Dear Parents and Friends,
Welcome back to Term 2. I trust all families celebrated Easter with joy and happiness and that you were able to spend some happy time with family. Term 2 brings with it many exciting times. We will hold our Yr. 6 Camp at Rumbug, students in Yr. 3 and 5 will sit the NAPLAN Assessments, there will be a school closure day on 8 May when staff will work on defining effective and appropriate Feedback to support student learning. We will enjoy another ‘Robbie Williams’ evening and at the end of the Term, students in Yr. 3 will receive the Eucharist for the first time.
The Value that we will focus on for Term 2 is Hospitality. Hospitality was something that was very obvious in years past. For my parents, it was extremely important that any visitor who came to the door was welcomed in and invited to share in the family meal. There was no need for an official invitation to Dinner – all people were made to feel welcomed and appreciated. In today’s world of business, this sense of open hospitality may not be quite so obvious. Hospitality, however is more than being ready to invite another to share a meal.
The following extract is from an online article “Spirituality & Practice.”
“We are practicing hospitality when we welcome guests — including strangers and enemies — into our lives with graciousness. An open house reveals certain things about us: we are well-disposed toward others, we focus on the positive, and we believe the universe is basically a friendly place. Sometimes hospitality requires that we cross boundaries and dismantle some of the barriers erected in our society to keep "the other" out. Sometimes it means entertaining ideas that might be alien to us.
To be hospitable, you need to accept pluralism as a natural condition in the world. Celebrate the diversity of the Creation. One particularly valuable spin-off of hospitality is inter-religious dialogue. Spirit speaks in many languages, and this spiritual practice helps us receive these multiple messages.
Hospitality and hostility are both derived from the same word root — but they couldn't be more different. Whereas hospitality is about welcoming all, hostility thrives on insider/outsider conflicts. Practise the former to increase your tolerance of the various groups in our society and their distinctive lifestyles.
On an interpersonal level, hospitality is a good prescription to balance a tendency to be critical of and unaccommodating to others. People who are distrustful of the world, who become fearful and paranoid when strangers approach, or who are suspicious of ideas unlike their own will also benefit from this practice.”
Throughout this Term at St. Mary’s, we will be learning about being hospitable people.
We will hold an Assembly next Friday 24 April commencing at 2.40pm where we will focus on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. All families are warmly invited to join with us. As we reflect on this significant event in our history, we pay our respect to all those who gave their lives in the hope of better things for mankind. As a visitor to ANZAC Cove, you are greeted with a plaque that displays the following words written by Mustafa Kemal who is better known as Ataturk. Ataturk fought at Gallipoli and in 1923, became the first President of Turkey. When I visited ANZAC Cove in 2008, I found these words very powerful as they expressed to me a sense of respect and gratitude for all those who lost their lives in this battle.
“Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives,
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country,
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us, where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries,
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are living in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives in this land,
They have become our sons as well.”
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING
The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence which was held at the end of last Term was very successful. Some of the Art work completed by students now decorates the “Remembrance Tree” in the Piazza. This tree will be a visual reminder to our students that they should always be inclusive of others. In supporting students in their social and emotional development, as a staff we are using the Emotional Thermometer. This thermometer is a visual reminder to students, in that should they become upset and feel angry, they are to calm down and to channel their angry feelings from the “red” zone to the calmer area of the “blue” zone. We have painted “Blue Zones” around the school where students can go should they need some time to think and become calm. To support and engage students in the playground, we have purchased outdoor games such as Connect 4, Chess and Jenga. These have been well received by the students. The Community Leaders are taking responsibility for these games.
NEW PROGRAMS IN 2015
This Term a new Social and Emotional Learning Program (SEL) has been introduced for Yr. 1 and 2 students. The program is facilitated by the Footsteps Company. Through this program, students explore positive ways to relate and interact with each other through games, story, music, role plays and through the use of Kimochis – toys with feelings inside. The program aims to build resilience in participants and to create “active, creative, risk takers.” The program will run for 40 minutes each Wednesday. The Yr. 1 and 2 students will partner up so that students get to meet others from another Level.
Two other programs were introduced last Term - the Getting Ready in Numeracy Program (GRIN) and the Levelled Literacy Intervention Program (LLI). They are both now well established and are making a positive impact on student learning.
St. Mary’s will participate in a School Review next year. As a component of this Review, all families will be invited to participate in the Enhancing Catholic Schools Survey (ECSI). I encourage all families to complete this survey as it allows us to understand our specific Catholic Identity as expressed and lived at St. Mary’s. The survey is to be completed online and is anonymous. It will become active as from next Monday 20 April, therefore each family will receive instructions for its completion on Monday. Once the survey is done, you are asked to print off your Completion Certificate and bring it into the Office to enter into a draw for two Movie tickets. Thank you in anticipation for your participation.
EUCHARIST FAMILY NIGHT
Students in Yr.3 who are preparing for First Eucharist, along with at least one parent or guardian, are asked to attend an evening on Thursday 30 April in the Church commencing at 7.00pm. This evening is a time where together you are able to reflect on this sacrament and the richness it brings to our everyday life.
PARENT EVENING WITH IAN LILLICO
On Wednesday 6 May from 7.00pm – 9.00pm, we are pleased to be able to present an evening with Ian Lillico. Ian is a former School Principal in Western Australia and an international consultant in gender education with a particular focus on boys’ education. Ian has a hands on approach and will present ways that parents and educators can engage all students in their learning and personal development. He will cover topics such as bullying and behaviour management. The evening will be shared with St. Damian’s School community so it is important that you make a booking for this session. Please refer to attached Flyer. Bookings are to be made by phoning the School Office 94334000.
Principal Helen Anderson