Dear Parents and Carers
I offer the following Michael Grose article to you in the knowledge that you are not alone.
A recent Australian study found that 7.00am is the most stressful time of the day for working parents. Dubbed stress o’ clock, this is a time in the morning when work and family pressures and the deadline of the clock converge.
Recent conversations held with parents indicate that children and young people experience stress o’clock too. This is a time soon after a child wakes when self-doubt, getting ready for school and looming fears clash. Children’s tummy-aches and heads-aches often prevail at this time of day.
“Mum, I don’t feel well. I think I’ve got a cold. I don’t want to go to school.”
How do you respond when you suspect there’s more worrying your child than a sniffle, and you’re hurrying to get ready yourself? Most parents don’t have a script to guide them when stress o’clock hits.
Pandemic induced anxiety
Since the pandemic adults and children are reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety. Morning is one of the worst times for anxiety to strike. Like a fox, anxiety comes in the night robbing children of their courage, replacing assuredness with self-doubt, apprehension and fear.
Dealing with a child or young person in the middle of their anxious moment is super hard, particularly when you’re still wiping the sleep from your eyes. In times of stress, it’s always best to stay SOBER. That is,
Stop what you are doing and pay attention to your child and to yourself
Observe the emotional reaction you are having to your child’s distress and ask what your gut is telling you
Breathe deeply to remove yourself from panic mode (‘I can’t take this!’) and kick start your thinking brain that has succumbed to your survival brain
Expand your vision and look at the bigger picture. Perhaps your child is genuinely nervous but it’s important that they sit the test that makes them feel awful. Allow the bigger picture to guide your actions.
Respond to your child or young person calmly. Empathy and understanding are in short reply in the mornings, but if you have practised this type of response in low stress situations, you’ll be more than ready to respond appropriately, rather panic or over-react when your child is stressed.
Like everything in parenting, this plan sounds easy when there are no kids around, but it’s important, nevertheless.
A lack of a plan you can follow when kids are anxious is the major cause of parent stress. In times of stress, it always helps to have a plan to follow. When dealing with children’s nerves, tension and anxiety at stress o’clock this plan will really help you.
by Michael Grose
Our children participated in a virtual Remembrance Day Ceremony today. Congratulations to everyone for the respectful way they commemorated this important occasion.
Next Friday our teachers will resume presenting class awards. The presentation will mirror last year’s Pandemic model whereby the Award will be presented over our school PA. Don’t forget to look surprised when the children produce their Award when they arrive home!
Finally thank you once again for your ongoing support during this time. Please rest assured that the staff is working hard to keep your children safe. We hope and pray that our community might be spared the disruptions that have occurred at many ACT schools
May God bless you and your families
Restorative Practices at St Matthew’s
If you have more than two children living at home, I wonder what it was like in your house during remote learning? Did the siblings always cooperate? Was it always peaceful? Were there never any unkind words? Not surprisingly, now that our students have returned to school, we’ve noticed that they’re learning, once again, how to be cooperative, collaborative, and peaceful learners and friends.
We all know that students are going to make mistakes and errors of judgement as they learn and grow, and as they take risks and try new things—it's how we respond that matters. Here at St Matthew’s, we believe that students should have a chance to learn from their mistakes and to restore any damaged relationships with others. Our view is known as the restorative approach to discipline. The rationale behind this approach is that when offenders reflect upon their harm to victims, they become remorseful and act restoratively. They are offered opportunities to make amends. This can help children regain their footing in a nurturing environment with consistent classroom practices and high expectations.
Traditional tools for addressing behavioural issues among students—rewards and consequences, shame and humiliation, suspensions and expulsions—run counter to our belief in the innate dignity of each person, and do not result in lasting change, much less a productive learning environment. Children who are habitually criticised, humiliated, or shamed internalise negative feelings about themselves that affect healthy development. By contrast, children accustomed to loving support and guidance are much more likely to become healthy and productive citizens. Restorative Practices help all students learn to resolve disagreements, take ownership of their behaviour, and engage in acts of empathy and forgiveness.
Restorative Practices can also work for you at home. You may want to use restorative questions to help your child move through disagreements or behavioural issues. We invite you to read more about these practices here and to support us as we build a positive culture of teaching and learning.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus continues this teaching by offering his disciples signs to look for that will indicate that the coming of the Son of Man is near. His words and images draw upon Old Testament imagery, especially images found in the Book of Daniel. Next, Jesus offers the lesson of the fig tree, a parable that teaches that if one knows how to read the signs, one can be prepared for the end times. Jesus also teaches, however, that no one knows when the end time will come, except the Father. In the verses that follow this reading in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus continues to warn his disciples to be on watch for this end time.
Jesus’ words are not spoken to frighten his disciples, nor should they frighten us. Rather, they are offered to prepare us for the changes we will experience during our lifetimes and at the end times. Our consolation and hope is found in the lasting nature of Jesus’ words and God’s never-ending love for us.
This week as a family, reflect on the many chanegs we faced this year. what did your family handle well? What are you still working through? Take a moment in prayer to ask God for continued support as we head towards the final part of the year with many more changes and challenges to come, i'm sure.
Parents of children in Year 3 who wish for their child to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be sent an email over the next day or so, asking for your feedback as to how we may be able to accomodate the Sacrament over the next few weeks.
When you receive the email, please complete the form and return it as soon as possible so Fr Simon and the school can move forward with planning. Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me here at school or via email email@example.com
Have a great week!
Religous Education Co-ordinator
Today we were finally able to celebrate Book Week together at St Matthew’s! It was wonderful to see so many wonderful book characters come to life at our school. Our staff was even replaced by the characters from ‘Alice in Wonderland’! Thank you to all our families for helping us celebrate this wonderful event!
