My Education Patch

A principal reflecting on life at St Brigid's Primary School

End of the 2017 School Year

Like most of us the end of the school year approaches with speed and delight and there is always much to do.

Last Monday evening we celebrated our Year 6 students leaving their primary years behind to embark on their secondary school journey next year. It is an exciting time for them and their families and there were a few tears throughout the night as speeches were made and goodbyes were extended.

We feel truly blessed that our Year 6 students have been on their primary school journey with us and have contributed immensely to the life of our school.

Again, this year, has been one of tremendous growth and learning and this has been achieved through the hard work and determination of all. 

As a Catholic School our education is faithful to the tradition and teachings of the Church and follows the ideals of St. Brigid of Knowledge, Strength, Faith, and Hospitality. We, students and their families, friends and staff, have all worked to make the Kingdom of God present to our community and through God’s grace and guidance we have been enriched not just in our spirit and intellect but in our hearts.

We thank Fr. Jeff, Fr. Hilarion and the Parish Team for guiding us on our pastoral journey.

Thank you to our students who have embraced their school community and worked together to learn, grow and make lasting friendships. 

We thank our parents, guardians, relatives and friends for their support. There are many ways we have benefited from your assistance such as through fundraising initiatives, camp and excursion helpers, in the classroom, library, donations to our supported charities and all those who generally support our school through being positive and spreading good will within our community. This assistance and your encouragement is very much appreciated.

On Tuesday, we celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the wonderful school year we have had together. Following the conclusion of Mass, we celebrated the Rite of Passage, handing over our Year 6 students to St. Francis Xavier College, our feeder secondary College which is also symbolic of all schools our Year 6 students will be attending and the passing on of student leadership to our Year 5 students for next year.

We thank our Students Leaders for 2018 that have accepted a formal role in the leadership of our school.  Leadership is not just limited to our formal student leaders but embraced through the Student Representative Council and other opportunities that provide a student voice to our school.  

We have a dedicated and enthusiastic staff and I cannot thank them enough for their commitment to our school and the wonderful, caring way they support our students.

As we come closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, may we make room for Jesus in our daily lives and share this in our relationships with others and in all our words and actions.

May the Prince of Peace come and dwell in us this Christmas and may the festive season be a joyful and safe one for you all.

 

 

 

Victorian School Garden Awards

We are pleased to advise that St. Brigid’s is an Award winner in this year’s Victorian Schools Garden Awards. We have received a Regional Award and a State Award for all our school gardens, including our vegetable garden.

I would like to acknowledge the great work Mrs. Winder undertook to register our school and present our gardens in a submission and provided a tour of our gardens to the judges. Thank you to Mrs. Winder, Mr. Sweeney, our students and everyone who has supported and worked to create our Award winning school gardens.

An official Award ceremony was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens on Thursday, November 23rd 2017. A representative group of students attended with Mrs. Winder and Mrs. Logan and were presented with the following Awards:

 

Footy Fever!

Melbourne is in the midst of Footy Fever as we come to the end of Term 3.  We took the opportunity to celebrate our passion for sport, in particular, our support of any of the football codes our students support on the last day before the school holidays.

Students and staff were invited to wear their footy gear for a gold coin donation. This year we will be donating money raised to Trinity Families  which is a charitable fund assisting families in the Gippsland and outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

The Grand Final of the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League will be played during the school holidays.  I wish all teams a fair and sportsmanship like game, however, I do have my favourites. For me, it would be wonderful to see a Richmond and Melbourne Storm win.

Then it will be on to support the A-League.  Their season commences in October. Go Melbourne City!

 

 

 

Term 3 2017

Welcome to Term 3 at St. Brigid’s School, which promises to be rich with new learning and achievements. We have events and celebrations planned to engage our students, parents and the wider community and we look forward to a busy time ahead.

