While we are all excited about the staggered return of students full-time to school from 18 October, it occurred to me that for many families, students, and staff there might be a sense of nervousness and uncertainty as well as excitement.
We have spent 16 weeks in lockdown, with regular reminders of covid risks, hygiene, staying home, social distancing and keeping safe. Our students have enjoyed an adjusted timetable, with a much shorter time required to get ready for the first lesson of the day. Our staff have worked from home as well, spending more time with families and pets and much less time on the road!
Many assessment tasks have been cancelled, or significantly amended, as have many cocurricular activities.
As your child returns to school, it may be unwise to assume it is ‘back to the normal’ school life we had prior to our first covid lockdown in early 2020. Your child may be worried about gaps in their learning, reconnecting with friends and their teachers, becoming unwell or future vaccinations to name a few. I am sure I am not the only one who has become used to seeing everyone wearing masks and no crowds. There continues to be a significant level of uncertainty for all of our community, and as a school we need to focus on the wellbeing of our students (as well as our staff). In order to do this, Lakes will continue to focus on delivering bespoke wellbeing activities for all of our students, that are linked to the needs of the year group.
These wellbeing activities will focus on setting realistic goals, building (or rebuilding) relationships, getting ready for transitioning to 2022, and building positivity and confidence in our students. We will also be encouraging students to speak to our staff should they have any concerns about their learning, their health or their wellbeing.
Our staff are keen to hear from you if you have any specific concerns about your child’s return to school. Please contact your class teacher (in the junior school) or your child’s year advisor (in the senior school).
I look forward to seeing Kindergarten and Year 1 on Monday, 18 October and the rest of the school from Monday, 25 October. After only seeing the school in lockdown, I am a little nervous too!
Mrs Deborah Clancy
KEY DATES FOR THE DIARY
There are no upcoming events at this stage.
Term 4 is underway and more changes are afoot. In a week or so we will see the return of the vast majority of our staff and students and be ready for any changes in response to potential Covid outbreaks. Our new Premier will have had a month in the role and no doubt we will have seen the impact of the changes post 80% vaccination rate. It can, if we let it, have our heads spinning with all the changes and leave us feeling overwhelmed. I don’t know about you, but I have been struggling to keep up with the relentlessly changing goalposts, rules and regulations.
I am, however, looking forward to seeing in the flesh (albeit behind an array of masks) our Lakes Grammar community. As a people person I have truly missed spending time with our staff and students. There is something about the vibrancy of our school community that leaves me energised at the end of the day. I love hearing people’s stories and the adventures they have had. I feel privileged to share in person with those who are going through life’s battles and offer prayerful support and a listening ear. I have even missed the whacky banter of the handball court and am looking forward to testing out my knee’s recovery with our handballers.
It is a wonderful thing when a school is bubbling along doing what a school should be. We have an opportunity when we return to not just pick up where we left off, but to allow our learnings from the last 100 days or so shape who we want to be in the future. We are about to enter into a period where we can choose to be someone who we may not have been before…yes, I do mean this in a positive sense. What are those strengths that we have drawn on over the last term in order to make it through? Let’s grow them as we start this next chapter. What are those struggles we have had whilst under stay at home orders? Let’s leave them behind us and choose a new pattern of thinking and behaviour. Life is inviting us through a new doorway and we have an opportunity coming up to walk through it.
Let me encourage you (and I am speaking to myself here too), to take the time for self-reflection before this next chapter arrives. One more week of our kids at home gives us an opportunity as families to be reflective of the journey we have made and the way to the destination that lays ahead. What have we learned about ourselves as family and who do we want to be? And if you’re inclined to, pray as a family for a smooth transition to in-person learning again. Each of us will need God’s help whether we know it or not. I’m especially going to need help identifying students just by their eyes. It is going to be like playing that game “Guess Who” but at a medical convention!
WHOLE SCHOOL NEWS
JUNIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
The Happiest Man on Earth
As news of our state’s double dose vaccination rates rise, we are increasingly finding ourselves ‘happy’ to be seeing friends and family again, returning to a so-called normal life of being able to go to a salon or barber for haircuts and not be reliant on click and collect or online shopping to access our needs and wants. I know I am personally happy to be able to meet more students this term and seeing them reconnect with peers and teachers.
This week the man titled ‘the happiest man on earth’ passed away. Eddie Jaku survived multiple concentration camps and lost his family and friends and his country, to war. Because of his survival against all odds, he made the vow to smile every day. He wanted to spend the rest of his days post war living his best possible life.
