Handbook

PDF

The Parent Handbook is a summary of the main procedures and routines of St Monica's


It outlines significant legal requirements such as Child Protection matters, absenteeism, medical requirements etc. It is designed to communicate an overview of the activities of the school particularly to families who are new to the community, and outlines information about Child Protection matters, absenteeism and medical requirements.

If you have any further questions in relation to school times, dates, policies or other general enquiries, please contact St Monica's Primary, North Parramatta, by email or phone on (02) 8832 4100 during weekdays between 8:30am and 4:00pm.

Welcome

St Monica’s Primary School
10 Daking Street Nth Parramatta NSW 2151
Telephone: 8832 4100
Facsimile: 9683 4984
Website: www.stmonicasparra.catholic.edu.au
Email: stmonicasnparra@parra.catholic.edu.au

OurStudents2

Principal

Ms Louise O’Donnell

Assistant Principal

Mrs Mary-Jo Mason

Senior Finance Officer

Mrs Irma Dawinan (Monday –Friday)

School Office Administration

Mrs Jacqueline Abood (Monday-Thursday)

Parish Administrator

Father Ephraim Lam
Telephone 9630 1951
Facsimile 9630 8738
Presbytery Office Hours 9 am—3 pm Tuesday to Friday


School Hours
Monday to Friday 8:50 am—3:00 pm

Morning Supervision
Monday—Friday from 8:20 am

Morning Session (including Crunch & Sip at 10am)
8:50 am—10:50 am

Recess
10:40 am–11:10 am

Middle Session
11:10 am—12:50 pm

Lunch
12:50 pm—1:30 pm

Afternoon Session
1:30 pm—3:00 pm

Dismissal
Monday—Friday 3:00 pm

Afternoon Supervision
3:00 pm—3:30 pm


COSHC (Catholic Out-Of-School Hours Care)

Monday to Friday 6:45 am — 8:45am Before School Care
Monday to Friday 6:45 am — 8:45am After School Care
Ph: 0429 990 179


Vacation Care (school holidays & pupil free days)

Monday to Friday 6:45 am — 6:00pm
Ph: 0429 990 179

 

Staff return
Tuesday 29 January 2019 Staff Development Day (MAI Testing for Years 1-6)
Wednesday 30 January 2019 Staff Development Day (MAI Testing for Years 1-6)

Years 1—6
Thursday 31 January 2019 (students return for Term 1)
Friday 1 February 2019 Swimming Carnival

ES1 Kindergarten
Monday 4 February 2019—ES1 students commence (9am-2:30pm new families)
Tea & Tissues for Parents 9:00am outside the Teacher’s Workroom area

Term 1

Staff Return Tuesday 29 January 2019
Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30  January 2019 are
Staff Development Days (MAI for students)


Stages 1 - 3 (Years 1 - 6) return Thursday 31 January 2019 (8:50am-3:00pm)
ES1 commence Monday 4 February 2019 (9:00am-2:30pm)

Term ends Friday 12 April 2019

Autumn Holidays

Monday 15 April 2019 to Friday 26 April 2019

Term 2

Monday 29 April 2019 to Friday 5 July 2019

Winter Holidays

Monday 8 July 2019 to Friday 19 July 2019

Term 3

Monday 22 July 2019 to Friday 27 September 2019

Spring Holidays

Monday 30 September 2019 to Friday 11 October 2019

Term 4

Monday 14 October 2019 to Wednesday 18 December 2019 (last day for students)
19 December 2019 (Staff Development Day)
20 December 2019 (Staff Development Day)

Summer Holidays

Monday 23 December 2019 to January 2020 (date to be advised)

 

About Us

A vision statement for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta

“What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

Our system of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta seeks to be:

  • authentically Catholic
  • inviting, inclusive and just
  • committed to quality teaching and learning
  • supportive of the ongoing development of staff

St Monica’s North Parramatta believes that our mission is to create an environment based on Gospel values in the Mercy tradition by which our community can grow and fulfil its highest potential through quality teaching and learning.

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St Monica’s is a community focused Catholic primary school for girls and boys from Early Stage One to Stage Three. It was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1892 and the Mercy tradition of compassion, justice and love of learning forms the basis of our mission as a Catholic School.

At the heart of our community is the Parish of St Monica’s which nurtures our faith under the guidance of our Parish Priest. To this end the activities of the Parish and the school are closely linked.

The school is structured in stage groups, rather than year groups, to more effectively provide for the different learning needs and learning styles of each child.

  • Early Stage One (Kindergarten)
  • Stage One (Years 1-2)
  • Stage Two (Years 3-4)
  • Stage Three (Years 5-6)

In their Stage of Learning students participate in Religious Education, English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, Creative and Practical Arts and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.

In each learning space there is an additional teacher during the literacy session. This teacher has reading and writing groups and provides feedback to parents in the Semester reports. Parents may request an interview with this teacher at any time.

Uniform & grooming

The School Uniform is available for purchase through:

Oz Fashions
115-127 Parramatta Road, Granville 2142
(Cnr Parramatta Rd and Good St)
Phone: 9897 3121 Email: email@ozfashions.com.au
Web: www.ozfashioons.com.au

Opening Hours
Opening Hours
Monday 9am–5:30pm
Tuesday 9am–5:30pm
Wednesday 9am–5:30pm
Thursday 9am–5:30pm
Friday 9am–5:30pm
Saturday 9am–4pm
Sunday Closed

Parking is available on site near lane entry or from Kemp Street.

Please label all articles of clothing to avoid lost property.


Girl's Summer Uniform Girl's Winter Uniform
Short-Sleeved St Monica's Shirt
Culottes
Navy Socks
Black School Shoes
Short-Sleeved St Monica's Shirt
Long-Sleeved Shirt (optional)
Culottes / Long Navy Pants
Navy Sloppy Joe (optional)
School Jacket
Navy Winter Stockings
Black School  Shoes 

Boy's Summer Uniform Boy's Winter Uniform
Short-Sleeved St Monica's Shirt
Navy Blue Shorts
Navy Socks
Black School Shoes
Short-Sleeved Shirt
Long-Sleeved Shirt (optional)
Long Navy Pants
Navy Sloppy Joe (optional)
School Jacket
Navy Socks
Black School Shoes 

Sports Uniform (Boys & Girls)
Short-Sleeved St Monica's Shirt
Sports Shorts
Tracksuit Pants / School Jacket
White Socks
Joggers (predominantly white)

The School Jacket with crest may be worn at any time throughout the year.
The School Hat with crest is a compulsory school item to be worn every day.

 

Hair is to be clean and neatly cut. The following guidelines for students apply:

Girls

  • Shoulder length or longer hair must be tied back.
  • Ribbons or scrunchies in school colours only must be worn.
  • Hair colouring is not permitted. This includes streaks, colour, dyes or excessive gel.
  • Decorative headbands are not permitted.

Boys

  • Neat and simple haircuts.
  • No undercuts, shaved heads, number ones, rat tails or pony tails.
  • Hair colouring is not permitted. This includes streaks, colour, dyes or excessive gel.

