What a joyous week this is for all of us! A school filled with children and staff is a truly wonderful thing. A week or two of less noise and hustle and bustle is a delight but when it stretches on for as long as it did the novelty soon wears off. I hope you and your children are settling back into the routine that comes with school attendance. No doubt the children have been very tired at the end of each day, which is to be expected. The teachers have certainly found this is the case for them.
Our return to school was quite fitting this week. On Wednesday it was Universal Children’s Day and today it is World Teachers Day. How wonderful it is to acknowledge both our children and teachers this way, this week.
We hope these photos of our Monday morning welcome to the children make you feel as happy and warm inside as we did, when greeting the children and watching them walk down the red carpet, through our balloon arch and over our welcome bridge all to the accompaniment of celebratory music. We know there were a few dance moves and incredible smiles from many parents as they dropped their children off!
The National Theme for 2021 is based on UNCRC Article 15 -
Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others.
Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and interests.
Designated by the nations of the world, Universal Children’s Day, Wednesday 27 October calls society to a greater response to the plight of many millions of children around the world who are denied the basic necessities of a happy childhood and the education to develop their capacities. It also calls us in Australia to consider those conditions in society which affect the lives and future of our own children. More information can be found here: https://www.childrensweek.org.au/
World Teachers Day
Teaching is noble work. It's the profession that creates all other professions. The theologian, Tom Groome, suggests that “teaching is a vocation to love—often stretched and tested to the limits”. This year, teachers have truly been stretched and tested, but they have maintained their commitment to faith, hope, and love. Teachers are superheroes and their superpower is the power to create a better, brighter future tomorrow by providing positive learning experiences in the lives of young people today. Our teachers here at St Joseph’s have definitely done this throughout the course of this extraordinary year and for this I am truly grateful, and I am sure this is also the case for all our families.
COVID Safe Practices
No doubt you are aware, as are we, of the number of families and schools in our local area where COVID is having a direct impact. We encourage you to please follow our practices regarding pick up and drop off. No parents are allowed on the school grounds, other than to collect your children from OOSH. This means no walking to the bike shed or lost property boxes when you are inside the gate. It also means that you do not get out of your car to put children in. If this is not possible, you need to walk to collect them or you wait until the end of the Kiss and Ride line of an afternoon. If you are collecting your child from the back of the Parish Centre, you are required to stand apart from other parents and hold up a name card to enable fast collection to happen. Please do not be rude to our staff members or refuse to follow these practices. It is embarrassing for your children, uncomfortable for all concerned and is not in the best interests of all our health and safety.
Please remind your children each morning to sanitise as they walk through into the school grounds; we have touch free sanitising stations at each gate. Remind them also to sanitise or wash their hands before eating and after going to the toilet. The teachers remind the children of these practices and also give them time as they enter the class to do this, but as you know, children need to hear things regularly to help them to develop a habit.
Home Learning Survey and Conversations
Thank you for the insights you have been sharing with your teachers about your children and their learning and any concerns or goals you have for them over these remaining weeks of Term 4. This information is incredibly useful in various ways for our teachers and in turn for your children so please ensure that you have completed this survey over the weekend.
Remember, if you have more than one child you need to enter your responses for each child on their own survey form for their class otherwise the teachers will not have access to what you have written. (If you have made a mistake with entering your children’s information it is okay to go back in and submit another form.)
Don’t forget, if you receive a call from an unknown number over the next week or two, it is likely to be one of the teachers. We ask that you answer the call and engage in a brief discussion with them around your children and the transition back to school.
The survey links are:
Kinder Gold Survey
Kinder Blue Survey
Year 1 Blue survey
Year 1 Gold Survey
Year 2 Blue survey
Year 2 Gold Survey
Year 3 Blue survey
Year 3 Gold Survey
Year 4 Blue survey
Year 4 Gold Survey
Year 5 Blue survey
Year 5 Gold Survey
Year 6 Blue survey
Year 6 Gold Survey
And the babies keep on coming!
