- Recent School Calendar Updates
- School Focus & Positive Behaviour
- From the Principal
- Teaching and Learning
- Catholic Life & Reflection
- Happy Birthday
- 2021 Student Residential Address Collection
- School Photos 30 March
- School Fees
- Kindergarten Health Checks
- Online Safety Webinars for Parents/Carers
- Parenting Ideas
- Community Notices
- Year 5 & 6 Journey with Jesus Retreat (Week 3) Postponed
- Year 6 Badge Ceremony Presentation (Week 3)
March - 2021
- Year 5 & 6 Men's Link (Week 5)
- Clean up Australia Day (Week 5)
- Year 6 My Body My Life (Week 6)
- Year 6 Camp to Cooba (Week 7)
- Year 3 Celebration of Penance Sacrament (Week 7)
- Year 3-6 Questacon Incursion (Week 8)
- Cross Country Carnival (Week 8)
- Year 2 Constable Kenny Visit (Week 8)
- School photos (Week 9)
Dear St John the Apostle families,
As a parent I loved when my children were in preschool and primary school. Perhaps it was because I knew all about schools and I was excited for what they would experience. I didn't ever work in the same school as my own children so it was often hard to go to their assemblies and masses. Teachers don't get flex-time. The hours are locked down and there's only so much time you are comfortable to ask for to go to your child's school. I did love the opportunity for parent information nights, parent-teacher interviews, going to sport on the weekend with a mostly school based team at soccer, sacrament preparation and celebrations and even, when possible, helping at the school fete and working bees, being part of the P&F and helping in the canteen.
I did what i could. Sometimes I could be more engaged than other times. We certainly weren't the most involved parents in the school but we also weren't the least.
What my children learnt throughout this time was that I loved watching them learn at school and make friends and grow. They knew that the school we sent them to was chosen by us and that we felt that something about it was special. We knew that the school would help them grow in the values that were important to us.
As young adults now, they know that we were not 'purchasing a product', rather we were choosing a place to help them write their own story and that we would always walk alongside them, with interest (and sometimes prodding) as they undertook their school journey in a place and community we valued and loved.
Three of my four children went to St John the Apostle Primary School, the youngest leaving the year before I arrived.
Do this before anything else
At St John the Apostle, the most important way of being engaged is to talk to your child about their learning and generally know what is happening for them. We don't expect parents to follow every single detail of what is happening in school. We just ask parents to generally stay in touch with their child's learning, supporting them with homework and listening to them read, staying up to date with communication from their teacher and the school and checking in with the teacher whenever there is a question or concern. We try to make this as easy as we can with technology and opportunity. In fact, thanks to Schoolzine and Seesaw, it can all be handled from your phone.
When children see their parents engaged in this way the message they receive is that their parents value school and their education and they almost always respond by treating school as important and then doing their best.
Helping shape the school and community
Of course, schools are communities and parents are members of this community. Schools don't grow and continuously improve without the support of parents working alongside staff and students.
We all have different capacities, skills and interests as parents. My wife knew that going into school to listen to reading was probably not going to be in her 'wheel house'. However, helping with cake stalls and fundraising definitely was and she was more than happy to help knowing that her efforts would translate into resources to help students.
Our Community Council is a very active and engaged group of community members made up of parents, grandparents and staff. It works hard to help the school continuously grow in its capacity to support a diverse range of students and families. The 2020 Community Council has worked very hard in initiating the implementation of a new school uniform, supporting the school in developing a 1 to 1 Chromebook program, participating in the tender process for a new Out of Hours School Care provider and fundraising for new outdoor upgrades such as the Rainbow Top.
The Community Council AGM is being held next Wednesday evening at 6.00pm in the school library and all community members are welcome to come and be part of the meeting. At this meeting we will talk about the work achieved to date and the work going into the future. Bookings are essential due to limited numbers. See the link below to book to attend the Community Council AGM meeting and the link to the Community Council Nomination Form.
