St. Cecilia's Newsletter

01 November 2019
Issue Fourteen
Upcoming Dates
Principal's Report
Deputy Principal Report
Parenting Ideas
Look what's been going on...
Parents' Association
St Cecilia's Primary School
(03) 9809 2142
4 Van Ness Avenue
Glen Iris, Victoria, 3146

Upcoming Dates

Term  4 Dates


Monday, 4th November

School Closure day

Pupil free day


Tuesday, 5th November

Melbourne Cup day holiday


Wednesday, 6th November

Whole school photo at 2:30pm


Wednesday, 13th November

at 7pm Foundation 2020

Parent Information night


Thursday, 14th November

Foundation Orientation session 1


World Diabetes day- wear blue

& bring a gold coin donation

Managing Menstruation session

for Year 5 / 6 girls 9:30 to 11am


Monday, 18th November

Foundation Orientation session 2

9:15am to 10:45am


Friday, 22nd November

St Cecilia's feast day Mass at 9:15am

St Cecilia's Got Talent

PA Mother's Lunch 


Monday, 25th November

Twilight Sports at Bill Sewart oval

in Burwood




Thursday, 28th November

Foundation Orientation session 3

9:15am to 12pm

Chinese assembly at 2:30


Friday 29th November

Year 5 Shark Tank Expo

9am to 11:15am


Sunday, 1st December

Advent begins


Monday 2nd December

Zoo Snooze overnight camp for one class

of Year 3 / 4


Tuesday, 3rd December

Zoo Snooze overnight camp for one class

of  Year 3 / 4


Wednesday, 4th December

Zoo Snooze overnight camp for one class

of Year 3 / 4


Friday, 6th December

Little Feet, Big Footprints

Year 6 Expo


Sunday, 8th December

Senior Choir singing at Grace Park in Hawthorn



Monday 9th December

Running Club end of year function


Thursday, 12th December

Year 6 Mystery Tour

Twilight Christmas Carols



Friday, 13th December

NB Meet your new class for 2020!


Tuesday, 17th December

Graduation Mass 9:15am 

and dinner

Last day for Year 6 students


Wednesday, 18th December

Last day of school for Foundation to Year 5 students

Farewell assembly for those leaving St Cecilia's/ Christmas prayers at 9am


Thursday, 19th December

Last day for Teaching staff























Principal's Report

School Fair

Dear Parents,


Saturday’s Fair was a great celebration of the St. Cecilia's community and was enjoyed by everyone who came on the day.

The spirit in our school community is incredible.

Thank you so much to all of you who came and supported our school, in spite of the ominous weather forecast. It was such a joy to see the so many come together and everything that was on offer.


An event of this magnitude requires significant vision, planning, organisation and implementation and I would like to thank the Fair Coordinator, Jane Martin,  for ensuring the success of this year’s School Fair.

Thanks also to the Class Reps, stallholders, volunteers, sponsors, teachers and students who gave so much to ensure the success of the day. It really was a tremendous showcase of the St. Cecilia's community spirit.


We are finalising the total funds raised and will share this amount with you all shortly. We will also be in a position to explain what our raised funds will be able to contribute to our school. 

We have some amazing photos of the day which will be shared with you so please keep a lookout for them.

School Review


Our school review process  - School Improvement Framework (SIF) is now almost complete. 


The core purpose of the school review process is to serve the needs of our school, to affirm achievements of the past four years, explore areas for growth and to plan for future improvement as a Catholic school striving for excellence in student outcomes.


We have successfully completed both  Part One and Part Two of this process. Our final School Review Report has been completed and provides us with a strong vision for our next 4 years of school improvement.  Some of our findings include the following...


