Halfway through the term already and Spring is on its way. Welcome to the latest edition of the school newsletter. This week, we have the celebrations of Grandparents Day and Book Week in the community update, a recount of Stage 1's wonderful excursion to Awabakal Education Centre in the Classroom Update and Mrs Haardt outlines the extra curricular activities ( such as Debating, Tournament of the Minds and ICAS) in the Teaching and Learning Update.
Importance and Purpose of A Catholic School
Last Friday, the staff attended a Professional Development Day that focused on the Importance and Purpose of the Catholic School. There are many reasons why our school is similar to that of the government schools, not the least of which is that we are both essentially governed by NESA (New South Wales Education Standards Authority). At yet we are uniquely different and it is our Catholic Identity that sets us apart. Our day was spent reflecting on what this means and what it challenges us to be. Below is an excerpt of a research paper that looks at five decades worth of Vatican documentation around the nature and purpose of a Catholic School.
“It is consistently evident across the span of five decades that core Vatican documents articulate five key themes in responding to the purpose of Catholic schools. The Vatican documents assert five clear statements of the purpose of Catholic schools:
- Catholic schools as agents of evangelisation that promotes a synthesis of faith, life and culture;
- The holistic needs of each person;
- Catholic schools provide formation in faith both through access to a religious education curriculum and through the religious life, practices and culture of the school;
- Catholic schools are committed to the provision of quality academic education
Catholic schools are committed to the contribution of the common good of society. “(Mowbray, Research Paper –Critical evaluation of the Church Documents Regarding Catholic Schools, 2015)
Our challenge is to take these 5 themes and use them to strive for better each day.
- How do we bring the person of Jesus to our community and become witnesses to making Jesus real?
- How can we ensure that we are developing the whole person?
- How can we share the Faith traditions of the Church Community?
- How can we strive for excellence in education?
- How can we develop a sense of purpose and justice in all community members that allows them to make positive contributions to society?
I don't have the answers to any of these questions, well not perfect ones anyway. It is perhaps enough that we are striving for answers each day. Friday's opportunity to unpack these as a staff gave us a sense that together we have a clear sense of purpose in our endeavours here at Corpus Christi, Waratah, a responsibility we do not undertake lightly.
LEARNING TODAY FOR TOMORROW
As our school strives to "Equip our students for the Contemporary World" we continue to engage with digital technologies as a platform for learning. It is not about the tool itself, it is about how learning can be enhanced by the use of a digital tool. Our school has conducted a Bring your Own Device (BYOD) Project in Stage 3 since the beginning of 2017. As often happens when a project becomes embedded into a school, we just assume we are doing it because that's the way it is always done. It is important to revisit the guiding principles, philosophy and primary aims of a project such as the BYOD. Below is a link to a PDF newsletter we have updated to coincide with the launch of the BYOD project in Year 4 this week (in preparation for full implementation in Year 5). I have included it as a reference for those whose child is fast approaching Stage 3 or even if you are interested about the project in general.
RECENT COMMUNITY EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
In the last few weeks I have had the great pleasure of participating on some wonderful community events that don't happen by themselves. In a small school such as ours, it is often a matter of every hand on deck during these important celebrations and this will be the case once again this Friday Morning when we hold the Fathers Day Breakfast and Liturgy.
Whether these are sporting events such as the soccer gala day and the upcoming netball gala day, extra Curricular events such as Tournament of the Minds and Debating or larger community events such as last week's Book Week/ Grandparents Day and this weeks Fathers Day celebrations; each one is the result of the commitment of our staff and parents who are able to assist. They do not happen easily. It is a credit to the organisers and helpers that these events are run so efficiently and positively; that is often easy to forget they happen because of their hard work.
It has been a busy term and will continue to be so. Learning is a busy task and these events teach as precious a lesson as those scripted in a curriculum. On behalf of the whole community, I want to acknowledge and thank the staff, and parents who have helped, for their commitment to recent community events and celebrations.
For those of you watching the Calendar, you may have noticed that we had previously scheduled a Mission Day for this Friday but with it coinciding with Fathers Day and being so close to last week's Grandparents/ Book Week celebrations; we have decided to postpone the Mission Day event to Friday Week 10 (27th September). Richard Cootes visits our school each year. He will still visit this Friday as scheduled and speak with the children about the work of the Missions overseas. We will use his visit as a launching pad to begin a planning and promoting phase for the Mission Day (Stalls) at the end of term. In hindsight, we realise it might be a good way to end the term and a positive event for the students to work towards. The Calendar has been updated with these changes.
