- Principals Message
- Resilience and Perseverance
- Afternoon Car Pick-up
- Paul Jennings Author Excursion
- Catholic Schools Week
- Enrolments for 2021
- Practising Good Hygiene
- Messages from the Assistant Principal
- Newcastle Knights Adopt-A-School Program
- RE News
- Mini Vinnies
- Aboriginal Education News
- Library News
- New Homework Policy
- Sacramental Program 2020 Confirmation Dates
- P & F Movie Night - Trolls World Tour
- Coronavirus Memo
- National Ride to School Day
- Newcastle Libraries Saturday storytime for children with autism or sensory processing challenges
Dear Parents and Friends of St Kevin’s,
The year is well and truly on its way and so is the learning of our students. This year we are focusing on improving our writing skills. The areas we have identified as requiring explicit teaching and targeting are vocabulary, sentence structure and audience. In this newsletter I would like to explain the importance of vocabulary not only in writing, but for all subjects taught at school.
Vocabulary is having an extensive knowledge and understanding of words and is a vital link to a child’s learning. This knowledge can never be underestimated.
Vocabulary crosses all subjects. In English we tend to use vocabulary to convey meaning, embellish our writing and evoke feelings or emotions. We would know these mostly as nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. In fictional stories there are many examples “He crept into the pantry and quietly…cautiously…peered around the corner.” (Felix by Pamela Anderson, Penguin Publishing 2008). This sentence is interesting to read, conveying anticipation, tension and a desire to read more. It is much better than “He walked over to the cupboard and looked around the corner.” Words such as crept, cautiously and peered, are examples of the vocabulary we expect children to understand, read and finally use in their creative writing.
Vocabulary is also extremely important in mathematics and science. Students need to know and understand words such as parallel, horizontal, perpendicular, curved, voltage, electrical, geography, environment, energy, responsibility, digital, analogue, addition, subtraction, estimate, landscape, portrait and the list goes on.
So how can we as parents and grandparents help?
Reading is paramount to establishing a thorough and extensive vocabulary. Reading to your child every night is a sure-fire way to increase your child’s vocabulary. Even in Years 5 and 6, children love being read to.
Round table discussions or travelling in the car stories! The more we engage in conversations that require more than one-word answers, the more our children will develop skills in speaking in sentences, using their word knowledge to convey a message or a story. Talk about every day events pointing them out to your children, using your vocabulary to describe them. Children mirror and copy what we say and do!! You as their amazing parents are the most important teachers in your child’s life. For example:
“Look at that spectacular sunset! It appears as if the sky is on fire with the bright, red sun, looking like a ball of flame!”
“Listen to the wind howling and the rain splashing against the windowpane.”
“This dinner is delicious. The mashed potato is as white as snow!”
Even in kindergarten a good vocabulary is important. This is when they learn beginning sounds and corresponding letter names. If children don’t have a good vocabulary then learning sounds is tricky e.g “a” for astronaut, “d” for daffodil, “e” for escalator, “v” for vase, “t” for television. A good vocabulary from early on builds both reading and spelling skills and contributes to excellent speaking and listening outcomes. One kindergarten child recently demonstrated their extensive vocabulary during show and tell “I have a something extraordinary to show today. This is my dinosaur that my Poppy made on his computer. I think it is spectacular and I love its blue face that looks like a puppy.”
We as adults must ensure our children develop an extensive vocabulary, because their future learning is dependent on it.
Enjoy the week learning with your children.
This week Connor Watson came to speak to the students about resilience and perseverance. He retold stories of him growing up and how he had to persist in his training to be a footy player despite his lack of physical size. Once he had a growth spurt and gained the physical attributes he required, he then had to develop skills in resilience, ensuring he learnt form his coaches, from mistakes he made on the footy field and to constructive criticism from his peers. Connor explained that without the life skills of being persistent or resilient, he wouldn’t at the age of 23, be where he is today – a professional football player.
Research is also proving that today’s children need to be resilient and persevere when the going gets tough if they are to succeed in the future. Michael McQueen in his book “Teaching for Tomorrow” identifies 4 Capability Gaps that we as the adults in our children’s lives must address so as to fully equip our children for the future.
Capability Gap#1 is Self -Direction, and Gap#2 is Tenacity.
Recent times – since 1979, the rise of self-esteem has been paramount in how we acknowledge the success of our children. Many of us have used terms like magnificent, unique, special attaching them to every piece of work or activity a child engages in (as a Grandma this happens quite often!) As much as this sounds like great encouragement and praise, what research has found that when these words are used without the child having put in effort and hard work, then the opposite occurs, and children become dependent on this praise, unwilling to try difficult tasks, giving up when they get things wrong or make mistakes. With this mindset, our children don’t learn. We have restricted their ability to learn.
