St James Newsletter

09 December 2019
Term Four, Week Ten

  'St James School Community Is Committed To The Victorian Child Safe Standards.’

Dates to note...
Principal's Post
Education in Faith
Literacy and Numeracy
Spotlight on Learning
Digital Technologies
Farm Yard Fun 
Library News
Extra Curricular
  P & F Newsletter
Useful Forms
Community Information
After School Care
St James Primary School
(03) 9874 1830
51 Centre Road
Vermont, Victoria, 3133

Dates to note...



Tues 10    Year 5 Inland Water Program

Wed 11    Luna Park - Year 6

Thurs 12   Thanksgiving Mass   7pm

                     'Step Up' Morning: Children move to their 2020 class

                     Talent Quest  

Fri 13      Reports sent home

                 1:45 Thank you Afternoon Tea to Parent Helpers

                 2:30 Christmas Prayer Service

                 SVDP collect Hampers ( Operation: Christmas Families)

Mon 16    Yr 6 Dinner / Disco

Tues 17   'Moving On' Ceremony  2pm

                  Last day - students   3.20pm finish

2020 Dates


Tues 28   Staff Resume

Wed 29    Students asessment day One (Book online)

Thurs 30  Students asessment day Two  (Book online)

Fri 31    Preps First Day 8.50 - 12.00



Mon 3   All students commence back 8.50am  - 3.20pm

Fri 7       Welcome Assembly - SRC Presentation, welcome to new families

Sun 9     Founders' Day Mass  11.15am  SJM

Mon 10  P & F Morning Tea   9am

Tues 11   Parent Information Night - all classes    7pm

Fri 21    School Photos

Sun 23   Parish Family Mass

Wed 26   Ash Wednesday Mass 12noon

Fri 28   Twilight Working Bee



Mon 2    Preps start full time

                 Prep Parent Welcome Dinner


(Please be aware that dates can change....always check the dates  for confirmation)

Principal's Post

Dear Families,

As this is the final newsletter of the year, it's fitting to reflect on some of our many learning highlights at St James over the past twelve months.

- Welcoming new Prep and other families to our school

- Cinema night under extreme weather conditions

- School Camps

- Sacramental celebrations

- Mini Mission Fete

- Prep 100 Days of school

- Interschool Sporting Events: swimming, Cross Country, Athletics


- Bookfair

- Snapper Tank

- Our new farm animals, Boots and Daisy

- Food Days

- Real Life Program

-Creating our mural, 'Our Living City - Melbourne'

- Twilight Sports

And of course: Standing in the Australian Hall of Fame Concert!!


On Sunday we celebrated our second week of Advent. The 9.45am mass at St John's gave the Parish an opportunity to farewell Jacqui Marshall from St John's. We wish Jacqui all the best as she finishes up her seven years of leading the St John's school community. I'd like to thank Jacqui for the great support she has been to me over the past two years.


We could not have provided all that we do for our students without the help of such a generous parent community. I'd like to say THANK YOU to all parents who have given up their time in so many different ways (on site, off site, at home, at work, in your spare time) to help our St James community be the engaging learning environment that it is. I know not everyone can attend our thank you afternoon tea, but please know that as a community, we value your contributions.


New School Website

It's on the way. Hopefully it will be ready by next Tuesday before school finishes. If not, you may notice it appear over the holidays.

Staff News

We farewell our departing staff and wish them all the best in 2020 and beyond.


Sioban Collett is moving to St Elizabeth's in Dandenong North where she will work over a few days in the one school, rather than her recent arrangements of two and a half days across two schools.

Sioban has been a great influence on our students in the Performing Arts over the past seven years. We wish Sioban all the best in her new pursuits. 

Leonie Nathan is moving to Salesian College Chadstone to teach Year 7 & 8 students. Leonie has been a Year Six teacher at St James for the past five years and has had a lasting effect on many students as they transition to Year Seven. Leonie has also been an active member of our Education Board for the past four years and a regular attendee at Marathon Club. Best luck Leonie at Salesian.

Alison O'Mara is retiring for the second time. Alison tells me she came to St James to fill in for four months and stayed four years. What a great testament to our community!! Alison has assisted many students with their literacy learning, especially Reading Recovery and will also be missed as a regular staff member at Marathon Club. Best wishes Alison in your final retirement.

Bernadette Bowman joined us here at St James from St Luke’s Wantirna in 2010. For the past ten years Bernadette has been an essential member of our community here at St James. She nurtured many of our students through their first year of school in Prep before recently moving to  Year Four. Bernadette has also been a regular at Marathon Club.

We wish you all the best in your retirement. 

