You and your families have survived 4 weeks of lockdown! There’s only two more weeks until school holidays. You can do this! Just repeat the mantra several times each day – We’ve got this. We’re going to make it through! To help get you through to the end of term why not start planning together as a family what you could do in the holidays. Give yourselves something to look forward to!
To help us all get through these next two weeks we would like to make next week Gratitude Week at Joeys!
Giving thanks and expressing gratitude is one of the oldest concepts in society. It reminds us of how special, beautiful, and blessed our lives are even when we are faced with challenging, stressful, and overwhelming situations.
The concept of gratitude is especially important in the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19 when the world around us is unpredictable and sometimes even dangerous.
Robert Emmons, a psychologist and world expert on gratitude, defines gratitude as the ability to recognize the goodness in your life, which is due to your surroundings as well as the actions of another person or a group of people. Through practising gratitude on a regular basis it can be instrumental in helping us to become more optimistic. It also can have a huge impact on our overall mood and perspective.
What's more, when expressed during challenging times, gratitude can help us recognise the goodness of life, which in turn helps us to calm our fear and anxiety and maintain a positive outlook in an uncertain situation.
Research shows that positive emotions like gratitude are closely connected to health and wellness. Not only do positive emotions promote happiness; they also create an upward spiral in our life.
Emotions like gratitude and humour also help you cope with anxiety and uncertainty by focusing our mind on the things in life that we value, as well as what is in your control, and what you can give back to others.
Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness can also help build our resilience, which in turn, helps us cope with your current issues or problems and provides a way for you to move forward despite the challenges we face.
To kick off gratitude week why not go on a Scavenger hunt this weekend as a family.
Importance of Keeping our Kids Connected
In a recent virtual playdate, one mother overheard her seven-year-old say: “I wish we could see each other at school and on playdates.” Children are grieving for the loss of their past lives. Although in lockdown, it’s still important to encourage children to interact socially.
From the perspective of children, friendships provide moments of being together, where secrets, stories and interests are shared. Friends learn collectively and support each other in varied ways. All of the learning and development together with friends is missing while in lockdown.
Parental support for children is very important for building friendships in both the virtual and real worlds. When children have a friend, they learn about themselves and friends, and there are new possibilities for being and becoming together.
Many of our parents have commented that they had never realised up until now how big a part school plays in the social development of their children. They have said that they thought school mainly existed to teach formal lessons such as reading a maths but now know that we do so much more than that.
We know that children need to stay connected with their peers and that is why we have our daily Teams lessons, where they can see one another and stay in contact with each other and their teachers. We also recognise however that this doesn’t go anywhere near providing enough socialising for them and for this reason we would like to share with you some sites with ideas as to how you could potentially help your children stay connected with their friends.
We understand that some children find it harder to focus on online learning lessons than face to face lessons in a classroom however this is no reason for rude and disrespectful behaviour and unfortunately this is something that is currently cause for concern. Granted, it is a minority but I would like to bring it to everyone’s attention in order to raise with your children.
We acknowledge that at the start of this style of learning things were new, different and a bit of a novelty however features such as chats, emojis and gifs are being overused or inappropriately used, particularly in our Years 1 – Year 3 classes. Speaking from experience after having taught a few Teams lessons this week rather than just being part of lessons, it is not fun for the teacher who is trying their best to engage with the children, manage temperamental technology and actually ‘teach’. All classes went through online learning norms at the start of this lockdown period and they were shared with both the children and parents. We ask that you go back over these and in particular explain why the constant muting and unmuting, adding totally lesson unrelated words, phrases or random strings of letters in the chat or an ever-increasing range of gifs is inappropriate.
Even the children who are reminding their classmates of the appropriate behaviour expectations are adding to the situation as they too, are continuously adding to the chat with words or gifs to remind them of what they should be doing. This prevents the teachers being able to concentrate 100% on the lesson along with totally distracting the children who are trying their best to listen and learn, as the constant chats and images ping and pop up on the screens constantly.
Teachers are reminding children of behaviour expectations but many are still disregarding this. A simple explanation at home as to why it is not appropriate or fair to behave this way would be much appreciated. Perhaps if your children are finding it difficult to focus and behave as they normally would in school you set them the same workspace each lesson time, remind them of the expectations just before going on or, better yet, get them to tell them to you and perhaps even consider that for the few hours in the morning that you have set aside for online learning they wear their school uniform so they have the visual reminder that they are ‘at school’. Many parents who have done lockdown for a lot longer than us have found this to be useful along with the packed lunch boxes as well. Thanks for supporting us to ensure that this learning experience is as positive and productive as it can be for everyone.
