Orana Catholic Primary School
Week 2 Term 1, 2021
Beginning of the Year Prayer
We ask for Your strength and guidance as we begin this new school year. Allow us to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before us. Open our eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings. Open our heart and mind to new friendships, new staff and new students. Give us a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with our endeavours and courage to accept challenges. Help us to be attentive to one another and let us experience Your presence in our new friends. Jesus, inspire us to ‘Be More’ and do our best this year!
Dear Parents and Carers
Welcome back for the start of the 2021 school year! After a delayed start and much anticipation, it was a delight to see our students and families return, refreshed and eager after the holidays. This year we welcome thirteen new families to the Orana community. It was heartening to see the way that new students and families are welcomed and made feel comfortable by our existing students and families and the way that all go out of their way to say hello and take the time to help others. This was noticeable in the grounds, in the classrooms and even in the carpark; a true lived example of the meaning of the school name Orana which means ‘Welcome’. Congratulations to all, existing and new members of the community; I wish you a fantastic and successful year ahead.
As we begin the year, there are two ways to ensure that our children have the greatest opportunity of experiencing success. One of these is a strong partnership between home and school. If each child understands and witnesses that the home and school are on the same team and are committed to their growth and development, they will be more positive about their learning and more likely to succeed. Secondly, if we each have high expectations of our children, they are more accountable to their families and school and they raise their standards to meet what is being asked of them. This applies to attention to learning tasks, homework, uniform and presentation, respect towards others and the way they represent themselves, their families and their school.
This year, we welcome Miss Shania West. Miss West is a dynamic Early Childhood Educator teaching in Year 1. We also welcome our Assistant Principals Mrs Kirsty Byrne and Mrs Kathryn Alp. Mrs Byrne, Mrs Alp bring a wealth of experience from various schools in both the country and city. Miss Sarah Draper also returns from leave to lead our extensive music program. I would like to thank the Orana staff for their time during the holidays that was spent planning and setting up for the school year. I appreciate the work that our staff does in developing the spiritual, social, academic and physical domains of our students.
The staff spent Thursday 28th and Friday 29th January involved in professional development including a Religious Education and Faith Day based on our school value of Generosity. The staff explored the Orana value of Generosity through Gospel stories and Pope Francis’ writing on social friendship and care of the environment. As a staff we also explored the meaning and symbolism of the Orana crest and how we can make the essence of crest lived in our community and real to our students.
"The Orana crest is circular, indicating wholeness. It incorporates the shape of a dove, symbolising the Holy Spirit who guides us in the fulfilment of our goals and leads us in the attainment of peace. Orana is an Aboriginal word meaning welcome. The cross in the centre of the crest reminds us that we are the followers of Christ. The symbol of children with joined hands at the base of the cross shows that we support each other in our life journey."
During the holiday break, thanks to the hard work of our school board, P&F and staff, various capital projects took place including the installation of the new soft fall in the early years playground, installing new carpet and furnishing the Year 3 rooms with 21st Century flexible furniture, and other maintenance projects including painting and holiday cleaning.
Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the Year 1 - 6 Information Evening due to the current restrictions.
Next Monday, an audio PowerPoint presentation will be sent home for each year level via Seesaw. Please take the time to listen to and view the presentation. The presentation will assist in developing an understanding of the procedures and expectations in each year level.
Please direct any questions that you have after viewing the presentation to your class teacher.
We have also had to postpone the Community Mass and the assemblies. We will review these events when restrictions are reduced.
Please remember that supervision starts at 8.30am. Students should not be left unattended before this time. Supervision finishes at 3pm for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten and at 3.30pm for Year 1-6 students. If you need to be at school earlier or cannot arrive to collect your children until after these times, OSHC services are available on site and details are on our website on the following link: https://www.orana.wa.edu.au/out-of-school-hours-care/
A Term 1 Planner is available on the website under News and Events – Calendars or via the following link: https://www.orana.wa.edu.au/calendar This includes sacramental and key dates for the year. Please regularly check the Dates to Remember section of the newsletter for updates. Various school policies are also available on the school website including our Code of Conduct, School Behaviour Plan and Dispute Resolution: https://www.orana.wa.edu.au/policies/
Next Tuesday, four Year 6 leaders and the Leadership Team will represent Orana at the launch of Project Compassion. A Mass will be celebrated at Corpus Christi. On Wednesday, we will be marking the start of the Season of Lent with a Year 1-6 Ash Wednesday Mass. The Kindy and Pre-primary will participate in a short prayer service. Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions the Mass and Early Years’ Liturgy will be for students only.
After the holidays and having the opportunity to spend quality time with my own two teenager sons, I feel it is vital to maintain balance in our busy lives for family time. Children need time to be kids and families need time together at home.
