2021 Foundation Students
Last Friday we welcomed our 2021 Foundation students onsite for a small group transition session. It was fantastic to see how excited they were to meet their teacher and peers. They will attend two more sessions on site before the end of the term.
2021 School Board Nominations
We are now seeking nominations for two positions on our school board for 2021. The school board has continued to meet virtually throughout this year, advising and supporting the school. I wish to acknowledge and thank Dominic Langdon and Daniela Plugge for their work on the school board over the last two years. Their contributions and support of the school has been greatly appreciated by the leadership team, staff and school families.
If you are interested in nominating for a place on the school board, please read the Federated School Board Guidelines and complete and return the school board nomination form to the school office by Friday 4 December. The School Board Guidelines and nomination forms are available on our Zsapp school app or a hard copy is available from our school office.
If you would like to know more about our school board please contact one of our current board members or myself. We are looking forward to welcoming new members to our school board next year.
St Vincent De Paul Conference-Moorabbin
The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has more than 60,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across Australia. Internationally, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members.
Each year our school supports our local St Vincent De Paul Conference with their Christmas Appeal. This year, times have been particularly tough for many more families. St Vincent De Paul has asked our school community to support by purchasing gift cards from Woolworths or Coles for families in need, instead of the donation of food items.
Our school is asking families to donate a gold coin donation in turn for students wearing free dress on Tuesday 1 December. We will forward this onto St Vincent De Paul to purchase gift cards. If you would like to purchase and donate a Woolworths or Coles gift card as a family instead of a gold coin donation, you can send this along on the free dress day and we forward it onto St Vincent De Paul. Thanks for your support.
YEAR 6 CELEBRATIONS 2020
We are all feeling for our students for this year experiencing the year unlike no other. In particular we acknowledge that our year 6 students and students in year 12 will not have quite the same celebrations marking their milestone years.
As we approach the end of the 2020 school year, it has been agreed upon by staff and students alike, that the Year 6s deserve two big days of celebration in light of the year that was.
YEAR 6s BIG DAY OUT
On Wednesday 9th December, the year 6 students will be heading to Luna Park for much fun and frivolity. This day will provide students with an opportunity to celebrate with friends and teachers as they near the end of their primary school education. Further details will be sent to Year 6 families this week.
YEAR 6s BIG DAY IN
One of the most significant events on the St Catherine’s calendar is our annual graduation dinner. This celebration provides our Year 6 School Community with the opportunity to come together to acknowledge our students and farewell them as they embark on the next chapter of their educational journey.
This year, COVID-19 and Government restrictions necessitates a different approach to the way we deliver this celebration and commemorate our wonderful Year 6s. As you would understand our CECV and government guidelines do not enable us to have parents onsite and gather in groups for our usual celebration.
On Tuesday 15th December, we will celebrate our end of year graduation for the entire day. We will begin with a Year 6 liturgy in the church followed by games, food, music, a photo booth and a walk down memory lane. It will be a special day for all students involved and one they can celebrate with each other. The event, along with some additional add-ons will be recorded and shared with families via video the following afternoon. Further details about the day will also be sent to year 6 parents this week.
Please note -Tuesday 15th December will be our Year 6 students last day of primary education. They will finish the day in our school yard with a guard of honour, beginning around 3:20 p.m. Please note though that students requiring supervision on Wednesday 16th December may still come to school.
Due to our restrictions students are unable to drink from school drink fountains. It is important that students bring a drink bottle with them to school each day. Students will be able to refill their bottles throughout the day.
School start and finish times are now back to normal. School begins at 9:00am and finishes at 3:30pm. Classes begin the day with meditation, so it is important that all students are organised and ready to begin the day in class by 9:00am. Classrooms open at 8:45am to ensure students have enough time to prepare for the day.
Teachers are finding that many students are arriving at school late and tired. We encourage families to ensure students are getting adequate sleep and downtime during the week so as their focus at school is on school work.
SCHOOL CLOSURE DAY
Friday 27 November- There will be no school for students on this day. Staff will begin planning for 2021.
One of the great attributes about reading is that sometimes the words, phrases or sentences jump out at you. They give you the stimulus of meaning and understanding. In this short piece by Joan Chittister the line: It is God that religion must be about, not itself. When religion makes itself God, it ceases to be religion.