Book Week 2021
Book Week was a week like no other this year and though we weren’t all at school what a success it was. The success is all thanks to our whole community – staff, students and parents getting behind it to make it a winner!
There was lots of evidence of creativity in the costumes, recycling or upcycling of items from home and themes being established in the presentation with not only costumes getting attention but also related virtual backgrounds. Old Worlds, New Worlds and Other Worlds were certainly very evident and it was terrific to be able to keep some normality around our annual Book Week celebrations. There were colourful and interesting dioramas and collages made, insightful book and reading related acrostic poems written and a few surprises when different teachers popped into Teams lessons to read a Children’s Book Council book to classes other than their own!
We proved that lockdown is no match for us when it comes to sharing the joy of books and reading!
Carpenter or Cabinet Maker Wanted
If anyone is looking for a project to so at home at the moment and has the tools, skills and inclination to help us out with making a set or two of lightweight timber plinths that we can use for our assemblies and liturgies we would love to her from you. Please contact the office and let us know if you would like to give it a go or if you would like us to explain exactly what we are thinking of. The images below are along the lines of what we are after. Many thanks for considering this.
Keep smiling and trying to see the joy in the little things and the humour in the funny things you hear and see, often from your gorgeous children.
Child Protection Week
National Child Protection Week is a campaign held annually across Australia to raise awareness of child abuse prevention. This year’s campaign will be held between 5 – 11 September. National Child Protection Week aims to engage, educate, and empower Australians to understand the complexity of child abuse and neglect, and work together to prevent it. The campaign does this through the sharing of events and resources to encourage communities to engage in conversations around children’s safety and wellbeing.
The 2021 theme, ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’ invites each of us to look at how we can prioritise children in our lives and communities. This is the call to treat all of Australia’s children fairly, to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.
As a school, our goal when it comes to child protection is to always recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children and vulnerable adults, in-line with the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s abiding commitment to their safety, welfare, and wellbeing
This year, we’re inviting students at St Joseph’s to consider who their safety network is and reflect on the following.
- Who are 5 trusted adults they can talk to about anything?
- Who are 5 trusted adults who will always listen?
To help spread this message to our students and community, we’re asking students to complete a simple handprint activity that asks them to identify these trusted people and record them in each finger outline (please see the diagram below for an example). For those who are at school, the activity will be completed there and we’ll collect these handprints and create a ‘Wall of Hands. For those at home, this activity will be shared in class lessons online.
Together we can keep the conversation going about what it means for all children to feel safe and secure.
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)Even in these times we continue with highlighting our different PBL focus areas. Our last focus area for Term 3 falls under the category of Do Your Best: Be Prepared. As adults, we know the importance of this skill as quite often, preparation leads to opportunities. We support children in developing their own independence with this in a number of ways. It could be by providing routine and structure or even supporting them as they, after many reminders, are ill-prepared for an activity they are attending.
In May, students in Years 3 and 5 sat NAPLAN. Unfortunately, this year, the results are slightly slower in being released. We have been informed that parents should receive their child’s individual report by the beginning to middle of October. If anything changes, we will keep you updated. Thank you for your understanding.
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 as online sessionsr. More details and booking information will be available closer to the date.
Perpetual Day of Remembrance
For several years our Diocese has marked the Sunday on or before 15 September as Remembrance Sunday, an undertaking that Bishop Bill gave in the context of Atonement: Lina’s Project in September 2017. The day holds before us the Church’s history of child sexual abuse and the reality of its continual unfolding in the lives of those directly and indirectly affected. On 15 August 2020; Bishop Bill issued a decree that the Perpetual Day of Remembrance Sunday, as a Feast Day, be inscribed in the Diocesan Liturgical Calendar to be held on the Sunday on or prior to the 15 September each year. In 2021, this Feast will be celebrated on Sunday 15 September and this day is an opportunity for all of us to stand with survivors who are suffering.
To find out how together we can be a sign of hope click here
Our role as faithful followers of Jesus is to Shine the Light of Christ in our everyday actions towards one another. To be strong and peaceful people who identify when another is hurting and to help them, to sympathise with them and to support them.
