St. Brigid’s School Choir performed for the elderly residents at the Casey Aged Care Centre recently. Since St. Brigid’s opened in 2010, the Choir has attended this facility to entertain the residents.
It is not an easy thing to be part of a Choir. Effort and persistence is needed to be part of a singing group that is comprised of students from all different age groups, talents and singing voices. To harmonize all these voices takes patience and talent from the teacher to ensure all participants know how they fit into the overall structure of the Choir. In order for the Choir to be successful each member must work as members of a team and listen to one another, learn from each other and respect each other.
We have received very positive feedback from the residents and the students enjoy being part of this community service. It is a privilege to be invited back to perform each year. It is our way of doing something to show our love and care for the older generations, who have forged a path for the younger generation.
I congratulate the students from Years 1 to 6 who volunteered to give up their own time during lunchtime to rehearse and Mrs. Petra Taylor-Smith, our Performing Arts Specialist, who also gave up her own time to work with the Choir. It is a joy to see our young students singing together and enjoying the experience. Thank you all for your dedication, effort and hard work.
The foundations for our new Learning Centre have been poured and we are seeing signs of progress on Stage 2 of our Master Plan.
The challenge when building a contemporary school is not the design of the buildings as such, the Architect has innovative ideas and expertise in this regard, it is the planning around what goes into the Learning Centres that makes the difference.
We as teachers have to have flexible spaces that are designed to engage our students. Much thought must go into the use of these spaces and how they accommodate the different learning needs of our students. Our spaces need areas for students to collaborate and work in teams while offering quiet spaces for individual work and spaces for whole group presentations. Above all they need to be spaces that ignite imagination and creativity and generate enthusiasm to learn.
It is important that we provide the scaffolding for teachers to move out of their comfort zone and away from the traditional methods of teaching and know the pedagogy behind co-teaching and the use of these contemporary tools and spaces for learning. Learning at St. Brigid’s is personalized and meaningful and our teachers strive to provide authentic learning opportunities for all students. Their own learning mirrors that of the students in that it is personalized, collaborative, innovative and reflective giving great consideration to feedback and deliberation on their own learning and teaching.
As a Catholic school in Diocese of Sale we: “provide students with the opportunity to grow in the love of God and develop a respectful knowledge of their world in an atmosphere of peace, joy, hope, justice and love.” Maria Kirkwood, Director of Catholic Education. Our love of God is demonstrated by the way we live our daily lives through our thoughts and actions. Serving others is a true example of our faith in action.
In primary school we lay the foundations for practical leadership opportunities for young people in the future. We are committed to providing our students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the 21st century while encouraging their creativity, curiosity and love of learning and equip them to so that they are able to make a positive contribution to society.
Involving students in leadership activities is one of the most effective ways for gaining the cooperation of students and increasing the value they place on their education. This also builds a sense of community and school spirit. We encourage all students to be leaders in our school, through their active participation in the classroom, their involvement and motivation in their learning, through their interaction with others and their involvement in school and community events.
Many adults I speak to have indicated they are reluctant to speak in public in front of a crowd. They were not exposed to public speaking when they were at school and now as adults they lack the experience necessary to be confident standing up in front of people. I am passionate about giving students the opportunity to gain the confidence and skills needed so they are able to contribute effectively in the public arena.
Our student leaders are active participants in school events and are involved in activities that allow them to develop into strong and resilient young people. There are many opportunities for students to display leadership, they include but are not limited to the following:
- Leading whole school assemblies
- Leading prayer
- Making announcements
- Raising the Australian Flag at assemblies
- PALS program
- Sports captains
- Meet and greet visitors
- Being a tour guide around the school
- Leading class discussions
- Presenting their work
Qualities we aim to encourage in our student leaders are but again not limited to:
- Confidence in talking and addressing other students and adults
- Good use of presentation skills such as posture, voice control and body language
- Showing respect for others, being trustworthy and honest
- Listening to other people and sharing ideas
- Appreciating each other strengths and diversity
- Being motivated
- Having the ability to make good decisions
- Fostering good relationships with their peers and other students
- Enhancing their sense of self and improving their capacity to overcome difficulties
- Overcoming the challenges of effective team building
- Being inspired to make a contribution to their school
- Being welcoming to all
- Modelling positive behaviours for younger students
Being involved in leadership helps build the necessary skills and confidence needed to transition into the next stage of their academic and social education, developing their sense of responsibility for themselves, each other and their school. We hope our young students will be inspired and excited to use their leadership opportunities to make a positive difference in their world.
