On Wednesday we held our first orientation morning for the children coming into Kindergarten next year. It was amazing how quickly the children connected with Year 5 buddies, said goodbye to their families and joined all the other children in our incredible Kinder space. We look forward to seeing them again in two weeks’ time where they get to go on a scavenger hunt and discover the different locations around the school. I’d like to share with you an email we received that highlights what a terrific experience this was.
Thank you for such a calm, smooth and well-organised Orientation 2022 today.
The ‘buddy’ letter posted in the mail for the Kindy 2022 children was a beautiful gesture and a memory that will be cherished forever.
We had a very excited and happy little boy return home today. His only let down was that he wasn’t coming back and officially starting ‘Big School’ tomorrow.
World Kindness Day
In a world that seems to be getting more and more divided, it can feel like there’s not much you can do. And yet, we all know that doing small acts of kindness for strangers or people in need is one of the best ways to make the world a better place. It doesn’t take much effort, but it has an incredible impact on those around us.
It was so heart-warming to receive an email from a parent this week who took the time to share a random act of kindness she witnessed one afternoon in the Union St pick-up line.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to commend the kindness of your students. Today at school pick up I was in my car sitting behind another car. The little Joey's student was having trouble closing her car door and tried a few times to close her door, unsuccessfully. Another student who was waiting at his witches’ hat, saw this and rushed over to help his fellow student close her car door.
I wished I had known the name of this child so I could pass it onto you. Small acts of kindness like this don't go unnoticed and it's heart-warming to see this happening, knowing that your students can see when another needs help and will go out of their way to do this.”
Let’s help our children see that for change to occur in our world and to make it the place we want it to be, it starts with each one of us, one small step or one small act at a time. Why not engage in a game of Kindness Bingo this weekend?
If you would like some further ideas for your family around this concept, please take a look at: Random acts of kindness
Now that we have been back at school for a couple of weeks and have had time to adjust from wearing PJs and casual clothes we ask that you check that your children each morning are in their full school uniform. The main things that we need to encourage you to look out for are: the wearing of jewellery; sports shoes with the summer uniform; multicoloured sports shoes with their sports uniform; and various coloured hair accessories. Our uniform policy is: black traditional school shoes worn with the summer uniform, not black sports shoes or any other coloured sports shoes; with the sports uniform it is white sports shoes and white shoelaces; there are to be no bangles, necklaces or ‘glitzy’ earrings; and hair accessories need to be in the school colours of either blue or yellow.
A great number of children, both girls and boys, with shoulder length hair or longer are leaving it out when it should be tied back. Thank you for your support in helping our children to wear their uniforms in a manner that shows pride in themselves and in our school.
Pupil Free Day
Our staff spirituality day was cancelled on a number of occasions this year due to Covid. We are still unable to undertake this, this year. In consultation with staff from the Catholic Schools Office we have arranged to have two faith formation days for next year and we will have a curriculum focus day for staff at the end of this year. To minimise the disruption to families and to keep class disruptions to a minimum, over these last few teaching weeks, we will have the staff development day at the end of this term. This will mean that the children’s last day of school is Tuesday 14th December and the staff will have their Mathematics curriculum day on Wednesday 15th December. If you require care for that day please contact OOSH email@example.com
A couple of parents in their conversations with staff have commented that it has become a little harder to get the children to disengage with their devices since the end of lockdown. The fact that children were limited in their activities for quite some time, and that their learning was predominantly online, led to an increase in their regular screen time and now there isn’t the need for this some children are still a little hesitant to give up their screens and engage with other things. Sharon Beckett, our school counsellor, has shared the following resources with us that you may find useful if your children have become a little too attached to their devices.
Progressive Achievement Testing (PAT)
PAT testing will be completed by all students in Years 2-6 in Weeks 6 & 7, in Mathematics, Spelling, Vocabulary and Reading. PAT is completed each year and looks at student growth across the year. The results from these tests assist us to organise flexible groups for 2022 and ensure that teaching and learning programs are targeted to the needs of all students. There is no need for students to “study” for PAT.
Tell Them From Me Survey
As of today, 12% of our parent body has completed the Tell Them From Me survey, thank you to those who have done this. The survey has been extended until this Friday 12 November. We encourage all parents/guardians to complete the survey, as it will help the school to set targets to improve students' growth, parent involvement and satisfaction for 2022 and beyond. You can access the survey at https://tellthemfromme.com/survey/splash/stjosephs
Student Leadership 2022
The process of selecting our Student Leaders for 2022 will begin next Monday 15th November. Please see the proposed timeline below:
Monday 15 November
- Year 5 complete Leadership Reflection sheet
- Leadership Parent letter & student nomination form sent home
Friday 19 November
- Nominations need to be returned
- Absent students to email their nomination form
Monday 22 November
- Year 5 students vote and determine 10 girls and 10 boys
Tuesday 23 - Friday 26 November
- Staff vote to narrow 20 children to 10 - 5 boys and 5 girls – the Student Leadership Team of 2022
Monday 29 November
- Student Leadership Team for 2022 announced
- Nominees for Sports House Captain to complete speech at House Team Meeting
- Students 2-6 vote for Sport House Captains
Tuesday 30 November
- Sports House Captains announced
Thursday 2 December
- Student Leadership Team will write a short speech at school
- Speeches presented to the whole school
- Year 2-6 vote
- Captains and Vice Captains and their parents are informed
- Captains and Vice Captains for 2022 announced
Tuesday 7 December
- Passing of light between 2021 Leadership Team and 2022 Leadership Team at the End of Year Mass
Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL)
This week the Gold and Red houses enjoyed their reward earning the most House tokens across Term 3. During Term 4 there will be one House winner who will be announced in Week 10.