Best wishes and God bless
Faith in Action
ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT
Next week we will celebrate Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the Season of Lent. The Ash Wednesday Mass will be held for Year 1 - 6 students and staff in the Hall at 10am. We are sorry that parents cannot attend this Mass due to Covid-19 restrictions. The distribution of ashes may look different this year, but we will still join as a faith-filled community to celebrate.
The season Lent is a Catholic liturgical season consisting of forty days of fasting, prayer, and penitence beginning at Ash Wednesday and concluding at sundown on Holy Thursday. The official liturgical colour for the season of Lent is violet.
Caritas' theme for the Project Compassion Appeal this year is 'Be More', which has been inspired by Saint Oscar Romeo. “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” – Saint Oscar Romero.
On Shrove Tuesday next week, the Leadership Team will be participating in the Project Compassion Launch with four Year 6 representatives at Corpus Christi College. We look forward to sharing highlights from the launch with you.
NEWS FROM THE P&F
Greetings from the P&F Executives!
I am hopeful in what 2021 brings us and to see how we can strengthen our beautiful school community, even under the trying times that we are in.The Exec Team have met to discuss exciting events and projects that we can do to help the school this year and we are very excited about our program; however, in each of these events, there is one key ingredient that is absolutely critical – your participation 😊.
I would like to invite you to attend our first P&F meeting on Tuesday 23rd February 2021, 6pm at the school. Please make the effort to attend, to learn about our upcoming event and how to get involved.
Please note in your calendars the following upcoming events:
- Sundowner Night 12th March 2021: An opportunity to get to know more families in our school community and to welcome new families to the school. We are planning a fun-filled evening where our children can have some fun and the parents/carers can have the opportunity to get to know each other. More details to follow.
- Stargazing Night 20th March 2021: Come and join us for an evening of being starstruck! We have invited the local astronomy club to set up telescopes and "edutain" us with what they know about the night sky and the stars. More details and to follow – stay tuned.
We will need various volunteers for both events so if you are keen to get involved, please do get in touch.
You can reach us on the Orana Community’s Facebook Group (search for: Parents of Orana and join), you can email us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you see any of us at school, come and chat!
P&F Executive line up for 2021
President: Louie Sugiyanto
Vice-President: Cory O’Kane
Treasurer: Paul Hadley
Secretary: Michael Holmes
Class Rep Coordinator: Clarissa van der Hejden
Orana P & F Executives
Social Worker News
Although lengthy, this article offers some invaluable insights into anxiety
6 Ways to Help a Child with Anxiety
By Dr Jodi Richardson
As the parent of an anxious child, you’re most certainly not alone. Millions of families all over the world are right there with you. Though it’s helpful to know yours isn’t the only family supporting an anxious child, it doesn’t make the job of parenting a child struggling with their mental health any easier. What will absolutely help is psychoeducation, a fancy name for learning more about anxiety. The more you know about anxiety and the signs and symptoms to look out for, the easier it will be to recognise what’s happening and how you can help your child to move anxiety out of the way.
Sure childhood comes with ups and downs, and challenges help children to learn, grow and develop resilience. But, anxiety can be more of a challenge for our kids than they’re ready for. That said, it isn’t something that has to stand in the way of them doing the things they love, building awesome friendships and succeeding in school the way you know they can.
Here are some of the ways you can help your child with their anxiety:
1. Model healthy ways of coping
From ‘colourful language’ to finger pointing, to lessons mirrored back at us, kids can sometimes copy us as parents in ways we’d rather they didn’t! Like it or not, our kids watch and model our behaviour which we can use to help them learn how to cope with anxiety, whether it be the normal variety that passes, or the kind that hangs around.
When I’m anxious I’ll often say out loud “I’m feeling anxious right now so I’m going to stop what I’m doing and take 5 deep breaths to calm my system”. Other times I’ll say “I feel myself becoming anxious so I’m going to take some time outside alone for a few minutes”. By hearing how we cope and watching what we do when we’re feeling ‘big’ feelings, our kids learn that they too can manage their feelings when they bubble up.
2. Evade avoidance when anxiety shows up
It’s perfectly natural for kids to want to avoid situations, people and scenarios that make them feel anxious or amplify anxiety that’s already a challenge. Avoidance can creep into a child’s life in small ways that can be easily overlooked at first. It’s important to keep the idea of ‘anxiety propelled’ avoidance top of mind so that you can see it for what it is when it happens. Avoiding anything that amps anxiety up brings a lovely relief from anxiety in the short term which reinforces for the child that avoidance feels good. But the next time the same scenario pops up, it can make it even more challenging for the child to go along, participate or engage. Over time, avoidance can become the default position – a position from which moving kids can be difficult. With each instance of avoidance, the pattern perpetuates, and the anxiety strengthens. One challenge faced by many parents of anxious kids is refusal to go to school. It starts with a day here and a day there but can become an ongoing challenge for the whole family if not picked up and managed early.
So, if you’re to help your child avoid avoidance, what to do instead?
