Irymple Primary School
Term 1 Roundup
Congratulations for Term 1 to families and children.
We would like to thank all parents for their support with the almost 100% wearing of uniforms each day and for the many parents that have ensured that their children have appropriate footwear for school. We now have very few children who are arriving late for school in the morning and almost without exception children are arriving happy and well-nourished from a full breakfast with their family.
We have children working hard on their academic work, playing fairly and participating in sports to represent our school. There are many activities at school and out of school to look forward to and we encourage all children to attend to the highest level of behaviour in order to participate in all major excursions (Swan Hill, Roses Gap, Lake Cullulleraine Camp and Melbourne Camp) and incursions such as plays and presentations. Next week the children will be involved in the STOMP dance program with a parent presentation taking place on Friday after school.
Easter Donations to Parents’ Club Raffle
Thank you to all the families that have contributed to the wonderful selection of items for the Easter raffles. They will be drawn at assembly on the last day of school for the term. Please keep the ticket sales coming in as the prizes are amazing and the Parents’ Club supports our children in a host of special areas each year with the funds to buy much needed resources. They also contributed to the basketball court resurfacing and every week allow us to provide fresh fruit for children that are hungry at recess and lunch time each day.
Farewell Morning Tea and Assembly for Mrs Brown
This week Mrs Brown had a special morning tea and last assembly before her retirement at the end of Week 8. Units made special presentations to Mrs Brown and she was also presented with a gift from School Council on behalf of all the students and a gift from the staff. We hope her final week (next week) at the school is a good one. Mrs Cruikshank has been in several times to meet Mrs Brown and the children to assist with the smoothest transition possible.
DET Absence Data for Our School
We have just received our absence data for 2017 and in our school the average number of days lost is 14.5 days – 0.5 better than last year, but still just over the State average. Every day at school counts and commitment to 100% attendance with the exception of illness is essential. It has been made a major priority in the North West Region and across all schools. All schools are being asked to track every absence carefully and to reconsider how to sell the following two messages:
- ‘Every day counts’ and
- ‘It’s not Ok to be away’
High absenteeism is a precursor to falling behind in school, eventual disengagement, poor behaviour, leaving school at a young age and reduced chances of meaningful employment. Every week is planned at school, as a sequence of activities in a longer 5 week cycle and if days are missed children can feel lost, and under unnecessary stress.
Another area that suffers when absences are high is solid friendships as children like to have their friends to play with on a daily basis. We have a few students on less than 50% attendance and this is not acceptable when illness is not the causative factor for their absences. We have many agencies that support us and families if getting to school is difficult for a family to manage. Over time we have worked with families to be able to turn late arrivals and absences due to difficult circumstances around.
Week 9 Assembly
Our last Assembly for the term will also double as a whole school farewell to Mr Beer. If any parents wish to attend they are welcome. This will be followed by the Easter Raffle draws.
School Requisite Payments and Netbook Payments
Please finalise payments as soon as possible. It would be greatly appreciated if this could be done prior to the end of Term 1. This also prevents overlap with Major Camp payments and additional pressure on parents. Thank you to all the families that have already paid.
Please be ready for the first cold mornings, to prevent the rush to the office for the much needed school jacket or school long sleeve fleecy top. There are plenty on hand and the next two weeks are a good time to finalise your order sheet ready for the autumn and winter chills of Term 2.
2019 Enrolment Enquiries
If you know of any families wanting to have a look around or enrol for next year please ask them to make contact early next term. We have information booklets ready to go during April and these are also distributed to all Kindergartens and all Long Day Care Centres in Mildura. Anyone with children already at school should enrol at their earliest convenience as it is often left until quite late and we need grade numbers as soon as possible after 1st May each year.
‘Social Skills’ Programs in the School
School is much more than reading and writing and social skill development is an important part of normal development. From time to time we establish specially formed groups and they are run by Mrs Muller, our Primary Welfare Officer and Mrs Midgley our School Support Officer. The teacher assistants sometimes attend as well.
They are designed to assist children to develop knowledge and skills to better enable them to establish and maintain friends and enhance social interactions at school.
