Grants for teaching initiatives

Bank First Community Fund

The 2020 Teaching Initiatives Program has ended

We are pleased to have supported 20 schools and preschools with their innovative teaching ideas this year and look forward to the 2021 Teaching Initiatives Program.

Stay tuned for details in 2021!

  • 2020 Grant Recipients

    Noorat Primary School

    Mindfulness, Music, Mentoring & Memories

    Mindfulness, Music, Mentoring and Memories is a unique initiative aimed at helping support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff and families at Noorat Primary School, and in the wider community. Our students are keen to learn practical mindfulness skills to help them be calmer, more focused and build resilience both in school and in their everyday lives. They’re also very passionate about finding ways they can practice kindness and community contribution, so they can’t wait to share this program with our local aged care residence elders and staff and teach them how mindfulness and music can help them too!

    Mount Clear College

    Bee keeping

    As we look increasingly at ways to be more sustainable in our lives, this program introduces students to the ancient and noble pursuit of beekeeping. Bees are such an important element of our fragile ecosystem, and unfortunately our bee population in most areas is rapidly declining. These students are aiming to boost the local bee population which, in turn, will have an enormous positive impact on our local gardens. The pollination that bees can provide across large areas of our local community helps the ecosystem remain diverse and sustainable.

    Yarraville Special Developmental School

    Communication is Key

    A Communication Board is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tool which will benefit our students with severe to profound intellectual disabilities as well as complex communication needs. 100% of students at Yarraville Special Developmental School (YSDS) present with delayed receptive and expressive language skills as they have a primary diagnosis of Intellectual Disability with a high comorbidity of ASD and other syndromes. 77.9% of students have no/minimal functional language or are unintelligible. The introduction of the AAC App, Proloquo2Go in 2018 supported students with their communication in classrooms. We wish to erect 2 Communication Boards in each playground to provide students with a means of communicating with their peers and with staff. The rationale for choosing this initiative is to provide our students with a means of communication in an area of the school where the technology is not readily available. Thus making AAC accessible throughout the day.

    Montmorency South Primary School

    Rubbish Mosaic

    Montmorency South Primary school is passionate about recognising and respecting the traditional owners of this land and living sustainably. To clearly project this message, reminding everyone in our school community of our shared responsibility to care for Wurundjeri land, we decided to create a huge mural made out of plastic rubbish. We sought feedback on our design from Wurundjeri Author, Aunty Joy Murphy, and Indigenous Illustrator Lisa Kennedy. Whilst simultaneously diverting lots of plastic rubbish away from landfill we were able to create an artwork which is not only durable and aesthetically pleasing but is also thought & discussion provoking.

    Eaglehawk Secondary College

    Big brother - Phase 2

    The clinicians will be asked if they are willing to place a video statement on the school and Bank First publications- an introduction to who they are, their background, mob and interests. Images of cultural activities (where culturally appropriate) These will be placed on the school website and Facebook page with acknowledgement of Bank First sponsorship. Students will be encouraged to take the images on the school equipment and prepare them for publication. Any items placed on school publications will be available for public placement through Bank First. Permission to publish statements will be received for all people involved.

    Dandenong Primary School

    Green Cone Solar Composter

    Dandenong Primary School is aiming to reduce their carbon footprint by installing two Green Cone Solar Composters. Students will collect, analyse, weight and graph food scraps from each classroom to then compost it rather than adding it to general waste. Classrooms will compete for the smallest carbon footprint and use related classroom activities to critically think of better ways to make our school more sustainable.

    Urquhart Park Primary School

    Sensory Toolbox Roadshow

    The Sensory Toolbox Roadshow (STR) will provide an opportunity for students to learn what works best for them in relation to sensory stimulation. The STR will enable students and teachers to identify sensory activities that help children feel calm and organised, which then helps them to obtain an optimal state for learning, attention and appropriate behaviour. The STR will also assist students with Autism Spectrum Disorder with social skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and self-regulation.

