Unpacking the BIS Curriculum

Nov 3, 2015   //   by bisadmin   //   Events  //  No Comments

Please share with any friends who have kids.  Everyone welcome.

When: Wednesday, November 4th

Time: 6pm

Where: Brisbane Independent School, 2447 Moggill Road, Pullenvale

RSVP: office@bis.org.au

If you are unable to attend on the above date but are interested in attending a future talk please email Meli at office@bis.org.au to let her know.

Self-Directed Learning Talk

Nov 3, 2015   //   by bisadmin   //   Events  //  No Comments

Please share with any friends who have kids.  Everyone welcome.

When: Wednesday, November 25th

Time: 6pm

Where: Brisbane Independent School, 2447 Moggill Road, Pullenvale

RSVP: office@bis.org.au

If you are unable to attend on the above date but are interested in attending a future talk please email Meli at office@bis.org.au to let her know.

Concert and Shared Meal

Nov 3, 2015   //   by bisadmin   //   Events  //  No Comments

When: Thursday, December 3rd

Time: Evening

Where: Brisbane Independent School, 2447 Moggill Road, Pullenvale

RSVP: office@bis.org.au

Public Talk: Advocating for your child in Prep

Oct 28, 2015   //   by Marketing Team Leader   //   Events, Talks  //  No Comments

Spend time discussing the topic not ignoring it

Not sure about what you can expect from your school? Not sure how to raise concerns successfully with the teacher?

This popular workshop delivered by BIS’ Principal Jen is designed to give you some skills to actively use when confronted by your first experience of school as a parent.  It is a public workshop for anyone with a child starting in Prep in 2016.

Please share with any friends who have kids coming up to prep age.  Everyone welcome.

When: Friday 30 October

Time: 10am to 11am

Where: Brisbane Independent School, 2447 Moggill Road, Pullenvale

RSVP: office@bis.org.au


If you are unable to attend on the above date but are interested in attending a future talk please email Meli at office@bis.org.au to let her know.

Honouring a new BIS lifemember

Oct 3, 2015   //   by jhaynes   //   Blog  //  No Comments
Our new Life Member and past Chairperson Maelle

Our new Life Member and retiring Chairperson Maelle

Every year BIS, as an Incorporated Association, has an AGM. It is always a great opportunity to celebrate our growth and elect Life Members, awarded to people who have gone far beyond the normal “Call of Duty”.  This AGM had both the celebration of electing Chairperson Maelle Farquhar as a life member and the sadness of having her resign as Chairperson of the BIS Board, as she and her family had decided to return to France for a time.

Maelle’s impact on BIS and its future is hard to overstate. When she first took on the Chair role, the school faced some challenges:

  • The board, and therefore the school had becoming somewhat inward looking; and
  • The Board lacked a clear direction and strategy for the school.

Today, thanks to Maelle’s clear thinking, strong leadership and a huge slice of her time, all these issues have been addressed.

Maelle conceived and implemented a plan to change the structure of the BIS board from being entirely made up of parents to being a fifty/fifty mix of parents and board members drawn from the broader community who brought specific skills and experience that she saw were lacking.

This restructured and revitalised board has developed and is implementing clear, short and long term strategic goals that will ensure the school’s continued, healthy growth while remaining fully consistent with the school’s philosophy and core values.

Careful financial analysis and management together with growing our student numbers, has put us into a position to enact our future vision.  Maelle also established a successful succession policy ready for a vibrant change over of Chairperson to continue implementing this new vision.

At the AGM, Anthony Element OAM, the first of the external board members to be elected to the board, in 2012, was elected to replace Maelle as Chairperson. His objective is to – as seamlessly as possible – lead the board in continuing the work that Maelle so ably began.

Exciting times ahead.








Oct 3, 2015   //   by jhaynes   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Opti MInds PhotoOn 23 August 2015, six Brisbane Independent School (BIS) students competed in a team challenge at the annual Brisbane West Opti-MINDS challenge along with more than 20 other schools at St Peter’s Lutheran College and were awarded the “Spirit of Opti-MINDS” award.

The Opti-MINDS Creative Sustainability Challenge is an inclusive team challenge which EMPOWERS participants to THINK, CREATE & COMMUNICATE. Opti-MINDS is a creative problem solving event for teams of participants from Preschool to Adult within 4 divisions.

This is the first time BIS has participated in Opti-MINDS for more than 12 years.  Their student team had to respond to a social sciences question about a utopian community in the future and decide how members were selected – this all had to happen through their own team work and ideas.

The students had to write the script alone. All costumes and props were their own design and had to fit in a $50 budget – everything was priced, even the bamboo from the garden!

The teams also had a spontaneous challenge on the day to response to where they were graded on their collaboration and evidence of team spirit.