Some of the extra curricula activities planned for Term 3 are:

  • Hooptime – Basketball competition
  • Senior Interschool Sports – Competition in Football, Netball and Newcombe with our neighbouring Catholic schools.
  • Grandparents Day – Recognising the importance of Grandparents in our lives and the enormous contribution they make to family life.
  • Family Life – Supporting the school in the delivery of age-appropriate life education.
  • Book Week – Celebrating Book Week and promoting the enjoyment of reading.
  • Building Harmony in Officer Project –Building Harmony is an initiative of Windermere Child and Family Services and supported by the Cardinia Shore Council to establish bridges of understanding between students from different backgrounds and faiths.
  • Trivia Night – Major fundraising for the school and a night of healthy competition and fun.
  • Father’s Day Breakfast – Opportunity for our dads or a special father figure in the life of our students to join us for a hot breakfast to celebrate the significant role they have within the family.
  • Brigid’s Choir – Entertaining the elderly at a Residential Aged Care facility.

Throughout this year we have been actively promoting the importance of regular school attendance. We understand if a child is away due to illness and we ask that a parent or guardian supplies the school with a written note to explain the absence in accordance with government legislation related to School Attendance.

Evidence shows that daily school attendance is important for students to succeed in their education to ensure they don’t fall behind academically and socially. School attendance is mandated under the Education Training and Reform Act 2006 and new legislation related to enrolment and attendance came into effect in March 2014. It is the responsibility of parents/carers to ensure their child regularly attends school.

St. Brigid’s School continues to ensure that we maintain effective practice in relation to meeting our obligation in the terms of the Child Safety Standards. Under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, protecting children is everyone’s responsibility. Parents, communities, governments and business all have a role to play.

From August 1st 2017 changes to the Working With Children Act 2005 come into effect. Significant changes have been made to the definition of child-related work. The definition of ‘direct contact’ in the Act has been expanded, and the reference to ‘supervision’ has been removed and no longer applies. 

St. Brigid’s continued to enforce the Working With Children Check for all volunteers and contractors at our school. Anyone who is carrying out work, maintenance, classroom help, attending incursions or excursions, helping in the library, kitchen or other duties around the school when children are present must have a current Working With Children Check and this must be registered with the School Administration Staff.

We are blessed to be part of St. Brigid’s School and I hope that Term 3 is a rewarding one for all and that our students, parents and staff embrace all that is ahead.

 

 

 

St. Brigid’s Day 2017

St. Brigid’s School celebrated Catholic Education Week focusing on the distinctive nature of a Catholic school and our mission to share our faith with others.  

St. Brigid’s Feast Day is February 1st, however this year our students did not commence the school year until February 2nd.  As St. Brigid’s Feast Day is meaningful to the whole school community we decided to celebrate this special occasion during Catholic Education Week.

The day commenced with prayer and we were thrilled to welcome Dr. Rose Duffy, who is a Brigidine Sister and Spiritual and Faith Formation Leader from the Catholic Education Office in Sale, to share her knowledge of St. Brigid focusing on St. Brigid’s example to us showing us how we can be people of compassion, generous toward those in need and welcoming to all. Dr. Rose Duffy is an inspiration to us all and has been a very popular visitor to our school since our opening in 2010.  We thank Dr. Duffy for her willingness to spend time with us and share her vast insights with our community.

St. Brigid always helped those in need and would often give her family’s belonging to others who needed them more.  She handed out bread, butter, eggs and chickens from her father’s dairy farm. She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold. Inspired by her generosity, our Mini Vinnies Team have been asking for donations of warm, clean and wearable clothing to support the St. Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal. Students were also invited to wear free dress for a gold coin donation to add to the fundraising for St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The students participated in a variety of learning experiences in their Sports House Teams: Delany, Tullow, Kildare and Leinster. A sausage sizzle lunch was provided with the assistance of the Social and Fundraising Committee and in the afternoon students participated in tabloid sports.

The celebration of St. Brigid’s Day is a fun day we all look forward to and this year was no exception.

Catholic Education Week 2017

Our school, along with 42 other Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sale, will celebrate Catholic Education Week from Friday, April 28th to Friday, May 5th 2017. The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Unity in Diversity’. This week is a very special week for our school, parish and local community and is given great importance on the Catholic Education calendar.  

The week will commence with a Leadership Mass and Dinner that brings together Catholic Education Office staff, Priests and members of the parishes and Catholic schools and their leaders in the Sale Diocese to pray and share our achievements while celebrating what it means for us to be part of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Sale.

