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Mary Queen of Heaven Newsletter – Term 1 – Week 2

12th February 2024

Dear Heavenly Father,

We lift our hearts in gratitude for the beginning of this new school year in our beloved Catholic primary school. We thank you for the opportunity to come together as a community of learners, educators, and families, bound by our values of  love, courage, humility and respect

Bless our students, Lord, as they embark on this journey of learning and growth. May their minds be open to the wonders of education, and may their hearts be receptive to the teachings of kindness, compassion, and understanding. Grant them the strength to face challenges, the courage to ask questions, and the perseverance to overcome obstacles.

We ask for your guidance and wisdom upon our dedicated teachers and staff. May they be inspired by the example of Mary Queen of Heaven, to instill in our children a love for truth and a thirst for knowledge. Help them to be compassionate mentors and nurturing guides, leading by both word and deed.

Bless the parents and guardians who entrust their children to our care. Grant them patience, wisdom, and the ability to nurture the faith within their homes. May they find joy in partnering with the school community to support their children’s education and spiritual development.

Heavenly Father, we place this school year into your hands. May it be filled with moments of joy, discovery, and growth. Bless our community with unity, respect, and a deep sense of purpose. May your light shine upon our school, guiding us in all that we do.

Mary Queen of Heaven, pray for us.

Upcoming Events

Jun
21
Fri
2024
1-2B Assembly
Jun 21 @ 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Join with Google Meet: https://meet.google.com/bor-pfmr-auj
Or dial: (US) +1 443-585-0147 PIN: 572574495#

Learn more about Meet at: https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9282720

Jun
27
Thu
2024
100 days of Prep
Jun 27 – Jun 28 all-day
Reports to go home
Jun 27 – Jun 28 all-day
Jul
15
Mon
2024
Term 3 resumes
Jul 15 – Jul 16 all-day

Welcome & Thank you

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Welcome to the 2024 school year.  As I write this first newsletter I am reminded of this time last year!  How far we have come as a school and as a community is something we should all be very proud of.

The year has begun in the most calm and smooth way.  Our new preps, all 62 of them have transitioned into school and are definitely ready to learn.  We thank all of our families for supporting our ‘kiss & drop’ at the gate system.  We know from many, many years of experience that a quick and calm goodbye helps to settle everyone and reduces anxiety.  The children  gathering on the yard in the mornings is a great way to foster and develop friendships and socialization.  They hesitate to do this when parents are in the yard.  We understand this can be a challenge for parents, but the feedback I have received about how happy and calm our learners are is what truly matters.  It’s been wonderful to see our families arriving before 8:45am and being prompt at pick up Mon/Tues 3:00pm and Wed-Fri 3:15 pm

As you have done so far these past days, please continue to trust us.  You have chosen MQH because there was something  about our place of learning that attracted you.  Our staff are experienced, dedicated educators who have the best interests of your children  at heart, please trust us, communicate with us openly and respect the wonderful work that our educators are doing to support your children.

From time to time there will be issues.  If this arises for you, firstly, please encourage your child to approach their educator about it.  If not, please contact your child’s teacher by email and wait for their response.  Our staff will do their best to get back to you within 24- 48 hours.  With classes that run all day and meetings three afternoons per week, the response time is a 24- 48  hour window.

At MQH all of our children are equal but not the same.  Some require support in Maths, some with reading, some with behaviour and some with managing their emotions.  Support looks different for different children and families.  Please be aware of this and trust that the school is supporting all at their point of need.

During the break we welcomed a new Assistant priest to support Father Dishan in the Parish.  We welcome Father Samuel and look forward to our community meeting him.

 

 

 

 

A letter from Father Samuel

On December 4, 2021, I was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ! I can scarcely believe it was over two years ago now! I recall returning to the sacristy after the Ordination Mass and received a large white envelope which contained my ‘letter of appointment’. I nervously, yet eagerly, opened it to discover that I would begin the New Year in a new parish in Scoresby and Rowville! My initial response was;

“Where?!” I’d never heard of them! In time I came to relish Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, especially the fact that the parishes are nestled among those leafy, tree-lined avenues, with such beautiful views of the Dandenong’s!

However, the quotidian ebb and flow of suburban parish life there, was a long way from the quiet, north-western suburb of Glenroy where I grew up. A shy feeling of being far from home never quite left me, even though my family has since moved on and settled elsewhere.