All families have received their log in details via email for our new Compass Parent Portal. The Compass Parent Portal is an online portal that allows you to interact with the school and access up-to-date information. The Skoolbag app will be discontinued at the end of this year. Once you have your log-in credentials and download the app, you’ll be able to:
- Enter absence notes for your child
- Give consent for excursions
- View school reports
- Communicate with your child’s teacher
- Book parent-teacher interviews
- Receive communication from staff
If you didn’t receive log in details, please contact our Front Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check your “junk” mailbox.
Click here to install Compass on Apple devices
Click here to install Compass on Android devices
When prompted: Search “St Matthew’s P” and then you’ll see “St Matthew’s Primary School – Page” as a drop down.
2022 School Fees
To assist with your financial planning for next year, notification of 2022 School fees have been distributed to families this week.
A worksheet was included to help you calculate instalment repayments between February and November 2022. If you have a student in Year Five or Six, please also factor in the fees for your child’s camp. These will be invoiced in full in Term 1.
Your family may choose to set up a recurring weekly, fortnightly or monthly BPAY payment. Other Payment options include: Qkr, EFTPOS or Credit Card.
Please complete the 2022 Family School Fees (Systemic Letter) showing where all school age children in your family will be attending school in 2022 and return this form to the front office by Friday December 3, 2021.
This form must be completed each year as the information affects the amount invoiced for the CEO Tuition Fee and the Building Fund Levy. Discounts on CEO Tuition fees are available for siblings attending Systemic Primary and Secondary Schools. Failure to return this form may result in no family discount, therefore full CEO Tuition Fees and Building Fund Levy will be invoiced to your account in 2022.
Please note. The five CEO Systemic Secondary Schools are St Francis Xavier College, Merici College, St Clare’s College, John Paul College and St Mary MacKillop College. (St Edmund’s, Marist and Daramalan are not systemic schools).
Please return the 2022 Family School Fees - Systemic letter by Friday December 3, 2021.
Happy birthday wishes to Nicholas G, Daniel C, Hugh W, Aarav G, sasha K, Iris L, Aa M, Piper W, Violet M, Connor P, Nathaniel D, Claudia M, Jemma H, Parinaaz K, Logan G, Noah S, Tyler C, Georgia M, Lucas C, who recently celebrated birthdays.
Growing up is not straight-forward
by Michael Grose
The pandemic has delivered change and upheaval to families on an enormous scale. Many parents fear for their children and worry about the impact that remote learning, reduced direct social contact and missed milestone will have on their children. Upheaval is not new for some children, particularly those who’ve experienced illness, a loss of a loved one or who’ve moved home and changed schools. Each change requires acceptance, adjustment and an attitude realignment to help them fit the new circumstances. Every change is an opportunity for a child to grow and develop, if they are supported, and they’re not overwhelmed by the experiences.
A child’s pathway to adulthood, and the accompanying journey of their parents, is generally viewed as linear. Growing up is seen as a straight-forward march from infancy, early childhood, childhood, adolescence, post-adolescence to adulthood. If COVID has taught us anything it’s that a child’s journey is full of twists and turns.
While your child has a developmental clock that keeps ticking over, it’s their experiences that determine their maturity and their ability to reach fully-fledged adulthood with the resilience, grit and adaptability needed to thrive. What are the experiences that will help children mature and cope with adversity when it inevitably comes their way? The experiences that develop maturity and coping capacities fit into two broad areas – challenging and positive experiences.
The challenging experiences that a child encounters enable them to build their coping capacities and develop their emotional resources that contribute to their maturity. These challenges include:
Disagreements, arguments and rivalry is part of growing up. Whether it’s a dispute with siblings or a fallout with a friend, negotiating conflict is a developmental task.
Rejection by a friend or group is hurtful and feels horrible, but it also builds a level of social smarts and judgement necessary for navigating relationships in later life.
This takes many forms including a friend moving away, the death of a pet and the passing of a family member. Loss is the cause of sadness, grief and heartbreak that can feel overwhelming. However, with time and support kids learn to cope and get on with their lives.
Losing a game, not being picked for a team, not receiving a gift they wanted are unpleasant but character-building experiences that help kids develop perhaps the most treasured resilience capability of them all – acceptance.
Although few kids like it, and many will fight it change, acceptance of change and the ability to adapt to circumstances is a short cut to maturity and resilience.
Mistakes are seen in three ways. They are activities to be avoided, signs of failure, or opportunities for further learning. Resilient learners know that mistakes, even initial failures, are part of every learning process so the risk of failure doesn’t hold them back. Children and young people grow from these experiences as coping and recovery generally build character, confidence and resilience.
Though children and young people will inevitably experience challenging experiences, positive experiences help to balance the experience ledger by building a child’s identity, wellbeing and emotional collateral.
Knowing that a child is loved and loveable is at the core of their self-worth. Self-esteem and identity built in adolescence needs a solid foundation of self-worth.
Making and keeping friends is an essential life task linked to many aspects of happiness and wellbeing.
The ability to belong to groups through contribution fulfils a basic need. It allows children to experience real gratitude and feel needed, which builds self-esteem.
When life becomes challenging or when stress and anxiety build, children need something positive or fun to look forward to. Hope and anticipation are well-known antidotes to stress.
Fun, joy, excitement! Any activity that shifts children’s and young people’s emotion from unpleasant, low energy to pleasant and high energy is a good thing.
Involvement in enjoyable activities such as hobbies, interests, sports, music, games, creative and performance arts are central to healthy wellbeing. Activities that are fun, freely chosen and create flow (the ability to lose track of time) fit the criteria of play.
A child’s age and related milestones is a recognised marker of their development. However, their life experiences, as much as the number of birthdays they’ve had, contribute to their maturity, resilience and readiness for the wider world.