LPS eNews

17 July 2020

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Principal's Message

Welcome back to Term 3 and our new LPS eNews. We've adjusted our planned pages due to remote learning this term, but hope you like our new format, which is best viewed in Chrome or Firefox. Although this week's Principal's message is far more detailed than the brief version that was originally planned, it's necessary to honour parents’ contributions to our survey.

Unfortunately the media this week has generally projected negativity about returning to Learning from Home. Frankly, this isn't helpful in a situation where public health needs demand priority. Although we all understand, as predicted in March, that remote learning wasn't perfect, our approach at LPS models our value of Resilience. In accepting LFH has to happen again, we're keen to keep what worked for our school last term and build on that. Everyone's wellbeing benefits from optimism, and especially your children's.

A huge thank you to the 332 families who completed our LPS Learning from Home Survey. Although we didn't expect to be in this situation again, your feedback has been so valuable in planning for LFH with our staff, providing useful and relevant direction that we have actioned this week. 

Some LPS families loved Learning from Home and others found it very hard to manage, including the 66% of parents who said they 'found it difficult to balance my work and other family commitments with supporting my child to learn from home'. We're not surprised at all by that and acknowledge the huge adjustments families have made and continue to make. 

By simplifying our LFH tasks and content, we hope to reduce pressure for families who are juggling lots at the moment. It's helpful that this term, DET has tightened the minimum requirements of remote learning slightly, reducing some daily expectations for Prep - Year 2 students and the range of learning tasks for Years 3 - 6:

For students in Prep - Year 2, schools will provide learning programs that include the following:
– literacy activities that take a total of about 45-60 minutes
– numeracy activities of about 30-45 minutes
– additional learning areas, play-based learning and physical activity of about 30-45 minutes.

For students in Years 3 - 6, schools will provide learning programs allocated as follows:
– Literacy: 45-60 minutes
– Numeracy: 30-45 minutes
– Physical activities: 30 minutes
– Additional curriculum areas: 90 minutes 


LFH survey participants indicated strong endorsement of our key communications before and during LFH, notably the website LFH class pages, Sentral emails from teachers and the school and LFH eNews. Obviously, we'll keep doing things that were helpful and encourage all parents to read these...please! In these unusual times, knowing what's happening and why makes life more predictable for both you and your children. 

Interestingly, 70% of families reported that the technology their child needed to learn from home worked reliably (and we're mindful of the families we didn't hear from in our online survey). Yet 96% indicated their child still participated in Webex video conferencing sessions. Great persistence parents! We hope families who need more access to technology have taken up our offer to borrow devices; we certainly have many LPS computers in your homes already.

Webex was the big winner in Learning from Home. The success of this was undoubtedly due to the ongoing support of one of our parents, Ben B, over the last four months, assisting us to phase in Webex features. Teachers, students and parents were encouraged to explore Webex tools with gradually increasing complexity and this will continue. So too will the staged approach underpinning this, so that all learners - students, teachers and parents - can confidently access and use resources that connect us in a remote world. You'll find that the learnings from Webex will provide a solid foundation for some of our upcoming additions.

We're adding more optional Webex opportunities daily, for groups or individuals, because parents asked for them. Don't panic - teachers are happy for you to ease into these, or only do whatever is manageable for your family. In helping you prepare for LFH 2.0, teachers will explain some of these further at Monday's parent Webex briefings. In the meantime, you will receive invitations for:

  • Webex Essential and Plus (this 45 minute meeting is actually two separate groups - Webex Essential, immediately followed by Webex Plus after some children leave the meeting)
  • Webex Check-in
  • Webex Extra
  • Parents@Webex
  • Webex Literacy Intervention (for those students on this program) 

As we're using new resources that should streamline some aspects of teachers' planning, this will help our teachers to spend more of their day with their students.

Of course, Kathy has been busy constructing a new timetable. We thought up to 95 Webex meetings a day was a marathon effort last term, but Kathy's squeezing in more. It will be impossible to avoid clashes, which is why we're renaming Webex options to help you.