I was reminded of this feeling and other such ordination memories when, just before Christmas last year, I received an email informing me that I was to come to Good Shepherd Parish…in Gladstone Park! (or ‘Gladdy Park’, as I remember it!) I couldn’t believe it! I felt so excited to be coming just up the road from the suburban architecture of my childhood; Mass at Corpus Chirsti, School at Penola, shopping at

‘Broady’ and so on! All the places where the ‘real people’ live! LOL! (Well…at least we thought of ourselves as pretty ‘real’)!

I come from a pretty ordinary Catholic family; Mass on Sundays, family rosaries and grace before every meal are the norm! My dad is not Catholic (though has always supported us), but mum is and it’s really her faith that has sustained my own and those of my younger sister and two brothers. I never really thought of priesthood when I was younger, I actually wanted to be a journalist and travel the world, meeting the famous and infamous! Some years ago, during my undergrad and master’s studies in humanities at Melbourne Uni, I questioned my faith and doubted God’s existence at times, in the face of a militantly godless campus culture.

But through God’s ‘amazing grace’, here I am! A priest! All I can say is that, slowly and gently over time, God led me on an interior journey, so that, as G.K Chesterton said, my religion became ‘less a theory and more of a love affair. I began to realise that being Catholic is not merely passively believing a disjointed multitude of doctrines’, as Pope Francis once said, but is a personal connection with our Lord, in communion with others.

In the context of this relationship of faith, I became aware that Christ was ‘whispering’ in my heart, as he has done before to many others:

‘Come, follow me!’ ‘Do not be afraid’. There grew over time, a clear sense that this was not some idea of my own. Christ is calling me to be another worker in his vineyard, to cultivate the faith and to call others into relationship with him, as he himself has done and continues to do with me…of all people!

I’m looking forward to coming up to Gladdy Park and getting to know all of you and the particular and varied ways we are each incarnations of God’s grace to each other.

God bless….and see ya soon!

Fr Samuel

 

Religious Education – Faith Formation

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Pope Francis has officially blessed 2024 as our global Catholic faith community’s Year of Prayer.  He encourages us to take moments in our busy lives for both communal and personal prayer to become closer to Jesus.  This year many of our senior students will be preparing to make their Sacraments, forming a deeper personal relationship with their faith. Please keep these students in your prayers.

Our Sacraments dates for 2024 are:

  • Reconciliation:  Thursday 7th March at 12 noon.
  • Eucharist:  Sunday 16th June at 3.00pm.
  • Confirmation: Saturday 31st August at 12 noon.

Invitations

Grade 1- 6 families are welcome to attend our whole school Ash Wednesday mass on the 14th March at 12.00 noon in the Sacred Space. Please note this is a day of rest for our Prep families, please use this day to stay at home with your child.

Around the School

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First Aid

At MQH our First Aid space is monitored at all parts of the day.  We have a staff member on First Aid duty at Recess and Lunch and our Admin staff monitor the First Aid space during learning time.  If your child needs First Aid, we meet their needs by treating them and recording this on a First Aid slip that goes home with them at the end of the day, or call home for more serious incidents.  We call home for all head injuries.

Car Park

Please ensure you move around our school in a safe a slow manner.  Both Hillview and French Rd have a 40km speed limit.  Please also use the car parks as directed on the signs and move in and out of drop off zones safely.  Please note the car park off French Rd os for staff only.

Dogs Connect

It’s been so wonderful seeing many of our families engaging with Bluebell at the front gate and in the yard at pick up time. Please refer to Audiri and your children for reminders about the way we engage with her as a Wellbeing Dog.

Smile Patrol

In the coming weeks we are welcoming Smile Patrol to MQH as an at school Dental Health check service,  Please refer to Audiri for information on how to register your child for this free and convenient service.

Parish Fete – VOLUNTEER NEEDED

We are excited to be partnering with School of The Good Shepherd and St Carlo’s Greenvale to support our Parish Fete on Saturday 16th November.  MQH will be holding a stall selling Popcorn and Cookies.  We are seeking the assistance of one parent from our community to represent our school on the Fete committee.  The role is mainly attending Parish Fete meetings and communicating important information back to us at school.  Please contact the office if you’d like to volunteer.  A WWCC is required for this role.

Zooper Dooper – VOLUNTEER NEEDED

Every Monday and Friday we sell Zooper Doopers at 2pm-2:10pm.  We are seeking volunteers to sell the Zooper Doopers and to purchase them when they are on sale.  Please contact the office if you’d like to volunteer.  A WWCC is required for this role.

