‘What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like the mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches’.
Welcome to the first publication of our new look newsletter. While we are still learning to navigate the online web version it will be much easier to access from a wide range of devices. The newsletter will link directly to our school webpage and allows for various forms and documents to be directly linked. I will be keen to hear your thoughts. Over the coming months we will be moving away from Skoolbag to the Schoolzine app. One step at a time.
Everyone had a great day on Tuesday. Congratulations to all the children who participated in our annual swimming carnival. Thank you to Liz Foster for her coordination and the parents and staff who assisted, the carnival run like clockwork. The children who remained at school engaged in a variety of fun sporting activities and were treated with yummy cookies for morning tea, cooked by Sam Manning, our Canteen Manager.
Over the next few weeks the teachers will be available to meet with parents and children to discuss goals and progress to date. Bookings will be via our online booking system that will open mid next week. A Skoolbag alert will be sent when the site is open
Honesty is being open, trustworthy and truthful. When people are honest, they can be relied upon not to cheat, lie or steal. Honesty is telling the truth. It is admitting mistakes even when you know someone might be angry or disappointed. Being honest means that you don’t present to be something you are not. With honesty you can trust things to be as they appear.
The Church year moves into Lent with Ash Wednesday next week. The school will attend Ash Wednesday Mass with the parish at 9:30 next Wednesday 6 March. You are most welcome to join us. As noted, Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday. On this day we begin our long period of preparation for Easter. We receive ashes on our foreheads in the form of a cross. This signals the beginning of Lent.
Lent is a journey to Easter. It is a period that lasts for forty days. However, there are actually forty six days in Lent. Six of these days are Sundays. Sundays are not included and not counted as part of the Lenten season.
Traditionally, the day before Lent is set aside as a day of preparation. This day is called Shrove Tuesday -aka- Pancake Day. We also call it Pancake Tuesday. Many Catholic families eat pancakes on this day. Lent is a time when we give things up. We might give up eating chocolate, for example. Pancake Tuesday is the day before we begin the very holy time of fasting and repentance; it is the last chance to spoil ourselves before we begin our Lenten journey. Many years ago people were not allowed to eat food that contained lots of fat, butter and eggs during Lent. Families wanted to use up these foods before Lent began. And so mums would make pancakes for their families to eat.
In January of this year I was privileged to be given the opportunity to lead pilgrims from Canberra Goulburn to World Youth Day in Panama. Every three years the youth of the Catholic Church gather together to engage in their faith and build the Church. It is also an opportunity for the Pope to engage with the youth of the Church, relaying key messages. This year Pope Francis urged the youth to be the Church of TODAY, rather than waiting till tomorrow.
After spending 2 nights in Mexico City visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe the group flew to Panama for 5 days of catechesis, evening masses and then a pilgrimage to a field where 750,000 people attended an evening vigil with the Pope, slept on the ground for the night and woke to celebrate the final mass.
Whilst I was busy taking photos for media back in Australia, filling in daily logs, supporting the group with missed flights and where to catch the bus, I was still able to grow immensely in my own faith. While reading the book ‘12 rules for Life’ by Jordan Peterson and experiencing the many chaotic moments of travelling I realised that it is in the times of chaos, those time were we don’t know where we are going, that we learn and grow as a person. As someone who has always wanted to know exactly where I was going, how I would get there and what the outcome would be, I realised that it was the times in my life that were opposite to this where I had the most growth.
It is realisations such as these that one can experience when taking time out to go on a pilgrimage. Whilst we can’t all have the opportunity to go to Central America for World Youth Day I would encourage all of you to take the time to experience pilgrimage. Perhaps you could go for a longer walk than normal, walk the labyrinth at the Arboretum or get on a bike and ride, anything that will put you into a brief moment of chaos so that clarity can ensue. For it is in that pilgrimage that you can realise something you hadn’t realised before. - Luke Donnelly, Assistant Principal
So much of early reading success is about confidence and enjoyment. If children enjoy reading and feel a sense of success at it then they’ll keep doing it — and when they keep reading, their confidence and reading competency soars. But, if there are too many hard words, the reader stumbles through the story, continually stopping to tackle tricky words. The attention wanders and before you know it, the book has been put down. So, it is absolutely critical that you find the right books for your child — books that will build rather than erode reading confidence. Books that will be enjoyed, not endured.
Content is King! If it grabs them and takes reading to them on their terms, it’s gold. So consider what your child is interested in.
Judge a Book by its Cover We all do and the covers are designed to help you know what kind of story is inside. Involve your child in the process. Read the blurb together and then revisit the cover armed with that information.
Now Look Inside! Are there lots of small and manageable chapters to foster a sense of achievement? Are there engaging illustrations that provide reading breaks?
Remember to involve your child in the process all the way if you can!
We are looking for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone with some spare time to read with the students at St Monica's. If you hold a Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) card and have as little as 30 minutes available, we would love your support.
Be You is a national mental health initiative for educators which aims to promote and protect positive mental health in children and young people in every early learning service and school in Australia.
Be You’s vision is to build an education system in which every learning community is positive, inclusive and resilient – where every child, young person, staff member and family can achieve their best possible mental health.
At St Monica’s we understand the importance of promoting positive relationships, teaching for resilience, the need for social and emotional learning, in addition to identifying the need for additional support if required. We will be building on all the wonderful work we have done over the years with KidsMatter and continuing with Be You.
Restorative Practices in schools is about building relationships for learning and for life. It is about getting to know each other better, it is about listening and sharing. It is about teaching children questioning techniques so that they can learn to solve their own problems. What happened? Who was hurt? How can we fix it?