    Sale and District Specialist School

    Outdoor Garden Learning Space

    At Sale and District Specialist School is a small P-12 Specialist school in a semi-rural setting. We are planning the development of an outdoor learning area to complement the learning programs we offer. Recently we moved into a newly built school with a fabulous vegetable garden area and small paddock set-up. At present our VCAL students have been utilising the vegetable garden area as part of their curriculum, and soon the school will be establishing a whole school 'keeping chickens in school' program. Currently we do not have an outdoor classroom learning space where our students can sit and work while maintaining access to the vegetable garden area and the future animal area. At Sale and District Specialist School we want our students to have authentic, hands-on learning experiences where they are able to develop skills across the curriculum.

    Melton Specialist School

    Attention Autism: Sensory Engagement

    Sensory Engagement Program ‘Attention Autism’ is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication through the use of visually based and highly motivating activities. The primary objective of this program is that the sessions are fun and invites the students in a manner which is both irresistible and engaging. This program provides a platform for students to embed a range of different skills, such as communication, social and pragmatic skills, executive functioning, motor skills, imaginative play and life skills. It is a highly interactive platform aimed at better engaging our students with learning difficulties.

    Dallas Kindergarten @ Dallas Brooks Community Primary School

    Music and oral language program at Dallas Kindergarten

    With the help of the Bank First Teaching Initiative Program, Dallas Kindergarten @ Dallas Brooks Primary School is introducing a new music program which will support our children to develop their language and communication skills through singing songs, dance, rhymes and fingerplays. Funds from the Initiative will be used to purchase high-quality instruments for the children to use. Music is one of the most effective ways to support early language development – particularly for children from diverse language backgrounds. Making music together is also a great way for children to increase their confidence and build social skills, creating the foundations for a lifelong love of learning – and music! The program will benefit not only the children at Dallas Kindergarten, but will also act as a model for the other kindergartens of the Northern Schools Early Years Cluster and the wider community.

    Kialla Central Primary School

    Robotics & Coding

    Kialla Central Primary School is grateful to Bank First in supporting their efforts to purchase a Tablet Robotic Kit. As a small rural school, such a resource, is simply not affordable without the assistance of grants such as that of the Teaching Initiatives Program offered by Bank First. Students from Foundation to Grade 6, have now been given the opportunity to move from virtual coding to more extensive robotics and coding learning experiences. The skills, knowledge and capabilities of the students to solve problems, take risks with their learning, build their resilience and think outside the square will transfer across all areas of the curriculum. Thank you Bank First for your support of rural schools.

    Parkmore Primary School

    Parkmore Digital Makerspace

    The Parkmore dedicated Digital Maker Space provides an inclusive and creative, self-directed learning space where students can create, invent and learn. Students will be given the opportunity to be involved in collaborative hands-on projects that promote multidisciplinary thinking and learning; aligning with Parkmore’s Inquiry Based Learning curriculum which aims to equip students with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to face challenges within the dynamic world in which they live in today.

    Colac Specialist School

    Enterprise Education

    Colac Specialist School's Enterprise Education Program makes learning real and exciting with the focus on the achievement of curriculum outcomes. The goal of Enterprise Education is to achieve a learning culture, which results in the students being able to successfully manage personal, business, work and community opportunities. Through the use of Enterprise Education, students achieve learning outcomes from a wide range of learning areas in the form of creating student-led micro-businesses. The Enterprise approach allows for integration of the delivery and assessment of the Victorian Curriculum with Vocational Education areas, work-related skills and school developed functional literacy, numeracy and life skills programs. It also requires the students to focus on the important life and employment skills to prepare them for life beyond school, with a particular emphasis on self-help, confidence, communication and financial capability.

    Wattletree Early Childhood

    Yarning Circle

    We plan on constructing a Yarning circle next to our Bush tucker garden. Last year the children were involved in creating a Bush tucker garden. At the commencement of the garden we invited Uncle Colin Hunter, a Wurundjeri Elder, to come in and conduct a welcome to country and smoking ceremony to open the garden. We plan on doing the same for our Yarning circle. The circle will be a fantastic resource for children, educators and parents to use. The yarning circle will promote the teaching of Aboriginal communities throughout history and continue the teaching to future generations. This allows the children to learn by participating in the whole process from start to finish. The children have created a ‘Wominjeka’ welcome sign to place into our finished circle. It will be a practical way to address real issues in a culturally aware way, that isn’t just learning about something through a book or video but by being part of something from start to finish.

