Dear Parents and Carers,
These anxious and unusual times bring unforeseen difficulties. But the best of human nature can rise to the challenge. With all the things that are happening in Canberra as a result of the coronavirus, now might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. Yet staying positive is a vital ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis.
Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days, given the findings in psychology research that positive emotions help us to undo the negative effects of stress.
Here are a few really practical things you can do to foster positive emotions.
- Savour the small moments: Even during lockdown you still have many small moments to savour. The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather than let them rush by on automatic pilot, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood and make you feel calm.
- Strengthen your connections: now is the opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones. Take the time to hug your kids or partner, look them in the eyes, have long conversations with them – all of these gestures promote closeness and also boost your oxytocin, which is a hormone that bonds people and also has a calming effect on your body. When your oxytocin levels spike they tell your body to switch off cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Look for the good in others: I like to think that the best in human nature is rising to the coronavirus challenge. Philanthropists are donating money to scientists to find a cure. Doctors and medical staff are working overtime to help sick patients. Neighbourhoods are putting together care packages for people who are sleeping rough. People are posting positive messages on social media. Friends from across the globe reaching out to each other. When we tune into these positive and pro-social aspects of the crisis, we are united in hope.
By tuning into these three silver linings, you can potentially change your brain chemistry and build up your energy stores to help you cope with the other aspects of your day that have been made more difficult.
Taking charge of our mental health and capturing the small moments will help as we go further into the unknown, too. If we can foster positive emotions, the flow-on effects are well researched, and well documented. In fact, positive emotions are a key resource for us during the coronavirus crisis because they can do a number of things:
- Increase your resilience: Research has shown that when we experience positive emotions on the back of a stressful event, we bounce back more quickly and have a faster “cardiovascular recovery” time – our heart rate lowers and our blood pressure stabilises more quickly when we are able to be positive.
- Increase your immunity: a study where people were deliberately infected with the influenza virus and rhinovirus found that those people who had more positive emotions were more likely to fight off the symptoms. People low on positive emotions were 2.9 times more likely to contract a respiratory illness in this study.
- Make you think more clearly: the way we feel influences the way we think. Positive emotions boost our problem solving abilities as well as our judgment, decision-making, cognitive flexibility and creativity. Staying positive will help you and your kids to be better at solving all the little problems that are being thrown our way right now, such as figuring out new technology platforms for working (and schooling) from home.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining and this is your chance to thicken that lining and take charge of your mental health so that you come out of this experience stronger.
Your children are constantly watching you and will use your example as their guide to responding to the situation, so please, take a breath and remain calm. Build relaxation into theirs and your day. Go outside, exercise and get some sunshine and fresh air, it will do wonders for how you are feeling. To create a sense of routine and normality some schools are making their students wear their school uniform each day as part of their home learning program. Whilst this seems extreme I encourage you to keep their school day routine, by having them get up at normal time, eat breakfast and then begin their learning at 9am. Don’t forget to factor in brain breaks in addition to a break for fruit, Recess and Lunch. Please do not hesitate to contact our teachers or myself if you have any questions.
Please join me in keeping those individuals and families directly affected by the coronavirus in your prayers, as we work together to best protect the wellbeing of our school and wider community.
Please know that the priority for St Benedict’s - and for all Catholic schools, is the health and safety of our students and staff, and as such, the Catholic Education Office is monitoring and responding quickly to the advice of federal, state and territory governments and medical authorities as the situation develops.
While this is an uncertain period for our communities, it is important that we remain calm and alert as we monitor this health risk, and for our families and staff to be well informed about the health advice and protocols to reduce this risk.
Just some reminders/messages:
- Please ensure that all contact numbers and emails are up to date; and
- Please read information sent from ‘Schoolzine App’ (SZapp), COMPASS App and email regularly. Facebook or other social media are not the avenues to communicate important information to parents. Roughly, only 50% open information (either via email or the app) when disseminated to parents.
Thank You For Your Understanding
The Teams communication platform is for students and teachers only. Parents are to continue to communicate with the teacher via email or Seesaw. Again, teachers will reply to the communication in a timely manner.
When students are working alone at home, it is easy to imagine that teachers can respond to questions in an instant messaging kind of scenario. Teachers will want to assist students at their time of need but they may not be able to because:
- they are currently working with another student or students;
- they are on their own recess or lunch break;
- they are involved in supervision activities;
- they are having a designated Release From Face to Face (RFF); or
- their ‘face-to-face’ hours have finished for the day.
Teachers will always do their best to respond and engage in a timely manner. Depending on the time and the nature of any requests, this may even have to be the next day.
