Dear Parents and Carers,
Each day we receive updates on the number of positive cases, the ever increasing exposure sites and yesterday we received the news that our lockdown will continue to the end of the school term. The lockdown is affecting us all and I understand how challenging it is for our children, parents and staff. Please continue to be positive and resilient, and take each day as it comes. Remember to take time out for your mental health and wellbeing, and don’t forget to enjoy our new ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’.
I wanted to share with you something that I came across last week… written by a fellow Principal in the Blacktown LGA, after hearing news that the lockdown there is extended. It is thought-provoking and does put things into perspective. It has some wonderful suggestions of things you can do for ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’.
You might be inclined to create a minute-by-minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing….
Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off school for weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips at the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be ok. When we are back in the classroom, we will of course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do Maths. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it is this: at the end of all this, your kids' mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or your child’s teacher if you need to chat about teaching and learning and student well-being in this challenging time. We are all thinking of you all and praying for your safety and wellbeing during this challenging time.
Fathers’ Day Mass
Fr Rem will be celebrating mass for our fathers this Friday 3rd September, 10am. Students will be sent an invitiation in Microsoft Teams to attend the mass.
Catholic Education will again support families who have been financially impacted as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Term 3. The position of Catholic Education is that no child will be denied a Catholic education because of financial circumstances. Please see the correspondence sent through COMPASS, SZapp and email.
Leaving St Benedict’s
If you anticipate that, your child will leave St Benedict’s at the end of this year, could you please notify the Front Office. We need to begin planning for staffing and class configurations for 2022. Thank you to those who have let us know already, this is very much appreciated. Naturally Year 6 parents need not respond to this request.
The Reverse Selfie by Dove
By age 13, 80% of girls (and many boys also) distort the way they look online. Let’s change that. Social media is a big part of young people’s lives – but retouching apps and pressure to post the ‘perfect selfie’ are hurting their self esteem and confidence. Have the selfie talk with a child you love to reverse the damage and celebrate the natural person.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project have created this powerful video highlighting retouching apps and the pressure to post the perfect selfie. It’s worth a watch, especially by our 5/6 students! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2 T-Rh838GA
A Digital Footprint is any information that is available online about you (even information shared by others), for example, photos, posts, and comments that you have made. We need to support children in developing a positive footprint by encouraging them to think about what they share and that they have appropriate privacy settings in place.
See https://www.commonsense.org/education/videos/whats-in-your-digital-footprint for a child friendly video clip to provide further information about what this means.
Snapchat remains a popular app for messaging and sharing photos and videos. You must be 13+ to sign up. The app has some privacy settings which we would recommend you explore with your child and suggest why certain options are safer, for example, setting your account so only friends (rather than everyone) can see your content.
What should I be aware of?
- Who is your child friends with – talk to your child about who they are friends with and why it is safer to be friends with only those they know in real life.
- Group chats - in a group chat, there may be people that they’re not friends with on the app who can then communicate with them in the group chat, which increases their risk of interacting with strangers.
- Snap Map - The map lets users see where friends are. Location sharing via the map is optional and is off by default (we recommend that it remains off).
- Snapchat streaks - Streaks count how many consecutive days two people have been sending Snaps to each other, this can increase pressure to respond daily.
- Inappropriate content – due to the nature of the app your child may come across content that is inappropriate.
- Screenshots – whilst Snaps disappear, users may take screenshots before they do, potentially resulting in them losing control of what they have shared as it could be sent to other people.
- Bullying – there is a risk of bullying on all platforms so please ensure your child knows how to block and report other users if necessary.
It is important to talk to your child regularly about what they are doing online and make sure that they know that they should always talk to you or another trusted adult if they have any concerns. Please make sure the appropriate privacy settings are set up and your child knows how to block and report other users if necessary.
Important dates to note for this term are:
3 Sep Fathers' Day Mass, 10am
5 Sep Fathers' Day
9 Sep Learning Showcase, 2pm to 4pm
9 Sep Kinder Health Screeening
10 Sep Whole School Assembly, 2.30pm
11 Sep Sacrament of Confirmation, 3pm
14 Sep School Board Meeting, 6pm
17 Sep Ways of Being Award Ceremony, 2.30pm
17 Sep Last day of Term 3
Yr 5/6 Camp has been moved to Term 4, Wk 4.
