I am writing today from the annual Principal's Retreat where we have been working with Professor Peta Goldburg to reflect on the representation of women in the Bible. It has been fascinating, refreshing and empowering.
It has also been an excellent opportunity to speak with many other Principals and hear about what is happening at their schools. We enjoy sharing the joys, challenges and exciting initiatives and learning from each other.
I am always so appreciative that St John the Apostle Primary School is part of a strong, wider system of Catholic Schools in our Archdiocese with a focused, strategic direction and commitment to students, staff and families. I have also been reminded of the hardship experienced by our families in NSW Catholic Schools as a result of drought. These schools become an important place of hope and support for families. We are very fortunate.
Catholic schools are safe schools
One Principal shared how a parent had been challenged by a concerned friend about why they would send their child to a Catholic School in light of recent events with the Royal Commission. I wondered whether this happens for our own families. It is understandable that the schools of today and many other Catholic organisations can be tarnished by the actions of those in the Church of our past.
I would like to reassure you that our school, along with all Catholic schools in our Archdiocese, is a safe place for children. The safety and welfare of students is a high priority.
Our staff undertakes training on a regular basis in areas of child protection such as:
- reportable conduct
- mandatory reporting
- privacy and confidentiality
- detecting and responding to trauma
- conducting investigations and identifying signs of harm
- facilitating child-friendly ways for children to express their views, participate in decision making and raise their concerns.
The commitment to child safety in every aspect of school life will continue.
New School Bus Routes Term 2
Please be aware that ACTION have new school bus routes to and from school beginning in Term 2, Monday 29 April.
I would encourage all parents and students to find out how they can use the new services from Term 2 by:
- Planning their journey to and from school in the improved Transport Canberra journey planner at www.transport.act.gov.au, which includes dedicated school services for the first time; or
- Using the school pack that shows all the different services available for your school at www.transport.act.gov.au/getting-around/new-network/schools/schools-a-z-listing.
You can also find other information about the changes at www.transport.act.gov.au to help parents and students understand how to use the new integrated public transport network, including information about student safety, fares and ticketing and maps.
In the first stage of developing our outdoor play and learning spaces we recently undertook a playground safety audit and received quotes for suggested changes to the existing equipment that will make them even more engaging as well as remain compliant with relevant safety standards.
We are also now receiving quotes for re-structuring and marking out our black top area and ovals. It is exciting to begin the process of transforming our outdoor spaces.
Our school is abuzz with growth and change in many areas. It's an exciting time to be a part of our community. Let's keep working together to be the best possible place of learning for our children.
Matthew Garton (Principal)
Usually during the week something happens that makes me pause and I know that is what I will write about. This week I have been unsettled, my heart is uneasy and I am not sure what to write. I have started several times and, even now, it is not coming out smoothly.
If I have learnt anything in my time as REC, which has been a roller coaster of personal faith development, I have learnt this, to pause and to pray.
So I will pray and ask for some perspective. Some peace, maybe some understanding of those things that I can’t quite grasp and put into words. I will pray to find joy in the small things and savour those things in my life that bring me peace.
As I searched for a passage to connect to my writing today, the ever articulate John the Apostle came to my rescue.
John 14:27 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Maybe all of my uncertainty was meant to bring me to this passage to be reminded to trust in the Lord. Sounds like the way God works in my life!
Religious Education Coordinator
The Sacrament of Penance
The children in our community have been preparing for the sacrament since November 2018. They will make the sacrament on Thursday 21 March 2019. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
“To be on earth the Heart of God”
Formation evening for Parents
Date: Monday 1 April
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
If you have a child in Year 6 not attending St John’s primary school and you would like them to receive the Sacrament please contact the parish office.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
will be celebrated at 5:00pm on Thursday 16 May 2019
with Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Balancing extra-curricular activities for flourishing kids
- Parenting Boys
- Parenting Girls
- Wellbeing and Mental Health
Busyness seems to have become a way of life for modern families. It’s unlikely you’ll ever hear a parent talk of having plenty of free time on their hands. Unfortunately, that’s a statement unlikely to be heard from a lot of modern-day kids either.
