Newsletter #18

11th November 2021


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Principal's Report 11th November 2021

Welcome Back to School Picnics
Our welcome back to school picnics are going ahead.  Unfortunately due to the terrible weather, we had to cancel our year 5/6 gathering last night.  We will look at rescheduling where possible.  The picnics will be on the synthetic surface and basketball court from 5.30-7pm.  Families can choose to attend, bring a picnic, blanket/chairs and some sports equipment/games for their students.  Families will need to bring a bag for rubbish/recycling and take it home with them please. Staff will attend and what a lovely way for families to reconnect. We hope to see you there.  Adults will need to check in on the QR codes at the gates, masks must be worn if you are unable to socially distance and adults will need to be vaccinated.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Days and dates are as follows;
Prep – Thursday 18th November
1/2 – Wednesday 24th November
3/4 – Thursday 11th November

Thank you to those families who have shared any concerns around class placement for 2022.  We will be starting to work on the classes.  Students have had the opportunity to nominate peers that are good learning partners for them.  This can be hard for the younger students and teachers will of course have input to successful learning partners.  In the past, many parents felt students should just be with friends, however, we all know how important making successful groups of learners is.  If a child feels that they didn’t get a friend, we need to support them in knowing they can see their friends at other times, but our classes are about creating successful learning opportunities.  We work very hard to make sure that every child has an opportunity to be their best.

Josh Chamberlain has been successful in gaining a position at Mt Evelyn Christian School and will be leaving us at the end of the year. Adele Atkins is pursuing a dream to go and teach in remote Western Australia and will also be moving on.  Anita Sutherland, Chloe Macdonald and Louiza Norton will be here for a limited time at the beginning of the year to go on Family Leave.  We wish all of our staff moving on the very best for their futures.  Having some babies coming up is a lovely, happy thing that we are all looking forward to.

We have been working very hard to finalise our staffing and secured excellent additions to our staff profile for 2022.Our class structure and staffing for 2022 is as follows:

Alana Aiello
Ellie Tomazin (has been working with Alana this year)
Deanna El-Bay (currently in year 3/4)

Hannah Di Falco
Lauren Iverach (currently in 5/6)
Cate Di Battista
Taylah Elliot (currently at Yarra Rd PS in Croydon)

Natalie Blenheim
Daniel Fielding
Claire Keltie
Libby Flanagan
Monica Paine (currently at Livingstone PS)

Georgia O’Brien
Matt Sutherland
Tara Gould
Lina Kabris (returning from family leave)
Christine Soldatos (currently at Keilor PS)

Megan Casey LOTE/Enviro Centre (Mon-Wed)
Lara Atkinson PE /STEM Years 5/6 (Mon-Fri)
Jacki Atkinson Music/Performing Arts (Tues-Thurs)
Ilona Bennett Visual Art (Tues-Thurs)

Student Support (Tutor Learning Initiative/Intervention)
Wendy Barr (Mon-Thurs)
Louise Greening (Mon- Thurs)
Robyn Scanlon (Tues-Thurs)

Next year DET are continuing to fund the Tutor Learning Initiative.  This program covers part of the year but, our student support program will extend well beyond this for the whole year.  The student support team will be involved in tutoring, planning, class time, withdrawal and the development of individual education plans. 

Rememberance Day
Today our student leaders organised and ran our Remembrance Day Service.  We were very proud of them.  This is an important day to commemorate and not forget the sacrifices of others that have helped create our community of today.  Congratulations to all those who presented and thank you.

Covid 19
We have been working hard to maintain our bubbles at school for P-2 and 3-6.  At this stage we are doing very well.  We have had families who have had children at day care/kinder deemed close contacts.  Thank you to all our families who have supported their families and the school and made sure children are clear before return to school.  We know all of this is difficult for everyone but all families are to be congratulated on making sure they are keeping themselves and others safe.  You would probably be aware that DET are working on providing rapid antigen testing  to reduce potential absences in school.  At present we have very little information about this but as more comes to hand we will let you know.

llness 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

Again, thank you for all your support.

Important Dates to Remember



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



Friday 28th January-
Curriculum  day

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


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

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!

Parent Payment Information and Book Pack Collection 2022


2022 Parent Payment information is now available on Compass through Course Confirmation. Please take the time to read through all the information provided via the Parent Payment Policies relevant to your child’s year level and direct any queries you might have to our Business Manager, Skye Thornton. Payment plans are available through your Compass access, or you may prefer to contact us directly.

We would also encourage families to contribute to the voluntary contributions in the form of Grounds & Facilities fund and/or Library & Building fund. These funds are vital to support the running of additional programs and purchase of resources. The School Assistance fund provides an opportunity for parents to support others in need within the school. We thank you in advance for your contribution.

If you would like to make a contribution for 2022 this year, student book packs will be available for collection from Thursday 2nd December.  Arrangements for the collection of books will be confirmed closer to this date.

Parent Payment Information Prep-Year 2 2022

Parent Payment Information Year 3-6 2022

Parent Payments on one page overview


Please note: ALL students will receive their book packs no later than the first day of school Monday 31st January 2022.

Preps 100 Days

On Wednesday the 10th our wonderful Preps celebrated 100 (+50) days of learning. We played games, made different crafts and dressed up like 100 year olds. It was such a wonderful day and fantastic to recognise all of the hard work the Preps have done. 