Girls

  • Girls may wear simple gold/silver stud earrings only.
  • No other forms of facial rings are permitted.
  • Watches and medical bracelets are the only wrist accessories permitted.
  • Jewellery such as bangles, bracelets or anklets are not permitted.
  • Coloured nail polish or make-up is not permitted.

Boys

  • No form of facial rings are permitted including earrings.
  • Watches and medical bracelets are the only wrist accessories permitted.

General School Information

Regular attendance at school is essential if students are to maximise their potential. It is a legislative requirement that students attend school every day unless of course they are sick or it is imperative that they attend an important event. The NSW Catholic Systemic Schools Attendance Procedures outline responsibilities for staff and parents in regards to attendance.

Parents are responsible for:

  • Enrolling their children of compulsory school age in a government or registered non-government school or registering them with the Board of Studies NSW for home schooling
  • Ensuring that their children attend school regularly
  • Explaining the absences of their children from school, in writing, promptly and within seven days to the school
  • Taking measures to resolve attendance issues involving their children.

Please contact the school at any time if you have any issues arising regarding your child’s attendance at school.

In 2012 new guidelines were introduced for schools to follow when marking the roll. These new guidelines require parents who are taking their children on holidays during the school terms to complete a request for Application for Extended Leave Form (A1)

If your child is going to be absent from school for any reason other than illness or a school related event you are required notify the Class Teacher/Principal in writing with a full explanation of the reason for leave. Students who will be away from school for more than 5 days are required to submit an Application for Extended Leave Form (A1) for approval by the Principal. This will then be processed by the Principal and an approved exemption letter will be supplied to you. The Application for Extended Leave Form (A1) is available on the school website (under School Notes) and also through the school office, These forms must be completed before taking your holiday. The School Principal can only approve up to 50 days leave. Longer periods need the approval of the Minister for Education through the Catholic Education Commission.

Once the forms have been completed and returned, you will then be issued with a certificate allowing the exemption from school. This certificate, once issued, needs to be kept with you while on holidays in case you are requested to present it to authorised attendance officers or police. If the absence from school is longer than 20 days a copy of travel documents will need to be supplied to support the request for exemption. If an absence from school is longer than 100 school days then the request will need to be supported by an explanation and a copy of relevant travel documents. This application will be processed by the Principal and forwarded to the Catholic Education Office. A copy of the Guidelines for Exemption for attendance at NSW Catholic Systemic Schools’ in its entirety is available on request from the school office.

At St Monica’s we have the provision for a drive through pick up service for our parents and students which is convenient and easy to use.

For the safety of all our students and staff, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • Only one line of traffic enters the playground (from Daking Street)
  • Display your family name card above the driver’s visor to assist teachers on duty
  • Students are to enter the car from the driver’s side only
  • Parents parked in the Parish Carpark must exit from the gate nearest to the Hall. Please use the pedestrian crossing to enter the Carpark.
  • Parents are not to walk with their child through the traffic to exit into the Parish Carpark. The school gates open at 2:45pm each afternoon for parents to sit in the waiting area and for cars to start moving into the grounds.

Anaphylaxis is a serious and rapid allergic reaction usually involving more than one part of the body. St Monica’s has a student who can suffer a severe allergic reaction (life-threatening) through contact with peanut and sesame-based foods. As we endeavour to provide for the different needs of all our students, your co-operation is invited to assist the school in supporting and catering for the needs of this particular student, and any future students, by providing your child only with foods that are nut free.

 

We ask you to telephone for an appointment to see the Principal or the teachers if you have any concerns. The Office Administrators will convey messages to teachers and students (eg if a child is ill or if someone else is to collect a child).

This is an entirely voluntary purchase. Once a term we distribute Scholastic Book Club’s specially compiled list of reasonably priced books to the children. Details on how to purchase the books are included on the forms.

Opal Cards (School) are available, free of charge for Early Stage One and Stage One children who travel by bus to and from school no matter what the distance. Bus passes are also available to children in Stages Two and Three depending on the distance they live from the school. Opal cards must be applied for online. Once you have completed the online form—the school will be requested to endorse the application.

All visitors to the school must report to the office between the hours of 9:00am - 2:45pm. This includes parent helpers and any other person who will have direct contact with children. You will need to sign in using the electronic sign in system located in the school office (Daking Street entrance). All volunteers/parent helpers are requested to use this entrance. You will receive a printed label which must be worn/displayed at all times whilst on school grounds. All Volunteers/visitors/parent helpers must sign out before leaving the school.

This system is in keeping with Child Protection Legislation. Please ensure that you have completed the Building Child Safe Communities Volunteer Form as well as the CEDP Online Training module prior to volunteering in the classroom or on excursions.

The Principal is notified by email once you have completed the Volunteer Form and the Online training.

Online training must be updated every two years.

Visit the Parramatta Catholic Education Office website 'Building Child Safe Communities' for more information.

 

The school will be responsible for the care and safety of the children between the hours of 8:20 am until 3:30 pm. All perimeter gates are locked during school hours. Entry to the school during this time is via the School Office at 10 Daking Street. If you wish to take your child from school during school hours or your child arrives late due to an appointment which cannot be arranged outside school hours, you are asked to send a note to the homeroom teacher. You will also be required to sign your child out at the office.

If you are returning your child to school after an appointment please bring your child to the School Office at 10 Daking Street, and sign them in. They will then be directed to their stage/homeroom. If you are collecting your child for an appointment, please come into the School Office and sign your child out. If your child is to be collected at any time by someone other than parents please notify the office and if possible, provide a Letter of Authorisation.

To protect valuable learning time, we ask parents to ensure that your child is punctual to school as children arriving late can cause disruption to the whole class.

All notes and money sent to the school are collected at the beginning of each day, placed in a class message bag and sent to the office before 9:15am. The message bags are then returned to the Learning Space at 2:30pm with any notes or messages going home to parents.

Rationale

The staff at St Monica’s believe that we are in partnership with parents in the education of their child. Parents are invited to discuss any relevant issues regarding their child with their child’s teacher, the Leadership Team or the Principal. We acknowledge the importance of Child Protection and therefore it is essential that all communication be open and transparent following the appropriate guidelines. The proactive relationship between school and home plays an important part in the child’s successful school life.

Aims

  • To provide the school with the necessary information to maintain a safe, secure environment in line with child protection laws for students, teachers and parents
  • To provide formal and informal communication structures which enable an open and honest exchange of information, which respects the needs of all concerned
  • To ensure that parents are continually informed on school issues and organisation
  • To provide parents with verbal and written reports on their children’s progress.

