Dear St John the Apostle families,
Teachers have been enjoying the many Parent-Teacher Interviews being held at the moment. They have appreciated the kind words of thanks they have received in the midst of the conversations about each child.
I would like to thank all of the teachers for their commitment to our families in providing this opportunity to talk with parents at such a busy time of year. They are a very committed and dedicated staff who do their very best to support every student in their care. Thank you to all the parents for also finding that time to connect. It is by working together that your child has the greatest opportunity to grow at school.
Early in Term 3 we conducted our annual Parent, Staff and Student Surveys. We used this data as part of our recent strategic planning process. Every organisation and school has great strengths and areas to develop further. Your feedback is always welcome and helpful in providing a focus for determining what to continue doing and what to focus on next in improving. I would like to share the Parent Survey results with you:
What does this tell me?
Parents were asked to express their satisfaction in response to the statements outlined. Their responses were scored as follows:
The average score for each statement is colour coded for quick reference:
After looking through comments and examining staff and student survey results, we identified the following main themes:
- ‘Community’ is still a very, very important part of our identity. Parents, staff and students overall feel a sense of belonging and commitment to St John the Apostle Primary School.
- There is a strong understanding that ‘care’ is an experience that is valued highly in our school. Students strongly identify that they are encouraged to care for others. Parents generally feel that the school ‘cares’ for their child from the Front Office through to the classroom.
- Overall there are a lot of positive response to how the school focuses on and supports positive behaviour. Any concerns expressed tended to be based on perceptions around one or two specific year levels/situations. We recognise that perceptions are important and will consider ways we may be able to communicate and clarify information regarding more often about how we manage behaviour.
- 'Communication' was generally considered positively, particularly at a whole school level, with suggestions regarding communicating more often the strategic directions of the school and greater consistency between teachers communicating with parents using apps such as Seesaw. We're looking forward next year to having the full functionality of Seesaw at our disposal after using the lite version this year.
- Our achievement data along with our parent, staff and student survey results all point to excellent growth in spelling and reading for many of our students. This is a great outcome for our work in implementing Daily 5, Sounds~Write and intervention groups. We now want to build our school’s capacity to ensure our highest achieving students have the exact same opportunity to be challenged and grow as much as all other students. While our data suggests they experience consistently good growth, we know that with more focus we can help them grow even more to meet their potential.
Thank you to all of our parents who completed the survey. Your feedback each year is always read and considered in celebrating good work and determining strategies for improvement.
This morning Emily Thexton was awarded the Colour My World Arts Scholarship, also known as the Sue Ferguson Arts Scholarship. Sue Ferguson was a teacher at St John the Apostle from 1990 to 2014 when she passed away. She loved music, singing and the Arts and her favourite year level was Year 2.
Each year Doug Ferguson, husband of Sue, provides this scholarship to a Year 2 student in her name. The student selected is one who shows a great interest in the Arts both at school and outside of school. There were quite a number of worthy students who applied and had interests and experience in the Arts. Emily will be using the scholarship to develop her love for dancing.
This morning Emily was presented the award from Doug and Sue's son James and and we were also treated to a ballet performance from last year's winner, Aisling Straffon who performed a piece from a french ballet.
Let's keep finishing strong! Looking for and celebrating the best in each other. We've all earned it this year.
2nd Sunday of Advent
This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent. On this day we focus on Peace.
So often we yearn for peace. It can be elusive and we walk through our days thinking 'I will have peace when......', naming something that we think we need. In thinking this way we give away our own power to achieve the peace we so want.
But really peace is not what we achieve at the end of a journey. Peace itself is the path we walk. Peace is the manner and way we travel on that journey. Peace is in the conversations we have, the actions we take, the decisions we make. In each of these moments we are choosing peace.
Take the time this week to be a people of peace.
Notices from the Parish
COVID-19 means we need to organise Christmas masses differently this year:
- there are 2 family masses this year– 5:00 & 7:00pm.
- if families are booked and seated together our church can accommodate a maximum of 130 individuals at the family masses.
- families will be allocated designated seating, which requires that you book & register the total number of family members attending.
- the remaining vigil and Christmas day masses will revert to 100 attendees for each mass with our usual seating arrangements.
Christmas Masses – TryBooking Links
These links will close on Friday 4 December at 5:00pm
Thursday 24 December – 5:00pm Family Mass
Thursday 24 December – 7:00pm Family Mass
Thursday 24 December – 9:00pm Youth Mass
Thursday 24 December – Midnight Mass (Carols at 11:30pm)
Friday 25 December – 9:00am Mass
Happy birthday to Jordi M, Blake W, Alaina S, Emry W, Abie M, Toby F, Ngawang C, Hayden S, Ewan G, Matilda M, Claire B, Hayley B, Abhinav B and Anabelle-Louise T who will celebrate a birthday over the next 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.