The timetable also includes Webex Literacy Intervention and the resumption of our STA (Speech Therapy) and Play Therapy programs. Students in those programs will need to prioritise these over other Webex sessions. Our specialists will continue to be part of the Literacy Intervention team, although some students' assigned teacher or group may change. 

Making decisions would be so much easier if everyone was in complete agreement. Wishful thinking! Even when we compared survey responses from parents with children in the same levels, we found very different perspectives.

In planning our next steps this week, we focused on the survey aspects that reflect what most parents want to continuestop or add to our LFH program. Click here to access an overview of this data and summary of our plans. Make a coffee and snack before you sit down with that page; there's a lot to digest!

We plan to complete our analysis by comparing some items across the survey and, as with all our school surveys, share this data and insights with School Council.

Next week will start from where we left off in June, so that there is some familiarity for children and parents to start with. LFH pages should be ready later today and Literacy Intervention will be emailed. 

At each level, expect some new resources or learning tools, including ClickView, Bug Club and Rapid Readers that join last term's favourites. Teachers introduced some of these at the end of last term and will again phase them in gradually. Students and teachers found these exciting, and the ClickView catalogue is extensive. Thanks for your feedback on these options already.

These programs also have teacher dashboards for assessment and monitoring of students' learning and engagement. I mentioned in LFH eNews last term that this area would be challenging for all schools as the teacher isn't in the same room during LFH. Having more Webex will allow teachers to add check-ins, assessment, feedback or follow up with groups or individuals, which mirrors what happens in classrooms. Adding Success Criteria to some tasks will give you an idea of what teachers are expecting, as this is also what happens at school to elevate correction to meaningful feedback.

Teachers had more ClickView training this week from ClickView's Primary Education expert and are proud of the short videos and interactives they've included in their playlists for your children, including some made by LPS teachers and shared across Australia this week!

We also had the DET Google Classroom (GC) trainer work with staff on Wednesday and are exploring that tool, as recommended by the trainer for Years 4 - 6, step by step. Initially, we hope to use this program as an additional and optional way to upload tasks that are designated for assessment or teacher feedback. More about that later. 

All families, including Prep - Year 3 parents, will find the updated Sentral App now offers an easier way to submit photos of student work, if other feedback or correction is needed in addition to the Webex suite. Thanks to those parents who tested the App for us this week.

Everything will still be on our website so it can be translated, accessed by mobile devices or printed, as so many families valued using hard copies.

Finally, in March we determined that anything we invest time and training in should have value for students and longer term usage than just during LFH. Please be assured these tools and resources won't be just for five weeks, so they are worthy of your children's persistence. 

Thanks so much for your feedback (and I assure you the next eNews Principal's message in a fortnight will be much shorter!).

Take care everyone,
Kim

Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 

 

A message for the school community

Dear parents/carers,

In my role as Senior Education Improvement Leader for the Inner East area of the North Eastern Victoria Region, I work closely with 31 Primary, Secondary and Specialist schools, including Laburnum Primary School.  I’ve worked in education for 25 years and never before have I seen a term like the one we’ve just had, and unfortunately these extraordinary times are not over yet.

Through my work with so many schools in the area I saw a range of different ways Learning from Home was implemented.  The efforts made by LPS’s leadership team and staff, and the school community, is one of the most impressive I witnessed, and I wanted to say ‘Congratulations’ to you all for your work during Term 2.  Not only is LPS one of the biggest primary schools in the area, but it also has one of the most culturally diverse school communities. I was incredibly impressed with how the staff at LPS worked tirelessly to ensure the Learning from Home resources and supports were accessible to all families. The very strategic, staged approach that LPS used to implement various facets of the Learning from Home approach was exemplary and helped the school to avoid the issues faced by other schools who may have rushed into the use of digital learning management systems, video conferencing and unfamiliar digital programs/apps a little early. I am sure that this strategic approach will again hold LPS in good stead for this next phase of remote and flexible learning during Term 3.

