Dear St John the Apostle families,
Thank you for assisting your child to settle back in to school this week.
I had the opportunity to visit all classes to personally deliver the Term 3 End of Term awards. Students all appeared to be very happy to return to school and their friends.
Teachers all noted that students have been able to settle back into routines very quickly though they sometimes need a little break as they build up their stamina again to get through the day.
Thank you everyone for working together to help our pick up process be as smooth as possible. We did have some lovely feedback from an SFX parent who contacted us during the week. She rang to say thank you to all the St John’s families who are so considerate every afternoon and let the SFX families in – in the busy afternoon traffic. She said it was not just one family but every car from St John’s lets them in and they are very grateful for their consideration.
This week we have been very punctual about closing the student entry gates at 8.50am when the lining up music finishes. This means that anyone not in the gates before they are closed must go through the front office and be signed in by a parent/guardian.
We know that for some individual students and families this may feel a little inconvenient. We're doing it for several reasons.
Firstly, operating and supervising three different entry points each morning demands more from staff. The staff have classes and students to get to first thing in the morning and so they need to close the gate fairly quickly so that their students are not standing around waiting for them as they wait for people wandering in.
Secondly, school starts at 8.50am. Transitioning into the school day smoothly with the teacher and class helps students to settle in and be ready to learn. In a child care centre and pre-school students can wander into the room at any time and relax into the day with some activities. That works well for small centres and younger children. School isn't like that. We have morning routines that build student independence, connection and engagement. Together classes have fruit break, take the roll, talk through what the day looks like, share stories and pray. Doing this together helps all students to feel they belong to the class. It helps even the sleepiest child to tune into learning for the day. Being late for this means that students miss all of these important habits and connections.
Lastly, school is important. It impacts a student's future. We value what we do with our students and how we help them grow and learn. We know that you value it too. Giving the message to students to be on time helps them to understand that school is important. What they are doing at school is important. That it is valued. It is worth being on time for.
We know that every one has the occasional day where they accidentally sleep in or unexpected occurrences happen in the morning. My own kids have lost things, spilled things and argued with each other and this has meant that getting out of the door on time is a challenge. We fully expect that to happen on occasion to everyone, including ourselves.
So if you have to sign your child in every once in a while, we understand, we apologise for the inconvenience, we just need to get started with the day for all the students that are here.
If it happens nearly every day then have a chat with us. Let us know if it's a challenge to get out the door and we'll help where we can. There are lots of little strategies and incentives that can help children get ready in the morning. If it is just a matter of leaving the house five minutes earlier than you ordinarily do then I encourage you to give it a go and get the children involved in monitoring the clock. Your children will probably be very happy to be able to play with friends for a few minutes before school starts.
Staffing news update
Last week I listed the staffing news for St John the Apostle for 2022. I would like to add a congratulations to Ms Ashleigh van Kemenade who will be taking up a teaching position in Orange in 2022. Ms van Kemenade has been a wonderful addition to the staff and school over the last two years. We thank her for her work in Year 3, particularly in supporting students who are celebrating Reconciliation and First Eucharist. We wish her the very best in this next chapter in her teaching career.
Congratulations to Mrs Beth Fear and husband Liam on the birth of Remy last Friday 5 November. Remy is a big brother to Louis. Everyone is doing well!
Class placements for 2022
At this time of the year I welcome parent communication regarding any specific needs they would like considered when placing their child in a class group next year. Parents wishing to communicate this are asked to email me directly (not the classroom teacher) with the considerations they would like kept in mind as part of the class creation process. These will be treated confidentially and viewed only by me. Specific teacher requests will not be considered. The cut off for communicating these considerations will be Friday 19 November.
Thank you all for being such a fantastic community to belong to.
This week a number of students finished Level One in the MiniLit Intervention Program. This is a big achievement. Yesterday, Mrs Neiberding (Inclusion Teacher), Matthew and myself presented each child with a certificate and a book.
MiniLit Intervention is a new initiative that we have implemented this year. It is an evidence-based, explicit and effective early literacy intervention program for teaching reading skills to children.
It is amazing to see the growth that each one of these students have had over their time in the Intervention. A big congratulations to these wonderful students and a huge thank you to Mrs Neiberding for teaching such a wonderful intervention.
Community Council Hamper Raffle
Don't forget to purchase your Hamper tickets on the Qkr app under Community Council Events/Fundraising.
We have decided that we will draw the Hamper on Thursday 9th December (Week 10).