We are so thrilled to let you all know that this week Tracy Pursehouse had a baby boy. He weighed in at a healthy 8.13 pounds and is 52 cm long. Tracy, Simon and big sister Sandy are absolutely besotted with their young man and both baby and mum are doing well. Congratulations to you all. We look forward to discovering his name in the near future.
Unfortunately we are still unable to host band, guitar, choir and vocal lessons, piano and violin, drama, French and Mandarin lessons at the moment. We will inform you of when this is possible.
There will be a Zoom P&F meeting on Monday 8th November. We are unable to have our hybrid style meeting on site due to the COVID regulations in place. We will share with you the agenda and Zoom invitation next week.
Our Golf Day is fast approaching. Please contact the office, by Tuesday 2nd November, if you would like to participate in this fun day out in the Hunter Valley next Friday 5th November. See flyer for details.
The canteen will re-open, for lunch orders, next week on the usual days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
As no volunteers are allowed in to assist, we have needed to make some modifications to the menu in order for only one person to be able to manage.
- Monday - Pies, sausage rolls, dim sims, chicken tenders, garlic bread, salad bowl, sandwiches and only toasties
- Wednesday - Pies, sausage rolls, dim sims, chicken tenders, garlic bread, salad bowl, sandwiches and only pizzas
- Pies, sausage rolls, dim sims, chicken tenders, garlic bread, salad bowl, sandwiches and only chicken burgers
Drinks will be available along with chips & popcorn on all days. At this stage there will be no recess opening.
This week to assist the children to locate any Library books they have at home, the Library staff sent home overdue slips with the details of books that the children have borrowed. As their last borrowing day was some time ago it was felt that the children may have forgotten the names of the books they borrowed so these slips were printed to help them know what they were looking for. All children have been able to borrow this week regardless of them still having books at home. Some slips also showed a cost for the book. This amount was not a fine and nor did the slip request any payment of fines or replacement costs. The children were asked to get parents to write on the slips if the books haven’t yet been located. We ask that you encourage your child to locate these books and return them as soon as possible in order for us to restock the library.
Have a terrific weekend. Please keep taking COVID-safe precautions so that we can all stay safe and remain at school and work.
Semester 2 Reports
Due to home learning being in place for 8-9 weeks, the Catholic Schools Office have put in place modified reports for Semester 2.
The reports will include the core subjects of Religious Education, English and Mathematics, with the grading system of Working Towards, Working At, Working Above grade level. There will be NO A-E grades for Semester 2. The reports will also include Commitment to Learning, Personal and Social Development and Learning Dispositions. Teachers will also provide a general comment on your child’s learning this semester. This comment will outline two areas of strength and one goal to work towards in 2022.
At this stage, reports will be sent home via Compass at the end of Week 9.
Road Safety Management Plan
Our school has recently updated our Road Safety Management Plan with the support of the CSO team.
Please take the time to read the following three documents outlining the school’s Road Safety Management Plan, procedures for Arriving and Departing Safely and the Bicycle Policy.
Each of these documents will help to promote and ensure the safety of our students each day.
Tell Them From Me Survey Reminder
All parents/carers at St Joseph’s, Merewether are invited to contribute to a community consultation survey. The survey is now open. The closing date has been extended until Friday 12th November 2021.
The survey is anonymous, voluntary and easy to use. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and covers parents’ perceptions of the school’s support for learning, positive behaviours, and the promotion of safety and inclusion.
Students in Years 4–6 will also participate in the survey during the next 2 weeks. If you returned the non-consent note sent to you at the end of Term 3, your child will not complete the survey.
The insights we gain into parent and staff communication, activities and practices at home, and parent voice on the school’s support of learning, faith formation and behaviour will build an accurate and timely picture that schools can use for practical improvements.
This is your chance to provide valuable feedback about your school and support school planning and future direction and we welcome your participation, suggestions and comments. The school community will receive findings and proposed actions for improvement following completion of the survey process.
The link to the online survey is: Tell them From Me
If you have any problems or queries about the survey, please contact Nicole Charnock or Karen McGinlay
Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL)
During Term 4, we will continue focusing on our four PBL expectations:
- Act Safely
- Be Respectful
- Care for All
- Do Your Best
Our PBL focus this fortnight is Be Respectful – Be Honest. During PBL lessons, students are identifying:
- What is meant by truthfulness and honesty?
