It was truly a joyful experience with the whole school returning on Wednesday morning. I could tell that the families were extremely happy about following the normal routine of morning drop-off. It has been a while since I was able to greet our families at the pedestrian crossing with my usual playlist of songs.
At the Prep/Foundation prayer service on this same morning, I thought about their theme, ‘The Spirit gives us life’.
Bethlehem Community gathered for prayer and contemplated the Spirit. It was mentioned a number of times that “Spirit gives us life”. What does this mean? There is so much wisdom to be found in scripture. In today’s science and evidence-based world, we can often fall into the trap of taking the condescending approach of thinking that scripture is that old stuff that was written thousands of years ago and has no relevance to me now. We’re so technologically advanced now, why would some ancient stuff from the bible be of any use to me?
We learn from St Paul in one of his letters that:
God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.
That’s really cool but how does the Spirit do this for us? If we look closely at even older scripture, that is, Kings 1 in the Old Testament, we’ll find some more wisdom about how the Spirit communicates with us:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
What do these pieces say about Spirit? It suggests that Spirit has the potential to be a guiding force but does this job in a quiet unassuming way. We have to be quiet and still to hear. Some people are able to listen to what the Spirit is saying in prayer and meditation. Whilst some people can hear the Spirit when spending time in nature.
It was priceless when a Foundation student exclaimed, “But I can’t hear the voice inside!” We had to explain that sometimes the small, still voice inside is a gut feeling rather than something articulated clearly. The Holy Spirit works in many ways but are we allowing a quiet space for listening?
For 2022 the school will be set up with communities at year level.
Foundation will be in Galilee
Year 1 will be in Jerusalem
Year 2 will be in Bethlehem
Year 3 will be in Damascus
Year 4 will be in Bethany
Year 5 will be in Ephesus
Year 6 will be in Jericho
We are finalising staffing at present and will be announcing teachers with communities in the coming weeks. Classroom placement begins over Weeks 7 and 8 of this term with students having a voice into identifying who they work well with. Teachers will consider the needs of students both academically and socially as they place them into classes.
Basketball Court cover update
We are getting closer to our new cover being finalised - we will see the last part of construction begin in the week of November 15th. The cover should be completed by the 1st of December. We hope this will allow us to have some end of year events happening this year within the restrictions for density limits and numbers. We appreciate your patience as we continue this process.
Afternoon School Pick up
We are trialling a QR code system to help with car pick up. A staff member will ask you to scan a QR code with your phone camera (or QR code reader) to open a form in which you enter the name of the child or children you are collecting. This allows us to give the children greater notice that you are here and ready.
For gate pick up we are still limited in space by restrictions and the upcoming work on the basketball court. Once the cover is on the basketball court we will have students wait there for pick up. We know this can be a challenge but appreciate your good humour as we send the children through in small groups to be met by parents.
If you watched the show Parental Guidance and are wondering how you might have a chat about strangers, here is a copy of an article written by the show’s psychologist Dr Justin Coulson, about supporting our children. He has a great website that cover lots of parenting areas!
SAFE, NOT SCARED
While we know the likelihood of kidnapping or something else bad happening is extraordinarily small, if it does, it is going to shake our world. It’s a risk we just can’t take. We have to teach our children how to be safe. So how do we do this without scaring them?
Focus on safety
Scare tactics might make sense from our perspective, but they tend to intimidate our children and lead them away from making wise decisions (or having a healthy approach to being outside, taking risks, and exploring the world). One in ten children between the ages of six and 11 has diagnosable anxiety. Some of this is likely due to the messages of fear from parents and the media.
Instead, be clean and clear in what you say. Avoid extra detail. And focus on safety rather than danger. Keep information age-appropriate – how they can stay safe in different scenarios, and the way that ‘safe kids’ act – rather than all of the possible dangers.
Beyond stranger danger
Bear in mind that while it is tempting to teach our children about ‘stranger danger’, experts have determined this is an idea that places your children at risk. Teaching our children to be wary of all strangers may not only frighten them, but may actually work against them at a time when they might otherwise need that stranger’s help. Some strangers might not be safe, but most are.
