How quickly things can change! Last Thursday morning when we posted our newsletter, we had nary a notion of an impending return to lockdown, but here we are a week later entering an extension into a second week. Yesterday’s news was not what any of us were hoping for, but in the true spirit of the Footscray West community, people have rallied around each other and are doing their best on any given day. This time around is definitely harder. We’re hearing this from families, we see it with the students in our online meetings and our staff are pulling out all the tricks they’ve got to keep the momentum up. Perhaps it was the quick flip after such a short return from Lockdown 5.0 or perhaps it is the cumulative fatigue that inevitably comes with each change. Either way, know that you are doing a great job. This week we’re saying to families, “cut yourself some slack”. You don’t have to be Insta-perfect; home learning completed by midday without any arguments, managing your own work from home without interruptions, baking cakes and playing in the park in the afternoon. I’d be surprised if this is anyone’s reality at the moment and it’s certainly not representative of the conversations I’ve been having with families. So, pause for a minute and consider what you need right now to cope. That saying of ‘fit your own oxygen mask before fitting others’ couldn’t be truer in Lockdown 6.
Appreciations from Brendan
We are forever mindful of the challenge that remote learning brings to our students, their parents and carers, and of course our staff. We appreciate that through respectful communication we can do our very best to manage learning at home, despite the ongoing disruptions to our lives. An appreciation to you all.
Plaudits also to Jane Sherlock, who with the support of the middle school staff team, has continued to conscientiously and diligently plan for the Grade 3 and 4 school camp scheduled for late this term. We remain very hopeful that it will proceed and as part of the OH&S requirements, the details of the experience will be discussed at School Council on Monday. We trust all parents and carers are well aware that if, due to restrictions, the camp is cancelled, all costs will be credited or returned to the families. As the reversal of payments has had to occur on multiple occasions this year – a considerable additional workload – I say a big appreciation to our office team, Sandra, Yvonne and Natalie.
Thanks to Karri Sinclair, our K-P coordinator for all the work she has done in flexibly managing our final postponed Prep 2022 Transition Information Session to an online forum last Thursday and for Liz who deputised in my absence.
Despite the cancellation of the Athletics Day last Friday, we say thanks to Stratos, Marco and Dan for the incredible amount of work that went into preparing this. After the lockdown was announced, they also went into full swing to reschedule the event and are currently working through possible alternatives.
Finally, I am currently on leave for a period due to the ill health of my elderly parents who have moved to a palliative stage. An appreciation to Liz who has assumed the role of Acting Principal for this period.
Appreciations from Liz
In addition to the many people Brendan has mentioned above, my appreciation goes to each and every member of our school community who has made me feel welcomed and supported as I joined the FWPS team back in May. The warmth of this community – students, families and staff, has been particularly evident this week as I’ve assumed the Acting Principal role while Brendan takes a period of personal leave. Thanks to each of you!
When the days are tough…
This week we have had lots of conversations with families about how to manage the day when priorities are competing, and things are tough. We know there are times (sometimes daily!) when you’re caught up with work responsibilities, or the internet goes down, or it’s just a bad day all around and emotions are frayed. We trust that you will make the call to pause the learning for that time and to come back to it later or to modify for what will work for your family.
Many families are working really hard with their child’s teacher to monitor their learning progress during this time. We would suggest however that for primary students, perhaps the most critical thing about remote learning is about maintaining a strong connection to the school and teacher. We therefore encourage you to consider the daily learning you can manage for your child and prioritise the online sessions on Webex, wherever possible. It is lovely to see them online and critically important as we work to maintain connections during this challenging period.
On the days when your family is being pulled in a million directions, the following alternatives may support your children’s learning while taking the pressure down:
Reading – Have your child listen to an audiobook and then tell you about it over dinner. Join the Maribyrnong Library (which you can do online) to get free access to MeetLibby and BorrowBox. These services provide thousands of audiobooks and ebooks for kids to choose from.
Writing – Write a story and turn it into a book with illustrations to share with the grade. Draw inspiration from picture story books (writing their own version of it).
Maths – Play a board game with siblings, complete some activities on Mathletics (for our Year 1-6s) or check out the following game-based websites which are free.
Yesterday we commenced with Wellbeing Wednesdays, to have a further heightened focus on student wellbeing, in an effort to strengthen our students’ mental toughness, spirit and overall wellbeing. From now on, every Wednesday will be known as Wellbeing Wednesday, a day to catch their breath, catch up and focus on self-care.
Every grade’s Wednesday morning check-in will have this focus before children set off to spend the rest of their day completing tasks they hadn’t managed to finish yet, undertaking some free-choice literacy and numeracy activities, engaging with the specialist classes and simply spending some extra time doing the things that keep them happy and relaxed. With the support of their teachers and peers, our students will be building their capacity to identify activities and actions that help them maintain a positive attitude, as well as a sense of calm and contentment. Outside play, listening to music, doing some mindfulness or extra reading may form some of these activities in the afternoon. Where possible during this time, we recommend limiting screen time as we know this is crucial for the mental health of our children.
As much as this will assist our kids to develop and bolster critical life skills which will ultimately improve their overall mental health and wellbeing, we also know that our families may appreciate the opportunity to slow down a little too. This pandemic is teaching us all a great deal about ourselves. As we cope with daily news updates and significant but necessary restrictions on our way of life, our individual strengths and limitations are being highlighted. We see this as an opportunity for all of us to work on our personal growth and development, attending to important life skills we should all aim to bolster.
Remote Learning Families Survey – This week, we are looking for feedback from our families about the addition of Wellbeing Wednesdays to our remote learning program.