Our PBL focus this fortnight is Care for All - Caring for God’s world. This unit highlights the importance of caring for our environment, our school, our home and our community. Throughout this learning students will reflect on the words of Pope Francis;
“We are stewards, not masters of our earth. Each of us has a personal responsibility to care for the precious gift of God’s creation.”
Below are some of ways we can care for God’s world. It may be a way to begin a conversation with your child/ren. Why not set a goal over this next fortnight to really focus on how we demonstrate care for our environment.
Remembrance Day Liturgy
This week we commemorated Remembrance Day. We gathered as classes united in faith to pray for all those who have been affected by war. The students reflected on the sacrifice that so many Australian men and women have made and continue to make so that others may live in freedom.
Feast of Christ the King
The Church is celebrating the Feast of Christ the King this coming Sunday, which is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time before we move into Advent. The feast day is a powerful reminder of how Jesus envisaged the Kingdom of God. For Jesus, the Kingdom was not a rule of power and status but a rule of justice and peace for even the lowliest. It is an apt conclusion to the liturgical year. We now look to prepare and wait in the Season of Advent, the beginning of the new church year.
Year 6 Retreat
Year 6 will be attending retreat on Tuesday 23rd November at Dixon Park Surf Club. This is a very special time where students reflect on their time here at St Joseph’s and begin to look forward towards their transition to high school. Please keep the students and teachers in your prayers.
SJSJ and St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal
Christmas is a time of hope and joy! This year has had its fair share of challenges once again, and at times it’s been tough to see the joy through the hardship. But as we approach the Christmas season, we're reminded to reflect on the good things, as well as the hope we can bring to others.
St Vincent De Paul continues to provide shelter, food, clothing, financial support, friendship and care for tens of thousands of people in NSW, but the need is still great, and we need YOUR help. Together, we can renew hope this Christmas. For the St Joseph’s Social Justice team Christmas Appeal, we will be collecting donations of non-perishable food items and gift cards. We are so thankful for your continued and unfailing generous support to our team in their work to support people in our local community.
We have allocated suggestions for each grade. Please place in collection baskets in the classroom. Please donate gift cards directly to the office. Closing date for all donations is Wednesday 1st December.
|Kindergarten||Cereal, tinned fruit, fruit cups, pancake mix|
|Year 1||Soaps, liquid hand soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand cream, body wash|
|Year 2||Dried fruit, fruit mince pies, christmas pudding, custard|
|Year 3||Tea, coffee, milo, long life milk, instant coffee sachets|
|Year 4||Vegemite, jams, biscuits (sweet and savoury)|
|Year 5||Couscous, pasta, pasta sauce, instant gravy,, soup|
|Year 6||Lollies, candy canes, christmas cakes, bonbons, jelly|
- To uphold the dignity of those receiving the goods, please ensure that all food items are not due to expire for at least the next 6 months. All items must be nonperishable and tins not damaged or opened packaging.
- Look out for packaged food with a Health Star Rating of 3.5 or above. The more stars, the better!
Staff Professional Development
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, our school is piloting one module of the Kindergarten curriculum this term.
The vision for the new curriculum is that the Good News of Jesus Christ be encountered in every RE classroom in innovative and co-creative ways as part of the living tradition of the Church as a system of meaning of relevance to individuals’ social and community experience. As part of the new approach in RE, students will be given greater opportunities to ask questions, to explore the limits of their own understanding and be challenged in terms of their perspectives about religion and any misconceptions or negativity they may have about it. These students still have thoughts and ideas about life questions and are still searching for meaning. Themes, topics, content and questions have been designed to help all students to find a greater connection between religion, belief and real-life experiences.
Likewise, we as teachers are reaching out to encounter this new pedagogy of learning. This week our teachers engaged in and experienced a prayerful and reflective encounter where staff time was given to be, to reconnect, to reflect and to dream.
Family Ministry Corner - Helene O’Neill
Now that life is slowly returning to pre Covid times members of the family may still be feeling the effects of lockdown or home schooling or missing their friends whatever age you/they are. I recently watched a webinar presented by the Catholic Schools NSW. The presenter Justin Coulson focused on Self Care and reminded us that you ‘can’t pour from an empty cup.’ Maybe you are feeling that way that you simply have no more to give. Let me share some of Jason’s pearls using the acronym HALTS which may resonate with that feeling of overwhelm.