School Fee Reconciliation

Statements were sent out a few weeks ago. Please ensure that all outstanding fees are paid by this Friday 13 December. Please contact either Maree or myself if you are experiencing any problems with this.

What's Coming Up?

Monday 9 December - Thank you to departing staff from the students 2.30pm in the Community Centre

Tuesday 10th - Year 5 inland water safety program at Lysterfield Lake

Wednesday 11th - Year 6 celebration day at Luna Park

Thursday 12 - Step up day to 2020 classes 9.15 - 11am

                          - SJV Talent Quest 2.00 - 3.00pm

                          - End of Year Thanksgiving Mass at St John's church 7pm                                   start. Students are all expected to attend wearing their                                       school uniform.

Friday 13 - St Vincent De Paul Christmas Hampers collected

                    - 1.45pm Thank You afternoon Tea for all of our parent helpers                          or volunteers

                      2.30 Christmas Prayer Service lead by Preps and Year Ones

Monday 16 - Year Six farewell evening Dinner and Disco. Students are                                    asked not to bring mobile phones, please.

Tuesday 17 - 2.00pm Year Six moving On Ceremony in Community                                            centre  3.20pm Final dismissal for all students 

Wednesday 18 - Staff Professional Learning Day

Thursday 19 - Staff Professional Learning Day

Fete News

The final figures for last month's St John's Parish Community Fete have been released. I agree with Fr Dispin that the main purpose of the fete is to celebrate as a community, rather than raise funds. On the other hand, the funds raised do assist St James School, St John's School and our St John's Parish to pay some expenses and provide for the needs of the various communities.

The overall profit was well over $40 000 of which we at St James receive a portion. 

St James managed to raise $2 655 from our raffle ticket sales (an increase of $225 from last year). This money is given directly to the P & F.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this magnificent result!

St James' Students Light Up Faces at The Forest Hill Retirement Village and Vermont Nursing Home.

Last Wednesday, Cathy D and myself drove ten of our SRC members in the parish mini bus to the Forest Hill Retirement Home who delivered Christmas cards to all of the residents. The Channel Nine News Crew arrived and reported the story on the evening news. This Santa to a Senior initiative was facilitated by "Home Instead"

All of our St James students decorated and wrote messages on the Christmas Cards.

Our choir sang beautifully at the Vermont Aged Care facility last Tuesday. They felt the warmth and appreciation from the residents and were ably led by Lisa Sully and Maureen Johnson.

Our students were instrumental in brightening up the days for many residents.


Thank You Afternoon Tea
Friday 13 December 1.45pm

This is our opportunity to THANK YOU to the many, many, many parents who help us make St James the engaging learning community that we are.

Second Hand Uniform Shop

Thank you for the generous donations that many families make towards our second hand uniform shop. This supports many families within our St James community.

We are calling on any Year Six families who will not need their school bag for younger siblings to consider donating your schoolbag to the shop.

We are also calling on any families with a Year Five student who will no longer require their new zip jackets because they will be wearing a new Year Six Rugby Top next year, to consider donating this to the second hand uniform shop.

School Closure Days Term Four

Jelly Beans will be running a day care session here at St James on Wednesday 18, Thursday 19 and possibly Friday 20 December.  To book email:

New Camp Australia Coordinator

We have a new coordinator who will be here for a few days this year and then from the commencement of the new school year in 2020. Welcome Samantha! See the After School Care section for more details

Please collect your child's medication

We would like all medication to be collected on the last day from the school office. Please check dates and return medication on the first day next year.

Volunteer needed

If you would like to wash left over clothing from the Lost Property bins, please contact Carmel.

If you're missing any items, it's worth checking  the containers near the back door of the office.


The Dumais family welcomed Arlo into the world last week. We're sure that Sabine and Uma will enjoy lots of cuddles over the holidays ahead.


Our thoughts and prayers are with Trish McLaughlin on the death of her loving husband, John.  May he rest in peace.

Education in Faith


God of love.
As we continue this season of Advent,

may we be even more committed to reaching out with love to those who need it,
find time to be with people and to put the needs of others before our own.
May we continue to be the hands, feet, voice and heart of our God - 

messengers of  love to all we meet.
                              We ask this in Jesus’ name.

St James' Operation Christmas Families finishes this Friday. Ross Hancock and his merry team of helpers will be here to collect your gifts.
THANK -YOU - You're generosity is broad and deep - a hallmark of our community - and beautiful modelling for our children.
The Christmas Spirit is alive and well at St James.