We need to ensure that our children don’t equate easy = right, and hard = wrong. If things get hard, and they do, we need our children to be like Connor Watson. We need them to be resilient and persistent, always learning from their mistakes, accepting challenges and constructive criticism, so that their self esteem is built on self-worth not empty praise.
Quotes from Year 4 on what they learnt about resilience from Connor Watson.
- Resilience is about keep going, having a go and teamwork. – Zavier
- Resilience is about keep on going even when you failed a test or make a mistake. – Giesela
- Resilience is something that makes you go further and push yourself to the limit. – Patrick
- Persistence means get and go and keep going after falling or failing. – Tyler
- Resilience is not about winning. It’s about teamwork and helping others.- Teddy
- Resilience means when things get hard, don’t worry about it. – Damien
- Resilience and persistence is all about trying over and over until you get better, even if people say you can’t. – Rebecca
- Resilience is when something gets tough, you keep going no matter what. - Charlie
- Resilience is about being trust-worthy and being yourself. – Renee
- Resilience and persistence are important for friendship. – Jordy
- Resilience is when things are hard, just forget about it and move on.- Harper
- Resilience is about forgiving and forgetting, and not all about winning. – Saxon
- Resilience is being confident with yourself and moving forward from your mistakes. – Eva
- Resilience is when you don’t complain when you don’t like something, keep trying your hardest and don’t worry about your mistakes. – Hayley
Thank you to the parents who are following our risk assessment strategies and not pulling out and overtaking parked cars. Waiting in line and moving up can take a little more time, but the safety of the children is paramount. A reminder not to park and leave your car from outside the double gates at the bottom of Andrew Street, to the top of Andrew Street, as this is a “Kiss and Drop” zone.
We have been very fortunate to book spaces for students in Years 3 -6 to engage in workshops with the author Paul Jennings. This excursion links in with our writing focus for 2020. The students will learn the importance of vocabulary, illustrations and audience through completing these workshops.
Thank you to everyone who came along to Mass last Sunday as part of the Opening for Catholic Schools Week 2020. We were very fortunate not only to have Father Joe celebrate his first Mass with us as the new Parish Administrator, but to also have Bishop Bill come along and experience this amazing community in action. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for this event, plus giving up precious time in our busy lives to celebrate as community what is important to the spiritual formation of our children. A special thank you to Mrs Hogan for all her work preparing readers etc so that the Mass went smoothly.
Wow! The year is already moving forward at a pace. It is now time to collect enrolment packs from the office to complete your application for Kinder 2021. If you know of any friends who would like to apply please pass this on to them.
Maintaining good hygiene standards is an important way to reduce the risk of acquiring and spreading respiratory infections using infection control guidelines. The Department of Education has made their infection control procedures available and it provides a range of practical strategies for schools to prevent transmission of infectious diseases. Schools are reminded to provide appropriate handwashing soap as hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs that cause respiratory disease.
Here at St Kevin’s we have soap containers and air hand dryers in every toilet area or cubicle. Please teach your children how to use soap to wash their hands thoroughly. Staff will instruct the younger students how to dry their hands using the air dryers. We also ask you to remind your children to flush the toilet after use. It is another way to reduce the risk of infection spreading.
A focus on Learning, Collaboration & Improving Student Outcomes
As part of our Catholic Schools week celebrations we are holding classroom showcases. We hope you enjoyed participating in these planned activities alongside your child.
Writing: A focus on process- creating a draft, trialling how this works, gauging an audience’s response, making changes, receiving feedback and then presenting an end-product.
We are fortunate to be part of this program for 2020. Connor Watson visited St Kevin’s in 2019 and agreed to be our adopted Knight for 2020. Each term Connor will pop in for a visit, chat and meet with our school community and encourage our students to be their best possible selves.
This term class teachers will identify students who have shown growth in their ability to bounce back (resilience). These students will receive a signed award from Connor and have a game of footy with him on his next visit.
Last weekend we launched Catholic Schools Week in our parish. Bishop Bill and Fr Joe Figuardo concelebrated the mass. Standing room only! It was fabulous to have so many families present for our Term 1 family mass. Staff were commissioned for the 2020 year, a special welcome by the Bishop to our Kinder families, badges handed out to our Mini Vinnie Members all rounded off by interesting and entertaining short speeches by our two school captains, Madeline Platt and Antonio Multari.
This year’s theme is “Drawing from the well. Invitation, Encounter, Witness”. This acknowledges that Jesus Christ is always at the heart of everything we do. “Invitation, Encounter, Witness” celebrates the connection of the school community with Jesus Christ. Our students are invited to the well, where, with Jesus as their guide they encounter diversity of learning in a supportive and inclusive environment, and witness service to others and the community.
St Kevin’s students shine in local children’s choir.
In this time when we can easily be overwhelmed by all that is happening around us how wonderful is it to see the Multari and Siulai children expressing their faith through song. For more information please see the link below to the article in the Aurora.