I’m aware the school has recently distributed a survey seeking your feedback on your family’s Learning from Home experience during Term 2.  I hope you’ve all taken the opportunity to complete the survey the school has prepared, using expertise available through DET. I know the leadership team values your input, and prepared the survey with the aim of partnering with you all in their commitment to continuous growth and improvement for the school.  This information will be invaluable in supporting the school to continue to develop the program of remote learning this term.  

This is an extraordinary time and I want to thank you all again for your efforts, understanding and commitment to your children's learning – and for the cooperation and support you are showing for school staff. We’re all in this together and I know Term 3 will be another positive (if different) one for LPS.

Yours in Partnership,

Clayton Sturzaker 
Senior Education Improvement Leader – Inner East
North-Eastern Victoria Region
Department of Education and Training 

What's happening?

From the Assistant Principals, Kathy and Jo

Parent - Teacher Meetings Tuesday July 28 & Thursday July 30

In Week 2, we are offering appointments via Webex for parents/carers to meet with their child’s teacher individually. The appointment is an opportunity for you to discuss the next steps in your child’s learning.

These appointments will run for 10 minutes, as usual. Change-over time will allow the teacher to be ready for their next Webex meeting. Specialist teachers will have limited appointments available. If you need more time with a particular teacher for any reason beyond this, you are welcome to arrange a separate meeting or phone call outside of these dates and times.

Kim, Kathy & Jo are also available again for meetings during these times. Please email the office if you wish to make an appointment.

If you require an interpreter, please notify the office via email by 4 p.m. on Wednesday 22 July. Meetings with our Chinese interpreter will be held during the day on Thursday 30 July.

All other families should book online:
Visit the Sentral Parent Portal and click on the Parent-Teacher meetings tab.

Opening and Closing Dates

Bookings will open Friday 17 July at 5.00 pm.
Bookings will close Friday 24 July at 5.00 pm.

Teachers will distribute Webex meeting invitations to parents who have registered, after the bookings close.

UNSW ICAS tests
Thank you so much to Alycia Cook and Jami Richards, who contacted ICAS last term to seek an extension of their registration date for 2020. After securing that, they persisted with seeking alternate dates for the August tests and refunds for families if the tests need to be cancelled. 

Families can access the new ICAS arrangements for Years 4 - 6 here and on our Contribute eNews page.

Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 

Thrive

From Narelle Sime, Leading Teacher, for the Thrive School Improvement Team. 
This team leads school-wide improvements in student engagement and wellbeing.

Wellbeing and Inquiry this term

Staff have spent time planning inquiry units for Term 3, ensuring that units and tasks are adapted to Learning from Home. Inquiry learning takes place across many areas of the curriculum, even including English through reading and writing tasks. Students will have opportunities to explore resources that encourage curiosity and develop their research skills, including the fantastic new resource; ClickView.

Students will be investigating the following areas under the concept of Change:

  • Prep: What is my family history? (History)
  • Junior School: Paddock to Plate (Sustainability and Design & Technology)
  • Middle School: How has Australian culture changed over time? (History)
  • Senior School: How have significant events and people shaped Australia, prior to Federation? (History)

In Wellbeing, lessons will focus on the relevant units of Stress Management and Help-Seeking as part of the school-wide program ‘Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships’. Teachers will also be supporting student wellbeing through daily Webex sessions.

If your child requires support with either of these areas during Learning from Home, please contact their class teacher.

Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 

 

LFH Prep

Welcome to Term 3!

As we return to Learning from Home, it is important to support your child to maintain a routine. The Prep team would like to offer you a suggested daily structure that reflects our classroom environment.

Prep students tend to work better in the morning and in short bursts. You will notice on our LFH pages that the tasks range in length from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, which should total approximately 2.5-3 hours of learning per day.

At school, we begin the day with reading and writing followed by maths, inquiry or science. A balanced day includes academic, creative, physical and social activities with clear morning routines to get ready for learning. It is important that the students take regular movement breaks to ensure they can continue to focus on their learning.

Remember, this is a suggested structure and each day of learning can be flexible to suit your family.