    St John's Lutheran Primary School

    Together We Grow

    Together We Grow is an initiative where we plan to establish a fruit orchard in a disused area of our playground. The students will then be learning about healthy eating and researching about the different types of fruit trees, how to use them in cooking and why our bodies needs fresh fruit to grow strong and healthy. We aim to use the fruit in our school cooking classes and have them available free of charge to any students in our school for recess or lunch.

    Shepparton English Language Centre

    EAL Local Content Reading Texts

    The Shepparton English Language Centre (SELC) is developing a series of unique reading materials tailored for their students. The unique texts will feature aspects of life and culture in Shepparton and surrounding districts. Students from diverse cultural backgrounds, who are new to Australia and the Shepparton area, will be able to learn more about the place in which they are now living as they read these texts and view the photographs within them. The development of the EAL Local Content Reading Texts is a collaborative project. Consultation between the SELC staff, families and community members will ensure that these texts are linguistically suitable for students who are learning to read English. Feedback obtained will also ensure that the content of the texts is informative and will support new arrival students and families to learn important information about the area in which they now live, Shepparton.

    Solway Primary School

    Travelling Classroom Libraries

    At Solway Primary School we have set ourselves a high standard for achieving great reading outcomes for our students over the next four years. Our initiative is to create high-quality travelling classroom libraries for our Year 2 students. We wish to provide our students with an extensive range of fiction and non-fiction books from a variety of cultures that cater for a variety of interests and have range of reading levels. Providing increased choice will encourage positive attitudes towards reading and engage our more reluctant readers. By doing so, we aim to improve student reading outcomes. We would like to have four travelling classroom libraries that are held in colourful storage containers on wheels. By rotating these containers from classroom to classroom, students get access to a greater variety of books more often. Engaging activities linked to these libraries include reading for fun, recording their reading on iPads and reviewing books for the other Year 2 classes.

    Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Sunbury

    AUSLAN LOTE program

    All students at Our Lady of Mt Carmel, from Foundation to Year 6 will participate in weekly AUSLAN classes. Australian sign language (AUSLAN) is the language of the Deaf community in Australia. Students will gain lifelong skills and knowledge to communicate with others using AUSLAN.

    Dromana Primary School

    Bamboo Grove

    Dromana Primary School would like to create a little bamboo grove in front of Japanese Room. Bamboo grove has been deeply related to the lifestyle, industry and culture in Japan. Also it is used widely in Asian countries as precious natural resources. Bamboo is used for building materials, musical instruments, craft, daily necessities, stationeries, toys and so on. The landscape with the bamboo grove is a symbol of Japanese climate and sensitivity. Once a year Japanese people celebrate a star festival (Tanabata) which originally came from China. Our students can write their wishes on a strip of paper and hang up on the bamboo trees in that occasion. Dromana Primary School has a newly developed Aboriginal garden as well. This bamboo grove and Aboriginal garden will be a symbol of the relationships and understanding between Australia and Japan as well as Asia.

    Leongatha Secondary College

    Evergreen Garden Kitchen

    Leongatha Secondary College recently implemented a "Hands on Learning" program which aims to support the more complex needs of students. This is done by providing authentic and meaningful experiences. As part of this, the school has recently secured an agricultural shed, on site, close to the school vegetable patches and chickens. The students have a vision to create a sustainable garden kitchen/ cafe. This project will create opportunities for the students to further progress their numeracy and literacy skills (eg managing a budget, planning menus, communicating the purposes of the kitchen to others etc.) The space is in need of a small kitchen. Helping to assemble this with a local parent/ plumber, the students will learn valuable project management skills. Students will manage the kitchen and garden each week on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, the Garden Kitchen plans to open as a small niche cafe, run by these students, once a week on the school site.

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This initiative is proudly supported by the Bank First Community Fund