Dear Parent and Friends,
Well, here we go again … COVID impacting on our lives and what we can and can’t do. School at the moment is continuing to be a staple in our lives with face-to-face teaching here in the Hunter, and we pray that this does not change. The minimal impacts for us have been around no visitors or parents onsite, plus teachers wearing masks around the site. These are but small sacrifices to make as together we combat this virus.
Term 3 is another busy one for learning new concepts in all grades. Our focus continues to be on Mathematics this year, where we again ask the children the following 5 questions:
- What are you learning in Mathematics?
- Why are you learning that?
- How is your learning going and how do you know?
- Where do you go for help with your learning?
- How can you improve in the area of your learning?
We are also continuing with these questions in English – especially reading and writing, so as parents when you want to know what they did at school, ask them these questions and hopefully you’ll get an informative response.
Here’s to a great term of learning!
- No parents or visitors onsite till further notice.
- Emergency pick-up of students early – parents must wear a mask and QR code in and out.
- Year 3-6 Baiame Cave excursion postponed.
- Teachers wearing masks onsite.
- P&F meetings ZOOMING till further notice.
- Father’s Day Celebrations – too early to call yet.
- Lakes Region Public Speaking Competition – too early to call yet.
- Infants Zoo excursion – postponed till December.
- Colour run – postponed till November.
- School photos – postponed till October.
Our canteen is open during this time, with COVID plans and rules being followed. We do however need more volunteers as we have over 50% of the student body ordering lunch on a Thursday and Friday, and that is almost impossible for 1 or 2 people to do. We can have 3 people in the canteen at one time, so if you can help and are a cleared volunteer, please think about helping out once a month if possible.
Parish Sacramental Programme – a message from the Parish Secretaries
Families are now able to book for the 2021 Confirmation and First Eucharist Masses on Eventbrite.
Should anyone have questions regarding the Sacramental Program, please contact Fr Joseph directly by phone on 0438 769 922 or email Joseph.Figurado@mn.catholic.org.au
The Parish Office staff are unable to assist families or staff with questions about Eventbrite or the Sacramental Program.
So What does this mean for St Kevin’s Students?
There are 2 lessons that parents are mandated to attend that are run by the Parish Sacramental Team. In COVID times this is now not possible.
So, through school we will run 2 ZOOM sessions after school, for our St Kevin’s students that are receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist. At these ZOOM meetings we will cover the lesson material in the booklets and provide break-out virtual rooms where parents can share and discuss information raised in the lesson.
What we need from you as parents is confirmation that your child is enrolled in the current 2021 Sacramental Programme with the Parish, and your email address so we can send you a ZOOM invite.
Please send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates for the ZOOM meetings are : Monday August 16 Confirmation and Monday August 23rd First Eucharist.
Implications for things you do! Originally I said that I would take 20 students on a first in basis for robotics. However, as the expressions of interests came in I slowly took on more and more, with staff cautioning me all the while that I was taking on too many. Currently our numbers for robotics are 33! Oops! This makes for a very busy, sometimes loud and congested robotics’ room : 33 children, 15 robots and 4 teachers. Hence, the pause as we tried to work out a way of continuing, as it is difficult to instruct in this environment with a mask on! At this point we will delay another 2 weeks. Initially, I was hopeful that we could just go ahead in 2 weeks – blind optimism. Any lessons that we miss we will make up in Term 4. In the meantime, I will investigate how we might relocate our lessons to the library. This isn’t a simple fix as the robots are not a fan of the carpet, but we can probably adjust our intended project. Thanks for your patience and I will keep in touch,
A Helping Hand
At P&F meetings over the last few months there has been significant discussion on extending a helping hand to members of our own school community when they need it. At times we all need a hand up! This might occur because there is a newborn in the family. We all know how frazzled and overwhelmed life can become when we have a little one consuming our every waking and sleeping (or lack thereof) moment. At other times, there may be a death in the family or a change in work circumstances. Additionally, there may be times when health issues arise for parents or children that have a significant impact on daily lives.
We would like to establish a helping hand community here at St Kevin’s. Are you able and willing to help? We would like to create at least 3 teams who would be willing to go on a roster to offer a hand when needed. What it would involve is offering to make a sweet or savoury that we could hand on to a family in need ( any of the circumstances above or more). This would be an anonymous donation offered in a disposable container with ingredients listed on the lid. Unfortunately, we do not currently have the space or resources to store these at school but would need families to store at home until drafted into action. We anticipate that we might only need to call on families once per term. Can you help?
If you are interested in assisting, please email me on email@example.com
COVID, anxiety and our children
We are certainly living in a time of uncertainty and on return to school things are a little different. There are some COVID safe procedures that we have kept going but the children now see their teachers with masks on. That’s a change! If we are in the classroom with just the children we are mask free but whenever there is another adult in an indoor setting we mask up.