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   

LFH Junior School - Years 1 & 2

In order to prepare for Learning from Home, we encourage you to create a space where your child can work with minimal distractions. Have resources near them so they are ready to learn. The space could include items such as just right books, scrapbook, lined book, pencils, scissors, glue stick and water bottle.

We encourage your child to get up at their usual school time, have breakfast and get dressed so they are ready to start the day by 9 o’clock. Arranging a schedule and sticking to a daily routine will be very useful for completing learning tasks and overall wellbeing.

You may think about following a similar schedule to our day at school, starting with reading each morning, followed by writing, spelling, maths and then other learning areas. Throughout the day, students need to take many short breaks to keep their body moving and mind active. If they can, spending some time inside or outside playing games or exercising is highly recommended. Eating lunch and recess at a consistent time will help maintain a routine. 

Please read the Learning from Home tasks, LFH eNews and LPS eNews, as accessed through the school website or emailed to you. Let us know if you have questions!

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   

 

LFH Middle School - Years 3 & 4

Now that we are going back to Learning from Home, here are some suggestions from the Year 3 and 4 teams to make the experience positive for everyone in your family.

First, create a timetable with your child that has plenty of breaks in between learning tasks. It is important to remember that during lessons in the classroom, students are given regular movement breaks. In Years 3 and 4, we begin the day with our literacy block; this includes Reading, Writing and Spelling. Afterwards, we do Maths, Inquiry and Science. Additionally, Wellbeing should be scheduled every day to boost your child’s morale on a daily basis.

Remember, students are only meant to learn for 2.5-3 hours per day. Below is an example of a daily timetable that you may like to adapt to your child’s or family's needs. Don't forget to schedule in our Webex sessions!

9:00 – 9:40 Reading (40 mins)

9:40 – 9:45 Movement break (5 mins)

9:45 – 10:15 Writing (30 mins)

10:15 – 10:30 Snack and movement break (15 mins)

10:30 – 11:00 Spelling (30 mins)

11:00 – 11:05 Movement break (5 mins)

11:05 – 11:35 Maths (30 mins)

11:35 – 11:40 Movement break (5 mins)

11:40 – 12:10 Inquiry/Science (30 mins)

12:10 – 12:30 Wellbeing (20 mins)

                               = 3 hrs of learning + 30 mins of breaks

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   

 

LFH Senior School - Years 5 & 6

Welcome back to Term Three to all our students and families. We look forward to seeing you again; we have some exciting ideas planned and can’t wait to share them with you throughout the term. Although Learning from Home may involve challenges, it will be a great opportunity for our students to develop their independent study habits.

This term, lesson plans will continue to be posted on the school website and teachers will connect with students through daily Webex meetings. The time of your child’s Webex meetings and a link to the meeting will be sent through the Sentral Parent Portal.

Please work with your child to prepare a study timetable to help them balance their classwork and time for exercise and mindfulness breaks. You may refer to the sample timetable that will appear in our Learning from Home programs, or follow your own based on your family’s circumstances.

Education is a collaborative endeavour, and it is important to have open communication with our parent community. As such, we will be holding a Webex parent information session on Monday afternoon, in which we will discuss the direction we plan to take in Learning from Home this term.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us through the Sentral Parent Portal set up last term. Please refer to the eNews for further information about the Learning from Home plan for Term Three.

Thank you for continuing to support your child as we work together to provide rich educational opportunities.

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   

 

Contribute: Parents Group & Community News

Parents Group News will be found here soon...

Community Libraries and LPS (from Wendy Keogh)

It has been great to hear that so many students have been reading books that were borrowed from our library at the end of Term 1. Unfortunately several libraries in the area have contacted the school about Laburnum Primary School library books being returned to their library.

If you are returning books to community libraries, please carefully check the book to ensure it is not from L.P.S.  You can distinguish our library books through the Laburnum Primary School stamp on the inside cover and the Laburnum Primary School barcode on the front. Unfortunately if these are not collected from other libraries within a certain time the library discards them. Thank you for your support with this.