...St Cecilia’s School is an effective, innovative, student centred and community oriented Catholic school. Over the past four years the school has continued to have a clear and sustained focus on school improvement despite changes in leadership. As a result, improvement has been achieved across all spheres with the majority of improvement outcomes and targets being met. Improvements were achieved as a result of strategically building staff capacity, introducing effective collaborative practices and by promoting and creating a culture of high expectations.
...The school has a set of clear directions in learning and teaching and wellbeing that has been established from consideration of data, feedback and current research. Engaging with experts, allocating resources and personnel and the implementation of evidence based initiatives have
ensured that the strategic intent of the school has been actioned. The challenge for the school is to
sustain the growth of the past couple of years, to continue to be reflective, to go deeper, to gather and analyse data, to track changes over time and continue to build a staff culture characterised by high impact teaching and collaboration.
...There is a real sense that St Cecilia’s is an active and living Catholic community, with Catholic beliefs
and values permeating all school activities. Over the review period there has been an emphasis on the understanding and strengthening of the Catholic identity of the school. There has also been an emphasis on developing a curriculum that responds to the school’s context and that provides opportunities for students to engage in social justice activities. The importance that the school places on participation in prayer, daily meditation, sacraments and liturgy ensures that faith is at the centre and that Religious Education is a priority in the school.
...A very caring and supportive environment is also evident at St Cecilia’s, with effective processes and
programs in place to identify and nurture the wellbeing and holistic development of the children. Students are treated respectfully and relationships with teachers and peers are positive. Learning spaces present as orderly and inviting. Students do enjoy coming to school and feel safe, secure and supported. Management of student behaviour is consistent and expectations are articulated and
understood. Continuing to provide opportunities for authentic student voice and further developing students as co-creators of their learning will ensure that every students is engaged and challenged.

...Key challenges that the school should be well placed to address in the next phase of school improvement involve:

 Articulating a clearly defined vision for the future.
 Achieving the highest standards possible based on reflective practice using data, research and evidence to ensure progress and growth in learning for every student.
 Further developing the instructional practice of all staff by peer observation, coaching and
feedback to develop a high impact school-wide teaching team.


The school has built capacity over the past four years and has developed effective practices. The
challenge in the coming period is to embed these practices and to set the ground work with a very strategic plan for sustaining improvement over time.


I would like to thank Father Kevin,  all staff, students and parents who were involved in any of the meetings and discussions that contributed to this very affirming and informing approach.


School Improvement Survey - CEMSIS

Each year the staff, senior students from Years 4-6 and a random selection of around 50 parents are asked to complete a survey about various aspects of school life. All Catholic schools in Victoria undertake this process which enables schools to gain valuable insights into the thoughts and feelings of students, families and staff and to identify areas of ongoing improvement for the school.


We have now received the results of these surveys and they are  fantastic.  We will share the findings of these surveys of the next few weeks. 


A letter from Eva Alberts (Grade 6)...


A few weeks ago, I competed in the Glen Iris District Athletics with lots of other 3-6’s. I came 1st in the Discus, throwing 17m. This meant I was going through to the next round! Only four people from St Cecilia’s got through to the next round.


The next round was called Division where I competed with other people all around Boroondara. I was lucky enough to come 1st getting my personal best, 18.05m.


In the next round I was extremely nervous. This round was called Regionals. Yet again I threw my personal best, (18.26m) but unfortunately I only came 5th.


This was a great experience and thank you to all the teachers who supported me.


Parent Learning Walk

On Friday 8th November at 9:00am, I will be leading some willing parents on a Learning Walk for Parents. This is an invitation to all parents that have not already been on a Learning Walk, to join me. We need approx. 8 parents max for it to be viable. 


What is a Learning Walk for Parents? It is an invitation to parents to come to the school for a set period of time (about one hour) to be led on a facilitated and structured learning walk of the school/ classrooms during the school day. Not to look at the decor - but to learn more about the learning that is happening. The focus of the structured walk is children and their learning as opposed to teachers and the teaching. Each learning walk can have a topic or theme. The purpose is more about giving parents an opportunity to witness what the “real” learning looks like. These are also not about a parent sitting in and observing their child...but to learn more about a topic or the school through

observing learning in action. Following the Learning Walk, the group would sit down to a

more “in depth community conversation” about what they’ve observed. 


