Week 6-Really?!?

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Can you believe how fast this term has gone? There has been so much energy and excitement in all of our studios, it is an absolute pleasure to visit classes as well as teach my own. When I am out visiting I can’t help but get excited about the contribution that the students will make to our year end shows. It is wonderful to see how all children are engaging in class activities with enthusiasm, and really giving a hundred percent. This creates such a bubble of excitement in my tummy as I think about how we, and our teachers get the opportunity to play a part in the creation of some pretty fabulous memories!! Our year end shows are such an exciting and inspiring time – a time where we get to “show off” our wonderful students. If the last few weeks are any indication, our year end shows will be AMAZING!! I am looking forward to continued enthusiasm as we finish this term, and can’t wait for our Term 4 and the adventure that we get to go on together.

Investing in life!!

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Wow, what a busy life our kids lead! During chats with parents I am hearing about the hectic taxi service they are running to ensure that their children are able to develop all of their interests. SO, this blog is dedicated to those wonderful mums and dads who sit in the car while it is raining, or race off to pick up another child while their children are attending our classes 🙂

As you know, our Performance Days will be happening at the end of this term, so you will experience first hand the value of the life skills that we pride ourselves on instilling in our students. Today I want to share with you my experience of the past few weeks…..

As is often the case in Primary Schools, word has “gotten out” that I am a drama teacher and so I have been “roped into” co-ordinating theassembly item for my daughter’s class!! And, as we all know, good news travels fast and so I am now also “helping” in my niece’s class as well as my nephew’s. This takes my assembly total to 3 for this year (a pretty good effort considering that I am not employed by the school!)

The best thing about this experience, is the excitement of the children,and  we are having an absolute blast as we work together to build a piece that fits around what they have been working on this term. They love sharing their new knowledge and I love seeing the pride on their faces as we create the piece together.

What I am finding difficult though, is the number of children who find it difficult to talk – something that we do everyday!! There is a shyness, an inability to stay still and give eye contact. All of which comes about because they believe that what they have to contribute is not worthwhile. Oh, if only I could get  all of these children into the Academy to show them how wonderful they truly are!

So to my heroes (the mums and dads and grandmas and grandpas), as you sit in your car with the newspaper or killing time with facebook on your phone (btw we have a page now, you should check us out: www.facebook.com/helenogradyperth), know that whilst your child may not become the next Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman, they will have had an opportunity to learn how to speak with confidence and, more importantly, they will have been able to see how wonderful and fantastic they truly are.


Make The Days Count

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These school holidays my friends and I have challenged each other to not count the days but rather make the days count. We often hang out for the holidays but two or three days in, we  can’t wait for school to go back!! Going away is a lovely thought but with my husband just starting a new job it was near impossible so I have been at home with my Princess 6, Madam 4, Miss 2 (who is toilet training) and Master 9months. So what have we done to “make the days count”??
Without endless funds (my mother in law keeps on promising to win lotto but is yet to come good!!) – creativity and linking activities have been my best friends!!
Holidays Week One- Modelling
We began this week researching on the internet the best possible play dough recipe, writing a shopping list, then (when the baby was up from his morning nap,) walking to the shops to buy the ingredients ($6 didn’t break the bank!).
Next, we made the play dough (3 batches in 3 different colours so as not to cause any arguments) and then came the real fun!!
For the next 3 days we played with play dough each morning.
The first day we simply made shapes and whatever each child wanted to make. The second day I had made up some play dough mats. I used the computer, printer and laminator to create activities (for example one was a moat and the task was to build a castle, another was a bridge and we needed to make a troll to go underneath it. The last day was my absolute favourite.  After all the fairy tale activities, it was our job to make the characters, and act out our own fairy tale using our play dough people. It wasn’t just my favourite – the kids LOVED it too!  It was fantastic to see how engaged they all were, (and we all know if they are engaged they aren’t fighting!). Even my 2 year old gained an understanding of story structure and characterisation as we moved between the play dough mats.
What an adventure our characters had: meeting trolls, swimming through shark- infested moats and fighting dragons… of course in a girl dominant house the Princesses conquered all evil in the end without a Prince in sight!!
In a society that is very much centred on developing the kinaesthetic intelligences through sporting activities,  I love shifting this focus and allowing my kids to develop their imagination and creativity.  I think that this in turn, will help to develop their confidence, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills as well as encourage them to think outside the box and be happy and proud of their own individuality.
Stay tuned!  Next week’s task is learning about the post.  We are writing a story for our cousins and posting it off.  I am also thinking that the older two can write each other a letter or draw a picture so that they get to have the excitement of receiving something in the mail. I might even post myself something so that I receive something that isn’t a bill!

Emma Lupino

Principal and Mother of 4 – Rockingham/Mandurah branch

Love this time of term!!!!

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I must say this is a great time of term, I know you must be thinking that I am saying this because the term is at an end and the holidays are near, but this is not the case!!

The children are buzzing with excitement in our classes as holidays draw near and we all know that next term means we get to show our parents just how wonderful we are in our Parents’ Days. I love that as their teachers, we get to share in that excitement and help them to be proud of themselves and what they can show their parents.

For me as a teacher, the reason that I love this time of the term is that I can see now, how student, who have been in the class for as little as 9 hours, are really starting to show confidence in their performances and they are  remembering dramatic aspects for themselves. I am able to feed off them in the creative process.

Last week  at my Warnbro studio (held at the Warnbro Community Church,) after giving verbal instructions on how I wanted the piece to end, I looked up to see some fanastic expression. It was hard to pick one to share with you all!! In the end, I chose the lovely Apsley who began drama with me at the beginning of this term. She is the youngest our class and is constantly impressing  us with her effort, enthusiasm and energy 🙂

You'd better watch out


Thank You!

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Last week I received an email from “What’s on 4 Little Ones” Australia which read:
“Congratulations! It’s our great pleasure to tell you that you have been nominated in the Best Regional School Age Activity category in the What’s On 4 2012 Junior awards! These awards recognise and celebrate the very best as nominated and voted for by parents, parents-to-be and carers.  So…what you do has meant so much to someone they have taken the time to tell us how wonderful you are and how much they value you!”

I was so excited that, in only my second year as Principal, and in the very first year of these awards, someone has bestowed such an honour on myself, the programme and the Academy nationally.  For those of you who don’t know in my first year as Principa, I had my fourth child and my life became very busy and full as a Mum and a Principal”Crazy!” I can hear some of you saying, but I love it! I get the best of both worlds – the rewards and challenges of running my own business and the flexibility that allows me to be the kind of Mum that I want to be. I am proud of this nomination and this recognition of our fantastic programme is very deserved! Having my oldest daughte rnow at an age where she can start our classes, I am beginning to see the benefits from a different perspective. In my 3 years at the Academy, I have always been able to see the growth that comes about for our students on a weekly basis.  Occasionally, parents  give me a snippet of how their child has used the life skills in their everyday world. Now, I am also seeing how  my outgoing, effervescent daughte,r was also in need of the creative outlet and safe environment of her drama class.  our self development programme is has allowimg her to become a confident little girl, who is aware of her worth and abilities and is also comfortable to challenge herself.
So, to those of you out there who nominated the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy for this award, I want to thank you for the compliment and also let you know that it truly is my pleasureto bring the programme to your children! Our students  give as much to me as I do to them in terms of a positive impact!

Emma Lupino, Principal, Rockingham/Mandurah branch.

To vote for Helen O’Grady Drama Academy please go to http://www.whatson4littleones.com.au/awards-voting-2012.asp
and vote in the Best National Activity for School Aged Children section. Thank you for your support 🙂