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Gorokan Public School Newsletter - Week 2, Term 4, 2020

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers,

At Gorokan Public School we believe that holidays play an important part in the learning cycle and provide students and their parents/carers time to rest and reconnect, prior to taking on new learning in the term ahead. I trust that everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. A warm welcome is extended to the new families who have recently joined our school community.

Term 4 Community Update

Last week I released a community update outlining upcoming events and information regarding the current COVID-19 restrictions. Please take the time to preview the update below.

The events mentioned in the update will be captured in the 'dates to remember' section and the key restrictions in place are summarised as follows:

  • Non-essential visitors to schools are not allowed;
  • Our school will remain vigilant in applying infection control and personal hygiene practices;
  • Students and staff who are unwell should stay at home;
  • Students and staff who come to school with cold and flu symptoms will be sent home and will not be able to return to school without a negative COVID test result and no symptoms;
  • Students should continue to bring water bottles from home to fill at water bubblers rather than drink directly from the bubbler, and
  • Staggered afternoon student pick up times remain the same as the end of Term 3.

Kindergarten Orientation

Due to the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions, it is with great pleasure that I can announce that our face-to -ace Kindergarten orientation program will now be held on Friday 6th and 13th November. We will be offering two sessions for you to choose from on each of these days - either 10:00am to 11:00am or 12:00pm to 1:00pm.

Parents and carers are invited to complete a very short online survey to nominate session preferences for both days. This survey is below. Once the survey is completed, we will confirm your child’s session time and date via the email you have provided and therefore it is very important that these details are correct.

We appreciate that there is so much to know about starting school so please ensure that you have included any questions you may have in the survey. Your feedback will provide the staff with key questions you’d like answered and will inform the next Kindergarten orientation community update. Thanks for the great questions that have already been submitted.

Whilst parents and other non-essential adults are still not permitted to enter the school grounds, the current Department guidelines allow parents and carers to drop off and pick up their children for their orientation session but are restricted to a 10-minute time limit.

Drop off and pick up on these days will be from the school’s community centre located at the front of the school on Dudley Street and we ask that social distancing be adhered to at all times.

Children attending do not need to bring anything to these sessions and our caring staff will be making sure your child feels safe and comfortable at school.

A showbag to celebrate this milestone occasion will be given to families when they attend. These bags are jam-packed with goodies and useful information and learning resources.

We have also prepared a virtual tour of the school to help orientate parents, carers and students to the school. It can be accessed below:

2021 Classes

We are currently organising classes for next year. As in previous years, I would like to invite parents and carers to write to me if they feel there are special needs that should be considered when placing students in classes for 2021. The task of forming classes is complex and all requests will be given careful consideration. Requests must be submitted to me in writing by Friday 27th November.

Parent Feedback Survey

Thank you to the parents and carers who took the opportunity to provide feedback to the school by participating in the Tell Them From Me online survey. The results indicate an extremely high level of satisfaction in our great school. The staff and I will reflect on these results and the results from the staff and student surveys to inform school planning. We value and appreciate your efforts.

The school will also be conducting a telephone survey to gain further insight into school satisfaction and school improvement. In the coming weeks, Jasmine Daunt our Community Liaison Officer, will be phoning three randomly selected parents/carers from each class to further investigate levels of school satisfaction from our community.

Safe, Respectful Learners - Class Dojos

I would encourage all parents and carers to regularly monitor their child/ren’s efforts in class via the class Dojo app as your support and encouragement can make all the difference in achieving the best from your child.

The points are awarded each day as follows:

  • If a student finishes the day on the Outstanding circle in class = 3 points,
  • If a student finishes the day on the Good Choices circle = 2 points,
  • If a student finishes the day on the Expectation Reminder circle = 1 point,

Bonus points can also be achieved by the following:

  • Outstanding playground behaviour = 2 points,
  • Outstanding behaviour in specialist teacher classes = 1 point.

As explained previously, these points accumulate to achieve the various levels of our behaviour system (Bronze, Silver, Gold etc) and I congratulate the students who are successfully working towards their next milestone in being safe, respectful learners. These efforts will be acknowledged and rewarded in Week 5 and 10 this term.