Implementation

  • Parents are invited to share any concerns regarding their child by contacting their child’s teacher either directly or in writing. In most cases the child’s teacher will be the first point of contact. In the event that your concern has not been resolved you are invited to contact your child’s stage learning team member. If the matter requires further consultation, an interview with the school principal can be made by ringing the school office.
  • If you have a concern about a child’s behaviour in relation to your child, please make an appointment to see your child’s teacher to inform them of the concern. Parents are advised not to speak to the child concerned.
  • All parents are invited to be part of, and contribute to the life and organisation of the school, through the Parent Involvement Committee which conducts a meeting every term. Through the Parent Involvement Committee, parents will be kept informed about current events and activities.
  • Parents will be informed of school events through the fortnightly Wednesday newsletter. The Newsletter is published in Weeks, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 each Term and sent home via email to parents who have subscribed via the school website. This is a free service.
  • A calendar is established at the start of the school year listing all known activities planned for the year and placed on the school website. The calendar is updated regularly.
  • At the beginning of each school year all teachers outline the learning group organisation and expectations. This may be communicated through a meeting or through written communication.
  • Once a term (in Week 5) a POSMS meeting (Parents of St Monica’s School ) is held on our school education goals and on current issues in teaching and learning.
  • Parents will be provided with written reports twice a year on their child’s progress in all Key Learning Areas. A follow-up interview to the Semester One report is arranged to provide an opportunity to discuss your child’s strengths and challenges. Parents use an online booking system to arrange interviews with their child/den’s teachers.
  • Parents will be contacted by phone in regards to any matters that may require their immediate attention.
  • Parents will be kept informed of, and invited to, relevant learning activities.
  • Parents will be kept informed via the Skoolbag app for messages/alerts and reminders for scheduled events or change of plans. Instructions for installing the app are on the school website.

Evaluation

This policy will be evaluated each year. Staff and parents are invited at any time to make comment on the school’s communication procedures so any adjustments can be made to improve communication procedures.

Complaints assessed as relevant to a particular school or Catholic Education Office Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) procedure will be handled in accordance with the relevant procedure, for example student management procedures, child protection procedures, Maintaining Right Relations procedures, employee disciplinary procedures.

St Monica’s Complaint Handling Policy is on the school website and copies of the policy are in the Office Foyer.

Complaints that do not relate to a particular school or CEDP procedure will be addressed as follows:

  • The complaint is recorded
  • Clarification of what resolution is sought
  • Person/s against whom the complaint has been made, is advised of the concern and provided with the opportunity to respond
  • Relevant information is obtained from witnesses
  • Matter is resolved.

Appeal

A person who is not satisfied that the matter has been resolved appropriately may choose to appeal to the Principal of the school if the Principal has not been involved in investigating or examining the complaint, or is not the person named as the source of grievance.

Alternatively, an appeal may be made to the Director of System Performance of the relevant school who may be contacted at the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (9840 5600).

For Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta matters an appeal may be made to the Director of the relevant department.

In the final instance, an appeal may be made to the Executive Director of Schools.

A School Counsellor works one day a week at the school. Please contact the Principal for a referral.

Our school is committed to improving children’s health through education and by supporting the Department of Health’s Crunch&Sip Initiative. St Monica’s endeavours to promote healthy eating and lifestyle choices during students’ early years of school in order to instil daily habits that they will continue to carry on throughout their lives. Crunch&Sip is a set break each day at 10.00am for students to eat fruit or salad vegetables and drink water in the classroom.

We invite you to support your child to participate in Crunch&Sip by providing a piece of fruit or vegetable each day for Crunch&Sip. Research has shown that drinking water and eating fruit and vegetables is essential for good health and can help concentration throughout the day.

Please remember to send suitable fruit/vegetables with your child every day.


Foods allowed in Classrooms Foods not allowed in Classrooms
IconTick Fruit
All fresh fruit (eg whole fruits, chopped melon etc)
IconCross Drinks
Drinks other than plain water are not permitted
IconTick Fruit canned in water, juice or ‘no added sugar’ (eg peach slices) IconCross All other drinks (including waters with added vitamins, minerals or carbonates)
IconTick Dried Fruit—please limit as it contains concentrated sugar and tends to cling to teeth, increasing risk of tooth decay. IconCross Fruit or vegetable juices or fruit juice drink
IconTick Vegetables
All fresh vegetables (eg celery, carrot sticks, broccoli bits etc)
IconCross Fruit cordial or mineral waters
IconTick Water
Only plain water 
IconCross All other foods are not permitted including:
  • ‘Fruit’ products (eg fruit leather, fruit rollups, fruit bars or similar)
  • Fruit jams or jellies
  • Fruit pies or cakes
  • Fruit canned in syrup or jelly or with artificial sweetener
  • Canned or processed vegetables
  • Vegetable or potato crisps, hot potato chips, olives
  • Vegetable pastries (pies, pastries, sausage rolls)
  • Baked vegetable breads
  • Vegetable cakes, fritters, quiches or similar
  • Popcorn

The school requires parents to provide a certified copy of a Court Order, if you have sole Custody of your child/children.

If you delegate a relative or friend (unknown to us) to take your child/children home from school for you, a note from you advising us of this is required.

St Monica’s follows the ‘Enrolment Procedures in Parramatta Catholic Schools’ guidelines.

These guidelines are on our school website.

A copy of the School’s enrolment form can be obtained from the office or from the School’s website.

Kindergarten enrolment applications commence in March in the year prior to your child commencing school and close in May of the same year.

St Monica’s will endeavour, wherever possible, to provide opportunities for evangelisation. However when the number of places available at our school is exceeded by the demand for placement, the priority for enrolment is given in the following order.

  • Children of Catholic families who
    • Live within the geographic boundaries of the St Monica’s Parish; OR
    • Live outside the Parish boundaries but regularly attend the St Monica’s Parish
  • Children of Catholic families who are parishioners of a parish other than the St Monica’s Parish provided that there are no vacancies at the child’s own designated community parish school.
  • Children of other Christian churches who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of St Monica’s including the Religious Education it offers for their children.
  • Children of other faiths who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission.
  • of St Monica’s including the Religious Education it offers for their children.
  • Children who, with their parents, respect and agree to support the Catholic mission of St Monica’s including the Religious Education it offers for their children.

Siblings of children currently enrolled at St Monica’s are considered according to the criteria set out in steps 1-5 above. Within each of these categories a sibling of a child presently enrolled at St Monica’s will have preference over an applicant who does not have a sibling in the school.

When St Monica’s accepts enrolment of a child, it is normal practice that continuity of enrolment is provided for the child for all year levels provided by the school.

Children whose fifth birthday occurs on or before July 31 may be eligible for enrolment in Kindergarten that year. School readiness should be a significant factor for parents and the enrolment committee in determining enrolment.

The following information will assist you when enrolling your child for school:

  • A birth certificate, Baptismal certificate and immunisation certificate are to be sighted/verified and copied by the Principal.
  • For Australian citizens or permanent residents who were not born in Australia, and for all other overseas students, documentary evidence of status is to be sighted (ie naturalisation certificate, visa and/or passport).
  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against someone because that person has a disability.