 

Click on these links for Community News or information:                     

OSHClub - please register your child - it's free to register and you'll always have that option for childcare, even in unexpected circumstances.
ICAS tests for Years 4 - 6: register before 5 October for English, Mathematics and Science

 

Scholastic Book Club Online orders for July - click here

 

Webinar: Return to Remote Schooling for families

 

 

Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 

Superstars

Let us know if your child is a Superstar in sport, creative pursuits or anything else. We're happy to use a photo as well, however, as we are a Child Safe school, please understand we can't publish a child's name with their photo on our publicly-available website.

To get started, this term in eNews we've chosen to showcase some of the work produced and photographed by our LPS artists during Learning from Home in Term 2: 
Nathan M, Nancy & Molly H, Liam T, Zoe S, Mieke & Henning S, Patrick G, Darcy S, Jim C, Chaitra M, Til W, Alicia J, Zoe T, Angus D, Violet R and Jocelyn B.

Click here for the LFH online gallery page, which has now moved to our website and can also be accessed from our home page. A huge thank you also to these artists' supportive parents and Ms. Farlow! 

For those who'd like to do more art, entries are open for the 'My World at Home' Art Competition: 
https://www.artencounters.com.au/art-competition/

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   

 

Parenting Ideas: Maintaining kids’ mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

by Michael Grose

 
 
While there are concerns about the negative impact of physical isolation is having on children’s learning, we should also be concerned about their mental health. Teachers and health professionals report that the strain of physical isolation is starting to show for many children and young people. Any anxiety and fear they experience is heightened by isolation from friends, lack of access to their usual sports and leisure activities and a lack of certainty about the future.
 
In these challenging times kids’ mental health needs to be a high priority. The following plan laid out by the experts at Parenting Ideas will show you how to lay a solid foundation for good mental health, and outline key behaviours that will help build the resilience and psychological strength that kids need in these difficult times.
 

Build the foundations for good health

A healthy diet, plenty of exercise and good sleep patterns are basic to good physical and mental health. Get the foundations right and you establish optimum conditions for your child to flourish even in difficult circumstances.

Eat a healthy diet

The ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ mantra that we grew up with needs to be updated to ‘healthy gut, healthy brain’. Recent research has revealed the links between a child’s gut health and good mental health. Kids who experience anxiety and depression typically have imbalances of adrenaline (which keeps the brain alert) and GABA (which calms the brain down), that can be rectified with good gut health.

A framework for healthy eating includes eating real rather than processed foods, consuming small and regular meals, starting each day with protein and complex carbs, drinking plenty of water and keeping kids away from caffeinated drinks.

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise not only promotes good mental health. It’s also a tool that kids can use to manage their mental states. Exercise and movement send endorphins through their bodies improving mood and relieving tension and stress. Exercise and movement relaxes the muscles and reduces feelings of anxiety that build up over time.

A framework for exercise includes starting the day with some movement, taking regular movement and game breaks, finishing the school day with movement that gets their limbs moving and hearts pumping.

Maintain good sleep patterns

The benefits of good sleep patterns are immense and far-reaching, impacting kids’ learning, memory and emotional stability. Sleep restores the brain to optimum conditions and rejuvenates the body, allowing hormone levels elevated during the day to return to normal. Consequently, sleep-deprived kids experience greater anxiety doing routine tasks and have a propensity for pessimistic thinking, which is associated with anxiety and depression.

A framework for good sleep patterns includes finding an optimum bedtime; creating a regular, relaxing routine, eating and exercising at the right time, creating a sleep sanctuary and getting up at regular times each day.

Add the pillars of good mental health

Mental health is complex and is impacted by many factors including a child’s social and emotional wellbeing. The following four pillars have an insulating effect on your child’s mental health, acting as circuit-breakers when life becomes difficult and complex.

Maintain social connection

As social beings we long for connection to others and a sense of belonging to groups. While time alone can be restorative, sharing experiences, thoughts and stories with others is absolutely essential to your child’s happiness and wellbeing.

