Warwick Farm Public School profile

  • Is located about 30km south west of Sydney
  • Is situated in a high-needs community
  • Enrols 250 students from around 40 cultural backgrounds
  • Includes 74% students from non-English speaking background families
  • Promotes the motto, We work together to achieve quality learning

Launching KidsMatter Primary

Staff from Warwick Farm Public School attended Getting Started in November 2012 and completed Component 1 training on 5 March 2013. Just ten days later, KidsMatter Primary was launched in the school, and a large number of parents and community members, as well as students, participated in events that celebrated ideas of wellbeing.
 
The Parents & Carers made bracelets for all the students and staff. Students read self-written pieces about KidsMatter. A class group created a poster which spelt out, Your future is in the best hands - your own! The poster was decorated with handprints of students. The school also developed a KidsMatter theme song. 
 
The KidsMatter launch gave everyone the opportunity to say that 'we are doing the best we can for our kids'. We are here today because our kids matter. Everyone has something good they can offer – students, teachers, other school staff and parents and carers. We really tried to tap into that with our launch.
Lynette Flegg Principal

Parents and carers (P&C)

At Warwick Farm, parents and carers come from many different backgrounds. The KidsMatter launch provided  a new opportunity to be involved with the school, and given that it has not always been the case, their participation was exceptional. The parents and carers group came up with the idea to make gold bracelets. Originally the bracelets were just for the teachers at the launch. However, the group made lots – and eventually at 300, there was more than enough for every student! In addition, the group donated $100 toward the morning tea. Lynette thinks there is a definite connection between the enthusiastic participation of the parents and carers in the KidsMatter launch, and the focus on wellbeing in the school community.

Inviting a KidsMatter Ambassador

A former student, 18 year old Biljana, was invited to become a KidsMatter Ambassador. She was five years old when she and her mother arrived in Australia as refugees. At the launch Biljana recalled her feelings of apprehension about being in a new country and starting school at Warwick Farm before she learned English. She spoke of the challenges of ongoing treatment for severe facial burns sustained in a house fire before leaving Bosnia. Now studying community services at university, Biljana credits her success to the support and level of inclusion she experienced at Warwick Farm. As an Ambassador, Biljana participates in major KidsMatter events at the school, and is a model of personal resilience. 
 
It was great to welcome back our Kids Matter Ambassador, Biljana Tesnjak, to our community. I am sure that everyone who heard her story at the launch agreed that she is an inspirational role model to us all. Biljana is like the ‘poster girl’ for motivation and inspiration - the kids love her.
Lynette Flegg Principal

KidsMatter Primary slogan competition

Students were invited to enter a slogan competition for promoting KidsMatter Primary at Warwick Farm Public School. The winning slogan was decided by a school vote. The slogan is: 
 
We’re all kind 
And we’re all true
At Warwick Farm
We’re here for you!
 
A short video shows students demonstrating the slogan and their interpretation of what it means.

Building on wellbeing initiatives

KidsMatter Primary provides new opportunities for staff to focus on mental health and wellbeing. The ‘16 Habits of Mind ’is another tool that articulates particular qualities and ways of operating in the world.
Our kids need to know how to be successful – they often think they can’t be. We try to focus on the little things - but things where we can make a real impact. We try to make it non-judgemental and to provide little pathways for kids and parents to get to.
Kerry Leary-Smith, Assistant Principal

KidsMatter whiteboard attracts students

The idea of a community whiteboard started when canteen staff wrote friendly messages on a large board. Kerry, the Assistant Principal, used her own whiteboard near the parent room as a trial. She wrote some words on the board and left them. Students and parents started filling the whiteboard with messages – always welcoming, kind, and positive. Each week students are asked to respond to a different question and Kerry records some of their thoughts to report in the school newsletter and at assemblies. Examples of some questions are: Who is your hero and why? What's your goal this week? What have you done that at first, you thought was too hard?
 
We love the fact that students want to write their responses on the whiteboard. Some students write heartfelt comments such as: ‘My hero is my dad because he helps me with homework and stuff.’ Examples of goals include: ‘Talk to someone I don't normally talk to’ or ‘listen carefully.’ Two responses to the question about something that was initially too hard were: ‘starting school’, and ‘singing in front of lots of people.’ We’re giving students a different kind of opportunity to contribute to the community.
Kerry Leary-Smith, Assistant Principal