All relevant communication/information/notes have been sent via Compass. Please log
into the Compass Portal to view them. Information on how to log in is the School News section of this newsletter.
Thank you to all the families that have already paid Term 3 fees and who have already paid their Term 1 and Term 2 fees. Term 3 school fees are now due. If you are experiencing difficulties paying school fees, please contact Ms Rachel Smith or Mrs Belinda McRae at firstname.lastname@example.org
We ask parents to log into the Compass Portal as this is the main way of communicating during this time. Please see the information below on how to log in.
A Lens on Learning
Over the past week of remote learning, we’ve once again been amazed by the efforts and positivity of our students and school community. Our students and parents have demonstrated persistence and continued to rise to the challenge, giving their best. We thank you!
Below is just a snapshot of some of the rich and varied learning that has been taking place.
+++++++++++ Remote Learning
Learning Meetings Working
Writing Typing Working
A Diamante poem by Maria
Indigenous Literacy Day
Today we celebrate ‘Indigenous Literacy Day’ which aims to celebrate Indigenous languages, stories, peoples and culture and raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions.
This week Mr Kenneth Williams (Reuben’s Dad) shares some family history and their connection to Wiradjuri land.
Kenneth William’s family history
Reuben’s (1/2G) dad
My family and I are Wiradjuri. Pictured below are Reuben’s great, great grandfather, Dan Riley with another family member Bill (left) and an article on his great, great uncle Tracker Riley (right).
A message from our Aboriginal School and Community Officer for Catholic Education, Katrina Cambridge
My name is Katrina Cambridge, and I am the Aboriginal School and Community Officer for Catholic Education in the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese. I am a descendant of the Yuwaalaraay people from Goodooga in North Western NSW. Our totem is the long-necked river turtle. I was born on the lands of the Yuggera and Turrbal people but grew up on glorious Gubbi Gubbi Country. I am now very lucky to live, work, learn and raise my children on beautiful Ngunnawal Country. This year, Indigenous Literacy Day: Celebrating Stories and Language (ILD) will be held on Wednesday 1 September, and is an annual celebration featuring Indigenous languages, stories, peoples and culture.
Growing up I loved sitting around listening to my Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles telling stories about their life and stories of the spirits. I especially liked their ghost stories, even if it meant I couldn’t sleep afterwards.
I guess when people think of Dreaming Stories, a very popular one is the Rainbow Serpent, and it is a wonderful story. But where I lived as a child was not far from the Glasshouse Mountains in QLD and their story is one of my favourites. If you have ever been to Australia Zoo, you would have seen the Glasshouse Mountains. I recommend you take some time to find out their story.
All Merit Awards have been posted to relevant recipients.
Kinder: Keisha L, Josephine H, Mason H, Sienna F, Nicolas M, Aanaya P, Jackson K, Airlie M, Scarlett L, Henry M, Ellena C, Harry W, Patrick S, Verona N, Brock O, Oscar Q, Nathanael M
Year 1/2B: Mya R, Aimee O, Henri R, Penelope V, Beau F, Eyad M
Year 1/2G: Emma D, Eli A,
Year 3/4B: Augustin L, Kate S, Ryanna O
Year 3/4G: Isla M, Jack O, Maria C
Year 5/6B: Ava D, Alannah C, Miya H
Year 5/6G: Liam N, Angus C, Ciru N, Lalia D
St Benedict's Parish
Fr Rembert Fernando MGL
Fr Baiju Thomas MGL
Onela Iruthayaraj (Parish Secretary)
For the extent of the lockdowns, the Archbishop invites all to pray the Rosary as a community via Zoom each Wednesday and Friday at 4pm.
Zoom details: Simply click on the link Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Rosary. Or enter in the details below after opening the:
Zoom app Meeting ID: 850 2245 8332
Passcode: 5436 755 43675
The 12.15pm Monday to Saturday masses and the 11am Sunday mass at St Christopher's Cathedral will continue to be livestreamed as normal at the following link:
Online parish mass link: