Welcome to the first of our Celebration newsletters. 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 reflect on how we are doing as a school community as we - and indeed the whole world - adapt to change.
St Monica’s is blessed to have an amazing community who are very supporting and lookout for one another. As a school community we love celebrating the many special moments in a family’s life and the many events in the life of the school. These include the birth of a new baby, a sporting achievement, the results of a piano exam, an extra special staff birthday and the love of grandparents on Grandparents Day, to name a few. Celebrating these moments together is an expression of who we are, the love we share due to the value we place on the wellbeing of one another in our diverse community.
In a time of considerable educational change, that is particularly unsettling and confronting for many families, we have drawn on our strong link between school and family to support the parents and children as they undertake Remote Learning.
It is a privilege to lead such a committed and highly dedicated team of teachers who work extremely hard to create exciting and safe learning experiences to engage the children, whether at home or at school. The teachers have been working brilliantly at making this as straightforward as possible for our children and parents. I have been so impressed with their determination and can-do approach, and the collegiate spirit of generosity and support they have demonstrated in their planning and development of the new program. I also draw comfort knowing that everyone is determined to make the new MS Teams video conferencing platform work, so that the children and teachers can once again see each other. Squeals of excitement are again heard daily around the school as the children connect with their teachers and classmates. Building meaningful connections is a vital part of the daily fabric at St Monica’s.
As an active Catholic community St Monica’s focuses on reaching out to families experiencing hardship or loss. It is at times like these where we draw courage from our faith, and we remind ourselves of the strong Catholic values underpinning the children’s education. It is during these times we can be truly grateful for the compassion, strength and resilience in our children, our families and the teachers. It is when times are tough that we really draw strength from our Catholic faith to be strong and determined in life.
Monika Richards, (pictured with Alicia), is a year two teacher and IT remote learning specialist.
I’ve never been more proud to be part of St Monica’s. The four Ps, based on St Monica’s life have been at the forefront of the St Monica’s community as we go through these tumultuous times. We have our staff prayer through Zoom meetings. We’ve sent through lots of resources for Easter prayer and celebration for our families to keep the spirit of prayer alive. We’re demonstrating perseverance in adapting and learning new skills. We’re showing patience with ourselves and our families setting up remote learning at home, making sure everyone has the right resources. Some families are still learning to log on and we are giving them the space and time to adjust. Praise is a really important value in our community, no more so than now as it is a fairly negative environment worldwide. The teachers have been encouraging and supporting each other. Carmel has been saying what a great job we’ve been doing and we’ve been getting praise from our parents who are saying what a great job we are doing which made me nearly cry.
Kathy Moir has worn a number of hats at St Monica’s including school council member, parent and now grade six teacher. She has Laura in grade six and Sam in grade five.
I grew up in the Catholic system and I wanted that for my children. My sister’s children had been here (before our family) and we were always impressed with the sense of community.
I taught in the public system before this but it felt like coming home, returning to the Catholic system. I lovely the community here, that is a big pull. The school community stretches into the wider community with the fete; everyone loves that. St Monica’s is known as a great place. Catholic values are not just something in isolation. They’re part of the day to day with circle time and checking-in with the children. We have a value focus for three weeks and conceptual inquiry looks at those values. Resilience is our current value and we’re working with the children, especially with the remote learning, with keeping the connections going with some fun little videos and some laughs.
We always tie our work to our values. The grade 5/6 concert, a collaborative event, focused on identity and diversity. Our grade six students ran an all-school sports day using only the resources available to our sister school in Africa, including soccer balls made from newspaper. This was a collaborative fundraising day with community, awareness, philanthropy, empathy and respect at its core.
Archie Edwards pauses from riding on the bike jumps he made during the holidays to talk about team spirit in grade six.
I like the teachers. They’re all really nice and kind and help us with challenging things. There is a team spirit where we all work together and let each other have ideas. I do miss my friends but I think this (remote learning) is all going to work because the teachers have been working hard over the holidays. We’ll probably do some work in little groups in our video conferencing. I think all the skills we learn will help us in the future so we can collaborate and use our ideas to make big things happen.
Emma Smith, grade five, chats about compassion and leadership.
I have been part of the SRC (Student Representative Council) which absolutely is a benefit to all of us. We help with charities and communities, and how we can impact their lives. We did The Greatest Shave to support the Leukaemia Foundation and some of our brave students stepped forward to shave their heads. We have gala days with a lot of sport and we cheer each other on. It’s very important to support each other. I love the spirit of all that. Its important to know about God and the religious side of it all when we come together to respect and help people. I’ve learnt how the SRC gives us the chance to speak up and have a voice. Not to make silly decisions but to think of others and to listen to people and hear their voice and their ideas moving forward. We have a lot of respect and amazing teachers.
April Alston-Campbell, (pictured with Daisy), is in grade two and ranks kindness as a top virtue of St Monica’s.
People are really kind at my school. I am too. Somebody fell on their knees and I helped take them to sick bay.
Sick bay is where you get better. When I fell off the monkey bars and I scratched my knee, well then Adeline gave me a hug. The teachers are kind too and they help me learn. If I make a mistake in class they help me fix it.