Seven weeks ago we were celebrating the opening of the first seven classes. No sooner were we settling into the new spaces and excited about the possibilities of what we can now do, we were plunged into our second significant lock-down.
I am immensely proud of the staff for their work during the lock-down as they were asked to pivot and provide a new learning programme. We placed more emphasis on 1:1 and small group learning with a teacher rather than independent online work. The highlight for me was dropping into virtual classrooms and seeing teachers working 1:1 with children on their reading. The teachers have commented that they too enjoyed the chance to work with children in this way but like those who spend a lot of time on-screen during lock-downs were exhausted by the end of the week. I wish all the teachers a well-earned break over the holidays and I am sure the community joins with me thanking them for their work during the lock-down period.
I hope that this regular, routine and extended contact with their teachers has assisted in some way in enabling the students to return to the physical school with a positive outlook. They have generally slipped back into the routines of school seamlessly.
It seems appropriate that this is mental health awareness week. After the last lock-down in 2020, we noted that it was many weeks after the lock-down that we started to see some decline in some of the student's mental health. This largely manifests itself in various forms of anxiety.
Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety in your child, these include increased aggression, struggling to sleep, more tears and tantrums, change in diet, OCD type behaviours (repetition of touching items, hand washing, checking locks and doors etc). The mental health web page has a wealth of resources to help you identify and deal with mental health issues. One of these resources is the parenting page of sparklers which we have mentioned before but well worth another look.
With the school holidays upon us and the good weather on the way consider what other ways you can keep your child engaged over the next two weeks rather than screen time. There is a positive correlation between sunshine, physical activity and good mental health.
If you have a look at the calendar on the main page you will see how busy Term 4 is with camps, swimming and making the school movie. Please note that the school will be closed on the following dates and times.
- Friday 19 November - Teacher only day
- Tuesday 30 November - 2 pm finish allowing for extended parent-teacher interviews
- Tuesday 14 December - Last day of school for 2021 - 1 pm finish
Finally, some good news, if you read the Property News section you will see the pictures of the new admin, staff room, resource rooms, workrooms and most importantly, a new library that will be built in 2022. This will finish the school rebuild and provide first-class facilities for our students, teachers and the wider community.
We hope that families get to spend some time together over the holiday period and have an enjoyable break!