Dear Parents and families,
Next Thursday 9th September is recognised as R U OK? Day. This day comes as a timely reminder to check in on each other as we continue to deal with the effects of the COVID pandemic. It encourages us to stay connected and have conversations that can help each of us as we face daily challenges and difficult times in our lives.
There will be a real focus on Wellbeing next week with many learning tasks incorporating an opportunity for our staff and students to check in on their friends to discuss how they are feeling and different strategies they can use to support each other and stay connected.
Our virtual weekly assemblies have provided a connection between home and school and our senior students have done a great job in building their leadership skills to lead this each week. Next week they will discuss steps we can take to have a conversation with a friend or family member to check if they R OK. There is one example of the steps seen here.
Below is the link to R U OK? Day. There are many ideas and resources you may like to utilise with your family and loved ones as a way of staying connected and checking in.
I have also included in today’s newsletter an article from ‘Parenting Ideas’ written by Michael Grose. He shares strategies around how we can build resilience in our young people particularly around this time of uncertainty. Strengthening our connections can support relationship building and more positive outcomes for our kids.
Such activities can include:
increasing family connections through shared mealtimes and enjoyable family activities
positive one-on-one activities between parents and kids
encouraging regular digital or face-to-face connection with friends
maintaining contact with extended family
Spend a few minutes reading the article to find out other ways we can support each other.
This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day and acknowledge all our Dad’s and Father figures who do so much for us each and every day. God, our Father is our present Father, everywhere and always with us. He is the perfect example of love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Our St Thomas the Apostle school community is blessed with so many wonderful Father’s and Father figures who show the qualities of love, kindness, strength and humility to name a few. Below are some reflections from our students about their Dads.
My Dad is loving and caring and always puts us first. He is always there when we need him the most. Dad’s show love in different ways – Nathan
I love my Dad because he brings me to the park and buys me toys- Matteo
I love my Dad because he does just so much work - Angelina
My Dad is very caring and an active listener when we need to talk to him. Even when he is busy, he takes time to be active in the park across the road with us. Dad also apologises when he thinks he has made a mistake - Ava
Dad takes care of me and plays with me a lot. I’m very excited this week because Dad is coming home early from work - Sebastian
We wish all out Dad’s a very Happy Father’s Day on Sunday. Thank you for everything you do for our kids.
Term 4 First Communion Program
An email was sent to all families in Year 4 to let you know about the First Communion program for next term. Regardless of whether the First Communion Masses are able to go ahead or not, the Parish Sacramental Team are focused strongly on the preparation for the sacrament. The email contained the link to the enrolment form and needs to be completed by Friday 10th September.
Who Is My Neighbour?
The Jerusalem Community celebrated Mass via Google Meet on Wednesday. The theme of the Mass was ‘Who Is My Neighbour?’.
The story Jesus used to answer this question is pure genius but challenging. It’s the famous story of the Good Samaritan where it was the ‘enemy’ who turned out to the be the one who showed pity and what it means to be a good neighbour.
When Jesus told this story, it was well known by his audience that Samaritans were the enemy. How about we think of it this way:
Collingwood played against Carlton in a classic AFL rivalry game. A lone Collingwood supporter, Maggie, took her seat right in the middle of the Carlton cheer squad. She was wearing all of her black and white gear in amongst the sea of blue. Maggie screamed for joy when Collingwood scored a goal, whilst the Carlton supporters glared at her with contempt.
Seated right next to Maggie, a Carlton fan by the name of Larry, was choking on his meat pie. It was quite serious and Larry was struggling to breathe. The rest of the Carlton cheer squad ignored the choking and spluttering and kept watching the game. Clearly, the game was more important to them. Maggie took her eye off the game, noticed that Larry was struggling and leapt to his aid. She gave him a swift firm knock on his back, dislodging the meaty chunk from his throat. She missed the final winning goal where Collingwood won the match, but she was more concerned with Larry’s wellbeing. While all of the Collingwood supporters were celebrating with “Good ol’ Collingwood forever…” Maggie took Larry to the First Aid area and made sure he was ok.
The important message here is that we need to show each other love, regardless of our prejudices and preferences. We should not pick and choose who we show care and decency for.