If you would like to b involved on a Learning Walk on Friday 8th November at 9:00am, please email me directly at


Israel Pilgrimage

I have had a little bit of time now to reflect following my 14 day pilgrimage of the Holy Land with 20 Principals from the Eastern Region.  It was amazing to visit places that I have grown up learning about, such as Jericho, Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and so many more.

Together we...

  • enjoyed unforgettable walking tours of the ruins of ancient Petra

  • Ascended biblical Mount Nebo where Moses looked over into the Promised Land

  • Floated on the Dead Sea

  • Visited what is believed to have been the Baptismal site of Jesus in the River Jordan

  • Stayed in Tiberius on the shores of Lake Galilee

  • Experienced the breathtaking setting of where the Transfiguration took place at Mt Tabor

  • Walked through the village of Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle - transforming the water into wine at the wedding feast

  • Nazareth

  • Travelled to Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ teaching and healing and home to Peter the Apostle

  • Prayed and enjoyed being still on Lake Galilee

  • Reflected on Jesus’ message of happiness on the Mount of Beatitudes

  • Travelled along the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Carmel and onto the crusader port of Caesarea 

  • Visited Shepherd’s Field and the Church of the Nativity

  • Learnt about and  viewed the Dead Sea Scrolls

  • Sat in the room of the Last Supper and visited the Church of Dormition where Our Lady was assumed into heaven

  • Walked the Stations of the Cross to the site of Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we climbed to the actual site where the cross of Jesus once stood and we entered the tomb where Jesus rose from the dead. 

  • Visited Temple Mount and viewed the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall. 

  • Visited the Wailing Wall on several occassions to reflect and pray.

  • Journeyed to Emmaus and travelled along the Jericho Road through desert hills and dry rocky landscape to Masada

A special highlight for us was visiting Bethlehem’s Holy Child Primary School, a school for underprivileged children of both Christian and Muslim backgrounds.  We donated resources to support this great school, joined them in their classrooms and played sport with them. We also visited and spoke with students at Bethlehem University and listened to the stories of an Israeli woman and a Palestinian woman who had both lost a close family member to the conflict.  This was very moving experience with the two individuals sharing their story in front of us and it was incredible to see them chose a path of reconciliation rather than revenge. I came to understand more deeply how important it is to not believe everything in the media and that we need to be more discerning than ever. The people of the Holy Land need politicians and people all over the world to work towards peace.  My prayer for peace is now more real and stronger than ever.

We shared a special day in Jerusalem where we visited the Mt of Olives where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer.  We then enjoyed a panoramic view over the city. We then quietly walked the road to the Church Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. The Church was in the shape of a tear drop and it was here that we celebrated Mass together looking over the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem.  Following what was a very moving Mass we made our way to the Garden of Gethsemane where we prayed on our own amongst the olive trees and roots which go back to the time of Jesus.  

There were many things I wanted to do in Jerusalem, and walking the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, was high on the list. The walking route is believed by many to follow the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion.  The best time to walk the ancient path is early in the morning, before the crowds converge on the Old City. When we walked it we were practically alone, but when I returned later large tour groups made the walk almost impossible to navigate. Plus there is a certain solemnity when walking as a small group, right after first light as you walk towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This day was an example of how transformational a pilgrimage can be and how this whole experience has deepened my faith.  If you get the opportunity to visit the Holy Land I encourage you to do so - it is an experience of a lifetime.  




No school on Monday (Report Writing Day) or Tuesday (Melbourne Cup) next week...



When we speak about our St. Cecilia school values, we speak of: 



We live faith-filled lives and give thanks daily



We respect and embrace the community



We care and do what is right and just



We strive for and celebrate every success



Enjoy our time together for the remainder of Term Four. 


Warm regards,


Deputy Principal Report

Term 4 Dates  

We have now added a few more dates to the School Calendar and the Upcoming Dates page and ask that you  refer to these to see which ones affect you and your children at the different grade levels.

Term 4 Curriculum focii

The Parent Planners have finally be given out and these give a brief synopsis of the curriculum and the key events for Term 4. Apologies for the delay in sending these out!