Researchers at Cornell University advise instructing your children on how to respond to the lures of strangers, and making sure to model and rehearse these responses with your kids. Others describe teaching children to avoid “tricky people” such as adults who ask children for help, or attempt to lure them away from family, friends, or safe places.
Teach simple safety guidelines
We want our kids to understand that strangers are not always dangerous people, and that dangerous people are not always strangers. Also, and maybe more importantly, dangerous people don’t always seem dangerous. But we need to teach them this in a way that shows them how to be alert and aware, without making them fearful or anxious.
These are the things that I teach my own children about strangers:
Most strangers are good people.
If a stranger ever approaches you, always check with your parents before doing anything with that stranger.
If you are going somewhere with a stranger (for some currently unanticipated reason), always stay in public.
There may be some instances, perhaps if you got lost or needed help, where you need to go to a stranger. If you do need to talk to a stranger, it is always best to look for a mum with children and ask her for help. If that won’t work, go to a lady. Or go to a store and get help from the person working – but always stay in public.
If you ever feel unsafe, like a stranger is following you, find another adult and explain what you are scared of. Because most strangers are safe, if you ask for help you’re very likely to get it. But if you are invited into someone’s house, always say no and just stay on the doorstep.
If a stranger promises you something really cool, like lollies, games, or tells you to follow them to see butterflies, lizards, snakes or even a baby tiger, say no and move away.
If a stranger (or any adult) ever grabs you or touches you in a way that makes you scared, scream the following words: ‘Stop it! Help! Don’t touch me!’ And scream at them. Be LOUD!
Once you’ve gone over the guidelines, model them and practice them. Kids don’t have the longest memory (except when it comes to promises of chocolate!) so make sure to revisit these guidelines at least once a year. Make it fun, not scary, and you will give your kids the confidence to interact with strangers safely and without fear or worry.
STAPS Christmas Card Design Community Finalists 2021
Congratulations to the following finalists for the STAPS Christmas Card Design Competition! There were hundreds of entries throughout the school and the standard of artwork from our students is amazing! It was very hard to narrow down the finalists. The judges are in the process of voting and one winner per community will be announced next week. The artworks will be judged and based on aesthetic appeal, creativity and relevance to the scripture passage:
“...they saw the child with Mary his mother;
And they knelt down and paid him homage.
Then, opening their treasure chests they offered him gifts
of gold, frankincense, and myrrh”. (Mt 2:11)
Foundation Bethlehem Finalists
Kaajol (BWO), Ameylle (JCA), Phoenix (JCA), Sharbel (JPE), Keira (SVA).
Juniors Damascus Finalists
Deon (APA), Evni (EST), Raphael (EST), Sandrine (EST), Tomas (CPO).
Juniors Galilee Finalists
Akain (CPA), Emma (CPA), Leo (CPA), Nathan (CPA).
Juniors Jerusalem Finalists
Jake (JMA), Rayona (JMA), Talia (JMA), Tashayla (MSAM)
Middles Ephesus Finalists
Marco (MWA), Alden ((MWH), Gurjas (MWH), Tanya (MWH), Mihika (SCL).
Middles Jericho Finalists
Emilin (CGO), Donna (EOK), Ryan (EOK), Sofia (WSI).
Seniors Bethany Finalists
Adrienne (NCA), Taelim (DWI), Gemma (EBL), Isabella (SNA), Kiara (NCA), Samantha (DWI), Stella (BWA), Vinhara (NCA).
|Tuesday 9th||STAPS celebrates World Teachers Day!|
|Wednesday 10th||Galilee Community Mass - 9:15am|
|Wednesday 17th||Jerusalem Community Mass - 9:15am|
|Wednesday 24th||Damascus Community Mass - 9:15am|
|Monday 22nd - 26th||Japanese week|
Yr 6 Graduation Mass
Yr 6 Graduation Ceremony (info to follow)
|Tuesday 14th||Last Day of School Term 2021|
|Wednesday 15th||School Closure Day|