New Sports Shed

The new sports shed

Over the holidays a purpose built shed was installed adjacent to the K-2 oval. The shed will be an outstanding asset for the school as it will house sports equipment for easy access to the playground and the verandah will give the students additional shaded areas under which to play on hot days.

Absences

Attending school regularly will ensure students have the opportunity to maximize their learning potential. Any whole day or partial absence must be explained to the child’s teacher in writing or via return SMS. The school will continue to notify parents of absences via SMS on any day that students are absent from class during roll call.

Contact Details

If you have moved or changed your address or phone number over the holiday break, please ensure that the office has this updated information.

The staff and I look forward to continuing working in partnership with you during the term ahead, as together we can make a difference.

Dates to Remember

  • Wednesday 18th November Opportunity Class exam (Stage Two)
  • Friday 23rd October Book Week Parade
  • Friday 23rd October  Whole school Class Captains assembly online
  • Friday 30th October Nominations for Year 5 school leaders to be handed to class teachers
  • Friday 6th November Kindergarten Orientation Program
  • Friday 13th November  Kindergarten Orientation Program
  • Tuesday 15th December Year 6 Farwell

Early Stage One

The students have begun their final term of Kindergarten in a positive manner. The teachers are proud of the individual progress that all students have made. We look forward to seeing continued growth and enjoyment in their learning this term.

Current Learning

The first few weeks of this term in literacy the students will be exposed to various texts about farm life. We will focus on the animals and events that occur on farms to enhance the students' reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Please continue to access the PM e-collection books at home and contact the school if you require student passwords.

Reminders

All Kindergarten students have the opportunity to participate in the Sports In School program this term free of charge. This program is held each Monday and includes gymnastic and fundamental movement skills. Please send your child to school each Monday in their sports uniform.

A friendly reminder to send your child to school each day with a hat and drink bottle. The weather has warmed up significantly this term and we encourage good health and safety habits.

Celebration of Learning

Class Awards

Congratulations to the following students for receiving class awards last week. We also congratulate the students who have been chosen as Class Captains for Term 4. These students will be acknowledged at our school assembly this Friday and receive their Class Captain band.

  • KC – Noah and Mia
  • KD/T – Talon and Noah
  • KF/L – Riley and Ella
  • KL – Brodie and Harrison
  • KJ – Lilly and Santino
Kindergarten students displaying their work on farm life

Mrs D Jeanpierre - ES1 Assistant Principal

Stage One

Current Learning

Stage One students have returned from their holidays excited and eager to learn. They are setting new goals in behaviour and learning, working hard to reach grade, class and individual targets. Students should be encouraged to continue their outstanding behaviour as they strive for Gold Level and beyond!

Year One and Year Two have been writing imaginative texts and they are learning to use describing words. In mathematics, students are learning to tell time using analog and digital clocks.

Students are investigating light and sound in science. They are learning how sound is created when something vibrates and sends waves of energy (vibrations) into our ears.

Reminders

Water Bottles

To stay cool and hydrated, it is recommended that students have a drink bottle with their name clearly displayed. Students are able to refill their water bottles using our chilled, filtered bubblers.

Celebration of Learning

Year 2 constructed clocks in mathematics and they have published their imaginative writing this week.

Year 2 students showcasing the clocks they have made
Students in Year 2 showing their imaginative writing tasks

Mr R Johnson - Relieving S1 Assistant Principal

Stage Two

On behalf of the Stage 2 teachers, I would like to welcome back our safe, respectful learners. I hope that all of our students had a relaxing holiday and that they are ready for their final term in either Year 3 or Year 4. The teachers are refreshed and looking forward to providing the students with engaging learning activities.

Current Learning

This term we will continue to learn about sustainability and ways that we can be sustainable around both school and home. We are studying poetry in English for the first five weeks, so be prepared for students to come home with some cinquains, haikus, limericks and rhymes.

Reminders

With the hot weather approaching, please remind your children to bring a school hat and a bottle of water to school every day. We thank you for your support.

Celebration of Learning

Stage 2 are enjoying celebrating book week. In English students are learning about poetry and writing their own narrative poems based on well known fairy tales.​ Students were excited to receive their book bank books from Dymocks Childrens charities and have started reading them. They can't wait to share them with their friends. Did you spot 4R in our new video showcasing our wonderful school on Facebook this week?

