What a week of the changing and challenging 'new normal' in our community, country and world. What a difference a week can make.
I would like to once again apologise for the confusion that has been caused by our governments in relation to school operation. We have been trying to come to terms with it all as you all are.
The position of Catholic schools has not changed. If you need to send your child to school you can, however we would encourage those families who can keep their child at home to do so.
Moving forward, I have staff who are now working from home due to caring for their own children and other circumstances. This does mean that we have limited staff remaining at school. Whilst the children who come to school will be supervised and cared for as always, we do not have 'normal lessons' occurring. They will not be receiving one-on-one or small group teaching as some might think. We have structured our remaining teachers to rotate taking the small group of students and supporting them with their Remote Learning in the library. When teachers aren't doing this, they are online supporting students at home and they are planning for future Remote Learning.This is a challenging space not only for home life but for us at school. Whilst further shutdowns continue around our country, schools remain open and therefore staff are required, where possible, to continue to come to work each day. I know you can appreciate our staff health and wellbeing is as important as the students, and this needs to be factored in also. I want to thank our staff who continue to show such dedication to the education of the students at St Michael's in light of these challenging and worrying times.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the conversations, the emails and phone calls, thanking us for what we are doing. For the support we are offering both at school and remotely, our preparedness for going to remote learning at short notice and keeping everyone informed. Thank you!
Helping children cope through COVID-19
This is an uncertain time for everyone, and children may be impacted by fear and anxiety. Some tips on how to ensure your children are supported;
- Talk about it with your child. Don't shy away from the topic. It is most likely front and centre in their minds too.
- Give your children extra attention and reassurance. Where possible, minimise their exposure to media and social media that may heighten anxiety.
- Acknowledge your own feelings about the situation and let children know it’s okay to share their own feelings.
- Include your children in plans and activities around the house.
- If you don’t see an improvement or if you’re concerned, seek professional help.
I have said to our staff, it is so important to be looking after ourselves first. We can only help others when we are in a good space ourselves.
Manage your exposure to media coverage- you can become consumed by seeking updates, have breaks and set time limits.
Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach- be prepared, think ahead but remain calm. This is not a short term thing, pace yourself.
Show compassion and kindness to one another- seek out these feel good stories and share with your children. Can you do something as a family?
Actively manage your wellbeing- find time for that walk or run. Wellness meditation, read a book, watch a movie. Watch eating habits.
I acknowledge the unprecedented economic impact on families as a result of COVID-19 and associated government directives.
Consistent with our enrolment policy “no child is to be denied Catholic schooling simply because of an inability (as opposed to an unwillingness) of a parent/guardian, to meet financial requirements”.
Effective immediately are the following fee relief measures:
- Credits (for amounts paid) will be placed on fee accounts for cancelled excursions (excluding non-recoverable deposits), sporting events or activities as a result of COVID-19.
- All debt collection activities will be suspended until further notice
- Fee concessions will be available on outstanding fees at the end of Term 1 for those families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
- Fee concession will be available for Term 2 fees for families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
I anticipate delaying fee statements for Term 2 until there is greater clarity about the duration of the pandemic. General fee concession arrangements are being considered and will be communicated once finalised.
If you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 or have any concerns around fees, please contact me directly.
I will conclude with a post I wrote for our Facebook site.
I know many of you are probably feeling anxious about this Remote Learning Journey you are about to embark on with your child. We are all in it together!
Know that at times it is going to be tough. It is one thing to have your child at home for school holidays, it is a whole other thing to have them at home everyday and asking them to do work.
A little secret to share - yes, we sometimes get frustrated each day, we sometimes don't feel listened to, we sometimes get children refusing to do work, we sometimes get children getting angry, we sometimes feel like we are going around in circles. There will be times you too, will feel these things.
Throughout this, there are the moments of true learning, the moments of spark, the moments of joy, the moments of wonder, the moments of hope and the moments of laughter. These are the moments that make it all worth it. Remember that when you are taking a few deep breaths each day.
