Gorokan Public School Newsletter - Week 8, Term 4, 2020

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers,

At Gorokan Public School we believe that student achievements, efforts and talents must be acknowledged and celebrated. We also believe that opportunities for inspiration often come from these celebrations.

2020 has truly been a year like no other. As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, it has transformed children’s day-to-day lives. It has affected schooling in most countries, and whilst we still have some restrictions in place, we have fared well in comparison.

When schools were closed earlier this year, many roles changed to support learning from home. Our teachers became facilitators of learning, supporting parents and carers in their new role of teacher. Our dedicated teaching and non-teaching staff worked together to achieve a coordinated approach to support learning from home.

Our teachers developed an online learning program that would maintain a high standard of education for our students. As a team, we developed and continually refined a platform from which teachers could collaboratively timetable their lessons, making it easy for families to use from home. The platform was improved through regular feedback from the community and became an inspiration to other schools.

The school invested heavily in online educational subscriptions for students to access from home and we produced information videos to assist students and families in their use. Daily live streaming was available for students and parents to stay connected with myself and the staff, and proved to be a lot of fun in supporting home learning and promoting an authentic connection between home and school.

Regular recorded community updates were introduced to keep parents and carers up-to-date with what was happening at school. These updates provided important up-to-date information regarding any adjustments to routines that were applied in response to the pandemic. I would like to thank our supportive community for responding so well to the changes that have been put in place over the course of the year.

One of these measures was the exclusion of non-essential adults from our school. For a school which prides itself in working in partnership with its parents, carers and community, this was extremely difficult. But for the safety and wellbeing of the students, and staff, together we continue to make a difference working together from a distance.

Our dedicated and caring teachers have made regular contact with their students and families to ensure support for learning was provided throughout the remote learning phase and beyond. I know that this was greatly appreciated and worthwhile. I am very grateful for the wonderful staff that we have at our school and their efforts during this time and always.

Behind the scenes, the school has worked diligently to ensure the ongoing improvements of its facilities and some achievements this year include:

• The construction of the K-2 sports shed,

• The tennis court upgrade,

• The resurfacing of the basketball courts and the installation of handball courts,

• A major overhaul of the school’s technology infrastructure and the purchasing of devices to support learning for all students,

• The commissioning of two new murals designed by two of our talented students, and

• Further enhancements to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program which has provided our Year 6 classes with an opportunity to counteract some of the disappointment of cancelled events in their last year of primary school.

2020 was also a year when our great school shone in the broader community. Our efforts in technology over the past few years and in our response to remote learning, led to the school being awarded the Google Reference School status. A highly prestigious award that allows us to trial new programs and provide feedback directly to the Google team in relation to educational programs and tools.

Gorokan Public School was also featured twice in the Department of Education’s Technology for Learning magazine this year and the school’s response to the pandemic was reported to the community through the media via radio and newspaper articles.

Fostering a sense of pride in our school, has been the intention behind the establishment and maintenance of our stunning grounds and this has resulted in the school taking out two major awards in the 2020 Wyong District Garden Competition:

• First Place - School Culinary Garden, and

• First Place - School Garden.

The Kindergarten orientation restrictions provided another opportunity for the school to demonstrate our innovative approach towards adversity. Unable to hold our usual comprehensive program, the school produced a series of podcasts to inform and support our new students and their families which included:

• a virtual tour of the school, and

• information sharing videos covering important topics such as:

- Learning and support,

- Managing and promoting positive student behaviour,

- How English and Mathematics are taught, and

- How technology supports learning at our great school.

Throughout this year of many restrictions, the school looked for ways to support engagement through fun activities. This was certainly achieved by the Colour Explosion Fun Run, organised by our dedicated Stage 3 team. The day was a huge success and arguably a significant highlight for students and staff in this year of restrictions and compromise.

In my seven years as principal of this great school, my mantra has always been that together we can make a difference. I would now like to acknowledge some of the people who have worked in partnership with the school and myself to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students.