Restorative Practices Circle Time
At St Monica’s we use Circle Time for a variety of purposes in developing emotional literacy and relationships for learning. Some of the circles we use across the school include:
Morning Prayer Circle - to gather, pray and set the tone for the day.
Learning Circle - an opportunity for children to share their work and understandings.
Restorative Circle - may be a whole class circle focussing on a particular concern or a circle to repair harm following an incident.
Formal Restorative Circle - requires a formal script and are to be used only when appropriate, when all who have been affected agree to the process and have been prepared.
For the past few weeks Years 2-4 have been taking part in orienteering lessons with Saara and Fredo from ACT Orienteering. Students have been involved in various activities to develop their map reading skills, understanding of compass directions and following verbal and visual instructions. These lessons will conclude next week, with students putting their skills into practice by completing an orienteering course. We look forward to welcoming Saara and Fredo back in the future.
The 2019 fete will be held on Saturday 23 March from 10am - 2pm. Please take the time to see how you can assist/donate -- there are plenty of opportunities right now before the fete: cook up some jams/preserves for the cake stall, clear out the excess/unread books collecting dust or declutter the kids wardrobes to drop off during the allocated drop off times - Saturday 2 and 3 March 2-4pm and Saturday 16 and 17 March 2-4pm.
The Country Fair theme went so well in 2018 and made for a fabulous atmosphere so we are doing it all again in 2019. We are also offering the chance to ‘sponsor a hay bale’ again this year. You can do this using Qkr. This year, the bales will be donated back to farmers in the Canberra and surrounding areas in need.
The themes for the raffle baskets are:
Kindergarten – Better Homes and Gardens – make a house a home, ideas include homewares, candles, placemats, tea towels, pot plants, garden ornaments.
Year 1 – Boredom Buster – think ultimate rainy day fun – puzzles, books, dvds, games, stickers, colouring books, cards etc.
Year 2 – Easter
Year 3 – Celebration – balloons, streamers, cheeseboards, lollies, party bag fillers etc.
Year 4 – Easter
Year 5 – Stationery and Craft – gel pens, pencils, notebooks, post-it-notes, stickers, embellishments, textas.
Year 6 – Cookin’ up a Storm– all things kitchen, baking and cooking.
Raffle Tickets and Value Tickets
Raffle tickets have been sent home. This year you have the option of paying for your tickets using the Qkr App. Value ticket order forms will be sent home next week.
We are always looking for new sponsors so if you or someone you know is able to donate either items for our chocolate wheel or cash amounts to cover the costs of our entertainment, attractions or food stalls we ask you to please contact the fete team at: email@example.com.
We are also of course, always looking for volunteers to help on our various stalls on the day (all volunteers require a Working with Vulnerable People card so be sure to apply for yours soon if you don’t yet have one).
White Elephant Drop-offs
We are also looking for volunteers to help with our white elephant drop offs which this year will be on 2, 3, 16 and 17 March from 2:00pm – 4:00pm in the school hall. We need some helpers on these days to sort the many fabulous items we receive. If you can help, please email us or just turn up on the day(s).
Please send your pre-loved books to school with your children for our bookstall. The class who collectively donates the most books each week will win a weekly prize. Also, our wonderful Fete Bookstall Co-ordinator Andrea Bolitho is collecting books for the 2019 fete. Please contact Andrea directly on 0407 397 233 to arrange drop off or collection, or alternatively you are welcome to drop books to Andrea's home at 10 Edmunds Place, Spence.
We extend a big thank you in advance to our school families and community who always give so much to bring our fete together. We know we ask a lot of our school families, but as this is our biggest annual event and raises more money for the school than any other annual fundraiser, it is well worth the effort everyone puts in to making the day a success.
Information regarding ACT athletics representation 2019.
Due to the Nationals being held in Darwin in September 2019, trials for this team will work differently. Students who meet the criteria (see attached) are required to attend trials. The usual regional and ACT carnivals will take place later in the year but students who wish to be considered for the ACT team MUST attend these trials. Please contact Ryan Matchett if you have any questions or require any further information.
Parent Representatives - John Alston-Campbell, Lis O'Daly
Staff Representative - Christopher Evans
Ex officio - Fr Loi and Carmel Maguire
Invited Members - Pilar Davidson (P&F Treasurer) and Luke Donnelly (AP)
As a Community Council we can only represent you if we know what your concerns are. Please email the council with any issues/ideas: Council.StMonicas@cg.catholic.edu.au . This email will be checked regularly by Fiona Sterinberg, Community Council Secretary.
Volunteering The Community Council has much planned for 2019 but we will need your help to make it happen. Please consider how you can share your skills and time to benefit our community and help provide invaluable experiences for our students. We understand that families are hard pressed for time but please know that your help contributes greatly! A volunteer request is once again attached to the newsletter. Parent_Volunteer_Survey_2019.pdf
If you are interested in taking on the role of School Banking Coordinator please contact the Front Office. Robyn, our current coordinator, is finishing up due to work commitments. She will be available to hand over the role to you.
Each year during Lent, we have groups who meet throughout the parish to reflect on the Sunday Lenten Gospels. Sheets are available in the church foyers to enrol. If a Friday morning at 9:00 am suits you better Sr Kate holds a group at her place which you are more than welcome to attend. Sessions last for about an hour over a cup of coffee. Everyone is welcome so if you are able to join in please let Sr. Kate know on firstname.lastname@example.org (home address will be supplied.) Groups begin on Friday 15 March.
Based on Sydney Children's Hospital Program. Suitable for children from 5 years of age. Please contact Margaret O'Donovan, Physiotherapist, Level 2, City Plaza Building, 222 City Walk, Canberra City. Enquiries - 62485066.