Scholastic Bookclub – VOLUNTEER NEEDED

Scholastic is a wonderful organisation that supports schools by giving back!  From time to time we offer Book Club to our community.  We are seeking a volunteer who might like to take this role on.  It requires organisation,  attention to detail, collection and counting of money (all money kept on school premises.)  Please contact the office if you’d like to volunteer.  A WWCC is required for this role.

Stage 2 Development

Our school is growing!  Plans are in place for a beautiful new building to begin in June 2024 with a completion date of June 2025.  The building will run north/south on the land between our current building and the netball court.  It will offer 6 classroom spaces, 2 large shared spaces (STEM and a library type space) kitchenettes for student cooking and some office space.

Private Music EOI

Learning through music is very important to us.  We are looking into the possibility of offering private music lessons at school. Last year we didn’t have enough families taking up the offer, therefore it was not offered.  If you are interested in private music lessons, please complete the Expression of Interest form on Audiri. Please note, this is not a free program.

Numeracy

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Dr Angela Rogers has combined her own experience as a parent and knowledge as an expert in Maths Education to share top maths tips for starting school.

  1. Be positive about maths- Have a positive attitude towards Maths at home 
  2. Look out for maths- Maths is everywhere. You will be using money, time, measurement and counting skills every day. 
  3. Play Board/Card Games- Whether it is Twister (recognising left, right), Uno (counting, number recognition, matching colours) or Dice games these all support children to engage in mathematical thinking and problem solving. 
  4. Share maths moments/be interested in maths- Show them you are curious and interested in maths- this will spark their interest and show them that maths is “cool” in football, cricket, shopping. 
  5. Do Maths- Think about playing games at home, or  calculating scores…see it’s not about being a ‘maths person’ it’s just about being a person who does maths- so give that gift to your child and they will thrive at school 
  6. Count, Count, Count- Counting provides a super important foundation for early mathematical understanding. Ask children to count plates for dinner, birds in the park, ducks on the pond, flowers on a plant- anything.Sometimes you can model counting for them, sometimes count things together, sometimes invite them to count on their own.

(Thanks to Dr Ange Rogers for her Blog on ‘Maths tips for starting school. Read more on her blog here- https://www.numeracyteachersacademy.com/blog/numeracytipsforstartingschool )

Wellbeing

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Emotional Self-Regulation

Taking a few seconds to think things through before acting can make a huge difference in how a situation plays out. This is a skill most people can learn—it’s called self-regulation.

People of any age can benefit from learning how to self-regulate their emotions. For kids, it’s a great way to learn how to control their impulses, make good social connections, and develop self-esteem. For adults, self-regulation makes stressful conditions at work, home, or in the community much more manageable.

Tantrums and outbursts are to be expected in toddlers and young children, but as they get older, kids usually get better and better at controlling their emotions. It is important for adults to model emotional regulation to children.

Some strategies we use at MQH for assisting with emotional regulation include:

  • Recognising your own signs: This involves an awareness of how your own body communicates feelings (such as butterflies in the stomach).
  • Scaffolding: Managing tasks that seem overwhelming by breaking them down into smaller more manageable steps.
  • Mindfulness: This strategy helps to manage emotions through practical exercises such as deep breathing.
  • Reframing the situation: This strategy involves thinking about a situation in a more positive way, rather than one that is likely to increase negative emotions.
  • Zones of Regulation: This is a visual reference tool for students who have difficulty expressing emotions in words.

Learning Diversity

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Epilepsy Smart School

Mary Queen of Heaven is proud to announce that we are an accredited Epilepsy Friendly school. Epilepsy is a condition in which the brain tends to have recurrent seizures. There are many causes and types of seizures. Not all people who have a seizure will be diagnosed with epilepsy. As an Epilepsy Smart School, MQH works in partnership with families and the Epilepsy Foundation to ensure staff are expertly trained and prepared for the event of a seizure at school.

For more information about epilepsy please visit https://epilepsyfoundation.org.au/understanding-epilepsy/about-epilepsy/

Literacy

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Take Home Reading

Our Educators and Co-Educators are spending time building relationships with children.  This is something we value at Mary Queen of Heaven.  Research tells us that children who feel seen, loved and valued are best placed for learning.

Educators are also gathering a range of data to support us to better understand children’s strengths and learning needs.  We will use this data to design learning experiences that support children to grow.

Over the coming weeks, children in Prep-2 will bring home ‘take home readers’.  Educators will share information regarding how to support children with this at home.

