After two weeks away from school it was great to return to school and commence what is commonly known as the consolidation term. I’m sure that after the first two terms, with the school reports distributed and shared the parent teacher interviews completed, our students are ready for further improvement and a term again packed with many learning opportunities. It is amazing how quickly everyone slips into the rhythm of school life quickly. It may still be a challenge in this first week to move children along at home in the morning with the cold weather still with us, however the general tone across the school is positive with an enthusiastic outlook on school life.
Holidays are filled with good times. The chance to have longer periods of play, visit friends, go away on big holidays or day trips, read books, lay in bed for a longer time and keep the pyjamas on all day, make holidays a wonderful time for us all. We can’t do this all day everyday so it is good to get back into a structure of organisation.
We welcome some new students this term to St James. We welcome Federica (Prep) Lorenzo (Year 2) Francesca (Year 4) Keeley (Year 1) Imogen (Year 4) and Mia (Year 5) and their parents Mark and Luz, Bradley and Linda, and Daniel and Vicky.
In the final week of Term 2, I drew reference to Refugee Week, TED talks and the association I was able to experience with young Afghani boys/men from Christmas Island when I was there and now in Melbourne and Geelong.
Maureen and I have been amazed by the generosity of spirit provided by our St James families. We have had many emails, donations and offers of support. It has been amazing and on behalf of the boys, I thank you for your kindness and magnificent support. They are now well placed in their home in Dandenong and are so proud and excited with what has been donated in the form of kitchen appliances, white goods, lounge suites, bedding and much needed cash. Jawed, Habibullah and Ali are so grateful. On Saturday night they invited our family out to their home for an Afghani meal (sitting on the floor) as a gesture of thanks!
They are all working now as concreters and the ‘homely’ help aids in their ongoing adjustment to life in Australia, even though the precarious nature of uncertainty of their future hangs over them. They are still awaiting news of the processing of their applications and one is to attend a court hearing in mid August regarding his status.
Your generosity provides them with a sense of belonging, something that has been lacking in their lives for a long time. It changes the way they move in the world. This in essence speaks volumes of our humanity as we are all connected as part of the world family.
I know that there are many ways and many people who support our refugees.
Attached to today's newsletter is an article and email which we received this week that demonstrates one of our family’s solid commitment to employ refugees in his business.
‘Felix's dad has been working with the Brotherhood of St Laurence on a refugee employment program and now has 6 refugees in his plant.
I have also mentored refugees through the same program as part of ANZ's partnership. It is an amazing program- the name pretty much sums up the philosophy "Given The Chance". It aims to give refugees a much needed start in the workforce with support and compassion.
I thought it would be great to promote to the school community, as other parents may be in a position to provide employment to refugees through the program too.
The refugee situation is a question of our character as community. Our school values of compassion, inclusion, respect and courage speak to the challenge of how we do respond.
I know that I have not responded to all inquiries as yet and I will leave the door open for what could assist in the future. Thankyou.
Welcome Miss Sharon Portelli
This term we welcome Miss Sharon Portelli who will be assisting Mrs Busch, Miss Whiffen and Mrs Chapman as the Learning Support Officer in the Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 classrooms. Sharon was appointed in the last week of the term from a strong field of candidates and we are confident that she will provide great assistance for the children and teachers. Nat Dodds and Claire O’Dea also have strong learning links through educative support not only with all classes but also with a particular focus in the junior grades. Nancy Ohlert will also continue to provide her thorough literacy support in these rooms.
Fr Martin is back
Fr Martin is also back from his break away in Sicily. He called in to school on Tuesday and the rest has been great for him. Year 3 preparation Masses continue this week with Fr Martin on Saturday evening (6pm) and Sunday morning (9am).
This term we welcome Jacklyn Mahoney who will be delivering a Wellbeing program that will develop the heart, mind and spirit of our children and teachers. Yes2Yoga classes are so much more than traditional yoga, as the children will become more attuned to their body awareness and learn how to twist and move their body to enhance their mood.