About twice a year, I send home the school's housekeeping brochure which is an attempt to outline the many day to day procedures that assist with the running of a school. As you might imagine 163 students, 118 families (all with different structures) and more than 20 staff members can be a logistical challenge. Therefore it is important that those everyday things are managed consistently and efficiently. We ask parents to read this brochure to remind yourself of the housekeeping procedures such as communication, absences, money and medication.
ASPIRE AUDITIONS 2020
We are calling for all helping hands to assist with some rubbish clean up, gardening and grooming of the front of school and the Dominic Courtyard on Saturday 21st September from 8am. All done by 11am. More details to follow
Before School Care - St Nicholas OOSH Waratah have created a survey to note interest in Before School Care. If you interested please fill it in. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LRYL75D
Disco Term 3
Be You - What is Wellbeing?
Wellbeing is about balance in all aspects in life. It encompasses the health of the whole person – physical, mental, social and emotional. A person’s wellbeing can change moment to moment, day to day, month to month and year to year. It can be influenced by what’s happening in a specific moment and the actions that people take.
Wellbeing is most likely to flourish in a supportive and inclusive environment – a safe place where diversity is acknowledged, respected and seen as adding to the vibrancy and strength of the entire community. These week we continue our focus on the aspects that promote positive wellbeing. In Week 2 we looked at Mindfulness, Self Management and Resilience, this week we look at Confidence, Decision Making and Using Technology.
Building children’s confidence
Confident children are motivated to engage in more experiences, more able to build positive relationships, and become happier, successful adults. The Link below outlines:
- How can confidence develop
- Confidence and Resilience
- Confidence and Praise
- Confidence and Motivation
- Confidence and Optimism
- What can we do to help?
Children and young people gradually learn skills for making good decisions. Their decision-making is strongly influenced by the expectations and values they learn from those around them. The way adults interact with young children is very important to emerging thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills. The link below outlines;
- How do decision-making skills develop
- Capabilities of younger versus older children
- Steps for goo decision making
- Strategies for Educators
- Strategies for School Teachers and Staff
- Technology and Mental Heath
- Opportunities and challenges of Social Media
- Participation in mental health promotion
- Empowering Children
- Empowering young people
- How can I get involved?
- Building Knowledge and Confidence
- Managing Risks
Coming Up Next
In the Week 8 newsletter, we will conclude our focus on wellbeing by looking at how nutrition, physical activity and play are important components of wellbeing.
Grandparents Day. What a fabulous day! So many people made the effort to come. Thank you, and thankyou to the families who helped transport them here. You have helped create a special memory in the minds of the children. Thankyou.
Mission Work Visit
This week we will be visited by Richard Cootes from Catholic Missions. Richard has just recently retired as a Religious Education Coordinator in the Maitland Newcastle Diocese but thankfully he is continuing his work with Catholic Missions. Every year we hold a mission day to raise funds for the poor and marginalised. Richard shows the children exactly how their donated money will help. It’s great to have a contact with firsthand knowledge, combined with his musical skills delivering the social justice message to our children. Richard will visit on Friday.
This week we also prepare for Father’s Day, whilst it’s not an event in the Churches calendar, the church certainly values the worth of parent figures in the life and development of our children.
Pope Francis reminded us in Amoris Laetitia -'The Lord’s presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes. Living in a family is inspired by love, and our Lord reigns there, with his joy and his peace.’
This Sunday we celebrate and give thanks to God for the special gift of our fathers in that family unit. We pray for fathers who are living. We remember those fathers who have died. We are grateful for special men in our lives that have been like fathers to us.
The spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures. "Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song."
Father’s Day Liturgy in the hall this Friday 30th August. Come along dads, so we can all say Happy Father’s Day to you.
This weekends Gospel Lk 14:1. 7-14 Humble yourself and be exalted.
Jesus advises us to be humble, and not to assume that we have a higher position or status than others. That way we won’t be embarrassed if someone else comes along whose status is actually higher than ours.
A lot of status-lowering is done with put-downs. Every time you put someone down, it is an attempt to lower that person’s status and to raise your own.
How does status-lowering relate to what Jesus asks us to do?
Paying a compliment to another person raises their status. If your compliment is accepted with grace, your status is also raised. If your compliment is rejected, or coupled with a put-down against you, your status is then lowered. How often does this happen?
It seems to be more of a risk to compliment a person than it is to put someone down. Yet Jesus asks us to take that risk. Are you willing to risk giving compliments?
Are you willing to stop dishing out put-downs and to start giving more compliments to others? Why or why not? What would Jesus say about this decision?
Jesus challenges us to include people of the lowest status in our social activities.
When you have a party or when you are in the position of inviting someone to go to a movie or an athletic event with you, do you tend to seek out the most popular people with the highest social status? Or do you seek out the people who are least popular and sometimes made fun of? Why?