Stage 2 participated in the Gorokan Public School virtual tour

Mrs R Ranse - Relieving S2 Assistant Principal

Stage Three

A huge welcome back to Term 4! All Stage 3 staff were excited to welcome all our students back last week. It was terrific to see all our students, their smiling faces and to catch up on their holiday adventures. We are excited for what is looking to be an extremely busy term for us.

Current Learning

Students are settling back into their classes and back into routines well.

All Stage 3 classes have been revising and implementing our school expectations of being saferespectful and learners. This has included revisiting our Behaviour Management Plan and we encourage you to speak to your child about our school expectations. Please keep an eye on your child’s Class Dojo points which are updated daily.

Intention to Apply for Year 7 Placement in a Selective High School in 2022

All Year 5 students received a letter last week regarding Intention to apply for Year 7 placement in a selective high school in 2022. If you are intending to apply for your child, please return the slip on the letter to your child's Year 5 teacher by Friday 30th October, 2020.

Selective high schools cater for academically gifted students with high potential who may otherwise be without sufficient classmates at their own academic standard. Selective high schools help these students to learn by grouping them with students of similar ability, and by using specialised teaching methods.

Applications for selective high school placement are considered mainly on the basis of the Selective High School Placement Test results and school assessment scores. The Selective High School Placement Test will be held on Thursday 11 March 2021.

If you would like to have your child considered for Year 7 selective high school entry in 2022, you need to apply on the internet. Please see letter sent home last week.

Year 5 Election of School Leaders for 2021

We are now taking nominations for school leaders in 2021. Year 5 staff have spoken to students last week and have addressed and described the work of a school leader and the process that will follow. Year 5 election of school leader nominations need to be handed in to Year 5 class teachers by Friday 30th October, 2020.

Year 6 Farewell

The fantastic news is that COVID-19 restrictions have changed and we are now planning to hold a Year 6 Farewell on Tuesday 15th December, 2020. Our Year 6 Farewell will be a little different this year and we are ‘thinking outside the square’ as we still need to ensure we are following the DoE guidelines. Details are still being finalised and we will let you know more information as soon as possible. We are so excited! 😊

Year 6 Transition to High School (Gorokan High School)

Gorokan High School staff will be meeting with our Year 6 staff this week to hand over relevant student information in preparation for transition to high school. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the transition process has been delayed and Gorokan High School are currently looking at the organisation of what activities can go ahead this term. We will keep you informed as more information comes to hand.

Reminders

Please ensure your child brings a drink bottle and their own writing instruments (pens, pencils etc) to school every day.

Book Week Parade is this Friday – please ensure your child has a costume ready! The parade will look a little different this year as we still have COVID-19 restrictions, but we are in for some fun!

Celebration of Learning

We look forward to a whole school online assembly this Friday.

If you have any questions or concerns please phone your child’s class teacher.

Have a wonderful fortnight!

Mrs K Day - S3 Assistant Principal

Special Education

Current Learning

History and Geography

All classes have been learning about how people celebrate Christmas around the world. The students are going to explore lots of different cultures and celebrations this term. Please ask your child about which country we explored this week and the craft they made. It has been great fun!

Students learning about Christmas cultures around the world

Literacy

Mrs Greentree’s class learnt all about rhyming words last week. They read Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field and used their knowledge of rhyming words to create new pages for the story.

Reminders

Welcome Back!

After a crazy ‘COVID year’ we are finally on the home stretch. Our students are showing great learning on a daily basis and have made great progress in literacy and numeracy in particular. It is great to see them engaging thoughtfully in their learning and increasing their skills. Well done kids!

School Aps

Don’t forget that your child still has access to all of the online learning platforms that they use at school. You can log on remotely to the following aps:

  • PM Readers Online
  • Soundwaves
  • Reading Eggs
  • Mathletics
  • Worldbook Online

Any additional practice that your child can do at home will help them improve their skills and support their learning at school. Please contact your child’s teacher if you need a reminder of any of the passwords needed.

Celebration of Learning

During Grade Gathering this week, we had many students receive rewards for their great behaviour and learning. They were: Bailey, Mallee, Jarvis, Noah A, Isabelle, Claudia and Jackson.

Mrs S Crook - Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing

School and Community Centre News

Central Coast Schools as Community Centres Facebook page CCSaCC Facebook supporting children transitioning to school in 2021. All live sessions are recorded and can be accessed later if you miss the live session.