Miss Aiello and Mr Chamberlain

Enviro News 11th November 2021

The Prep to Grade 2 students have been working hard on weeding and mulching the site for our Bee Garden which has been made possible through a Junior Landcare Grant. Students have learned about the importance of bees and how we can create a habitat to encourage them to set up home in our bee garden. Planting and constructing bee hotels will take place over the next two weeks.
This Sunday the 14th of November is the backyard bee census where people are asked to count how many pollinators (bees, wasps, butterflies, flies, ladybirds) are in their backyard to help scientist gauge the health of this link in our ecosystem. If you have ten minutes to spare on Sunday go to to learn more and register.
Thank you to Chloe B, Chloe S, Gloria L and Seb P and their families for fostering the guinea pigs over the lockdown. They took wonderful care of them and it is greatly appreciated.
Tora and Frieda have now returned to school and are very happy to be together.
Thank you also to the Enviro Leaders Talwyn, Lucy C, Adaya and Tallulah who filmed an  explanation of the Mottainai Waste Project to be shown at the Bank First General Meeting tonight. The school is very proud to have such articulate and involved Enviro Leaders.

Vale Gazoreo the Guinea Pig.
I am very sad to announce that Gazoreo has passed away. He was a very friendly and relaxed guinea pig who loved his food and he will be missed by Frieda and Tora and the guinea pig carers.

Mrs Casey

FTGN PS Christmas Giving Tree

As per the past few years, Ferntree Gully North will be hosting a Giving Tree for donations of gifts for local families doing it tough.  Donations may be in the form of new presents for primary aged children and non-perishable food items for care packages.  Donations will be distributed at the Christmas lunch provided and hosted by Foothills Community Care (see advertisement and invitation below).
Please donate your gift from Monday 15th November through to Monday 6th December by sending to school with your child.

All donations will be held in the front office. Please note: it is preferred that gifts remain unwrapped so they can be given to the correct age group on Christmas day.

Thank you for your continued generosity and support. The response in the past from Ferntree Gully North has been very generous which has helped to support the 200+ people who come along on the day.

Parenting Ideas-Screen time habits for good eye health

by Dr Kristy Goodwin

Children and teens are spending an increasing amount of time on digital devices for both learning and leisure. Lockdowns, remote learning, and online learning have resulted in a surge of young people complaining about sore eyes, blurred vision, headaches, red eyes or general eye fatigue.

Research suggests that there has been an increase in myopia (nearsightedness) rates for children and teenagers during the pandemic. Myopia is a vision condition in which someone can see objects near to them clearly, but objects farther away are blurry.

One study revealed an almost 400% increase in six-year-olds presenting with myopia symptoms during the 2020 lockdown. The phenomenon referred to as ‘quarantine myopia’. Experts believe that screen time may be to blame. HCF Health Insurance data shows over 20% more school-aged children had claims entered for glasses or contact lenses in 2020, compared to five years ago.

While it may seem logical to blame these negative impacts solely on screens, there’s emerging evidence to suggest that screens alone may not be triggering or causing eye strain or myopia. The pandemic has not only led to an increase in screen time but has also resulted in kids spending more time inside and less time outdoors in natural sunlight. Family history is also a known risk factor for children developing myopia.

Given that kids will need to continue to rely on digital technologies for their learning and leisure, parents, carers and educators need to equip them with the strategies that will support their eye health and reduce the impacts of screen-related eye conditions such as eye strain and myopia. Following are some simple strategies to help keep screenagers’ sight healthy and in optimum condition.

Keep an eye on their eyes

Be on the lookout for symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, squinting, or rubbing eyes, as they may indicate potential eye issues. Take your child to an optometrist if symptoms persist.

Teach them the 20/20/20/20 rule

Every 20 minutes, they should take at least a 20 second break, look into the distance for 20 metres to develop depth of vision, and blink 20 times – because when they stare at a screen their blink rate declines by 66%.

Remind them to close their eyes

Learning through screens is mentally taxing, depleting the two regions of the brain which process what they see and hear online. Encouraging kids to close their eyes, even if just for 10 seconds, gives these regions of their brain a much-needed break. It increases alpha waves in their brains, leaving them feeling focused and alert after a short break.

Remember the arm’s length rule of thumb

Remind your kids to keep all their digital devices and reading materials at least an arm’s length away from their eyes.

Brighten up

Make sure kids read with appropriate lighting, as poor surrounding light increases eye strain. You may need to adjust the brightness on the screen they are using, or the lighting in the room.

Encourage them to head outdoors

Research shows that young children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to be short-sighted as teenagers, so ensure your children get at least two hours of ‘green time’ time a day. Evidence also reveals that just 40 seconds in nature will reduce stress levels.

Given that technology plays a pivotal role in kids’ lives, it’s essential that parents, carers and educators equip kids with the skills and strategies that will protect their eye health. This requires strategies to deploy when kids are using devices and ensuring that their tech time doesn’t displace vital offline experiences, such as time in nature. Yet another reason why we need to balance their ‘screen time’ with their ‘green time’.

Dr Kristy Goodwin

Dr Kristy Goodwin is a digital wellbeing and performance speaker, author and researcher (and mum who also deals with her kids’ techno-tantrums!). She’s the author of Raising Your Child in a Digital World, and a media commentator who doesn’t suggest that we ban the iPhone, or unplug the gaming console (digital abstinence isn’t the solution). Kristy translates research into essential information and realistic strategies for parents to ensure kids and teens thrive in the digital world. For further details visit

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