Newman News Term 2 Week 2: From the Deputy Principal Primary
Welcome back to Term 2. I hope all families enjoyed a relaxing and restful school holiday break. It has been wonderful to see the smiling faces of students and staff as they return to school. It has been a wonderful start to the term, and it is shaping up to be an exciting term full of fun activities and wonderful learning opportunities.
Year 6 Camp was held from Wednesday to Friday of this week and was a huge success. The Year 6’s were blessed with beautiful weather over the three days and had a wonderful time participating in a range of fun activities including flying fox, kayaking and billy carts. I was able to spend last night and today at camp with the cohort and can report that our students represented our school with pride and are to be commended for their enthusiasm, participation and effort throughout the camp, including the way they challenged themselves with the activities. A big thank you to the Year 6 staff, as well as the extra support teachers who spent countless hours organising the camp, as well as attending camp over the three days. It is a big ask for teaching staff to take on this role and spend time away from their families during the camp period. I’m sure all Year 6 students (and staff) will sleep well tonight!
The Primary staff have been reviewing the Homework Guidelines and below is the suggested time per night for each year level. Homework will continue to be shared in each classes weekly seesaw post.
‘Mindful Mornings’ – Updated Morning Routine
I would like to remind parents that even with our updated morning routine, the official start of the school day (when lessons formally commence) has not changed and remains at 8:45am. Our updated morning routine caters for those students who get dropped to school before 8:45am. Students who arrive at 8:20am, when supervision by a duty teacher begins, can play outside until 8:30am. At 8:30am the first bell rings to let students know that classrooms are open, at which time they make their way to the classrooms. If students are not at school at 8:30am this is no issue, and parents should certainly not feel rushed to arrive at school by 8:30am. Most students arrive anytime between 8:30-8:45am and when they arrive, they make their way up to the classroom. The duty teacher is still around to ensure students get to class safely. Arriving by 8:45am the latest is key in ensuring your child is ready for the day and can begin the start of the day session with their teacher and class.
Our Mindful Mornings morning routine commenced at the start of this week, with students being welcomed into the classrooms from 8:30am. This update has come about from a wellbeing viewpoint, tying in with our fantastic new Social Emotional Program Zones of Regulation which our Primary Leaders of Wellbeing have written about further on in this Newsletter. When I shared information about this program at the Zero to Hero parent night last term, one of the presenters who is an Occupational Therapist shared her delight in knowing we were introducing this program into the Primary school as it is research-based, highly effective and was originally developed by an Occupational Therapist.
The update to 8:30-8:45am in classrooms is not an extension of the academic school day. It has been made to implement Mindful Mornings, linking with our new Zones of Regulation Program, to allow our students to start their day in a calm and positive way, setting them up to achieve success across all domains of their education each and every day.
A member of the Primary Leadership Team was speaking with a parent in the Marian playground this week before school. This mother shared positive feedback about the new routine and so eloquently summed up some of the reasoning for this change. She said, ‘we can’t expect kids to run around for 20-25 minutes each morning and then flick a switch and suddenly be calm and ready to learn as soon as they walk in the classroom door.’
Research has shown that starting the day in a calm and mindful manner can lessen anxiety, dysregulation, and negative thinking in children. This has a flow-on effect for the remainder of the day, allowing students to be ready to learn when the second bell goes at 8:45am and learning begins – creating the optimum environment for students to reach their potential.
The mindful morning activities involve a wide range of activities for students to participate in when they enter the classrooms from 8:30am. These may include (dependent on age); puzzles, Lego, building blocks, reading, mindfulness colouring in, construction, trucks, home corner role plays, games, craft, and drawing, amongst a wide variety of other activities, as well as the opportunity for older students to finish off any work as part of developing positive independent learning habits. This time also provides students the chance to further build relationships with their teachers by spending this informal time with them before the school day begins.
This style of morning routine is commonplace amongst most Catholic schools in Perth and has been widely successful in achieving the intended outcomes for student wellbeing and school readiness.
