Welcome and some useful information

We have seen the children making a great start to school, settling in, making new friends and quickly adapting to the school routines. The Geelong Advertiser featured a full page spread on the children’s first day with photos and quotes, so please take a look at copies on display in the Prep windows.

This note is to outline a few housekeeping items and hopefully clarify some of your questions. We will go into greater detail at the upcoming Information Sessions in Week 4.

Prep Parents Information Sessions
On Wednesday 8th February the school has paid to host a workshop with Georgia Manning (Director of ‘Wellbeing for kids, registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist and a Member of the Australian Counsellling Association), specifically aimed at helping Prep Parents get the most out of their child’s schooling and develop confident and resilient children. This will be held from 7:00-8:30pm in the Year 5/6 Building and we strongly recommend attending.
Please click the link to find out more: http://wellbeingforkids.com.au/index.php/about/georgina-manning

On Tuesday 21st February there will be a Parent Information Session at 2:45pm in the school hall with Nick, (as all of the other teachers will be in the classroom at this time), with a second session at 6:30pm on Thursday 23rd in the Prep Learning Community, when all staff will be present. We will be covering lots of key information during these sessions, including a letter detailing your child’s permanent home room and teacher, as well as handing out individual reading folders, so we are very keen to see everybody at one of these.

Communication
At St Therese we use the CareMonkey app as the main avenue of communication with families and so we ask all families to sign up to this as soon as possible. Any questions relating to this should be directed to the school office.

Other sources of information are:
by phone at the School Office (number at the top of this page),
via the school newsletter which is emailed via CareMonkey to all families once per fortnight,
via the school calendar (found on the school website),
the Prep Learning Community Blog (via the school website),
Parent Teacher Online (see ‘Three Way Interviews’ below),
via the school app (available for smart phones from the Apple Store or Google Play),
the weekly timetable on the window in the main entrance to the Prep building.

via email:

Mr Dando: rdando@sttorquay.catholic.edu.au
Ms. Farrelly: gfarrelly@sttorquay.catholic.edu.au
Mrs Richard: hrichard@sttorquay.catholic.edu.au
Mrs Chisholm: jchisholm@sttorquay.catholic.edu.au
Nick: nkenwright@sttorquay.catholic.edu.au

We would stress that whilst teachers check their emails daily, notifying absences and other more urgent messages should be directed via the school office, (in person or by phone), to ensure that they reach the correct person promptly.

Teachers are available from 8:30am until 8:45am before school in homerooms for brief chat. If you require a longer discussion we can arrange an appropriate time after school. We operate an ‘open door’ policy and welcome the chance to answer questions and deal with concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Buddies
Every child will be allocated a Grade 6 Buddy for the duration of their Prep year. A list of these will be added to the Prep Blog. There are several occasions when these children mix and work together throughout the school year. We will be holding a Buddy Picnic on the school oval at 5:30pm-7:00pm on Tuesday 1st March, when both Prep and Grade 6 parents are invited to bring along a picnic and get to know the family of their respective buddies. The children will be playing various games during the evening.

Mass
Across the school each year level celebrates a Sunday Mass at St Therese Church. The Prep Family Mass is on Sunday 26th February at 8.45am. The children have been learning a song that they will be performing. This will also be a chance to meet with other Prep families for a cup of tea or coffee after Mass. Every term there will be a Wednesday Mass. Dates for these can be found on the school calendar (via the school website).

Assemblies
Once a month on a Tuesday afternoon there is a whole school assembly in the School Hall, where children from all year groups share their learning. Parents are invited to attend and dates for these can be found on the school calendar (via the school website).

Specialist Days
Thursday (fortnightly, even weeks) – Specialist Day.
Specialist day involves the following subject areas: Physical Education (Mr Kentish), Art (Mrs Humphreys), Library (Mrs Arnell, assisted by our School Librarian, Angie Clifford) and Music (Miss Budd).

Sports Uniform
Children wear their sports uniform every Monday and every Thursday.

Home Reading
Initially your child will take home a Library book, so please take the opportunity to read this or another book with your child each night. As the term progresses, the majority of children will have a cut up sentence to be pasted into a small book (kept in their blue reading satchel). The procedure for your child’s sentence book will be outlined at our Information Sessions and blue satchels will be handed out at this time. If you are unable to attend one of the sessions, you will need to arrange to meet with your child’s teacher so that they can explain how to use this before your child brings it home. As children progress at their own speed with their reading they will start to select individual books to bring home to read with you.

