Newsletter #9 14/09/2020

Principal’s Report
Welcome back to the resumption of face-to-face teaching in Term 4!!
It has been so heart-warming for us to see the return of our students. The bright and happy faces that arrived on Monday morning were not just limited to the students, with staff eager and keen to reconnect with their students and of course parents feeling the relief and satisfaction of having their children return to school once again to enjoy the benefits that come with being among their teachers, school staff and so many dear classmates, buddies and friends.

Term 4 Priorities
The priorities set by the Department of Education and Training and shared in all three sectors; Government, Catholic and Independent are:
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Our highest priority is the mental health, safety and wellbeing of every student and member of staff. The impact to students varies across all areas of their education.

The school will assess and adopt the strategies and resources we determine are needed to effectively support every student. This means encouraging and sustaining motivation for learning and supporting the development of personal and social capabilities of students as part of the curriculum. It includes re-engaging students and families where needed and implementing targeted strategies. This also means ensuring support for our school staff, who have sustained efforts through multiple transitions in modes of teaching and learning delivery throughout the 2020 school year.

Some students have been able to more quickly progress in their learning in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their rate of progress, and some have, despite their best efforts, and those of their families and teachers, not progressed as expected. 

Our priority will be to ensure those who have not progressed as expected will do so with the additional support we will provide, while those who have progressed significantly can continue to be extended and stretched in their learning. Literacy and numeracy across the curriculum remain a focus, with our teachers adapting their teaching and learning program in Term 4 to be responsive to the needs of their students.  

Our school has already been making plans for a Term 4 “tutor-style” program which was also announced this week by the Government for implementation in 2021. We will continue this into 2021.
Term 4 is a critical period, particularly for the children moving from Year 6 into Year 7. Many students in other year levels will also prepare for a change of teacher, classmates and learning environment.

A key focus of Term 4 will be to make every effort to ensure each of these end-of-year and beginning-of-year transitions occurs as successfully as possible. This includes finding contextually appropriate ways to conduct orientations and end-of-year celebrations.

Smoking Ceremony
This Friday 16th October, we have invited Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Trevor Gallagher, to conduct a Smoking Ceremony to acknowledge our first week back at school and the reuniting of our school community. We will take photos/video to post onto the Maharishi School Portal to share with all families.

School Pets Arriving
Animals On The Moves provides Animal Learning experiences and Animal Care Programs among other programs. Their aim is to increase children’s appreciation and awareness of animals and thereby promote re connection with nature. From next Monday, for a period of four weeks, we are providing our students with the opportunity to touch, feed, cuddle and see the animals in an interactive environment.
The Pet Care Program we have organised for Maharishi School includes a total of 4 small rabbits/guinea pigs, and all the food and bedding for the duration of their stay. It will give our students the chance to:
Build positive behaviours toward all creatures
Get to know the animals’ individual personalities and preferences
Learn the daily responsibilities of a pet

Ultimately, we are arranging and working on a number of initiatives to ensure we achieve our highest priority during our school community’s return to school in Term 4 – the mental health, safety and wellbeing of every student and member of staff. There’s nothing like a cuddle with a cute fluffy young animal to warm your heart and make you smile.

During the first few weeks of Term 4, Drop Off and Pick Up times have been set.
*We ask for everyone’s cooperation in not congregating around the school gates and to wear your face mask when in the vicinity of the school grounds. The advice received from the Victorian Government is:
A critical aspect of the return to on-site learning will be a strict enforcement of the community requirements to maintain physical distancing especially at the start and finish of the school day. Compliance with community restrictions will be monitored by authorised officers. This will include monitoring of any breaches of the restrictions, including in relation to gatherings at school gates at the start and finish of the school day. It is imperative that schools take every step available to ensure parents and carers do not congregate in breach of continuing community restrictions.