Social skills are specific behaviours such as smiling, making eye contact, asking and responding to questions, and giving and acknowledging compliments during a social exchange. These behaviours result in positive social interactions and have been linked to positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance.
Parents and Teachers can often tell if a child is having difficulties with social skills when they do the following:
- Little use of eye contact,
- Uninterested in social interactions,
- Difficulties initiating social interactions,
- Difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal social cues,
- Inappropriate emotional responses,
- Difficulties playing games
- Lack of empathy towards others.
Parents can assist their own children by doing the following:
- Helping their child make friends by organising play dates, having sleepover and joining sports/clubs.
- Offering positive suggestions on ways to handle situations at school and with friends.
- Children learn a lot by observing how adults interact so it is important to always model appropriate behaviour, such as greeting shop assistants and using Peoples names when possible.
- Help your child to understand different points of view by describing feelings and having conversations about how other people might feel. This can help your child to develop empathy and will help them deal with conflict when it occurs.
- Help develop conversation skills such as asking questions and listening to others
- Discuss behaviours such as teasing and bullying with your child, to help them understand that some comments could upset others. Being able to define the difference between normal interactions and conflict is essential to build resilience. Some conflict is a part of healthy development and the building of necessary resilience for life.
It can sometimes be upsetting for parents to realise that their children are having difficulties making friends. The good news is that social skills can be effectively taught to children over time by an appropriate adult. Adults at school and parents can encourage children to develop social skills.
Social Skills Program are run each term and as always we are excited about the prospects of all involved as even a short time each week can lead to strong gains in a child’s social and emotional development. If you ever have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Muller, Mrs Midgley or myself. A note will always be sent home to advise of the invitation to work in one of the social skills groups.
Well done to all the staff and students for a great day of swimming and good sportsmanship. Thank you to Mr Pettit for organising the event. The end of day House scores were;
- Bass - 724
- Chaffey - 646
- Flinders - 571
- Sturt - 491
Interschool Boys and Girls Cricket
Congratulations to the boys team who played three games and showed great
sportsmanship. The girls team played two games, winning one of them.
Anyone interested in working in the canteen is more than welcome to drop in and see Sue and ask any questions or assist for as long as possible. The only requirement is that new workers have a Volunteer Working With Children’s check.
Several Eastern Brown Snakes have been sighted in the playground this past week so please be aware when walking on the school grounds. In the dry grass and bushes they are very difficult to spot – please talk to your children about it. Explain to your children that small snakes can bite and that an adult must be found immediately.
School Council Elections
We had the same number of people nominate as positions so an election was not required. Our School Council for 2018 will be as follows:
Mrs Yvonne Madden (Principal/Chair)
Mr Warren Lloyd Mr Paul Cody
Ms Emily Walshaw Mrs Michelle Thompson
Mr Aaron Oldham Mr John Carra
Ms Rita Valentich Mrs Tena Williams
Mrs Alice Baird Mrs Amy Gladman
Ms Angela Enright Mr Robert Thompson
Thank you to those who nominated and I look forward to a productive and successful year ahead.
Congratulations to Mrs Jessica Cruikshank who has been appointed to the position to replace Mrs Brown in Room 3. She will be spending a few days in the classroom with Mrs Brown prior to starting in Week 9.
Labour Day Public Holiday
Don't forget that Monday is the Labour Day Public Holiday.
Years 3-4 Swimming
The achievement and behaviour of the students has once again made us all very proud here at school. Thank you to all the teachers and support officers that assisted over the week of swimming. We have been involved with a new provider in 2018 and have been very pleased with the facilities and level of service offered to our students across all groups.
Please do not send messages to staff about student absences and reasons for absences through Facebook, especially late evening and throughout the night. This needs to be done via the office in order for the right recording processes to take place.
Visitors to School
It is a DET policy that all parents and visitors sign in at the office before any movement to any part of the school. This is to ensure the safety of all visitors in the event of an evacuation or lock down procedure and to ensure the safety of all children from unauthorised visitors. All visitors other than at pick up or drop off time, must also be wearing a school sticker as they move to any part of the school. Please do not be offended if you are asked if you have signed in as it a protocol likely to be used by any staff member if they do not know you.
