Dear Parent and Carers,
At St Benedict’s Primary School, we are deeply committed to delivering on the promise of education and equipping every child with the ability to read -- and read well! Learning to read is such an essential skill to not only find success in school and to thrive in society, but to also experience the joy that reading brings to life. We want every child to be successful in reading! We are learning more about what research says about how children learn to read, how to make sure every student learns to read, and what to do when a child encounters difficulty in learning to read. The research that we’re learning about, and implementing is called the ‘Science of Reading’.
When We Know Better, We Do Better!
The reading scores of Australian children have remained somewhat stagnant for over 40 years! Each year, the data shows that only about 35% of 4th graders are proficient in reading! We’re not satisfied with that! While the nationwide trend has been to accept that that is the way it is, we at St Benedict’s and in Catholic Education want more for our kids. The research is telling us that while reading is more challenging for some students than others, with evidence-based reading instruction, nearly every child can become proficient by the end of 3rd grade. With the research available to us now, we can realistically set 95% proficiency as our goal in three years.
Decades of research have determined that reading occurs in a specific way in the brain in all people. It does not occur naturally the way that speech does. The process must be taught. It is a process of building neuropathways in the brain that link sounds of speech to written symbols or letters. The strings of letters are attached to meaning, and then those ‘letter strings with meaning’ are stored in the brain’s “letterbox” for later retrieval that is instantaneous and effortless. This process is called orthographic mapping and it is our goal to help our students build a giant ‘letterbox’ of instantly retrievable words. That translates into fluent reading and subsequent comprehension. Guessing at words based on context does not aid in orthographic mapping, phonic decoding does.
The Science of Reading
“The body of work referred to as the “Science of Reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the best for the most students.” - Dr. Louisa Moats
At St Benedict’s we currently use MiniLit (meeting initial needs in literacy) and MacqLit (the Macquarie Literacy Program for small group instruction). MiniLit is an evidence-based, explicit, and effective early literacy intervention program for teaching reading skills to children who are in the bottom 25% of the expected range for their age group in Year 1 or 2, whilst MacqLit is an explicit and systematic reading intervention program for small groups of older low-progress readers. It provides a comprehensive sequence of lessons that includes all the key components necessary for effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Next year at St Benedict’s we will be introducing InitiaLit. InitiaLit is an evidence-based whole-class literacy program providing all children with the essential core knowledge and strong foundations to become successful readers and writers. InitiaLit is a three-year program, covering the first three years of school (Kinder to Year 2).
Next year we will also work towards implementing a Kinder to Year 6 scope and sequence for Literacy. With the help of Catholic Education, we will be working closely with experts in this field, which is very exciting for everyone involved.
Stay safe and healthy.
Teachers are in the process of report writing by finalising and moderating pieces of assessment. It is important that children are at school and on time in the mornings to complete tasks, especially during this period. Following receipt of the school report, parents can make an appointment to see the class teacher if desired. Parent/Teacher interviews are not compulsory at the end of the school year.
Please remember that, for safety reasons, no child is to be on the premises before 8.30am at which time supervision commences. Even in rainy weather, we cannot allow children to enter the school building prior to 8.30am. If you start work extra early, please arrange to have your child supervised by a family member, friend, or neighbour until the start of the school day – could we also suggest Before School Care?
2022 School and Term Dates
Please be aware the term dates will be as follows for next year.
