Welcome to the first of our Celebrations Newsletter.
Our regular newsletter can often be busy with the day to day reminders of running our school and so we set out to create something where we could celebrate the wonderful work and achievements of our staff and students.
Here it is, a place where we celebrate our school community and what brings us together now as we adapt to these times of change.
It is always a joy when we can see our Christian values driving the behaviours and thoughts of our students. I was reminded of this when I was reading the heartfelt letters and prayers written by our children and sent to the front line workers in this Covid-19 crisis.
Nicholas Wawn, a grade five boy, considered not only the emergency medical staff but also maintenance workers keeping the power running in the hospital. He speaks of the need for acknowledgement, dignity and justice and draws parallels with the word of God. You’ll meet Nicholas later in this newsletter.
Our strong faith and our solid community have always been the foundations for our school. Our prayer and letter writers were thinking not just of our strong and inclusive school community but also the broader community working together to keep us safe.
Our faith underpins our values and morals and our school community provides us with support, recognition, collaboration and friendship, which forms a bridge for compassion, understanding and dignity to be shared locally, and globally.
Here at Sts Peter and Paul, we share a clear vision of what it means to be human and we understand that education is for the whole person – mind, body, heart and soul. We share and foster resilience, adaptability, cooperation and collaboration and it is because of all of these shared attributes and values, that we are able to face the challenges that this pandemic brings to us. Now, perhaps more than any other time in our living history, we need to know we can rely on each other for strength. The qualities which are a hallmark of a Sts Peter and Paul family and students prepare us for the challenges we face.
Our teachers are doing extraordinary work. Their creativity and integrity has enabled them to create programs that are nuanced and tailored for all children’s learning needs. The teachers at Sts Peter and Paul are extremely dedicated and committed and strive to do the best for their children. They are focused on providing the best learning environment possible, regardless of circumstances. No child or family will be left behind as we educate our students within a remote learning environment.
Anna Kain, grade three-four teacher, is teaching from home during the CoronaVirus. She says her students are a resilient and connected group.
“I understand that potentially people could face the feeling of being isolated. But that won’t be the case because we are a class family, and a school family, and there is strong collaboration and connections already in place. Our children are resilient and equipped for this change and there will be plenty of opportunities for the kids to shine. This is our core business.”
Paul Jenkins, grade five-six teacher, says students at Sts Peter and Paul are well-equipped to deal with change.
“We have a partnership between the family, the school and the children. We are all in this together and we are supporting our families as much as possible. We’ve already had one Zoom meeting with parents to make sure we are on the same page and our intention is to hold regular meetings with the parents to see how they’re travelling as well as working with the children everyday. We have been using technologies with the children so its not a surprise for them, there is not a big learning gap.
“When we (the teachers) have a need we will find an app to match this. All of the children have access to computers and iPads. We made sure there were iPads available for all the children who needed them.”
Melissa Neit, grade five-six teacher, says the current situation is preparing children for the independent life they’ll experience with higher education.
“We’ve already been using a lot of online platforms as a way to provide tasks to our students and for them to submit work back to us. Now, the children are getting an opportunity to learn more independent study skills which will assist them in transitioning to high school.”
Imogen Herden, grade six, has this message for her fellow students.
“Remember the things we have learnt at school. Our school stands for kindness and empathy and good leadership, having a safe environment and making sure everyone is comfortable and able to learn in a comfortable space. You need cooperation to have a functioning team. We’re all in the same boat. You are not alone in this. Talk to anyone. Try to keep an open mind.”
Ciara Grove, grade five, says the trick is to keep things as normal as possible and to develop a good routine.
“I set up at the kitchen table to do my work. You definitely need to have books, pencils and paper; all the normal kinds of things you would need at school. I’ve had quite a few Zoom classes with teachers. Most people have their cameras on so you see everyone and chat to people.’
Ciara feels confident with the changes and adds her advice for other students. “Just try and keep things that you can normal as possible and work hard and you’ll get through it.’’
And here is Nicholas Wawn, grade five, who talks about how he is learning and applying the Christian values which are serving him now and which he knows he will need as an adult.
I think the front line workers would feel quite happy to know people are thankful for the good work they are doing. It’s important we acknowledge people because it keeps dignity. Dignity is what we should all feel, all the time. God wants everyone to be even and for no one to feel they are better than everyone else. It’s like when you’ve had a race and there’s a first, second and third. With dignity, (it’s the feeling like) everyone comes first. It is important (to learn about values) because as an adult you’re obviously working with lots of people and you need to know about how to respect people and what justice is. Justice is fairness and everyone gets a say. If you are not being respectful you would pick up someone’s things and smash them to the floor. Respect is looking after other people’s things and not saying rude things.
We hope you’ve enjoyed taking a little break to reflect on the wonderful community at Sts Peter and Paul. Until next time.