We further display our understanding of our faith by loving and caring for each other; by respecting each other and showing this in the kind and thoughtful words we say; by placing others and their needs ahead of our own; by praying for people who need us to remember them; by putting time aside to help another even when it seems too hard.
This prayer and blessing will not be explicit in naming the time of Child Sexual Abuse as the thing being commemorated. The focus of the Word is on the Mercy Of God, that tender compassion of our God for all his creatures, his concern for those who suffer.
Caring For Our Common Home
RE and Spirituality Services Presents...
A Season of Creation Online Event (Tuesday 7th September 3.30-5.00pm)
Generating school-based, student-led ecological dialogue and climate action inspired by Pope Francis' Laudato Si.
All Primary, Secondary and K-12 schools are invited to attend a special online event (via Zoom) to celebrate the Season of Creation and an invitation to be part of a new Diocesan Schools Integral Ecology Network.
For school staff, parents/carers and student leaders interested in (or already) running groups and climate/sustainability action in their school.
Zoom Meeting Invite:
Caring For Our Common Home - Season of Creation Zoom event
Time: Sep 7, 2021 Gathering from 3.20 PM, starting at 3.30. Finishing at 5.00pm
Meeting ID: 68796423263
Father's Day Liturgy
Thank you to all those who were able to join us online on Zoom for our Father’s Day Liturgy today. Even though it is very different to our typical school gathering, breakfast and celebration, we had a beautiful moment of prayer together. We thank our helpers in the liturgy and extend a special thank you to the children who shared their personal reflections about their dad’s.
We hope all the father’s and father figures here, away or in heaven are thanked and remembered with love on Sunday and lovely celebrations are shared with your families.
ASPIRE is giving students the chance to share their creative talents in the Kindness Project a hands on, creative opportunity to express what kindness means to you.
The aim of this project is to give students an opportunity to engage meaningfully in the Creative Arts, reflecting on what kindness means to them and as a resource for teachers. Teachers may like to share this project with their classes as part of their online learning activities or as a co-curricular opportunity for students.
St Joey's PJ Day
This Tuesday 31st August was PJs Day! We celebrated the last day of winter with fundraising for the Catholic Care appeal This event raised awareness and funds for Catholic Care’s food and refugee programs. These community programs receive no government funding to provide the much-needed services they deliver, so Catholic Care called on schools and the broader community to help make a difference to individuals and families in our area. Children wore pyjamas and families were able to donate to this very worthy cause with cash donations or via Qkr. If you use QKR for your donations please enter them under “Other school Activities”, Catholic Care August Appeal. PJ Day 2021.
This link will be available on Qkr until Monday 6/9/21.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area - https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/weekly-bulletins/
We are so very proud of all the wonderful work that Year 3 Gold have done this term!
We started the term at school and enjoyed a fabulous Harry Potter Day. The day was an opportunity to introduce the story, dress up as a character from the novel, be sorted into house colours and play some fun games like modified quidditch. We received tickets to Hogwarts and entered through Platform 9 and ¾. Everyone had a lot of fun!
As the term continued, we were dramatically affected by Covid 19 and from Week 5 had to return to learning from home. During this time 3 Gold students have shown great resilience and persistence as they have adjusted to the new learning environment. Despite these challenges, the children have continued to produce a high standard of work across all Key Learning Areas.
We have demonstrated our knowledge and understanding of the use of figurative language to engage an audience when writing narratives. Here are just a few excellent examples from some of our students:
I arrived for the first time at our new house not knowing anything about it. The viscous night rose above the castle. At that moment I knew why. It was absolutely by far the cheapest house on the market. When I slowly walked into the room a dreadful smell lingered against my nose like the steam coming out of a steam train. All the shivers sprinted up my spine at exhilarating speed while my lungs screamed for air. I was disgusted and regretted ever paying money for this house.
We have been travelling for three days and nights. There were no people, and we ran out of food and water. We needed a place to stay. We were exhausted.
The wind whooshed wildly. We came to a house. A massive house. It had long windy pathways and no people seemed to be staying there.
I started unpacking my bag into a room and I saw it a gooey ghost AHHHHHHH!
The ghost said, “Stop I am not going to hurt you. I am here to give you a warning. DO NOT STAY!
I said,” I will be fine” .........But I wasn’t.