The objectives of the Act are to:

  • eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against persons on the grounds of disability
  • ensure, as far as practicable, that persons with disabilities have the same rights to equality before The law as the rest of the community
  • promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle that persons with disabilities have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community. The enrolment of a student with disabilities and special needs must first be considered according to the preceding enrolment provisions contained in this document. When considering such enrolments, significant consultation must occur between the principal, the parents of the student, the pastor, relevant school staff and outside agencies and a representative from Student Services at the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta.
  • Any information collected regarding students and their family is done so for the purpose of providing educational services to students and managing the systems required to do this (Privacy Act).
  • The school follows the guidelines set by the Diocesan Enrolment Policy which can be obtained from Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, the school or the school’s website. This policy includes the enrolment ‘principles’ and ‘procedures’ for overseas students.
  • Enrolment decisions are made jointly between the Principal and the Parish Priest with particular reference to our responsibility to accept and support those who are poor, marginalised and in most need.
  • Parents will be notified by letter from the Principal and they are asked to acknowledge their acceptance by signing and returning the slip which is attached to the letter with the non-refundable enrolment fee of $100.

StMonicasPrimary2


Evacuation Drills and Lockdown are conducted each term at school as part of our safety program. In the case of a need for school evacuation parents will be contacted as soon as possible via the Skoolbag app.

StMonicasPrimary3


Excursions are a valuable tool in enhancing the teaching and learning program. Thereby, all children are expected to participate in excursions. When an excursion is organised, parents will be notified of the nature and purpose of the excursion and be required to sign a permission note for their child to participate.

Rather than collect excursion money throughout the year, the school charges an excursion levy, which is calculated on the cost of the excursions and visiting speakers/artists your child may be attending.

The Stage 3 overnight excursion, in the even years, is charged separately and billed through the school fees.

Project Based Learning (PBL) Levy

Stage 2 and Stage 3 students pay a PBL Levy each year for the entry events for PBL each term. This fee will appear on your School Fee statement as part of the Activity Fee.

Excursions are seen as a privilege and not a right. The Principal has the right to withdraw this privilege dependent upon a student’s behaviour prior to the excursion.

Parents assisting on excursions must complete their Working With Children Check and Online Training Module before they can attend. Visit the Parramatta Catholic Education Office website 'Building Child Safe Communities' for more information.

 

The St Monica’s Facebook page is a closed site and is strictly only for our current parent community. It is a successful vehicle for communicating daily events around our school.

The Facebook page is not an avenue to post grievances about the staff, school or parish.

Parents are strongly urged not to post anything that may bring our school or community into disrepute. When you have a grievance or a question relating to your child’s learning, please directly contact the relevant school personnel.

Over a two year cycle, students participate in compulsory components of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Syllabus. In Gymnastics, children are taught skills in balance, movement, strength, co-ordination, composing and performance.

In Athletics, the children perform fundamental movement skills with equipment in a variety of games and modified sports.

Dance Fever cover all the dance and performance outcomes and the physical education program includes skills in throwing, catching, running etc.

These programs are taught by an outside agency and the costs are included in the Activity Fee.

StMonicasPrimary4


Staff will attend to minor injuries at school. In the case of an accident, parents will be notified. In serious cases, if parents or the nominated contact person cannot be contacted, appropriate action will be taken. It is important to keep school records up to date so that parents can be contacted at all times. Please ensure that if your home, work or emergency contact numbers or address change, that parents contact the office immediately. A Change of Details form can be found on the website under School Notes. Please complete if necessary and send to the school office.

If you have a note to send to the School Office for any reason, please place it in an envelope with your child’s name, Stage/Homeroom and the nature of the contents written on the front of the envelope.

Parents are able to “Kiss and Drop” children to school in the mornings.

The following guidelines apply for safety reasons:

  • Cars must enter the school grounds via Daking Street only
  • Students must always exit the car via the driver’s side only
  • Farewell parents before getting out of the car
  • Parents are not to get out of the car to get bags out of the boot or to farewell children. Bags should be with the children ready to exit the car.
  • Children walk into the school grounds via the gate.
  • Parents are always welcome to park their car and walk their child/children into the school grounds if they are not able to comply with the safety requests in the “Kiss and Drop” zone.

At various times throughout their schooling, students may experience difficulty in learning. They may experience social and emotional difficulties or they may have a physical condition which impacts on their ability to learn.

The Learning Support Team provides support to these students in a variety of ways. Some of our work includes assisting students in the Learning Space, working with teachers to develop appropriate learning tasks, assisting parents to access support from appropriate outside agencies and arranging assessments through the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta and other agencies.

The Learning Support Team consists of a Diversity Leader / Literacy Support Teacher, Reading Recovery Teacher and a Teacher Assistant, and work in consultation with the Principal, Assistant Principal and School Counsellor.

Every child has the opportunity to borrow from our Library. This helps to broaden the children’s reading experiences. After children return their previously borrowed books they may borrow some new books to take home.

Children must have a library bag (to safely transport the books to and from school). Students cannot borrow from the library unless -

  • they have returned last week’s books
  • they have a library bag.

StMonicasPrimary5


Children and teachers prepare class prayer celebrations, masses and whole school liturgical celebrations. These are celebrations of our faith and parents are invited to join us for special prayer times. Dates and times are advertised in the school newsletter as well as being published on the school website and in the Religious Education newsletter which is sent out twice each term.

Please mark your children’s clothing (lunch boxes, bags, drink bottles etc) clearly with their name. Much school clothing, when lost, is never reclaimed because children don’t recognise their own property. If your child loses an item please follow this up with an enquiry as soon as possible with your child’s class teacher.

You may purchase labels through our school fundraiser. Shop online at www.brightstarkids.com.au
Please remember to use our Fundraiser Name—St Monicas Primary North Parramatta when placing your order.

Medical Action Plans are required to be updated by your child’s doctor each year and a copy is to be given to the School Office. Yearly updates are required so that we are kept informed of any changes in your child’s requirements.

Staff are under no legal obligation to administer medication or supervise the administration of medication. The taking of medication at school should be absolutely avoided unless essential. If medication is required to be administered an 'Administration of Medication During School Hours Form' must be completed. This form can be downloaded from the school website (under School Notes).

In the case of Schedule 5 medication (Ritalin and Dexamphetamine) children will be supervised self-administering this medication. Office Staff will keep a register of the administration of these regular medications. Parents of children on this medication should provide the office with:

  • A direction written by the prescribing Doctor and parents, of the dosages and time for the giving of the medication by the Office Staff
  • One weekly supply of the medication which will be held in the office in a secure place
  • Notice of any variation of time or dosage should be followed by a new direction written by the prescribing Doctor and parents
  • The school must be kept informed of any other medication your child is taking including ‘over the counter’ preparations.

All medication brought to the office for administration must have a pharmacy label with the student’s name and dosage details.

If parents have messages for children, especially if there is a change of details for travelling home from school, it would be appreciated if the office staff could be contacted prior to 2:30pm (when possible). This will enable the Staff to contact the class teacher and relay the message to the student in time. As some students catch early buses and walk home, calls/messages given to the Office Staff at dismissal time will sometimes be too late to pass on.