Do you think Jesus’ challenge is unrealistic, or do you think it is what the world needs? How so? What would Jesus tell us directly if he were a verbal, flesh-and-blood part of this conversation?
For the children this week:
Religious Education Coordinator
This week the Teaching and Learning Update is focussed on the many opportunities that our students have to shine in different ways through extra-curricula activities.
Maths Olympiad - This was mentioned in a newsletter a few weeks ago. This gives our talented mathematicians a chance to use their knowledge to problem solve a variety of difficult maths questions. Entry is via teacher nomination at the start of each year for Year 4, 5 and 6 students. These students work with our Gifted Education Mentor: Mrs Bosworth, myself as Lead Teacher Maths, as well as completing set in-class assignments. There is no cost to students for Maths Olympiad.
Tournament of Minds - TOM offers teams of students the opportunity to solve authentic, open-ended challenges that foster creative and critical thinking whilst developing skills in collaboration, communication and flexibility. Callenges are set in four disciplines; The Arts, STEM, Language Literature, and Social Sciences. Enry is via student nomination from students in Years 4, 5 & 6 and parental commitment due to the Tournament of Minds regional final being held annually on a weekend in August. TOM is organised at school during student lunchtimes at the end of Term 2 and the first six weeks of Term 3. There are small purchases required by some students to present the challenge solution and also the cost of transport to the regional final.
Stage 1 Excursion to Awabakal Environmental Education Centre
On Tuesday 20th August, Year 1 and Year 2 had a super Science excursion to Awabakal in Dudley. Some of the activities that we did on our excursion were:
- Building a bird’s nest using tweezers as a beak.
- Investigating leaf litter to find and observe invertebrates.
- Learning how Aboriginal people used their environment to provide for their needs, and
- Going on a nature trail walk and making leaf rubbings.
Going on this excursion really assisted students with skills and content for our Science topic this term, Investigating Living Things. Here is what some students thought of our day…
- The excursion was epic because the activities were all very fun! (Lily)
- I loved the nature trail the most because we got to do leaf rubbings. (Cooper M)
- Our excursion was amazing because we got to help the birds by making them a nest. (Alex H)
- Our excursion was amazing because we got to smell the peppermint leaves on our nature walk. (Layla)
- My favourite part of the day was looking around and feeling the plants on the bush walk. (Mia)
- My favourite part of the excursion was the bush walk because I thought it was all going to be natural but it wasn’t. (Toby)
- I liked it when we got to feel and touch the Aboriginal tools. I learnt how the Aboriginal people used natural things in their environment. (Sienna)
- Our group caught two spiders from the leaf litter to observe. (Dante)
- My group caught a centipede, it was about 6cm long. (Koby)
- Our excursion was really amazing. I loved building the bird’s nest. It was hard to use the tweezers to make the nest. (Tilly)
- It was the best day ever! I liked when we were hunting for the invertebrates in the bush. I found a few spiders. (Lachlan)
- It was fun! I really liked looking for invertebrates and learning more about them. (Coby)
- I really enjoyed learning about the Aboriginal artefacts in the classroom. We got to pass them around and have a close look at them. (Maria)
- I loved going on the bushwalk because it was fun getting the camo on our face. (Ben)
- While we were on our bushwalk, we saw some trees that had been burnt in a bushfire 5 years ago. We rubbed our fingers on the charcoal, and we used this as camouflage on our faces. (Amelia)
- I liked going on the bushwalk and we stopped to create a leaf rubbing. It was interesting because it is something I haven’t done before. (Rosie)
- I loved the excursion; my favourite part was when we got to play and roll down a really big hill. (Alexander)
- There was a playground there that we played on. It was different to our school playground. (Elsie)
Grandparents and Book Week Celebrations
GRANDKIDS ARE COOOOL! They always make me smile, grandkids are cooool, they make each living day worthwhile. So I hit my knees each morning, I pray each night time too, I thank the Lord for this great reward. GRANDKIDS ARE COOL!!!
P& F Meeting Minutes Summary
Please find a PDF below that provides all families with a summary of the minutes of August's P & F Meeting. All are welcome to attend the P & F Meeting on the second Tuesday every month, 6.30pm in the school library. Our next meeting will be September 10th. An Agenda will be posted on Compass on the Monday prior.
Summer is coming!
Support our School, support Australian farmers ...
Make an order and buy fresh mangoes directly from the farmer.
Congratulations to the following students who have been recognised for great learning, awesome achievements, impressive improvements and stand out moments. All parents are welcome at our Awards Assembly on Friday Mornings from 8.50am but if you are unable to atend, watch this space for when learning that is great.