- Messages from the Principal
- Messages from the Assistant Principal
- School X-Country
- Winter Uniforms
- COVID Update
- LATE arrivals/early departures
- School Fees
- Pupil Free Day
- Easter Hat Parade
- P & F News
- Aboriginal Education News
- RE News
- Library News
- NAPLAN - Year 3 & 5
- Easter Raffle
- St Nicholas OOSH News
- Parish Bulletin
- Cybersafety presentation by Brett Lee
- Water Nutrition Snippet
- White Sox Baseball
Dear Parents and Friends of St Kevin’s,
Well-being and learning of our students is the core business of our school. As parents and teachers, we need to work together to ensure that we are equipping our children with all the skills they need to be successful adults. We cannot do it alone – parents or teachers, we are a team, we are a village that is raising children together. We can’t blame others – parents, teachers or other students, we need to always be focussed and positive in assisting our children to overcome hurdles and barriers that they encounter so as to develop into successful and active members of society.
On Wednesday I attended some Professional Development in Leading Learning. One aspect that came up was the necessity to develop within our students a growth mindset. Mrs Hogan has spoken about this in previous newsletters. A growth mindset is a path to success in all aspects of life, demonstrating grit and determination, whereas a fixed mindset leads to frustration and learned helplessness. The photo below outlines what the growth and fixed mindset looks like with your children and their reactions. Together as parents and teachers we need to help them to challenge themselves, work hard even when the work is hard, persevere and keep going in order to succeed. We want our children to reach their full potential.
The other interesting information was a letter I received from our Early Years Learning Educator at CSO, Kim Moroney, around the development of the brain. I have included a section of this letter for you that explains how the brain develops.
In recent years, Neuroscience Educator Nathan Wallis presented evidence-based research on brain development to teachers in schools across the Diocese. Wallis emphasised that early childhood is the time when the brain has the greatest amount of neuroplasticity and the greatest ability to change. Wallis explained that the human brain is composed of 4 brains:
- Brain stem is the survival brain. – Heart rate, breathing and flight, fight or freeze response.
- Cerebellum is the movement brain – Coordination and movement.
- Limbic system is the feeling brain - Feeling and emotional response.
- Frontal cortex is the thinking brain – Language, empathy, control emotions, learning and cognitive skills.
At the age of 18 months to 7 years old, we move into the development of the feeling/emotional brain. Emotions may come from brain number 3, but the ability to control emotions comes from Brain 4. Brain 4 begins to be highlighted around the ages of 7 – 8 years old, then continues development up until the average age of 27, or in some cases, 32! Often our current culture is focused on developing Brains 1 and 2; whilst rushing Brain 3 to go straight to Brain 4.
The growth of the frontal cortex is experience dependent. The brain is genetically and biologically designed to interact and be moulded with the environment it encounters. To use the frontal cortex, your brain stem needs to be calm. Between the ages of 2- 7 years of age, a major key focus should be the development of learning dispositions. Learning dispositions include the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours a person has towards someone or something. They include creativity, curiosity, problem-solving, resilience, perseverance, meta-cognition and questioning. Learning dispositions are developed through play. Child-led play is not free range. Parents and teachers support the needs, interests and capabilities of the child by observing play and by enhancing, scaffolding and extending the environment the child engages in. The developing brain is fascinating, and I recommend the research of Nathan Wallis to you.
So what does this research tell us as parents and teachers? Just like the growth mindset, we as parents and teachers need work together to ensure we give our children’s brains every opportunity to develop fully. We want our children to have empathy, be able to control their emotions and not lash out every time they do not get their own way or have a disagreement. We need them to be resilient and creative, independent and emotionally intelligent. Again we can’t blame others – parents, teachers or students – we need to always work as a team to ensure the best for our children.
This brain development also links in with what children bring to school in their invisible backpack – trauma, additional needs, divorce, grief, hunger, lack of sleep, arguments with siblings. A developing brain may not yet be able to emotionally comprehend things that happen in their lives, and at times react negatively at school or home. We as the teachers and parents need to always listen, guide and support our children through these tricky times. Being a parent and a teacher are amazing jobs, but boy they can be hard work at times!!
Enjoy the weekend with your beautiful children, fostering a growth mindset and their well-being.
Crunch and Sip Numeracy
At our recent Primary Zoom Meeting a parent asked whether we could have parent Maths sessions. Are you interested?? I thought it would be a great opportunity to help us build community and our children’s numeracy skills. 30 minutes (1/2 an hour, 0.5 hours) prior to the P&F meeting each month we would come together to share a coffee and a bite, discuss and participate in simple numeracy activities to assist you in helping your child at home.