Parents who request permission for their child to bring a mobile phone to school are asked to do so in writing each year. Permission is only granted for those students who travel home alone or catch public buses. On arrival at school the switched-off phone is to be handed in at the School Office. In the afternoon the phone is sent to the class via the Office Bags where teachers will return the phone to the student.

Children arriving at school a few minutes before playground supervision commences (8:20am) are requested to sit on the stairs outside the teachers’ workroom until the duty teacher commences morning duty.

From 8:30am-8:50am students are able to unpack their bags in the learning space. All students enter and exit via the stairwell near the lift. A teacher is on duty in the learning space during this period.

Each morning we have a short morning assembly led by the teacher on morning duty. The students gather in their class groups where they are welcomed to the new school day. Every Monday we have prayer led by our Christ Centred Leaders. Any messages or events are acknowledged at the assembly. On Friday the National Anthem is sung. Parents and friends are welcome to attend.

When the school has a Mufti Day it means that the children do not have to wear their school uniform. They may wear smart casual clothing to school on that day. Often we have a mufti day as a fundraising event eg Fete, as a special celebration or as a reward. As a fundraiser Mufti Day, each child is asked to bring along a donation for the privilege of wearing ordinary clothes. This money would then be sent to the missions or another advertised charity. Parents would be notified of this event through the Newsletter /School Website.

Music classes are held by Aria Music at school during lunchtimes. Lessons are 30 minutes in duration. Bookings/enquiries may be made by calling 0402 780 130 or you may contact Aria Music via email at ariamusicschool@gmail.com

The school has this policy in place to protect the children from the harmful effects of the sun. If a child does not have their hat on before school, at recess, lunch or for outside activities/sports, they must sit in the shade and cannot play in the playground. School hats are available for purchase from Oz Fashion.

St Monica’s looks forward to working in partnership with all parents. Research shows that students perform better at school when parents are actively involved in their children’s schooling.

There are many ways in which parents can become involved in their child’s education:

  • Volunteer for literacy or numeracy activities in the classroom
  • Attend parent/teacher information nights and parent/teacher interviews
  • Attend a POSMS (Parents of St Monica’s) meeting once a term
  • Become a member of the Parent Involvement Committee and attend a meeting once a term
  • Assist with sharpening pencils in the infant classes
  • Assist the Teacher/Librarian with covering books and shelving books
  • Assist on excursions (Child Protection requirements to be completed first)
  • Assist at theme lunches held two or three times each term
  • Coach teams for inter-school competitions eg netball
  • Attend Working Bees held each year
  • Volunteer to assist at the fete held every two years.

All parents are invited to join the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) who meet once each term to plan and organise events in the school. Activities include Grandparent’s Day, Catholic Schools Week, Mother’s and Father’s Day Stalls, raffles and theme lunches. New ideas are always welcomed.

PBS4L is a whole school approach that actively promotes positive behaviour. It enables the students to develop a clear understanding of required expectations, become responsible for their own behaviour and work together to create a positive, productive and harmonious learning community. Our school expectations are: Be Respectful, Be Safe, Be a Learner.

Each week the SRC nominates an area of focus that involves explicit teaching and support of positive behaviours. Teachers and students will participate in lessons that involve discussion and role play. The focus of the week is publicised in the cabinet outside the school office.

Every term all parents are invited to attend a meeting focused on an aspect of learning. Generally this is centred around our school goals, an evaluation of an event, or a program that is being introduced to the school. Attendance at this meeting is a great way to meet and socialise with other parents while learning more about your child’s education. The dates for these meetings will be on the school calendar (on the school website) and are advertised in the lead up to the meeting in the school newsletter.

Parents are welcome to make an appointment with their child’s teacher at any time regarding their child’s progress. Please contact the school office or send a letter to your child’s teacher requesting an interview and they will contact you to set up a time.

The Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta has allocated each school six (6) pupil free days each year. The Staff still come to school (or attend another venue) for professional development, but the children do not attend school on that date. This allows the whole staff to meet and discuss relevant educational issues based on our school goals. The staff use this opportunity for spiritual reflection, to review new curriculum changes, study a new methodology, or brainstorm and formulate a policy for relevant issues. The day may be shared with staff from another school, which broadens the input. The focus of the Staff Development Day is usually discussed in the school newsletter and parents are notified in advance of the date.

 

Reading Recovery is an early literacy intervention program. It provides one to one teaching for children who need greater assistance in learning to read and write following their first year of school (Kindergarten).

The intervention occurs in Year One where a student participates in a half hour lesson on a daily basis. It is delivered by a specialist teacher that engages the students in reading books and writing their own stories.

The Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta together with the specialist teacher determines the students who require the intervention.

Reading Recovery supports the classroom reading and writing program and enables children to quickly "catch up" to the average level of their class. It builds on the strengths of each child and encourages them to become independent, strategic readers and writers.

Once the student has been discontinued from the program they are monitored throughout the remainder of their time at primary school to ensure that they are continuing to make academic progress in both reading and writing.

Each teacher is entitled to two hours of release from face to face teaching each week.

The School Calendar will be available on the school website. This calendar displays all significant dates and school events for Terms 1—4 of the school year. Any changes to dates and events are advertised in the fortnightly newsletter, by Skoolbag or via other written communications. Events are also publicised on the School website (under News and Events). The calendar is regularly updated.

A school newsletter is produced each fortnight and is available for viewing online. It includes a letter from the Principal and information about teaching and learning, school events and our school/parish community. Please take the time to read the newsletter each fortnight with your children. Parents are requested to subscribe (free) to the newsletter via the School Website. An email will be delivered to your inbox notifying you that the newsletter is available. You are able to then click on the link to read the newsletter. The newsletter is also available for viewing on the school website and through Skoolbag. For families who do not have internet access, please notify the School Office and a hardcopy of the newsletter will be sent home with your child. The School Newsletter is always displayed in the cabinet outside the school office.

Notes are sent home as a means of communication between school and home. In some cases notes have ‘tear off’ slips to return to the school—generally permission slips. Please check your child’s school bag each day for notes. School permission notes will also be available on the school website (under School Notes) so that if you lose your original note you can download a copy.

Dear Lord,

We thank you for our friends, family and teachers.
Alleluia, Praise the Lord for our houses, our energy to pass the day, our food and beautiful weather.
Support us now and always.
May the peace of Christ be with us throughout the day.
May St Monica and her son St Augustine help us all through the week to be more and more like Jesus.
We pray for those parts of the world that are in trouble.
St Monica, Pray for us.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Clear and open communication is the key to a positive and supporting relationship. St Monica’s Primary School continues to strive to do its best by enhancing our relationships with parents and carers. Parents are strongly encouraged to access the school website where you will find all the information you need at your fingertips. The newsletter is always available to read and clarify any upcoming events. You will also have easy access to our Parent Handbook, events, calendar, school notes, order forms and our photo gallery. The school website is updated regularly.

RED / GREEN (swipers at each door entrance)

Parents are advised that the school has a security system in place. Under no circumstance is anyone to enter a building if the swiper is RED as this means the building is alarmed.