The afternoons on family calendars are increasingly filling up with organised after-school activities, and in families with multiple children the logistics of keeping up with all this can be complicated. The strain of ferrying children back and forth, often in different directions, saps families of energy, resources and time.
We have great intentions
Recent research from the United Kingdom found that the desire for children to succeed is a strong driver for many parents, sometimes causing them to load their children up with extra-curricular activities. While the intentions are good, the method of keeping kids busy is probably questionable.
Other reasons for encouraging extra-curricular activities include: giving kids the best start in life, making friends, keeping fit and healthy, developing interests and preventing boredom. Anecdotal evidence suggests the findings are similar in Australia.
The cost of busyness
We live at a time where rates of mental illness, particularly anxiety, are climbing. One in seven Australian children have a diagnosed mental illness. That’s three in an average classroom. Many more go undiagnosed.
Rushing to activities, late nights and stressed parents aren’t the conditions for family members to enjoy flourishing mental health. Too many organised activities detract from time to hang out with friends, to comfortably complete homework tasks, to spend time with family, to get bored and, importantly, to simply play.
Free play is serious business
Author and research professor of psychology Dr Peter Gray attributes the rise in anxiety, depression, suicide and narcissism among children to the decline of play. Unstructured play is vital for the healthy development of children and teenagers. Through play kids learn to interact with others, develop physical skills necessary for school success and gain confidence they need to interact with peers.
How much is too much?
Some children can cope with busy schedules, while others flounder. As a rule of thumb, if your child or young person is struggling in any of these three areas: i) mental health, ii) schoolwork and studies, iii) their participation in family-life then it may be time to reduce their extra-curricular load.
Choosing the activities to omit from a schedule can be tricky, as your child or young person may have a different motivation for each. In short, each activity can be ‘the one they love.’ Here’s a good question to ask your child or young person that can make decision-making easier:
'If all of your after-school activities were cancelled, which one(s) would you plead with me to re-enrol you in?'
Their answers will reveal a great deal about their commitment to each activity. Ideally, kids should be choosing extra-curricular activities that nourish them rather than cause anxiety and stress. Aim for two activity-free nights each week so that your child or young person can meet their study and family commitments.
The same principle for balance holds true for weekends. Make sure your kids enjoy some time free from structured activity, so they cna refresh and recharge, ready for the week of school that lays ahead.
As your School is a Parenting Ideas Schools member, you can attend the upcoming webinar, Balancing extra-curricular activities for flourishing kids, at no cost!
About the webinar.
Join Dr Jodi Richardson in this webinar to understand the trend towards increasing enrolments in structured after-school activities, the benefits and the drawbacks for kids, the importance of free play for children, the implications of over scheduling on children’s mental health and how to create balance in the lives of your children.
Tuesday 2 April 2019 8:00 pm AEDT
This webinar is $37 per person to attend, and is free of charge to families at schools that have a Parenting Ideas membership. Use the voucher code below to register for the webinar.
How parents can redeem the voucher
1. Click this link: https://www.parentingideas.com.au/parent-resources/parent-webinars/webinar-balancing-extra-curricular-activities
2. Click ‘Add to cart’
3. Click ‘View cart’
4. Enter the voucher code BALANCING and click ‘Apply’. Your discount of $37 will be applied to the order. This voucher is valid until 2 May 2019.
5. Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
6. Fill in your account details. These are the details you will use to login to your account and access your parenting material
7. Click ‘Place Order’
School photographs are scheduled to be taken on Tuesday 2 April. You should have already received an envelope from your child. If possible it is our preference that ordering be completed online to reduce administration and potential security issues related to the return of cash and envelopes on photo day. Parents who place their order online do not need to return the order envelope.
Orders for packages and sibling photographs can be placed securely online at www.advancedlife.com.au using our unique 9 digit advanced order code 21X CFH 6YT. Portrait and group package orders are due by photo day.
Should you wish to purchase a sibling photograph online, the order must be placed no later than the day before photo day. Sibling photographs will only be taken if an order has been placed. Sibling envelopes are available at the Office if required.
Full summer school uniform (not sport uniform) should be worn on the day.
Should you have any queries concerning school photographs or online ordering, please direct them via email to mailto email@example.com