The other important thing to highlight is that we need to delve deep and find out about the cultural and historical context in order to gain meaning from scripture. Jesus’ audience knew that Samaritans were the despised cultural group at the time and they would have understood his message but we need to do our research to recontextualise The Good News. It makes scripture come alive.
Who is our neighbour during a lockdown?
Religious Education Leader
Our book week looked a little different this year, but still went off with a bang!
Each day teachers across the school read nominated stories on Google meets. The interactions and feedback were excellent! Teachers also incorporated the titles into learning and new fiction and non-fiction writers were shared and loved. The grade 5/6s learnt lots about the author Shaun Tan this year too. I think the favourite read aloud for the Foundation children was Busy Beaks by Sarah Allen, it generated so much discussion about birds they had seen, what they eat and where they live!
Our final day for book week included a bunch of teachers recording one of their personal favourite stories and sharing with the whole school. (They’re still on google classroom or seesaw, if your child wants to see them or listen again!)
This year's winners in each category were announced and are shown here. It’s not too late to listen to the stories online, buy a copy of a title or request it from your local library!
Our students recently created posters to illustrate the need for and their understanding of Child Safety at school. The best 12 have been selected to create a school calendar. Ewak in Year 6 has created this wonderful front cover.
We will be printing these calendars to hang in each classroom and office in 2022!
2022 Intentions form
As advised recently in the Spear, we are already preparing for 2022!
To help us prepare for class structures next year we are asking families to advise their intentions if your child/ren are moving schools next year.
If you know already that your child/ren are going to be attending Year 1 to Grade 6 at a different school for 2022, could you please click on the link below and complete the information.
Please DO NOT complete the form if your child is currently in Year 6 now and going to Secondary college next year.
School Fee Concession
Many in our school community continue to face financial impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to supporting families experiencing financial challenges through our School Fee Concession programs, and encourage any parent/carer/guardian experiencing difficulties to contact us regarding fee assistance.
Please contact Nicola Saunders on firstname.lastname@example.org to explore confidential financial support arrangements or to obtain further information.
Afternoon School Pick Up
We have been looking at how we can improve the pick up situation in the afternoons. We are going to allow parents to park in the first row of bays closest to Fiorelli Drive.
Please see the attached car park diagram.
All cars will enter via Gate 1 (closest to Ferrari drive) and either turn right to park or continue with the car pick up loop.
Parents parking will use the pedestrian crossing to collect children from the basketball court.
Parked cars will exit out Gate 2 (closest to Berwick Cranbourne Rd). There will be staff members to assist but I know that our lovely parents will work to take turns and let everyone through.
For those with children onsite for remote learning you can use this parking from today.
Everyone else, we'll look forward to seeing you all when lockdown lifts.
NO HAT, NO PLAY
As we head into spring, and as per our Sun Protection Policy the No Hat, No Play rule will begin from 2nd September 2021.
Students will be required to wear hats when outside (e.g recess, play breaks, lunch, sport and excursions). If a child is not wearing a hat they will be required to stay in an undercover area during these times.
Hats can be purchased from PSW located in Hampton Park
NB: We have a number of unnamed items in lost property. Please clearly label your child's items of clothing so they can be returned to your child if handed to lost property.
Parent Notified Absences (PAM)/ Attendance (Remote Learning)
Parents are required to log their child’s absence/ attendance (remote learning) by 9:30 am. This can be done via PAM or alternatively by contacting the school on 5998 9293.
Please note any unexplained absences will be recorded as an absence against your child’s attendance record.
If you are experiencing any problems logging into PAM, please contact the school for assistance.
If your child is unwell, has a fever or has been vomiting or have had gastroenteritis, they must stay at home until they are symptom free for 24 hours. If they are not completely symptom free eg: runny nose, cough they will need a medical certificate to confirm they have recovered and are not contagious in order to attend school.
Change of Clothing (Foundation – Junior students)
Accidents happen, from muddy puddles to tummy troubles; there may come a time when your child needs a change of clothes. Please ensure your child has a spare set of clothing in their bags at all times in the event they are needed.