Dear Parents & Carers
Welcome to the new school year. It has certainly been a challenging start to the year. The bushfires and smoke have caused havoc to so many, directly and indirectly. We know that many of our families have holiday homes or properties in these areas, have been holidaying in fIre affected areas, and/or have family and friends who have been directly impacted and have other connections to these communities through sporting, school and parishes. The devastation to homes, people, wildlife and to the environment has been catastrophic. While there is an immediate impact there will also be long term effects. We continue to keep these families in our thoughts and prayers.
I have heard from some families that their children are anxious and nervous as a result of the fires. This is understandable and you may be unsure of how best to respond. The following documents may be of assistance:
- Bushfire Fact Sheet for Parents
- Advice from Beyond Blue
- Headspace Mental Health
- Helping Children Affected by Disasters
Special thanks to the many families who contributed to our Gift Card Drive to support fire affected schools and their families. I will write more about this next week.
The current fires in south Canberra are also a concern. Stay safe.
School resumes for all students (P-6) on Monday 3 February.
Kindergarten students make their way directly to the classrooms. Kindergarten students have their rest/assessment day for the first 4 Wednesdays.
New students make your way to the Front Office by 8.45am to meet your teacher.
All other students line up on the concrete assembly area as usual at 8.55am.
The Front Office will be open from Wednesday 29 January.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone next week.
The words ‘Alive with the Spirit’ capture the very essence of who we are as a school. This year we will be introducing our four new keystones - Faith, Learning, Relationship & Service. These words are the foundation we will continue to build our school upon. These words will ensure we are ‘Alive with the Spirit’, unifying us as one community in God’s love.
In 2020 we will continue implementing our Learning Framework.
The emphasis of the framework is to Connect, Investigate and Express with Reflection, Questioning and Assessment ongoing across all learning areas. We see this model as a way of thinking, learning and doing. The emphasis on achievement standards, concepts, big ideas, student interests, community, national and global events, general capabilities, cross curriculum priorities and essential content. We will also continue our emphasis on consistent practices in Writing, Spelling and Maths.
This week the staff have been undertaking a series of professional learning opportunities. The staff completed day 3 and 4 of the Berry Street Education Model that we began last year. The BSEM assist staff with the training, curriculum and strategies to engage even the most challenging students.
This education initiative is different because it is based on proven positive education, trauma-informed and wellbeing practices that enable students’ academic and personal growth. The model is unique because it educates schools and their leaders to reinforce and sustain cognitive and behavioural change, thereby re-engaging young people in learning and progressing their academic achievement.
Over the break, the much needed new path linking the school to local paths has been completed. Not exactly what we thought it was going to be, but still an improvement. When the weather cools, the area will hopefully be reseeded. Thank you to the ACT Government for funding this long requested initiative.
Get organised well in advance - Organise uniforms, lunch boxes, hat and school shoes… and the list goes on. Starting early means less stress for you, but also gives you an opportunity to get your child to look forward to heading back to school — especially if they’re involved in the process
Get back into your sleep routine - To help eradicate those stressful school mornings, set up a regular bedtime and morning time routine to help prepare your child for school. Begin your usual school sleep routine about a week or so before school starts.
Re-establish school routines - Have your child practice getting back into the rhythm of their daily school routine. You can do this by having them wake up at the same time every day, and eat around the same time they would at school. About a week or so before school starts, plan a few outside activities where your child will have to leave and come home around the same time they would if they were in school. This will help them be rested and ready for the big day.
Prepare for the unexpected - Working parents know that it can be difficult to find a carer when your child is sick. Before school even begins, it’s a good idea to have a carer, relative or emergency contact already lined up in case you get that phone from the school saying your child is ill.
Make an after-school game plan - Make sure your child knows what happens each day after school. Ensure they know if they get picked up, catch a bus, walk home, go to a neighbour’s house, afterschool care, etc. This will help eliminate any confusion during the first few weeks.
Turn off the TV and video games - For a lot of children summertime is filled with endless video games and TV programs. Children are usually in shock when they begin school and realise that six hours of their day is going to spent learning and not playing games and watching TV. Ease your child into the learning process by turning off the electronics and encouraging them to read or play quietly.
Encourage kids to set goals and take responsibility - Encouraging children to set goals and take responsibility for the upcoming school year is a great way to get in them in the right frame of mind. Research shows that kids who participate in setting learning goals are consistently more motivated and take learning more seriously. Of course, what this means will depend on your child’s age, as a preschooler won’t be able to take on as much responsibility as one heading to primary or secondary school. But even younger children can be given simple goals to focus on, even if it’s just packing their backpack before bed each night. With younger kids, you can ease into the discussion by reading books about school and talking about the fact that they’ll be heading back soon. Find out what they’ll be working on and if there’s anything specific they’d like to accomplish, and then work together to make a list of steps they’ll need to take to reach those goals.
Look up to learning - If your child is feeling a bit anxious about going back to school, keep a positive attitude. Recall the fun and exciting events, excursions, projects, and so on from years past, and show excitement about the opportunities for learning new things in the upcoming year.
Last but not least…
Connect - Communicating with your child's teacher on a regular basis is an essential part of caring for her education. Teachers can alert you to any emotional, social, or academic difficulties they perceive in your child at school. The same works in reverse: notify teachers about changes that might affect your child's behaviour in school. Some examples are illness, divorce, the death of a family member, a recent move, or a parent getting a new job.
As we start a new school year, Transport Canberra would like to remind parents and students about our services and how to best prepare for travel on both bus and light rail in the new year. Details of all school and regular services are available online for parents and students to begin planning their journeys.
School routes and services remain unchanged for 2020. Transport Canberra is here to support the safe passage of students to and from school using public transport and active travel options. To assist in planning school bus travel, use our handy tips and information.