Literacy and Numeracy

Summer Holidays ... Maintaining the Momentum

Summer holidays bring a well-deserved break from homework and daily commitments.  But, before you know it, the holidays will be over and we will be back to shopping for stationery supplies and new shoes!   To prepare for a smooth start to 2020, try to maintain skills like reading, writing, and maths over the holidays.  Try these family friendly suggestions:

  • Read for pleasure. This may include Christmas Classics or finding the books that popular movies are based on.  Reading with and to your child is a great way to spend some time together when the weather is too hot (or too cold!) to be outdoors.  Have you considered our suggested books as Christmas gifts for family members?

  • Cook up an easy lesson. Whipping up a batch of Christmas cookies or sharing a favourite family recipe is a great way to brush up on measuring skills, fractions and procedural texts.

  • Write thank-you notes. This is a great way to model gratitude over the festive season as well as having an authentic purpose for writing.  Pull out some special paper, markers and stickers to make it that little more engaging.

  • Make the most of those long car rides. Use this time to catch up on family chats but also as opportunities to play games with letters and numerals on number plates and games such as ‘I spy’ or ‘Spotto’ to build oral language skills.  Maybe you could try to work out the cost of petrol and tolls on those trips?

  • Try to maintain reasonable bedtimes. As tempting as it is to stay up late during holidays, our minds and bodies need to rest and recover in preparation for the year ahead.  Establish routines before school starts back.

  • Take some ‘helpers’ along to do grocery shopping.  Perhaps you could dictate a list? Ask for certain amounts of fruit or vegies, weigh them and estimate the cost as well as the cost of the total shop.

  • What about some online shopping?  Ask your child to research a particular gift idea within a certain budget.  This is putting their computer skills to an authentic purpose.

  • Enjoy family game nights. Bring back the games that we played before the digital invasion.  Chances are many of these board and card games reinforce skills such as counting, reading, and drawing. 

  • Be bored sometimes!  We don’t need structured activities and times all the time.  Leaving children to their own devices is very important. It enables them time away from technology to reflect, be creative and encourages them to find ways to entertain themselves.   The great outdoors is the ideal setting for this. Dr. Teresa Belton captures the importance of ‘free time perfectly - ‘Children need time to themselves – to switch off from the bombardment of the outside world, to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, and discover personal interests and gifts’. Encouraging older children and teenagers to go for walks, sit in the park, and experience the world through their own eyes, even for a few minutes a day,  instead of through their phone screen is very important.

Whatever your plans are for the holidays, I wish you all safe travels and trust that many happy memories will be made.  Thank you for your warm welcome into the St. James community, it has been a wonderful year and I look forward to getting to know many more of you in 2020.

Seasons Greetings

Cathy Dimitrakopoulos


Transition Time

As one school year is drawing to an end, thoughts turn to the 2020 school year and what that will bring. As the saying goes ‘The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change’.

Times of transition in a child’s life can be an exciting time for some, but for others it can be a daunting time. There are many ways to make these transitions as smooth as possible for you and your children, here are a few suggestions:

  • Talk with your child/ren’s teachers to find out how they can help make the transition easier
  • Talk about the new routines, rules and expectations with your children
  • Be enthusiastic and excited! Your attitude influences how your children feel and cope
  • Ensure your children are comfortable with the new classroom environment; by attending orientation days or making an appointment with the principal to visit the school.
  • Over the summer maintain friendships: Your child may be nervous about losing touch with friends, especially if they are transitioning to a new classroom or school. If you can, get some dates on the calendar to reconnect with classmates or meet new children who may be in summer programs with your child.

Help your child to capture the best of the school year ask:

What’s one of the funniest or strangest things that happened at school this year?

What’s one way that you’re different now from how you were at the start of the school year?

What’s one thing you’ll miss about school over the summer?

Who is a new friend you didn’t know at the beginning of the year?

What’s one thing you can do now that you never imagined you’d be able to do?

What’s one thing you want to do differently at school next year?

Sunsmart Protection

Time for some reminders:

Check the daily sun protection times for you location

Available from:

During the sun protection times, please remember to:

  • Slip on covering clothing
  • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen.  Remember to apply before school.
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on wrap-around sunglasses (labelled AS 1067) if practical

Parent Resources

ParentZone Term 4 Newsletter

Positive Parenting Telephone Service 1800 880 660

Participants complete a workbook or online modules which are supported by weekly 30 minute phone calls with a trained parenting educator. All of this can be done from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you.


Parentline 13 22 89

Parentline is available 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. It is a confidential and anonymous phone counselling service for parents and carers of children and teenagers in Victoria.


Click here for access to CatholicCare

It is a social service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, they offer a range of programs and services that aim to build and strengthen relationships.


Click here for Raising Children Network

Reliable, and up-to-date information to help your family grow and thrive together. 