“The Saint Laurence O’Toole’s Multicultural Children’s Choir is testimony and witness that young families are still very much present and a part of the church. It is also an encouraging reminder that Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
If you would like to join the Saint Laurence O’Toole’s Multicultural Children’s Choir, please email Mary-Anne.DeLuca@mn.catholic.org.au”
I hope to see you at our next Friday liturgy 13th March at 2:15pm.
Last year was a very successful year for our Mini Vinnies team. Students promoted and coordinated a massive Christmas appeal – thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our St Kevin’s families. Additionally, throughout the year students sold iceblocks on Monday and Tuesdays raising $500 for drought relief.
This year we have had an explosion in interest in our Mini Vinnies team. From 9 students last year, we now have a membership of 31 students ranging from Year 2-6. This extraordinary interest shows that social justice is extremely important to our students and community. The children are currently investigating the following actions:
- Earth Hour Australia – 28th March, 2020
- Project Compassion during Lent (in conjunction with the parish) Term 1
- Mission Day (Connected to Catholic Mission), coordinated by Mini Vinnies with assistance from all classes. June 2, 2020 (11:45am -3pm)
- Saint Vincent de Paul Winter appeal. Format still to be decided
- Saint Vincent de Paul Christmas appeal. Food drive (partner with local SVdP and parish giving tree as well as a local school, run throughout the 10 weeks of term 4 – different focus collection food item for each week. Run by Year 5 as part of their leadership activities.
- Visit to a nursing home to be explored in terms 3 & 4 – singing to entertain the elderly
Walang, mirrung, waroombung, tinna
Walang, mirrung, waroombung, tinna
Miikung, ngureang, garraka, nang
Walang, mirrung, waroombung, tinna
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Awabakal language
Our Aboriginal children have been learning some words in Awabakal language. They are teaching this song to their classmates.
Language is so important to Aboriginal people’s identity and connection to Country. During the year we will explore with all children the importance of language for all cultures.
Aboriginal Education Teacher
Premiers Reading Challenge
The Challenge aims to encourage a love of reading for leisure and pleasure in students, and to enable them to experience quality literature. It is not a competition but a challenge to each student to read, to read more and to read more widely. It IS NOW OPEN! Students will be given their recording sheet and log in this week.
Kinder – Year 2
Teachers are completing the PRC with their students in class. They are reading the required number of books to the students throughout the year. If you would also like to complete the challenge at home with your child, you are very welcome to collect a form from Mrs Stephenson.
Years 3- 6
To complete the challenge, you must read a certain number of books from the ‘Premier’s List’. All rules and reading lists are available at: https://online.det.nsw.edu.au/prc/rules.html All students will be given a login username and password so that they can record their books online. Complete your online Student Reading Record by 28 August 2020 (11:59 pm).
As part of our library lessons, all students will be shown how to log their books online. You may prefer to keep a written record. If so, ask Mrs Stephenson for a form and return it by 14th August 2020. It will be entered by the school.
If you have any questions, please forward them to email@example.com
St Kevin’s Primary School
Home Activities Policy
Release Date: 2020 Review date: 2022
Approved by: Mrs Mary-Anne Jennings Principal
Student learning and parental involvement can be enhanced with a clear understanding of the
purpose of home activities compared to formal homework. This will lead to common expectations
for parents and staff on the choices of home learning activities. Full consideration therefore must
be given to the value and purpose of these activities, so that any initiated home learning is
educationally beneficial and meets the realistic expectations of students, teachers, parents and
carers, as well as leading to the wellbeing of the student.
The staff of St Kevin’s Primary School believes that home activities must be relevant to the needs
of the students. They also have the potential to affirm the partnership in learning between parents
and teachers. Acknowledgement is also given to the need to achieve balance between work, play
and the importance of parent child relationships in an ever-changing society.
Activities undertaken at home can:
- assist in developing a love of learning through daily reading
- allow for practising, extending, and consolidating work done in class through access to
- provide training for students in planning and organising time
- further develop concentration and self-discipline which will serve students for future schooling
- reaffirm the role of parents and caregivers as partners in education
- provide parents and caregivers with insights into their children’s interests and abilities
- provide the opportunity for parent-child interaction that is stress free and beneficial
- allow students to follow their passions and interests
- allow students to interact with the world around them
At St Kevin’s we aim to:
- suggest suitable alternate activities and websites that are varied and at an appropriate level
considering the age, stage and capabilities of the student
- educate parents and students on home activities and their purpose
- develop an effective partnership between the school and parents
- ensure a consistency of approach across the school
- provide guidelines for the school community on the undertaking of home activities
- ensure the needs of the individual are taken into account
St Kevin’s implements home reading, free choice family home activities and occasionally home
activities set by the teacher to be returned to school and marked. The amount of time that students spend on home activities will depend upon their age and ability. It is important that students of all ages have opportunities for free time, leisure and physical activities after school.