Despite the learning moving to remote learning, there are still requirements to meet the Education Act. It is a legal requirement of the Education Act that students participate in learning (whatever the context) and attend school. Both the initial 9.00am online check in via SeaSaw (K-2) and Google Classroom (3-6) and the daily whole class online video meetings fulfil these requirements. They will serve as both a roll call for students and also a check on their wellbeing. Parents and carers have a legal obligation to notify the school with reason for student absences.
Leaving St Benedict’s
If you anticipate that your child will leave St Benedict’s at the end of this year, could you please notify the Front Office. We need to begin planning for staffing and class configurations for 2022. Thank you to those who have let us know already, this is very much appreciated. Naturally Year 6 parents need not respond to this request.
Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation will be postponed until further notice.
Prayer for the Assumption of Mary
Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Livestreamed Online Masses
St Christopher’s Cathedral
12.15 pm Monday to Saturday masses and the 11 am Sunday mass
Link: https:// www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online/
St Benedict’s Parish livestreamed online Masses- please visit the parish website and Facebook page.
While our churches are closed, Archbishop Christopher would like to invite all to pray the Rosary via Zoom starting today at 4 pm.
All you need are your Rosary beads and your intentions.
TIME: Every Wednesday and Friday at 4 pm sharp!
(Archbishop Christopher will lead us today in the Glorious Mysteries)
ZOOM DETAILS: Simply click on the link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85022458332?pwd=MDZ4ODFhNjIvdnpFd21aVDQzWnAydz09
Or enter in the details below after opening the Zoom app
Meeting ID: 850 2245 8332
As schools around Australia move in and out of online learning during lockdown periods, it’s important to factor in the online safety of students. As students are spending more time online, their ICT skills continue to develop and they are becoming ever more comfortable with technologies.
Internet Safety Tips
The negative impact of this increased confidence means that online safety of our students has never been more important. Our children are selecting to interact with online games such as Roblox, Fortnite, Among Us, Discord etc which allows them to chat and play online with people that they know. However, some children are also interacting with unfamiliar people, which can include adults. There have also been instances where students have been exposed to inappropriate movie or game content which they then discuss at school with their peers – which is unacceptable.
While some games have educational content, many of the most popular games emphasise negative themes and they can have elements which are inappropriate for primary aged children.
Studies of children who have been exposed to violent video games for long periods of time have shown that they may become numb to violence, imitate the violence, or show more aggressive behaviours.
Children and adolescents can become overly involved with videogames and they may have difficulty controlling the amount of time they spend playing online games each day. Spending excessive time playing these games can impact on the time that students spend with their family and friends and makes social situations difficult. The manner with which video games stimulate the brain, can also lead to poor sleep patterns which have a wider impact on student’s everyday lives, in particular educationally.
Tips for Parents
There are many educational games that students can access at any age - however it is important that parents regulate their use - the use of a timer to limit the amount of screen time that students are exposed to - is one suggestion.
Ensuring that if children are playing online - parents should know who the gamers are that their child is interacting with. It is always best to play against local friends - and not invite strangers into online games or virtual worlds.
It is also vitally important that parents only allow video game playing or movie watching in the public areas of the home - no devices (xBox, Play Stations, I-pads, tablets or phones) should be accessed in a child’s bedroom without an adult present. This would ensure children are getting the necessary hours of sleep to ensure they are ready for school each and every day.
Checking the age rating on the game, app, film or social network is a great guide as to whether they’re suitable for your child. The minimum age limit is 13 for several social networking sites and these should be adhered to.
Partnerships between home and school are vital. Together we can support each other in providing our children with strong messages about online safety and clear pathways to get support. Keep safe!
Important dates to note for this term are:
20 Aug Science Week Activities
24 Aug Parents & Friends Meeting, 6.30pm
27 Aug Whole School Assembly, 2.30pm
1 Sep Indigenous Literacy Day
3 Sep Fathers' Day Mass, 10am
5 Sep Fathers' Day
9 Sep Learning Showcase, 2pm to 4pm
9 Sep Kinder Health Screeening
10 Sep Whole School Assembly, 2.30pm
11 Sep Sacrament of Confirmation, 3pm
14 Sep School Board Meeting, 6pm
15 Sep Yr5/6 School Camp
16 Sep Yr5/6 School Camp
17 Sep Yr5/6 School Camp
17 Sep Ways of Being Award Ceremony, 2.30pm
17 Sep Last day of Term 3
The following note/s have gone home this week via Compass Parent Portal and Schoolzine.
St Benedict's Parish
Fr Rembert Fernando MGL
Fr Baiju Thomas MGL
Onela Iruthayaraj (Parish Secretary)
Please email the Parish directly for more information about masses online.
Saturday Vigil - 6pm
Sunday - 9am (Streamed via Facebook)
- 6pm Charismatic Mass
Youth Mass every 4th Sunday (6pm)
Weekday Mass Times:
Friday: 5.30pm (HealingMass)
Baptisms: During Weekend Masses or by appointment.