Dear Parents and Families,
Transition to Remote Learning
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that families who have chosen to keep their children at home are keen to establish working routines as quickly as possible, and there is a certain level of anxiety accompanying this. I am aware that, already, support groups are being established amongst social networks and on Facebook and I commend everybody’s commitment to stay connected and support each other through uncertain and challenging times. Please remember, though, that if you are seeking advice about specific tasks or school procedures the best person to ask is your child’s teacher; they are all contactable by email and working hard to provide ongoing support for students and families.
My advice to all families is to keep the following in mind:
- This situation is new for your child and for you; be kind to yourself and realistic about what you can achieve.
- You are not home-schooling your child; they are engaging in Remote Learning from Mt Carmel. If the analogy helps, think of yourself not as your child’s teacher, more as a teacher’s aide.
- Your child is used to their home being a place of play and rest; there will be days when they are resistant to doing school work at home, and that’s okay.
- Set up a dedicated working space, if you have the room.
- Routine and structure are important, but if your child’s teacher has provided timetabled activities to mirror the school day these are for guidance only. You have a lot going on at home and it’s okay to change things around to suit your personal circumstances.
- If something isn’t working for you or your child don’t understand what to do, leave it and move on to something else. Seek advice from your child’s teacher and come back to it later.
- Factor in lots of movement breaks and transition times but try to keep meals (Recess and Lunch) at the same time as at school. Boredom eating is as bad for your child’s health as it is for your weekly grocery bill.
- Do something physical regularly.
- Stay connected with your social groups and take time each day to care of your family’s wellbeing.
By now all families should have received, in some form, a range of guided activities and lessons for the remainder of this week. Please remember that, for the rest of this term, we are in a transition phase for the delivery and uptake of Remote Learning and there will be differences in and changes to what various year groups and classes are able to provide. By the start of Term 2 all classes will be delivering Remote Learning via Google Classroom and families will be provided with information about how to access this for your child's class by the end of this week. Remote Learning does not mean that all your child’s assigned class work will be completed online. A range of physical resources will be needed and we are in the process of setting up a suitable system for their provision; there is no need, at this stage, to collect your child’s books from school to work in at home.
The SZapp App remains our primary means of communicating important messages with the school community. If you do not have this app installed, it is a free download for both IOS and Android. Important announcements and letters to the community can be found on the Forms and Documents page of the Mt Carmel School website.
Additional Resources for Families Working Remotely
Each week I will include some resources that families working remotely may find useful in addition to assigned class work. Acclaimed children’s author, David Walliams, has announced that he will release a free audio story every day for the next 30 days to provide some relief to "..those stuck at home with their kids.” David Walliams’ stories are wonderfully entertaining and irreverent; I’m sure that parents will enjoy listening to them as much as children. Go to https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/ to listen.
We acknowledge the unprecedented economic impact on families as a result of COVID-19 and associated government directives. Consistent with our enrolment policy, that “no child is to be denied Catholic schooling simply because of an inability (as opposed to an unwillingness) of a parent/guardian, to meet financial requirements”, effective immediately are the following fee relief measures:
- Credits (for amounts paid) will be placed on fee accounts for cancelled excursions (excluding non-recoverable deposits), sporting events or activities as a result of COVID-19.
- All debt collection activities will be suspended until further notice
- Fee concessions will be available on outstanding fees at the end of Term 1 for those families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
- Fee concession will be available for Term 2 fees for families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
We anticipate delaying fee statements for Term 2 until there is greater clarity about the duration of the pandemic. General fee concession arrangements are being considered and will be communicated once finalised. If you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 or have any concerns around fees, please contact me directly. All applications for fee remission are treated in the strictest confidence.
At least until the end of the term, while the school is operating with reduced attendance and in acknowledgement of the fact that working families are finding it difficult to reliably obtain groceries, the school canteen will be open for lunch orders Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For the sake of hygiene, there will be no counter-sales at recess or lunch; pre-orders only, preferably via Qkr. The available menu is attached to this newsletter and can also be found on the Forms and Documents page of the school website.
It is still our intention, pending good weather, that Years 3 to 6 students who are at school on Friday will walk to Walker Park to run a Cross Country course with their age-group as their PE lesson. Please understand that, due to unpredictable circumstances day to day, this is as much information I can provide at this time; things may well change pending, for example, attendance, staffing and health directives.
Interim Reports will be posted out to families this Friday.
Until further notice we will be putting Coordinator and Principal Awards on hold. Affirmation of student effort and achievement remains important and we will find an appropriate way to do this within our Remote Learning Environment.
May God’s peace be in your families,
March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Readings: IS 7:10-14; 8:10; PS 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11; HEB 10:4-10; LK 1:26-38
“Hail full of grace! The Lord is With you!” Luke 1: 28
To say that Mary holds a special place in the heart of God and the Church would be an understatement. She is given the title Mother of God and Mother of the Church. There are over 400+ Marian Feast Days celebrated in different regions all over the world, with 18 celebrated on the Universal Calendar. The Church has taught since its foundation that Marian devotion is essential to the Catholic Faith.
What is it that makes Mary so essential? In the Gospel of Luke 11:27-28 a woman from the crowd of followers shouts out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you.” There can be no question of whom the woman in the crowd is referring to, the mother of Jesus himself. At first glance Jesus’ response can seem counter intuitive to Marian devotion, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and Keep it!”, but if we take into consideration what He is really saying we find that it not only affirms Marian devotion, but raises it even higher. Jesus points out that the ones who hear the word of God and do it are the ones who are truly blessed, when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, he presents her with a proposal from God: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” Mary had the option then and there on how to respond, she was free to choose to say “Yes” to God’s will, reversing Eve’s “No”. Mary said in reply, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.” We see in this Gospel passage the fulfillment of Jesus’ words; for while she is indeed blessed for bearing God within her womb and nursing him, she is even more blessed for her “Yes” to God’s will that brought Jesus to us in the first place.
Jesus’ words were not only in context to Mary, however. Each of us is called to model ourselves after Mary’s “Yes” to God’s will. Let us all look to the example of our Blessed Mother on this special feast of the Annunciation, that we may say “Yes” to God as she did, for only then will we be truly blessed.
I have sent out updated passwords for all students whose form I received last week.
If you haven't got your child's login details, or they are incorrect, please email me and I will email this information out to families.
Please keep a paper record of books read until you have access to the site.
The PRC booklists are a useful resource if you are looking for appropriate reading material for your children to read.
Books and reading provide an escape from reality. I urge you all to take time, nurture your soul and read a book. Each week, I will send out a recommendation for Parents Reading Challenge. Apologies, if you don't like my taste in books.
This week I recommend - Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
The school has decided that the 2020 REACH Assesments for students will not go ahead this year. Any money paid for a student to participate in these assessments will be credited to your child's school fees.
If you have any questions regarding this cancellation, please do not hesitate to contact the school on 6226 3357.
Anyone who had paid for the Year 5/6 Tennis Shoortout will have the money credited to your childs school fees.
If you have any questions regarding this payment, please contcat the front office on 6226 3357.