Every student receives a written report twice a year. These reports are issued generally in June and December. The issue dates are always communicated in the newsletter. Year 1 to Year 6 are graded for each key learning area (E-A). The following table explains the grading scale.

Student’s Achievement in Key Learning Area

Your child’s achievement for the strands in each of the Key Learning Areas is reported using a five point scale:


A Excellent achievement The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can apply these skills to new situations.
B High achievement The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content and has a high level of competence in the processes and skills. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.
C Sound achievement The student has sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.
D Basic achievement The student has basic knowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of achievement.
E Elementary achievement The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.

In Kindergarten the report is slightly different and does not include a grade. All key learning areas are reported on with a detail of each student’s progress in English and Mathematics. All students in the school are assessed against descriptions for their learning and social behaviours.

As Australia is a country with a high rate of skin cancer, it is important to educate the children about the effects of the sun and promote habits to avoid skin damage.

Aims

  • To raise awareness in children of the damages of UV rays to their skin
  • To instil in children lifelong habits to avoid skin damage.

Implementation

  • The school will have a suitable hat as part of the school uniform
  • Teachers will educate students about the effects of UV rays on their skin
  • Parents may supply their children with their own sunscreen
  • Teachers will remind students to wear hats
  • Students who do not have a hat will be asked to stay under the undercroft in the shade
  • Teachers will consider the weather before completing outside activities especially in the summer months eg sport
  • Students who are constantly not wearing their hats will be given a standard letter to inform parents that their child is not wearing a hat.

Skoolbag is a communication app which all parents are strongly advised to install on their smartphones, ipads etc. Instructions for installing this app are on the website and are regularly included in the school newsletters. Daily communications, updates or major incidents occurring at school are posted on Skoolbag.

Skoolbag is the school’s primary avenue for immediate communication with parents.

Swimming Carnival

This event is held each year in Term 1 for students in Year 3-6 and able swimmers in Year 2.

Cross Country

This event is held in Term 2 for students in Years 3-6 and identified athletes in Year 2. The children undergo training in the weeks leading up to the event by gradually building on the distance they run. Just prior to the Cross Country the children's level of fitness and ability to participate in this event is evaluated. The Cross Country is held on a school day and all children in Years 3—6 are expected to attend this event. Early Stage One and Stage One remain at school on the day of Cross Country.

School Athletics Carnival

This event is held in Term 2. All the children from Early Stage One to Stage Three participate in this event at a local oval. In each of these areas children have the opportunity to compete against other schools at a Zone, Diocesan and State level.

We are committed to maintaining the highest level of privacy in handling the information you provide. The Standard Collection Notice advises you about the reasons for collecting information and the way the information will be used. For more detailed information about privacy in the Parramatta Diocese, refer to the 'Policies and Procedures' page of our website.

The Government also requires the completion of a National Data Collection Form which is included in the Enrolment Application.

 

Students are able to participate in Student Banking. Commonwealth Bank Dollarmite Youthsaver accounts can be opened through Commonwealth Bank branches. You do not have to bank with the Commonwealth Bank for your child to open an account. Children bring their bank deposit books to school on a Wednesday morning with the deposit they wish to make. Parents are requested to complete the bank deposit book with all relevant information. Books are returned to the students on Thursday or Friday. Please contact the office for further information or to obtain a Youthsaver starter pack.

Tennis lessons are available for children and are conducted by a professional coach before school.

Students from Year 1 to Year 6 are eligible to enrol for lessons. Kindergarten children can access tennis lessons in Term 3. Please contact the office for further information.

The wearing of full, correct school uniform is compulsory and all items must be clearly marked with the child’s full name. A complete list of your child’s school uniform requirements can be found above in the handbook.

Sport shoes (predominantly white) are only to be worn on sport days, with black shoes to be worn on all other days. Shoes are available at Oz Fashion for parent convenience.

Shoe laces are to be tied and shoes polished.

The Summer Uniform is worn in Term 1 and Term 4 and the Winter Uniform is worn in Term 2 and Term 3. Dates will vary as to the starting date for the winter uniform.

To demonstrate school pride, uniforms should be kept neat and tidy.

StMonicasPrimary6


Health

Infections are common in early childhood. Below are regulations with regards to the length of time a student should remain away from school should a particular illness occur.

Chicken Pox
Exclude until fully recovered—minimum exclusion for 7 days after the first spots appear.

German Measles
Exclude until fully recovered—minimum exclusion for 5 days from appearance of the rash.

Infectious Hepatitis
Exclude until medical practitioner certifies recovery.

Measles
Exclude for at least 5 days from appearance of the rash.

Mumps
Exclude until fully recovered—minimum exclusion for 10 days from the onset of the swelling.

Streptococcal Infection
Exclude until fully recovered.

Whooping Cough
Exclude until fully recovered—minimum exclusion for 3 weeks from onset of the whoop.

Conjunctivitis
Exclude until discharge from eyes has ceased.

Impetigo
Exclude until sores have fully healed. The child may return provided that appropriate treatment is being applied and that sores on exposed surfaces, such as scalp, face, hands or legs, are properly covered with occlusive dressings.

Head Lice
Exclude until hair is completely cleaned and neither nits (eggs) nor lice are present. Children who have such problems may not be readmitted to the school without a note from parents or guardian indicating that appropriate treatment has been given and the eggs and/or lice have been removed.


Childhood Immunisation Schedule
Age Immunisation
2 months Diphtheria/Tetanus/Whooping Cough/Sabin (Polio)
4 months Diphtheria/Tetanus/Whooping Cough/Sabin (Polio)
6 months Diphtheria/Tetanus/Whooping Cough/Sabin (Polio)
12 months Measles/Mumps—Rubella
18 months Diphtheria/Tetanus/Whopping Cough
5 years or prior to school entry Diphtheria/Tetanus, Booster Sabin

 

Pastoral Care and Student Enhancement

St Monica’s believes in forming a collaborative community where the freedom to explore is encouraged. Respect for one another is fostered through the celebration of gifts and differences in the Mercy tradition of compassion, justice and love. The Buddies Program and the explicit teaching of co-operative and reflective skills empower our students to self manage and to solve conflicts.

At St Monica’s School we co-operatively aim to

  • Be Safe
  • Be Respectful
  • Be a Learner

StMonicasPrimary7

The following strategies contribute to student enhancement at St Monica’s.

Within the first week of your child beginning Kindergarten at St Monica’s they are assigned a Year 6 Buddy. The matching of the children is developed in consultation with both Kindergarten and Stage 3 teachers as to which children are most likely to assist in your child’s transition. The role of the ’Buddy’ is to be a friendly face in the playground, help them learn areas for play, assist in positive learning during joint learning activities and generally help them ’feel at Home’ in their new surroundings.