It has been a little tricky to fundraise for the Community Council, so if you are able to, it would be fantastic if you could support this fundraising activity.
If you can't make a decision on which hamper to choose, then the "All Hampers" ticket is the one for you. Purchase one ticket for $10 and you will get one ticket in each hamper.
The price of tickets are as follows:
1 ticket = $2
3 tickets = $5
5 tickets = $7
Assistant Principal and Inclusion Coordinator
Catholic Life and Reflection
What staff are learning about
I am always amazed at the generosity of teachers. Even though we are so busy at the moment, we have had several staff commit to having a prac student from ACU. We have three wonderful teachers with us Jackson in 6M, Sabrina in 3B and Olivia in 4M.
Giving student teachers the opportunity to be in a classroom is essential for their development but also beneficial to the supervising teacher. The sharing of ideas and rich discussions help all involved to focus on the teaching and learning in the classroom.
We look forward to seeing how they develop during their time at St John’s.
Catholic Life and Reflection
What a week!
First week of full time onsite learning for Year 4.
Seeing how much all of my students have grown (yes… some are taller than me!)
Seeing their faces over the top of a mask filled with joy at seeing their friends.
Lots of early morning walks with a very bouncy labrador.
Meeting new kinders for 2022.
Prayers answered in the finding of Cleo in Western Australia.
Remembering what it is like to drive in traffic!
The highlight though, in a week full of joy, was when I heard one of the new Kinders for 2022 calling out “Hello Mr KinderGarton!” to Matthew as he greeted the students and families.
What a blessing young children are. A reminder that children will find joy in all things, we just have to remember to notice it.
I have recently purchased a school candle. It is quite large and requires a sturdy candle holder. I am hoping someone in the community might be able to make one. Metal or wood or both would be lovely. If you are interested could you contact me on email@example.com so we can discuss.
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to Austin M, Liam S, Penelope A, Naveliangel S, Charlie W, Zara M, Archie B and Henry G who all celebrated a birthday over the last week.
Please note that we ask students to not bring home made cupcakes to share with the class for their birthdays. This is a precautionary measure for health and hygiene. The Canteen offers a number of options to share with the class. Purchases can be made through the QKR app.
Find out what is happening in our School Library Community
We are so happy to welcome all of our students back into the Library after lockdown. Thank you so much for how you have supported your children during this time. We have had a number of emails from parents and students, looking for more reading resources, sharing their library learning and wanting to borrow books. We have also received communication about lost books, and want to thank you if you have paid for lost or damaged books. Communication with parents and carers helps us ensure that we are providing the best possible service to the children.
Online Author Visit
Two weeks ago students had the opportunity to virtually interact with author Brisbane Chris Collins. Chris is the author of some favourites such as Funky Chicken, Mission InCROCobile, Chooks in Space and A Bug Called Doug. The library now has more copies of these books, plus Chris’ new book The Things You Can Do With Blue Whale Poo.
Overdue notices for Term 4 will be sent out next week. Please have a look around your house for these books as we are approaching our annual stocktaking period and need the books to be returned. Books that are lost or damaged need to be paid for using QKR. The cost is $8 per book. If you have any concerns about overdue notices please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tips for Reading Time with Children
Next time you settle in with your kids for storytime, ask them a few questions while you read. This can help make storytime even more valuable, and boost the skills your child gets out of reading. Have you tried these questions?
- What do you think might happen in this story?
- What word do you think should come next?
- What was that character’s name again?
- Which words do you think best describe this character?
- Can you make up a different ending to this story?
Lauren Hudson (Teacher/Librarian) firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirsty Vera (Library Assistant) email@example.com
The Uniform Shop is now able to have customers attend in person. Please make sure you check-in using the CBR Check-in QR code, wear a face-mask and abide by all social distancing requirements set by ACT Health.
Uniform orders can still be placed for ‘Order for delivery’ which will be sent to your child's classroom.
The Uniform Shop is open below during the following times:
- Friday 12 November: 9-10am
If you have any questions or concerns, please email the uniform shop on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Photo Fundraiser – Friday 12 & 19 Nov and Sat 20 Nov
Bookings are now available for this years fantastic family photo fundraiser.
For only $20 you get a professional family photo shoot with multiple shots plus a A4 sized (10″ x 13″) professional family photo. You also have the option to buy more however there is absolutely no obligation to buy. (Payment through QKR is available now).