As freedoms are returned to us post lockdown, we have seen all that we have taken for granted. There are days when we have felt we have nothing to smile about. This term I encourage students to choose to smile each day and enjoy the best possible education despite the potential for worries to still occupy our minds. We can draw new strength each day from Jesus by praying to Him and asking Him to meet our needs. Our true needs go beyond haircuts in salons. Our souls long for connection to our creator who can fill us with an everlasting and deep-rooted joy, more than fleeting moments of happiness. This term let’s endeavour to keep our eyes fixed on God and thank Him for our daily blessings. Let’s draw near to Him knowing He longs to be near to us, giving us His peace amidst trials and change.
Nehemiah 8:10 - The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Mr Daniel Wearne
Head of Junior School
Welcome back to Term 4! It will be wonderful to see the mostly full K-6 grades from week 4.
A reminder that borrowing will start again from Week 4 until the end of Week 6. Please remind your child/children to bring in their bags on their designated library lesson day (TBC).
Note: All books will be sanitised and quarantined during this time.
Carnival Virtual Book Fair – 8/11 – 26/11
We are happy to announce that we will be having a VIRTUAL BOOK FAIR from Monday, 8 November to 26 November. This is a wonderful fundraiser for the JS Library considering we had to cancel our annual Scholastic Book Fair this year due to Covid. Also, with Christmas looming, books make wonderful gifts!
For delivery of online purchases, we suggest that books be delivered to the home address to avoid postage delays. Please read the attached advertisements for more information.
Mr Danny Summers
Junior School Teacher Librarian
SENIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL
Welcome back to Term 4. As I sit in my office in the senior school I am counting down the days until our students are back at school. As Mrs Clancy wrote, we are aware that this time of transition back to school will come with thoughts of uneasiness and trepidation for many of our students and their parents. However, please be reassured that we are working very hard to do everything we can to keep our students safe. These measures include:
- Separate pick up and drop off times for year groups. This means we will move to 45 minute periods to accommodate this.
-Segregated year group areas in the playground
-Canteens orders ONLY via Flexischools (ensure you have downloaded the Flexishools app)
-Home blocks for year groups
-Covid safe plans for classrooms which include hand sanitising, regular cleaning of high touch areas and ventilation
-Movement corridors throughout the school to minimise cross year group contact
-Segregated year group bus lines
-Sport being done in year groups and in L,G and S classes
On Monday 25 October, students will arrive at normal school time and move to their designated year group area. Students will receive a return to school flyer and map early next week via email which will inform them about their first day back. Students will be able to access changes to their timetable and rooms at the end of next week in Student Café.
Please make sure that you drop your child off at school in their designated year area which was sent out via email. If you have children across year groups, I ask that you still adhere to dropping your child off in their designated areas. These drop off zones flow into the year groups designated area in the playground.
In the afternoon, please make sure you arrive to pick up your child during the following times:
2:40pm – 2:55pm A-G
2:55pm – 3:10pm H-P
3:10pm – 3:25pm Q-Z
If you have children in both senior and junior schools, students may walk to either campus to be picked up. If students are walking to the senior school to meet with their sibling, please make sure they know their sibling’s designated year group area. If senior school students are walking to the junior school, they are to wait on the footpath, near the roundabout to be picked up, away from the junior school students.
If you do not intend for your child to return to face-to-face learning, please make sure you have contacted me. You will receive a confirmation of this arrangement in the coming week. If you do not receive a confirmation letter, it means we are unaware that you have chosen for your child to continue with online learning and not to return to school.
Please contact me if you have any questions about your child’s return to school.
Mrs Michelle Smith
Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School
We are so close to seeing each other face-to-face, just a matter of days now. I am excited to welcome everyone back and share our experiences, both positive and not. For many, this will be a time of happiness, relief and excitement. For others it will be a time of anxiety, stress and being overwhelmed. For most, it will be a combination of the two. I just need to say these words – this is all normal!
I have included a resource put together by NSW Health to assist families during this time of preparing to return to school. There are some useful tips and advice.
Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling 1800 011 046
Mrs Alison MacLarty
Senior School Co-ordinator of Student Wellbeing
Y9 D&T "TINY HOUSE 'TASTIC'
One of the areas of school that students have really missed during the recent online learning is using the tools and equipment within the technology workshop. Students in Year 9 D&T embraced the opportunity to get off their computers to complete an at home practical task. Students had to produce a scale model of a Tiny House using materials found at home. They first planned their design using online house design software then carefully constructed the house. This followed ‘The Block’ TV show approach, with individual areas due each week and often came with challenges, such as ‘use dried pasta or matches somewhere within the house’.
