Dear St John the Apostle Primary School Community,
Well it has been an interesting week!
Last Sunday everything changed for our school community and all schools across the ACT and we have, like everyone, had to work hard and fast to adapt to the current situation.
I would like to thank our staff for their outstanding professionalism, commitment and positive spirit in changing how they deliver a quality teaching & learning program to our students. They are incredible! We are actually having a lot of fun learning how to make videos for our students.
Thank you to all those parents who have kept their children at home and have begun accessing the remote learning program. We have been more than happy to have a handful of students here as they undertake the same remote learning program. We know that their parents need them to be here because they work in areas that are needed. They are very welcome and I make sure to say hello to them every day.
If students haven't accessed the remote learning program this week we will be touching base with their families early next week to see if they need some assistance and how we can help. Please email or Seesaw message your class teacher if you are having any issues.
Now that we have the basic structure and platform for remote learning up, we are looking at how we can cater for the diverse range of needs of our students. Some will require assistance and extra support and we are currently building our capacity to do this.
Remote Learning in Reality
Many of you will be discovering the extent of your child's capacity to engage for any length of time in some of the 'school' learning tasks. We are committed to providing a quality remote learning program every day for our students.
We also recognise the reality that many of you are working from home as well and that the home environment doesn't always follow a timetable and can be full of distractions.
So please just follow the remote learning program in a way that suits you and your family. Please remember that learning happens all day, everywhere. Going for a walk, exploring insects in the garden, planting and looking after vegetables, building with lego and recycled materials, drawing, painting, playing card and board games are all learning experiences too! Keep including these wonderful activities in your day.
What's most important is making sure that the day has structure, challenge, fun and connection. Children's mental health is most important in these anxious times and having these elements in place will assist them in navigating it well.
We know that many of you are beginning to experience the financial pressure that has occurred as a result of the strategies in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday I wrote to everyone to outline some of our initial strategies for removing some of the burden for families in regards to school fees.
Please understand that it is Catholic Education policy that “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”. We will work with every family impacted to ensure that their child continues their educational journey at St John the Apostle Primary School.
Have a safe, quiet and healthy weekend everyone.
Matthew Garton, Principal
It is the little things at the moment isn’t it? Good and not so good.
Right now, I am loving my indoor plants, thriving in the Autumn sun and the changing leaves outside.
Right now, I am not loving my super quiet classroom. Took me about 5 mins to work out the noise I was hearing was Otto, my resident goldfish picking up stones and dropping them!
Right now, I am loving all the things I have learnt to do with technology in the last 48 hrs (see 10 sec video below).
Right now, I am not loving having to be away from my kids.
Right now, Psalm 46:10“Be still and know that I am God.” holds such great meaning for us. We are being called to be still in so many ways and as always, the challenging part is to KNOW that God is with us. Yes, even now, I believe He is with us… in the small things…the good and the bad.
Psalm 46:10 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
God bless you all at this most difficult time.
Stephanie Stewart, Religious Education Coordinator
If your child has any medication at school that you would like to collect and take home as back up during these uncertain times please feel free to collect it from the Office between 8:20am -4:00pm.
Fostering healthy sibling relationships
If your kids constantly fight with each other, then don’t despair. All that emotional energy isn’t going to waste.
According to a recent study, sibling fights teach kids important conflict resolution skills. In fact, parents who stop their children from arguing may well be depriving them of important learning opportunities.
Researcher Laurie Kramer from the University of Illinois in the US found that kids who learned how to argue with their siblings had more advanced emotional development.
Anecdotally, it seems that sibling fighting is one of the biggest impediments to parents enjoying family life. Many parents tell me that if their children stopped bickering their lives would improve dramatically.
Many parents also worry that their children who fight with each other will not get along as adults. The evidence doesn’t support this view. The test for strong families is more about the willingness for kids to pull together when the chips are down than it is about than the frequency of squabbling.
Healthy families know how to fight well. When parents take an active approach to helping their children resolve their fights, they are teaching them a valuable life skill as well as reducing the incidence of fighting over the long term. Here are five practical strategies to use:
MODEL good conflict resolution skills
Kids wear ‘L’ plates when it comes to solving disputes. Some kids will yell, get abusive or even get physical when they are settling disputes. Show them better ways of sorting out problems by talking things through with your partner, compromising and apologising when you’ve said something upsetting to your partner or your children.
Help kids MANAGE their emotions
“Yep, it would make me mad too if someone said that to me.” Usually someone’s feelings get hurt when siblings argue, so make sure you recognise their emotions without taking sides. This focus on feelings helps kids develop emotional literacy and promotes empathy in siblings as well.
MONITOR sibling relationships
Keep your antenna up for signs of discord within sibling relationships. Kids can sort out some disputes themselves, but you may need to be ready to intervene and assist with peace-brokering, or at least to act as a safety net, when one child continually appears to be on the wrong end of a power imbalance.
MENTOR them to sort out disputes
Kids need the chance to sort their conflicts out themselves, but sometimes they need a little coaching. They often invite their parents to take sides, which is usually counterproductive. Rather than trying to sort out who started an argument, focus on possible solutions. Provide suggestions such as taking turns, giving way, bargaining, swapping or even walking away.
Encourage them to MAKE UP
Kids often get over disputes far quicker than adults. They can be squabbling one minute and cuddling up the next, so intervening gets tricky sometimes. However there are times when you need to encourage a child to mend bridges with an aggrieved sibling. This can mean a child has to swallow their pride, admit that they may be wrong, make an apology or make some sort of restitution such as doing a special favour. This type of restoration means kids must take responsibility for their behaviours and is a sign of growing maturity.
Children without siblings can learn conflict resolution skills by spending time with other peers and friends, and by having parents who are willing to argue with them without coming on too strong or laying down the law.
Conflict and siblings tend to go together. They are natural bedfellows. While sibling squabbles can be annoying, they also offer parents great opportunities to help kids to handle conflict effectively, which is a great life skill.
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