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Maldon Primary: balancing academics and wellbeing

Maldon Primary grade prep/one students working on some fun maths games in class. Image supplied by Maldon Primary School.

Deciding where to send your kids to school can be agonising, especially if you’re moving to a new town. In the Mount Alexander Shire we offer everything from state to Steiner education and from tiny one class schools to large contemporary colleges.

We thought we’d drop in and ask the schools to share what makes them unique. First up, Maldon Primary.

“Maldon Primary is a warm and friendly place to send your child,” says Principal, Jodie Mengler.

Jodie has been at Maldon for 19 years, five as principal, and says the school, which currently has enrolments of 94 students, is strong in both academics and student wellbeing.

In 2016 Maldon was named in the top five most improved primary schools in Australia based on data shared on the Federal Government’s, My Schools website.

“We’ve been on a huge improvement journey over the last three years implementing programs to ensure every child is able to reach their full potential and thrive,” she says.

The Kids as Catalyst Program, an innovative, child-led social change program for grades 4 – 6 children, is one she’s particularly proud of.

“The kids work like mini philanthropists, developing partnerships with community groups, working out what they need and implementing a project,” she says.

“Children often find it hard to step into the shoes of others,” Jodie adds. “With Catalyst they identify and solve real problems and learn how rewarding giving back can be.”

The school has recently worked with the Maldon Men’s Shed, Maldon Pre-School and the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). A group this year is working with Maldon Hospital to introduce animals for therapy.

Maldon Primary School main building

When you visit the school you can’t help but be wowed by the grounds. Whether it’s AFL, soccer, playing in sand, in the music garden, feeding the chooks or the fish, working in the vegie garden (where the children regularly harvest and cook meals to share), using the fitness equipment or just dragging branches to build cubbies, the opportunities for play are vast.

The school buildings reflect the heritage and history of the town (Australia’s first Notable Town) but look inside and you’ll discover thoroughly contemporary learning spaces thanks to over half a million dollars of building upgrades which have just been completed.

“It’s all about creating an environment where the children love coming to school and where parents know their children will be happy and safe,” says Jodie.

“The partnerships we have with parents and the wider community are so important to us. We want families to be part of the school community and know that we value their input into their child’s education.”

Like to know more? Visit Maldon Primary School, call 03 5475 1484 or email maldon.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au

 

 

Census 2016: our region is growing and the way we live is changing

The 2016 Census has been released, providing the latest data on Australia’s population – who we are, where we live, how we live and much, much more. So what does this snapshot of the nation reveal about those of us who live in the Mount Alexander Shire and how have we changed since the last census in 2011?

There are more of us

More people still live in our capital cities, which are growing twice as fast as the rest of the country, but regional areas are also experiencing rapid growth.

The number of people in the Mount Alexander Shire has grown by nearly 7 per cent since 2011, from 17,591 to 18,761.

That’s a similar rate to our neighbours in the popular Hepburn Shire, but outstrips the growth in places like the LaTrobe, Yarra Ranges and Colac Shires, all comparable distances from Melbourne, by several per cent.

Affordability is still high

Housing affordability is a hot topic across the country. High buyer demand and limited supply continues to drive prices upward and most people are feeling the pinch, particularly if they’re living in a capital city.

In 2016 people in our region spent an average of $1,300 a month on their mortgage.

That’s more than $400 less than the state average of $1,728 and significantly lower than the average monthly mortgage in popular Melbourne suburbs such as Northcote, Coburg, Prahran and Essendon, which range from $2,000 – $2,167.

 If you’re looking to buy property in one of the towns in our region such as Castlemaine or Maldon this is good news.

 The way we live is changing

While the majority of homes in the shire are still separate houses the 2016 Census shows an increase in other types of dwellings such as semi-detached homes and townhouses.

The number of semi-detached, terrace or townhouses in the shire has more than doubled in the last five years.

“The trend towards more concentrated, medium density living in towns like Castlemaine and Maldon reflects changes we are seeing all over the country,” says Waller Realty Agent, Tom Robertson.

“More people in our region are choosing to build and live in smaller homes for reasons of convenience, for cost and, in many cases, to reduce their environmental impact. We expect to see this shift in thinking continue to grow in the next few years.”

Additional details from the Census are due to be released in October 2017. This includes information on employment and income.

Maldon goes plastic bag free

It’s estimated one trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year worldwide. The Maldon community is taking a stand against waste, joining 30 other towns in the Loddon Mallee region to become a Plastic Bag Free Town.

Australians use over 10 million new plastic bags every day. Each bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down, meaning that every plastic bag ever produced is still in a landfill. Those that are blown away, dumped or littered end up in water systems and, ultimately, in the ocean where they are thought to be responsible for killing more than one million seabirds and 100,000 mammals every year.

The Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group (LMWRRG) and Maldon Inc have been working with stores throughout Maldon to help them become plastic bag free. The group says owners, managers and the general public have been hugely supportive throughout the transition process.

“We strongly encourage all Maldon residents to support the town traders and remember to take their reusable bags,” says Karen Fazzani, Executive Officer LMWRRG.

“Every effort in this regard helps protect the environment from damage plastic bags can cause especially when they take such a long time to break down.”

Stores that previously supplied plastic bags have been provided with a recycled paper alternative and re-usable calico bags will be available throughout the town. Boomerang Bags have also recently become available.

It’s hoped that as time goes on people will start to bring their own re-usable bags when they shop, removing the need for retailers to supply a bag altogether. To get everyone in the swing of things, throughout July people can enter the draw to win a hamper worth $250 every time they shop in Maldon with their re-usable bags.

“One of the actions in our Council Plan is to support Maldon and other communities to be plastic bag free, says Sharon Telford, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire. “As a Maldon local, it’s fantastic for us to be the first plastic bag free town in Mount Alexander Shire.”

“Reusable bags are a simple and effective way that we can all reduce our impact on the environment. It’s small decisions that have a lasting impact and I’m very proud of our community for taking this step.”

The team at the Waller Realty office in Maldon are extremely supportive of the initiative and praised local traders for their commitment to protecting the environment.

“Becoming a Plastic Bag Free Town will make Maldon an even more appealing place to live and we congratulate everyone involved,” says Waller Realty’s Leah Panos.