Sustainability is defined as the simultaneous consideration of economic, environmental and social factors. It is using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. At St. Brigid’s we are committed to using methods so as to have a minimal long-term effect on our environment.
In order to promote best practice we have appointed senior Leaders of Sustainability. These leaders have a particular focus on our environmental community and take on the role of increasing sustainability and conservation awareness at St. Brigid’s School.
We believe empowering students in the process of the stewardship and the schools sustainability process and improvement strategies provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea of personal and group leadership.
I consulted with the Cardinia Shire, our local council office personnel, who outlined their recycling and composting initiatives. They were very happy to conduct a session with the senior classes and provided compost bins to support this part of our sustainability program. They met with the Leaders of Sustainability, Cohen and Noah and developed a practice for our school to follow.
Our Leaders of Sustainability have shown great initiative and have been involved in planning and developing ways to reduce waste, improve our recycling practices while encouraging others by promoting and modelling environmentally responsible practices themselves.
It is pleasing to see their commitment and determination to do well in their role. The feedback they have received is positive and they provide feedback to others by presenting their own Awards to classes and individual students for their involvement at our whole school assemblies. The presentation of positive reinforcement was an idea that came from our Leaders and has been very well received by other students.
Hopefully all our students will gain the skills to inspire others and build the capacity to take action for sustainability, which will lead to a lasting interest in creating a culture of sustainability in their school, family and their community.
Recently our Year 5/6 students attended Camp Rumbug in Foster North in the hills of South Gippsland and our Year 4 students attended Allambee Camp set in the picturesque West Gippsland region in the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria.
Our school camp experience offers students an opportunity to engage in physical activity and express their creativity in a safe and nurturing environment away from the distractions of the usual school setting and they learn to interact with each other in a positive, inclusive and thoughtful way.
Students need to work together, make choices, trust each other and take responsibility for their actions. In doing so, build independence and self-reliance and gain confidence. Camps are usually a great self-esteem booster too. When you see the timid, frighten child clinging to the rope of the giant flying fox before they start wondering if they can go through with it or standing at the foot of the climbing wall, and the joy and exhilaration they experience when they have reached the other side and overcome the challenge is inspiring.
The social and emotional benefits are an important part of school camps as they provide an environment where students and teachers can talk, listen and relax in a setting away from school. Students experience the need to show respect, share and care for one another. Being able to reflect on the excitement and challenges of the camp experience is a great way to get to know each other better and understand each others uniqueness and contributions each one makes to their community.
The natural setting of the camps heightens our awareness of the relationship between people and nature and how we use our beautiful environment. It fosters our stewardship responsibilities and the need to care for our world not only for ourselves but also for generations to come.
Tired and exhausted the students and teachers return from camp having had a wonderful fun-filled time happy and content with the contribution they have made to each other’s camp experience.
Thank you to the parents who willingly allow us to take their children away on camp and are excited to hear all the news upon their child’s return.
The photographs above are from Camp Rumbug
The photographs below are from Allambee Camp
Happy Mother’s Day
May 12th 2013
Mother’s Day is the day we set aside to think of the unique love we have for our mothers and show them by our presence, actions and prayers how much we care and appreciate them for everything they do and have done for us.
On this special day of celebration let us demonstrate our love for our mothers and for those of us whose mothers have passed into eternal life may we spend time reflecting on the unique impression they have left on our hearts forever.
To all Mothers,
We just want to say
How much you mean to us
And how we do appreciate
Everything you’ve done
We pray that God will bless you
In an even greater way
And that His presence will be with you,
Especially more today.
© By M.S.Lowndes
Enrolments for Foundation Year students for the 2014 school year have opened throughout the western cluster of schools in the Sale Diocese. Parents are considering their options and choosing a school for many and varied reasons, so why should they consider a Catholic School.
