Winters Flat Primary School
PDF Details

Newsletter QR Code

3 Roberts Ave
Castlemaine VIC 3450

Phone: 03 5472 1522

FLAT CHAT | 8th December 2021

Filter Content

FLAT CHAT | 8th December 2021


Thank you to all families and staff for your understanding and quick response yesterday. School is open as usual today.

I was very proud to receive a message from the Station Master from Maldon on Friday, complimenting our teachers and the SLC students who took part in last week's Bike Hike. He said a big 'Thank You' to Winters Flat for excellent behaviour at the station.

As this is our last Flat Chat for 2021 I want to thank all our students, staff and parents once again for the way we all got through this year and like everyone else (and I know we all thought the same last year) I’m looking forward to a better year in 2022.

Have a great Christmas and safe and happy holidays over the summer break.

Reminder: We finish school at the earlier time of 1:30pm Next Friday 17th December



Unfortunately, in the circumstances we are unable to go ahead with the end of year celebration tomorrow evening.



Staff for next year:
P/1J - Fiona Johnston

2/3W – Helen Weir

SLC 4-6 LC – Keenan Lucas & Michelle Creed

SLC 4-6 BM – Karen Brooks & Sam Milner

Tutor – Michelle Creed


ES Support – Morgan Sherry

ES Support – Marg Stevens

ES Support – Bronwyn Tracey


French – Katie Kilgour

PE – Sam Milner

Visual Arts – Jennifer Thoma

Performing Arts – Suzanne Kinnersly

Kitchen – Rosie Annear

Garden – Terry Willis

Business Manager- Karen Mahoney


In terms of the two SLC classes of Year 4-6, this model was first used when the flexible learning spaces of the senior area were opened. There was at that time, and will continue to be, fluidity in the groupings of students and from time-to-time year level cohorts will be working together, as well as being class-based with their home group teacher. Other teachers and support staff will also be working with the SLC.



Bianca Alvarez-Harris will be finishing here at Winters Flat at the end of this year. It has been wonderful working with Bianca who has made an indelible impact on our students and colleagues alike. We wish her all the very best at her new school, Kennington PS.

We are also saying goodbye to Anne Neath who has been working in an Education Support role here at Winters Flat for many years. Anne has made such a difference to the school experience of the students and staff she has supported, not to mention hours and hours of voluntary work, including numerous camps. She has been our unofficial photographer at school events. Happy retirement Anne - we will miss you!

Another departure from the Winters Flat staff team is Renae Irwin who has been offered a full-time ongoing role at Rushworth P-12 College. We will also miss Renae who has been our receptionist and the voice of social media for Winters Flat PS since 2019. We wish her all the best for the future.



We’re hoping to be able to farewell the class of 2021 in the traditional way and Graduation Day will be celebrated next Tuesday 14th December. Arrangements are underway with planning and collaboration between students and staff for this outdoor event to ensure they have a great send off from Winters Flat PS. Adult guests must sign in and show proof of vaccination when they arrive.



Frankie M – 8 in the third week

Byron– 12 in the fourth week

Jimmy – 9 in the fourth week

Bo – 11 in the fourth week

Briscoe - 10 in the fifth week


Hip Hip:  Hooray

Hip Hip:  Hooray

Hooray: Hip Hip


Suzanne Kinnersly


School Calendar




Monday 13th

Final assembly of the year- 2:30pm-3:15pm. Hosted by the Grade 6 Graduating class. Please note that parents/carers must be fully vaccinated to attend and must sign in at the office on arrival. Winners of the Coliban Water Poster competition will be awarded their prizes and we will present the winner of the Mango Fundraiser with their book voucher. The Golden Trowel SAKG Award for Excellence and the Silver Spoon SAKG Award for Achievement will also be presented.

Tuesday 14th

Year 6 Graduation (see information below)

Wednesday 15th 

Reports available on XUNO. Parents who have requested either a hard copy or email copy in the past will receive them on this day also.

Friday 17th

Last day of Term. 1:30pm finish.


Monday 31st

Students return to school for Term 1 of 2022.


Wednesday 2nd

No Preps at school.

Wednesday 9th

No Preps at school.

Wednesday 16th

No Preps at school.

Wednesday 23rd

No Preps at school.


Year 6 Graduation

This year our Grade 6 Graduation will be held at our school on Tuesday 14th December 2021. The attached note has been handed out to students and the bottom of the note will need to be returned to school ASAP.


Volunteers for 2022

If you wish to be put on the list to help with volunteering with a range of tasks next year, please fill out this form.


Parent class reps for 2022

If you wish to be a class rep for your child/ren's class next year, please fill out the form here.


Unexplained absences

Parents whose child/ren who have unexplained absences recorded for the year have been sent emails. If you have received these email, please action the absences on XUNO at your earliest convenience.


Lost Property

We have a large number of items currently in lost property. The tub is in the office. Please check if any of it belongs to you. At the end of each term, unclaimed and unnamed items will be donated to local charities.