There's always something for everyone
Not everyone has the time to give to being a Community Council member. There are so many ways that people can be engaged and support their children's school.
- Volunteering to help in the Canteen or the Clothing Pool at various times through the year is always welcome. If this is something you'd like to know more about please call Leanne in the Front Office who can put you in contact with someone to discuss this.
- Assisting at any one of the three sport carnivals is also a great help. We can't provide these opportunities for students without parent assistance. Just keep an eye out for when notes come out about these events and you'll be able to volunteer.
- Once or twice a year we will have a short Working Bee on a weekend. It's a fantastic once off way to help with creating a beautiful outdoor area for your own children and other students. We'll send out Schoolzine messages when we are going to hold these.
These are just a few ways to assist at St John the Apostle Primary School and don't need to be onerous or demanding.
Parent Information Nights
Thank you to all of the parents who attended the Parent Information Nights during the week. Thank you to our teachers for their hard work in getting ready and for their willingness to record their presentations.
The recordings for each year level are being finalised and will be available on our school website at the beginning of next week.
Thank you to all of the parents and carers that came to the Information Sessions this week. It was fantastic to see family members at the school.
This week, I am going to share about the importance of home reading on student growth and achievement. I will also give some updates on Inclusion for this year.
At St John’s, we strongly encourage home reading. We do this because many studies have found that parental engagement in education is consistently associated with children’s subsequent academic success. These studies have found that, on average, parental engagement leads to a positive impact of approximately four additional months’ progress over the course of a year. Approaches such as reading at home can have a positive impact for all children. Further research highlights the benefits of reading to children before they are able to read, and then of reading with children as soon as they are able to read.
If you are interested in why it is so important to continue to read with children, even after a child can read independently, this article is a great read.
Below are two other articles that may give some useful ideas when reading at home with your child.Five tips to help you make the most reading to your children
This year, we have welcomed a new Inclusion Teacher, Rebecca Neiberding. Rebecca will be working four days a week as the Inclusion Teacher. She is currently completing professional learning in MultiLit Programs. These programs are evidence-based, explicit and effective literacy intervention programs for teaching reading skills to children who are in the bottom 25% of the expected range for their age group. These interventions will start with the junior primary students and later in the year will be focussed on our middle and upper primary students.
Our Inclusion Assistants will continue to implement Sounds~Write and Reading Interventions. These will start in Week 4. Further to this, Rebecca will support teachers in the classroom with strategies and support for specific students and in the Personalised Planning process.
Assistant Principal and Inclusion Coordinator
What are the kids learning about?
Singing is a form of prayer that kids really love. This week the whole school has been learning new songs for Mass. We had whole school singing practice yesterday and the kids really enjoyed Andrew Chinn’s “Shine Among Them” and Michael Mangan’s “Sings New Songs of Joy”
Here are two of the links, you might like to get the kids to sing for you at home.
What are teachers learning about?
Teachers are continuing to develop their understanding of the Brisbane Curriculum. They are spending time integrating the new curriculum into units that they have previously taught. Next week's staff meeting is about conceptual inquiry and how to use that process to deepen the students' connection to the Jewish Jesus through understanding the 7 sacred species from our 2021 theme, God in all things. It is an exciting time! This is an interesting article that gives some background to the Jewish understanding, you might like to read it.
Catholic Life and Reflection
This whole personal growth thing is a rocky road, just when you feel you have arrived, a curve ball is thrown and you start again. Not that long ago I was exhausted by it, now I am more curious and at peace with the notion that our growth needs to continue for us to fully realise our own self.
I am currently reading Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. A fascinating look at the two halves of life. I am contemplating this quote from Carl Jung and its implications.
One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening become a lie. —C. G. Jung 
God bless you on your journey, at whatever point you may be.
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to James K, Aston B, Rylan R, Arok G, Jacob G, Evangelos P, Diosa M, Zoe S and Jackson K who all celebrated a birthday over the past 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.
