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The School Newsletter Week 6, Term 3 2021

From the Principal

My sister is a retired teacher who lives on her own in a Sydney suburb that has been under harsh lockdown conditions for almost eight weeks. Her next-door neighbours are a mum, dad and 12-year-old girl. My sister has taken responsibility for the home learning program for the girl, and both my sister and the girl are feeling the strain. The school has set an enormous amount of work in every subject area, and the work is taking them many hours every day to complete. The educational merit of some of the learning activities is questionable and, for this particular girl, there has been no feedback from the teacher and no response to any communication. It seems to me that the purpose of the work is to keep the children busy, and that the teacher has no regard for the wellbeing of either the students or the adults working with them – in this instance, my sister.

I do not need to highlight the defects of that school’s home learning program to highlight the high standards that our teachers at St Patrick’s have applied to their home learning programs. I am working every day with those students who are unable to undertake their learning-from-home programs at home, so I can speak with some first-hand knowledge of the high quality of the work that they have planned, of the feedback that they give to their students, and of the ways in which they have reached out to students and families who are struggling.

My sister is able to give 100% of her attention to her neighbour. On the other hand, many of you are facilitating home learning for multiple children while juggling the demands of your paid work, running a household and surviving a pandemic. Times are tough at the moment. Our mental health is taking a battering. We need to support each other to get through this together. Sometimes it is the small things that we do that make a big difference. Hats off to Helen Santamaria who is running an online yoga class for a number of our parents. Thank you, Helen.

You are probably wondering where I am going with this. Well, my main reason for writing this is to say “Well done!” Whatever your personal circumstances, I think you are doing a great job. If your child has had lots of microwave meals, stayed up late, played too much on the Xbox and not finished all their schoolwork . . . that’s okay! We know that our students are safe, loved and cared for, and that is your most important job at the moment. Our teachers have high expectations of their students, but we have tried to set what we believe is a reasonable amount of work. All we ask is that you do your best. If your best is a quick 30 minutes of reading or maths here and there . . . that’s okay. If you want to do all of the work that we set, that’s okay too. Please do not allow schoolwork to put any extra pressure on you when you are trying to hold down jobs, earn a living and keep your children safe. Everyone’s circumstances are very different and we appreciate that.

Finally, the school may be “closed” to most students but we are still here emotionally for all of our families. If you need support . . . a chat . . . a virtual cuppa . . . a cry . . . let us know. Most of my administrative work has dried up during this pandemic, and I am free most afternoons after 3.00pm. (After a day with the kids, I might need a chat or a cry too!). I would love to hear from you.

Take care and stay safe. You are doing an amazing job!

Peter Green.

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Parent EngagemEnT Group Meeting

COVID has forced us to cancel many of our engagements, but we still plan to run our Parent Engagement Group (PEG) meeting via Zoom on Wednesday 25th August. At this meeting we will present an information session on Student Wellbeing at St Patrick’s. Details of the meeting appear elsewhere in this newsletter. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

At this meeting I am very happy to answer any questions that are submitted to me prior to the meeting.

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YOGA FLOW THROUGH LOCKDOWN

Helen Santamaria (mother of Elliot and Gemma) has devised a wonderful way of encouraging adults to look after their physical and mental health during this lockdown, as well as keeping our school community connected and supported. Helen is teaching online yoga classes during lockdown. She already has a number of parents logging in to the classes. If you are interested in joining Helen’s class, the details are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday at 7.00am.
  • Saturday and Sunday at 8.00am.
  • YIN classes on some evenings.
  • $15 each week for unlimited classes.
  • For more details, the Facebook group is called ‘Yoga Flow Through Lockdown’.
  • Alternatively, you may contact Helen at either helensantamaria@hotmail.com, or Facebook Messenger (Helen Santamaria), or phone 0447 487 874

Helen is also considering organising a kids’ yoga class if the lockdown continues for much longer. Thank you, Helen, for reaching out to our school community in this way.

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