Dear St John the Apostle Community,
This week I think many of us are beginning to feel that sense of loneliness that comes from being more isolated in our homes and miss being with family, friends and colleagues. I was speaking with one parent yesterday and we were reminding ourselves that this isolation isn't just for ourselves. It is for the collective good of our community and our vulnerable loved ones. As extraordinarily painful as this might be at times, we are challenged to remember 'we are not the centre of the universe'. We share this life with others. We restrict ourselves so that others more vulnerable than us are not at risk.
Some of us are also beginning to feel the pinch with employment. Work has dried up. People have been stood down. For some, they are facing being both isolated and also needing to tighten the budget a lot more, uncertain of how work will pan out. It is great that employers like Woolworths and others can take on more staff and that governments will provide some financial supports, but we know that it may not be enough.
A way to help everyone get through this time is to turn this pandemic into one of kindness. There is a Facebook Page called The Kindness Pandemic (#thekindnesspandemic) where people are sharing wonderful acts of kindness with each other to ensure everyone is feeling supported and connected. I would encourage you to have a look at this. Good news stories are a wonderful way to maintain a positive outlook and sustain positive mental health.
Stories of Remote Learning
Wow! We have heard some fantastic stories and received great videos and pictures of students participating in the teaching & learning that was provided over the week. Thank you to everyone who sent through some photos and videos to share.
We've received a lot of great feedback this week about the simplicity, the structure, the teachers' videos, the work for students. We've received a couple of questions about how much is expected to be completed. For some it has seemed like a lot of work. For others it has seemed like not enough. All classes are endeavouring to provide the same amount of work but we want everyone to feel free to prioritise what they can fit into the day. This has been a trial for us all and we already have some ideas for how to refine it for next term.
What is happening next week?
As outlined in the letter that was distributed on Tuesday afternoon, next week is a pupil free week. This has been determined by Catholic Education for all Catholic Schools across our system. This is so that all staff can participate in training to prepare for remote learning in Term 2.
We understand that there are parents who are essential workers and have no other care arrangements available to them and therefore requested we provide supervision at school. Thank you to those who emailed me before Thursday 5.00pm as requested. We will be able to accommodate you.
The training will be for some staff today and Monday and then for all staff on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will be following it up on Thursday morning as well. This means that teachers will not be providing the same amount of work next week and students are welcome to complete any remaining work or undertake some personal learning and share this with their class on their Google Classroom.
What is happening in Term 2?
I know that many are keen to understand what school looks like next term. The dominoes are beginning to fall in regards to this. Recent announcements by the federal government will now be reviewed by the ACT Education Directorate and Catholic Education to determine what this looks like for us. I am anticipating some communication very soon.
Please encourage everyone in our community to ensure they have downloaded the Schoolzine app or have provided their email address to the Front Office to ensure that they receive the latest communication.
Have a safe, quiet and healthy weekend everyone.
Matthew Garton, Principal
I have prepared a short liturgy for you today. I have missed singing with the kids so excuse my slightly off key attempt at the Our Father. God bless you all as we enter this most Holy of weeks.
When you open the link ensure you make the video full page to avoid the distractions of the advertisements down the side.
God bless you all at this most difficult time.
Religious Education Coordinator
Helping siblings resolve their fights
While it seems that kids in families are programmed to fight with each other, the good news is that parents have the power to facilitate learning.
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.
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, rather than the frequency of the 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 some 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 the signs of discord within sibling relationships. Some disputes kids can sort out themselves, but you need to be ready to intervene and assist kids in the peace-brokering, or at least to act as a safety net when one child continually appears on the wrong end of a power imbalance.
Mentor them to sort out disputes
Kids need the chance to sort their conflict out themselves, but sometimes they need a little coaching. They often invite their parents to take sides, which is usually counter-productive. 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 it gets tricky intervening sometimes. However there are times when you need to encourage a child to mend bridges with an aggrieved sibling. This can mean kids have 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.
Conflict and siblings tend to go together. 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.
Our school has a membership with Parenting Ideas. As part of this membership, you can access the below webinar recording ‘Sibling Fighting’ at no cost.
Spend an hour with renowned parenting educator Michael Grose as he explores the weird and wonderful world of sibling relationships. He’ll help you develop an active approach to resolving sibling disputes so they learn valuable life skills.
- Click this link: https://www.parentingideas.com.au/parent-resources/parent-webinars/sibling-fighting-what-to-do
- Click ‘Add to cart’
- Click ‘View cart’
- Enter the voucher code HARMONY and click ‘Apply.’ The $37 discount will then be applied and will reduce the webinar cost to $0 at the checkout.
- Click ‘Proceed to checkout’
- Fill in your account details including our school’s name to verify your eligibility. These are the details you will use to login to your account and access your webinar and resources
- Click ‘Place Order’
This voucher is valid until 5 May 2020.