New Playground Equipment Open for Play!
Our new playground equipment, funded by the P&C opened this week. Our students have had a fun time climbing, hanging, crossing, crawling, jumping and exercising their sense of balance.
Lessons were delivered for staff and students prior to using the equipment and a roster has been set up for the first two weeks to allow all year levels a chance to explore the space thoroughly.
On Fridays, students who have received a playground pass for showing our core expectations (we are safe, we are respectful and we endeavour) can access the equipment for more fun time with their peers exploring.
Connecting With Our Parent Community
Current Department of Education COVID-19 guidelines restrict who comes onto our school grounds each day. This includes the guideline that parents and carers are not able to come onto school grounds unless it has been determined as 'essential'. It goes against everything we believe in terms of us coming together as a community for all of the young people in our care. It is however our current reality and given we like to see every challenge as an opportunity, we are looking forward to our community working together on other ways to connect. The app Seesaw is a wonderful way that you as parents are able to connect with your child and the learning that is occurring each week in their learning hub. Teachers are regularly posting updates and love seeing your comments and feedback to their posts. A large number of parents signed out of their Seesaw accounts during Learning from Home so that children were able to log onto their accounts to access their learning. Please check this week that you have logged back in as the parent to the app so that you can see all the wonderful learning that is being shared each week. If you are unsure how to access Seesaw, please email your child's Key Teacher.
Summer Uniform Reminder
For the last 3 weeks of Term 3 (September 7 - September 25) we will have a short cross-over period between winter and summer uniform. This means that during these 3 weeks children can wear either their winter or summer uniform. All children are expected to be in their summer uniform on the first day of Term 4.
Recognition Week for our Admin & Support Staff
This week is a special week at Anzac Park when we acknowledge and thank our amazing non-teaching staff members who are our Admin and Support team. School Admin and Support Staff who work in the office, library, on the school grounds or in the classrooms are important, if not vital contributors to the success of our school. Let them know how much we appreciate their efforts!
Anxious kids? Teach them to take off their anxiety goggles
By Dr Jodi Richardson
Do you find it hard to focus on the present?
There’s always so much to do and plan for as parents. It’s no wonder our minds wander so much. But to think that we spend nearly half of our lives thinking about things other than what we are doing means there’s an awful lot we’re missing out on.
When we’re fully engaged with what’s happening , there’s so much to experience. Bringing our thoughts back to the present moment can be like landing them on a calm, quiet, relaxed island in the midst of stormy seas.
When our minds wander to troubling thoughts, we end up experiencing pain and suffering at times when we’re often warm and dry, fed and watered, safe and secure. Like when we’re in bed. Snug and relaxed in our comfy beds, our doona keeping us warm (or a sheet to keep us cool), with a lovely soft place to lay our heads. Could we be more content in that moment? If only our minds would stay with us!
It’s the same with our kids. It’s often at the end of the day when they’re no longer engaged in activities that they begin to think and worry. Their minds are far away from the reality of being safe in their rooms with loving family close by but they are sick with worry about future events.
Sometimes thoughts are so ‘sticky’ it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to bring a wandering mind back to the present when we’re so swept up in our worries. It takes practice to notice a wandering mind, gently ‘unhook’ from the thought and return our attention to the present moment. That’s the practice of mindfulness. Notice, unhook, return, repeat
Put your head where your hands are: A lovely woman at one of my retreats told me her grandma’s favourite saying was “put your head where your hands are” meaning think about what it is you’re doing while you’re doing it. That’s smart!
Noticing our thoughts are wandering and bringing our attention back to what we’re actually doing is a skill, which gets easier with practice. It’s a powerful skill to teach kids, as it too gives them perspective and importantly, the space they need for positive change.
Viewing the world through anxiety goggles: When our kids feel anxious they look at what’s happening around them through ‘anxiety goggles’. It’s like when you look through a pair of glasses with red lenses and everything looks red. Take them off and all is clear again. What if we could help our kids to take off their anxiety goggles and learn to look at their thoughts rather than from them? It would bring them such relief.
Creating a lovely space between our kids and what they’re thinking: We can help our kids do this by developing their metacognition (thought-noticing) skills. That way, when their minds wander to their worries and troubles they can notice they’re actually ‘lost in thought’ and not really experiencing the events they are thinking about. It would help them to ‘unhook’ from their daydreaming and importantly, bring their minds back to the present moment.
This is a wonderful skillset which helps our kids to manage their mental health. When kids tune into their thinking, they immediately distance themselves from it. Rather than being lost in the thoughts that are making them feel anxious, they can mentally step back and see the thought for what it is. Just another thought that comes and goes like all the ones before and all the ones to come.
- Teaching thought-noticing to kids: There are many ways to teach thought noticing to kids. Look at these ideas like a ‘Choose your own adventure’. Start where you like and go in any direction that feels right for you and your family. If the idea you try isn’t quite the right fit, choose another!
- Do you hear what I hear? Lay down comfortably side by side and spend 2 minutes listening for any sounds you can hear, near or far. When you’re finished, compare what you heard and open a discussion about how our minds often wander away with our thoughts. Kids will know this as ‘daydreaming’. Share how your mind wandered and invite your child to do the same.
- Tell me more: Day-to-day conversations are great for thought noticing. It’s about asking the right questions. Here are some examples to get the thought noticing conversation started: “Can you tell me more about why you think that? Why do you think you got so upset when we had to go straight home? Why do you think you’re putting off doing your homework? How will you know when your painting is complete?”
- Name your mind: If we get our kids to give their minds a name, we open up opportunities to ask them different questions. For instance, if your child name’s his/her mind Sam. You can ask your child what Sam is thinking. This encourages your child to step back and take a helicopter view of him or herself.
- Post-meltdown reflections: In the aftermath of a meltdown or outburst, when calm has returned and your child or teen has moved on, take some time to ask why he/she got so upset over what happened? Ask questions like “what did your mind say to make you feel upset?” for younger children or “can you tell me what you were thinking that made you feel so angry, frustrated, disappointed etc.?” for older kids.
Developing metacognition or ‘thinking about thinking’ skills fosters self-regulation among children. As contributing to children’s mental health and happiness, metacognition helps kids be more successful, more resilient and be able to problem-solve because they are less likely to get caught up in their worries. And remember, your GP is a great place to start if you have any issues with your kid that you’d like reassurance or advice on. Make time for a chat.
Our teachers are looking forward to meeting with you as part of our learning conferences to discuss the progress your child has made and their learning goals for the remainder of 2020. The conferences will commence on Monday 14 September and run until Thursday 17 September at the times your class teacher has scheduled through School Interviews. As the COVID 19 guidelines currently don’t allow parents to come onto the school site, all learning conferences will be conducted virtually via Zoom. Bookings for learning conferences will be available next week.
2021 Kindergarten Enrolments
It is the time of year when we need to work proactively to finalise our Kindergarten enrolments for 2021. If you have a child starting school next year please submit your enrolment as a priority this week. This can be done via our new online enrolment process which can be found on our school website. Similarly if you have friends or neighbours who have children starting please remind them to do the same. It assists us greatly with our planning and organisation to have a firm idea of how many children will be enrolling next year. We will also start communicating regularly with our prospective families regarding the transition to school process. It is likely to look a little different this year due to the COVID 19 restrictions. We are still finalising the revised plan.