“The students worked hard in the 4 weeks leading up to the day to create a delightful response to the challenge question” says BIS Principal and Teacher, Jen Haynes.

The team showed such strong teamwork and collaboration that they were given the Spirit of Opti-MINDS award by the judges, an extraordinary feat for a group in their first year.

As a school with 50 years of progressive vision for education the award demonstrates how the BIS philosophy and curriculum of child empowerment and integrative thinking creates the critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and general capabilities of students which is so important to the future of education in Australia.

“I was absolutely overwhelmed by the BIS team’s capacity to create and complete a project alone to such a high standard and then to perform it in front of strangers with such confidence and skill” says Jen.

“I know groups of adults who could not have done it. I cannot wait to see what their performance will be like next year now that they know what to expect.”

The school was honoured to have Pullenvale Ward Councillor Margaret de Wit present the certificate to the Opti-MINDS team at their school meeting on 14 September.

BIS hopes to have two teams compete in Opti-MINDS next year.




BIS Teachers setting a “Gold Standard” for teaching

Oct 3, 2015   //   by jhaynes   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Did you know that less than 100 years ago Jean Paul Sartre (1964 Nobel Prize winner for Literature) and Simone De Beauvoir (writer, social theorist, existentialist philosopher) both competed to become teachers?

The teaching profession was held in such high esteem it was a natural progression for an academic to get a job in a school whilst working on their theories.  Back then, it was the job for a life-long learner and a professional thinker.

Fast forward 100 years and you will find that at BIS “life-long learning” and “professional thinkers” remain common mantras.

“Teaching, educating and assisting in the development of the next generation of leaders is something BIS takes very seriously” explains BIS Principal and Teacher, Jen Haynes.

“We expect our teachers to be of the highest standard: Gold Standard.”

BIS teachers engage in fortnightly and monthly training sessions in Compassionate Classroom practise and in applying the Integral AQAL model.

The team is dynamic and utilises the collegial culture to problem solve together, share resources and provide feedback and encouragement on individual and team innovations.

BIS’ innovative teaching model is a key part of the pedagogy (method and practice of teaching).  The pillars for this are the “7 Keys for an Integrative Classroom” developed by the BIS teaching team.  These keys are:

Key I:     The Responsive Learning Environment

Key II:   Relaxation And Tension Reduction

Key III: Movement And Physical Encoding

Key IV: Empowering Language And Behaviour

Key V:   Choice And Perceived Control

Key VI: Complex And Challenging Cognitive Activity

Key VII:                Intuition And Integration


BIS teachers are working with Independent Schools Queensland to develop research programs that harness this classroom practice to improve student self-development outcomes.

“To be a better teacher and implement new strategies you have to research, plan and think” says Jen.

“BIS teachers will be spending time observing each other’s practises to further develop the existing collegial culture”.

This research process is all part of the school’s commitment to have all teachers exhibiting Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher status on all the Australian Professional Standards for teachers. (Insert link: http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers)

The BIS pedagogy and philosophy demands a high standard of personal and professional development from staff, this process allows the teaching team to benchmark themselves against external measures.


“We have already identified the exceptional baseline standard our staff are at so this process will just be providing a final stamp on our existing accomplishments.”  says Jen.

This model of teaching further cements the school’s philosophy of education for the purpose of developing a well grounded child who can develop into an adult capable of achieving his/her hopes and dreams.


Healthy Minds Leads to Life Success

Oct 3, 2015   //   by jhaynes   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Bella and CaelanWhen people view the BIS curriculum and see the depth of inner work we do with the children there is a tendency to make the assumption that our focus on wellbeing is a stand-alone goal, unconnected to academic outcomes.

This assumption doesn’t tell the full story of what we aim for at BIS. We teach these skills at BIS because research suggests that they lead to life success, and contribute to good learning outcomes for academic success. Whilst “academic success” is different for each child, it maximises the opportunity for a child to realise their dreams. Because of our Integral perspective we have combined these theories of education into one pedagogical model and one curriculum to best serve this outcome.

However, people are commonly confused by this Integral approach, assuming that the primary goal of meditation and relaxation in our curriculum is focused on helping children feel safe and comfortable. Popular media touts the benefits of relaxation and mindfulness but educational research in this area has been ongoing since the 1970s.  Benson, Wilcher, Greenberg, Huggins, Ennis, Zuttermeister, Myers and Friedman (2000) outline the benefits of a richly incorporated relaxation program, showing significant increases in student academic performance:

Students who had more than two exposures to semester long classes in which teachers had been trained…had higher grade point averages, work habit scores and cooperation scores than students who had two or fewer exposures. In addition, students who had more exposures to the relaxation response curriculum showed an improvement in academic scores over the course of the 2-year period (Benson, et al., 2000, p. 156).