Mark the date, add it to your calendar 2nd Wednesday of each month 5:30pm (excluding school holidays)
- 21st April (this one is an aberration)
- May 12
- June 9
- July 14
- August 11
- September 15
Looking forward to catching up with you
Hopefully this rain event won’t impact on us too much and we can have our X-country and our Kinder and Year 1 students can have their sports carnival.
Mums and dads and grandparents are most welcome to come and watch. However, the new COVID norms require spectators to remain in the designated spectator area – grass area adjacent to the shelter at the field. Please bring a chair to sit on as there is no seating for parents at the venue. Social distancing of 1.5m is still required.
New volunteers to our school need to have a National Police Check and completed the paperwork in the volunteer handbook ( see volunteer section below). All of this paperwork is then submitted to our Office Of Safeguarding for processing. This can take up to 2 weeks. Unfortunately until this paper work is cleared, new volunteers cannot assist at the carnival or here at school.
Old volunteers – usually parents of year 1 and up students, will have a WWCC and have been previously cleared with the Office of Safeguarding. If you are one of these parents and would like to volunteer at the X-country or with the Kinder/ Year 1 students, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will need to sight your WWCC on the Service NSW app on the day before you assist. Also for future reference, current cleared volunteers will need to provide a National Police Check in the very near future, so I would suggest downloading the new Volunteer Handbook and completing that section.
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has an absolute and abiding commitment to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children. As a volunteer working in a Diocesan school, you should be aware of your obligations and responsibilities in protecting students from abuse or neglect.
Becoming a volunteer
To be able to volunteer within a Diocesan school you are required to read the Volunteer Induction Handbook and complete all necessary checks, inductions and safeguarding training relevant to your volunteer role. This may mean that you will be required to obtain a Working with Children Check and/or National Police Check. All paperwork and checks are to be completed and verified before you can commence in your role. Safeguarding training must occur within 6 months of your commencement as a volunteer.
The Children and Young Person’s (Care and Protection) Act 1998
As a volunteer in the state of NSW you can report certain information to the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). You should discuss your concerns with a teacher, Assistant Principal or Principal. You can report your concerns to the DCJ Child Protection Helpline (P: 132 111, 24 hrs/7 days) if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm and your concerns are current. Risk of significant harm may occur from a single act or omission or to a series of acts or omissions. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you are uncertain, talk to a staff member at the school.
Exemptions apply for volunteers who are a close relative of a student enrolled at the school - see ‘Statutory Screening Selection Tool’ on page 26 of the Volunteer Induction Handbook. The link can be found by searching for ‘Volunteer Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’ and following the links.
Winter uniforms must be worn by all students from May 1 Term 2. Summer uniforms can continue to be worn until that time.
Hair for both boys and girls is to be neat and tidy and within reasonable social standards.
Multi-coloured hair styles, extremes of unnatural colour and style will not be permitted. Long hair should be off the face and kept in check in some way.
Parents can now access the school site during the day to sign in/out students or purchase uniforms or drop off forgotten items. We ask that you come through the Church gate, signing in with the COVID QR sign on the gate, then proceed to the administration area to notify the secretary of your visit. Parents are not permitted to go directly to the classrooms during school hours. All parents and carers must report to the school administration office for assistance in collecting children or dropping off various items.
All children need to be signed in/out by parents or carers at our COMPASS kiosk in the school administration area. This includes children who arrive after the 9am bell or those leaving for appointments or ill health.
Students not at school
If your child is absent from school you must notify the school. This can be done via COMPASS on the app on your phone, email the school or even a phone call. This is a legal requirement and absences are tracked for patterns and unexplained absences. WHOLE day absences only can be logged on the COMPASS app. If your child is absent for part of the day, the COMPASS kiosk is to be used to sign children in and out.
Thank you to those parents who have competed and returned the School fees payment frequency form. Parents are asked to have this to the office by March 31st. A copy is attached to the newsletter for your convenience. Payment frequency options are available to suit parents/carers with the aim of having all fees paid by November 30th. Options for payment include BPAY, direct debit and credit card.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please contact the office to organise an appointment with the Principal.
Last night our AGM was held and a new executive was elected for 2021.
President: Katharine Staunton
Vice President: Mary-Anne Vercoe
Secretary: Katie Stuart
Treasurer: Richard Mullen
We congratulate these officers on their elected positionsand thank them for their gift of time and support of the school.
