St Matthew’s School empowers children to embrace life-long learning, and grow and develop as God intends.
PRAYER FOR A NEW SCHOOL YEAR
Loving God, Our creator, our saviour, our companion, bless this journey of a new school year.
Refresh our souls and renew our spirits as we embrace this wonderful ministry to which you have called us.
We welcome those who are new to this community, and ask
that you strengthen them to share the gifts they have been given.
Engage our hearts as we prepare for the return of our students, and may you help them to return with open hearts and minds eager to learn. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen
Dear Parents & Carers,
Welcome to the 2021 school year. As WA battles with illness, lockdowns, fires and floods, I feel extremely lucky to have been able to start our classes normally last week. We have welcomed 12 new friends from Pre-Primary to Year 6. We hope they have all had a lovely start to the year, and we can’t wait to get to know them better. We have also welcomed 16 new Kindy friends. I am sure Dog and Frog were very happy to meet them!
Many of you would be aware that due to last week’s lockdown of the Perth, Peel and Great Southern regions, boarding students were unable to return to school. Thankfully, parents are now able to return them this weekend. This includes several members of our school community, including staff members. As the rules for wearing masks are still in place, any individual who crosses into the Perth and/or Peel regions must continue to wear a mask for the duration of the restrictions (ie. until 12.01am on Sunday 14 February) when they leave their homes for any reason. This will mean in all likelihood that we will have parents and staff members wearing masks at school. I would advise all parents to chat with their children about this and reassure them that these people are not sick or infectious, but are simply following the rules. Our CEWA Psychology Team remind us to:
Provide age appropriate and accurate information to your children while limiting news and social media as appropriate. Make sure the information that they receive is accurate and true. Share with your children what you are doing to keep them safe. Help them have a sense of control by teaching proactive strategies that they can do to stay healthy, such as handwashing, exercising, and eating well.
Please also be aware that the mask-wearing directives allow for teachers to remove their masks whilst teaching within their classrooms.
This week, the Pre-Primary to Year 6 teachers will be holding their annual Parent Information meetings to provide families with year level specific information. I encourage all parents to attend these meetings to ensure that they have a clear idea of the expectations and celebrations planned for the year. Please be aware that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, some classes may need to hold their meetings in the Library due to social distancing requirements.
|9 February||Tuesday||Yr 3||3:15pm|
|10 February||Wednesday||Yr 1||3:15pm|
|11 February||Thursday||Yr 4||3:15pm|
Busy Bee and Garage Sale 13 March 8:30am
This term, we will be establishing a new Harmony garden and nature playground area. On Saturday 13 March, we are asking our families to support this initiative by:
- Helping prepare the site – removing a section of lawn, spreading pinebark, helping with construction of cubby/play equipment, removing and repotting plants from current vegetable garden
- Donating good quality items to be sold at an onsite garage sale. Items can be dropped off to the Undercover Area 8:30am until 6pm Friday 12 March. In the meantime, photos of items can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org so that advertising can begin.
- Attending the garage sale and taking home a bargain! Along with parent donations, the school will be selling a variety of computer hardware and class furniture. A list of items will be popped on the school Facebook page prior to the sale.
Our new P&F Committee President, Mrs Caryn Tenney, would like to invite all St Matthew’s parents to the first P&F meeting to be held on Monday 15 February at 9am in the Sr Mary Library. Young children are welcome to attend; however, parents will need to continue to supervise them during the meeting.
Excursion Permission slips
Once again this year, we are not asking parents to sign a permission slip for individual incursions or excursions that form part of our educational programme. As there is an expectation that students attend excursions as part of their education, parents do not need to give permission. Parents will always be notified of excursions and incursions in advance. A written note will include enough information for parents to prepare their child and inform the teacher of any issues relevant to the child’s safe and full participation.
An acknowledgement note went home to parents last week.
The St Matthew’s Uniform Policy is up for review this year. Last year, we modified the policy so that our boys are now able to wear the formal uniform shorts or pants, to suit their own comfort levels. In order to continue to ensure that our policy responds to the needs of our community, we invite our parents to complete a short survey about our current policy. More information regarding this survey will be forthcoming this week.
In the meantime, I would like to highlight our current shoe policy:
Please be aware that black sports-style shoes are not allowed with the formal school uniform. Parents are asked to please ensure these shoes are not worn and that the correct shoes are purchased.
Excursion and Camp Policy
It is intended that students in Pre-Primary to Year 5 will follow a two-year rotation for excursions/camps (as outlined in the table below) – one close and one further away from school. It must be noted that these excursions for Pre-Primary to Year 3 are optional and are dependent on the need to provide additional educational benefit, to that which can be provided within the school setting.
|EVEN YEAR||ODD YEAR|
Pre-Primary /Year 1
Day Excursion close to school
Day Excursion away from school e.g. Peel Zoo
Year 2 /Year 3
Day Excursion close to school
Day Excursion further from school
|Year 4/Year 5||
Over Night Camp
e.g. Dryandra, Kulin
|Extended day Excursion e.g. Perth, Kojonup|
|Year 6||2 Night Camp e.g. Ern Halliday Recreation Camp||2 Night Camp e.g. Ern Halliday Recreation Camp|
The times, dates and activities to the above “Overview” may vary slightly due to particular year level expertise. Other local-based excursions, e.g. visit to town library, will also occur wherever possible.
The St Matthew’s ICT policy is designed to create and maintain a cyber-safe, acceptable use culture that is in keeping with the values of the school and legislative and professional obligations. In Kindy and Year 3, students and parents are asked to sign a Use of Internet Contract to ensure that the appropriate rules are known and respected for the duration of a student’s enrolment. This policy is available on the St Matthew’s website.
Principal Focus – The Importance of Belonging
Last year, the staff at St Matthew’s School made an ongoing commitment to implement Positive Behaviour Management strategies across the school. We recognise that a sense of belonging is crucial to students feeling accepted, supported, and respected by their teachers and classmates. When students feel a sense of belonging, they are more relaxed and receptive. Unsurprisingly, research correlates belonging with motivation, attention, effort, academic performance, and persistence. Feeling connected to others also increases a student’s willingness to learn and behave in school. In order to support this sense of belonging, teachers:
- take the time to share a bit about themselves with their students – pictures of their family, favourite interests and hobbies. They also introduce activities that allow students to share this information about themselves.
- strive to learn students’ names as quickly as possible, and address them by name.
- talk to their students about classroom norms. Norms are similar to rules, but they are not created solely by the teacher. They are an agreement between members of the classroom about how they will treat one another. They give students a sense of ownership in how the class operates.
- greet students at the school gate by name and take time to chat to them about their lives outside of school (sporting achievements, weekend plans, hobbies etc)
- assign classroom jobs to help students feel valued and important. Ideally, classroom jobs will relate to a student’s interests or talents.
- foster positive peer relationships by providing opportunities for students to work with different partners and groups, and encourage students to get to know one another.
- Include students’ interests and experiences in their instruction or content
With these strategies, teachers will aspire to make every student at St Matthew’s feel welcome, valued, and supported. And when comfort and connection flourish, so do cooperation and academic achievement! (https://tuiopay.com/blog/strategies-to-create-a-sense-of-belonging-in-the-classroom/)
Mrs Susan Milton