A Welcoming Mass is held on the first Sunday of School Term 1 commencing at 9:00am. At this Mass, Year 6 students accompany Kindergarten into the church and sit with them during the Mass. At the End of Year/Graduation Mass the Kindergarten students leave the church with the Year 6 students. This cycle of beginning and ending is a beautiful tradition that illustrates our strength as a community that celebrates significant events in the form on worship and liturgy.

Liturgy


Cooperative Learning at St Monica’s involves the children working together in teams or groups to accomplish a task. This takes place within a structured learning environment designed to generate a culture that maximises the learning opportunities of everyone. The key skills, developed over time, which contribute to this process are:

  • Positive Inter-dependance—we all succeed if we work together
  • Individual and group accountability—we must pull our own weight whilst helping each other
  • Collaborative and Social Skills—We need to learn and practice the skills of working together
  • Face to Face Interaction—We need to dialogue with each other to enhance our leaning and thinking
  • Reflective Moments—We must stop occasionally and reflect on what we are doing.

Project Based Learning is a teaching method and has been introduced in our primary grades. Students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Essential Elements of PBL include:

  • Significant Content - The project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills.
  • 21st century competencies - Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation.
  • In-Depth Inquiry - Students are engaged in a process of asking questions, using resources and developing answers.
  • Driving Question - Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  • Need to Know - Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  • Voice and Choice - Students make choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
  • Critique and Revision - Students give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
  • Public Audience - Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.

We believe that procedural fairness is a basic right of all children when dealing with school personnel. Every student is entitled to a fair hearing and the right to an unbiased decision.

At St Monica’s, EVERYONE has RIGHTS.

  • Children have the right to work, play and learn in an environment that is friendly, safe and growth-promoting.
  • Teachers have the right to teach in a friendly, safe and growth-promoting school which has the support of the school community.
  • Parents have the right to feel welcome, to be treated with respect and to know their children learn, work and play in a friendly, safe and growth-promoting environment.

The SRC is a group of children elected each semester by their fellow stage members to work with the Year 6 SRC leaders. SRC members represent all students in the school and organise ways for the children to participate in, and contribute to, school life.

The Library Monitors at St Monica’s school have many roles. They help with the day to day running of the Library with borrowing and returning books. They all have an area of responsibility and ensure that all books are in their place. They help with the setting up and running of the special Library days such as Book Fairs and Book Character Parades and they mentor younger students for future roles. All Library Monitors are responsible in their roles and show great initiative for their roles as School Leaders the following year.

The community of St Monica's Primary School, North Parramatta is opposed to bullying in any form.  It takes the view that we celebrate our gifts and differences, form a collaborative learning community and cooperate to achieve.  Our school is a community that is united by gospel values and as such, bullying in any form has no place in our school.

Our policies are available under the 'About' section of our website.

 

Learning & Teaching

The teaching and learning at St Monica’s is based on a belief that learning takes place in a reflective and collaborative community where each person is nurtured and challenged to explore, investigate and problem solve through explicit teaching and rich learning and assessment tasks.

The NSW Department of Education has established 6 Key Learning Areas (KLAs) that are mandated to be used by all primary schools in NSW. These KLAs remain the same for secondary schools but are further developed into specific subjects. The Key Learning Areas are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History and Geography
  • Creative and Practical Arts
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.

The NSW Board of Studies has established syllabus documents for each KLA and these documents are the focus of the curriculum that is taught at St Monica’s School. They state the values, knowledge and skills that are to be taught in each area.

Many of these KLAs overlap and at St Monica’s we endeavour to integrate the KLAs by developing skills in locating, organising and communicating information.

Central to the mission of our school is the education of students in the Catholic faith. Accordingly, the Diocese of Parramatta has established a 7th Key Learning Area of Religious Education. As with all Catholic Schools in our Diocese, St Monica’s uses the curriculum document Sharing Our Story as the basis for teaching Religion in our school.

The students of St Monica’s reflect a great diversity of needs and it is our belief that as teachers, we need to cater for their individual strengths and challenges in learning. This is achieved through teaching programs that involve a cycle of—

LearningCycle

Assessment – Identifying a student’s needs in reading, writing, maths etc. using work samples, tests, observations and questioning
Instruction – modelling skills and concepts, discussing new ideas, experimenting and investigating
Application – working with students in joint construction, applying skills such as reading and writing to other subject areas, completing work independently
Assessment – identifying achievements and areas of development, re-grouping students according their needs

Our staff believes that the teaching environment has a significant impact on student’s learning. For this reason our Learning Centre is secure, inviting, and stimulating. Tables are organised in groups to facilitate co-operative learning where students exchange ideas and work together on tasks.

Religious Education is a lifelong process. Its foundations are laid in the home and built within the school/parish community.

The Catholic School plays an important part in this lifelong quest. Its first contribution to the student’s Religious Education is through the culture and climate of overall school life. The religious dimension is present everywhere in the school: playground, assemblies and the classrooms themselves where every key learning area contributes to a genuinely religious way of understanding the world.

The task of the teacher is to foster knowledge and understanding that is appropriate to each learner’s stage of development. The development of relevant attitudes and skills is also important, along with a growing commitment to Christian values. More information on the religious education curriculum is available through www.parra.catholic.edu.au.

An active partnership of home, parish and school plays an important part, particularly in regard to the preparation and celebration of the Sacraments.

Sacramental Program

  • Initiation into the life of the Church is a gradual process that takes place within the Community of the faithful. The whole community is responsible for passing on its faith, its story, its values, its tradition to the next generation; and introducing its children into the sacramental life of the Church.
  • The preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist are Parish based. The parish based, family centred process is to provide opportunities for parents to come together to inquire and reflect upon the faith into which their children are being initiated.
  • A Sacramental Team has been established by the Parish to assist in co-ordinating the preparation for the Sacraments. It is the responsibility of parents in conjunction with the Parish Priest and Sacramental Team to assess the readiness of the child for Sacraments.

For further information please contact the Parish Office on 9630 1951 (Tuesday—Friday) or the Religious Education Co-ordinator at school.

Parish


Literacy at St Monica’s is an exciting and stimulating time. It is incorporated into the school timetable for a block 100 minute session each day. Reading, writing, talking and listening form the basis of our ability to communicate effectively and so they form the basis of all other learning within the curriculum. These skills are taught in the context of whole class, small group, pair and individual experiences.

Speaking and Listening are incorporated into all lessons as children have the opportunity to articulate their understandings, listen to others and respond to ideas in discussions. Experiences in talking may involve informal discussions through to formal speeches. Assessment will include the skills of presentation as well as the content.

Guided Reading is an approach which enables a teacher and a group of children to talk, read and think their way purposefully through a text. This approach allows students to become fluent, independent readers. The teacher observes and supports each child, and their progress is monitored according to their own individual progress.

Reader’s Circle is the next stage after Guided Reading. The children who participate in Reader’s Circle are fluent, independent readers. In these sessions, texts range from picture books with more text to novels. The children critically read their way through the text and share their responses about the text and the author’s message. The essence of Reader’s Circle is that all children contribute to the discussion through their written responses and the discussion of these responses.

