Principal for a day 2019 – A Bendigo Match

“Having worked in Mental Health for many years and mostly in child and youth service the Principal for a Day program was a great opportunity to see young people through a different lens, this being the principal. I was very fortunate to be placed with Ms Kim Saddlier the Principal of Kangaroo Flat Primary School. Working in Mental health is very one to one so being in a school environment with 268 students, 20 teaching staff plus the principal team of two and 20 educational support staff (including: chaplain, speech pathologist, multicultural aides, classroom support, librarian, canteen and administration support staff.  I couldn’t forget my favourite, Bonnie who is a beautiful one-year old Groodle who is a therapy dog purchased with the aid of BCHS where I currently work. The children love Bonnie and she is such a calming influence for both staff and children at the school.

Firstly, I was taken on the tour of the school which is much bigger than it appears, and I was amazed that all the children that came to speak with Ms Saddlier were so positive and Ms Saddlier knew each student by name which I found amazing. We attended several classes to observe the children participating in the ‘learning walk’. This is a brilliant hand on way of teaching the students in different ways to learn. For example, the children were learning measurement and we observed four different ways they were learning by doing specific exercises with tape measures, containers of water, tests on the computer, and measuring their wrist to elbow to show it was the same size as their foot. The children were very engaged in the activities and were having fun as they were learning. During breaks I spent time meeting the teaching and support staff and students on placement.

It was a fabulous day and the part I enjoyed the most was SOS which stands for ‘Sorting Out Strategies’, this was an excellent initiative. When there is an incident with students, they attend a meeting with the principal in the following days after the incident when things have calmed, and the students are able to reflect on the incident. Each student is given time to discuss what occurred from their perspective. Then they all think about the incident and together discuss how things could be improved learning from the incident.  I found this fantastic as it was positive, non-blaming and the students participated looking for improved outcomes. They are learning to problem solve and it was great to see such a positive initiative in the school system.

I take my hat off to every teacher after that day, seeing the number of children they must teach, manage and support each day of the school year. It was evident each staff member was passionate about the work they do, and it shines through the children.  Congratulations to everyone I had a fabulous day.”


Jenny Singe, Director of Mental Health Services

Bendigo Community Health Serives