I will start with the 2020 student leadership team. These students served their school to the highest standard. They consistently set a standard of safe respectful learning and adjusted to the restrictions that were in place throughout their leadership time. They assisted me in the delivery of live streamed and recorded whole school assemblies keeping the school informed and celebrating student and school achievements, building their leadership skills each step of the way.

Congratulations to the 2020 student leadership team consisting of: School Captains - Hannah T and Kingston S, School Vice Captains - Aimee M and J J and Prefects - Thomas M, Chloe M, Gabriella D and Jorjah C.

Year 6 Gift - As you may know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of our school. What you may not know is that one of our teachers has worked diligently at Gorokan Public School since it opened its doors all those years ago. She is well respected by the school and broader community and has received the NSW State Award for Excellent Service to Sport. It is lovely that our Year 6 students chose to honour this service through their gift this year which is a beautiful sign naming our freshly resurfaced basketball/netball court - The Gail Farrell Courts in her honour. Thank you, Year 6, for this thoughtful gesture of appreciation.

Presentation Day Assembly – This year our Presentation Day Assembly will be broadcast to classrooms and the community at 10:00am on Tuesday 8th December. Congratulations to our deserving award recipients and to all of our great students for their personal achievements this year.

2021 Student Enrolments

If you have a child who will not be returning to our school next year (excluding Year 6) could you please inform the office. The number of students we have plays a vital role in our planning of class structures. As in previous years our classes will commence the new year with the students returning to their 2020 class, where they will remain for the shortest time possible until our final student numbers are confirmed. We have found this to be the best practice to ensure a smooth transition for the students. Please be reassured that all students will commence the new year being engaged in their grade appropriate work.

Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures – Due to the uncertainty of the world health situation, the current drop off and pick up arrangements will continue for the remainder of the year and the beginning of the new year until further guidelines are provided. A community update will be provided when school resumes in the new year to outline any changes to these procedures.

In closing, I would like to farewell the families who are moving out of the area and our Year 6 students who will be going on to high school. I thank you for the contribution that you have made to our school and wish you a bright and happy future at your new schools.

The staff and I thank you for your ongoing support during a year that has truly been like no other.

Thank you for another wonderful year and I look forward to greeting the students when school resumes on Friday 29th January.

Together we can make a difference.

Dates to Remember

  • Monday 7th December Year 6 Taster Day to Gorokan High School
  • Tuesday 8th December 2020 Online Presentation Day 10:00am
  • Thursday 10th December Mingara Rewards Day
  • Tuesday 15th December Year 6 Graduation
  • Wednesday 16th December last day of school for students
  • Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January 2021 Staff Development days
  • Friday 29th January 2021 first day of school

Early Stage One

Current Learning

We will be exploring celebrations around the world and in particular Christmas. Students will be engaged in a variety of enjoyable tasks across all key learning areas. Please contact your child’s teacher if you have any concerns.


Kindergarten students who would like to participate in Gorokan’s Got Talent competition are invited to perform on Tuesday 8th December. Please complete the permission slip and return it to school asap and send your child to school on that day with their required props, if needed. Winners of the competition will be announced and filmed at the completion of Week 9.

Celebration of Learning

Class Awards

Three students from each class have been selected to receive a class award. Parents/Carers have been notified via a letter if their child is a recipient. Please return the permission slip if you are happy for your child to be filmed receiving their award. All remaining Kindergarten students will be presented a certificate in Week 10 for completing their first year at school and making a fantastic contribution to Gorokan Public School. We congratulate each child in Kindergarten for their hard work and determination this year. Teachers and staff members have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know your children.

Congratulations to the following students for receiving class awards last fortnight.

KC – Lailahni, Haylen, Felicity and James

KDT – Ethan, Alex, Prince and Taliah

KFL – Noah, Ansley, Kanisha and Jacob

KL – Noah, Braxtyn, Kiara and Isabelle

KJ – Maddy, Kailee, Ava and Gunkirat

Mrs D Jeanpierre - ES1 Assistant Principal

Stage One

Current Learning

This week Stage One students have been learning how to use questions and exclamation marks in their writing. In mathematics, students are discussing numbers in their daily number talks to demonstrate their understanding, while also working on their maths strategies with fun activities.