Please follow this link to share your thoughts, suggestions and insights: https://forms.gle/Gb1Lp2CmN1YF2UGP9
Curriculum Day Postponed
Due to the extension of the lockdown, we have decided to postpone the planned curriculum day that was originally scheduled for Friday 20th August. We will be discussing alternatives with School Council next week, and we will inform families of a later option in due course.
Other Cancellations / Postponements
We remind families that all monies paid for cancelled events will be credited or refunded. The office team will communicate with affected families as each cancellation occurs.
DET Parent Opinion Survey
Last week, 250 of our families were randomly selected by the DET to complete the annual Parent Opinion Survey. Each of these families have received an email with a unique survey link to complete the survey online. It is long (with lots of questions!) but the results are crucial for our strategic planning and help guide the direction of the school. The closing date for this survey is the 3rd September, and we would be very appreciative if as many invited families can complete this as possible.
Thanks again to all our FWPS community for your support, flexibility and resilience during these challenging times. Take care of yourself and your family as we head into the second week of Lockdown 6 and we’ll all keep our fingers crossed for a speedy return to onsite learning for our students.
WED 25 AUG
Grade 4 Wildlife Exposure Incursion - TBC subject to restrictions
MON 30 AUG
Grade 3 Wildlife Exposure Incursion - TBC subject to restrictions
FRI 3 SEPT
Grade 1 / 2 - Leigh Hobbs Author Incursion - TBC subject to restrictions
FRI 3 SEPT
Father’s Day Stall
MON 6 SEPT
Grade 3 Camp Log Cabin Ballarat
WED 8 SEPT
Grade 4 Camp Log Cabin Ballarat
WED 15 SEPT
Spring Light up the Night Event
FRI 17 SEPT
LAST DAY OF TERM—2:30PM Finish
Independently writing an amazing recount about a special memory. Keep up the wonderful effort Clementine!
The effort you are putting into all of your tasks online. Your word choice and expression you used to create a story using props was a joy to hear.
The positive attitude you show in our Webex meetings and consistently completing all your online learning tasks. A great effort Alex!
Showing mutual respect during class discussions by raising her hand.
The amazing effort you have been applying to develop your reading skills! You are a star!
The growth mindset and positive attitude, she has shown in math tasks this term. It is amazing to see!
Joining our morning WebEx meetings and contributing to the class games and well-being activities.
Completing all her online learning tasks and engaging in all class meetings. Well done!
Applying himself and achieving his personal best throughout remote learning, particularly during writing lessons and extending his sentences by adding detail.
Applying your personal best in all your online tasks. Terrific effort!
Your valuable contributions and curious questions in the classroom and online. Keep it up!
Using his prior knowledge when learning about forces during our online reading session. You showed great interest in the topic and are a great role model. Sensational effort.
Creating an interesting character for his reading task using alliteration and powerful character traits. Well done Jasper!
The fabulous work he did working out the perimeter of shapes.
Actively engaging in online learning.
Reading and contributing with great enthusiasm during whole class WebEx meetings. Your effort and positivity are much appreciated! Well done, Harvey!
Showing care and concern towards others inside and outside the classroom.
Actively participating in class Webex meetings. You have such a positive attitude, Oliver! Keep it up!
Approaching activities in the classroom in a positive way and adjusting during remote learning and completing learning tasks well.
Putting great effort into your multiplication work.
The extra effort she puts into her writing. You've impressed the rest of the grade with your engaging piece about rubbish! Well done!
The excellent effort you put into completing all your tasks during remote learning 6.0.
Sharing his information report as a model of excellent writing to the class. Thank you for your willingness to share your learning!
Working so hard on your division tasks. It has been great to hear you explain your strategies to your peers in the Webex meetings. Keep up the good work!
The effort that you apply to your tasks during remote learning.
Eagerly sharing his thoughts during remote learning and adding interesting insights to our discussions
Your persuasive and descriptive pizza advertisement. Great use of words!
Your increased effort during remote learning. Keep up that positive attitude Otto!
His consistent effort and respect in backing up and setting up the TheirCare room. Thank you Zain!
Dear parents, guardians, staff and friends!
It has been once again a strange term here at TheirCare and the rest of Victoria. Last week Nelly and Luke took the suggestions made by the children and have purchased new resources and toys for the children. During that week we were able to set up the new toys and resources, as well as the Friday being child free we were able to reset and deep clean the TheirCare room for all children when they return. We have a table tennis table, new wooden furniture, cars and lots lots more!
We at TheirCare hope that all parents and children are coping during this difficult time and we want to spread our deep gratitude for the school and community that we are in and know that we can all get through this together! We will see you in the weeks to come.
The spring holidays is fast approaching and soon the spring holiday brochure and poster will be sent to all families. We are really looking forward to having lots of fun having incursions and excursions, and we hope to see lots of new faces.
This week’s TheirCare Star of the week is Zain Azzopardi, for his consistent effort and respect in backing up and setting up the TheirCare room. Thank you Zain.
Just a reminder to all parents to make sure you’re checking the lost property at sign in and out! We also have quiet a few items from the holidays that do not have names on them as well as lots of drink bottles.
As a part of our community engagement, this week we will be starting a food drive to donate to those in need through the asylum seeker resource centre. If you can all start to look at your pantries and follow this space to see when we will be collecting. They are looking for items with an extended shelf life. For a more exact list have a look at; https://asrc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/asrc-food-drive-april-may-2021.pdf
For all families, if you have any questions about TheirCare and would like to come and have a chat please come visit us in Emu Corner in the morning or afternoon, alternatively you can contact us on the details provided and we will help you as best we can.
Luke, Nelly, Louise & Eleanor
Service Phone: 0487004072
Service Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Head Office: 1300 072 410