Thank you to Brendan Albury who stepped down as treasurer as he had completed 3 years in in this role which is deemed by the P & F Constitution, to be the maximum time one can stay in a nominated official role. However Brendan continued to support St Kevin's P & F and accepted the role of delegate to the Diocesan P & F.
We also welcomed new parents to our P & F meetings and we look forward to the support and assistance of these new volunteers here at St Kevin's. Thank you to everyone who came. It was a great meeting.
Mount Yengo (pronounced ‘Yango’) in the World Heritage listed Yengo National Park, is located in the Hunter Valley region near Wollombi. Last week I was able to experience and learn about Wollombi cultural lore along with several other Aboriginal Education Teachers in the diocese.
Leanne King, a proud Dhurug woman, shared her knowledge with us as we explored various sites including Mount Yengo and Baiame Cave.
As Leanne explains:
These are the very beginning stories of our Ngurrumpa (our camp world) as given to us by our Elders. Far from being 'myth' these stories teach us how we should be and relate to all things around us. Wollombi has been, for millennia, an important meeting place, to which Aboriginal people would travel great distances for trade, social gatherings, and ceremony. The focus of these ceremonial gatherings was, and still is, Mount Yengo, every bit as sacred to the peoples of the East as Uluru is to the Central Desert people. From Yengo's summit Baiame, one of the primary creative forces, stepped back into the skyworld after life had been created and the lore set in place. To ensure that this lore would not be forgotten, Baiame's final act was to carve it in stone.
During the day, we learned about the healing and cleansing associated with smoking ceremonies, the use of ochre, and the bush tucker plants in the area, some of which we ate along the way.
I look forward to sharing what I learned from the day with the children and teachers.
Yaluu ngali ngamilay (We will see each other again)
Aboriginal Education Teacher
The staff and children of St. Kevin’s have had a wonderful week focussing on the wellbeing of ourselves and the wellbeing others. Through mindfulness colouring in and meditation, we have been fully ‘in the moment’. Being fully present can assist with the reduction of stress and anxiety.
Our lunchtime disco on Wednesday brought many smiles and joyous laughter from children and teachers alike. It was wonderful to see that St. Kevin’s is the home of many talented dancers!
Each and every child in our school played a part in creating a work of art this week. It is very special to bring our school community together in unique ways especially given the difficulties we have all faced over the last 12 months! Our gorgeous school-wide collaborative artwork is now on display in the hall. Keep an eye on our Facebook feed to see Year 6's hands added to this wonderful artwork.
We will conclude our first wellbeing week for the year with an out of uniform day on Friday– remember to bring in your Easter eggs!
Wellbeing week is a wonderful time to reflect on just what is meant by the Commandment Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy. Put very simply, God wants humans to rest. After the craziness of the school and working week, God wants us to pause and to look after ourselves.
To be truly present.
What will you do this weekend for your little pause?
What are we learning in Religion?
Each newsletter, we will showcase a class and give you a little insight as to what they are learning about during Religion lessons. This week we hear from…
Over Term 1, one of our RE focuses has been Jesus the Teacher. Year 2 have identified that Jesus told parables to:
- Teach others about God
- Teach everyone about kindness and sharing
- Teach people about Heaven
- Teach others how to pray
- Teach people how to be more like God.
Year 2 have learned that as Christians, we are all made in the likeness of God, and we are called to spread the Good News by doing Good.
Library Borrowing Trophy
Congratulations to Year 5/6 for winning the Library Borrowing Trophy for Week 7. Year 1 were the winning class in Week 8.
Please remember Library borrowing is every Friday.
Premier’s Reading Challenge
All children have received their PRC username and password. Please email me if you have any trouble entering the books online.
For the infants classes it is important that you read with your children Monday- Thursday. After reading the book enter it online.
Kindergarten/ Year 1 – Keyboard practise
It would be fantastic if some children could practise the letters on a keyboard using Keyboard Climber. Please encourage them to use both hands and several fingers to assist good typing skills.
NAPLAN Online 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a point in time assessment of literacy and numeracy skills which students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 participate in annually.
St Kevin’s will be participating in NAPLAN Online between 11 and 21 May 2021.
In preparation for NAPLAN Online, St Kevin’s will be participating in practice tests on 25th March 2021. The practice tests give students an opportunity to become familiar with the online test format, and its functions and tools, in a test environment. The practice tests are not an assessment of student ability and will not be marked.
All students in years 3 and 5 will require their own headphones for NAPLAN.
Please read through the attached information about NAPLAN.