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Melbourne's iconic Handspan Theatre's history documented.

24 July 2017

Many teachers will recall the incredible work of Melbourne's visual theatre company, Handspan Theatre. Much of the company’s repertoire during its 25 year history (1977 – 2002)  was for young audiences – predominantly presented in schools.

Now you can revisit their repertoire in a website that archives their shows with commentary and occasional anecdotes of their time. 

The website was created and developed by Helen Rickards and Maeve Vella. Check it out here

Image; Four life-size paper figures unfold in the opening scene of Four Little Girls, 
Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, 1988. ★ Photograph © David Simmonds 1988

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Orphanage Tourism

23 July 2017

Tourism for people with a social conscience can not only result in the tourists being exploited, but have a far-reaching negative effect on local communities.

A new type of tourism, called Orphanage Tourism, has become so popular in poorer countries, that orphanages are often filled with children who have parents. Globally, up to 8 million children live in institutions, but over 80% of these children have parents or family. They are in the orphanages because of the "demand" from the tourists.

Before heading off to "volunteer" or donate, check the bona fides of the institutions you're assisting. After all, children are not a tourist attraction.

Read more here

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Helicopter, Lawnmower or Good Enough? Modern Parentlng Styles

21 July 2017

What is considered safe parenting now is so different to say, that in the 1970's, where children were able to roam about and left to their own devices. 

Now, playing at home, inside, is standard for 8 -12 year olds and the distance they are allowed from home has shrunk 90% since the 1970's. (read more)

Parents worry more now. The "helicopter" parent hovers, ready to fly in and solve, help or protect. The "lawnmower" parent is ahead of the child, smoothing the way, predicting problems.

All this attention from parents isn't actually helping children, as teachers are aware. Always providing stimulation dulls creativity and imagination, the hovering parent can create anxiety in the child. Risk taking is part of development.

50 years ago, Donald Woods, a paediatrician and psychoanalyst introduced "good enough parenting" as a way to develop secure, independent children. Perhaps he was onto something..

Read more here

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200th anniversary of Jane Austen

18 July 2017

It is a truth universally acknowledged.... that we still love Jane Austen

Today is the anniversary of Jane Austen's death, at the age of 41, in 1817. Her books, and their TV and film adaptations, remain immensely popular because people still feel connected to her characters and stories.

The settings may be the glamorous Regency period, but the passions and flaws of her characters and their situations have timeless appeal.

Some favourite Austen quotes:

  • The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
  • I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.
  • A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.
  • One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
  • If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  • To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.
  • For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?
  • Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.
  • Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

Read more about why her works still resonate here

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Back to school today for NSW, ACT, VIC and WA

17 July 2017

Hope you had a great mid-year break!

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Britain's Taylor Review into Work and Wages

13 July 2017

The vast change in work practices in Britain, with zero hours contracts and low pay, dubbed the "gig" economy have given rise to lots of discussion about " a living wage" harking back 100 years or more when it was first raised in the British Parliament ( by Winston Churchill).

Ironically, employment rates are high, but it hasn't resulted in better conditions or higher pay for workers. The UK is the only country in the EU where employment rates have risen but wages have fallen.

It is difficult for many workers to cover the cost of living.

The British Govt instigated the Taylor Review to examine modern work practices. It has highlighted the current situation, but, disappointingly not made any recommendations likely to improve the situation for workers.

Read more here

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Sing For Good 2017

11 July 2017

Ok, entries for this year's SING FOR GOOD start on August 1. It's a national, on-line competition, with categories for schools. It's purpose is to raise money for charity.

Your singing could do that? Yes! Just two or more people. You can even submit a video you made for another purpose. There's even cash prizes for the best schools entries.

There have been some great entries in the past. Check a few out here.

More details here 

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School holidays - both start and finish today.

10 July 2017

As SA & Tas  enjoy their first holiday sleep-in, Queenslanders head into Term 3.

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Arts Practioners - apply for international conference funding

7 July 2017

Applications to the Australia Council to attend forthcoming international conferences between November and February are open now and close August 15! Grants of up to $3000 are available. Details here

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One more sleep for Tassie and SA -then holidays!

6 July 2017

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Bear Hunt was a big finish!

1 July 2017

Another 1000 kids went to see "We're Going On A Bear Hunt" yesterday, at the Clocktower Centre on the last day of Term 2.

The image above is of the ordered parade of 165 kids/teachers and parents from St Paul's, Keabla, going to the theatre. Booking teacher, Tina, was working hard, directing traffic. She had raced to the head of the column by the time i took out my camera. It's so satisfying to know she thought all the effort worthwhile. This is what she said

"The show was fabulous!  Teachers and students absolutely loved it and it was great to have the resources prior to today's performance, so that we could sing with the children and practice the actions...Thanks to you, your staff and the performers. A fantastic way to end the term."  Tina Segulin

Thanks to you, Tina, and all the other teachers who went out of their way to organise a great experience for their students. Melbournians can still catch production in Frankston in the holidays, before it heads to Sydney and on to Brisbane

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Last Day of School for NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC and WA today!

30 June 2017

Yippee! Have a great break everyone.

Image: Our favourite holiday image ...

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