Parent Meetings
Teachers are available for ‘Student Led Learning Conversations’, every second Wednesday after school, throughout the year. The expectation is that children attend and share their learning with parents, with input from the homeroom teacher.
We ask that each family has at least one interview per semester. These interviews can be booked via the school website, using PTO (Parent Teacher Online) and your personal codes, which have been provided to you by the school office. We will need to wait until homerooms have been allocated before you can access this.

Home Visits
During Term 1 you may choose to book-in for a home visit. These are optional, and are an opportunity for your child to share something that is important to them, (such as a favourite book, toy, pet or activity), with their homeroom teacher. Visits are for about 10 – 15 minutes and given that we will have several visits to make we will need to stick fairly closely to that time frame. We are planning to offer Home Visits on the Prep rest days (Wednesdays in Weeks 6 and 7), once we have allocated home rooms. A timetable for home visits will be posted inside the Prep area for you to fill in for a time that suits you. If a home visit is not possible your child will be invited to bring a photograph to school to share.

Prep Assessments
Each year on the Prep rest days we timetable individual assessments to determine your child’s starting point for learning. Assessments take approximately one hour. These assessments are for your child only, so please feel free to leave and come back to collect your child after this time. If you haven’t already selected a time please do so in the coming days via the CareMonkey sign-up.

Allergies and Asthma
St Therese is a ‘nut aware’ school so we ask that lunches and snacks do not contain nuts. If your child has an allergy or asthma please ensure that we have a copy of your child’s current management plan

Punctuality/Absences
Please be at school by around 8.45am, giving your child plenty of time to unpack their bag and be ready for the start of the school day. Please encourage your child to do this for themselves and to take care of their own belongings. Please also make sure all items are labelled, including hats, jumpers, food containers and lids.

If your child is absent (including going away on holiday) please phone the office and leave a message or email their Homeroom teacher.

Sickness
Please follow standard government guidelines referring to illness and how long your child should remain at home to avoid the risk of infecting others.

Sustainability Focus
Already many families provide lunches that are 100% wrapper free. This is a fantastic achievement! We hope to continue to build upon this in 2017 as we work towards a sustainable future. With this in mind please consider buying large packets of snacks or tubs of yoghurt rather than individual packets. These can be placed in small reusable containers each day.

Fruit / Vegetable Snack
Each morning at around 10.00am we stop for a fruit/vegetable break, so please ensure that your child has fresh fruit or vegetables to eat at this time.

The children also eat ‘snack’ before recess around 11:20, and then eat their lunch around 1:15.

Classroom Help
Parent helpers are an important part of our school week. We actively encourage parents to assist throughout the school day. A ‘sign up’ sheet will be displayed in the Prep space in the coming weeks. We are also seeking parent support as we improve our outdoor learning areas, for example, working with the children in our garden areas. If you are interested please let us know. A Working With Children Check is required for parents assisting at school, so please register your Working With Children Check with our school office.

Home Groups
Currently we are observing the children and their interactions with their peers and in the next few weeks we will finalise home groups.

Kindergarten Transition Forms
We have collected most of the transition forms from the kindergartens and child care centres, if you still have your child’s transition form at home please bring it into school.

Labels

We stress the importance of labeling everything belonging to your child, especially lunch boxes, including lids, jumpers and hats.

Toys
If children choose to bring toys from home to school (eg. sports equipment, footy cards, etc), please be aware that your child needs to take full responsibility for looking after these.

Shrove Tuesday
The Parents and Friends will be making pancakes for all children. Please let us know if your child is unable to eat pancakes. We ask that the children bring a plate and fork for their pancake.

Hot Dogs and Munch Day Orders
Once the children commence coming to school on Wednesday they can order hot dogs on alternate weeks.
Hot dogs can be ordered on a list in the classroom. See school calendar for hot dog days.

Munch Days are every Tuesday and Thursday and orders are online via…

Headlice
Please be vigilant in checking your child’s hair on a regular basis. It is important that everyone does this to ensure we have few cases of head lice. Information can be found at ‘Scratching for Answers’ online at health.vic.gov.au/headlice
Please inform your child’s homeroom teacher if your child has head lice.

Tissues
We request that each family donate a box of tissues for use in the classroom. Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you all at the Information Sessions.

Thank you for your support,

Gerardine Farrelly, Ron Dando, Jess Chisholm, Helene Richard and Nick Kenwright

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