Dear Parents and Carers
This lovely story was given to me by a colleague. I thought it might strike a Lenten chord.
Taking stock of our lives
Lent is the time to make new efforts to be what we say we want to be. We applaud the concept in most things. We know, for instance, that even people who were married years ago have to keep working at the marriage consciously and intently every year thereafter, or the marriage will fail no matter how established it seems. We know that people who own businesses take inventories and evaluations every year or the business fails. We too often fail to realize, however, that people who say that they want to find God in life have to work every day to bring that Presence into focus, or the Presence will elude them no matter how present it is in theory.
—from The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (Crossroad) by Joan Chittister
During the past week we have been trialling a new afternoon collection process from our Junior Playground. We are now asking parents to wait outside the main gate until the final bell. Our thinking is this step enables staff to maximise the safety of children surrounding the dismissal process.
We have also received very positive feedback from those parents who have elected to collect their child via the drive through option and as such have elected to continue this service even as COVID restrictions are relaxed. This method of dismissal also assists staff to maximise the available classroom learning time.
Parents and carers are however most welcome to enter the school grounds from 8.30am when the children are under the supervision of a teacher. Unfortunately this level of supervision is not practical during the dismissal time particularly when staff are unsure which children are under the care of their parents.
Year Six Camp
Our Year Six children and their teachers are currently on camp at Cooba (between Cooma and Jindabyne). After the disruptions of last year we are delighted that the children could experience life away from home with their classmates.
Thank you to our Year Six teachers, Mr Payne and Mr Hornby who were accompanied and supported by Mrs Powell, Ms Talbot and Mrs Cole.
We will publish some further reports of their experiences in next week’s newsletter.
May God bless you and your families
Through the Window
Today, the school heard an announcement over the PA. The voice was not Mr Pollard’s, but a student’s: “Good afternoon, everyone. Knitting Club will be held today at 1.25pm in the library.”
And this is what you might have seen if you’d walked past the library at 1.40pm.
At first glance, it looks like a group of students conducting a presentation supervised by classroom teachers. However, the entire club is run by Year 6 students, who have planned an entire term’s worth of knitting activities for their peers. They’ve also purchased wool and knitting needles, devised rules for the club to keep it running smoothly, created digital presentations to help with explanations, and collated folders for each Knitting Club member. The teachers in the back of the room are interested onlookers and supporters, and not facilitators.
Our school very much values student voice and choice. We explicitly teach collaborative learning skills where students actively participate in negotiating roles, responsibilities and outcomes. Our teachers know that students who are given voice also learn how to be agents of change in their communities. Amazingly, students who believe they have a voice are seven times more likely to be academically motivated than students who don’t believe they have a voice. Lastly, at St Matthew’s, we know that when students plan educational activities, their investment, ownership, and consequent learning is greatly increased.
Yes - through the window, you thought you saw a group of students presenting to their peers, but it really was so much more than that.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. This is a period of preparation in the Church’s Liturgical Year that orients the community towards Holy Week and the Season of Easter. It’s a time for Catholics to slow down their lives and focus on prayer, fasting and good works. During Lent, students are invited to give up or take up somthing that will benefit the lives of and positvey enhance their relationships. We invite students to make age-appropriate decisions; this could be emptying the dishwasher (without complaint or without being asked!) or reducing time spent playing video games.
Last Wednesday all classes celebrated an Ash Wednesday Liturgy in their classrooms. Teachers led the students in prayer and reflection, administering ashes to each student.
The Season of Lent also marks the beginning of the annual Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal. Donations to Project Compassion allows Caritas Australia, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, to work with local communities around the world to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression, and injustice. Each year we raise student awareness of people around the world who need support and encourage giving to this cause. Your child can take donations to school at any time throughout Lent and place it in the donation box in their class.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute your valuable ideas and opinions to our survey about refreshing the St Matthew’s Vision. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. Last night all teachers took part in a twilight meeting using the surveys as one element of continuing to develop the refreshed vision. We hope to have a vision shaped in the coming weeks to present to our Community Council for input.
Whole School Mass and Leadership Ceremony
Next Wednesday we will have our first whole school mass since COVID. It will be a wonderful time to gather and celebrate 200 years of catholic education. We will be celebrating in the hall and after the Mass Year 6 will receive their leadership badges and shirts. Due to number restrictions only Year 6 parents have been invited to attend.
If you do require an extra gift, please email the front office by March 5th, with your child’s name and class number: email@example.com;Despite being a few months away, we are already starting to get organised for our annual Mother’s Day Stall. As in previous years, we will be selling an assortment of gifts for $5 each. One gift will be allocated for each child at the school. In order to ensure that we have sufficient gifts, please let us know if your family has more than one Mum to purchase for. Unfortunately, while we recognise the wonderful contribution of our Nans and Grandma’s, we are limited to supplying gifts for the mothers of the St Matthews community.
No action is required if one gift is sufficient for your family.
St Matthew’s Clothing Pool
Please contact the front office if you haven’t received your fees or you have any questions.
FROM THE FRONT OFFICE
Please contact Mary or Chris in the Front Office to:
- Provide updated plans if your child has asthma or anaphylaxis.
- Lodge consent forms for administration of medication or an inhaler, together with the medication or inhaler. Please ensure these have not expired. They should not be kept in children’s bags.
- Let the school know of any sensitivities to bandaids. We have stocks of hypo-allergenic bandaids.
Please return the forms to your child’s class teacher by Friday March 3
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