What a year 2020 has been! Here in the Library we have seen so many books come and go through our doors as children have borrowed extra books during remote learning. A big thank you to all the families who have encouraged their children to borrow and return books, read with children and discussed new and exciting characters, plots and settings! It is so important that we not only instill in our children a love of reading, but that we share that experience with them.
As we head into the last few weeks of the year we are requesting that all Library books are returned as soon as possible. Students have been given a slip with the names of their overdue books, but if you are unsure of what the book is you can always google the title to get a look at the cover. This can help when we have seen a book lying around but not paid it much attention!
If a book has been damaged or lost, we would appreciate replacement of the book or a contribution of $8.00. This can be paid on Qkr!.
We have a number of books that have been returned to the Library that are not ours. If your child is missing a book, have them stop by and see if it has been returned to us by mistake.
Scholastic Book Club
Our November Book Club closed on Monday, 30 November. We are expecting books to arrive in the next fortnight. We had such a great response to the Book Club this month and we hope that these books will be enjoyed over the Summer Holidays.
Mrs Georgina Jaram (Teacher/Librarian)
Mrs Kirsty Vera (Library Assistant)
On Monday, 7 December, could choir members please bring the following to school in a labelled plastic bag.
. Red, green or white clothes to wear.
Choir will be singing 3 Christmas songs to be filmed after lunch for our "Christmas Through Technology" movie. The songs include:
. Ava Maria
. Silent Night
. Santa Clause is coming to town.
This week the Community Council approved the following school fees for 2021.
Catholic Education have increased the Tuition Fee by 5% and the Building Fund by 3% across all ACT Catholic Primary Schools. They are continuing to offer COVID-19 fee relief to families in Term 1 next year should this assistance still be required. To find out more about this support please contact Mrs Debbie Milne, Finance Officer (Debbie.Milne@cg.catholic.edu.au).
As a result of the increase to school fees by Catholic Education the Community Council agreed to only increase the Student Resource Levy by $2 per term. This makes the overall increase to school fees only 3% for one student.
As always, no student will ever be denied a Catholic Education based on a difficulty or inability to pay fees. We have the capacity to offer fee concessions if needed. If you would like to know more details about this then please contact Mrs Debbie Milne.
Bookings are now open for the Summer School Holidays at St John the Apostle OSHClub. You can see all the details of the fun-packed program in the brochure attached to this email, and you’ll also find it on our service’s webpage.
We have COVIDsafe plans in place in every one of our services, and our teams are ready to welcome your child in to a fun, active, and inclusive holiday program.
Booking is simple. To reserve your child’s place simply log into your account here.
For more information about care available at your service, please call your Service Coordinator on 0437921666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vacation Care Team
Building deep emotional connections with kids
Imagine your child comes to you upset that a sibling or friend has cheated in a game. There are a number of ways to respond, including telling them not to worry (“Let it go!”), advising them how to handle it (“Next time you keep the score.”) or empathising emotionally (“You must feel disappointed.”)
Each is a legitimate response for a parent and teacher to make, but only the latter builds a deep emotional connection. Importantly, the empathetic response builds a child’s or young person’s emotional intelligence as it taps into their ability to recognise current feelings.
How emotional connection works
Kids crave to be understood by others, especially by the people they love or respect. When you accurately feed back how a child or young person is feeling you demonstrate that you really care. Strong relationships are formed on the bedrock of care, kindness and compassion.
How to give emotional feedback that connects
Giving accurate emotional feedback to an upset child or teenager takes practice. It requires that you pay attention, move into the present moment, listen to a child and identify the feeling behind their words. High or loud emotions such as anger, annoyance and panic are often easier to identify than low or muted emotions such as worry, discouragement or loneliness.
An effective way to connect on emotional level is to listen to what a child has to say, and then think back to a time you were in a similar situation. Imagine if a child says they feel horrible because their friends laughed at them when they made mistake in class. Rather than respond immediately, think back to a time when you made a mistake in front of others and identify how you felt. Embarrassed, ashamed, or annoyed? “I bet that you felt embarrassed and annoyed when your friends laughed at you.” Your child may tell you that you’re off the mark, but they’ll more than likely appreciate the empathy you show.
Feed back the positive emotions too
You don’t have to wait until something challenging happens to connect with a child on an emotional level. Accurately mirror positive feelings such as relief (after a stressful situation has passed), enthusiasm (as they begin something they love doing) and chilled (as they put their feet up at the end of the day). We all experience many emotions throughout the day. The ability to accurately recognise and feed back the emotions of children and young people is a wonderful way to build connections of quality and depth.
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.