- Term One 31 January - 8 April
- Term Two 27 April - 1 July
- Term Three 19 July - 23 September
- Term Four 10 October - 16 December
2022 Term One Dates
- Tuesday, 25 January Staff Planning Day
- Thursday, 27 January Staff Planning Day
- Friday, 28 January Staff Planning Day
- Monday, 31 January Students Return
- Wednesday, 2 February Kinder Rest Day
- Wednesday, 9 February Kinder Rest Day
- Wednesday, 2 March Ash Wednesday
- Monday, 14 March Canberra Day Public Holiday
- Friday, 8 April End of Term 1
- Thursday, 14 April Holy Thursday
- Friday, 15 April Good Friday
- Sunday, 17 April East Sunday
Important dates to note for this term are:
11th November - Remembrance Day
26th November - St Clare's College Orientation - All day
2nd December - Learning Showcase (TBC) 2.00pm - 4.00pm
3rd December - Reports Home
- Mini Vinnies Giving Mass 10.00am -11.00am
6th December - Optional Parent/Teacher Interview (Online)
- School Board (virtual) 6.00pm-7.00pm
8th December - Kindergarten Health Checks
10th December - Ways of Being Awards Assembly 2.15pm-3.10pm
15th December - End of Year and Graduation Mass - Year 5/6Blue & 5/6 Gold 10.00am-11.00am
16th December - Year 6 Graduation 6.00pm-9.00pm
17th December - Last Day of Term 4
Helping Kids to identify and express their feelings
Sometimes children have big feelings and it is difficult to know how to respond as parents. Big feeling are often expressed as behaviour that can be best described as challenging! As a parent you have an important role to play in developing your child’s emotional skills and helping them to learn healthy ways to express their feelings. We know that children who learn to cope with and express their feelings are more likely to have good mental health and wellbeing, be more resilient and able to cope with change and setbacks, display less behavioural problems and be more confident and have a positive sense of self. So the earlier we can build a child’s ability to identify their feelings and implement healthy coping strategies the better!
Here are some great tips from the Kids Helpline that can help your child to learn about expressing their feelings:
- Tune into cues - Sometimes feelings can be hard to identify. Tune into your child’s feelings by looking at their body language, listening to what they’re saying and observing their behaviour. Figuring out what they feel and why means you can help them identify, express and manage those feelings better.
- Behind every behaviour is a feeling - Try to understand the meaning and feeling behind your child’s behaviour. You can help your child find other ways to express that feeling once you know what is driving the behaviour.
- Name the feeling - Help your child name their feelings by giving them a label. Naming feelings is the first step in helping kids learn to identify them. It allows your child to develop an emotional vocabulary so they can talk about their feelings.
- Identify feelings in others – Provide lots of opportunities to identify feelings in others. You might ask your child to reflect on what someone else may be feeling. Cartoons or picture books are a great way discuss feelings and helps kids learn how to recognise other people’s feelings through facial expressions.
- Be a role model - Kids learn about feelings and how to express them appropriately by watching others. Show your child how you’re feeling about different situations and how you deal with those feelings.
- Encourage with praise - Praise your child when they talk about their feelings or express them in an appropriate way. Not only does it show that feelings are normal and it’s ok to talk about them, it reinforces the behaviour so they are likely to repeat it.
- Listen to your child’s feelings - Stay present and resist the urge to make your child’s bad feelings go away. Support your child to identify and express their feelings so they are heard. When feelings are minimised or dismissed, they will often be expressed in unhealthy ways.
For more information please visit Kids Helpline website for additional resources or contact Olivia, your school counsellor if you have concerns about your child’s ability to express their emotions or you need support to develop healthy coping strategies.
Stuck on You
We are raising funds for our St Benedict’s Primary School community through Stuck
on You. There are many lovely things to purchase at the Stuck on You website including Christmas gifts, name labels, drink bottles, bag tags, lunch bags and shoe labels.
Please use our school code: STB when you make a purchase.
- Create your own account and place your order online
- Enter our fundraising name (STB) at the checkout to transfer points to our fundraiser
When you order from Stuck on You, St Benedict’s P&F earn up to 20 per cent commission on all orders received with our school code. The P&F are awarded points for every order made. These points are then converted to money for our school. It is important to create your own account, if you order as a guest your points will not transfer to our fundraiser. Family and friends can also use our code to help fundraise for us.
Please use the below link to go directly to our fundraising page.
If you require uniform items please email the school:
with attention Mrs Hemphill or Mrs Cox with the list of items required. Please include either your telephone number or email address.
We will endeavour to fill your order and reply to you as soon as possilble.
St Benedict's Parish
Fr Rembert Fernando MGL
Fr Baiju Thomas MGL
Onela Iruthayaraj (Parish Secretary)
Masses recommenced last week with the usual times. 85 people are able to attend each Mass in person. Please follow social distancing and sanitise before entry. If you are unwell due to immunity issues it is better to stay home. Please refrain from booking more than one Mass per week so that it gives everyone a chance to attend the Mass. We have an online booking system.