The goal of Catholic Education Week is to communicate and celebrate the distinctive mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Sale. It is an opportunity to celebrate and promote not only the great work being done in our schools, but also our wonderful Catholic ethos.

As Catholic schools, we are called to do more than just pass on the faith: we are invited to translate our faith into deeds so we are truly living God’s word.

St. Brigid’s School community will be celebrating St. Brigid’s Day on Friday, May 5th to conclude our celebrations and learning experiences that will focus on our challenge to consider how we might work to reveal Jesus Christ to others and encourage them and ourselves to come to know Him more deeply.

St Brigid was a person who had great compassion for others and helped the sick and poor. She could not bear to see anyone cold or hungry. In the tradition of St. Brigid, our school, through the help of our Social Justice Leaders launched a ‘Mini Vinnies’ Appeal to assist those less fortunate than ourselves.  We are asking our community for donations of warm clothing that is clean and wearable to assist those in need.

 

 

 

Enrolment for Foundation Year 2018

The enrolment process for Foundation Year can often be a daunting time for parents, especially first time school parents. The transition process from kindergarten to school is an extremely important time in a child’s life.

The Enrolment for existing families of St. Brigid’s School community will open on Monday, March 27th.

Places are firstly allocated to families who already have a child enrolled at St. Brigid’s, however after the closing date of applications from existing families all places will be available to those meeting our enrolment criteria. The closing date for existing families is Wednesday, April 26th 2017.

The Enrolment process for all students new to St. Brigid’s School opens on Thursday, April 27th 2017.

There will be two Open Days as follows:

  • Thursday, April 27th 2017 from 9.30 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 2nd 2017 from 9.30 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

If you are not available to attend our school during these Open days, please feel free to contact the school office to arrange a suitable time to meet with me and tour our school.

Applications for enrolment into Foundation Year 2018 for all new families to St. Brigid’s close on Friday, June 2nd 2017.

Once we have received your completed Enrolment Application, in order to continue further, we will invite you and your child to attend a personal interview.

A formal letter of acceptance of Enrolment will be sent to parents with all relevant information and details of our orientation process that is aimed at providing positive experiences of school, which usually commence in October/November.

It is important for us to work closely with parents to ensure our young students are well prepared for school and feel secure and comfortable in their new surroundings. Generally, our Foundation teachers will visit the pre-school teachers to make the transition to school life as smooth as possible.  This helps us understand our students and take steps to meet their individual needs as they progress to formal primary education.

Staff at St. Brigid’s have a shared vision: ‘St. Brigid’s is a Catholic community where children know they are valued and experience the love of God in an engaging and contemporary learning environment.’ Our school motto of Knowledge|Strength|Faith|Hospitality is a reminder of the attributes of St. Brigid that guide our school community.

We recommend parents visit our school with your child at available opportunities. The more informed and familiar you and your child are with our school environment the more successful the transition to school will be.

For parents wishing to access Before School and After School Care, Camp Australia is our provider. This service is available at St. Brigid’s School in our Multipurpose Hall that is fully equipped and has kitchen facilities.

St. Brigid’s accepts enrolments for all levels throughout the year. Acceptance of new students depends on places being available within the structure of the Learning Communities and meeting our enrolment criteria.

School Vegetable Garden

The first thought behind the establishment of our school vegetable garden was to reach out to our parish community and to provide fresh produce to people in our parish and wider community who were going through a difficult time, whether that be through financial hardship or illness.  Hopefully as our garden flourishes and starts to produce we are able to accomplish this.

The benefits of introducing the school vegetable garden are many but not limited to:

  • Reinforcing St. Brigid’s culture of sustainability and increasing the students’ awareness of the benefits of composting and recycling to deal with waste.
  • Assisting in helping students make healthy lifestyle choices and embrace healthy eating through learning to grow their own food.
  • Expanding the students’ knowledge and experience of different foods.
  • Observing the life cycle of a seed through to harvest.
  • Having a context for understanding the seasons and observing how they effect growth and change.
  • Giving meaning to and promoting the understanding that as stewards of creation we all have a responsibility to look after and care for our environment.
  • Providing opportunities to connect with the wider community.