A framework for social connection includes one-on-one time with family members and other loved ones, having shared family experiences to confirm a sense of belonging, having shared time and experiences with peers from school and the neighbourhood, and a connection with the broader community through shared experience, cause or goal.

Stay in the present

The human mind is restless, taking us all over the place. It can make us feel happy recalling memories of loved ones or happy times and it can also drive insecurity connecting us to events in the past or future that fill us with dread, and make us feel anxious. Kids’ wandering minds need to take a rest and settle in the present, stopping their mental chatter, giving them the chance relax. Mindfulness is an essential mental health tool that enables children to keep their minds in the present moment, allowing them to feel safe and secure.

A mindfulness framework includes regular mindfulness exercises, doing one thing at a time, using mindfulness during an anxious moment, practising self-kindness and forgiveness.

Enjoy yourself at play

The term ‘child’s play’ is demeaning to children and dismissive of the place of play in our lives. Play is absolutely critical to our happiness and wellbeing. Borrowing from the work of Dr. Brene Brown, play is defined as any activity that’s fun (therefore highly anticipated), free (that is, self-directed) and involves flow (we don’t want it to stop). Play helps kids manage anxiety and depression as it lifts their mood and is therapeutic by nature.

A play framework includes space and time for play, child-initiated activities, a mix of lone play and group activity, some social or physical risk may be involved.

Spend time in nature

Recent studies highlight what we already knew – that time spent in natural environments benefits our happiness, our sense of wellbeing and reduces stress and tension. The rejuvenating benefits of time spent in the bush or by the sea may be difficult to acquire during times of physical isolation but walks to the park, spending time under a favourite tree or even bringing some green shrubs inside have proven to be just as beneficial to children’s mental health.

A time in nature framework includes management and reduction of screen time, exposure to natural environments in the neighbourhood, bringing the outdoors inside, and spending some time each day outdoors.

Practise protective behaviours

Our daily habits contribute to our wellbeing and mental health. Some habits such as spending too much time in front of a screen may be detrimental. There are a number of behaviours, when practised continuously, build our resilience and resistance to daily difficulties. These include:

Keep foundation behaviours

Routine behaviours such as waking at the same time, having breakfast, exercising, showering and dressing get us ready for the day ahead. They underpin productivity, learning and wellbeing. Remove the structure provided by these foundation behaviours and many children and young people struggle, particularly those who are prone to anxiety and depression.

A foundation behaviour framework includes morning routines and rituals to prepare for the day, after school and evening wind down routines, and routines that prepare children for sleep.

Practise deep breathing

Recognition of the benefits of deep breathing dates back to ancient Roman and Greek times when deep belly breathing was used to rid the body of impurities. Modern science informs us that deep breathing instantly engages our capacity to relax and stay calm. When a child becomes anxious or fearful their breathing becomes shallow. Taking deep, slow breaths when they become overwhelmed by anxiety is the quickest way to return to a calm state. Deep breathing has great preventative powers helping the mind stay in a state of focus and calm.

A deep breathing framework includes practising deep breathing spontaneously throughout the day, combining deep breathing with mindfulness practice, using deep breathing to restore energy when tired, and breathing deeply during an anxious moment.

Check in on feelings

If children and young people are not tuning into their emotions they are missing a rich vein of information that will assist decision-making, learning and importantly, their wellbeing. It’s relatively easy to tune to into behaviour and our thoughts, but much harder to detect our emotions. The skill of emotionally checking in, developed by Prof. Marc Brackett from the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, helps children and young people to identify how they are feeling at any given time. It requires kids to stand still, close their eyes, take some deep breaths, identify and give a name to their feeling. This simple habit of checking, once practised and learned is a wonderful life skill to acquire.

Looking after your child’s mental health may seems like a mystery at times. But there is a great deal we can do. By laying a foundation for good general health and then working at maintaining the pillars of mental health and teaching kids the protective mental health behaviours you provide them with a solid framework for maintenance of good mental health that they can take into adulthood.

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.