Hungry – you need to have food in your ‘belly’. Good nutritious food will sustain you and help you through the challenging times. Remember also if the chocolate in the fridge is tempting you, go for it and enjoy a treat.
Angry – if your mental health isn’t at the level you are used to, the blood flow may be being diverted as your brain takes over. Your normal state of equilibrium is out of whack; the kids are fighting; the weather has turned foul and home schooling is not your chosen career path. Find a quiet space and try to switch off. Some quality ‘ME’ time will help balance you.
Lonely – do you feel like you are doing all this on your own? Are you struggling with not being connected? Try not to despair. Phone a friend or take the time to care for yourself. What is it that would bring back your sense of worth or feeling valued again? Remember you are special
Tired – we all need 8 hours sleep. Easier said than done. Switch off the computer; let the family know that your ‘ME’ time is between a certain time; have a ‘lights out’ policy one night a week when at 9pm all lights go out (sleep before midnight is worth double) and have a light dinner so you wont feel ‘heavy’ when you get into bed and therefore unable to sleep.
Stress – we all know how our life is impacted by not handling what is thrown at us to deal with.
Over the next week try to eliminate the Halts through eating well, focusing on personal and spiritual growth; having a medical check up and getting to bed as early as possible. Happy days
Welcome to the Wonderful World of 5 Blue!
Looking Back and Reflecting on Home Learning
Settling in with our Kinder Buddies
Meeting our new Kinder Buddies has been a buzz of excitement for Year 5!
On Wednesday 10th November, we had our first Kinder Orientation Day. I met a new student called Alice and I had a lot of fun. It was a great experience!
“I can’t wait to meet my new buddy because I love spending time with little kids and teaching them new things” shared Louis.
In our buddy training, we learnt lots of practical strategies on how to introduce ourselves to the new Kinders such as bending down to meet at their height, how to introduce them to a game and how to meet new people in their class.
All of Year 5 can’t wait to see their buddies again soon! - Mason Van Huisstede
yLead Workshop - Lead with the Heart!
On Friday 5th November, Year 5 participated in a leadership program called yLead. This program reflects on what makes a true leader. Year 5 were able to come to school in out-of-uniform as well as getting a special treat for lunch!
We met our instructor, Zoe and her assistants Emily and Dion through Zoom. We got to know our instructors well throughout the whole day. We were exposed to scenarios where we needed to use our previously acquired leadership skills to become successful in the tasks.
“It taught us how to be skillful leaders!” and “The yLead program was a great opportunity to learn what leadership means!” shared Isi and Harry.
I feel like this opportunity will help in school leadership, buddies, but also in our everyday lives, because we can always lead with our heart, wherever we are.
The program was enjoyed by students and teachers alike. By the end of the day, we knew that “leadership is more than a badge or position”.
PS: Make sure you go and check out this week’s office display where Year 5 has shared even more about our yLead workshop! - Shloka Tummala
Science in Term 4 is out of this World!
During Science this term, we have strived to learn more about the infinite mystery above in the hopes of becoming well-read and educated youths about space. During the past couple of weeks, we have conducted vigorous research in the hopes of having enough knowledge stored in our craniums to make an informative digital text on a particular area of our solar system.
Here are some wacky facts about our solar system:
If you’d like to find out more interesting facts, please come and visit 5 Blue!
By Archie Stathis
Due to our current Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions we will be running a competitor only carnival, specifically for children to compete in, to gain possible entry into the 2022 Regional Swimming Carnival. Unfortunately, parents and spectators are not currently permitted to attend this event.
Event – St Joseph’s 2021 Competitor Only Swimming Carnival
Date – Tuesday 30th November 2021
Venue – Lambton Pool
The carnival is only for students who are turning 8 -12 years old next year, 2022. Current Kindergarten and Year 6 students will not be eligible to attend.
Please note it is advised that students have prior experience for the following events: 100m Open Freestyle and the 200m Individual Medley.
If your child/ren are competitive swimmers who wish to enter this event, please complete and submit the following entry form by Friday 19th November 2021.
All entrants will receive further event details in the coming weeks.
Summer Sports Trials
Due to our current Level 3 Covid restrictions, we are unable to hold Regional inter school trials during school hours for Tennis and Basketball. We have been advised by the Catholic Schools Office that to avoid this outcome, we may be best to complete at school trials if we have more than 3 or 4 boys and 3 or 4 girls wishing to enter these events or make paper selections based on students' nomination forms if our numbers are low.
Once all our Central Region nominations have been finalised we will then provide information about the Diocesan trials to selected students. These trials will likely take place out of school hours. Hopefully we will have this information to provide to families sometime next week.
Overdue Loans – Congratulations everyone! There were hundreds of books overdue after the lockdown. The majority have been returned.
There are still just a few outstanding. We will continue to issue gentle reminders. If the books cannot be located please send a very short note to the library so we can restore full borrowing rights to your child.
Keep on Reading!
School Photos - Monday 6th December
There is a great deal of lost property here at school including lunch boxes, drink bottles, hats and jumpers. Please ask your children to check lost property and ensure that your child's belongings are labelled clearly with their name.
2022 School Bus Travel
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