Dear Families and Friends
It has been wonderful to hear the excitement of children coming into school as we welcomed all students in Reception to Year 6 back to face to face learning over the last two weeks. Since the start of the year we have also welcomed 71 new children to Catherine McAuley and we are very excited to have them as part of our learning community.
There has been a feeling of positivity, love and happiness around the classrooms and school yard as children reconnected with each other and the wider school community. Pope Francis tells us in the Joy of Love how important it is to spend time with each other to develop relationships; "Love needs time and space; everything else is secondary. Time is needed to talk things over, to embrace leisurely, to share plans, to listen to one other and gaze in each other's eyes, to appreciate one another and to build a stronger relationship.” These first few weeks of the year are vital to help children develop routines and a sense of belonging to our school community.
We thank you for accepting the new ways of learning during these challenging conditions and for your flexibility and support. We are happy that from week 5 parents may attend for drop off and pick up, wearing a mask and keeping physically distanced in the yard. Please remember however that you are unable to enter the classrooms.
Yours in Faith, Growth and Unity
Angela, Michelle, Linda and Courtney
Week 4 already!!
Is it me or is time just whizzing by? For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 – and our future looks bright at CMS. We are full of hope that 2022 will be better than 2021, more productive than 2021 and the students flourish and reach higher grounds than in 2021. And it is with great hope that we continue to stay resilient and strong during these challenging times. Synodality – Journeying Together and we are certainly in these challenging times together, in partnership with our families, our colleagues and community.
Over the last couple of weeks, our Year 6 students have been busy putting applications together to go through the process of becoming a Mercy Leader. Not all Year 6s will be able to take up the role but rest assured, they are all seen as leaders here at Catherine McAuley School. Mercy Leaders are new to 2022 so it will be a learning process for us all. Offering leadership is another way of developing student agency where students have a voice in what happens in and around their school.
In Week 3, I sat with the Year 6s and put together a Mercy Leader profile. For the profile to be developed I needed to ensure the students knew exactly what mercy is, and how our school is linked to mercy, especially through Catherine McAuley herself. After much discussion, the students and I came up with a Mercy Leader profile.
I think it is extremely safe to say, our Year 6s are well rehearsed in their understanding of mercy.
Leadership begins with identifying and understanding our school values: KINDNESS, MUTUAL RESPECT, JUSTICE and DIGNITY. Our values are our fundamental beliefs – those principles we consider to be worthwhile and desirable. The more leadership is encouraged, the more it flourishes. Catherine McAuley once said, “We must strive to do ordinary things extraordinary well.”
Successful students will be interviewed by a member of the Leadership Team or a Year 6 Classroom Teacher in Week 5. These interviews will take place during either Recess or Lunch.
The interview is designed to promote self-efficacy, confidence, speaking concisely and with clarity, decision making and self-awareness, and not limited to these qualities. Successful Mercy Leaders will be notified Friday 5th March 2022 and will be presented to our school community during Monday Morning Prayer: Monday 7th March 2022.
Teaching and Celebrating the Liturgical Year – Easter - Lent
We are approaching Lent. Lent commences on Ash Wednesday (02/03/22) and continues until Holy Week (10/04/22). On Ash Wednesday we receive the mark of the ashes on our foreheads (covid permitting of course!). This is the physical sign that Lent has begun. The ashes are the blessed burnt palms from the previous Palm Sunday. The ashes are a symbol of repentance (sorry). For Catholics around the world Ash Wednesday is a day of abstinence (going without meat) and fasting.
Lent is a time of invitation to rediscover the meaning of life, prioritising life’s agenda and remind ourselves what’s important in life. This rediscovery is extremely different from one person to the next. We try to simplify our lives (fasting) during Lent and respond to those in need (almsgiving). Fasting and almsgiving are concrete ways in which Catholics reconnect / demonstrate their relationship with God.
Lent is a period of time for sacrifice and reaching out to others. At Catherine McAuley we encourage our students and their families to become involved through the various events in our Catholic Outreach Program conducted throughout the year: Project Compassion, Catholic Mission, St Vinnies and Spirit of Christmas. As each event arises, more information is sent home informing families.
Our students will learn about Lent over the coming weeks. The lens in which the learning takes place will very much depend on the year level. A snapshot of such learning is as follows:
- Receptions – Lent is a time when we prepare for Easter. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent.
- Year 1s – During Lent we prepare for Easter through our loving actions and prayer. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.
- Year 2s – Our prayers and reflection during Lent helps us to learn from Jesus’ life. Lent is a time to listen to the story of Jesus.
- Year 3s – During Lent we recall Jesus’ life and ministry. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and leads to Holy Week.
- Year 4/5s – Through reflection on his experience Jesus grew to understand his mission. Lent is a time when the Church community is renewed through its focus on prayer, penance and giving to others.
- Year 6s – Lent is a time when we participate in reconciliation including concerns for the poor, justice and continuing the mission of Jesus. Lent provides a time to reflect on our relationships with God, self, community and creation.
Hopefully the above snapshot of Lent helps keep you informed in your child / ren’s learning.
A Prayer of Hope (Author Unknown; Adapted by Debra Mooney)
May God make your year a happy one;
Not by shielding us from all sorrows and pain, but by strengthening us to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making our path easy, but by making us sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from us, but by taking fear from our heart;
Not by granting us unbroken sunshine, but by keeping our face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making our life always pleasant, but by showing us when people and their causes need us most,
and by making us anxious to be there to help.
God's love, peace, hope and joy to us for the year ahead. Amen.
Well, what a start to the year it has been! The Year 2 team began the year with two weeks of hybrid learning where some students came to school and some students did remote learning at home. It was great to see everyone’s faces in their Seesaw videos.
This week we have mostly all been at school. We have worked on classroom routines, expectations and consequences. We have done Getting to Know You games and activities. We also learnt a lot about the Winter Olympic games. We now know where China is on the map, how it is the same and different to Australia, the types of sports played at a winter games compared to the summer games and all about the mascot.
Our Breakfast Club will reopen in a ‘COVID safe, modified format’ next week on Thursday and Friday mornings only, before school. All students are welcome to enjoy a piece of toast or fresh fruit that will be served by our Registered Volunteers in the playground from 8:30am before classes begin. All students are welcome to have some breakfast/extra breakfast – on a first come, first served basis. Students will be asked to spread out in the courtyard to eat their toast/fruit and be ready to go into their classrooms when the first bell goes at 8:45am. Please look out for the Breakfast Club sign near the tables at the top of the Hall steps on Thursday and Friday mornings.
“Advice for Home time Messages” A reminder please that ‘Home time messages’ only be telephoned to the school on a minimal basis. It is important for parents to discuss the after school pick up arrangements with their child/ren before school so that a regular routine can be established. Ideally, it would be best to have a similar routine each afternoon, with a backup plan also being established and discussed. Due to the number of last minute messages we receive from parents, we cannot always ensure that they will be received before the bell. It is also sometimes hard to quickly locate exactly where some classes are at the end of the day. Please also remember that school finishes at 2:50pm. Any students remaining at school after yard duty finishes at 3.10pm may be sent to our OSHC service where families will be charged. Your cooperation with regard to this important part of the day would be appreciated.
Collecting Students Early- A reminder to parents/carers and family members that when collecting students early you are required to sign the student out at the Front Office. We try to eliminate phone calls to classrooms as this interrupts the learning program, so Office staff will call the classroom on your arrival at school to collect them. We ask that everyone follows this procedure and not telephone requesting students wait in the office. Thank you for your cooperation.