Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Today we recommenced as a school after the three days away from St James and we are all thankful that the COVID restrictions have been lifted. It has been an interesting few days and again we are challenged to change and adjust the parameters of our everyday life. We all return to what we know and also aware that we all need to be versatile for events that arise suddenly.
There are many emotional signs that arise as per the image. This is natural and we will continue to approach all challenges in a considered manner.
Last Friday Suggested Learning activities were provided and were followed with Optional Tasks for the children to complete early this week.
The teachers listed many activities across the year levels. Again I am impressed with the time and planning they invested through a virtual mode from their homes. The detail in what was created in their unit planning was wonderful.
This is a very interesting time. Trying to strike a balance in only two days, of the varied expectations and the need to be sensitive to the challenges and mental health that confront us, is an ongoing task.
Coincidentally yesterday was the start of Lent, a period in our liturgical calendar where we are called to a conversion or change in our lives.
This morning all classes gathered as a class for morning prayer to acknowledge the forty days ahead of us and the call to change and adapt. Maybe we have been in a secular Lenten period in the past five days and the months of 2020 and now we are called to deepen our prayer life, give generously to others and fast or adopt an action that will have an impact. We are called to continual conversion as a Christian community.
Loving and compassionate God, Your hope in us and for us is boundless whatever we do, whatever we fail to do; You call us back to you, inviting us to change and to be the change in the world. Help us during the days of Lent to respond to this call.
On Ash Wednesday (yesterday), the signing of ashes on our forehead is a symbol of our connectedness with creation and the community that God calls us to build and shape, a community of love and forgiveness. The cross also helps us to think about Jesus and His death.
Again many thanks to all our parents, teachers and children in adjusting to the past week. We are continuing to shape our community of St James.
Diverse and holistic support for students
This year we are continuing to build on our repertoire of learning support structures at St James. Bronwyn Northcott, an Occupational Therapist will support our children and teachers and will commence in the coming weeks. Bronwyn met with our Wellbeing team last week and provided us with many insights of how her wisdom will support all children.
Occupational Therapy helps with social skills, emotional literacy, behaviour management, fine and gross motor development, mental health and confidence in children's own identity and independent self-care skills and upskilling staff in all of these areas. OTs in mainstream schools have previously been overlooked in Australia, where in the US, Canada and the UK this has been common practice for truly inclusive education for many years. So much of what OTs do can be beneficial to the whole student cohort. Victoria is seeing a recent increase for OTs working in the mental health and wellbeing roles in schools.
We also welcomed Adele McGaffin, a Speech Pathologist from Communicate Speech Pathology. Adele will work collaboratively with Karlee Agnew (Learning Diversity) and Olivia Quinlan (Literacy / Learning & Teaching) to provide a bespoke and individualised programs for students at St James. The program will include any combination of screenings, 1:1 assessment, 1:1 therapy, small group therapy, large group therapy and teacher training. Adele will also be able to liaise with teaching and support staff in regards to students’ needs as well as writing goals for Personalised Learning Plans.
We are very excited to welcome Bronwyn and Adele to the St James team. They will add to our strong educational learning teams, including Learning Diversity (Karlee Agnew), Literacy (Olivia Quinlan), Learning & Teaching (Olivia Quinlan) and Wellbeing Teams (Georgia McNamara, Karlee Agnew, Maureen Flanagan and Brendan Flanagan).
Student learning and development does not always follow a clear, sequential and predictable pathway. That is why we are always endeavouring to find evidenced based research and resources that will support student growth and development. All teachers and external personnel that we engage have differing expertise profiles across different specific areas. Schools do better when they have strong and responsive programs. Turning the learning brain on means creating the right consistent approaches.
Year 5/6 Camp
Next Wednesday the Year 5 and 6 classes will be off to camp at Christain Youth Camp in Cowes Phillip Island. If the weather is anything like it has been over the past few days they will have a great time in the range of outdoor activities planned. A senior school camp early in the school year is a terrific way for our older students to bond and develop their leadership skills. Being away from home for three days and two nights will stretch the students and build their capacity to be organised, manage different routines etc.
Year 4 Reconciliation
Fr David Cartwright has requested that our Year 4 students receive the sacrament of Reconciliation on Friday 26th February. Mrs Emma Herbert Religious Education Leader has further information in the RE section of the newsletter.
The new garden space
If you haven’t had the chance to visit the garden space on Osborne Place, please do.
The transformation of this space by David Ferrier has been remarkable. Today I was able to watch our Prep children play amongst the garden and beds in a calm and gentle way.
A lovely way to reconnect our younger children after the time away. If you are unable to attend, have a look at the St James Facebook page and Tree Principles page.
I would also like to introduce June Goh who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Singapore and LTCL (Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance) from the Trinity College of Music, London. She has performed in solo recitals and attended piano masterclasses, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in piano performance. June loves to share her piano skills - for over 20 years, she has taught students of all ages who play for leisure or sit the piano exams. She has also taught at Yamaha Music School, conducting classes for the Junior Music Course for young children. June enjoys playing the keyboard with her church music team during Sunday service, sharing her passion for music with the congregation. She also provides piano accompaniment for AMEB instrumental exams. June loves working with children and also has a Certificate in Education Support. In her free time, she loves to bake and play with her dog, Saffy. She has two children currently in high school who keep her very busy.
If you would like to book piano lessons, please contact Sharon Daffy via email
email@example.com or Mobile: 0425 343 233
The Camp, Sports and Excursion Fund is provided by the Victorian Government to assist eligible families to cover the costs of school trips, camps and sporting activities.
If you applied for the CSEF at St James last year, you do not need to complete an application form unless there has been a change in your family circumstances. You only need to complete an application form if any of the following changes have occurred:
- new student enrolments; your child has started or changed schools in 2020 or you did not apply in 2019.
- changed family circumstances; such as a change of custody, change of name, concession card number, or new siblings commencing at the school in 2020.
Finally, the first Dads' Gettogether is on tonight. All St James Dads are welcome.
Location: 162 Martin St, Brix Bar and Dining
(Outdoor Bar at the back of the venue)
Time: 7.30pm onwards
Faith in our Future.