It was the only house available to rent in the town we were visiting. The drive took longer than expected, so we arrived in the dead of the night. The sound of the car doors closing as we got out startled a mass of bats. It felt like a swarm of locusts descending upon us. The bitterly cold gale felt like icy hands from the grave brushing against the nape of our necks. We were frozen with fear as we fumbled to figure out our next move.
I had been travelling for days with no civilization in sight. I desperately looked left then right. I shouted with joy when I spotted light coming from a broken window of an old wooden house. Walking down the stony pathway, I made my way to the big broken door. I knocked on the door, but no one was there. The wild wind pushed me against the door and it creaked open....
In Religion we have created our own prayer spaces and prayer books. We have been using prayer as a form of reflection and meditation. This has helped us to focus on the things we are grateful for and the blessings we have in our lives despite the challenging circumstances we now find ourselves in.
We have had many opportunities to investigate and create during Mathematics, History, Science and Creative Art lessons. Year 3 have made the most of every opportunity and used this time to show case their many skills and talents.
We have been lucky enough to also take part in Book Week during lock down. We loved dressing up as our favourite book characters during our Teams meeting parade. Across this week we also enjoyed a variety of virtual sessions with renowned authors and illustrators. We designed our own worlds and found special places around our homes to enjoy of love of reading.
We are so proud of each and every one of the students in 3 Gold! We hope you enjoy viewing and reading their work as much as we have!
Mrs Charnock & Mrs Parkes
Cancelled NSWCPS & NSWPSSA events in Term 4
In line with the Premier’s announcement regarding COVID-19 restrictions and back to school roll out we wish to advise the following events have been cancelled:
- Polding & MacKillop Girls Rugby Union 7s at Ryde
- NSWPSSA Primary Girls Rugby Union 7s on Thursday 21 October and Friday 22 October at Gateshead
- NSWPSSA Primary Boys Football (Soccer) Championship on Wednesday 6 October to Friday 8 October at Griffith
- NSWPSSA Primary Netball Championship on Monday 11 October to Wednesday 13 October at Menai
- NSWPSSA Primary Rugby Union Championship on Tuesday 12 October to Thursday 14 October at Mudgee
- NSWPSSA Cross Country Championship on Monday 18 October at Eastern Creek
The following events have been postponed:
- MacKillop Girls Cricket Selections - Thursday, 7 October - Wagga Wagga
- MacKillop Boys Cricket Selections – Thursday 7 Oct & Friday 8 October -Wagga Wagga
- Polding Boys & Girls Cricket Selections – Friday, 15 October - Lismore
- MacKillop Boys & Girls Softball Selections – Thursday, 28 October - Warwick Farm
- Polding Boys & Girls Softball Selections - No date set – Wahroonga
We understand the disappointment that may follow this announcement, however, as always, the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of the school community was at the heart of this decision.
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this challenging time.
Physical Activity at Home for Primary School Children
Exercise remains as important as ever to help keep our population healthy. It is proven to support our immune system and mental health. However during times of stress it is often the activity we ignore. While your children are spending time at home, please make sure physical activity is part of your daily routine. Here are some free online resources your family can use to stay active, healthy and calm together.
Click the links below:
Healthy Kids NSW Simple activities to do at home with preschool /kinder kids and tips for using household objects as equipment.
Go Noodle Free sign up to access activities and dances. Many kids will already use Go Noodle in their classroom! Very popular.
Glen Higgins Fitness A series of fun, themed workouts set to music for young students eg Star Wars, Avengers etc. Five minute workouts that can be carried out in small spaces at home, complete with timed rest periods.
The Body Coach TV Free home workouts for a range of fitness levels. Featuring over 250+ free workouts. Includes five minute specific workouts for young students that can be carried out inside the home.
Les Mills "Born to Move" Bringing movement and dance into the home environment. Les Mills “Born to Move” is a free resource with 20 - 40 minute classes for students to learn movement sequences involving dance, martial arts and yoga. Each video is colourful, energetic and packed with cool music, foundational fitness moves and fun games.
Premier's Reading Challenge
The 2021 Premier’s Reading Challenge will close at 11.59pm on Friday, 3rd September.
Congratulations to these students who recently completed their reading lists:
Ivy J, Liam C, Isabella D, Patrick R, Isaac M, Otis C, Domenic P, Rory M, Josephine R, Lucas P, Willa M, Emma S, Siabh M, Miller C and Tom C.
Congratulations and well done to all our St Joseph’s students who completed the challenge this year.