The overall key concept for Term 4 is: CONNECTIONS with a different focus at each grade level.


The Foundation students are learning about creatures "Great and Small': which involves examining the features of various animals (especially Australian animals) and going on an excursion to the Zoo. This is a Science focus.


Year 1 and 2 have more of a History focus with a unit entitled: "Through the Generations". This includes studying people's lifestyles in the past, present and future and looking at different cultures.

In Years 3 and 4, the students are studying Geography and investigating the various climatic zones of the earth in their unit called: "Our Island Home".


Years 5 and 6 are exploring the difference between "Needs and Wants" and the sharing of the world's resources during their Economics unit entitled: "Data and Decisions". Year 5 are preparing a Shark Tank Expo which is on Friday, 29th November and the Year 6 students are working on promoting their charities through their Little Feet, Big Footprints Expo. This will be held on Friday 6th December.


As always, if you have expertise in any of these areas, the teachers would welcome you as a guest speaker so please contact your children's teachers.

Foundation- Fire Brigade, Police, Zoo excursion

The Foundation classes have had a busy start to the term with visits from the local Police who drove their vehicles onto the MCG so they could see all the features of their cars and delighted the children and the neighbours the neighbours by driving off with their sirens blaring!

The Fire Brigade also attended for two sessions with the students to teach them some fire safety strategies and on their last visit, the children all had a chance to squirt the big fire hose in the courtyard!


This week, the Foundation students had their excursion to the Zoo and they tell me that they particularly enjoyed seeing the baboons, with whom they were able to get "up close and personal" as they were behind a clear glass wall - so close that they felt they were almost touching. They also loved the tiger who was looking menacing while prowling around the perimeter of his enclosure and other favourites were the snow leopards.

Year 1 & 2 Excursion to the Botanical Gardens

This week our Year 1 and 2 students went on an excursion to the Shrine of Remembrance and the Botanic gardens to learn about indigeous History. The students visited these two Melbourne icons and explored the way of life of our indigenous peoples: their tools, the use of ochre for painting and decorating their bodies during celebrations etc. They also found out how we remember things from our past such as by examining photos, artefacts, replicas of items used and larger items such as the Gallipoli boat and reading about History in written accounts or listening to oral histories.

Year 5 / 6 Interrelate Program

This week we held a Sex Education night for parents and students in Years 5 and 6. The purpose of the night was to teach the students about the structure and functions of the reproductive system and to give families an opportunity to discuss various aspects of reproduction in an informal way. The students heard about the physical and emotional changes that they will experience during puberty and were encouraged to always seek help from their parents if they have a problem, concern or question.

Our presenter was named Robyn and she had a wonderfully natural, humorous presentation style which made some possibly embarrassing content accessible to all students at their individual point of need.


The next part of the program is a session for the Year 5 / 6 girls entitled: Managing Menstruation. This will be held on Thursday, 14th November from 9:30 to 11am.

We ask that you return all the permission forms for this session to the school office as soon as possible.

Lost Property & Uniforms-
NB Naming items of clothing!

We still have a number of articles in the Lost Property area which is located near the Sick Bay.  Most of the items are tennis racquets and jumpers and tops that are second hand... Families have bought them but have not re-named them. Therefore, their might be a size 6 top with an ex student's name on it or one of the Year 6's names.

It clearly will not fit our current year 6's!! If the items are named, we always attempt to give them back to their rightful owners but we now have a huge pile of jumpers and no way of knowing who owns them!

Little, Big Ideas 2019


Recently, the Year 5/6 students entered the Little Big Idea competition. They were learning to use their creativity to design an invention during a ‘Journey to Discovery’ science unit.


Lucas H entered the competition with an idea for a garbage truck that could shred trees into mulch and hard rubbish into gravel . These could then be used straight away in local gardens instead of being sent to landfill. Lucky Lucas had his photo and an explanation of his design in the Herald Sun newspaper! Congratulations to Lucas for a great idea of an Eco Garbage Truck.