Sessions will be outside this year at the Lake Ginninderra Western Foreshore to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
To make it easier on families we have made bookings available across three days:
Fri 12 Nov 4-7pm,
Fri 19 Nov 4-7pm and
Sat 20 Nov 3-7pm.
Places will fill fast so BOOK NOW by going to https://sjapsfundraising.com/family-photo-fundraiser-1-nov/
If you have any questions please email our Fundraising coordinator Belinda at Belinda.email@example.com
Prioritising mental health in the digital world
There’s certainly consensus in the research that young people are heavy technology users, which comes at a cost of their psychological and physical needs. Their digital behaviours eat into the time that was once available for three pillars of mental health – sleep, relationships and exercise.
Minimising sleep disruption
Sleep is vital for mental wellbeing and emotional regulation in childhood and adolescence. Inadequate amounts or poor-quality sleep can cause mental health issues. Studies consistently show that Australian children and teens aren’t getting enough sleep. Digital device use is also linked to sleep disruption, impacting the sleep-wake cycle. The Lancet study suggested that nearly 60% of the impact of young people’s psychological distress could be attributed to disrupted sleep and exposure to cyberbullying.
Parents need to remind children and young adolescents about the critical role sleep plays in their psychological wellbeing. Parents can help adolescents foster healthy social media habits by establishing a digital curfew, keeping devices out of bedrooms and discouraging teens from ‘bookending’ their day with social media as it can easily trigger the stress response at these times.
Maintaining healthy relationships
Positive relationships are fundamental to a young person’s psychological wellbeing. Adolescents are biologically wired for relational connection. They want to be part of a tribe. Whilst teens and pre-teens may insist that technology connects them and caters for their relational needs, if used excessively or inappropriately, technology use can compromise their relationships and deteriorate their mental health.
Parents need to encourage and sustain opportunities for real interactions amongst adolescents. When we connect in-person the brain releases oxytocin, the social bonding hormone, which isn’t replicated online. The need for keeping a balance between digital and face-to-face interactions is paramount.
Ensuring sufficient exercise
Sedentary social media and digital consumption frequently replaces physical movement on weekends and after school, which are the opportunity times for kids’ sport, free play and outdoor activities. Brain science now informs us that physical exercise boosts serotonin and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine that play a critical role in regulating adolescents’ mood.Lack of exercise is now being linked to the current anxiety epidemic that we are seeing in young people.
Parents need to ensure that children experience a minimum of 30 minutes exercise, and teens a minimum of 60 minutes. “Go outside and play” is a term that this generation needs to hear as frequently as children in past eras.
The research into the links between kids’ digital technology use and their mental health presents a complex picture that defies simplistic conclusions. Blanket statements and headlines that suggest screens and social media are to blame for kid’s poor mental health aren’t helpful as technology is now a part of all our lives. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that the key pillars of mental health outlined above can be severely impacted by the overuse of digital technology. All things in moderation, a common guideline for healthy living, is best when considering kids’ social media and digital technology use.
Dr Kristy Goodwin presents a related webinar: Taming digital distractions
Our school has a membership with Parenting Ideas. As part of this membership, you can attend the upcoming webinar ‘Taming digital distractions’ at no cost.
In this webinar, Dr Kristy Goodwin helps parents and carers understand why children and adolescents are vulnerable to digital distractions. She provides science-backed solutions to help kids and teens develop healthy digital behaviours so that they can focus, learn and thrive online.
This webinar has been pre recorded and is valid until 8 December 2021. Simply register to access the recording.
1. Click this link: https://www.parentingideas.com.au/parent-resources/parent-webinars/webinar-taming-digital-distractions
2. Click ‘Add to cart’
3. Click ‘View cart’
4. Enter the coupon code TAMING and click ‘Apply Coupon’ Your discount of $39 will be applied.
5. Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
6. Fill in your account details including our school’s name to verify your eligibility. These are the details you will use to login to your account and access your webinar and resources
7. Click ‘Place Order’
Dr Kristy Goodwin
Dr Kristy Goodwin is a digital wellbeing and performance speaker, author and researcher (and mum who also deals with her kids’ techno-tantrums!). She’s the author of Raising Your Child in a Digital World, and a media commentator who doesn’t suggest that we ban the iPhone, or unplug the gaming console (digital abstinence isn’t the solution). Kristy translates research into essential information and realistic strategies for parents to ensure kids and teens thrive in the digital world. For further details visit www.drkristygoodwin.com.