Dear Parents and Carers,
I have spent the last two days participating in professional learning in the area of mental health, with a particular focus on adolescent and youth mental health. This extremely worthwhile professional learning, is similar to a normal first aid course, where they train people to provide intital support until the trained professional arrives, but in this case it is for mental health.
Why kids' mental health is important
Having good mental health is key to the healthy development and wellbeing of every child. Kids need good mental health - to not only be able to deal with challenges and adapt to change, but so they can feel good about themselves, build healthy relationships with others and enjoy life.
Many things, like family circumstances, school life and life events, can influence a kid’s mental health. While children can experience mental health issues at any age, they are most at risk between the ages of 12 and 16 years.
Mental health issues in children
Everyone feels sad, angry or upset sometimes, including children. However, if a child feels like this most of the time, it is a sign they may need help. Other signs include difficulty coping, getting on with others or staying interested in activities.
Kids can struggle with a range of issues as they grow up. Some of the common mental health-related issues they experience include:
- relationship problems (for example family, peers)
- eating or body-image issues
- bullying (including cyberbullying)
- abuse (physical, emotional or sexual)
- feeling sad or depressed
- worry or anxiety
- self-harm or suicide
About 1 in 7 children and adolescents, aged 4-17 have recently experienced a mental disorder in Australia. Some of these include anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. If you think your child has a mental health issue, it is important to reach out for professional help.
Improving kids' mental health
There are plenty of things that can be done to improve mental health and help prevent mental health issues from developing. For example, getting enough sleep, eating well and doing regular physical activity is important for children, just as it is for adults.
Long lasting, safe and secure relationships, such as with the child’s family (including extended family and carers), are considered the most influential factors in a child’s life. Mental health difficulties in children might present as frequent or intense struggles with their emotions, their thoughts, behaviours, learning or relationships.
As a parent or concerned adult, there are some simple steps you can take to support a child’s mental health. These are things like taking an active interest in the child, encouraging them to talk about what is happening in their life and being aware of changes in their behaviour. Seek support from your doctor or other health or mental health professional if you are concerned.
Where to get help
If you would like to find out more, or talk to someone, here are some organisations that can help:
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (telephone and online counselling for ages 5-25)
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Call Parentline in your state or territory for counselling and support for parents and carers
- eheadspace to chat online
- SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness and their carers) — call 1800 18 7263
- ReachOut.com (youth mental health service) — visit the website for info or use the online forum
You can also ask your family doctor for advice or consult a psychologist if you would like more information or mental health resources for kids. Don’t forget we also have our school counsellor available for advice and support. You can access the school counsellor through the link below:
Whole School Performance – All Around The World
Due to COVID restrictions we will be performing our whole school performance on three occasions over 2 days. Please save the date for the whole school performances; Tuesday 20th July, 11.30am & 6pm, and Wednesday 21st July, 6pm. More information will follow shortly. All students are participating in the performance and are busily practicing their class items.
Tell Them From Me Survey
Don’t forget to provide feedback on your experience of our school using the online survey. The surveys are an important part of our whole school evaluation and planning process. The survey will close this Friday, 11 June. As we value the role of parents and carers within our school community we would greatly appreciate your feedback. The information you provide will be used to maintain our commitment to working together in partnership to further improve student learning and wellbeing at St Benedict’s. The survey is anonymous and will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. You are able to access the parent survey on your computer or mobile device by using the URL below:
A team at Catholic Education have been working over the past year to develop our reporting system and there are major changes being introduced this year. We were advised at the end of last term that because of these changes individual student comments will not be used in the Semester 1 Reports. Dialogue is an important feature of reporting. At the half way point of Term 1 we had our Interim Reports sent home followed by Three Way Conferences. We also held our Learning Showcase at the end of Term 1. Catholic Education believe the Semester Report in this format encourages the continuation of parent engagement and conversation about student learning and whilst we invite parents to meet with teachers in Week 10 after reports, very few take up the offer. The new approach to Academic Reporting is a developing process. Teachers are currently offering opportunities for parents to meet and the take up varies from class to class. Further work will be undertaken in the coming months to determine how progress and achievement is best reported, based on what we know to be important information about a student’s learning and progress. With this in mind, we will re-evaluate the timing of the Three Way Conferences next year.
COMPASS Parent Portal
Last year we moved to a new online system for marking the roll and for recording sick bay attendance. Any students arriving late or leaving early are signed in at the front office by a parent/carer – their late attendance details are then automatically updated on the classroom roll. This week we hope to roll out the COMPASS Parent Portal. It is expected that parents access reports through this portal. As we are only rolling out the Parent Portal this week, we will be sending a paper copy home of the reports this semester as well.
Next Thursday 17th June between 2pm and 4pm we will be having our second Learning Showcase for the year. We are very excited to be welcoming parents and carers into the classroom for these. We ask that on entry to your child’s classroom you sign in using the Check In Canberra App. Each classroom will have a copy of the QR code to enable this. If you do not have the App, teachers will have a sign in sheet for you to fill in. If you have, multiple children you only need to check in at the first classroom. Please remember to social distance when you are visiting. Thank you for your support with this.
Term Three Starting Date – Tuesday 13th July
Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn has declared Monday 12th July as a pupil free day for all Catholic schools in Canberra. Students will commence Term 3 on Tuesday 13th July.
