This weekend we celebrated the life of an amazing woman, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Mary MacKillop is a person who, to me epitomises what it is to be an Australian at its best! A person who travelled great distances; a person who went to where the work needed to be done, not waiting for it to come to her; a person who mixed with and supported all types of people, regardless of their social standing, religious beliefs or financial position; and most of all a person who could be counted on to help when things got tough. What she brought with all this was an unwavering belief in God who would be there always, to provide for each one of us.
A young Josephite novitiate spoke of Mary as “a noble woman, blessed with rare vision and holiness. Where the glory to God and duty to others were concerned, she was full of moral courage, fearing no human opinion, always acting according to the dictates of conscience.”
While another fellow Josephite, Sister Josepha, spoke of her as someone who “excelled in charity. I can sincerely say that her charity surpasses that of anyone I have ever met or heard of; it seemed one of her greatest delights, to help anyone in trouble. She was not satisfied with empty words but got at the root of the trouble and found a remedy – her great charity often moved me to tears. I admired very much the kind manner in which she spoke of those who displeased her. I always felt after a conversation with Mother Mary that I had spoken to a saint.”
What an amazing, courageous, compassionate and Spirit filled independent woman, she was. I would be so fortunate and grateful if I could embody a fraction of her qualities.
Kindness, such as Mary MacKillop demonstrated, is for every moment of every day; it’s a habit, a lifestyle, a continual practice. It is intentional, taking time and patience, a giving of ourselves in “the busy,” even when we are “too tired.” And lastly, kindness is for absolutely everyone. As we intentionally show kindness each day, which now during these challenging times is needed more than ever, may we shine the light of Christ to a world in need of love and grace.
COVID Lockdown and Communication
All COVID related information and home learning information will be shared with you via Compass. As Compass can be cumbersome to go back through and locate News Feeds that have been previously shared, a suggestion is to download and save any documents we attach to these Compass notifications or to bookmark any of the links that are shared with you. You could do this on either your own or your children’s devices. Do whatever is going to make life easier for you and will save you scrolling up and down through Compass and having to contact another parent or school staff. Any life hacks that you use, or discover, that can make life and home learning more bearable during this time, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org, subject ‘Life Hack’ and we will share them with our parent community.
If you would like some help explaining COVID-19 to your children please refer this guide
Congratulations go to Mrs Nicola Matheson in Year 2 Blue. Nicola has recently secured a Learning Support Teacher’s role at Holy Spirit Kurri Kurri and will be finishing up with us here at St Joseph’s, this coming Friday. Learning Support is an area that Nicola would like to pursue in her education career, and we are very happy for her. Nicola currently holds this position part time at Holy Spirit Abermain and now with their sister primary school at Kurri she will gain the full K-6 range of experience in this field. We wish her well and hope she will always view her time here at St Joseph’s as special.
We are very pleased that Mrs Felicity Peart will take on the fulltime teaching role for Year 2 Blue for the remainder of the year, commencing next week.
Congratulations also go to Mrs Leah Temple and her husband, Matt and daughter, Lucy who have welcomed Baby Reuben into their family. Reuben was born on Saturday morning, 31st July, after keeping mum and dad waiting a week. Reuben weighed in at 3,595g or 7lbs 14ozs for those that still measure babies the old way and is 52.5cm long or 20.67 inches. Reuben and Leah are both at home and in Leah’s words: “I’m feeling really well! Reuben is a dream so far, Lucy is a great big sister and Matt is a natural. I can’t wait to introduce him to his St Joseph’s family!”
Children with Diverse Learning Needs
Do you have a child with diverse or additional learning needs? Would you like to learn from other parents and carers who have 'been there and done that'?
The Council of Catholic School Parents (CCSP) has collaborated to produce a 'Guide for Parents by Parents' to support children and young people with diverse learning needs enrolled in Catholic schools.
You can view, download and print…
- the whole document
- individual sections of the document
- the templates from the Appendices
Opportunities for Parents
Dr Justin Coulson is back! …to share with us his wisdom and advice around the issue of “Entitlement” and parenting our children and young people.