Next came a chance to sell their house by creating a marketing real estate advert.
The students did a fantastic job, showing independence and creativity within their designs.
Mr Rick Hampson
Senior School Teacher
This term has been off to a flying start and students have been feverishly engaging in their online learning. For students who have needed that extra bit of support to complete assessment portfolios or complete set tasks, they have been working very hard with Mrs Thomson, Mrs Nicholls, and Mrs William-Caller. We are counting down the days until we can see their smiling faces back in the classroom!
Year 6 Transition
Year 6 transition planning is underway and while it looks a little different this year, rest assured we are working hard behind the scenes so each student has a seamless transition into Year 7. In the coming weeks, I will be contacting families to develop Individual Plans for students with a disability and when students return to school, I will be visiting them in their classrooms to get to know them. Furthermore, I will also be meeting with Year 6 teachers and the transition team to learn more about the students as we start to plan for the year ahead. I’m sure students are feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation as they transition to the senior school, but we are eagerly awaiting their arrival. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child and their transition into the senior school.
Dyslexia Awareness Month
October is ‘Dyslexia Awareness Month’. Dyslexia is a neurological disorder which affects about 5-10% of our population and has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s intelligence. Did you know that Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, and Leonardo da Vinci are some of the many famous people diagnosed with dyslexia? Others include Jamie Oliver, Richard Branson, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Dick Smith, and Steven Spielberg.
So, what is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurological disorder which affects auditory processing.
Dyslexia varies in intensity and impact, so some students may have mild severity while others are severely impacted.
Dyslexia impacts a student’s ability to convert letter symbols to their correct sound (decode) and convert sounds to their correct written symbol(spell). Research into dyslexia subtypes indicates that poor visual (i.e., orthographic) coding can also be part of the difficulty.
Dyslexia can be genetic.
Dyslexia can affect speaking fluency.
Dyslexia has emotional consequences and can affect a child’s confidence and impact on their school experience.
What are the primary indicators of dyslexia?
Problems learning the letter sounds for reading (decoding) and spelling (encoding)
Difficulty in reading single words, such as on flash cards and in lists (decoding)
Lack of accuracy and fluency when attempting to read (and decode)
Reading slowly with many mistakes
Poor spelling and handwriting
How can you support your child with Dyslexia at home?
Regardless of a dyslexia diagnosis, all children who find reading challenging and laborious need a combination of support at school for example, reading intervention, literacy adjustments and provisions during tests and assessments as well as support at home. It is very important that you create a routine each day where your child reads out loud to you for at least 20 minutes. You should follow the ‘Goldilocks rule’, not too easy and not too hard when choosing a book for your child and make sure that it is “just right”. To test if the book is “just right”, ask your child to read the first 100 words of a book. If your child reads between 90-95 words correctly without any mistakes, then the book is at a great level for your child to practise their reading skills. Avoid books that are too hard, because this adds to a frustration level and can often cause tears and tantrums, the opposite of what we want to achieve. If you need help choosing the right book or selection of books for your child, then please contact Mrs Nicholls or myself and we will be more than happy to assist you.
I have attached some useful resources that you might find helpful, as you navigate your way through this journey:
Learning Tools that helps improve reading and writing skills, including gifted learners, students with learning differences or a combination of any of a broad range of unique learning abilities: https://www.onenote.com/learningtools
One important message to learn, is that while students with dyslexia have deficits in their literacy development, they often have a range of strengths in other areas such as creative and ‘out of the box’ thinkers, good problem solvers, being observant, high levels of empathy and being good at making connections. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information.
Ms Kristy Gorham
Senior School Coordinator of Learning Support
As you return to school over the coming weeks and get ready to pack your bag, could you please look around your home for any library books you have on loan and pack them, as well? It will be great to not only get your books back but much more importantly, to see you all as well.
Mrs Anne-Marie Nicholls
JUNIOR SCHOOL SPORTS NEWS
This year our school is participating in Jump Rope for Heart – a fantastic physical activity and fundraising program by the Heart Foundation that has been running for over 35 years. Students will be skipping at Lakes Grammar between 11 October and 10 December.
Since Jump Rope for Heart started in 1983, schools like ours have raised more than $104 million for the Heart Foundation’s lifesaving work.
Jump Rope for Heart is a great way for your child to keep fit and learn new skills, but it also helps raise funds for vital heart research and education programs.
To make fundraising fun and easy, you can create your own secure webpage at jumprope.org.au
Sign up to share your child’s progress and let the funds roll in.
Your child can earn virtual badges along the way and your page will highlight the prizes up for grabs.