The children will learn numerous breathing techniques and useful tools to help combat everyday issues. The children in working with Jacklyn, will learn how to recognise different emotions and how to deal with them appropriately. Mindfulness techniques are taught and experienced so that children can feel the difference immediately.
Jacklyn is a VIT registered Primary School teacher who is aware of aligning curriculum to the developmental need of the children. Children in Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 will have a one hour session on Wednesday’s and the Year 3 - 6 students on a Friday.
Funds from the Parents Association will fund this important program for Term 3.
Wednesday - NB Students to wear Sport Uniform
10am Year 1 and 2
9am Year 6
10am Year 5
11:30am Year 4
2:30am Year 3
3 Reasons why we should practice mindfulness
1. Reduces Stress.
Human beings are wired to be doers; constantly moving from one activity to the next. Mindfulness is about slowing down and connecting with the present moment. It shifts you from a “mode of doing” into a “mode of being”. Studies show that this shift helps you regulate your emotions and feel more relaxed. When you allow yourself to stop, take a breath and check-in with your physical and mental state, you bring an awareness and acceptance to your feelings which leads to a greater sense of calm.
2. Improves Performance.
Mindfulness practices can help sharpen your focus and clear your mind. Phil Jackson, one of the best NBA coaches of all time, is known for integrating mindfulness into his work with the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers. Affably nicknamed the “Zen Master” he used mindfulness techniques to teach his players how to become mentally strong, give one-pointed attention and reset their minds after a setback.
3. Increases Self-Compassion.
Writer Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Yet, kindness isn’t only an interpersonal strength to be extended to others. It’s imperative that you also show kindness to yourself. Self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience and contributes to your overall well-being because it buffers you from judging yourself too harshly. Mindfulness strategies boost self-compassion by reducing your tendency to focus on negative, critical thoughts and instead allow you to take a more gentle, loving approach to yourself.
(VIA Institute on character)
Tournament of Minds
Mr Buckley will be coordinating Tournament of Minds this term for those students interested in Years 5 -6. TOM is a problem solving programme for teams of students who are required to solve demanding, open-ended challenges.
Tournament of Minds is an opportunity for students with a passion for learning and problem solving to demonstrate their skills and talents in an exciting, vibrant and public way.
St James Musical
Kate Kennedy will be focussing on the school musical, The Lion King, in the next two terms. The students in Year 5 and 6 were informed of their respective roles on the final day of Term 2 and on Thursday this term they will be focussing on the musical production.
Gymnastics will also be conducted this term. Many thanks to Chris Kidman for liaising with the Sporting group to ensure our children are provided with this opportunity.
Wednesday 26th July
11.30-12.30 pm -Foundation
12.30-1.30 pm -Year 6J
Wednesday 2nd August
11.30-12.30 pm -Foundation
12.30-1.30 pm- Year 6O
Wednesday 9th August
11.30-12.30 pm- Foundation
12.30-1.30 pm - Year 6J
Wednesday 16th August
11.30-12.30 pm -Foundation
12.30- 1.30 pm - Year 6O
Wednesday 23rd August
11.30-12.30 pm -Year 6 J
12.30- 1.30pm- Year 6 O
Year 5 students will have the opportunity in 4th Term. Sara Palladinelli will be the gymnastics instructor. Students will need to wear their Phys Ed uniform on Wednesday.
Tweens and Screens
A parent and child talk with Dr Philip Tam
On today’s newsletter there is an important message for ALL parents and for students in Year 5 and 6. At last night's Parents Association meeting there was some uncertainty regarding the audience. All parents are invited to attend not just the Year 5 and 6 parents. Please book early to avoid disappointment as our other Brighton Catholic schools and St Mary’s Hampton are also invited.
St James Refurbishment Project
The progression of the St James Refurbishment Project continues to evolve.