As adults we are wondering what may happen next, I am reasonably confident that there will be a good percentage of children who also wondering about what is going on. Please see below information from BeyondBlue that I have copied. This is an excellent site that you may wish to check out.
Five tips for parents and guardians
- Be aware of what kids are watching
On average, adults in Australia spend nearly 100 hours watching TV or browsing online, and it’s safe to assume most people are more tuned in to the news than normal at the moment. Think about how often children are in the room or watching over your shoulder and be proactive about switching off when they’re around.
- Help them understand
Encourage your child to ask questions about what they’re seeing and explain that sometimes scary things happen in the world and it can be hard to understand why – and it’s really normal to feel scared and worried.
- Provide plenty of reassurance
While your day-to-day schedule will no doubt be disrupted, it’s important to develop regular routine to help children feel comfortable and secure. This could be something as simple as having set meal times or reading each night before bed.
- Focus on the helpers
Help your child see the positives – that there are lots of people working at hospitals, supermarkets and petrol stations to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. You can also point out any acts of kindness, such as discounted meals and free coffee for healthcare workers, as examples of decency in people.
- Take care of yourself
Everyone is feeling the effect of the coronavirus, even if you haven’t contracted the illness or know someone who has. It's important to take care of yourself so you can continue to support your family.
- Limit how much news you watch if you’re becoming pre-occupied or feeling overwhelmed.
- Talk to others about how COVID-19 has affected you.
- Take care of yourself by exercising, getting enough sleep and communicating with friends and family.
- Seek professional support if you need it.
Changes in behaviour – what to look for
When children are confronted with something stressful, like the constant discussion and coverage of COVID-19, they’re not always able to express their feelings in the same way adults can. Instead, they show how they’re feeling through their behaviour.
Common reactions include:
- becoming clingier
- having more tantrums or outbursts
- acting younger than their age
- not sleeping as well
- being more irritable
- talking more about death and dying
If your child is acting differently and you’re worried about their reaction to distressing news, seek support from a health professional or contact The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is our national day dedicated to celebrating our children. Children’s Day is celebrated across the country each year on 4 August.
Children’s Day is a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities and all Australians celebrate the strengths and culture of our children. It is an opportunity for us to show our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities have provided love and care for their children, growing them up strong and safe in their cultural traditions, for thousands of generations. For our children, safety, well-being and development are closely linked to the strengths of their connections with family, community, culture, language, and Country.
Here is a short clip about Aboriginal Children’s Day.
4 Tips to assist us in coping with COVID-19 Pandemic (Connecting with Country)
At St Kevin’s we will have some fun activities to do in class to celebrate Aboriginal Children’s Day, including stories connecting us to Spirit through The Dreaming, exploring what a Coolamon is, colouring and drawing, hearing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about their culture and what it means to them.
They said it best…..
Here are some ‘Dreaming’ reflections from Year 5/6 students.
Back in the Dreaming Baiame created life, he created the sun, Punaal and the moon, Ponto-Boone. He created the first life. He also created water, land, animals, hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans and caves. Baiame was proud. He wanted to create people in his image. He gave them access to fruit, water and all creatures in the world for food and water and to live. He was proud of his beautiful creation. (Jonathan)
Gather around children,
As I tell you a story older than time,
These stories have been shared over many generations,
Our ancestors created them for us to share,
It’s about our past and history,
Baiame created the world for us to live in peace,
He created Punaal and Ponto-Boone,
The animals and the land,
Now let’s get ready to learn some more. (Mia B.)
Tiddalik the greedy frog and how he drank the bog,
How the kind kangaroo gave her heart to a wombat she never knew
And how her pouch grew
And how the rainbow serpent was finally accepted but then suddenly neglected
And her only friend, the loneliness she once knew which always grew. (Hudson)
Yaluu ngali ngamilay (We will see each other again).
Aboriginal Education Teacher
Mini Vinnies - PJ Day
When discussing a way to raise much needed funds for the St. Vincent De Paul Winter Appeal this year, our Mini Vinnies team unanimously voted for a PJ and Meal Deal Day. The children were beyond excited when the Mini Vinnies announced the upcoming day at assembly. On Monday morning, the excitement was palpable as the children greeted Mrs Jennings at the school gate and the joy continued throughout the day. (Apparently there is nothing funnier than seeing your teacher and principal in their pajamas!)
A HUGE thank you to Mary-Anne Vercoe and Nikki Madden for organising the meal deals.
The support of the St. Kevin’s community has once again been overwhelming. We will be donating $750 in Woolworths and Coles gift cards to St. Vincent De Paul. The SVDP team will be distributing our donation to needy families in our community this Winter and have expressed their heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your generosity. You have all helped to put food on tables and warmth in homes.
Thank you for, once again, making Jesus very real in our community.
