Community at Kew

My three ‘stand-outs’ for KPS

Claire Tanner has two daughters at KPS, Elise (grade 3), and Tara (grade 1). She loves spending time with family and friends, and regularly enjoys a latte or two at Kew Nursery Cafe, which sometimes doubles as an office. She thinks it’s great to be married to John Mifsud. She enjoys doing voluntary work, working in the Church and as a Relationship Consultant.P1060540

When James asked us to name three positive things about KPS in the recent parent/carer survey the first one came to mind immediately: the great sense of community, followed by the amazing diversity, and the talent – tapped and untapped – of our teacher/parent/student community.

Community vibe or “sense of community” – as one grade five student wrote in her student survey – is, I believe, special to our school. There is a strong sense of community among the teachers/leaders and among parents and students which fosters a willingness to work together to make our school great.

It’s certainly been challenging over the past three years to maintain and nurture our community. We have discovered that community doesn’t mean that we all think the same way, but is based on respect for our diversity. It involves trust, honesty and forgiveness.

This sense of community is demonstrated in lots of practical way throughout the school year. The families who do a great job at our working bees, the parents who organise and support our Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ day events, and the many parents who volunteer in all sorts of different ways. (You can book for our Mothers’ Day lunch here).

This year we have a new Fathers’ Association ( and will be launching our very own Art Show ( as well.


Kew Primary is the most culturally diverse school in the Boroondara region (as rated by the Council). This makes our life here at Kew Primary much more interesting and fun. Diversity is the spice of life! Our biggest cultural group is the Chinese, and in total we have 31 different nationality groups! (on the last count).


It has come to my attention that there is a highly creative talent base among the student/parent/staff community at Kew Primary. The teachers do a wonderful job of tapping into their own talents every day and of tapping into the talents of each of their students. And there are many ways for parents to share their skills at school.

This year the PTA will be hosting a “80s Talent Show” night. Already we have come across some amazing hidden talent and we are currently scouting for more to fill up our program for the evening. At this stage we can announce that the following talent will be on show…well, after I speak to them personally.

  1. The Piano Man (our very own Principal, Mr. James Penson)
  2. Salsa Dance duo, Morena & Peter
  3. Kew Girls, Rachel & Co
  4. Singing duo, Greg & Cath
  5. Guitar & vocals, Ben & Co
  6. Band (usually paid performers but a one-off song for us)
  7. Taekwondo, Phil & Co
  8. One-off only jokes by David, Sally & more….
  9. Half-time footy hand ball competition (with the mums having a go as well), Tim & Tony of Kew Comets!)

And much, much more…Nothing highbrow; fun is the main aim of the night. Stay tuned for more…Tickets will be $20/pp and available on trybooking. Save the date: Saturday 14th June 7pm!!

CT6Claire Tanner


Community… not just a buzz word

Jen Howard is a Kew PS parent with daughters Greta and Lola in grades 3 and 4. She works at Carlton & United Breweries and can sometimes been seen running, slowly, around Kew with other Kew PS parents trying to get fit. Jen’s current claim to fame is that she went to the same primary school as our Principal James Penson. photoJH

I worked in a government department some years ago and there was always talk about the ideal ‘community’. The boffins wondered how they could encourage more people to become involved in their local community – whether it be a knitting club, the local library, school or gym – because of the significant benefits to mental and physical health.

At the time, I had a picture in my head of card carrying members of some group being forced to sign up to something they had no interest in. I was skeptical and I was never completely convinced about something that felt like it was ‘set-up’ to make people connect.

A few years on when I first arrived at Kew Primary as a prep parent it felt like I would never know as many people, or feel as comfortable and connected, as some of the other parents I saw in the school yard.

At our first Peppercorn BBQ we hung around a family we’d known since crèche days. We stuck to their rug and watched other people eat, drink and talk the night away. It was a fun night, but I didn’t feel entirely connected or ‘part of’ the rest of the school.

However, as the years have gone on and our girls have moved through stages and grades, we’ve got  to know more people. With that growing circle of people has come a growing sense of connection.

Recently, while going for a run with a couple of other Kew PS parents, I was chatting about kids, the school, fitness, work, food and clothes (not necessarily in that order) and it dawned on me that I belong to a community.  There was no sign-up, and it wasn’t something I tried to do, it just happened over time. It felt good. I have people who care about me and whatever it is I am going through. I also care about other people and the stuff they have going on.

While we all have very different lives, we all have things in common. We share a love and sense of hope for our kids; we work, at home or in an office, we rush around and we sometimes worry about the future. It’s those things in common, the shared things, that I think help make us part of a great community.

While we probably don’t often think about the benefits for us in our children going to Kew Primary School, I think the boffins back in government were right: it does feel good to be connected to other people and to be a part of this community.

Jen Howard



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