Dear Parents and Carers
Successfully transitioning students back to school
Home-schooling is nearing an end. For parents, many of whom have discovered just how complex teaching can be, the return to school will be a welcome relief. For children, going back to school may bring a mixed set of feelings. Eager anticipation about reconnecting with friends and teachers will probably be accompanied by a level of anxiety about what school may be like upon return.
School continues to be an evolving experience for students. For a start they’ve just experienced a prolonged period of remote learning and an absence from their friends, which will take time to process when they return to school.
With organised extra-curricular activities put on hold most children have had a great deal of free time, which has placed the locus of control firmly in their hands. Some kids will grieve their lack of freedom, as they’ve had a glimpse of what an unstructured life is like. It may take some time for them to get back into the swing of being physically on campus for school.
With the return to on-site school approaching, here are some sensible strategies to make the adjustment easier for students.
Get ready for a return
Worriers and anxious types in particular like to know what’s ahead so your approach will make a difference. Prepare your child for a return by discussing the safety procedures the school will be implementing. Let young children know that an adult won’t be accompanying them past the school gate. Ask your child what they are looking forward to and check in with how they are feeling about a return. Validate any fears and apprehensions and correct any misconceptions.
This period will mirror the start of the school year when your child had to adjust to new teachers, different classmates and a new year level. Adjusting to change takes a great deal of personal energy, so your child may become tired, grumpy, even moody at home. Make allowances for these personal changes and make sure they have plenty of free time to unwind after school.
Focus on reconnection
Make reconnection the theme for your child’s return to school. He or she will have to reconnect with friends, teachers and learning, which takes time. The teachers will use many strategies to help your child connect with their friends, reflect on their time at home and move them back into full-time learning mode. Support these activities and keep your learning expectations for your child in check. It may take extra time for some children to adjust to their life back at school.
It's easy to take on our children’s worries and fears. The reverse is true, and kids can pick up our worries, taking them on as their own. As a buffer against anxiety, ensure you do something each day that brings you some joy, whether it’s listening to music, going for a walk or having a coffee with a friend.
Look after yourself
For a prolonged period now, parents and teachers have been doing significant emotional labour. The learning and adjustment curves have been massive, with little time to relax and take a break. Consider your own emotional resources and make your wellbeing a priority, which will make it easier for you to stay calm if your child experiences difficulties.
It’s a fine line that many parents walk between being flippant (‘you’ll be right’) and showing confidence (‘you’ll do okay’) when kids struggle to adjust to change. Children and young people want parents and teachers to understand their fears and anxieties and to coach them to negotiate difficulties including adjusting to change. You can support your child through sharing stories of resilience, focusing on the positives and letting them know that will eventually adjust.
The pandemic continues to serve up many difficulties, and we've all been forced to adapt quickly and repeatedly to new situations. Flexibility is a prime characteristic of resilient people, so if nothing else, getting through these challenging times will make us all more resilient.
The Victorian Chief Health Officer has expanded the mandatory use of face masks indoors to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the population of school settings to include primary schools.
The use of face masks assists in providing an additional physical barrier between people and to help reduce community transmission of COVID-19 across all of Victoria.
Students in Years 3 to 6 at St Clare's will be required to wear a face mask when indoors on school premises, including when attending an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program, unless a lawful exception applies.
There are a number of lawful reasons for not wearing a face mask, including for staff and students who are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability, medical or a mental health.
At this time, there will be no requirement for students to wear a face mask whilst outdoors during school time.
Whilst not required, it is strongly recommended by the Victorian Chief Health Officer that students in Foundation to Year 2 wear a face mask indoors at school, including when attending an OSHC program.
Parents, guardians and carers are required to supply their child(ren) with an appropriate face mask that covers the nose and mouth. Appropriate face masks include single use face masks (commonly called surgical masks) or cloth face masks made from three layers of a mix of breathable fabrics. Further information on face masks, including what face masks you can and can’t wear, can be accessed from the Coronavirus Victoria website.
All school staff at St Clare's are required to wear a face mask, including whilst teaching (wherever practicable), unless a lawful exception applies, to protect the health and safety of all students, staff and the wider school community. School staff are permitted to remove their face mask when necessary for effective communication.
Parents, guardians and carers are encouraged to inform their child(ren) of the face mask requirements, and to continue to reinforce with their child(ren) the need to keep 1.5 metres apart from other people, to wash and dry hands thoroughly and regularly, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or their elbow.
Parents, guardians and carers will also be required to wear a face mask when dropping off or picking up their child(ren) or if required to collect an unwell child(ren) from the school.
If you require clarification in relation to the use of face mask at school or additional support, please contact the school on 5940 6777
Many in our school community continue to face financial impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to supporting families experiencing financial challenges through our School Fee Concession programs, and encourage any parent/carer/guardian experiencing difficulties to contact us regarding fee assistance.
Please contact the school via firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 5940 6777 to explore confidential financial support arrangements or to obtain further information.
For camps and swimming which have been cancelled we shall process credits for these and adjustments familiy accounts accordingly.
PAM - Parent Access Module
Here is the link for the St Clare's Parent Access Portal (PAM)
You username is the email address that you have registered with the school. The first time you log in we ask that you use the forgotten password feature to set your own password.
ALL parents must access PAM to receive up to date information and grant necessary permissions. Students will miss out on events if permission is not granted.
MEDICAL INFORMATION - When you update your child's medical information in PAM - PLEASE ensure this is accurate. The school must have current up to date asthma, allergy, anaphylaxis or medical plans for those students identified with these conditions and any other medical conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy. This is to ensure we have relevant information to assist your child with the management of these medical conditions.
Please ensure the school has your current contact details - this includes address, email, work numbers etc. To update details please email email@example.com or call 5940 6777. Through PAM parents are able to update your child's medical details.
Monday 18 October
Staggered Return to Onsite School begins
Monday 1 November
Student Free Day
Tuesday 2 November
Melbourne Cup Day PUBLIC HOLIDAY
Tuesday 14 December
Year 6 Gradution - further details will be provided
Wednesday 15 December
Last Day of Term 4 2021