Our morning routine is supplemented with Run Club, which occurs Friday mornings at Marian and Wednesday mornings at Lavalla, for those who are interested. This is a wonderful opportunity to build fitness and prepare for the upcoming Cross Country Carnival. My thanks to Tasha Richards and Lara Vlahov for their work in organising and running these events.
This updated morning routine brings both Marian and Lavalla campuses into alignment. As we near the consolidation of the Primary, it is important that we align across a wide range of areas to ensure the smoothest transition possible for students, parents, and staff on that exciting day where we become one campus for the very first time. The leadership team are strategically planning ahead to lessen the anxiety and stresses that a move like this can have on a community in the most holistic way possible, emotionally, academically and logistically.
As with any change, it will take time for students to get used to the updated routine but over the first week we have already seen students settle into this in an impressive way.
Parents in Classrooms
As mentioned in my welcome letter to parents posted on SeeSaw on Wednesday 26 April, the updated morning routine will tie in with welcoming parents back into classrooms. Our Kindy classes have already commenced parent rosters, and our Pre-Primary classes will commence in Week 4. These are wonderful opportunities for parents to spend time assisting in these early childhood classrooms. Our Year 1 classes have now also commenced parent reading rosters, which is important in this particular year level as the opportunity to read aloud to adults is crucial in helping our early readers to develop positive reading skills and behaviours. A reminder that parents who are volunteering on roster are required to sign in and out at the front office.
The next stage of our plan will be to welcome parents into the Year 1-6 classrooms during the 8:30-8:45am morning time. We will allow our students two more weeks to settle into the new morning routine, and from Week 5 onwards parents will be able to spend time in classrooms in the morning to view the classroom environment.
I will provide further information on how this will work in Week 4’s Newsletter, in preparation for parents being welcomed into classrooms in the morning between 8:30am-8:45am, commencing in Week 5.
The Zones of Regulation
This term, we are very excited to be implementing The Zones of Regulation throughout the Primary School from Pre-Kindy to Year 6. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control and links to the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework.
The Zones of Regulation Framework provides a simple way to think about, talk, and care for our feelings. It uses easy language, a visual structure and is systematic in its approach. It uses four colours (red, blue, green, and yellow) to help us identify how we are feeling on the inside and allows us to explore the tools that support us with emotional regulation.
The Zones of Regulation provides a common language and compassionate framework to support mental health and skill development for all, while also serving as an inclusion strategy for neurodiverse learners, or those who have specific social, emotional, and behavioural needs. The benefits of using this framework in schools include improved self-regulation skills, better social interactions, and increased academic success.
As part of our implementation of this new program, you will have noticed we have amended the morning routine and children are now provided the opportunity to prepare themselves in their classroom from 8.30am onwards during Mindful Mornings. Children are participating in mindful activities such as reading for enjoyment, Lego, mindful colouring and spending valuable time with their teachers and friends. Evidence suggests that allowing students the chance to start their day calmly and in a more mindful manner, leads to better organisation and a readiness to learn. This promotes and supports effective teaching and learning.
Throughout the year, we will be sharing some more of The Zones of Regulation tips, tools, and techniques that you can share with your children at home. Stay tuned!
Edwina Battersby & Justin Kirry (Leaders of Wellbeing)
Next week we will be joining together to celebrate and give thanks for our Mothers, Grandmothers and all mother-figures. We would like to invite all in our community to join us in these celebrations. Marcellin & Lavalla – Thursday 11 May, and Marian – Friday 12 May
Click HERE for details
Year 3 – 6 Faction Cross Country – Friday 19 May 2023
The Year 3 – 6 Cross Country will be held on Friday 19 May. We encourage all students to participate to the best of their ability and enjoy the team spirit of this event. Click HERE for details.
There is a large number of items in lost property at both campuses. If you are missing items please visit lost property to check if any of the items belong to you. Please be reminded to label all items with your child’s name.