St Matthew’s School empowers children to embrace life-long learning and grow and develop as God intends.
A Prayer to Combat the Coronavirus Pandemic
Most Merciful and Triune God,
We come to You in our weakness.
We come to You in our fear.
We come to You with trust.
For You alone are our hope.
We place before You the disease present in our world.
We turn to You in our time of need.
Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into Your Eternal Home.
Stabilize our communities.
Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts.
Fill us with confidence in Your care.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As I write this newsletter, I am very aware that plans for the next few weeks may change before I have even published it. However, that does not take away from the fact that the last two weeks have been lovely at St Matthew’s. Despite all the chaos in the rest of the world, we have been able to continue on as usual. The students have been focusing on the importance of Harmony Week, and have had a lot of fun doing it. I had the pleasure of attending the Year 3 and 4 class Mass on Thursday. This very aptly focused upon kindness. It is so easy for us to forget in this crazy new Corona world, that we need to be even more aware of how we can positively affect those around us. Thank you so much to Mr Collins and Mrs Allington for reminding us of the importance of a smile.
Over the past few weeks, I have sent out several emails, sms, and school app messages regarding the different government and school initiatives that have been put in place as a response to COVID-19. Please ensure that you refer to these messages, and continue to read any new advice as it is shared with you. I appreciate that many parents are concerned at this time and are struggling to make the best informed choices for themselves and their families. It is very important for us to remember:
“While some businesses and sectors are slowing down, and people are being advised to take precautions and reconsider going out, the advice from health authorities is that school should continue. This advice means that our students can continue learning, and acknowledges that schools are safe places for children and young people at this time, with appropriate precautions and modifications to how our schools manage large group activities where needed. “
(Dr Debra Sayce, CEWA Executive Director)
Like all schools in Western Australia, St Matthew’s is open for all students to attend and safely participate with our community in the stability of their familiar routine, with minor variations. The Minister and Chief Health Officer have the authority to change this, and Catholic Education WA continues to act on their expert advice. I will notify you if the school closes, and how we can continue to offer your children their curriculum at home.
Parents must keep their children at home if they are suffering illness or incapacity, especially the symptoms identified by the health experts. Parents should notify the school, using the usual process, of their children’s absences and the reasons. Your children’s classroom teachers will decide what material to send home to them so they may continue to participate in their educational programme. Teachers will continue to deliver the curriculum to all students at school as normal.
On Friday, we were informed by CEWA that NAPLAN 2020 has been cancelled for the following reasons:
“The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 has been taken to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the well being of students and continuity of education, including potential online and remote learning. Further, the impact of responses to the COVID-19 virus may affect the delivery of
NAPLAN testing, including the operation of centralised marking centres and the implications for nationally comparable data if an insufficient number of students are available to do the test.” Education Council
New Sun Shade
We would all like to thank the P&F for the new sandpit sun shade that was erected this week. Apart from the obvious benefits of additional shade in the play area, it is amazing how much more exciting a space can become when you put a roof over it!
Principal Focus – A New Normal
I know and appreciate that this is a very difficult time for us all, and that we are all in the midst of creating a new normal for our families. A modern classroom relies on many different teaching strategies to provide opportunities for our students to collaborate, create, think critically, develop an understanding of citizenship and practise communication skills. Naturally, it is extremely difficult to recreate this learning space in your lounge room; however, in light of some families making the difficult decision to remove their children from school, here are some ideas of how to keep our kids learning and creating whilst confined to home:
- A family narrative – each member of the family adds a couple of sentences/paragraphs to a growing narrative. Remember that a narrative must have a setting, a problem and a resolution. Include interesting adjectives and adverbs. Describe settings and characters in detail. Once the narrative is written, the family could add illustrations, turn it into a comic book or use PuppetPals (free iPad app) to animate the story.
- Continue reading books – each child should have borrowed additional library books this week. Children who are on Lexile can access the quizzes from home. Please contact your classroom teacher if you do not know your child’s login.
- Games such as Scrabble, Boggle, Charades, Scattergories and Hangman give children a chance to practise their spelling, speaking and listening skills as well as extend their vocabulary.
- Reader’s Theatre – act out a favourite story
- Create your own word sleuths and crosswords – choose a theme, or focus on spelling patterns teachers have been setting for homework
- Online Maths Programs – Please contact your classroom teacher if you do not know your child’s login
- Games such as Monopoly and Numero give parents an opportunity to alter the game to suit the child’s age and/or ability. Remember to gently challenge your children to extend their learning.
- Reading Eggs (PP – Yr 2) – Please contact your classroom teacher if you do not know your child’s login
- Children’s Sunday Liturgy @Home – CathKids is a weekly interactive experience designed for primary aged children that includes a short animated video on the Sunday reading, ‘I wonder’ questions, a craft activity and prayers. CathKids normally has a subscription fee but due to the situation with COVID19, they are offering this resource FREE for the next 3 months.
- Cook or bake from a recipe – this provides opportunities to practise measuring skills and understandings, as well as the structure of a procedure, new vocabulary, verbs, nouns, lists and sentence structure.
- PenPals 2020 style – emails make this a very easy activity. Children can practise the difference between questions and statements, paragraphing. punctuation and even social conventions. It is also a chance for children to connect with their classmates and share their adventures.
Most importantly, don’t forget to give your children a chance to play and explore outside. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children engage and interact in the world around them. Remember that during a normal school day, children have many opportunities to engage with their friends, run, skip, throw balls, play chasey, study ants, jump, giggle, colour, create and be silly. School is so much more than pen and paper – don’t try to fill each moment with structured activities. It’s ok, at this stressful time, to use this opportunity to re-engage with your children and allow them a chance to extend their learning in many creative and interesting ways.
I’d like to finish with this poem by Russell H. Conwell that our beautiful Year 4 students read at their Mass last Thursday – something for all of us to remember during these challenging times.
Smiling is contagious, you can catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner, and someone saw my grin –
When he smiled I realised I’d passed it on to him!
I thought about that smile, then I realised its worth.
A single smile – just like mine
Could travel round the earth!
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected –
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected!