The Good News
Saint John XXIII November 28, 2019
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you. -Isaiah 54:10
Our community has faced some difficult and sad experiences over the past couple of weeks. When tragedy strikes, adults often find ourselves challenged as we process our own feelings of grief and distress. In these times, our hearts can weigh heavy and our minds often wonder, “How can this be, it doesn’t make sense?” These heavy experiences are often also difficult for our children to process and understand some of their complex emotions that may accompany the wonderings. While we may not always know what to say or do, providing a safe and loving harbour for our kids to land is important. Reassuring our children with faith, hope and love is essential as we navigate difficult experiences.
As a parent or teacher, we cannot protect our children from grief and loss, but we can help them express their feelings, comfort them, help them feel safer, and model how to respond in uncertain times.
Here are some considerations from the @Child Mind Institute:
Take your cues from your child. Invite her to tell you anything she may have heard about the tragedy, and how she feels. Give her ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions about upsetting details. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
Model calm. It’s okay to let your child know if you’re sad, but if you talk to your child about a traumatic experience in a highly emotional way, then he will likely absorb your emotion and very little else. If, on the other hand, you remain calm, he is likely to grasp what’s important: that tragic events can upset our lives, even deeply, but we can learn from bad experiences and work together to grow stronger.
Be reassuring. Talking about death can be difficult, but a tragic accident or act of violence is especially tough because of how egocentric children are: they’re likely to focus on whether something like this could happen to them. So it’s important to reassure your child about how unusual this kind of event is, and the safety measures that have been taken to prevent this kind of thing from happening to them. You can also assure him that this kind of tragedy is investigated carefully, to identify causes and help prevent it from happening again. It’s confidence-building for kids to know that we learn from negative experiences.
Help children express their feelings. In your conversation (and subsequent ones) you can suggest ways your child might remember those she’s lost: draw pictures or tell stories about things you did together.
Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters. Difficult conversations like this aren’t over in one session; expect to return to the topic as many times as your child needs to come to terms with this experience.
In these difficult times, we are called as God’s community to come together in love and prayer. Sharing grief is an act of love; as we mourn together, we find connection, empathy, and comfort. When scripture says God is love, we often focus on the joyful elements of love. As Christians, we know from Jesus, that suffering and loss are also deeply woven into the center of God. God’s love is ever-present and infallible; giving us hope and strength in our darkest moments.
May each gesture of love and compassion shared bring hope and strength to all those impacted in our community. As we enter into our season of Advent this Sunday, we will prepare Him room in our hearts so we can continue to respond to all those we encounter with Hope, Faith, Joy, and Peace.
We LOVE to Read...Who was it? Who will it be?
See if you can guess next week's reader?
Please help us with student safety and security: Check in at the Office
Items brought from home: Risk and Responsibility
Former Students giving Back!
Parking Lot: Please do your part to keep our kids safe
As the temperature drops, we have noticed a few more vehicles coming into the parking lot. For the safety of all Saint John XXIII students, there are a few very important parking lot procedures to follow.
- Visitor parking spaces: We now have 16 visitor parking stalls (identified with the Visitor parking sign). These stalls are available on a first-come, first serve basis and we would like to encourage our families to try to be courteous and leave these spaces for parents with small children in car seats or our parents coming in to volunteer. If these spaces are full, please do not come into the parking lot to drop off your child. We do not want any students crossing the parking lot. Please use the path alongside the visitor parking spaces or the appropriate crosswalks. *If there is not a space, please park across the way or down the street and walk. Do not park in front of basketball courts.
- Park and walk: As has been a familiar practice for most of our SJXXIII families, please make a plan with your child for a meeting spot, park down the street or around the corner. This keeps kids active and safe and greatly reduces the congestion in between the two schools. Some parking is available across the street. Please do not park in a numbered stall as these are reserved for our friends at Win Ferguson.
- Use the lane beside the parking lot and crosswalks, please model road safety by not crossing the parking lot.
- Please slow down at all times near our schools and in the parking lot.