The Federation of P & F Associations is pleased to provide this FREE opportunity, via Zoom, to the parents and carers of children and young people enrolled in our Catholic schools.
Don’t forget the Vaping presentation led by Paul Dillon this Thursday 12th August.
Season of Creation Film Competition
Do your children love making TikTok videos or short films? Amidst the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, we are clamouring for hope and restoration. NOW is the time to come together and take action! #SeasonOfCreation. All students are invited to participate in a film competition which involves creating a 2-minute film that explores the 2021 Season of Creation theme – A Home for All?
Find out more in the Film Competition Flyer. This may be a great creative activity to do during lockdown!
ASPIRE is the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office's creative and performing arts program. The application to audition for 2022 ASPIRE is now online. Please see the attached links for further information regarding auditioning for the design, drama, vocal, dance, instrumental and production ensembles.
|13 September||Pupil Free Day|
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)
This fortnight we are explicitly focusing on the area of Being Respectful: Listen well and follow instructions. This may be a particularly useful discussion point for those at home. Below is a PowerPoint students and teachers would have discussed if they were at school. Please take the time to read over it together at home. It may even prompt you to set a listening goal for the week. Below you will also find a couple of links to videos which reinforce these concepts. Hopefully they are useful too.
Infants Listening link (use your child's login details to access)
Dash tokens – even though we are not all face-to-face, we will take a tally this Friday afternoon and continue with rewarding the winning team. Stay tuned for this big announcement!
Australian Mathematics Competition
This competition was scheduled to be completed between Wednesday, 4th August to Friday, 6th August. As we had over 80 students enter, a decision was made that those in Stage 2 will complete the competition on Wednesday and those in Stage 3 will complete the competition on Friday. Due to the lockdown and the organisation that was required around this on Thursday afternoon, we were unable to complete the Stage 3 competition. I will contact the Australian Mathematics Trust and see how or if this competition could be rescheduled. Once we have more information, we will communicate it with the community. Thank you for your understanding.
Tell Them From Me Survey
As communicated via a Compass alert last week, we will once again be asking parents, students (Years 4-6) and staff to complete this survey. This survey provides the school with valuable information that is used for ongoing school improvement. The survey will open on the 13th of September, 2021.
As mentioned above, we invite students in Years 4-6 to complete an age-appropriate version of the Tell Them From Me survey. The link below provides more information about this process. The next stage of our preparation is to provide parents with students in Years 4-6 with the option to opt out. If you do not wish for your child to complete the survey, please complete the appropriate section of the attached note (see link below) and send it back to school by 3rd September 2021. If you are fine with your child completing the survey, there is no action required.
National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. It provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists’ to the world of knowledge. It also aims to encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public, and to encourage younger people to become fascinated by the world we live in. This year the theme is ‘Food: Different by design’. This theme covers a broad range of areas in food production and sustainable agriculture, enabling students to explore topics such as biosecurity, food technology, laboratory-developed foods, etc. It is an important theme for us all to focus on. For more information, or for ideas of different activities that children can complete at home, please click here
Save The Date
Interrelate is a not-for-profit provider of relationship services that specialises in supporting parents and children. St Joseph’s has benefited from their service in the past and we have now secured a date for two evening sessions this year (13th October, 2021).
The two sessions are:
Session 1: Where Did I Come From?
Audience: Year 3 and 4 students and their parents/carers
(Students from Year 5 and 6 are welcome to this if they have not particpated previously) Program focus: • Discuss the male and female reproductive systems, foetal development and the birth process • Personal safety and protective behaviours
Session 2: Preparing For Puberty
Audience: Year 5 and 6 students and their parents/carers Program focus: • Discuss the physical changes of puberty, emphasising that it can be different for everyone • Develop students’ understanding of periods and sperm production, as well as the physical, emotional, social and intellectual changes associated with puberty for both boys and girls • Enhance awareness of children’s personal safety and protective behaviours Note: Younger students are welcome to attend at the discretion of their parents/carers.
These sessions will take place in the evening on 13th October. More details and booking information will be available closer to the date.