Walk to School

Each October, the Boroondara Council runs the Walk to School initiative to encourage students to increase their fitness levels by either walking or riding their bikes to school.

Thanks to all the families who have made an effort to walk (at least on some days) as it improves the whole family's fitness!

To promote the program, two ladies from Boroondara came to school last week bringing with them a Smoothie Bike. They treated all the students to a Smoothie using milk, honey and banana or strawberries and orange juice and many children had a turn at pedalling the bike to blend the Smoothies! Thanks to Boroondara Council for their generosity.

Walk to School ends today, Friday 1st November but hopefully some families will try to continue walking or riding at least a few times each week or parking further away from the school and walking back to the car. 

Water Safety program

The Year 5 / 6 classes had a fun day at Brighton Beach on Wednesday of this week. Life Saving Victoria ran a two hour session during which the students practised rescuing a partner using Boogie Boards, noodles, Life saving buoys etc and learnt how to do basic CPR and place victims in the Recovery position. They wore life jackets and simulated what to do if they were on a boat that sank and the instructors taught them to be aware of currents and rips. These are all important life skills for Australian children as there a number of drownings each year! Our Years F-4 students participate in swimming lessons at the pool but we feel that it is important to also give the students real life experiences at the beach.


Hoop Time

Yesterday the St Cecilia's Saints basketball team : Michael A, Liam, Hugh S, Ivy, Lucy W, Sabrina, India and Xavier M  participated in the Hoop Time finals at the Dandenong basketball stadium.  The team  won one game but were up against stiff opposition and came home a little disappointed. They should be proud of their efforts to reach this next level of competition in the Future Stars comp!


Choir- Christmas singing

The Senior Choir have been invited to sing at the Epworth hospital again this year ( in early December- date yet to be confirmed) to cheer up the patients. They have also been invited to sing at a Christmas concert at Grace Park in Hawthorn on Sunday, 8th December between 5 and 7pm. St Cecilia's families are invited to bring a picnic tea and enjoy the concert with the local community.


 Mrs Miller has prepared expressions of interest notes for Senior choir members and these will be given out next week so please put this date on your calendar!

Look What's Been Going On page

Finally, we have a number of photographs of all the events described above but have not yet had a chance to upload them.

Please see the Look What's Been Going On page for a selection of photos showing the exciting events that have been happening at St Cecilia's in the past four weeks!


I hope you have a great long weekend!

remember there is no school on Monday or Tuesday due to the Melbourne Cup weekend.

Regards, Karen Whiting



First Communion

On Sunday, 20th October 31 of our Year 4 students and 4 students from the parish (who attend other schools) made their First Holy Communion.

It was a beautiful ceremony- thanks to Father Kevin, the Year 3 / 4 teachers and the communicants themselves who demonstrated a quiet and calm reverence. They appeared to really understand the significance of this important sacramental milestone and how they are called to respond as members of our Catholic church and followers of Jesus. Our School Vision states that we want our students to : "live Christ's love for others" and we pray that they will always follow this motto throughout their lives and receive Jesus often in Communion.

Social Justice-Underpants for Africa

Thanks to Mrs Pauline Kilduff who organised this Social Justice initiative and thanks again to all the families who supported this wonderful cause by donating new underwear for girls in Africa.  A friend of Mrs Kilduff (and a former parent of St Cecilia's) travelled to Africa a number of years ago and became aware of the plight of many children who do not have basic needs such as underwear, shoes and clothing. She got to know some teachers from St Kevin's who visit each year taking with them suitcases full of essential items. This year they will be taking our donations of underwear to give to young girls at the school they are supporting and in local villages. We hope to to form an ongoing relationship with this lady so that we can continue to help some of the children in Africa.


St Cecilia's Feast day Mass- Friday & Sunday

On Friday, 22nd November at 9:15am we will have a Mass to celebrate St Cecilia's feast day.  You are all welcome to join us to celebrate the feast of our Patron saint. As you know, St Cecilia is the patron saint of Music

and musicians so we will also have some St Cecilia's Got Talent acts on that day!