Transition to School Sessions are held on Wednesdays at 11:00am

  • Transition to School Session Four
  • Let's talk language, screen-time & routines!

Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health sessions are held on Wednesdays at 11:30am

  • Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Transition to School Session Two
  • Health checks and obtaining Immunisation records

SaCC Term 3 regular program parenting courses and speech group (all free and online)

  • Monday: Little Learners, Baby Massage;
  • Tuesday: Mother Goose/Baby Play;
  • Wednesday: Kids on the Move, Transition to School, Talkers Storytime (Speech);
  • Thursday: Busy Beats, and
  • Friday: Little Thinkers group, Talkers Play Pals (Speech).

Information: Phone Liz McMinn, SaCC Facilitator Gorokan Public School on 0467760712

Parenting Ideas

Preventing parent burnout

by Michael Grose

The longevity of the COVID pandemic is an enormous challenge to many of us. Our capacity to adapt to acutely stressful situations such as natural disasters has been severely depleted by the long-term nature of the pandemic. Our surge capacity, an adaptation mechanism that helps us survive short-term difficulties, is not designed to get us through long term disasters such as the pandemic.

There is no handbook for functioning in a pandemic however it’s apparent that we need to accept that life will probably be different for some time. Putting in place strategies that maintain our personal wellbeing is now a priority.

Ironically, many of us are denied self-care activities as a result of the pandemic. For many people coffee with friends, a massage or a visit to the gym are the types of self care activities that are now out of reach, so flexibility and resourcefulness is needed.

Here’s some researched-based strategies to practise at home that will help develop feelings of equilibrium and calm.

Take some deep breaths

Benefits

Neuroscience shows us how breathing shifts the brain into different states. Short, sharp breaths send a message to the brain that we are moving, even though we may be sitting in a chair. Conversely, slow, rhythmic breathing tells the brain that we’re calm and feeling good. It’s the quickest way to engage the body’s relaxation response.

Implementation tips

Make regular deep breathing part of your day. Choose a time of the day that suits you to practise and stick to it. Consider linking deep breathing to regular activity such as before the start of the day, during lunchtimes, or when you take a daily walk.

Create mindful moments

Benefits

The human mind is restless, wandering all over the place. This is exhausting, particularly for anxious personality types. Mindfulness is a simple way to make your wandering mind rest and settle into the present, closing the fight or flight response in our amygdala, the part of the brain which plays an important role in emotion and behaviour.

Implementation tips

Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, anytime, such as when we’re eating lunch, taking a walk or sitting in a chair at home. It can be done in short two to five minute sessions, which means it can be squeezed in between many regular commitments.

Get moving

Benefits

Exercise is a healthy way to improve mood, relieve tension and prepare for sleep. Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that increase feelings of wellbeing, are released which explains why many people get hooked on running, walking and other forms of movement.

Implementation tips

Exercise can easily be set aside when life pressures mount, unless it’s embedded in your lifestyle. A Penn State University study found 30 minutes of exercise a day has a significantly measurable impact on a person’s effectiveness and wellbeing. The study’s founders recommend that people make use of hidden moments such as power walking from place to place, standing and moving around more, turning wait time into movement and stretching time, and getting up ten minutes earlier to exercise and set the movement tone for the day. These are simple measures that every person can do regardless of how busy they are.

Find green

Benefits

Science supports the impact of green time on our mental health. Researchers have found a direct correlation between time spent in natural environments and a lowering of cortisol levels, the stress hormone that helps maintain our anxious states. The human brain was designed to cope with outdoor living, so it feels most comfortable in that environment.

Implementation tips

Visiting the bush or beach may be out for now but a daily walk in a park, garden, or backyard will bring similar wellbeing benefits. Bring some green inside with some indoor plants strategically placed at home. Regular green time is a wonderful natural remedy for anxiety and stress and a natural antidote for many of the mental health problems caused by increased screen time.

Closing

If you’re already practising self-care then set aside any feelings of guilt and simply enjoy the calm it brings. If looking after yourself has never been a high priority then now is a great time to start. Begin with small steps – pick one or two activities and build from there. The key is to make these wellbeing treats habit-forming behaviours so that they become a regular part of your daily life.

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.