School fees were sent out via email on Tuesday afternoon. If you have not received your statement please contact the school.
Please ensure your email address is up to date and advise the school of any changes.
School fees are due Friday 5th March, unless paying by direct debit.
If you are paying by direct debit please ensure your direct debit is covering the cost of school fees. Please see the fee schedule breakdown and check what you are paying is enough. This breakdown is based on a 26 fortnightly payment plan.
Any queries please contact Debbie Milne via email email@example.com or phone 6258 3592.
Canberra Health Services (CHS) is pleased to offer the 2021 Kindergarten Health Check (KHC) to your child in their first year of primary school. The aim of the program is promote child health and wellbeing and help with the identification of children with potential health problems that may affect their ability to learn.
Your child should have bought home a questionnaire for parents/guardians to complete. Please return your completed questionnaire in the envelope provided to your child's teacher.
The education team at eSafety has been working on a new free webinar series for parents and carers, to be delivered live in 2021.
The demand for popular parent and carer webinars in 2020 prompted the development of the 2021 series to support school communities.
Each term, a new topic will run numerous times. These webinars will provide parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and tools to support their children to have safe, positive online experiences. This is especially important in an era when we are all online more than ever before.
The Term 1 webinar topic is eSafety’s guide to cyberbullying and online drama. This will be offered five times over the term.
See below the eSafety’s 2021 webinar schedule.
Helping your child become the best student they can be
The new school year is full of excitement and possibility for students and parents. Regardless of how a child or young person has previously performed, this year offers a chance to set a new course.
While it’s tempting as a parent to make the attainment of good academic results the main priority, this is a narrow view that may be incompatible with long-term success. It’s wiser to broaden your view and focus on helping your child or young person become the best student they can be. Here’s how.
The rapidly changing world and workforce that your child will enter requires that they have a willingness to continually learn and adapt. The concept of a lifelong learner, previously lauded by educators with an eye to the future, has now become a reality. Learning and continual improvement should be embedded in each child’s psyche so that school life is just a starting point to a lifetime of learning, growth and development. Help your child see themselves as successful learners who achieve results through hard work and application, and that nothing is beyond them if they apply themselves.
Leadership is required in all walks of life including at school, at work, in families and in the wider community. Help your child see themselves as a leader by focusing on personal leadership capacities such as planning ahead, communicating clearly, being accountable for their behaviour, developing emotional awareness and fostering good relationships with siblings and peers. Personal leadership development provides a strong foundation for the development of leadership skills in more public forums in later life.
The school years are critical for the development of independence, which can easily be closed down by the roadblocks of impatience, overindulgence, fear and lack of time. Alternatively, independence is promoted when we show patience, provide opportunity, display confidence and teach students how.
If there is one difference that modern schooling is making to the next generation it’s in the leadership they have shown in recent years to the maintenance of mental health and wellbeing practises. Parents can support their child’s long term wellbeing by embedding wellbeing habits including healthy eating, exercise, sleep, relaxation techniques, regular time in nature, gratitude and mindfulness.
If you want your child to be liked by others, it’s essential to spend time and effort developing the skills and attitudes needed to succeed. Develop in them an awareness of how their behaviour impacts on others, instil manners and community-mindedness and develop a broad range of friendship skills that will assist them to relate well to others.
2020 showed us life is unpredictable, full of ups and downs, straight balls and curve balls. It’s the unpredictability, the downs and the curve balls that develop kids’ resilience. How parents and teachers react to the hardships, frustrations and difficulties kids face either hamper or foster resilience. Spoil, overprotect or pamper and growth opportunities are wasted. Support, encourage and teach kids to cope and you’ll be helping them develop a real sense of psychological hardiness and resilience that’s essential for long term happiness and success.
Make this year a memorable one by helping your child grow and develop into the best student they can be. Keep the focus broad and do all you can to ensure that your child sees themselves as a confident and continuous learner.
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.