Latest News & Reminders
History of Lara Lake Primary School
A wonderful young girl called Madisyn from JDO wandered into my office on Monday, holding a piece of paper. She had an excited expression on her face as she told me about the Welsh dragon in her picture. Her family had seen it on TV and made a print of it to show me. Not only did she have the photo, but she told me the story about how our emblem came to be a dragon. It is worth accessing the video of Madisyn on our Facebook site because she tells the story far better than I do.
Lara Lake Primary School was founded in 1865, but the original buildings were destroyed in the 1969 bushfires and replaced by a concrete brick building. The school adopted the emblem of the red dragon and the Welsh colours after the exchange of aid between a school in Aberfan in Wales, UK and Lara Lake PS. On 21st October 1966 the Pantglas Junior School in Aberfan experienced tragedy after heavy rain caused a coal slag heap to collapse onto the school. Only a few years later, Lara Lake PS was destroyed by a large grass fire that devastated the township in 1969. Lara Lake found itself being repaid for the generosity it had shown earlier to the Aberfan School in Wales. They now rallied their community to raise money to assist us. In the spirit of respect, our school subsequently adopted the insignia of the Red Dragon - the same symbol used by Pantglas, Aberfan.
The detailed story of the tragedy is as follows:
The children had just finished assembly at Pantglas Junior School in Aberfan on that fateful October 21 morning in 1966. They had sung All Things Bright and Beautiful and were beginning to file back into their classrooms when disaster struck. At 9.15am, more than 150,000 cubic metres of water-logged debris broke away from Merthyr Vale Colliery waste tip number seven and started to flow down the mountain at speed. Some 120,000 cubic metres came to rest on the lower slopes, but 40,000 carried on and smashed into the village engulfing the school with thick mud and rubble up to 33ft deep. Many of the pupils were buried alive while a farm and 20 terraced houses along the village were destroyed by the surge. Rescue efforts carried on for a week due to delays caused by more debris coming down the mountain. In the end the death toll stood at 116 children aged between 7 and 10 and 28 adults, including five Pantglas teachers. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the village nine days later to pay their respects. And in 1974 the monarch came back to open the memorial playground.
If the disaster had struck a few minutes earlier, the children would not have been in their classrooms, and if it had struck a few hours later, the school would have broken up for half-term. Nobody in the village was able to see it, but everyone could hear the roar of the approaching landslide. Some at the school thought it was a jet about to crash and one teacher ordered his class to hide under their desks. Gaynor Minett, then an eight-year-old at the school, later recalled: "It was a tremendous rumbling sound and all the school went dead. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone just froze in their seats. I just managed to get up and I reached the end of my desk when the sound got louder and nearer, until I could see the black out of the window. I can't remember any more but I woke up to find that a horrible nightmare had just begun in front of my eyes." After the landslide there was total silence. George Williams, who was trapped in the wreckage, remembered: "In that silence you couldn't hear a bird or a child."
Whilst this article is written for an adult audience, Madisyn's account of the detail about the rich history of our school and its significance to us today really hit home. We are a proud school with a long history of caring for others. Despite the tragedy behind the story, isn't that just wonderful :)
Overly Protective Parenting - The Costs...
I walked into a shop some months ago and was served by a lady behind the counter who gave me the look as if she knew me. She asked the question, "Are you Mr Creece?" After striking up a conversation, I clearly recalled this woman to be a parent of a child I had in Grade 2. I really liked the boy and I asked how things were with him. Her eyes sunk as she told me that he was living in a Central Victorian town in a drug rehabilitation centre - having tried to kick the habit multiple times before. She said to me, "You know, you tried to tell me that I did too much for him. Protected him too much and would not accept that he could do anything wrong. That it was always someone else's fault. Now look what has happened to him. He can never take responsibility and it is always someone else's fault."
A year or so before, I remember seeing another mother who told me that her son was in prison, having murdered another man. It was shocking news. I clearly remembered this mother too as an overly-protective, take-no-responsibility parent whose son was never in the wrong and who was always the victim (according to the mother).
It is natural for all parents to be protective. This is right and good. It is instinct. But it takes real knowledge to know when this is overplayed and unhelpful to the young person. When it is robbing them of independence. This is the skill of great parenting.
Over 25 years in education has taught me that over-protective parenting is one of the most 'dangerous' for children; apart from obvious cases of abuse. The most successful parents that I see support their children, but not to the degree that they run in to bat for them every time there is a problem. Successful parents allow their children to make mistakes and allow the child to take responsibility for themselves. The son who murdered, in the story above, was instructed by his dad to "just go out and hit anyone who hurt him". I guess the murder was testament to his father's teachings. A life in jail, the consequence. Well done, dad. You got your way.
The spate of "one lethal punch" incidents in Australia shows this kind of primal mentality. If someone does you wrong, go out and belt them. It all ends in tears for the victims and the perpetrators; but still the mentality exists in our society and it starts with how we bring up our children.
The goal of parenthood is to allow your sons and daughters to grow up to be independent. They can't always run to you. In my experience, being overly-defensive and blaming everyone else is a grave mistake.
Being a good parent is difficult. You don't know that what you are doing is right or wrong at the time. But as my two examples above illustrate; the costs of getting it wrong are huge and we can see the signs early on. I wish I was able to get that message across to my two unfortunate boys' parents all those years ago. Their parents failed them, and maybe, so did I.
New Software Systems Starting
In Term 4, we will be phasing in some new software systems designed to assist us with tracking student attendance, welfare and performance. There will also be an electronic sign-in system so we can track all visitors to the school more closely.
The longer-term plan will be to have an online connection with parents so you can all see what percentage attendance your child has and also have access to your child's progress reports in electronic form. It would involve a log in which is unique to each student/family. This is a future add-on and will not be included in the Term 4 phase. Reporting will appear differently in 2015 as we move to the new system. We are all very excited by our closer tracking opportunities as we can give 'real time' feedback to parents in future years. In the world of electronics, it seems a logical progression.
We still have one or two parents who enter the school without coming through the office and this is annoying. We strive to maintain full security for all students and having parents enter the school grounds without signing in via the office breaches this policy. I strongly urge all parents to come in via the office, sign in and then make their way to the area in a sanctioned way. Our new electronic sign-in process will track all visitors more closely so there should never be an excuse for being on the grounds for no good reason. In the meantime, I ask that all parents respect the rules and check in via the office if they happen to be at the school for any reason. It is for student safety. It is sensible. It is right. Just do it.
The Lara Fire Brigade are having an Open Day.
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We have a couple of very talented parents who are assisting us with compiling a school prospectus. One is a professional photographer and the other is a graphic designer.
Please note that...
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PAV donates 2 weeks...
Date for you
In Term 4 we are holding a 'Twilight Picnic and Play' on Thursday 23rd October from 5.30pm - 7pm
All families are welcome.
Come along and enjoy a picnic with...
Dear Parents and Students
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You will be in the house with 'DJ James' who...
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