MMIII just about gone, and m-m-y-y-y it has been a busy year! The endlessly rolling caravan that is the Harland household has covered a number of miles and passed a number of milestones this year.
Jeremy is now nearly three, going on about six. He is full of energy, and seems chronically incapable of sitting still. He has a ready smile for anyone, is very outgoing and always seems ready to laugh. He has had an excellent year at a local crèche, where he has proved to be very popular. He is still climbing everything in sight (especially if one of his elder siblings does so), and has performed some rather interesting aquatic experiments in the kitchen, bathroom and back yard. He had his first hair cut earlier in the year, and went from long flowing curly locks to a short-back-and-sides, which made him look significantly older. He has developed a love of books, and is very quick to demand that a book or three be read to him. Perhaps due to his energetic nature, or just a natural inclination to experiment with the limits of gravity and the like, he manages to get into what seems far more than his fair share of bumps, scrapes and falls, but none of that seems to stop him for long. He has recently taken to riding a bike (with training wheels) and is generally keen to do so at any opportunity.
Emily has thoroughly enjoyed her year in the Early Learning Centre at Haileybury. She proudly wears her uniform, both summer and winter varieties, and has thrived in the atmosphere. She will chat away about what happened on a particular day, including all the names of the staff involved, and recount various details of the occasion. She has learnt a large number of songs, and can often be heard singing away, or demanding that whoever is nearby join in the singing, whether they know the song or not. She is rarely shy, and always wants to be involved in whatever is going on, particularly when it comes to running errands and the like, especially if it can be done by riding a bike rather than driving. The footpath outside the front fence will soon be worn out from the number of times she has ridden up to the corner!
Timothy has just completed Grade 1 at Hughesdale Primary School, and is keen to head back for more. He was very pleased to note that his classroom was upstairs this year (which is where Joshua’s classroom is), and has a very clear picture of what grade he will be in when his younger siblings will start school. He had a change of teachers in the middle of the year, as his original teacher left the school, but he adjusted to this soon enough. He often burst out enthusiastically with something that he has learned, not always related to the current topic of conversation, but always delivered with enthusiasm and a smile. He has a disarming habit of memorising the word sequence in his regular spelling lists, so that after asking him to write out the first word, he will then write out the rest without being asked and have quite a chuckle about it. He is another keen cyclist, but also a keen scooter-rider (scooterer?), having acquired one for his birthday and seems to have been using it ever since. He really enjoys constructing things, with a favourite past-time at after-school care being building various ingenious things out of cardboard boxes. You would also be amazed to see what use he can make of strings and ropes and toys, not to mention the various complicated tracks that he makes out of the train set pieces.
Joshua has carried on in Grade 5 as per previous years. He also had a change of teacher in the middle of year, when his regular teacher had a term off for long service leave. However, her return in Term 4 was very welcome. He has very much enjoyed being a Grade 5 student in a Grade 5&6 class, and did very well on a couple of projects, including one on a Coolgardie safe about which he gathered a lot of information from his grandmother. He loves going on school camps, and was fortunate enough to spend nine days on a regional school camp at Somers. This involved a number of physical challenges, for which he will most enthusiastically describe the dimensions and level of difficulty. He will also readily sing several songs (at the top of his voice) which he learnt there. His piano playing has continued, with some spectacular improvements at times, generally coinciding with the times that he practices most regularly! He also played a season of soccer this year, after a gap of a few years doing other things, and really enjoyed it. He was often the goalie (by his choice), partly because he worked out that it was a lot less running that way! Given that he was playing on full-sized fields (with full-sized goals), this sounds like a very smart move.
Linda has had a rather different year, having moved to Haileybury College, a large school historically for boys, after 12 years at St. Margaret’s, a smaller school for girls. Haileybury is in the process of introducing girls into its programme in a parallel stream (in other words, separate classes for boys and girls from Grade 5 onwards). Linda, though, is teaching years 10-12 Mathematics, which for the next few years will remain boys only. It is a rather different environment for her, and not just because the boys tend to inhale food and grow weekly. All schools do things slightly differently, and this year has tended to be one of learning new systems and settling into a different pattern, although the reduced travelling time didn’t take too long to get used to! Despite all this change, she managed to finish off the final subject required for her Master’s, and graduated in August with a Master of Education (and is not slow to point out that this gives her double the number of tertiary qualifications of her husband!). She has also continued playing tennis, which this year managed to avoid clashing with Saturday morning coaching at Haileybury by there being none of the latter.
James has continued to be busy at work, although with less overseas travel this year, partly due to seasonal factors, and partly due to a major international conference being held in Melbourne for a change. With a recent trip to RMIT’s Vietnam campus and a trip to New Zealand in January coming up, as well as some further prospects in 2004, this comparative lack of passport activity may not be sustainable. He is still singing with the Astra choir, and has been known to drop in on the lunchtime rehearsals for the RMIT choir.
With best wishes from all of us for a refreshing Christmas and a prosperous New Year,
James, Linda, Joshua, Timothy, Emily & Jeremy Harland