I always found it strange when countries are at war, they all believe that God is on their side. How often have we heard the US President say at the end of a speech, sending troops to war, “May God Bless America.” At the same time, we hear the other side say: May God Bless our particular country. Do you really believe that God is weighing up which side to support? When we think this way all we are doing is believing in a God who is limited rather than a God who is unlimited. It also shows we have never understood the doctrine of Free Will. God does not wake up one day and say, Well, Edward has been going really well so I will make him suffer. That is not the God I believe in.
I believe in a God who works with me at every moment of every day and in every situation, which I find myself in.
I believe in an all-powerful, perfect and loving God who created an imperfect world.
Hopefully a sign of maturity or wisdom is the realisation that God is above all religions. Religion in itself is our outward expression of our belief in God.
If we believe that Christianity is above Judaism, Islam or Buddhism, and the only way to live and believe, then we live a very narrow life and will ultimately be disappointed.
The Priest was in the front row of a boxing match. At the start of the match one of the boxers made the sign of the Cross. The person sitting next to the Priest asked him, “Will that help him?” The priest replied, “Not if he can’t box!!!!!!”
God works with us but we have to do some of the work!
Edward Dooley (Mission and Faith Leader)
A finger pointing to the moon
The problem of the nature of faith plagues us all our lives. Is openness to other ideas infidelity, or is it the beginning of spiritual maturity? What is it that can possibly take us so far afield from the initial believing self? How do we explain to ourselves the journey of getting from there to here, from unquestioning adherence to institutional answers, to the point of asking faithful questions? It took years before I realized that maybe it is belief itself, if it is real, that carries us there. Maybe if we really believe about God what we say we believe, there comes a time when we have to go beyond the parochialisms of law. Maybe, if we are to be really spiritual people, we can’t afford the mind-binding of denominationalism. In order to find the God of life in all of life, maybe we have to be willing to open ourselves to the part of it that lies outside the circles of our tiny little worlds
The Sufi tell of disciples who, when the death of their master was clearly imminent, became totally bereft. “If you leave us, Master,” they pleaded, “how will we know what to do?” And the master relied, “I am nothing but a finger pointing at the moon. Perhaps when I am gone you will see the moon.” The meaning is clear: It is God that religion must be about, not itself. When religion makes itself God, it ceases to be religion.
But when religion becomes the bridge that leads to God, it stretches us to live to the limits of human possibility. It requires us to be everything we can possibly be: kind, generous, honest, loving, compassionate, just. It defines the standards of the human condition. It sets the parameters within which we direct our institutions. It provides the basis for the ethics that guide our human relationships. It sets out to enable us to be fully human, human beings. Clearly, religion is much more than dogmatism. And thank God for that, because dogmatism would not take religion very far at all.
Every time dogmatism reigns, in fact, religion is diminished. When a religion knows when the end of the world will come, and the date passes without incident, that religion fails itself. When religion decrees salvation for some, for our kind, and moral disaster for the rest of humankind—and that in the face of the goodness we see everywhere in every people on earth—it betrays the very God of love it teaches. When religion divides people on the basis of spiritual superiority, rather than unites them as common creatures of a common God, it rends the garment of humanity. It gives the lie to the God of cosmic creation. Hildegard of Bingen wrote, “Just as a circle embraces all that is within it, so does the Godhead embrace all.
It is this awareness of the universal God that we miss in life. Our God has always been a Catholic God—or at least a Christian God. We have, as a result, missed so much of God’s revelation. So I fail to find God in the rest of the world. That makes other people so easy to kill … Indians, Arabs, Jews, and Asians don’t have much of a chance when our God wants their God eradicated.
Indeed, religion at its worst is a sham. But religion at its best anchors us to the best in ourselves.
Most of all, religion enables us to find meaning in life. It gives purpose to the human condition. It sets the human compass toward home. It requires us to be more than we ever thought we could become. It raises our sights beyond ourselves. It sets standards for us that are above the lowest level of the self.
—from Called to Question (Rowman & Littlefield), by Joan Chittister
As we enter week 7 in our last term for 2020, I thought this blog article from Michael Grose was relevant for all of us in our busy lives, but especially for our students. Switching off our worries can be difficult to do as adults, providing our students with ways to share their concerns or worries is important. Being able to communicate when something is bothering us, helps us to move forward to the next day with a more positive outlook. Completing some of the following strategies when the students get home from school may assist with alleviating the anxiety and worry cycle that can sometimes crop up just before bedtime.
Have a great week. Maree
Finding the off switch when kids worry.
Rumination is the ruination of a peaceful mind. If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night worrying then you’ll know how problems always seem bigger when you keep tossing them around in your head.