- Why is being honest important?
- How can we be honest at school?
Staff will be sharing a PowerPoint in class to discuss the importance of being honest. It may be a conversation starter for you and your child/ren. Below you will also find another resource which reinforces this concept. Hopefully they are useful too.
Australian Mathematics Competition Results
During Term 3 80 students across Years 3-6 nominated to participate in the Australian Mathematics Competition. This competition was extremely challenging, and all participants gave it their all. We have now received the results for the competition and are awaiting student certificates which will be distributed to entrants in the coming weeks.
We had several students across each grade who have achieved outstanding results, and these students have been highlighted below. A special mention goes to Xavier C in Year 3 for being the ‘Best in School” award winner. Congratulations Xavier!
We wish to congratulate each of our entrants on their efforts and results. Our school community is extremely proud of you.
A big thank you team to our students and families for such fabulous support of Catholic Missions fundraising. We had so much fun on Wednesday with Crazy Sock Day. Everyone looked great in their crazy socks. So far we have raised $857.62. The link for donations will remain open until 1/11/21.
Occasions that we love to celebrate remind us how special life is. As Catholics, we believe that God is present in all things and in all times. That means that every day on the calendar presents another opportunity to encounter and celebrate the presence of God in our lives and to make a connection between the special day and our faith.
Each year, Halloween seems to receive more attention in our culture, no doubt adopted from the USA. It's a growth industry involving decorations, lollies, pumpkins, costumes, and fun and scary activities for people of all ages.
Though some people worry that Halloween is fast becoming just another excuse for marketers to sell product, it doesn't have to be that way for your family. Halloween is rich in history and meaning, much of it religious, making it a great opportunity to combine fun and learning about values for our children.
Halloween as we know it is a mixture of pagan, Christian, civic, and cultural influences. Various cultures have associated the day with witches, ghosts, and goblins. When Christian missionaries won over the hearts of the Celts, this popular feast was moved from spring to fall and celebrated as the feast of the Eve of All Saints Day.
Halloween comes from the word hallowed meaning “blessed” or “holy.” Therefore, Halloween is the night before the celebration of our living connection with all the faithful who have lived and died before us. It is fitting, then, that on the night before All Saints Day, our families remember and celebrate in a special way our belief in the Communion (close connection) of Saints to our own lives.
Ways to Celebrate Your Values on Halloween
- Your kids can research their favourite saint or the saint they're named after. They could also dress up as their favourite saint for Halloween.
- Tell your children that Halloween can be a festive day to kick off the celebration of All Saints Day. We ask the saints—our spiritual ancestors—to pray for us on our own journey to holiness.
- Have fun! Make a special meal for dinner. Here's a quick idea for a healthy meal to offset the too many lollies. Give each child a paper plate. Put out bowls of olives, cucumbers, radishes, raisins, dried apricots or cranberries, cheese sticks, and cold meats. Have the kids make faces on their plates with the food. They can make scary faces or funny faces or both. Then everyone gets to eat what they created.
The Feast of All Saints and of All Souls
Next week we will celebrate two important feast days in the Catholic Church’s calendar year; The Feast of All Saints and The Feast of All Souls.
On The Feast of All Saints (1st November) we remember those people, who through the way they lived, made a difference to others and to the world. Through their lives, these special people teach us to trust God and to show our love for God. We look to them as examples of how we too, can make a difference in the world.
The Feast of All Souls (2nd November) is a time when we remember those who have died, and we thank God for loving each and every person. Those we have loved stay close to us in our hearts and we give thanks because we can firmly believe they are safe and loved in God’s care.
In Week 6 we will recognise Remembrance Day, November 11th. This marked the end of World War 1 over a hundred years ago. Although it was a long time ago, it is an opportunity to remember all those who have died in wars and conflicts since then. We pray that we value the freedoms that we enjoy today and commit ourselves to creating peace in our world by recognising that peace begins in our own families, classrooms, schools and communities, and it begins with us. Each one of us can make a peaceful world.