Feast of St Mary of the Cross (8th August)
Classes were to celebrate the feast of St Mary of the Cross with a special school liturgy on Friday 7th August. Unfortunately we were unable to go ahead with this. Mary MacKillop and Julian Tension Woods founded the order of the Sisters of St Joseph (Josephites) that went on to establish many schools, including our own, in 1888. Mary MacKillop is not only the first Australian to be recognised by the Church as a Saint, she is truly a very Australian saint. She characterises the spirit of the Australian mythology. She was a prodigious hard worker who put the needs of others before herself. She exhibited something of the larrikin spirit: constantly in dispute with authority but pressing on, regardless. She used the strengths of others but also didn’t tolerate those who were not genuine. Her commitment to the schooling of children from poor and rural communities established a model of Catholic education that continues today. A Saint for and of Australia! (Greg Sunter: liturgyhelp.com)
Feast of the Assumption, Holy Day of Obligation
On Sunday 15th August we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, a Holy Day of Obligation. On Friday 13th August we will hold a school liturgy to reflect on Mary’s life as a woman of faith and hope if school has re-opened.
Loving God, you chose Mary to be the mother of your son, Jesus
because of her faithful heart.
May we be inspired by her trust in you and walk in her footsteps
so that we may never forget that you are with us always.
We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
What is the Assumption?
August 15 is the day that Catholics have long celebrated what is called the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Feast of the Assumption celebrates both the happy departure of Mary from this life by her natural death, and her assumption bodily into heaven. The Assumption is a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin and a Holy Day of Obligation -- one of the most important feasts of the Church year and why we attend Mass on this day. There is an important difference, of course, between the ascension of Jesus into Heaven after His Resurrection, and the assumption of Mary. The Assumption signals the end of Mary's earthly life and marks her return to heaven to be reunited with Jesus. While the bodies of both Jesus and Mary are now in heaven, there is a difference between the Assumption and the Resurrection. Where Jesus arose from the tomb and ascended into heaven by his own power, Mary's body was taken up to heaven by the power of her Son. For this reason, we use different words to describe each event. One is the Ascension of Christ and the other, the Assumption of Mary. The Assumption is a source of great hope for us, too, for it points the way for all followers of Christ who imitate her fidelity and obedience to God's will.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, your people, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Looking ahead to Father’s Day in September...
At school we would usually celebrate with a breakfast and beautiful liturgy celebrating all the dad’s and father figures in our lives. This year, as many restrictions are in place, it will be a little different.
We will not be able to have our breakfast in the hall this year. We will celebrate as a community over Zoom.
We are planning to do our Father’s Day liturgy live over Zoom at 2.10pm Friday 3rd September followed by Principal’s Awards We invite dad’s and families to join in at home or from your work desk over a break. This is a short opportunity to come together in community through prayer and to be present for some kind words of thankfulness for all you do as a fathers and caregivers.
Stay tuned for more details and the Zoom invitation link.
New Early Stage One Curriculum
Currently the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle is in the process of developing a new Religious Education curriculum, Kindergarten to Year 10, for all schools in our Diocese. The first stage of this new curriculum that will be implemented in Primary schools will be Early Stage One (Kindergarten) in 2022. As part of this process, they are piloting one module of the Kindergarten curriculum this term in selected schools. Our school is part of this pilot process with our very own Stephanie Colvin writing this exciting new section of the curriculum.
This pilot process provides a wonderful opportunity for Kindergarten children to engage in Religious Education in a new and exciting way. Through this experience it is hoped that they will encounter the Good News of Jesus Christ in a way that is relevant to their experience.
Religious Education lessons will continue as per usual during the school day. Kindergarten will participate in learning and assessment activities as they do within all subjects. Kindergarten teachers have participated in a two-day professional learning intensive to prepare them for this opportunity. Teachers will be providing feedback to the Catholic Schools Office throughout the term. The teachers’ experiences and the experiences of our children are invaluable to the Catholic Schools Office Religious Education Department in the development of this new curriculum.
The Kindergarten children are embracing the new module “Knowing God the Holy Spirit” and are really enjoying the new experiences and exploring and presenting feelings, thoughts, questions, and wonderings about God. They are participating in listening, conversation and encountering the mystery of God.