Class Picnic

We are encouraging all students to bring a special lunch for an end of year class picnic on Friday 11th December in Week 9. You could decorate your lunch box or pack something special to eat.

Decorate your lunch box
Pack something special to eat

Stage One Rewards Day

Students who have reached Bronze, Silver, Gold or Emerald Level will be rewarded with special activities on Monday 14th December in Week 10. Students who have reached Gold Level are encouraged to bring in their favourite board game.

Celebration of Learning

1L are celebrating the completion of their colourful NAIDOC Week artwork. Each child was responsible for an individual piece of the artwork. They have also been developing their computer skills.

1L's collaborative artwork of an Echidna
1L students working hard at the computers

Mr R Johnson - Relieving S1 Assistant Principal

Stage Two

Current Learning

Throughout the past two weeks, students in Stage 2 have been learning about the structure and language features of procedure texts. We have written everything from how to build and fly a balloon rocket and paper plane to how to make a maze, reindeer biscuits and catapults. These highly engaging learning experiences had led to some very informative writing being completed by our students. Well done Stage 2 on your ingenuity and your writing.

Balloon rocket making
Balloon rocket making
Balloon rocket making
Reindeer biscuit making
Reindeer biscuit decorating


A reminder that even at this late stage of the year, it is still vital that students are completing reading activities whilst at home. Reading aloud every night can assist your child in becoming a more competent reader. Thank you for your support.

Celebration of Learning

Congratulations to those students who have been nominated for awards at our Presentation Day assembly. We are so proud of you.

Mrs R Ranse - Acting S2 Assistant Principal

Stage Three

Current Learning

Students have been busy over the past fortnight with lots of teaching and learning occurring. In English we have had a focus on procedures with students following instructions, making and creating some wonderful artworks along the way. Dream catchers are hanging in every classroom and they are just beautiful to look at. These will be coming home with students in the coming weeks.

All Stage 3 classes have been revising and implementing our school expectations of being safe, being respectful and being a learner. 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.

Year 5 Election of School Leaders for 2021

A huge congratulations to our successful school leaders for 2021 which were announced last Wednesday. They are: Lincoln and Ruby – School Captains

Riley and Elissa – School Vice Captains

Chloe, Lily, Dom and Tyler – School Prefects

We are looking forward to next year and seeing you lead the way here at Gorokan!

Year 6 Farewell

Plans are going ahead for our Year 6 farewell on Tuesday 15th December, 2020 here at Gorokan Public School. 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 restriction guidelines. Unfortunately, parents and carers will not be allowed on school grounds. Please be assured that the evening will be captured and shared with the community. All students are to be dropped off and picked up from our Dudley Street entrance. Dress Code: Smart casual (with sensible enclosed shoes) and no technology. Staff will be taking photos. There will be a catered meal, photobooth, disco and presentation. We are so excited! 😊

Year 6 Transition to High School (Gorokan HS)

Gorokan High School Orientation Day was held on Tuesday 1st December. The Aboriginal student breakfast has unfortunately been cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Gorokan High School Taster Day

This event will be held on Monday 7th December. Buses have been organised to depart Gorokan Public School at 8:45am to travel to Gorokan High School, and will return to school for our normal school dismissal procedures. Please ensure your child is at school on time. Students must wear full school uniform and bring their lunch and recess with them. No students are to travel independently to or from Gorokan High School.


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

Celebration of Learning

A huge congratulations to all our students who continue to earn their class dojo’s each and every day. We look forward to seeing how many you achieve for our Week 10 reward day! Keep aiming high!

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

K-6J have been learning about things that melt in science lessons with Miss O recently. They had fun testing to see what happened when they tried to melt some different cooking ingredients. I think the chocolate was the winner!

Kaia was a tidy chef
Leo is loving the chocolate

Celebration of Learning

During Grade Gathering this week, we had many students receive rewards for their great behaviour and learning. They are as following:

Sienna, Kaia, Noah A, Claudia and Jarvis.