Parent Payments 2022

A reminder to please return the 'parent payments 2022' form that went home with your child/ren the other week.



With a week and a half left of the term, a reminder about fees and excursion payments that are overdue. Please contact Karen in the office for any enquiries.



Karen Mahoney & Renae Irwin


We were very grateful to have the Old School Boys Association visit on 29th November, with a wonderful donation of 4 new library books!

A big thank you to them, and to Jimmy B, Lucinda K-G, Aurelia F and Arlo S for receiving the books.



Soy glazed tofu

Mini quiches

Gnocchi with basil pesto



Remember, all our recipes are available on our school website, so you can try them at home.


And what we're harvesting from the garden...


Volunteers please

Please contact the office if you are able to help with the watering and/or looking after the Chooks over the School Holiday period (18th December-27th January). 


Rosie & Terry
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden

P/1 J | Oscar M

For showing Care for Self by striving to achieve his best in every activity in the classroom. Well done Oscar!


P/1 J | Winter S

For showing Care for Self by listening and always being ready to learn. You are a star!


2/3 A | Charlie B

For showing Care for Self by putting in a fantastic effort in his writing. Keep it up Charlie!


2/3 A | Frankie M

For showing Care for Others by always being a kind, encouraging and cheerful friend. Great work Frankie!


3/4 W| All 3/4W students

For showing Care for Self, Others and the Environment. What an amazing year you've had- ups and downs, ins and outs, but you have achieved so much still! I am very proud to have been your teacher this year, well done!


4/5 L | All Grade 5 students who attended the Bike Hike

For showing Care for Self. Your ability to apply yourselves in physically challenging circumstances was outstanding. Well done!!


5/6 B |All students in the class who attended the Bike Hike

For showing Care for Self. Your persistence and perseverance on the Bike Hike was wonderful to see! Great job! 

Hello Winters Flat community.

We are officially only two weeks away from the end of the school year! Phew! It’s a long newsletter entry from the Wellbeing Team this fortnight… have a wonderful summer and see you next year.

2021 has been a year that has sent strong messages to our leaders about the uncompromising importance of investing in mental health and nurturing communities. Without healthy minds and communities, things go from bad to worse. We all have stories of how we, ourselves, or someone close to us, including our child/children, has struggled with mental health over these last two years.

National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

This year the Australian government launched the world’s first National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The Strategy provides a framework to guide the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of services to maintain and support the mental health and wellbeing of children aged 0-12 and their families. However, the strategy is yet to change things on the ground for children and their families who are in great need of support now. It will take time for the funding to show up in the form of real resources and professional support… here’s hoping that things change soon.

Many of us with children know that there is a tremendous gap in mental health support for primary aged children and the research shows that mental health concerns show up well-before the age of 14 and need to be addressed swiftly.

Free Parenting App

There is one excellent and FREE program that is being funded by the Victorian Government called, Positive Parenting Program. Triple P is a flexible, practical system of programs to help parents/carers develop skills, strategies and confidence to parent children positively. It supports parents/carers to build and maintain positive and nurturing relationships with their children and develop skills for raising resilient, competent and confident children. Triple P is the most extensively researched parenting program in the world. Clinical trials and evaluations over decades have shown that Triple P works for most families, in many different cultures, and in many different family situations. I recommend having a look:

International Day of People with Disability

On Friday December 3rd we celebrated International Day of People with Disability. IDPwD is a United Nations observed day aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.

Schools are often wonderful places to witness the lived values of diversity and inclusion when it comes to children living and learning with a disability. Best practice in schools involves the acceptance, commitment and implementation of the concept of inclusion. Inclusion is a concept in education most often associated with minority groups and people who experience disability, but in fact, inclusion is about everyone. Inclusion is a human right (Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons 1975), a legal entitlement to all (Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992), and a core pillar of educational policy (Disability Standards for Education 2005).

The following guiding principles, based on the Australian Disability Standards for Education (2005), underpin the Australian government’s guidance on planning personalised learning and support in schools:

  1. All students can learn
  2. Every child has a right to a high-quality education
  3. Effective teachers provide engaging and rigorous learning experiences for all students
  4. A safe and stimulating environment is integral to enabling students to explore and build on their talents and achieve relevant learning outcomes
  5. For students with disability and additional learning needs, reasonable adjustments should be made where required (DET 2015, p. 3).

(taken from

There is still much work to be done in schools to recognise, acknowledge and nurture a truly inclusive culture for children living with disability. One area desperately needing more resources is supporting children and their families to identify and work with neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is an elaborate word for all the different atypical ways in which individual brains can function. It covers both learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, and developmental conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Read more here:

From my experience working in schools, many families carry stigma about getting their children assessed for neurodiversity. However, such an assessment can create an important opportunity for a child to embrace their unique selves and of course, gives teachers and schools the best information by which to engage the child.