We are trained professionals, experts in our field. Thankfully the St Michael's community value what we do, because it is hard work, it is hard to switch off, it is hard to relax. You too will find it hard at times. It is important to have some structure around remote learning in your house, to ensure that you and your child have a break and enjoy this bonding time together.
Whilst we value Literacy and Numeracy, we also don't expect that it is done all day everyday. Plan to spend about 2 hours on Literacy and Numeracy each day. Another hour on other curriculum areas and the rest of the time on those things that will bring extra joy to the time with your child. Do some gardening, art, craft, sports, cook, bake, construct something together, meditate, board games, puzzles, Lego, read a novel, watch a movie, coding, photography and technologies, research something they are interested in. Learning should be fun! Learn something new like knitting or origami. Part of being a teacher is learning too. You will find you are learning a lot along the way as well.
Plan for breaks in between reading, writing, spelling and mathematics. Don't forget to have fruit break (they never let us forgot), recess and lunch. Enjoy the sunshine, have a picnic in the backyard! There are so many moments in our day that are opportunities for learning. Seize these moments. These are the moments children will remember most about the experience.
What is happening this year will be written about in the history books. Our children will look back on this period of time and talk about it with their children. We have the opportunity to take some control of this situation and flip it into a positive for our children.
We are all in this together.
Welcome to the world of teaching - be as organised as you can, so you can be as flexible as is needed (and remember we do this with 30 children everyday), YOU GOT THIS!
Please email, call and interact via our web platforms when needed. We are all in this together. It is not the year we intended for our children, but these are the cards we have been dealt and it is up to us to make the most out of them. A good lesson for our children.
Pat Ellis (Principal)
Religious Education Curriculum
1/2 have developed a deeper understanding of the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. They wanted to share their learning about this Scripture with you and want you to know:
Jesus will wash everyone’s feet, whether they are rich or poor. Anika
Jesus said, “You can’t be my disciple if you don’t let me wash your feet.” Hannah
When Jesus took off his robes he was acting like a slave. It was also a message that he was about to die. Finn
The disciples decided they wanted their feet washed. Jesus asked the disciples to share his love with other people by washing everyone’s feet. Noah
It is so rewarding to hear the students explaining their rich understanding of Scripture. I wonder how we will ‘wash others feet’? How do we accept being served by others? We look forward to these students sharing their deep knowledge of this piece of Scripture in Week 10 as we all experience the Last Supper and other key events of Holy Week.
Harmony Week is a time to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, and the successful integration of migrants into our community. Australia is one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world and we should celebrate this and work to maintain it. The message of Harmony Week is everyone belongs. It is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values.
Did you know?
- Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was.
- We identify with over 300 ancestries.
- Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia.
- 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia.
- Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi.
- More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
These facts are taken from ABS 2016 Census Data.
This week read about Sakun. She is a Gond indigenous woman living in a village in central-east India. She developed polio as a child and has difficulty walking. Until now, she has been isolated in her community, unable to earn a living and with no knowledge of support schemes that could help her. With Caritas Australia’s help, she learned how to access the disability support she’s entitled to and has set up her own thriving business. Her income is growing, along with her confidence. Sakun now participates in village decision-making, her progress motivating other community members to reach for their goals. See more about her story at https://lent.caritas.org.au/page/week-4
Notice from the Archdiocese about Mass & the Sacraments
If you haven’t already downloaded the SORA App, we encourage you to do so. It allows students to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the Catholic Education digital library collection. There is no cost associated with use of this resource.
As a school we are working to create our own online library specifically for our students. It will sit within the SORA app. We will let families know when it is available. In the meantime all students can still borrow ebooks and audio books from the app as usual.
When in the App, it will ask for the school name, please select 'ACEN Member Collection' (this is for various CE schools). If your child logs in from home, student login details are required. Your child's login details are as per the student login used at school. If your child has forgotten their login details please email their classroom teacher.
ACT Library Online Resources
The digital book is now available for $69.99 and is regularly updated with new offers.
Please click on the link below to order your 2020 Entertainment Book.