Newsletter #16

14th October 2021

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SunSmart

Principal's Report 14th October 2021

Welcome Back
Welcome back to term 4.  We are thrilled to welcome our first students, the preps, back on Monday.  Please refer to our Compass posts for arrangements and make sure you email your class teacher with any questions or call the office.  During term 4 we will be focussing on health and wellbeing, learning and transitions.  Stay tuned for Compass updates.  We seem to be getting an enormous amount of information on a regular basis and please be reassured we are getting it out to you as soon as we can. Don’t forget to go over good hand hygiene with your children, and as per Department guidelines students in grades 3-6 will be required to wear a mask indoors. Please ensure you send along a mask with your child’s name on it. Students in Prep -2, whilst not required to wear a mask, are encouraged to wear masks. Hand sanitiser will also be in each classroom and doors and windows will be open. Our return to school bubbles will give us a chance to get settled and in the unfortunate event of a case we, will endeavour to keep some of the school running in our bubbles. 

2022
It is a bit surreal to be thinking about 2022 in view of this year, but in lots of ways we are looking forward to moving on and a fresh start next year. ( I may have said this last year but we are certainly keen to move along.) As we move into term 4, we will be starting to work on class composition for 2022.  This can cause some concern for parents.  Please be assured that staff, spend a considerable time working on class construction, to enhance the educational opportunities for all students.  Class groupings are formed around mixed gender, educational grounds and creating classes of equitable numbers.  Children are asked for an indication of who might be great learning partners for them. This will happen when students have settled back into school. Teachers consider who students work well with and will work to meet the needs of all students.  Our class formation policy is attached: Class Formation Policy Teachers are allocated to classes in the final stages.

In 2022 we will be running an additional grade to ensure our class sizes are low to support the children in view of our 2020 and 2021 experiences.  This is not possible every year, but we recognise that small groups will support students, teachers and the community as we move forward. We will have 3 prep classes of 17 or 18, 4 X 1/2 classes of 21, 5 X 3/4 classes of 21 and 5 X 5/6 classes of 24.  We do have some exciting news for staff.  Chloe Brown, Anita Sutherland and Louiza Norton are all expecting and will only be at school for short periods early next year.  Due to the short time frames, they will not be placed in classes but will do a range of work tasks before they finish up.

We would also like to advise families that we will be continuing our Tutor Learning Initiative/Intervention in 2022.  This will provide continuing support for students and staff in classes and in support groups where appropriate.  At this stage we don’t have all the details but we are thrilled to maintain the additional support.

If you feel there is an issue that would affect your child’s placement, please put this in writing to Sue via the school email by Monday 25th October to enable us to take this into consideration. Parents are not able to request particular teachers, however, we recognise that there may be circumstances we are not aware of that we may need to know about. This year, more than perhaps previous years, we will see concerns around children.  We do take these very seriously and endeavour to do the best for all students. We will of course make classes that provide the best educational opportunities for all students.  These letters can be emailed to the school email address. Even if you might think it is a small thing, we would encourage you to list your concerns in writing.

We have had a couple of queries around ‘should students repeat?’  Research does not indicate that separating students from their cohorts is positive or achieves improved outcomes.  Our students need to stay in their groups and our small classes will support their needs.  Teachers are experts at providing comprehensive, differentiated programs for their students. We will continue to support our students and families.

We will be organising an internal transition program for students moving into years 1-6 and will organise this are more information comes to hand.

If by some chance you have forgotten to put in your enrolment form for prep 2022, please get it in to the office.  If your family is moving on next year (aside from year 6 students) please notify the office in writing so we can plan accordingly.

Prep Transition
At this stage it is unclear what our prep transition program may look like.  Please stay tuned as we work with the guidelines to finalise our program. We are running additional activities on line for new families to support transition/.

Out of Hours Care
Camp Australia will be running their program as per normal.  Make sure you complete your bookings with them.  On the days when students are not attending their classrooms the program is available for those on supervision as well.  They welcome new students.  Just a reminder it is a good idea to register and then if you ever need it you can book in as needed.

Illness at School

Attached below are the current guidelines regarding children who may be unwell at school.  We encourage you to ring the office if you are not sure of what to do. Managing unwell students covid19 factsheet.pdf


Important Dates to Remember

2021

TERM 4

December
   
Thursday 9th December- 3/4 Special Lunch

Monday 13th December- Grade 6 Graduation
Ceremony: 4.15pm-5.45pm at School
Dinner and Disco: Knox Club 6:15pm-9:15pm

Tuesday 14th December- Class Parties

Wednesday 15th December- Colour Run

Thursday 16th December - Last day of Term 4 2:30pm finish

Friday 17th December- Curriculum day No students at school



2022

January

Friday 28th January-
Curriculum  day

Monday 31st January-Term 1 Students Start at 9:00am-Don't forget your hats.