Late to School
We are still having a very small number of children arriving in the half hour or more after school starts. It is not only disruptive to the class, but the children miss out on the important instructions and introductions to the day’s work. It is not okay for the same children every day to be late to school and to be given the impression that it is an acceptable part of their school life.
If a child misses half an hour every day this equates to 150 minutes a week of lost learning time. Over a 10 week term this is 1500 minutes or 25 hours (nearly a week of lost schooling) and over 1 year equates to a month of missed schooling. ‘Every hour of every day counts.’
If you complete your child’s lunch orders for them please tell them what you have ordered as we have a number of students who do not know what has been ordered and do not go to the canteen to pick up cold items during the break time.
Congratulations to the majority of our children who are reading for 20 minutes or more each night. It is a wonderful habit and assists students to progress at the desired rate. Like school absences the missed hours add up without notice and 100 minutes are lost each week if the minimum recommended reading is not done. It is great that so many children read for longer and it certainly is evident in their daily ability to read quickly and to comprehend what they read. The compulsory 20 minutes of reading each day could be the difference between your children able to secure a job or not in the future. A love of reading always starts with parents and caring adults listening to a child read and reading to children as often as possible.
Parents’ Club have met once this year and are planning some major fundraisers for the year. One of the first ones for this year is the annual Easter Raffle. Please support them if you can by donating one Easter item to be raffled at the last assembly on the last Thursday of term. The Parents’ Club appreciate any help no matter how small over the year as all the funds raised are used to better the resources available to all the children. We realise that not all parents will be able to contribute to each fundraiser, but that they may choose the ones that best suits them at the time.
Summer Illness at School
As we do every Term 1, we experience a few cases of children with the symptoms of dizziness and vomiting. In each case we phone an adult on the emergency list in order for the student to go home for some comfort. The isolation period is 24 hours after the last time a child is sick or has a diarrhoea episode. We are encouraging all children to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet and not to share any drink or food items.
Fresh Fruit Bowl
Parents’ Club supports us by purchasing apples all year round to be available for any children who need a food top up at any break time. If anyone has any spare fresh fruit we would appreciate the gesture however small the donation.
School Requisite Payments
Thank you to everyone that has paid – a fantastic effort so far. We appreciate that so many have attempted to pay as much as practically possible for Term 1. If the lump sum is an issue at this point in time please make a plan to pay in installments that enables you to contribute to this vital whole school process.
As a result of queries from parents each year I will outline the background to some of the awards offered each fortnight. For new parents this is a new question for them and needs some clarification.
‘The Worker of the Fortnight’ is based purely around the ideal ‘Habits of Mind’ that are evidenced by:
- Good Organisation,
- Getting Along and
Academic Effort – is awarded for outstanding EFFORT during the past fortnight. It can be awarded for example, for a move from a very low base to a higher level, but essentially rewards a student for having an exceptional effort in addition to what is expected every day.
This can be awarded by:
- the Classroom Teacher
- the LOTE Teacher
- the Arts Teacher
- the ICT Teacher
- the HPE Teacher
Classroom and Specialist teachers have a minimum number of awards to give and sometimes a student may receive two awards at assembly as each teacher selects in isolation and sends the requests to the office to be transferred to the certificates and placed in the Newsletter readied for presentation. Each child always receives a typed reason for their award on their certificate. In addition to the presentation we are training the Captains and Vice Captains to develop their public speaking and presentation skills. With our mid-year (end of Semester 1) change over, this allows eight students to develop their leadership skills rather than the same four all year.
I can assure you that a student that may get more than one award or children from the same family that get awards on the same day, is purely coincidental because as stated above, no two teachers have any access to anyone else’s nominations.
We have a new servery area in the canteen thanks to three of our fathers of children that attend our school Matt McKnight from Module Dezines, Ashley Madden and Brandon Allford from Sunraysia Stone Bench tops. The project took several hours and we appreciate the time and effort on behalf of all students. In the near future the back outside wall laminated areas will be replaced with new surfaces as well.