The following are suggestions of time spent reading each evening:
- Kinder – Year 2 10 minutes
- Year 3 – 4 20 minutes
- Year 5 – 6 30 minutes
Suggested Family Home Activities
Early Stage 1.
All activities at home and at play can assist children to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills including literacy, numeracy and problem solving. Sounds taught in class will need to be reinforced. From Term 2, children will be encouraged to read to their parents.
Other suggestions include:
- Read to your child · Prepare dinner together – read, measure ingredients etc · Puzzles e.g. jigsaws • Play car
- Use construction toys • Write words and stories
- Visit the local library • Practise fine motor skills
- Find a word
- Play a board game – e.g. Scrabble, Boggle, Snakes and Ladders
- Practise address, phone no. emergency procedures etc
Stage 1 activities may include:
- Daily reading – books, newspapers, magazines · Scrabble and other family board games
- Counting – things around the house etc · Puzzles
- Card games · Write stories
- Assist with writing, reading and compiling weekly shopping list
- Visit the local library • Create a story book (paper craft)
- Hand eye co-ordination games – e.g handball
- Any construction games which require reading instructions e.g. Lego
- Websites as recommended by class teacher
Stage 2 activities may include:
- Practise throwing and catching a ball · Card games with family members
- Family board games · Help with cooking dinner
- Writing stories · Research energy saving in your home
- Investigate recycling in your home · Practising times tables
- Prepare a recipe · Visit local library
- Reading – alone and to parents · Practise a musical instrument
- Watch and discuss the news · Help with the weekly shopping
- Look for specials in brochures and work out how much you would save
- Websites as recommended by class teacher
Stage 3 activities may include:
- Practise a musical instrument · Research a current event or topic
- Watch and discuss the news · Watch and discuss the weather report
- Read the newspaper and discuss headlines · Plant and look after a garden
- Play board games with your family • Web-based activities
- Play a game outside · Write stories in different types of text
- Investigate energy saving in the home · Play card games with your family
- Visit the local library · Websites as recommended by class teacher
- Create own games for sharing – e.g. find a word, internet games
- Review shopping brochures – find bargains, determine savings
Types of Home Activities set by Teachers
- Kinder to Year 6 are expected to read daily. K-2 students use ‘take-home-readers’ supplied
by the school.
- Kinder to Year 4 teacher may occasionally send home tasks (for example a speech,
experiment or research activity) to be completed as a home activity and marked by the
teacher upon return.
- Year 5 & 6 will complete contract work and staged assignments in preparation for high
school and to reinforce strategies of time management and organisation. Parental support is
required to empower students to organise their time and work to a deadline
Home activities will be discussed at parent/teacher nights at the beginning of each year. Home activities should enhance family life and not be allowed to become a source of frustration or argument at home. Difficulties should be relayed to the teacher concerned and a compromise reached that is suitable for all involved.
Teachers may send home exercise books at different times throughout the year so students can share class activities with their parents and carers. Specific class activities may also be given from time to time. Parents are encouraged to visit classrooms and have regular conversations with children about their learning.
Parents can help by:
- taking an active interest in their children’s home activities
- providing a suitable setting in which activities can be undertaken
- ensuring that there is time set aside for parent/child interaction
- encouraging and supporting students to complete home activities
- communicating with teachers any concerns about the nature of and their children’s approach to home activities
Teachers can help by:
- suggesting suitable activities and web sites that are appropriate for the student’s skill level and age
- ensuring that students are aware of the options available and their purpose
- alerting parents to any developing problems concerning their children’s education that can be addressed through specific home activities
Students can help by:
- being aware of the importance of home activities
- completing tasks within a given time frame
- seeking assistance from teachers and parents or carers when difficulties arise
- sharing their home tasks with their parents, carers and teachers
- take responsibility for completing and submitting assignment tasks in Years 5 & 6
The best teaching and learning practices take part in the classroom. Hopefully children will have
more quality time to spend with parents and siblings in less stressful activities.
We aim to provide the best possible education for every student. This is our role and purpose as
partners in education with parents or carers.
Staff will evaluate this home activities policy every three years. Parents or carers will be asked to
provide feedback when necessary
P&F Movie Night- Trolls World Tour
Exclusive screening for St. Kevin’s school community
April 4th at 6.00pm Glendale Event Cinemas (movie starts 6.30pm)
Tickets $13 per person
Large $15 includes popcorn, drink and choc top
Small $10 includes popcorn and drink
Purchase your tickets at https://www.trybooking.com/BJAHG
Newcastle Libraries will soon be commencing a monthly Saturday storytime for children 4-10 years with autism or sensory processing challenges. For more information, see their Facebook link below.