Year 6 spent time this week sending cards of hope and encouragement to their buddies at St Francis Xavier who are completing their HSC exams in the next few weeks. We hope our words help and support them throughout the exam period just as they supported Year 6 when they were in Kindergarten.
Thank you to the Hatherly family for our staff treats this week.
Lockdown and the remote learning that went with it has been a big part of our school year. Here are a few reflections about the experience.
I liked lockdown in some ways but not in others.
Good : In lockdown we don't have to rush around all the time.
Bad : I missed my friends and school.
Good : I had time to do a lot of stuff I usually wouldn't have time to do.
Bad : I couldn't go to a lot of places that I usually went to.
Lockdown was hard at first but it got easier when you got the hang of it a little bit.
In some ways lockdown was nice. I had more quality time with my family and could catch up on cooking and reading. I also went to school on some days and made many new friends.
At first I thought this would be fun to be at home. Then after one and a half weeks I started to think that is was boring not seeing my friends and not going to school.
Also I thought to myself what are some of the advantages to stay at home to work, this is what I thought- being able to get most of my work down before my meeting (12:20), the weather has been nice to us by letting us have warm weather. The last thing I thought of was that I don't have to wear school uniform.
In the mornings before school I walked up to school and back to my house so it was like a normal school day.
Lockdown wasn’t bad. I could finish school earlier and eat if I’m hungry between doing work. I could also have breaks often. School is a bit easier doing it at home.
In my breaks I played on the trampoline doing flips and playing on my iPad. Mum and I have been going bike riding a lot to Glenrock. At Glenrock, there are jumps and each time I did the jump I got a tiny bit further and further but still didn’t clear it. I didn’t clear it because I didn’t have enough speed. The riding was very fun and very tiring when going back home. Sometimes I rode to Subway to get a Subway sandwich.
I’ve been swimming in the pool every time I come back from a ride. The pool was always cold but after a while I got used to it.
If it wasn’t for lockdown I wouldn’t be able to go for as many rides and jump in the pool.
The only bad thing about lockdown was I couldn’t see my friends so I had to FaceTime them.
This term we have been working on poetry as part of our writing in English. Here are a few of our poems.
Frogs are green
frogs like to hop
They used to be tadpoles
pop, now they're frogs
They go into the wild
they eat all the flies
they jump on the logs
They make funny noises
They’re sometimes wet
They’re sometimes dry
frogs cry out
we need more flies
Out of the sunsets red
Into the blushing sea
The day’s wind drops dead
And dreams come home to me.
The sun is bright
It's the opposite of night
It will heat up your house
You'll feel as small as a mouse
How do witches learn spells?
Adventures through the wizard's world
Races off to Hogwarts in the steam train
Ron's whole family goes to Hogwarts
Yelling every way in Harry's head
Off the train they get to hop on a boat
They finally arrive when the train stops
The person that saves the day is Harry Potter
Everyone is very elegant
Really nervous on their first day of school.
Up high in the sky
Never stops shining bright
Igloos would melt
Never bring a penguin near it
Eggs would fry
Locked inside your house
Over the last days I couldn't sleep because I was not allowed to see my friends
Currently I don't like lockdown
Knock knock - no one is there because no one is allowed to visit
Deep inside I want to go back to school even if I don't like it
Open up, is this the life you want where everyone is in isolation?
Where will you go? What will you do? Stay home and watch TV all day?
Never ending lockdown is what I think it is.
Yin and yang are the sun and night
one so bright and the other right.
The sun is fun the sky is bright
the moon makes a boom and the stars are the night
And yin and yang are in between
none is mean and none is right everything is just bright.
Yin and yang are a symbol from over seas
Together they do so many good deeds.
It takes the lead oh so many times
and yin and yang won't part tonight.
Book Club Issue 7 has been distributed this week. Cash orders will be collected at the library on Monday, 1st November between 8.30 and 8.50.
LOOP (online) orders will close at 10am on Tuesday, 2nd November.
Don’t forget the ‘GIFT’ option when ordering. I will contact you when your order arrives.