In saying that, many families are indeed willing to get their child assessed but are met with extreme prices for assessment and/or long wait times. Currently, wait times if getting your child assessed within the government school system are as long as 18 months. Please contact me if you wish to know more about getting your child an Educational Assessment (

If your child has already been identified as having additional needs in the classroom, you are entitled to ask your child’s teacher to prepare an Individual Education Plan or IEP. Here is a useful article to explain what IEPs are and how to make sure they are accurate and effective for you child (

Pop-Up Safe Space in Castlemaine

A wonderful and much-needed initiative has gotten underway in Castlemaine thanks to the suicide prevention and postvention group Every Life Matters (ELM). The dedicated volunteers are now on the hunt for a suitable venue for the new initiative and members of the community who would be interested in being part of the working group to make the important new project a reality. Read more here:

If you would like to get involved as a working group member, trained peer worker or focus group member you can email


Stay safe and stay connected.


Hannah O'Keefe

Wellbeing OfficerWinters Flat Primary School

(Wednesdays 9:30-2:30)



Remember, if you are concerned about the wellbeing of your child for any reason please let the school know so we can support you and your family. Reasons can included changes to your family or living arrangements, emotionally intense events or experiences, mental health concerns such as anxiety and peer related challenges at school or home.


If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.


The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) have a 24 hour number you can call to talk with someone and access services in the region: 1300 363 788 (


The Loddon Orange Door is also an excellent free service for adults, children and young people.  They can link you in with services. They are available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (closed public holidays). Call 1800 512359


Here are some more good services with integrated support for children, young people and families

Australian Psychological Society

This is a professional association representing psychologists in Australia. The website can help you find a psychologist near you.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue works to increase community awareness of depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders. The website has an extensive collection of downloadable resources. Beyond Blue’s information line can refer you to relevant services – phone 1300 224 636.

Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute raises awareness about depression and bipolar disorder. It works to improve diagnosis, treatment and community understanding of these conditions. The website has professional support and services for clinicians.

Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE)

This non-profit organisation works to improve the emotional wellbeing of parents. The website has evidence-based articles about emotional wellbeing in pregnancy and early parenthood for parents, family members and friends.

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI)

This organisation helps children whose parents have a mental illness. The website has resources for professionals working with these children and for family members. It also has links to other mental health services for adults and children.

Head to Health

This website provides access to trusted, relevant mental health care services, online programs and resources. Whether you want to improve your overall sense of wellbeing or you need help with something that’s concerning you, Head to Health can help you find the support that most suits your needs.


Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. It has centres throughout Australia providing support, information and advice to young people aged 12-25 years.


PANDA has a helpline providing information and support for people affected by postnatal and antenatal depression. The number is 1300 726 306 (Monday-Friday, 9am-7.30pm AEST/AEDT). The website also has a range of resources including perinatal anxiety and depression fact sheets to help people understand and cope with these conditions.

SANE Australia

SANE Australia runs education and other programs to improve the lives of people living with mental illness, their family and friends. The website has information on a range of mental health topics. Support is available through online chat or by calling the helpline – 1800 18 SANE (7263). There are also discussion forums where you can connect with others in a safe, anonymous environment.


THIS WAY UP provides evidence-based, online treatment programs for anxiety and depression. The programs are based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles and include courses on pregnancy, postnatal mental health, mindfulness, insomnia, worry, stress, depression, chronic pain and wellbeing. All THIS WAY UP courses are free when prescribed by a health professional. The site also features a range of free coping and resilience tools to tackle feelings of stress, anxiety, and low mood.

Yarning SafeNStrong (YSNS)

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service have established a free and confidential counselling service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Yarning SafeNStrong (YSNS) is available to people and families who need to have a yarn with someone about their wellbeing.

Call 1800 959 563


Facebook @YarningSafenStrong

Youth Beyond Blue

This is a national initiative focusing on depression in youth. It provides useful information for young people and their parents and carers, including how to get help and several fact sheets on anxiety and stress.


LGBTI peer support and referral

1800 184 527 (6pm to 10pm daily)

Online chat 3pm to 12am daily


Family Drug & Gambling Help

1300 660 068


Parentline is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old. We offer confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues.

13 22 89


*If you wish for your child/ren to participate in sessions with Hannah, please ensure you provide permission on XUNO or sign a hard copy of the permission form available at the office. 




Bookings are now open for our exciting Summer School Holiday Program! Incursions and Excursions are back for Summer. Check out our program and book online!



Wanted : Best Dressed Santa or Santina

The traders at the top end of Mostyn Street (near RIKE Fashions, Saffs and the florist) will be looking for the best dressed Santa or Santina during late night shopping this Friday 10 December 5pm to 8pm. There will also be a Santa mail box to post your letters to Santa. Come along and join in the fun!!



Bookings are now open for our exciting Summer School Holiday Program! Incursions and Excursions are back for Summer. Check out our program and book online!
Please note that you must be fully vaccinated to attend the below event