In the meantime, we encourage you to familiarise yourselves with our Homework Policy:

Learning Together:  Home learning

Rationale

At Mary Queen of Heaven we believe that learning at home, in context and with loved ones, promotes and enhances the learning that takes place in school. It strengthens home-school links, providing the opportunity for parents to support students with their learning in a safe, context appropriate and creative way. We recognise that parents are the first educators of their child(ren) and we value the lived experience each child brings to our school. It is the responsibility of the school to provide excellent contemporary teaching practice based on current evidence on how children learn best.

Current research supports the change from a traditional model of homework (one size fits all) to one where the learning tasks/experiences are personalised to each child, designed to meet their needs and reinforce the learning that is happening in the classroom. This supports the student’s strengths and builds on the relationship with the family and community. Home learning can include planning, organisation, creativity and self-discipline which are lifelong skills that will serve students for the rest of their lives. Home learning needs to be guided by family circumstances as families have varying schedules, with a range of time  and expertise available. If your family is away from school on an extended holiday, school based learning tasks will not be provided.

Definition

Learning at home is inclusive of the full range of experiences a student has outside the classroom, in formal and informal settings, including at home and in their community.

Formal settings include school directed home tasks, academic work set by families, tutoring, language classes or religious school. This combination of experiences engages students in their environment with the aim of creating lifelong learners.

Informal learning outside the classroom is experiential learning and ongoing. This can include incidental learning through daily activities (e.g. counting, pattern recognition, memorising activities, and reading), building relationships and social skills and giving children responsibilities in the home and visiting places of interest. (e.g. Library, Museum, Shops).

Aim

To ensure that learning outside the classroom provides positive and ongoing experiences that meet individual learning needs and interests.

Implementation

To implement our policy of learning outside the classroom, the school will:

  1. Support parents to take an interest and understand what their child is learning at school
  2. Provide learning task/s which will include students interests, explicit connections to classroom learning and opportunities to connect learning to the home and community environment
  3. Ensure parents receive explicit ongoing communication around student learning through the school newsletters, website, texts and other relevant material
  4. Seek ongoing feedback from parents and students, around the school’s effectiveness in communicating student learning

Process

We encourage reading every day and the practice of number knowledge and counting, this is supported by the school daily in classrooms (see table below).  We strongly believe that family driven activities, inspired by student interest, are the most effective and provide rich opportunities for home learning.

Engaging and rich tasks such as:

  • Cooking, measuring, reading recipes
  • Gardening, planting, waiting and observing seedlings grow
  • Building: lego, robotics, etc
  • Assisting with shopping, calculating and estimating
  • Writing lists, stories and cards
  • Reflection on the learning that has occurred at school and sharing thinking
  • Family prayer time

Home Learning Expectations

PREP 1-2 3-4 5-6
Daily expected Tasks Reading

Phonics as needed

Reading

Phonics as needed

Reading

Spelling (as required)

Reading

Spelling

(as required)

Nature of tasks Students are encouraged to change their readers regularly and read for practice, fluency and enjoyment. Students are encouraged to change their readers regularly and read for practice, fluency and enjoyment.

Students are encouraged to practice the 100 most commonly used words.

Students are encouraged to change their readers regularly and read for practice, fluency and enjoyment.

Students are encouraged to complete any unfinished school learning.

Students are encouraged to change their readers regularly and read for practice, fluency and enjoyment.

Students are encouraged to complete any unfinished school learning.

Recommended  time spent on homework 10 – 15 mins 15 – 20 mins 20 – 30 mins 20 – 30 mins

 

Mary Queen of Heaven Primary School’s Homework Policy supports Mary Queen of Heaven’s Primary School Child Safe Policy.

 

Daniela De Luca
Literacy Leader

Water Safety Program

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In term 1, Life Saving Victoria will be coming to Mary Queen of Heaven to educate the children on the importance of water safety. The children will learn how to read key safety signs, to ensure they have the tools to ‘be aware and be prepared’ before visiting local waterways.

 

 

 

They will learn how to recognise dangers i.e. rip currents, and learn the first 3 steps of emergency response sequence (DRS), whilst participating in age appropriate, real life scenarios. Children will learn how to wear lifejackets safely, and practice using various safety equipment.

This program is essential for children to be safe in and around water, especially during the warmer months. We are very excited to offer this program, and know the children will learn many vital skills to be able to make informed decisions, if ever in a water danger situation.

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