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.
Winter Woollies Preparation
In preparation for our upcoming Winter Woollies Day (Week 10) families are encouraged to start cleaning out their wardrobes ready to donate any unwanted winter woollies such as gloves, scarves, jampers, jackets, beanies, coats, blankets and sleeping bags. All donations must be adult sizes. Please keep your donations at home until Winter Woollies Day.
First Holy Communion
Please pray for our First Holy Communion candidates as they prepare to receive Jesus in spiritual nourishment.
May God’s blessing be with you as you prepare for First Holy Communion
and remain with you always.
Jesus loves you and always will.
Through His Body and Blood,
May you always feel
His loving and holy presence.
First Friday Mass
Thank you to 5/6 Gold and our school choir for leading us in Mass last Friday. It was a wonderful opportunity to gather and spend time in prayer and song as a community. Thank you also to the families who contributed to the delicious morning tea.
Our Mini Vinnies have been busy learning about and reflecting on our inherent human dignity. God made every single one of us. This makes us incredibly special, and at the same time, no one person is ‘more special’ than another. It doesn’t matter who we are, who our friends are, what we own, or what we look like. What matters is that we are all special because we are God’s creations. This means that we must treat others with great respect and fairness because God made them too. Mini Vinnies are preparing a display to showcase the ways that we can help to protect the dignity of all people, especially those in our community who are most vulnerable.
Important dates to note for this term are:
11 Jun World of Maths Visit
14 Jun Queen's Birthday (Public Holiday)
17 Jun Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge
Yr5/6 Silence is Deadly visit
Learning Showcase, 2.00pm
18 Jun Semester reports sent home
Whole School Assembly, 2.30pm
20 Jun First Communion Mass, 9.00am
21 Jun Parent—Teacher Interviews (Optional)
22 Jun Parent—Teacher Interviews (Optional)
23 Jun Mini Vinnies Winter Woolies Day
24 Jun Athletics Carnival (Whole School) - NEW DATE
25 Jun St Benedict’s Feast Day Mass, 10.00am
Ways of Being Award Assembly, 2.15pm
Term 2 concludes
If you would like a quick way to pay for your School Fees, Clothing Pool items or your child/rens Tuchshop Orders using your credit card this is an easy way while sitting at home. Please have a look at the app via https://www.mastercard.com.au/en-au/about-mastercard/innovations/qkr.html and scroll down to select either the Apple or Android.
If you have any concerns regarding paying your fees, particularly due to COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact either Ms Rachel Smith or Mrs Belinda McRae at the Front Office.
As winter is approaching all students still need to drink plenty of water. As the school bubblers are still closed please make sure your child/children bring their water bottle to school each day.
During the colder months we notice that more children are needing extra sandwiches made as they are eating all their food at recess. Please take time to talk with your child/children about what is in their lunch box and how much food they might need.
This term our 5/6 students are investigating how biodiversity relies on maintaining the interdependent balance of organisms within systems. Today they were lucky to have one of our dads, Mr Wrathall, Assistant Secretary, (Wetlands, Policies & Northern Water Use), Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, shared his expertise with the students.
Kinder: Patrick S and Mason H
Year 3/4B: Geordie B and Ryana O
Year 3/4G: Jack O, Summah M and Sebastian M
Year 5/6B: James N and Joshua L
Year 5/6G: Edith B, Mia N and Amelia J
Each year to help with a little fundraising the P&F participates in the sale of Entertainment Books and this year as we are not able to travel overseas as freely they have a special offer that has now been extended until the 14th June.
We ask parents to check with their child/children to ensure they have checked and collected any missing items from the lost property box on a daily basis. (It only takes 21 days to create a new habit).
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR CHILD/REN'S CLOTHING, LUNCH BOX AND DRINK BOTTLES ARE LABELLED WITH THEIR NAME.
If you require uniform items from the clothing pool please email the school email@example.com or contact Mrs McRae with a list of items required. We will endeavour to fill your order and reply to you as soon as possible.
We have sourced new school ties from Savvy's. These ties are now available for purchase from the clothing pool for $25 each. Unfortunately, these are the only ties we have available as all donated ties have now been sold.
The new menu is now up on Qkr! ready for your Tuesday and Thursdays orders. All orders for recess and lunch must be placed before 9.10am on the day it is required. The Qkr! app also gives you the ability to order in advance for a particular Tuesday and/or Thursday.
Apple slinky Tuesdays
We thank the wonderful parents that come and do slinky apples for students each Tuesday morning. There is no cost, we just ask that students bring their own apple to be slinkied for fruit break. We understand that the mornings are getting cold, but the students are still having fruit break each day and a apple slinky is just another way to make fruit more appealing.
Fr Rembert Fernando MGL
Fr Baiju Thomas MGL
Cathy Schneider (Parish Secretary)
Saturday Vigil - 6pm
Sunday - 9am
- 6pm Charismatic Mass
Youth Mass every 4th Sunday (6pm)
Baptisms: 11.00am, 2nd and 4th Sundays of the Month.
Vinnies CEO Sleepout for the Homeless
COVID has resulted in more homeless people in Canberra needing help but also greater difficulties in raising funds. For information or to sponsor Canberra local, Neville Tomkins, participating in his 10th Sleepout, on 17 June, go to https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/act-ceos/neville-tomkins-scouts-australia/.