3. Edging an anxious child forward with the stepladder approach
This approach is about helping anxious kids to tolerate their anxious discomfort and take a step in the direction of their goal. That goal could be joining friends at the skate park after school; it could be working with another child on a joint project in class; or it could be spending time away from mum or dad (it’s usually mum) when they’d much rather stay close. Step laddering is also known as exposure and response prevention (ERP).
ERP is one of the most important anxiety management techniques used with children. This is a type of ‘face your fears’ approach but it’s not about throwing kids in the deep end. It’s about breaking down an anxiety-provoking situation into small steps and supporting the anxious child to tolerate their anxiety with each exposure.
There might be anywhere between 10 and 20 steps to move an anxious child towards a particular action. For a child who becomes anxious around dogs, the first step might be to simply write the word dog or look at a picture of a dog. Step by step, over time, the challenges become incrementally greater (and more anxiety provoking) until the ultimate aim is achieved: patting or playing with a friendly dog.
Creating a stepladder plan together with your anxious child is ideal. Start small, very small, and offer lovely social rewards along the way. Things like extra special time together or going to their favourite café for a milkshake are great ideas.
4. Support your anxious child to tolerate discomfort
We all like to feel comfortable and our kids are no exception. And because anxiety can feel pretty awful at times, it’s understandable that any relief from those feelings is welcomed. The thing is, the more our children can learn to tolerate discomfort, the less their anxiety is going to stand in the way of them doing all of the wonderful things that life has in store for them.
It’s helpful to think of tolerating discomfort as a ‘muscle’ that gets stronger with training. Each time kids successfully tolerate discomfort they’re reinforcing their ability to do so and cementing the knowledge that they always come out the other side intact. Naming a feeling, and tolerating the uneasiness or distress of that feeling, will help them move through it sooner than they would have had they pushed it aside. When they name it, they help to tame it.
Tolerating discomfort is a willingness to sit with an uncomfortable or emotionally painful feeling. Opportunities for practice are plentiful like when a child is hungry, thirsty, wanting something they can’t have or ending their time watching their favourite YouTuber. Household chores; part-time job interviews; asking someone out on a date or being excluded from a party all bring discomfort. They also create opportunities.
Tolerating discomfort doesn’t mean toughing it out. It’s about teaching your anxious child to notice how they’re feeling; name their emotions and practise acceptance of how they feel in that moment. All with the knowledge that what they’re experiencing is temporary and that they are lovingly supported by a warm and comforting parent.
5. Teach your child to know and calm their anxiety
Anxiety is how the brain and body respond in anticipation of a threat. The fight or flight response is initiated and a whole cascade of changes follow. These changes make kids with anxiety feel pretty lousy. Their hearts can race; their breathing becomes faster and shallower; adrenaline flooding the circulation can make hands tremble and insides feel like they’re racing. Stomachs can feel like they’re doing backflips and arms and legs can even begin to tingle. Teach your anxious child that when anxiety shows up it’s because their brain has sensed danger. Their whole body reacts to prepare to fight the danger or run away from the danger fast. They can also worry a lot because that is another way the brain reacts to keep them safe.
When kids understand anxiety, they can see it for what it is. A whole host of changes that, fundamentally, are meant to be protective. All of the changes also give clues as to how to calm anxiety down too.
· Running, skipping, dancing, anything that moves the body helps calm anxiety. Movement is the natural end to the fight or flight response and so it makes sense that exercise of any type will help.
· Deep controlled breathing in and out helps settle anxiety too. This helps kids to show their brain they’re safe and that the fight or flight response is no longer necessary thank you very much!
· Paying attention to exactly what’s happening in the moment also helps to calm an anxious brain. This takes any focus off the ‘threat’ in the environment or from future thinking and helps to calm an anxious response.
· Teach your anxious kid to notice their unhelpful thoughts and give them a new perspective by teaching them that thoughts are not always facts.
6. Teach kids that they can be anxious and do it anyway
One of the hardest parts about having anxiety is that the symptoms can really get in the way of kids doing everything they want to do – and need to do. Missing out isn’t fun, and whether it’s a party or school; joining in in the classroom or going on camp; avoidance leaves kids feeling on the outer and only makes going or participating the next time so much harder.
What if you could teach your anxious child or teen that they can feel anxious, they can feel uncomfortable, and they can actually still put one foot in front of the other to do the thing? Go to the party; go to school; present their project in front of their class; take a lesson or two in watercolour to advance their artistic skills; enjoy a sleepover; go to camp; submit their story to that competition; have a friend over after school or even; put their hand up to answer a question. Whatever it is that your anxious child would love to do in a ‘perfect world’ doesn’t have to wait. They can be anxious and do it anyway. This is where step laddering helps too, remember; we don’t want to ask too much of them too soon, but we also don’t want to support refusal and avoidance. In the end, it serves only to make anxiety bigger and life smaller.
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