Dear St John the Apostle Primary School Community,
Tomorrow morning I have to say farewell to my 14 year old daughter who is travelling to Japan for a few weeks with a school group from SFX. We've been getting organised for weeks now and while she's all ready to go, I am a bit nervous for her.
Two of my other children have gone on similar trips with SFX and these trips are exceptionally organised (I cannot speak highly enough of the teachers who lead these). My daughter was also part of Girl Guides for a long time. Girl Guides teaches the girls responsibility, collaboration, leadership skills and service. She learnt how to pack for herself and look after her belongings when she was away. If I think about it, she's well prepared and in a well organised program, so why am I still nervous?
I think I'm nervous because if, by the absolute remotest chance, something happens that causes her to feel hurt, anxious or unsafe I won't be nearby to help. It's so easy to take that perfectly natural anxiety I feel for my daughter in this situation and turn it into very controlling behaviours. I could prevent her from going. I could pack everything for her without her contributing. I could make demands that she call me every day at 7.00pm even if she doesn't have the capacity to do that. I could start barraging the teachers with questions and demands about how they need to look after her (as though they had the time to personally parent her in my absence when they have 24 other students to also look after on the trip). I could let my perfectly natural anxiety manifest into perfectly unnatural behaviours that in the end prevent her from developing the confidence and independence that I long her to have as an adult.
So I am reminded now again of my mantra 'Never do anything for children that they have the capacity to do for themselves'. She is in a perfectly safe tour group, with very responsible, capable and lovely people. She's in a very safe environment (Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world to visit). She's packed herself (with my eye over her shoulder) so she knows where to find everything. She's been talking to her host family and so knows who she is going to meet. She's been looking up information and reading what she needs to do and know. She's been to all the meetings and listened intently. She's now set up to succeed... without me. When I think about all of this, I relax.
I'm glad that her capacity for independence was developed early in Primary School, when, as soon as we could, we made her be part of packing her lunch and her school bag, responsible for remembering her hat each day, getting her homework done, remembering her library books, having the right uniform items on, even carrying her own bag into school each day. It started with the little things, each and every day, where, when she could do it for herself, she did.
While I can easily name some times when I have been less than the best parent for her, I'm glad we always encouraged her independence. She's so much more confident and capable for it. She can now explore so many more opportunities and my natural parental anxiety is eased more quickly.
Remember.....Never do anything for children that they have the capacity to do for themselves. Every child is different. But whenever they have the capacity to learn to do a task for themselves, teach them, guide them, support them and expect if from them. The pay off may not be immediate. It may be years down the track. We play a 'long game' as parents, growing our children to become the next generation of caring, capable and collaborative adults.
Congratulations Mr Ganley
After a successful contract review process I would like to offer my congratulations to Mr Anthony Ganley for being reappointed as Assistant Principal of St John the Apostle Primary School. Thank you for your wonderful contributions to our school community until now and for your continued support for our students, staff and families.
Sport seasons end with a bang!
It's that time of year when the winter sport season is drawing to a close. Many of our students love their weekend sport and play in various codes and teams across Canberra. Congratulations to every one and thank you for sharing your St John's spirit with others. You can see many of the teams our students belong to on our Facebook page.
We also have a few 'St John's' teams in local competitions (where the entire team is made up of St John's students). This weekend one such team has made it to their grand final. Well done to the SJA Maroon's netball team, coached by Mr Gibson and also managed by Mrs Bronwyn Ward. We know you will do your very best and hope that, no matter what the outcome, you are very proud of your achievements and know we are proud of you too. Well done!
Have a lovely weekend one and all!
Matthew Garton (Principal)
On Monday and Tuesday I was lucky enough to be at St Clements Retreat, Galong, just outside of Harden. The focus of the retreat was the virtues of faith, hope and love. Specifically the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSVCEE) 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
We were blessed with warm weather to start with and then a cold snap that added to the quiet and peaceful nature of the experience. Most importantly we had time. Time to read, time to reflect, time to focus on scripture, time to talk about our own faith journey.
There were several moments of encounter for me. As is often the case, it is very hard to describe what happened and how profoundly it affected me but I did get to create my own definitions for faith, hope and love. In my humble opinion…
Faith... isn’t a constant state of belief but rather a sort of faithfulness, a loyalty to the moments we have had faith.
Hope…knowing that the symphony of our lives is yet unfinished.
Love… the proof of love is innate in our very existence because we are created in the image of God and God is love.
May you find faith, hope and love in your everyday experiences.
Are you asking your kids to step up?
We do a lot for our kids, because we love them and often they need us. But we forget that one of the best things we can do for our kids is to help them learn to do for themselves and for others.
Do you ask your kids to do chores, to help out on a regular basis? You would be surprised how many parents - who were raised doing chores - don’t ask the same of their kids. If you do give them chores, do you sometimes go behind them and redo the work when they’re done? Don’t! If it’s not done right, get your child to fix it.
When I ask why parents don’t give chores or why they don’t challenge their kids with hard things - and I do, all over the world - parents tell me it's because kids are too... busy! They're working their tails off on classwork, teams, clubs, groups, trying to excel at 100 different things! So adults are willing to take on every other responsibility in their lives in order to facilitate these goals. And it’s hurting kids.
