Dear Parents and Carers
Welcome to Term 2! It has been lovely to welcome everyone back … and the weather has been amazing. We have a few special events ahead; commencing with our Anzac Day service this Friday. This will be hosted by the Year 3 students, supported by the Year 6 Student Councillors, and will be attended by children from Pre-Primary to Year 6. At the end of Week 2 is the eagerly anticipated Pyjama Disco for all students. During Week 3, students in Years 3-5 will be attending the annual Scribblers Festival.
Next week we will advise families of Term 2 assemblies, which will include an opportunity for us to hear some of the more experienced instrumental students play for us. While we look forward to holding school assemblies where everyone is invited, we will continue to only invite the families of the class or classes presenting the assembly, students receiving certificates and awards (and students playing a musical instrument).
Ms Burrows and Mr Hodgson have been so impressed by the efforts, skill development and skill levels of students, most recently at Swim Squad and the interschool carnival, that they have introduced ‘team badges’ to be awarded to selected students. These badges will recognise commitment and achievement in the contexts of swimming, cross-country and athletics. They will be presented at school assemblies. Thank you to those students who so capably represented Kapinara at the interschool swimming carnival at the very end of last term; and thank you to the adults who supported them to get there!
Information pertaining to cross-country and athletics training will be emailed in the next few days.
Last term, our Health focus for students from Pre-Primary to Year 6 included Protective Behaviours. Kindergarten students will do this later in the year. The focus this term is on Mental Health and Wellbeing, and students in Years 2-6 will be working through a program we trialled last year, called Weaving Wellbeing. You can read about the program in the here, and I encourage at least all parents of students in Years 2-6 to do so. The student books include a pull-out Parent Guide, and parents are encouraged to share the information and activities in the guide with their child as the weeks progress. These will arrive home in the first week or two of this term. Year 3 Parent Guides will be sent home a week or so later as the Year 3s have been working hard to research and present our Anzac Day service 🙂
Consent Orders/Parenting Orders and Parenting Plans
We wish to ensure that we have the most current information about students’ family arrangements, primarily to guide us in terms of who we contact and when. It is important that we have a copy of Consent Orders/Parenting Orders, but it is also helpful for us to have a copy of Parenting Plans. While the latter are not legally enforceable, it can be helpful for us to know which parent a child is living with on particular days. Consent Orders/Parenting Orders are stored securely, and separately from other student information. Parenting plans will be too if you wish. If you are not certain whether we have the most current documentation, please simply contact me to check. Thank you.
Education and Health Providers External to School
In the majority of cases, we will be aware when individual students complete assessments with Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists etc and we find reports, particularly documented reports with recommendations, very helpful. Teachers draw on such information when planning for learning, particularly when adjustments within the classroom are likely to make learning more successful for individual children. They can also be helpful at school level, when we are reviewing the distribution of resources, including human resources such as Education Assistants and/or physical resources such as wobble stools, sensory items, picture books and games. The strengths and needs of children also influence decisions we make about incursions, activities available at break times, and the nature of opportunities we might offer after school for example. If you have information about your child that will help us better meet the needs of our students, please share this with us. Copies of formal reports are also stored securely and separately.
Family Disruptions and Challenges
Sometimes changes in family routines and dynamics can impact children’s wellbeing and learning – both positively and negatively. Events that you might consider ‘part of life’, and in fact ARE part of life, can temporarily result in children being more tired than usual, more anxious than usual or needing more reassurance than they normally would. These events can include things like moving house, parents changing jobs, a family member who is hospitalised, overhearing parents talking about finances or world events etc. Its normal for children to be temporarily unsettled, and on most occasions they will be comforted and reassured by you. If however, a child’s unsettled behaviour continues beyond a couple of weeks and starts to increasingly impact family life, school attendance etc please let us know. You can do this by contacting your child’s class teacher, Mrs Dixon or myself. Most often this will mean that we can just monitor an individual child a bit more closely, and anticipate something that might easily upset them at that time. Sometimes we might be able find relevant picture books that can be read in class or at home, an online resource that may be helpful, and/or Mrs Dixon or myself might ‘check-in’ with the child every now and then until things improve. Occasionally, we might recommend a chat to our School Psychologist, but it will always be up to you whether or not you choose to do this.
It’s unreasonable to think that children will always be happy and content, and you will probably have many examples of when this has not been the case before and after school and on weekends! The same will be true for school, although it’s not uncommon for a child to be fine in one context while not in another. Again, there will always be ‘bumps in the road’ – children’s confidence will drop, they’ll feel anxious about an assessment, a friendship will change, they’ll find something makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s really important that the significant adults in children’s lives help them navigate the bumps and hurdles. It’s through experiencing discomfort, identifying the emotion (nervousness, disappointment, sadness, frustration) and working through it, that children see themselves as competent and capable. As parents, the temptation is to ‘make it better’ for them, but this doesn’t help children in the long run. It is better for them to experience those emotions in a safe environment, where they have someone by their side encouraging them as they work through a challenge, rather than someone ahead removing the challenge. So how do we know when more help is needed rather than desired? Being ‘out of sorts’ for a week or two is fairly normal – repeatedly crying, not sleeping properly, not wanting to go to school for weeks, and (unusually) wetting the bed are not normal. If this is happening, it would be helpful to chat to your child’s teacher to see how things are at school. Teachers might monitor your child more closely at break times where things are less structured, they may speak to Mrs Dixon or myself or they might simply reassure you that your child appears okay at school. They may even suggest a check-up with your GP.