It can seem like everything is stacked against you. When this happens, you’ve got to find the off switch so you can get away from your worries for a while. The same principle holds for children and teenagers when they worry. Their problems just seem to get bigger and they need to turn them off or tone them down so they can ease their anxiety.
There are eight easy-to-learn strategies that you can teach your kids to prevent them from ruminating – going over the same thoughts and worries over and over again.
Broaden their vision
Kids get tunnel vision when they worry. They often can’t see the bigger picture. For instance, a young person may fret over minor work matters such getting the exact font match for an assignment they are working on, and neglect to get the sleep necessary for good learning the next day. Sometimes it takes a wise adult to remind children and young people about what really is important to them.
Put their attention elsewhere
Placing attention away from worries is an age old technique for parents and teachers. Commonly known as distraction, the act of focusing attention on something other than what causes them distress is vital for good mental health. Examples of distractions include – going outside, playing a game, shooting some basketball hoops or listening to music.
Give the worry a name
Somehow giving a worry a name makes it feel less scary and more manageable. My favourite picture storybook for toddlers ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof‘ by Hazel Edwards personifies fear of the dark as a friendly hippo. Much more friendly and easier to boss around if you’re a child.
Put your worries in a jar
Wouldn’t it be great to put all your worries into a safe and throw away the key? As an adult you may do this when you take time out to watch your favourite TV show; or lose yourself wandering for hours online. Children need something a little more practical. They can write their worries on some paper and lock them away in a jar by the side of the bed at the end of the day. It’s good to know that their worries can’t get out because they are locked up tight.
Limit talking time
It’s good if kids can talk about what’s on their mind but talking needs to be contained to prevent their worries from dominating their lives. Set aside ten minutes a day to talk about their worries and then put worry time aside until tomorrow.
Normalise rather than lionise their anxiety
Anxious kids are very sensitive to their parents' concerns and worries. One way we build their concerns is by continually reassuring them that things will be fine. One reassurance should be sufficient most of the time followed by “I’ve already talked to you about that.” Continually going over old ground can allow worries to linger longer than necessary.
Give them the tools to relax
Some kids might take their mind off their worries by escaping in a fiction book or playing in the garden. Some children need a bigger set of tools including mindfulness and exercise to help them neutralise their worries. Pay attention to what helps your child sufficiently escape their worries.
Move baby, move
Get kids moving. Physical exercise is not only a great distraction but it releases feel-good endorphins that help children and young people feel better and more optimistic about the future.
For more on anxiety and the tools you need to support you raise kids who worry or feel anxious, our Parenting Anxious Kids online course is a fantastic resource.
Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.
Dear St Catherine’s community, you will see in this issue of our newsletter that Lynda has put out a call for parents to join our school board. Due to the departure of 2 parents from the school board, for the 2021 school year we require an additional 2 parents to replace these roles being left vacant. Participation on our school board is a fantastic way for parents to get actively involved in our school, contribute strongly to the ongoing growth of the school and the support of our fantastic faculty working with our Principal Lynda O’Donnell. We are an active, passionate, focussed and dedicated group of parents who are determined to ensure our school continues the exciting growth it is currently going through. We have many exciting initiatives that will be launched over the coming years as well as a number of operational changes we are currently working through. Joining the school board will see you actively involved in these and more. You do not need to have had previous board experience. Likewise it is of interest that we get a diverse group of parents on the board with a wide range of work skills, life experience and educational views. If you have ever thought of doing something in this field or are interested in playing an active role in the school that your child (ren) attend, please don’t hesitate to express your interest in joining our school board via the methods outlined by Lynda in this newsletter.
Darren Forner – St Catherine’s Primary School Board Chair
Last week and this week the 5/6 students have been improving on their knowledge of location. We began by refreshing our knowledge of grid coordinates and practising our use of directional language and have moved on to looking at plotting on cartesian planes.
The last issue of Scholastic Book Club, has been sent home today. Thank you to all families that have supported this during our crazy year. Any proceeds from the Bookclub/Bookfair are used to purchase more books for the Library.
Could any orders please be placed by Monday the 23rd of November to allow for a delivery early in December.
Book Week 2020
Thank you to all the children that entered our Book Week competition!
All the children’s work has now been displayed in the Learning Hub.
We can’t wait to showcase it through the Newsletter each time.
Here are the winners of this years competitions !
Looking forward to a bigger and better Book Week in 2021 !!