When people consider the span of our social and emotional curriculum they might perceive us as a school that is focused upon children’s self-esteem and social skills. Research into Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has been performed with a range of meta studies investigating outcomes. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning group is one of the world leaders in this area, with a range of studies that reveal distinct academic outcomes across grades (Payton, Weissberg, Durlak, Dymnicki, & Taylor, 2008). The importance of relatedness to significant others in the school environment (parents, teachers, and friends) for students in grades 3 to 6 is key to their long term academic performance and their completion of school (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). It teaches them resilience; to be courageous in their learning; and to persist when faced with obstacles.

SEL programs improved students’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, positive social behavior, and academic performance; they also reduced students’ conduct problems and emotional distress. Comparing results from these reviews to findings obtained in reviews of interventions by other research teams suggests that SEL programs are among the most successful youth-development programs offered to school-age youth (Payton, Weissberg, Durlak, Dymnicki, & Taylor, 2008).

Newcomers to BIS might see “self-direction” and think that we are all about children being independent learners. When we explore the link between self-direction and academic outcomes we need only peruse the literature that discusses the interconnectedness between a child’s self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-regulation for a clear understanding of the connection. Self-directed learning allows students to increase their motivation and sense of competence by teaching them how to think about their thinking (metacognition) and develop the emotional and cognitive structures to be resilient when confronted by challenges.

The evolutionary value of this kind of motivation is obvious: Any species that dedicates time and energy to learning how to be effective will eventually develop a rich action repertoire as well as knowledge about opportunities and constraints in the environment. In times of trouble, this “competence” is key to both surviving and thriving (Skinner & Greene, 2008, p. 122).

So next time you consider the diverse nature of our curriculum remember that academic achievement sits at the core, for every child deserves the chance to achieve their dreams. The best way to ensure this happens is by valuing each child’s emotional and cognitive developmental journey.



Benson, H., Wilcher, M., Greenberg, B., Huggins, E., Ennis, M., Zuttermeister, P., et al. (2000). Academic Performance Among Middle School Students After Exposure to a Relaxation Response Curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education , 33 (3), 156-165.

Furrer, C., & Skinner, E. (2003). Sense of Relatedness as a Factor in Children’s Academic Engagement and Performance. Journal of Educational Psychology , 95 (1), 148–162.

Payton, J., Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Dymnicki, A. B., & Taylor, R. D. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Illinois: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

Skinner, E., & Greene, T. (2008). Perceived Control, Coping, and Engagement. In T. L. Good, 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook 1 (pp. 121-130). California: Sage.


















Come and See Morning Tea

Sep 8, 2015   //   by Marketing Team Leader   //   Events  //  No Comments


comeandseeDate: Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Time: 10am-12pm

Our Come and See Morning Tea is postponed this month, as our principal Jen is away at training.

So, come along on the *second* Wednesday of the month for a tour through the school whilst class is in session, get a feel for BIS, and then listen to Jen explain how and why BIS works. You can also ask any questions, all whilst enjoying cake, tea and coffee.

Children are always welcome!

Please RSVP to office@bis.qld.edu.au or via phone at 07 3378 5466 or “like” our Brisbane Independent School Facebook Page.


Sep 7, 2015   //   by Marketing Team Leader   //   Articles, Blog  //  No Comments

Education and learning at BIS (Brisbane Independent School) is an exciting and dynamic adventure full of passion and fulfillment for it’s students.

Once a year BIS announces the release of its scholarship program, a highly sort after scholarship that enables selected students to have their tuition fees waived for the whole of their schooling at BIS.

This is an amazing opportunity for primary aged school children to join a dynamic and award-winning school where children can follow their individual passions and ideas whilst thriving academically.

Talking to previous students you gain an understanding of why this school has such a following. The “sense of self” a child establishes whilst at BIS is undeniable.

The strong academic mindset and solid approach to learning not only assists students in their future high school and university years but assists them for life.

“At BIS the teachers work together to compact and customise the curriculum for fast learners to allow them to progress at their natural pace” says Jen Haynes, BIS Principal.

“Once they show us that they know how to do a topic they can move on; no unnecessary repetition needed”.

In the ten years Jen has been at the school she has watched it change families’ lives as children full of passion find a place their minds can finally call home and their parents find a community with which they can connect.

“By providing a carefully designed and tailored program for your child and allowing them the time and space to dream, plan, create and share in an environment that incorporates study of self, relaxation and meditation as core daily work your child will have the chance to begin their education with all the skills in place to become a life long learner” says Jen.

A BIS scholarship is a profoundly life changing opportunity for the self directed learner. Contact BIS today for an application pack.

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