One of the most pleasing developments that has arisen is the introduction of our Garden Club which is an extra curricula activity offered to students during lunch time most Wednesday’s and on a Thursday. There is considerable student support for this club during lunch time and I am sure there will be added interest now that we have two new feathery additions to the garden space.

Last Thursday we introduced two Pekin bantams. They are called Maisie and Daisy and they are very cute and friendly. Pekin bantams are known for their pet like friendliness and I am sure once they have settled into their new environment the children will be able to get to know them and have lots of fun looking after them.

The desire and commitment from staff, parents and students have seen our garden come to fruition.  We have been fortunate to have the support from Cardinia Council ‘Beyond the Bin” program which focuses on waste and sustainability.  We have 3 compost bins and a worm farm and our learning communities separate their waste into general waste, paper recycling and compost. A special thank you to Bunnings who have been fantastic in their advice and donations.

Our parent support has been amazing with the initial set up of the fences and gate, the building and painting of our raised garden beds, donations, sourcing our Chicken Coop and building a fox proof run, mulching and weeding. Thank you everyone, in particular, the Andrews family and Deayton Family.

The school vegetable garden is only one small part of our Science and Sustainability specialist classes. We have a rich and diverse science curriculum that encompasses inquiry into a wide variety of areas outlined in the Victoria Curriculum guidelines.

I would like to acknowledge the effort of our former Science and Sustainability specialist teacher, Mrs Ferris for her work to develop our school garden from the ground up and the preparation and planning of the Science and Sustainability curriculum from Foundation to Year 6 in its first year. This year Mrs. Ferris has taken on a senior classroom teaching role, however, she continues to have a keen interest and is active in this area. We welcome Mrs Winder into the role this year.

 

St. Brigid’s Playgroup

We are very pleased to be able to offer a playgroup at our school.  Playgroup is a great way for parents and children to meet new people and make friends in a relaxed and friendly environment. The benefits for the children are many. Play provides the opportunity to learn, experience different things, investigate and interact with others. Playgroup provides this opportunity in a setting that is away from the child’s normal home environment. They learn how to play together and share things with others.

Parents are able to interact with other parents and share their ideas. Coming along to Playgroup helps parents have a sense of connectedness to a community will having fun and building social networks.

We encourage you to come along and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while the children play. Playgroup runs every Tuesday during the school term from 8.45 a.m. and is aimed at parents with pre-school children.  There is a $2.00 charge per family to cover insurance.

We thank Megan, one of our school parents, who coordinates our Playgroup.

A Great Start to the School Year

St. Brigid’s has had a very successful start to the school year.  It is so pleasing to see all the enthusiastic faces and the genuine thrill of our students seeing their friends again.  Our Foundation students have settled well and are eager to commence their primary school journey. Foundation Year parents attended an information session that outlined expectations and gave general information designed to assist with the transition to school life. From the feedback received on the night and the following day, the session was welcomed and most useful.   We have amazing teachers throughout all levels of the school who are eager for their students to settle quickly into the class/level routine and who are always happy to address any queries or uncertainties as they arise.

An opportunity is given to our parents to meet with their child’s homeroom teacher. These meetings are very valuable to student learning. Good parent-teacher relationships are vital for a child’s positive attitude toward school life and impacts on their learning, social groups and ultimately their success.  Research shows that if the teachers and the school are supported at home then the students are more willing to focus on learning and get the best out of every opportunity presented to them.

Our Parish Priest, Fr. Jeff celebrated an Opening School Year Mass for us and once again is was very lovely to see so many parents, grandparents and a great grandparent join us for this special occasion.  Celebrating together in this way is an important part of what makes us a Catholic school. We are a parish school who seeks to draw our school family into the community of the Church in an inclusive and welcoming way.

Students in their class groupings have elected their representative for the Student Representative Council (SRC). We congratulate these students who have been elected by their peers and trust they will represent their classmates in a positive and productive way.

The first of our school assemblies will be coming up shortly and our Senior Learning Community will be leading us in prayer and presenting their learning. Our assemblies are a great way to celebrate together and acknowledge student achievement. As a general rule, we have three assemblies for each term led by each our Learning Communities (Junior, Middle and Senior Learning Communities).

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