Faith Formation Pupil Free Day
While our beautiful children were enjoying one last sleep in last Monday, the teachers and support staff of St. Kevin’s joined with many other primary and high schools in our Diocese for a Faith Formation Day on ‘Faith, Reason and Miracles’ by Professor Michael Dennin. One of the blessings of working within a Catholic community, alongside colleagues of great faith, is the ability to share and deepen of our own faith on a professional level, which often isn’t the case in other professions. Days such as these form part of our accreditation to work, teach and lead in Catholic schools.
Professor Michael Dennin is scientist and a man of great faith. He shared with us his knowledge and beliefs on how faith and science go hand in hand, that they should not be opposing forces and that they do in fact form a ‘unified vision of our world’. It was a day of enlightening our minds, hearts and spirits and was the most perfect way to head into term three.
If you would like to find out more to enrich your own faith, you may like to read Michael’s book, Divine Science: Finding Reason at the Heart of Faith.
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…
Kindergarten have been learning that Prayer is a special way of talking to and listening to God. We have been participating in a variety of prayerful experiences and learning that we can talk to God anywhere at any time.
Written by Kindergarten
May God’s Spirit be with you all each day,
Mrs Jasmina Boudan
Religious Education Coordinator
Premier’s Reading Challenge
49 students from St. Kevin’s have completed PRC. Premier’s Reading Challenge closes on Friday 20th August. One month to complete the challenge.
Just a reminder that the children can add 5 personal choice books to PRC.
Congratulations to the following students for completing PRC in the last month.
Year 1 –Julia
Year 3 - Jack
Year 4 - Mason
Year 6 – Owen, Cristiano
Keep up the fantastic reading.
Please encourage your child to borrow PRC books each Friday and enter them online. Books can also be borrowed on SORA app and from our local libraries.
Year 5/6 won the Library borrowing trophy this week, congratulations 5/6.
Book Week – Week 7, August 23rd – 27th
All the Shortlisted Books have arrived in our Library and are being processed ready for the children to use next week. This term the children will be making a 3 minute movie in Library lesson on a shortlisted book. Infants will be using iMovie and primary Video Editor.
Our annual Book Fair, at this stage, will be held on Wednesday 25th August.
More information will be sent home closer to Book Week as to how the day will look with COVID restrictions
Theme – Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds.
The children can dress up on Wednesday 25th August according to the Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds theme or a book character of their choice.
Here are some ideas:
Old Worlds costumes can be anything from prehistoric dinosaurs and cavemen or cavewomen, to Roman gladiators, Pioneers, Explorers, Vikings, Egyptians and even costumes representing the Biblical era of Jesus and his disciples.
I know the children love dressing up each year and we can’t wait to see their costumes.
Please keep an eye out for any changes in regard to Book Week due to COVID.
Reading Throne Art Competition
How exciting, our Reading Throne was delivered today. Over the next month some St. Kevin’s artists will paint a design on the throne.
I can’t wait to see the finished product.
Photos will be sent to Bunnings Glendale and customers are asked to vote on the best design.
Competition winners will be announced on Tuesday 5th October
Good luck St. Kevin’s
It is time to fill your freezer with yummy pies and delicious treats!
What is even better is that you can share the code with your friends, family, neighbours, even work colleagues, and the more people that order products using our code, the more money our school will raise! There are over 80 items to chose from- Family pies, carrot cake, creams buns, sausage rolls.
Orders are required to be a minimum value of $50 and will be delivered to your door. Thompson’s Pies deliver to the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland areas Monday to Friday. Anyone living in the Rathmines and surrounding areas, can receive deliveries on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
If you do not think you can meet the $50 minimum, you can pool your orders with family, friends, neighbours or even class parents, and nominate one person’s address for delivery.
So, a few details
Where to order: https://thompsonspies.com.au/order-online/
School Code: SKP0721
Our Thompson’s Pies Coupon Code will be available: Monday 2nd August 2021
Education in NSW is compulsory. Principals are legally responsible for keeping accurate records of student attendance. The Principal has the right to question parents or carers requests for their child to be absent from school. Principals are also responsible for deciding if the reason for absence is justified.
Parents and carers are asked not to withdraw their children from school for family holidays. If your family holiday is in school time, inform the Principal in advance and request leave and/or exemption from school. Forms are available from the office.
Any absence from school for 7 school days or more requires an application for exemption. It is required under the Education and Public Instruction Act 1987 that a written note explaining a child’s absence from school be supplied by the parents or carers. Parents may also communicate absence via the Compass App, by a phone call or email to the school. If advice of absence is not forthcoming after ten days, then the child is marked ‘Absent without Leave.’
If a child arrives at school after 9.00am, please accompany them to the front office and sign them in with the Compass kiosk. If you are collecting your child before 3.00pm, please come to the front office and sign them out via the Compass kiosk and your child will be called from class to meet you there.