Click here for access to the Student Well-being Hub Website

It includes sections for parents, teachers and students with practical strategies and resources to support your child's well-being.


Click here for access to Parenting Ideas Blog

It includes articles, testimonials and practical tips on a wide variety of topics.


Click here for Iparent - Office of eSafety Commissioner 

To learn about the digital environment and how to help your child have safe and enjoyable online experiences.

Spotlight on Learning


Congratulations to the following students who received a student of the week award:  

Grace, Alissa, Liam, Thenuka, Niko, Tom, Sienna, Lily, Ryder, Gemma, Oliver, Harry, Charlie, Joseph 


Auslan update

Thank you to the St James community for welcoming me and a new language to the school in 2019. I have appreciated the way you have opened your hearts (and hands!) to Auslan this year. 


It has been a delight to observe the children embrace Auslan so enthusiastically, and to see their signing and receptive skills grow rapidly. This term students have focused on practicing and delivering a signed presentation about themselves.  Every student across the school (unless absent) independently signed their presentation script to their class.  The presentation gave the students an opportunity to share personal tastes, including their favourite animals, colours and food. (Chocolate is certainly popular at St James!)  Many students were initially apprehensive, but rose to the challenge, overcame their nerves and were surprised by how well they signed from memory.  The content was intentionally selected to showcase the vocabulary they have mastered throughout the year.  Even more importantly, the material forms the basis of most conversations children are likely to hold with members of the community who are Deaf.  It has been satisfying to hear that some students have already found opportunities to communicate with the Deaf, and are putting their signing skills to the test. 


I look forward to hearing many more stories of how Auslan is used during the Summer holidays – whether it be in secret sibling signing at the dinner table, sharing class presentations with friends and family, signing car license plates on long drives, or best of all communicating with the Deaf community!

Digital Technologies

Moving to another school?

Students who are leaving St James will have their accounts closed on Wednesday December 18th.

If you are leaving St James and would like a copy of files in your Google account, you will need to follow the steps in this video clip.  The person in the video only takes a copy of their Google Drive, but you can select your bookmarks, contacts, mail etc if you want to.

The archived file will be emailed to your school address, so you need to do your copying/archiving before your Google account is closed.

I suggest copying your files over the weekend of December 14/15th as your Google account will be closed on Wednesday December 18th.


If you only want to take a copy of your Drive files,  you can manually download all your Drive folders to your home computer or USB if you prefer.

Headphones for 2020

Students will bring home their headphones at the end of the year.  They should be in a suitable condition to use next year.  However, they might need untangling

and the case might need a bit of a clean (or replacing)

If headphones are damaged or missing at the end of the year,

please send $10 to Wendy and she will issue a new set.

Please ensure your child brings their headphones to school for the

assessment sessions in the first week.

Farm Yard Fun 

Farm Yard Fun...

Boots and Millie have certainly taken over the farm yard and love investigating the chook house.  Have a look at the latest videos.


No eggs available until 2020

Start typing your article in here...

Farm Duty:


December 14th/15th - Brooks (5F, 2D & Prep K)

Christmas Holiday volunteers...

Thank you so much to the 21 volunteers who are looking after the animals in the holidays.  What an amazing response.

You should have received your roster last week.

Full details on feeding and caring for the goats and chooks will be in the Farm Bag that will be delivered to you by the previous person on the roster.

It is so much fun playing with the goats and the chooks have now accepted their new roommates, and have started laying again!


Library News

All books should have been returned to the library.

If your child has not returned their library books, please send them tomorrow morning.

Lost or damaged books will need to be paid for.  Late notices and cost of replacement will be coming home this week.


Book Covering:  What else are you going to do all holidays?

If you would like to take a trolley of books to cover, just email

There's still a few on our shelf that need covering.  Thanks.


Extra Curricular

Online Music Solutions

Last Thursday evening was the annual music concert/presentation to parents from our students who participate in the program.

We were treated to one concert by our keyboard and wind groups and another concert by our guitar group.

Overall there are approximately forty St James students who participate in these private music lessons. The lessons mainly take place outside of classroom learning time; lunchtime, recess and after school.

Our thanks goes to Justin, Pete and Will.


P & F Newsletter


Useful Forms



Community Information


After School Care



St James Newsletter
Bike Contract.pdf
Asthma Action Plan_Puffer and Spacer_2017 (2).pdf
Individual Asthma Risk Minimisation Plan_29062017.pdf
Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plan.pdf
Volunteer Duty Statement.pdf
Existing Volunteer Application Form.pdf
New Volunteer Application Form.pdf
Marathon Club permission.pdf
P and F Newsletter 25 November.pdf
Parent Information Leaflet.pdf