I really enjoyed seeing the boys engaged in the activities at camp.  I was hugely impressed with the year 4 boys kayaking/canoeing skills.  The best I’ve seen in years – terrific control of their water craft.  The year 5 boys were attacking the milk crate challenge with a balanced mix of caution and optimism and watching them carefully harness each other up, manage the safety ropes while all the time encouraging the boys to give two more crates a go, was inspiring.  If you seen a 10 year old boy tumble from a 14 crate high milk crate tower with all the confidence that his mates have him nice and safe – you have seen the development of real trust and responsibility.

Great work boys and teachers for a very successful three days.

Barbara Arrowsmith Young to speak at TSS

Barbara Arrowsmith Young is an internationally recognised name within the field of neuroplasticity.  She is the founder of the Arrowsmith Program, and the author of the international best-seller ‘The woman who changed her brain’.   Her work with students has been well documented and a number of boys, and now some girls, have really benefitted from accessing the program here at TSS.

A myth about Arrowsmith is that it is a support program for only students who have a learning difficulty which is causing them to get poor results in school.  This is not the case.  While there are many advantages for those students who are struggling with some aspect of their cognitive development, the program offers a great deal to students who achieving at a satisfactory or even at a high level.

The first stage of the program is the assessment, at which the student is assessed across a wide range of cognitive functions.  The assessment is sent to Canada for analysis by the Arrowsmith team and an individualised program is designed that will develop the child’s capacity, regardless of how low or high was the starting point.

Barbara Arrowsmith Young has an inspirational story to tell and her presentation at TSS is free of charge.   Please click here to register your interest and reserve your seat at this special event.  Use the ‘Register’ button.

Honours class program

TSS Preparatory includes an Honours Program for boys of high academic capability AND performance.  There are two multi-age classes; a 3/4 and a 5/6 class.  Information about the program can be found on the school’s website.  Go to ‘Menu‘, then ‘Admissions‘ then ‘Scholarships‘ and scroll through till you find the information for the Honours Scholarships.

Applications open on February 24 through the school’s website and close on April 17.  A parent information night will be conducted on March 19 at 5.30pm in the Stevenson Centre.

Late applications cannot be processed and so it is vital that if you wish for your son to sit the entrance assessments, you register him as soon as possible after February 24.

THRASS information sessions

I will be conducting the annual start of year THRASS information sessions for parents on Thursday February 20.  The morning session will be conducted between 9,00 am and 10.30 am and the evening session will be conducted between 5.30 pm-7.00 pm.

Participants must register to attend the sessions as numbers are capped at a workable size. I look forward to seeing many parents at these sessions, so that you can better appreciate the approach to key literacy teaching that is employed at TSS.

Click Here to register.

Parenting webinars

Our partnership with Parenting Ideas which is the business of parenting expert Dr Michael Grose, enables parents to undertake their informative webinars for free.  The next webinar is on Future-proofing your child.

Webinar Overview

This century is characterised by disruptive change that is turning our world upside down. Jobs aren’t

just changing, whole industries are ceasing to exist. The scripts for success are being rewritten on

a daily basis in our families, at work and in life. In this webinar Nikki Bush teaches parents what to

expect and how to support their children to thrive in a future world of work.

Key learning and discussion points include:

  • Key trends that are changing the world
  • Frameworks for future-proofing children
  • Highlighting the X-factors for success
  • Explaining the role of school in a changing world
  • Helping parents to set realistic and relevant parenting goals

Joining the webinar is easy.

It will be conducted on 18 March 8-9pm AEDT

To redeem your webinar click this link:

  • Click ‘Add to cart’
  • Click ‘View cart’

• Enter the voucher code FUTURE and click ‘Apply’

  •  Enter your school’s name to verify your eligibility. The $37 discount will then be applied.
  • Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
  • Fill in your account details. These are the details you will use to login to your account and access your webinar and resources
  • Click ‘Place Order’


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