Welcome new parents and baby Millar

In today’s blog I’d like to welcome all the new members of the Kew Primary School community. If you’ve found your way to the blog it means you’ve read the newsletter (well done!) and are now hooked into ‘our fantastic blog’ (thanks for the plug last night James!).

This time last year I asked a few parents who’d been around a while to cast their minds back to their early Prep days when everyone was just a teeny bit emotional and our children seemed so incredibly small. We came up with: Top Ten Tips for Panicked Preppie Parents which will tell you everything you need to know about starting at KPS. Well, not quite everything, but it’s a great start:

This week I’m also going to introduce two guest bloggers and welcome the newest – and most gorgeous – member of the KPS community.

Katrina Whelan has four children at KPS and writes her own (fantastic) book review blog: booksaremyfavouriteandbest. After my interview with James Penson last week, I asked Katrina to write something positive and uplifting for this week’s post; something fun and interesting that would really impress all the new parents. This is what Katrina sent me. Cheers, Kate.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty

There was a time, about four years ago, when I had whooping cough and as a result tore the ligaments between my ribs (a level of constant pain that was extraordinary). It coincided with my husband being interstate for work for an extended period of time. It also coincided with moving house. The point is, I was shattered. I didn’t think things could get any worse. And then they did.


Our first case of nits. And those little blighters just about tipped me over the edge. But I’m in a better place now and I can talk about nits without scratching my own head (mostly) and without breaking down in tears of frustration (mostly). Here’s what I’ve learnt after having kids at primary school for six years.

1. Conditioner is not a nit treatment (unless you’re prepared to comb your kid’s hair with a nit comb every day until they’re 21).

2. Some kids are nit magnets. You know how if you’re outside in the evening with a group of people and one person gets covered in mozzie bites and everyone else is spared? Nits are the same. Although they don’t discriminate, it seems some kids have more scrumptious scalps than others.

3. If we all checked our kids’ hair regularly, we would save a forest every year. Hey? Nits equal nit notices from the office. Think about it.

4. A change is as good as a holiday. The chemist has an aisle of nit treatments. Give that aisle a work-out. When nits visit us, I pull out my arsenal of treatments and carefully select my weapon. I change my ‘weapons’ regularly, keeping the nits on their toes. I’m like a nit-attacking version of Dan Ackroyd in Ghostbusters.ghostbusters

5. Be alert but not alarmed. Vigilance is the key but remember, nits don’t discriminate and there’s no need to feel embarrassed if your child has them.

6. How do you ‘do’? Boys with buzz cuts and girls with braids so tight that it makes your scalp hurt just looking at them usually belong to parents who are at the end of their nit rope. In all seriousness, nits move from head to head via direct contact so hair that is loose is the equivalent of a nit welcome mat.

7. Remember to laugh (or you might not stop crying).  How I laughed when the first nit notice this year arrived home on day three. Day three! And even the kids joined in the fun when we played ‘Nit Bingo’ last year (if all four of my kids bring home a nit notice on the same day, we yell ‘Nit Bingo!’). Yes, nits are time consuming, can get expensive to treat and can seem to be a never-ending problem but if we all stay on top of it, I might finish 2014 saying ‘Nit Bingo? That is sooooo last year.’

For actual useful information about nits, see: Tackling a perennial problem.


Alex St Claire is a communications consultant and has a son, Jake, in Grade 5 and a daughter, Isabelle, who’s just started in Prep. Alex is originally from Adelaide, but moved to Melbourne to work as a journalist before heading to Dubai for seven years. She’s switched from running in heels through Emirates Palace after TV crews to chasing kids through the playground and coercing them off the monkey bars.

Will you be my buddy?

As parents, the first day of school presents a heady mixture of joy and sadness.  Joy that they are beginning this wonderful journey with confidence and sadness that they aren’t our little babies anymore.

Watching the preps go in to their classrooms for their first day, it’s amazing to see the smiling faces and watching new friendships form within just a few minutes. But, as all parents know, there is a lot of preparation that has gone into those first steps into their new classroom.

Last year they enjoyed orientation sessions with the specialist teachers in art, PE, French and performing arts and even experienced a classroom session with their class and new teacher. This comprehensive transition program also extended to the local kindergartens with visits from the prep teachers to watch the kids at play.

It’s been such an easy transition that I can’t help but compare it to our first day at Kew Primary School three years ago. Moving from overseas and beginning the school term half way through the year presents a lot of challenges.

When my big Grade 5 boy mentioned his first day last week – remembering sitting alone in the schoolyard at his first lunch – I recalled the awkwardness I also felt, scanning the crowd for a friendly face. So, I was delighted to see the welcoming of these new parents in the new guidelines for class representatives.

Another great initiative that begins this year to further enhance the integration of prep families is the new prep buddy system. This partners exiting families with new prep families so they can provide advice and friendship. Our new Principal James Penson handed out the registration forms to the 55 new prep families when they arrived for their first day. If your child is new to the school, either starting in Prep or in Grade 1 to 6, then you are welcome to join the parent buddy program. I’ve heard a lot of positive comments from parents about the program so please pick up a form from the office.


He aha te mea nui i te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world? It’s people, it’s people, it’s people.

(Traditional Maori Proverb)Millar 2

One of the things that really struck a chord with me on my first day as Casual Relief Teacher at  Kew Primary School back in 2010 was the way the staff were so friendly and open. I felt less of an outsider and more of a valued colleague.  All staff made a real effort to welcome me into the school and to take the time to talk with me. As someone new to Melbourne, this was something I truly valued and it really left a positive impression on me. In fact, this initial experience was so positive that I decided, even back then, that I wanted to teach full time at Kew Primary.Millar 3

It goes without saying that a real strength of KPS is the way staff treat and value each other and I’m proud to say that my wife, P.A., and I have made some really great friendships. I have also been fortunate to have met some fantastic parents. So it’s with immense pride that I share with the wider school community the birth of our daughter on the 2nd of January this year.Millar 1

We have named her Millar Anne Wood and needless to say, I’m a very proud husband and Dad. I’m absolutely loving my new role as a father and as much as I love coming to Kew every day to teach your children, I love going home each night, even more, to spend some time with our beautiful daughter. We are hoping to bring Millar to the upcoming Peppercorn BBQ, to introduce her to the staff and the wider community, a community we are very proud to be part of.

Andrew Wood, Lead Teacher and 603 Class Teacher

Jacqui Tomlins

4 thoughts on “Welcome new parents and baby Millar

  1. Well this was a comforting, funny, and exciting blog all in one! Thanks to the contributors. I now feel more comfortable about my kids having had nits, and had a good laugh as well. A did want a miracle cure, but that can be your next blog, Katrina! Feeling “comfortable in your own skin” at our school is also really important, and is helped by feeling welcomed and accepted by others. And how exciting to have a beautiful baby “on staff”. Millar was a big hit on friday night, when she captured all our attention, and there were some among us that even felt a bit clucky!

  2. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog
    and I am inspired! Very helpful info specially the last phase :
    ) Thanks and best of luck.

  3. Pingback: Nits 101 | Kew Primary School Blog

  4. Pingback: You found us how? | Kew Primary School Blog

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