St Vincent de Paul Winter Sleepout
Mrs O’Neill came to speak to our whole school about the plight of the homeless people in Newcastle and the mission this winter of St Vincent de Paul.This inspired some Year 4 students and Isaac (Year 6 and his family) to spend some time outside on Friday night to experience, to some degree, the extent of the cold nights that these people are experiencing.
When I slept outside, I slept with one blanket, shorts and a ripped shirt that I accidentally ripped somewhere, and it felt really, really cold and I felt like I was homeless. I had nothing. I only felt warm when I got a shiver but overall I felt so cold that I only stayed out there for about 2 or 3 hours. It felt like I wasn't going to eat that night but then my mum said, Dinner is ready”, so I ran inside and got some food. I really feel for all the people that are homeless and sleeping in the cold every night. Max L
My sleep out. On Friday night I slept outside in a sleeping bag! It was very, very cold and that’s just for 1 night! I can’t imagine how hard it would be to sleep outside on the rock hard ground every single night, especially through winter! After sleeping outside I have a lot of respect and sympathy for the homeless people. I’m glad the community can help and support the local people that are struggling! We all can come home and turn the heater on but homeless people can't and everyone takes that for granted but now I certainly won't! - Jack R
Isaac was really touched by Mrs O’Neill’s talk last week. We don’t have a backyard, so spent two hours outside last night on the hill overlooking Bar Beach. It was a humbling experience to be outside in the cold & we have no idea how people who are without a home cope. - The Flanagan family
My friend and I slept out in a tent on Friday night. It was 4C but we still gave it a go! We went outside in the night to see how cold it was. It was freezing so we went back to the tent and snuggled with the dogs. I hope that charity can help people in need so they don’t have to suffer. - Rosa Leonard
Caring For Our Common Home
Call out to all you wonderful gardeners! St Joseph’s at The Junction and St Mary’s on the Hill both need some serious garden love!!!! If you are interested in working with our parish lawn maintenance man and parish handyman in rejuvenating the gardens please email email@example.com and we will organise a working group.
aMeN caMiNo 2022 Information Session
The aMeN caMiNo takes place over five consecutive days. The pilgrimage starts at St John’s Chapel, Maitland and concludes at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. Pilgrims will walk an average of 20km per day through the beautiful landscape of bush, beach and beyond which we are blessed to have in our backyard.
For those interested in finding out about the 2022 aMeN caMiNo experiences, we will be holding an online Information Session on Saturday 28 August at 2pm. Click here for more information.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area - https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/weekly-bulletins/
Futsal Summer Competition
NNSW Futsal Summer competition for teams Under 6 to adults is starting at most clubs first week in September 2021. For a list of clubs near you, how to register, cost and all other information please go to www.nnswfutsal.com.au
Polding Athletics: Friday 3rd September (TBC)
Reading, podcasts, movies, videos, researching and assessing website reliability. Our focus this term is on how we can communicate our research findings to others. We also have a new puzzle table. It's all happening in the Library!
We have Book week to look forward to – I can’t wait! The theme this year is OLD WORLDS, NEW WORLDS, OTHER WORLDS. We have a big week planned with activities on each day, including the book fair and parade. Stay tuned for updates about Book Week.
And of course, the Premier’s Reading Challenge continues along with our School Read-A-Thon. Lock down is a great opportunity to catch up on lots of reading!
Premier's Reading Challenge
The 2021 challenge now closes on Friday, 3rd September. Complete your reading log now!
These people have been very busy recently and completed their challenge: Zoe P, Luka Z, Harry S, Max S, Hannah W, Darcy W, Luke C, Angus L, Jack S, Milana O, Grace W, Leila W, Archie B, Imani L, Beatrice P, Harrison C, Lucas K, Sofia H, Audrey O, London T, Daisy O, Olivia H, Rhys K, Lucy W, Tyler O, Christopher M, Zara B, Misheel C, Cooper D, Mason H, Sunny K, Rosa L, Indiana M, Addison T, Chloe W, Isla W, Claudia S and Harry H. Well done everyone.
When visiting the library look for our reading stars on display!