This time last week we were looking at a seven day lock down period. Now we have successfully completed one and have two more weeks.
I have been incredibly impressed and proud of the staff, students and families of our school community.
Firstly, I offer my thanks to the staff of St John the Apostle, who have so adeptly provided remote learning for our students. Their adaptability and willingness to embrace this challenge has been extraordinary. Every morning we meet via MS Teams for prayer and morning messages. Their upbeat spirit and the care they express for the students they support is touching. I would genuinely like to thank every staff member for their contribution to making this work so successfully.
Thank you also to the students who have been incredibly quick to engage in learning remotely. I am not surprised by their capacity to do this, I am just impressed with their enthusiasm and positivity in challenging circumstances and the help they offer each other.
Lastly, thank you to all of you fantastic parents and carers who are sitting with your children, supporting them with their engagement in remote learning, while at the same time managing a household and your own work commitments. I can only thank you for your time and your positivity and encourage you to keep doing what you are. It is making all the difference to your child, more than you probably know.
Supporting students on site
We do have a small group of students undertaking the remote learning program on site. These are only students of essential workers or perhaps may be vulnerable without our assistance.
We have extended the booking form should you need to book your child in:
As the list of exposure sites has expanded, the number of staff that are available to help with supervision on site AND support their own classes in remote learning is dwindling. Thank you to all parents who are able to support their child being at home.
If we get to a point in which we don't have enough staff to support students being on site, we will contact these families to provide alternative support for remaining at home.
National Science Week
We've still been able to celebrate National Science Week this week with some online challenges for students through the morning schoolwide message and through activities teachers have set in classes. Thank you to everyone who enthusiastically participated. I've particularly enjoyed how many students have embraced the Science Week challenges. What a joy!
If you're looking for some DIY science challenges, look no further than the Questacon website that has plenty to do at home with every day materials.
Here are a few highlights from the photos shared as part of the Science Week challenges.
I hope everyone finds some rest over the weekend with a little easier pace in the day.
Thank you for continuing to work together to make our Canberra community safe and healthy for all.
God bless,Stephanie Stewart
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to Lincoln A, Harry P, Xavier G, Zachary G and Joseph 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.
School fees are due today for Term 3, unless you are paying by direct debit. Please ensure the amount of your direct debit is meeting your school fee requirements. If you need to discuss your school fees please contact Debbie Milne (finance officer) either by email email@example.com or via phone – ph: 6258 3592.
1 – to – 1 Technology payments were due for Term 3 last week. Prompt payment for Term 3 is appreciated. All payments for technology are due Week Five of each term. If you have paid in advance for the year thank you and you can disregard this reminder.
Year 5 camp
As we are unsure what is happening in the current environment we have suspended payments on QKR for Year 5 camp. Those families that have already paid we will hold your payment until a decision has been made in regards to camp and a refund will be given if and when the time comes.
Building resilience during the COVID pandemic
The pandemic continues to bring worry and anxiety to children and young people. Resilience can help kids get through these difficult times, but it is not something they are born with. Resilience is built up over time as kids interact with the environment and each other. Emerging relatively unscathed from a setback or hardship can boost future resilience. On the other hand, if experiences are too overwhelming or stressful, kids can be traumatised, making it difficult to respond with future hardships with resilience.
The Harvard University Centre for the Developing Child depicts resilience as ‘a see-saw or balance scale, where negative experiences tip the scale toward bad outcomes, and positive experiences tip it toward good outcomes. The point where the scale balances is called the “fulcrum,” and if it is more to one side or the other, it can make it harder or easier to tip the resilience scale to the positive.’ Everyone’s fulcrum is in a different spot—which explains why hardships impact on people so differently.
Reduce the impact of COVID by reducing stress
During the pandemic there has been a constant build-up of stress and disappointment for many kids. Remote learning, postponement or cancellation of highly anticipated events such as graduations and formals, limited access to community activities and extra-curricular activities are just some of the negative outcomes that kids have experienced.
Most of these stressors are out of parents’ control however any efforts to lighten the load on kids and tip the balance to a more positive side will help build resilience. Reducing sources of stress on kids include:
- facilitating visits to recreation areas for play and contact with friends
- ensuring academic expectations are realistic and reflect the circumstances of each child
- back and forth parent-teacher communication responding to pandemic-induced problems
- alleviating unnecessary family conflict such as temporarily loosening digital limits
Build up positive outcomes through supportive relationships
The presence of healthy supportive adult relationships with children and teenagers is a recognised contributor to resilience. Harvard University state, “The one thing that most children who develop resilience have in common is a stable, committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. Adults need those supportive relationships, too!”
Parents can build more positive outcomes for kids by strengthening the connections they have with friends, family and members of the community. Relationship-building activities can include:
- increasing family connections through shared mealtimes and enjoyable family activities
- positive one-on-one activities between parents and kids
- encouraging regular digital or face-to-face connection with friends
- maintaining contact with extended family
Strengthening core skills and coping capacities
Children and adults need a set of core skills to manage their daily lives. These skills include planning, ability to focus, self-control, self-awareness and adaptability. When children and young people are under extreme stress it’s difficult to apply these core skills so the ability to manage even simple tasks can be compromised.
Parents can strengthen these skills in children and young people by:
- building daily organisational skills at age-appropriate levels including the use of schedules, timetables and other visual organisers
- encouraging children to relax and enjoy regular downtime
- developing anxiety-management tools such as deep breathing and mindfulness
- embedding wellbeing strategies of relaxation, exercise and play into family life
Building resilience in children and young people during the current pandemic is a continuous task for families. Resilience is best promoted by relieving stressors on kids, ensuring they experience a variety of supporting relationships with adults and other children, and building core executive functioning skills so that they can successfully manage their daily lives during these times of change.
Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.