We drive them everywhere - fewer teens are seeking drivers' licences each year. We type their work, do their research and try to buy them anything they or we think might possibly increase their success. We solve every problem and bulldoze over every potential obstacle. And kids accept this as the natural order of things.
We are stepping in front of our kids, when in fact we should be stepping back and allowing our kids to step up.
It’s sounds like tough love, but it’s not. This is parenting. This is making sure that our kids, in just a few short years, don’t still need us to do everything for them. Our kids know that we are expert problem-solvers. Now it’s their turn to step up and learn to help themselves and others.
So how can we let kids step up? Here are a few tips you can try right now with kids of any age.
• When your child or teen comes to you with a problem, don’t fix it. Say “You’re a good problem-solver. What do you think?” And then listen to the answer.
• Expect them to fail, and talk about what they’ll do when (not if) that happens.
• Give them tasks to do that help the whole family (not only themselves) and make sure they do them, until it’s done well. Be patient, but firm.
It’s crucial that you take a step back and let your kids make mistakes and learn from their experiences. You aren’t going to be there in adulthood to clear the obstacles they face or solve the struggles. They eventually will have to make decisions and find solutions on their own and they will be ill-prepared if they weren’t allowed to make those mistakes under supervision while you’re right there to show empathy and give support!
You may be thinking "but what if there’s an emergency and I have to jump in?" Well, first define emergency.
Two percent of the time, kids need an adult to jump in front of them and solve the problem. They need an adult to protect them from a life-threatening issue that overwhelms their internal resources such as when they experience bullying, mental health issues and eating disorders.
The other ninety-eight percent of the time kids need a compassionate adult to take an interest, from a distance, without fixing anything. So step back so that a child or a young person can step up and handle problems and dilemmas themselves.
You can attend our upcoming webinar, Step back so kids step up, at no cost!
About the webinar
Children and teenagers are capable of so much more than they are often given credit for. Closing the expectation gap between what adults believe kids and young adults are capable of, and allowing them to create their own solutions to the challenges they face will greatly impact their resilience, and society as a whole. In this webinar, Dr. G will outline the practicalities of doing that, and the guiding principles that will make it possible.
Wednesday 18 September 2019 8:00pm AEST. This webinar will still be available to view after this date.
This webinar is $37 per person to attend, and is free of charge to families at schools that have a membership.
How parents can redeem the voucher
1. Click this link: https://www.parentingideas.com.au/parent-resources/parent-webinars/webinar-step-back-so-kids-step-up
2. Click ‘Add to cart’
3. Click ‘View cart’
4. Enter the voucher code STEP and click ‘Apply Coupon’ (valid until 18 October 2019). Your discount of $37 will be applied.
5. Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
6. Fill in your account details. These details are used to login to your account and access your parenting material
7. Click ‘Place Order’
We had a great day today in our Walkathon. Thank you to the staff and parents who helped.
Students use the sponsorship card to record donations. Each Friday the students may bring this money into class to add to the class tally. The donations will need to be clearly labelled in a zip lock bag with the word Walkathon, student name and amount. Donations can also be made through QKR.
School fun: As the school raises money to different stages, the whole school will enjoy the following.
Extra Friday playtime
Out of uniform day
Movie afternoon (Term 4)
These will be drawn at a special Walkathon assembly next Friday, Week 10 at 2pm. Therefore, donations should be into the class teacher by this Wednesday 25th September 2019 (Week 10)
Every child who participates in the walk will receive 1 ticket. After this for every $10 the student receives 1 ticket to go into the draw for a class prize. The class prizes will be a variety of sporting equipment, movie vouchers, entertainment vouchers etc. just in time for the school holidays.
After the class prize is drawn, all of the tickets will go into a whole school draw where you have a chance to win the major prize. This year the prize will be a Dell Chromebook!
What happens if I bring in the most money?
Each week the Year 6 students have gone to the classrooms to find the person who has obtained the highest donation for the week. The class where the highest donation has been made receives Zooper Doopers.
On Thursday of Week 10 we will establish the person who has brought in the most money overall. This student will receive a Chromebook at the Walkathon assembly.
All proceeds will be used to upgrade the black top of the school to be an inviting space for play.
Tomorrow, this fantastic group of students will play in the Division Two North Canberra Grand Final against the Rosary Primary School Rhinos. From myself, the parents and the entire school, we wish you all the best and hope for the result.
We know that you will represent our school with pride, respect and play fair and clean.
The game will be held tomorrow at the Lyneham Indoor Netball Courts at 8:00am. If you can make it down the children would appreciate any support.
GO SJA MAROON!
We have a collection of lovely photos taken of the students during their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden lessons. The students enjoy many activities including cooking, gardening and looking after the chickens. Here are some photos of their experiences this year.
Congratulations Lily H and Tai J who have been swimming at Kingswim for 8 years! As Graduates, Lily and Tai can swim 1000m of continuous Freestyle, are competent in all four strokes, have completed the Kingswim Swim and Survive components and thus have graduated from the Kingswim's Swim like a fish program. Well done girls.