Our faith in Jesus Christ is why Catholic schools exist and we are challenged to foster a distinctive culture, educational vision and practice. As our Statement of Beliefs and Values states: “The membership of the school community is diverse. Some are conscious and active members of their Catholic community, some belong actively to other Christian traditions or religious faiths. Some are not explicitly Christian, but nevertheless have sought enrolment for their children in a Catholic school. Many students come from households, in which the adults belong to different churches, or one partner is intentionally Christian and the other is not. A large number of children and parents are baptized Catholic who may not participate consciously in a community of faith or deliberately attend to the religious dimension of their lives. The school is challenged to find appropriate ways to engage all members of its community in conversation about Christian identity.”
We believe our students can develop into strong individuals, academically, socially, physically and spiritually in a nurturing environment guided by faith and knowledge. Each student has strengths, interests and talents that need to be encouraged and developed so they are able to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live. Promoting self confidence, self respect and respect for others, self discipline and resilience prepares students to be good stewards of God’s creation and prepares them for service of others in their faith community and civic community.
We acknowledge parents as the first educators of their children who enter into a partnership with the Catholic school to foster and support their child’s education and education in faith. Parental involvement is welcomed and supported. St. Brigid’s, like other Catholic schools, has a dedicated space for parents to gather for social and school purposes. This area aims to enhance the welcoming culture of the school as parents and friends get to know each other and develop lasting friendships.
At Brigid’s our learning environment is flexible and has been configured to create small and/or larger areas. The furniture is moveable and can be used to distinguish different activity areas. The learning areas provide for both indoor and outdoor learning. Every student has a ‘home-base’ where there is storage for belongings and where they gather with their classroom teacher.
We believe students experience a unique faith-filled, nurturing environment in a Catholic school where there is a focus on the skills needed for the contemporary world today, tomorrow and well into the future.
We begin Term 2 of the School Year in the midst of the wonderful season of Easter. When we look back at Term 1 and begin Term 2 we are reminded that each time we complete something there is an opportunity for beginning again and welcoming new experiences.
The Easter season is an excellent example for us. The risen Lord presented himself to his friends renewing their energies for their roles in continuing his work and spreading his message. Let us be ready to recognise the risen Jesus as we go about our everyday work with vigor and enthusiasm.
St. Brigid’s is undertaking the process of Catholic School Renewal. Catholic School Renewal is a system-wide initiative in the Diocese of Sale that provides the opportunity for us to review our performance and recognise and celebrate our achievements.
Catholic School Renewal is conducted in partnership with the community and the Catholic Education Office and is a process by which we are able to examine our performance and acknowledge our strengths and successes while identifying areas that may require improvement.
This is a positive procedure that allows us to look closely at what we doing and make any necessary changes. It is also an opportunity for St. Brigid’s school staff to refresh ourselves and strengthen our resolve to carry out the ministry in which we have been called.
We are approaching the end of our Lenten journey and at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 27th we enter into the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum begins at sundown on Holy Thursday and concludes at sundown on Easter Sunday.
These three days are the climax of our yearly celebration of the paschal mystery. These days invite us to set aside our everyday activities as much as possible to spend these holiest of days in a spirit of prayer and reflection.
When we come to Easter our sorrow turns to joy as we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ. We celebrate Christ’s victory over death and sin and share in his suffering so that we may also share in his resurrection and the new life it won.
Journeying with Jesus through his Passion helps us be more aware of the suffering of others and gives us a heart that is full of love and compassion.
May everyone experience the true joy of the Easter Season.
When I woke this morning I was delighted to hear the Conclave had elected a new Pope. Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina has been elected Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is the 266th Pope and is 76 years of age. He is the first Jesuit to become Pope and is of Italian descent.
Last year I went on a pilgrimage to Rome with fellow principals and leaders from the Catholic Education Office in Sale. When I saw the pictures of the large crowd in St. Peter’s Square it reminded me of the awe inspiring feeling I had when I was there. It was an experience I will never forget.
I can imagine the feeling amongst the thousands of people seeing the white smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel and hearing the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica.
One of the teaching staff here at St. Brigid’s will be attending World Youth Day in Rio in July this year. I am sure she will be eagerly awaiting the experience where young people from around the world will meet the new Pope.
I join with Catholics all around the world in praying for Pope Francis.