Welcome to 2024! It has been a positive start to the 2024 school year, with students and staff settling in well. The first few weeks of the school year have included our 2024 ‘Building Connections’ program. This year, we have incorporated aspects of a new wellbeing program being used in the school called ‘Grow your Mind.’ Grow Your Mind aims to enhance the social and emotional learning and wellbeing of children, school staff and families through supporting them to understand mental health and form habits of resilience. The program supports learning communities to develop a strong awareness of ways to protect and nurture wellbeing. The program is built upon four pillars to promote mental health and wellbeing: positive psychology, social and emotional learning, public health and neuroscience. The program draws on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning's (CASEL) model of the 5 social and emotional learning competencies (self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills) to help children. This includes seeing children understand what a respectful relationship is and developing skills to foster a growth mindset. Grow Your Mind takes a whole-school approach. You may have already heard about GYM and some of the different brain characters such as ‘Guard Dog’ and ‘Wise Owl!’ This week, our teachers and students have commenced formal learning in earnest, including our Playberry Laser Phonology program which is consistently implemented across all classes. We are looking forward to monitoring progress and growth in all areas of the curriculum over the coming weeks.
Last week, we hosted a very successful ‘Cybersafe families’ evening, which followed student presentations during the day. Now more so than ever, it is vitally important to keep our children safe when engaging in an online world. Chris Greene and the team at Cybersafe families do an amazing job of providing support to families and schools in keeping our children safe! You can find out more about the evening by engaging with the Cybersafe families website: https://cybersafefamilies.com.au/
This week, we celebrated meet the teacher evening in a new way, with open classes and a community picnic. We felt this would be a more efficient way of imparting information to class parents and a great way of bringing the community together to begin the school year. I was very pleased with the turnout for the evening and we hope to continue this tradition into the future. My thanks to all families who found time to come along and actively engage in their children’s learning!
This week was also the beginning of Lent, with the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake cook up, and then the more sombre Ash Wednesday services. Lent is a 40 day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It's a period of preparation to celebrate the Jesus Resurrection at Easter. Fr Michael talked to the children during his homilies on Ash Wednesday, about Lent being a time of focussing on the Love God has for them all, and for us to focus during lent on how we could change our hearts and be more loving of one another and of the world around us, during Lent. As a school community, we look ahead now, to commemorating Lent through our RE program, and to focus on acts of Social Justice such as project Compassion.
Our building project is almost complete! I am nervously optimistic that our scheduled moving day on march the 15th can go ahead, and that students and families can be welcomed into the new space on Monday March 18. I will, of course keep you up to date with progress, and any potential barriers to project completion. Once the new building is occupied, the next stage of project completion will be to remove the transportable village, and to ‘make good’ the area. This will, understandable take some time to complete, and much of the major works will be undertaken in school holiday time in April. I am hopeful that the site will be completely restored by mid-May, and will keep families informed of progress.