What's coming up
Mon 23 - Thurs 26 March: NAPLAN practice tests
Friday 27 March: Term fees are due
Thursday 7 April: Last day of Term 1
From the Principal
Yesterday, St Patrick’s was a sea of shillelaghs, shamrocks and shenanigans as we celebrated the feast day of our school’s patron saint, St Patrick. The day began fittingly with a liturgy during which we reflected on the qualities of St Patrick that make him such an ideal patron saint of our school. Sincere thanks to Daniel Lockwood who coordinated the liturgy.
I hope you have had a chance to view the children’s St Patrick’s Day art in the school hall. We will leave it on display until the end of the term. Congratulations to the following students whose artworks were judged to be the best in our St Patrick’s Day art competition:
- Kindergarten: Sebastian
- Year 1 Blue: Madeleine.
- Year 1 White: Sophie D.
- Year 2: Sophie H.
- Year 3: Blake.
- Year 4: Lily.
- Year 5: Peppa.
- Year 6: Jemima.
Each of these artists received a $25.00 gift card at Dymocks. Their artworks are displayed in the school foyer.
A sincere thank you to the teachers who very generously opened their classrooms for visitors while they were teaching, and who organised the games and activities throughout the day. Our staff members were at school very early on Monday morning to ensure that everything ran smoothly throughout the day. Thanks to the parents and grandparents of the Kindergarten and Year 4 students who supplied the green food for the day
Your gold coin donations and green food sales netted $378.65. We will be donating this money to Project Compassion, Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten appeal that aims to help end poverty, to promote justice and to uphold people’s dignity.
It was great to have so many parents, grandparents and other parishioners present at our festivities and our open classrooms. Thank you for the interest that you showed by coming into the classrooms.
Have a good week.
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Elsewhere in this newsletter is an update from our Director of Schools, Gerard Mowbray, in relation to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which was alos sent out on Compass yesterday.
On the advice from NSW Ministry of Health, students in Maitland-Newcastle Catholic schools have been told not visit aged care facilities until further notice. In the context of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the purpose of this advice is to minimise the spread of respiratory infections such as influenza and other respiratory viruses. Unfortunately, this means that we are unable to visits our neighbours in Tenison Apartments until further notice.
We have been directed to cancel all sporting events, assemblies, excursions and any other events that involve gatherings. Therefore:
- The school cross country, scheduled to be run on Friday next week, will be postponed indefinitely.
- All Friday afternoon assemblies will be cancelled until further notice.
- Our morning tea with our pastoral care worker, Lisa Ridgewell, which was due to take place next Monday, has been postponed until further notice.
- The students will assemble on the concrete - not under the COLA - in the mornings, after lunch, after recess. This will allow them to maintain a safe distance from one another, which is not possible under the COLA,
- The students will assemble under the COLA at 2.55 each afternoon so that we can ensure that they leave the premises safely.
The following activities have been cancelled or postponed until further notice:
- Visits to Tenison Apartments.
- Friday afternoon assemblies.
- Sporting events that involve gatherings, including the school cross country.
- Year 5/6 gym lessons at Caves Beach gym.
- Onsite gymnastics lessons on Tuesdays.
- Morning tea for the parents, hosted by Lisa Ridgewell, which was due to take place next Monday.
- Visits from CSO personnel to the school.
- P&F meetings.
As our gymnastics lessons have been cancelled for the remainder of Term 1, sport lessons will take place outside. As from next week (week beginning 23rd March):
- The Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 students will wear their sport uniform on Fridays until the end of the year.
- The Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students will continue to wear their sport uniforms on Tuesdays until the end of Term 1.
- From the beginning of Term 2, the Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students will wear their sport uniform on Thursdays, until the end of the year.
Maintaining wellbeing during times of stress
From Katrina Hammal, our School Counsellor
Feelings of worry and unease are a normal human response to stressful events, such as the recent declaration of a global pandemic, so it is important to learn to manage our stress before it becomes more severe.
Some strategies that can help both children and adults cope with feelings about Coronavirus (COVID-19) include:
- Limit media exposure and avoid unhelpful social media posts. Seek out factual information from reliable sources (see list below).
- Think about times you have coped with other challenging situations. What strengths, skills and resources did you call on? Reminding yourself you will be able to cope can help put things in perspective.
- Practise self-care to encourage a positive frame of mind. Self-care is simply about looking after yourself. For example, maintain good social connections, make time for activities you enjoy, eat well, get enough sleep, do some exercise, practise mindfulness (e.g. download the free app https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app).
- Be proactive and practise good hygiene including:
o Wash hands frequently.
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
o Stay at home if you feel unwell until you fully recover.
o Seek medical care if you are concerned about a fever, cough or breathing difficulties.
- Answer children’s questions in an honest, age-appropriate way. Children will look to you for cues about how to manage the situation so it is important to stay calm.
- Ask children what they already know, so you can clarify any misunderstandings. Let them know what they can do to stay safe (e.g. wash their hands, stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing). Allow regular contact (e.g. by phone) with people they care about such as grandparents.
- Talk with children about how they are feeling. Let them know it is normal to feel worried about getting sick. Reassure them that you are there to help and care for them.
- Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/
- World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/
- Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle: https://mncatholic.sharepoint.com/sites/Homesite/SitePages/Catholic-Diocese-of-Maitland-Newcastle---position-on-the-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).aspx
REST IN PEACE, MICHAEL
It is with a heavy heart that I pass on the sad news that Michael Wisman passed away yesterday morning. Michael is the father of Elliot (Year 3) and Gemma (Year 1), and the husband of Helen. Helen is very grateful to have been with Michael when he passed away, and she is very thankful that Elliot and Gemma had the opportunity to say goodbye to their dad. I had the opportunity to meet with Michael on a number of occasions, and he was a most gentle and friendly man who loved his family dearly and who always placed their needs above his own. Please pray for the peaceful repose of Michael’s soul, and remember in your prayers Helen, Elliot, Gemma and the rest of the family.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
A Meal Train
As a community we are offering our love and support to Helen and the children via a meal-train. You can register to provide a meal using this link: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/g4lz1l
Please deliver meals to school by 3pm on your allocated meal train day, and they will be dropped around to the family by a staff member. We ask that all meals be vegetarian. At this stage, meals are requested for three days a week until the end of term 1. Changes may be made to this in due course.
St Patrick's day image by Sofia Sartori