Reciprocal Reading is reading where dialogue between the teacher and children is used to develop the comprehension strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Information texts, newspapers and magazines are used in this type of reading session.

Modelled writing, joint construction and independent writing are the steps which teach explicitly the skills of drafting, revising, conferencing, editing, proofreading and publishing a text. Producing texts also includes the development of computer skills such as typing and editing, graphics and multi-media presentations.

At St Monica’s the approach to teaching Mathematics is the same in each class. The daily one hour Numeracy block involves 3 parts: Warm up / Learning Time / Reflection.

Warm ups

It is important to have a time in each Mathematics lesson that allows the children to deepen their understanding of number. In this 15 minute session the children manipulate resources eg counters, dice, card, bead string and work cooperatively with a partner. Warm ups are an important teaching time where teachers ask powerful and probing questions that assist children tune into the mathematics and focus on strategies.

Learning Time

During this 45 minute session the children are involved in hands on learning where they are engaged in a rich open-ended mathematics task or a rich open-ended mathematics game in a class environment that encourages different ideas and different strategies. The teacher roams to provide ongoing support, challenge and give feedback to the children.

Reflection

Reflection time is the main teaching time of the Numeracy Block. Research tells us that children learn more deeply if the mathematical experiences have come first. Reflection is a time for all children to ‘tune in’ to the mathematics that has been learnt. The focus is learning and also deep mathematical understandings. The teachers ask questions to help the children articulate their mathematical thinking. During this period small teams of students present and demonstrate their responses to the problem.

Each of these three sessions support teachers in tracking student growth and planning next steps in children’s learning.

The study of Science and Technology provides our students with opportunities to think and act critically and creatively, to develop informed attitudes based on evidence and reason, and to participate responsibly in developing innovative working solutions and ideas in response to opportunities and questions relevant to personal, social and environmental issues in their lives.

At St Monica’s we want our students to become self-motivated learners through active participation in challenging and engaging experiences in order to develop innovative solutions.

This Key Learning Area works hand in hand with a Geography syllabus. History is a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that helps to explain how people, events and forces from the past have shaped our world.

During your child’s schooling from Kindergarten to Year 6 they will investigate the actions, motives and lifestyles of people over time, from individuals and family members, to local communities, expanding to national and world history contexts.

History will provide the skills for students to answer the question ‘How do we know?’ An investigation of an historical issue through a range of sources can stimulate curiosity and develop problem-solving, research and critical thinking skills. Students engage in research involving traditional methods and ICT, including evaluating web-based sources and using a range of technologies for historical research and communication.

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Students learn to question why the world is the way it is, reflect on their relationships with and responsibilities for the world and propose actions designed to shape a socially just and sustainable future.

The students use inquiry skills including asking distinctively geographical questions, planning, evaluating information; processing, analysing, interpreting information; reaching conclusions based on evidence, logical reasoning; evaluating and communicating findings, and reflecting through actions to what they have learned.

Music

Music plays an integral part in the life of St Monica’s School. It enhances the prayer life of the community; it is a source of entertainment at events such as school assemblies, discos and end of year functions; and it provides students with an opportunity for meaningful self-expression. Part of our music program involves performances by professional musicians through the Musica Viva in Schools program. Students at St Monica’s have the opportunity to participate in the school’s annual Talent Quest. Keyboard and Guitar lessons are available to students by private arrangement through Aria Music.

Visual Arts

The artistic talents of our students are expressed, fostered and valued. Each class is given the opportunity to participate weekly in specialised Visual Arts lessons. During these sessions the learning experiences are adapted to school or class contexts, paying close attention to the needs of individual students. The children are exposed to a variety of Art-making techniques, which include drawing, painting, colouring and paper craft.

Drama

The drama component of Creative Arts is organised into the areas of Creating, Performing and Appreciating. Students from K-6 participate in weekly lessons that explore many aspects of dramatic experiences including mime, improvisation and movement. Lessons incorporate the teaching of specific skills and opportunities to perform. Students move from the familiar such as Nursery Rhymes and traditional stories through to abstract experience in the creation of their work. They are encouraged to develop and extend their skills both individually and in groups and respond constructively to others.

PDHPE is the Key Learning Area that is concerned with supporting the development of the whole child and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It deals with concepts associated with understanding and valuing self and others. It incorporates sporting activities with an emphasis on skill development and it examines areas of health and safety.

At St Monica’s we actively promote healthy living through our Crunch&Sip break as well as learning about the human body and making healthy food choices. In Stage Three we offer the Personal Development Program which examines our sexuality in the context of growing and changing. This program involves a night meeting with parents where we outline exactly what is being taught in the classroom.

On a designated day each week our children are involved in active sport programs that are designed to develop skills and enhance the students’ understanding of aerobic exercise and overall fitness. There is also a strong emphasis on team effort and leadership development. All sport and physical activity in schools are conducted in line with the safety requirements outlined by the NSW Department of Education and Training. The sport day for each stage is advertised each term in the newsletter.

As technology continues to influence and shape our world it is not surprising that it is also bringing about dramatic change in the classroom. The technology within our school is enhanced by the use of Macbooks, laptops and Ipads within each of the stages. All children have access to laptop computers and all children are trained in the use of voice recorders, still and video cameras, interactive whiteboards and Ipads. With Internet access, emphasis has shifted from the computer being used only as a word processing tool to a more powerful, world wide learning resource. The children are taught to use this tool and are supported in its use to enrich learning, to locate information and to broaden their knowledge and understanding of world issues.

The children are very comfortable using the technology to enhance their learning and work presentation. Students learn skills in basic graphics, information and communication, spreadsheets, word processing, multimedia and are supported to make decisions about discerning Internet use and ethical use of information.

Each family is asked to spend time perusing our Responsible Use of ICT and Social Media for Students Guidelines. Students in all Stages, together with their parents, are asked to acknowledge that they have read and agree to follow the guidelines by signing the Agreement and returning it to school. The Guidelines are distributed to students each year and the Agreement must be signed and returned each year in order for consent to remain active.

Technology


The community at St Monica’s believes that homework is seen as a valuable means of reinforcing work done at school through practise, extension or consolidation. Its aims are to develop regular habits of home study and allow parents to take part in their children’s learning.

Homework will consist of reading each night and will typically involve activities in spelling, writing and Maths. These activities will vary according to the stage and needs of the children. It should not be a burden for parents or children. If a child is unable to complete a homework task for any reason then a note should be written to the teacher or an appointment can be made to discuss the home study habits. It is important that teachers and parents work together to make homework a positive learning experience.

At St Monica’s, we believe that assessment and reporting is an essential part of the teaching and learning process. Student progress is formally reported to parents at the end of Semester One (June) and the end of Semester Two (December). A formal report adhering to the Commonwealth Legislation (2006) is issued to every parent.

Formal interviews are arranged via online bookings at the end of Semester One for all students. Multiple forms of assessment are provided at the interview to support student grades.

Parents are encouraged to make appointments through the School Office or contacting the class teacher at any time when they have concerns about their child’s learning.

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