On Sunday, 24th November it is the real feast day and the St Cecilia's Parish Council are organising Mass at 10am followed by a BBQ and morning tea in Father Kevin's garden.


All families are invited to attend and the students will be singing some of our school favourite hymns.

School students are warmly invited to showcase their singing talent with the parish community!

A note will come home shortly.


We look forward to seeing you there!

The Parish Council.

Thank you.

Finally, a big Thank You for all your generosity with our Social Justice drives so far this year and for all your work in helping the year 4 students to prepare for their First Communion day!


Regards, Karen Whiting.

Parenting Ideas

Why self-sufficiency is paramount
  by Michael Grose

Recently, a mother of two primary school children thanked me for the impact one of my presentations had on her parenting style. 


When I asked what was it that made the difference, she said that one particular question I posed in the presentation had the most impact. The question was “What are you regularly doing for your children now that they can do themselves?”


This mother attended my Parenting for Independence seminar after reading my book ‘Spoonfed Generation.’ My message of developing self-sufficiency in children from the earliest possible age stayed with her. She said that the independence message really came home to roost when her children went to an international school in Germany two years later. Self-sufficiency was expected at the school so the training she provided them as a result of the seminar such as in teaching them to pack school bags, preparing snacks and assisting with meals, doing daily chores, and getting themselves up each morning helped to prepare them for the expectations of an international school.


Why is self-sufficiency important?

Self-sufficiency, of the ‘I can do it myself’ kind, is the basis of self-esteem and resilience. One of the main developmental tasks is for children and teenagers to gain a sense of control and mastery over their environment. This mastery begins by gaining basic competencies such as being able to feed and dress yourself as a toddler and then gradually adding new competencies as physical and mental capacities allow. The development of children’s independence can be frustrating and time-consuming, particularly if you are time-poor or have a strong perfectionist streak. But that is the price of independence-building.


Step back to allow kids to step up

Respected US parenting and child development expert Dr. Debora Gilboa (aka Dr. G) believes parents need to step back to allow children to step up. It’s a smart phrase that infers that parents need to take on the role of their child’s teacher rather than be the person who is always solving their problems and doing routine tasks for them.

Gilboa says, “It’s crucial that you take a step back and let your kids make mistakes and learn from their experiences. You aren’t going to be there in adulthood to clear the obstacles they face or solve their struggles.” It is through dealing with their own frustrations and learning from their mistakes that kids develop the resilience needed to stand on their own two feet.


Self-sufficiency tips

Gilboa gives the following three tips to develop self-sufficiency in children at any age:

  1. Problem-solving. When your child or adolescent comes to you with a problem, resist the urge to fix it. Invite them to resolve the problem themselves.

  2. Welcome failure. This is hard in our perfectionistic world but expect them to struggle and talk about what they can do to get back on their feet.

  3. Expect them to help. Give them tasks that help the whole family, not just themselves and make sure they do them well. Be patient, but firm.

Self-sufficiency has many forms and many faces, including the ability to problem-solve, emotional self-regulation and taking responsibility for your actions. It’s easiest to develop in children when they are young. This is also because not every child in a family will take to independence as willingly as others.

If developing independence is something that you haven’t focused on before, don’t despair. It’s not too late to start. Begin where you feel comfortable, rather than make huge changes straight away. Persist rather than give in when you have resisters; the notion of independence is too important for children’s future success.

Look what's been going on...

St. Cecilia's in action....


Parents' Association

Mothers' lunch

After co-ordinating a wonderful Fair, the PA are now turning their attention to organising a special Mothers' lunch to celebrate the end of the year. It is entitled: St Cecilia's Ladies' Christmas Garden Party!

The event will be held on Friday November 22  12 Noon - 5pm The Stables of Como Lechlade Ave, South Yarra $100 includes Canapes, Main, Dessert Drink on arrival Live Entertainment

Interested ladies will be able to pay soon via CDF.



If you have any queries can you please contact Biddy Blood at


St. Cecilia's Newsletter
Our First Communion candidates