Mrs S Crook - Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing

P&C News

Thank you to our amazing community for all the donations towards the Salvation Army canned food drive. Your support is amazing and is much appreciated.

Just a reminder to return your dental permission notes as soon as possible. If you require another note please ask your child to ask at the school office.

We are always happy to receive second hand uniform donations for our emergency clothing pool.

I would like to wish our community a safe and happy Christmas.

Jasmine Daunt - Community Liaison Officer

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

Interrelate Live workshops are held on Mondays at 11:00am to hear their expert tips and advice

  • 28th September: Building Resilience in Children
  • 5th October: Self-care for Parents

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

Managing the mother load

by Dr Jodi Richardson

“The mental load means always having to remember.”

Emma, a French cartoonist summed up the mental load that most mothers carry in her 2017 viral comic, ‘You should’ve asked’. In the opening scene a very hassled mother was preparing for a dinner party, while feeding her two young children, dealing with a noisy dog and answering the phone, all while she was hosting a colleague for dinner. As the dinner boils over the stove and onto the floor she looked at her partner imploringly. He unwittingly answered, “But you should’ve asked! I would have helped.”

This scene artfully exemplifies the many invisible layers of responsibility that mothers carry including arranging most household tasks, managing the family home and being on top of the fine detail in every family member’s life.

This is not the case in all families, but current research reveals that the great majority of women bear the load when it comes to housework (mums do twice as much as dads), caring for children (again, mums doing twice as much as dads) and carrying the mental load for their family.

There’s only so much we can manage. For those of us who are anxious, there will be times our plates will fill, and overflow. While there’s no single way to ease the mental load that mothers carry the following ideas will help to make life more manageable:

Stop making life easy for others

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many mums will overdo preparation rather than expect others to step up and help. I have been known in the past to cook and freeze up to a week’s worth of meals prior to travelling for work. Not any more though. Magically, my husband and two school-aged children have become very capable in the kitchen as I’ve stepped back.

Delegate and let go

Delegate some household jobs to your children. Leah Ruppanner, professor of sociology at Melbourne University says, “Unless death is impending from poor domestic decisions, step back, support and allow others to learn from their mistakes.” Letting go of jobs and allowing kids to do things in their own way is hard for perfectionist personality types, but it’s essential if you are going to last the parenting journey. Surprisingly, both guilt and perfectionism ensure that many mums keep their children dependent upon them.

Diarise and check

One way to ease is the mental load is to lessen the number of mental notes and details that you carry around. Set up recurring electronic calendar entries for routine tasks and check regularly. This way you have less to remember and a place to find what you need, which is more efficient and mum-friendly way of being organised.

Lower the bar

Many mothers confess that they constantly feel guilt. if they don’t put their children first. That’s a heavy burden to carry. If anxiety is a constant companion, it’s essential to lower the bar on your self-expectations. Unfulfilled expectations are proven stressors for mothers so take away tasks, rather than add to your mother load.

In closing

There’s little doubt that many mothers carry an overwhelming mental load that adds to their anxiety and stress. I’m not suggesting that you abandon your job entirely but rather to look for ways to make the mental load you carry a little lighter. In doing so, life will become easier to manage. As with all behavioural change its easiest to start small. But whatever you do, if you’re straining under the mother load make a start at releasing and sharing the load.

Parents can learn more about minimising anxiety as a mum in Dr. Jodi Richardson’s book Anxious Mums: How mums can turn their anxiety into strength published by Penguin Random House.

Dr Jodi Richardson

Dr Jodi Richardson helps people to reduce their anxiety, strengthen their wellbeing, live by their personal values and achieve resilience and lasting happiness. Her research-based advice is grounded in a career of extensive university studies, clinical practice, education and endless compassion. Jodi is the co-author of the highly acclaimed book Anxious Kids. Her latest release is Anxious Mums: How mums can turn their anxiety into strength. For further details visit www.drjodirichardson.com.au