Parking and Traffic Movement
Creating safe conditions for children around schools is something for which we should all accept responsibility. We would like to reiterate to everyone in our school community the importance of our students’ safety around the school. This week’s return to school will see us monitoring more closely the driving and parking behaviour of parents/grandparents/carers. During COVID-19 Restrictions and the staggered Drop-Off and Pick-Up times currently in place, we need the cooperation of the school community with the following guidelines:
Parents must never make a U-Turn on Dundee St., and especially near the school.
Do not turn into Dundee St from Hickford St. Use one of the alternative roads nearby that will enable you to drive along Dundee St., on the school side.
As per Guideline #2, the opposite side of our school should not be used for parking as the street is narrow and the potential risk to children’s safety and damage to cars is heightened if navigating between many cars.
If you are parking your car prior to coming to the school gate, park away from the school where it is safe to do so and walk to the school. There is not enough room close to the main entrance for everyone to park.
The Staff Car Park should not be used, other than when picking up from After School Care.
Children should enter and exit vehicles on the curb side only, and not on the road side of the vehicle, where oncoming traffic may be a danger.
It is illegal to park within three (3) metres of a solid white line on the road. Solid white lines are on Dundee St
– opposite the Staff Car Park and where the street curves, just north of the school.

Do not be offended if you are approached by a member of staff who may have witnessed driving behaviour contrary to these guidelines. It is the safety of your children that is utmost in our thoughts. PLEASE comply.
Before and After School Care Programs
The After School Care Program will be running each day from 3.30-5.30pm. Bookings are essential, as is an indication of the preferred Pick-Up time; 4.30pm, 5.00pm or 5.30pm. Due to the current conditions we have in place that limits adult access to the school grounds, we ask that parents arrive only at one of the three specified times; 4.30, 5.00 or 5.30 for pick up. Children will be brought to parents at the Main School Gate at each of those designated times, as indicated by families when booking their child into the program for that day.

Parent Meditation Group
We would like to resume the Parent Meditation Group which is a popular and well-attended activity. We will resume on Monday 19th October at 9.30am, this much-loved session with Suzi will be delivered via Zoom. We hope this gives many more parents an opportunity to attend from the comfort of their home or wherever may be convenient for parents at that time.

School Uniform
It is the time of year when all students should now be wearing the Summer Uniform, including wearing black shoes. Please note: ankle socks, tights or leggings (of any colour) should not be worn with the summer skort, only white socks that are clearly visible above the top of the shoe. The Sports Uniform should continue to be worn on Wednesday and Friday as per usual. Sports shoes must only be worn with the Sports Uniform and only on those days. We would appreciate your support to reinforce to children the value and importance of wearing our school uniform with pride.

Upcoming Long Weekends
We are approaching two long weekends – the AFL Grand Final Public Holiday (Fri 23rd/Sat 24th/Sun 25th) and the Melbourne Cup Public Holiday (Sat 31st/Sun 1st/Mon 2nd/Tues 3rd), including Monday 2nd November which is an allocated Staff Planning and Report Writing Day. The school will be closed on those days.

Key Dates
Fri 16th Oct Smoking Ceremony with Uncle Trevor
Mon 19th– Fri 23rd Oct CBCA Book Week
Mon 19th Oct Parents Group Meditation
Tues 20th Oct NAIDOC Yarning Conference (Year 5)
Tues 20th– Mon 26th Oct Scholastic Book Fair
Wed 21st Oct Book Week Dress Up Day
Fri 23rd Oct AFL Grand Final Public Holiday (School Closed: Student-Free Day)
Thurs 29th Oct Family Planning Parent Info Session (Zoom 6.00-7.00pm)
Fri 30th Oct World Teachers’ Day
Mon 2nd Nov Staff Planning and Report Writing Day (School Closed: Student-Free Day)
Tues 3rd Nov Melbourne Cup Public Holiday (School Closed: Student-Free Day)

CBCA Book Week
The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Week is running the week beginning 19th October. To celebrate, we have organised a Book Fair with Scholastic (arriving on Tues 20th Oct) and a Book Week Dress Up Day. Students are encouraged to come to school dressed up as a book character. A $15 book voucher will be given to one student chosen from each class to spend at the Book Fair.

With the restrictions imposed on the school at this time, parents will not be permitted to enter the library with their child to purchase books. Instead online payments will be available, with students able to collect their purchases the following day. Please check the blog on the school portal for applicable information regarding the Book Fair and video guides on how to purchase online.

Book Week Dress Up Day
Each year during Book Week, we encourage the students to dress up as a character from a book. This year’s Dress Up day will be next Wednesday 21st October. We will be taking lots of photos and videos of the students and posting them onto the Maharishi School Portal for all families to enjoy and to help you feel a part of the occasion.