The overall goal of the St James Refurbishment Project (SJRP) is to bring to fruition the refurbishment of the existing school buildings into modern learning spaces that will fulfill progressive pedagogic demands, within the allocated resources.
The Project Control Group recently met with architectural firm Baldasso Cortese to discuss the next stage of the project. They presented proposed sketch designs of the building's interior and exterior. They have been asked to make adjustments and will return with modifications early this term.
The Planning Building and Finance Committee of the Catholic Archdiocese assessed our finance application on Wednesday July 12, and have progressed it to the next stage.
On Friday 14th July, Baldasso Cortese met with Bayside Council members from the Statutory Planning Department regarding the planning permit and the Property Officer in regards to the air rights (which will allow the joining of the two school buildings), which is a significant adjustment to the school. This was a successful pre-application meeting and the Bayside Council response was positive.
This is an exciting time for St James school, the children, parents and staff. The refurbishment is a necessary undertaking for the future of our school to ensure that St James is a modern and progressive learning environment.
Further details will be made available when all of the applications have been approved.
To the Year 6 students
With only two terms of Primary education remaining for our Year 6 students, I encourage you to continue to deliver your modelling of sound leadership to the rest of the school. This year you have all had the chance to model a leadership of service to others. A reminder to you is that your internal state of who you are is reflected outwardly. What you do and who you are is radiated out to others.
After seven years of education for most of you at St James and a significant time for others who have not been at our school for as long, I encourage you to conclude the St James time with a positive mindset and a belief that what you have acquired and what you consolidate in the next twenty weeks, will enable you to be proud of not only who you are but also how you will make an impact in our world. We are always proud of our graduating St James students.
Motivating the Gifted Child
Most parents don’t experience the joys and pains of having a gifted child. Indeed they may look enviously upon the parents of bright children and feel that they have no motivation issues at all. If only their child was more academically gifted, they muse, and then they wouldn’t have to be constantly motivating them.
Not so – it is quite often that gifted children become unmotivated; this is not least because they can find themselves bored at school as the work presented in the general classroom isn’t stimulating. They may have already mastered the content or are able to master it quickly and then they become bored with the repetition that many general students require. This can then become such a pattern that they have low expectations and actually miss some new material as they weren’t paying attention. They often develop quite a narrow, well defined area of interest which may be rarely touched upon in the classroom.
Some specifics that may be helpful in motivating your gifted child might be:
Always ensure that their curiosity is turned into action. When they express an interest in a topic from a TV program or other outside stimulus then encourage them to take that curiosity to a deeper level. Do some research, write a paper, and construct a model based on it.
Take them to many different places that will encourage them to learn and stretch their minds. The growing trend of museums to become more hands-on and experimental makes them great places to take enquiring minds.
Share your child’s interests with their school and see if there are places in the curriculum that can be expanded for your child or additional work can be set to meet their subject interests.
Don’t allow your child to assume that their giftedness will be sufficient for them to gain all they need in adult life. Show them that they could continue to grow and learn and create even more opportunities for themselves as they mature. Help them to see the wisdom in lifelong learning.
Challenge them to use their abilities to increase their motivation level. Through discussion and their research help them to work out what are the causes of their dilemma and come up with a number of possible solutions [this may be achieved by brainstorming]. Help them, use decisions making techniques to work out the most viable solutions and then put them into practice.
Make contact with other gifted students, maybe through a local institution or online group, to both connect your child with others and also for you to learn from similarly placed parents.
Written by Nigel Lane. www.nigellane.com.au Used by permission
Throughout 2017 we have had a number of cases of head lice in our school. We have engaged a company called ‘The Itch is Back’ to check our students’ heads next Monday.
For any family whose child has experienced the discomfort and anxiety associated with having head lice, will understand that a schoolwide response to the eradication of head lice is imperative.
I seek your cooperation in checking your child’s hair. Thank you so much for your support with this matter!
Please find attached information re the phone app which St James has implemented. We are aiming to start using the app in the next couple of weeks.
Please download the app in anticipation.