Alberta Kids & Outside: Please come ready to play outside
Important information: Inclement Weather
Our EICS Division Administrative Procedure 134 provides guidelines for us at Saint John XXIII for responding to the winter months:
- Decisions regarding outdoor activities are to take into consideration inclement weather that may result from the following conditions or combination of conditions: Continuous rain; Extreme wind, and/or Extreme cold
- The suggested guideline is that students do not go outside if the temperature is - 25 C or colder. The suggested guideline above is at the discretion of school Administrators and staff as part of their consideration for determining whether recess will be inside or outside.
- Supervision begins at 8:30 am, please do not drop off students prior to 8:30 am. Administration will check Environment Canada and students may head directly inside on very cold days.
- Recess is a very important time for students for play, social-emotional regulation, fresh air, and exercise. We will go out almost every recess; rain, snow or shine. Please ensure that your child comes prepared for the weather. Recesses will be indoors only during extreme weather conditions.
- Students are given opportunists for snacks before and after recesses to allow time for free play, reduce choking hazards, and minimize the litter on our playground.
The Spirit of Christmas Concert: Thursday, December 12
This year we will be having our Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 12th, with all of the K – Grade 4 students participating. There will be a 1:30 pm and a 7:00 pm performance.
A letter will be going home on Monday, December 2 that will provide all of the information regarding tickets and our VIP raffle. Please be mindful of the dates for ticket submission.
Our Grade 4 Servant Leadership Squads are Stepping Up at Saint John XXIII!
Tis' the Season: Health information and links for Parents & Guardians
1. Please report any cases of chickenpox to our school and to Health Link Alberta at 811.
2. Important health information can be found at:
3. Reliable information about common minor illnesses and injuries can be found at:
4. Reliable information on immunization can be found at:
5. Current information on the treatment and management of head lice can be accessed through:
An EXCELLENT video tutorial can be accessed through:
Home Grown Book Fair next Friday! Grade 3s are accepting books until Thursday-we need more Children's Books. Sale on Friday-bring $ for shopping
Early Out Dismissal 2:23 pm Spirit Day: Jingle Bells/Deck the Halls (Show off your best Holiday Spirit)!
OLA Parish News
Children’s Liturgy Nativity Pageant:
A coordinator and 4 volunteers are needed to organize this years pageant. Please contact the parish office at 780-998-3288 for more information. The Called to Protect program is required of all volunteers.
Penitentials for Advent
O.L.A., Ft. Sask. December 5th @ 7pm
Sacred Heart, Gibbons December 9th @ 7pm
O.L.G.C., Skaro December 14th 9:30am Mass & 10:00am penitential
Saint John XXIII School Council News
Fort Saskatchewan Catholic Schools Playground Bottle Drive This Saturday, November 30th, 10 am-2:00pm JP2
- Students and parents go door to door collecting bottles
- Parents with trucks/vans/small trailers/suvs to go along with the door to door volunteers and bring to JP2 as the vehicle gets filled.We are down to the final crunch and need all the help we can get!
Poinsettia/Holiday Plant Sale: Thanks to everyone who ordered-we sold 176 plants in 5 Days- pick up will be Friday,December 6th from 2:30-6 in the foyer/gym. Plants won’t last over the weekend so make arrangements to pick up. we have 9 extra plants for sale at $15 each
Email Shannon for more information: email@example.com
Next school council meeting: Monday, January 13, 2020 7 pm Collaboration Room.
Nov. 29: PD Day-No School for students
Dec. 2: Assembly 9 am
*We will gather each morning in the library Tuesday-Friday during Advent at 9 am. Please join us when you can*
Dec. 4: Early Out Dismissal 2:23 pm Spirit Day: Jingle Bells/Deck the Halls (Show off your best Holiday Spirit)
Dec. 6: HomeGrown Book Fair
Dec. 9: Assembly 9 am
Dec. 11: Christmas Concert Dress Rehearsal
Dec. 12: Christmas Concert: The Spirit of Christmas 1:30 & 7:00 pm
Dec. 16: Assembly 9 am
Dec. 20: Advent Celebration 11 am
Christmas Carols Sing-a Long 2:19-3:00 pm All welcome
Christmas Break Dec.21-Jan. 6
Jan. 6: Assembly 9 am