February

Saturday 19th Feb 9.30am -11.00pm Save the date- Open Morning for Prep 2023



From the Office

Office Opening Hours

The School Office is staffed between the hours of 8:15am-4:30pm Monday to Friday. For all enquiries please contact us on 9758 1662 or via email ferntree.gully.north.ps@education.vic.gov.au

Borrowed Spare Clothing

If your child has come home in spare clothing supplied by the School, please wash and return these items as soon as possible. As you might imagine in these wetter days we can go through our limited supply very quickly!  A spare set of clothing in school bags would be greatly appreciated ‘just in case’.  It’s not just the younger students that might need a change after the breaks.

Late Arrivals

A reminder to all parents that if your child arrives late to school, parents/guardians must come into the office so that students can be signed in to school by the office staff. We need to record the correct data for the absence.

If students arrive unattended there will be an unexplained absence entered in Compass and parents will be required to update with an explanation.

Lost Property 

Just a reminder to ensure all items are clearly named so that if lost can be reunited with students.  If you have received a pre loved item please make sure the name is updated.

We also ask please that you check your child’s uniform from time to time to ensure they haven’t brought home someone else’s clothing by mistake in the excitement of the day.

A Good News Story

A brand new jumper was found in the street by a very considerate community member.  The jumper had the child’s name and contact mobile number on the underside of the label so the parent could be contacted and the child reunited with their brand new jumper!

Yay for kind strangers!  Thank you!

Enviro News 14th October 2021

Mottainai

With the new bike shed requiring the bluestone BBQ be dismantled it was a great opportunity to practice Mottainai as these stones are sturdy and beautiful.  They have been upcycled to create a beautiful herb garden and additional garden bed at the Enviro Centre.



The Enviro Leaders are very pleased to be part of a presentation of the Mottainai Waste project to Bank First at their annual general meeting in November. As this is an online event they will film an explanation of the importance of the project to the school and the impact it will have on climate change and hopefully create more awareness to those attending the meeting. This invitation was extended to our school as we won the popular choice grant, so thank you to all who voted as this has created an opportunity to spread the word about Mottainai even further.

Mrs Casey



Junior School Council- Update



Gully News- October 2021

Well done to our Junior School Council- you made it to the Gully News.
We are so proud of your efforts to keep our community connected and bring some fun to our families.

Bushfire planning workshop- CFA

Parenting Ideas- Successfully transitioning students back to school

  • Resilience
by Michael Grose
 

Home-schooling of students in lockdown states and territories is nearing an end. For parents, many of whom have discovered just how complex teaching can be, the return to school will be a welcome relief. For children, going back to school may bring a mixed set of feelings. Eager anticipation about reconnecting with friends and teachers will probably be accompanied by a level of anxiety about what school may be like upon return.

School continues to be an evolving experience for students. For a start they’ve just experienced a prolonged period of remote learning and an absence from their friends, which will take time to process when they return to school.

With organised extra-curricular activities put on hold most children have had a great deal of free time, which has placed the locus of control firmly in their hands. Many kids will grieve their lack of freedom, as they’ve had a  glimpse of what an unstructured life is like. It may take some time for them to get back into the swing of being physically on campus for school.

With the return to campus approaching here are some sensible strategies to make the adjustment easier for students.

Get ready for a return

Worriers and anxious types in particular like to know what’s ahead so your approach will make a difference. Prepare your child for a return by discussing the safety procedures the school will be implementing. Let young children know that an adult won’t be accompanying them past the school gate. Ask your child what they are looking forward to and check in with how they are feeling about a return. Validate any fears and apprehensions and correct any misconceptions.

Go slowly

This period will mirror the start of the school year when your child had to adjust to new teachers, different classmates and a new year level. Adjusting to change takes a great deal of personal energy, so you child or young person may become tired, grumpy, even moody at home. Make allowances for these personal changes and make sure they have plenty of free time to unwind after school.

Focus on reconnection

Make reconnection the theme for your child’s return to school. He or she will have to reconnect with friends, teachers and learning, which takes time. In all likelihood, your child’s teachers will use many strategies to help your child connect with their friends, reflect on their time at home and move them back into full-time learning mode. Support these activities and keep your learning expectations for your child in check. It may take extra time for some children to adjust to their life back at school.

Stay calm

It’s easy for us as parents to take on our children’s worries and fears. The reverse is true, and kids can pick up our worries, taking them on as their own. As a buffer against anxiety ensure you do something each day that brings you some joy, whether it’s listening to music, going for a walk or having a coffee with a friend.

Look after yourself

For a prolonged period now, parents and teachers have been doing significant emotional labour. The learning and adjustment curves have been massive, with little time to relax and take a break. Consider your own emotional resources and make your wellbeing a priority, which will make it easier for you to stay calm if your child experiences difficulties.

Communicate confidence

It’s a fine line that many parents walk between being flippant (‘you’ll be right’) and showing confidence (‘you’ll do okay’) when kids struggle to adjust to change. Children and young people want parents and teachers to understand their fears and anxieties and to coach them to negotiate difficulties including adjusting to change. You can support your child through sharing stories of resilience, focusing on the positives and letting them know that will eventually adjust.

The pandemic continues to serve up many difficulties, and we’ve all been forced to adapt quickly and repeatedly to new situations. Flexibility is a prime characteristic of resilient people, so if nothing else, getting through these challenging times will make us all more resilient.

Michael Grose

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.

Camp Australia

Community News 14th October 2021