The School Newsletter Week 8, Term 1 2020

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

We give special thanks to Owen Hammond, (Father of Mila in Yr 1), for his wonderful photographic skills.

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.

Peter Green.


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.
  • Excursions.
  • 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.

Helpful resources

Source: https://www.psychology.org.au/getmedia/38073179-4701-48bd-afd9-988c560ee2f9/20APS-IS-COVID-19-P1.pdf


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.


Last Tuesday, Michael Mangan visited St Patrick’s. Michael is a songwriter and performer of many of the songs that we teach to our students. Michael played many of the songs that we already know, and he taught us some new hymns that focused on the seasons of Lent and Easter. All of the students were thoroughly engaged in the performance. Michael was exceptionally pleased with the students’ participation and eagerness to sing and perform. We would like to thank Michael for his enthusiasm in sharing his faith with us through his music.


Next week the students of Years 3 and 5 will undergo practice tests for NAPLAN. These tests are done by all schools that are completing NAPLAN online this year. The purpose of these practice tests is twofold:

  1. To iron out any possible problems associated with the technology.
  2. To familiarise the students with the online platform for NAPLAN.

The tests will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 23rd March @ 12.00pm: Year 5 Omnibus test. (Language conventions, Reading and Numeracy).
  • Tuesday 24th March @ 9.30am: Year 5 Writing test.
  • Wednesday 25th March @ 9.30am: Year 3 Writing test.

From The LIbrary

Earlier this term the students were given their booklets for the 200 nights of reading. Congratulations to the following students in years 3-6 who have already made it to 25 nights and are well on their way to 50 nights.

Lara, Jagger, Lacey, Annabelle, Lily, Hayden, Evan, Alivia, Alex, Maci, Jemina, Summer-Rose, Caitlyn, Layla, Shyanna, Isabella, Nate, Lukah, Madison, Sunshine, Layla, and Ben.

The library is undergoing a few changes with new shelving and layouts taking place. We still have all the students favourite books as well as introducing many new titles.

Please be reminded that Book Club orders are due tomorrow (18th March)!


Learning to identify and regulate emotions is a big job, especially for children. One tool that we use at St Patrick’s is the Zones of Regulation (the “Zones”). The Zones is a framework that uses four colours to help students to identify their feelings and their level of alertness. It provides strategies to support emotional regulation. Some of these strategies are “calming” strategies, which include taking a break, using fidget toys, weighted toys, and deep breathing. To assist the students to choose calming strategies, we have set up a “breathing bench” on the playground. This is designed to be a safe place for the students to identify and regulate their emotions by practising calming strategies.


We frequently speak about the adage of the Sisters of St Joseph: “Never see a need without doing something about it.” In the past week we have seen this motto come to life in the kindness shown by two Year 5 students. As a result of an accident several weeks ago, Robbie now has a full arm cast. Robbie has to be very careful that he does not do any further damage to his arm, so he has to take it easy at lunchtime and recess. No running around! No footy! Alivia and Nate have given up their playtime to keep Robbie company while he can’t play. Naturally, Robbie, his parents and our staff are incredibly grateful for the kindness of Alivia and Nate. Their kindness has made a huge difference to Robbie’s wellbeing at school. Thank you, Alivia and Nate! You are champions!

Canteen Roster

Volunteers are desperately needed in the canteen. Online ordering will be closed on particular days until the lunch time shift has three volunteers, or two experienced volunteers. - Please consider putting your hand up to help out in the canteen, and remember to see the office about officially registering as a volunteer at the school.


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St Patrick's Swansea


St Patrick's day image by Sofia Sartori