It has been wonderful to welcome back Years 3 - 6 this week and celebrate all our students being together. We finally met some of our new families and students after their virtual start at LPS. Despite all the unpredictability over the last eight weeks, our students have been reflective and grateful to those who supported them, including their parents and teachers. The gratitude letters written by some students during LFH have been delightful.
Schools are distributing this letter from the Secretary of the Department, thanking all parents and carers for your support and extraordinary efforts during the rewarding and challenging experiences of remote learning. COVID-19 has been the ultimate disruption across many communities. Yet, despite the physical distance it imposed, we have learned much about your children, families and our staff, as well as the school value of Resilience.
Thank you to all those parents and carers who have been patient and cooperative with our necessary drop off and pick up routines, which are working very smoothly. The weather has been kind too. Although we remain unsure of how long these arrangements will remain in place, they are serving their main purpose of reducing the number of adults congregating together. Please remember that the gates are closed until 8:45 am, when A-L group students can go straight to classrooms and meet with their teacher, unless your child is dropped off early at OSHClub. The only minor issue we’ve had at pick up is with children who aren’t sure where to meet parents, so please establish a routine around this for the next few weeks.
We loved beginning our new normal this week. Some students could not wait to share their LFH products. We had some creative ‘recycle robots’, dioramas, trioramas, skateboards, models and stunning art work that barely made it through the gates before a detailed explanation was offered by very proud children, who were obviously encouraged at home.
Years 3 - 6 are also now participating in a strong wellbeing focus as part of their transition back into school. Having ‘half-classes’ at each end of the day is another way teachers can target sessions with each group. When visiting classrooms, the leadership team is thrilled to see children so excited to be back with their friends and teachers and re-engaging in their school routines. Not surprisingly, many of our senior students have talked about how much they looked forward to spending time with their friends again at school; virtual friendships are not quite the same!
Lunch and recess times are quieter with only half of the school in the playground at the one time and we’re pleased that children have responded with resilience to being allocated a ‘play area’. At different times, Prep and Year 1 are in the eastern playground, Year 2 in the south (netball courts), Years 3 and 4 on the basketball courts and middle school playground and Years 5 and 6 have the oval all to themselves.
Our teacher aides and office staff have resumed their usual duties, just like our teachers. Specialist teachers are currently moving around the school to teach, rather than having different year groups visit specialist rooms. We aim to restart both Play Therapy and Speech Therapy programs this term, although extracurricular activities remain on hold, as do assemblies, excursions and incursions.
Nevertheless, there are still students who have not returned to LPS; some overseas, others due to serious health concerns. As LFH is over, we are providing Learning Plans, Webex sessions or resources for these students and hope they will join us soon. One of our LFH discoveries, Webex, has provided some flexible options for connecting people that we can continue into the future.
HAVE YOUR SAY ON REMOTE & FLEXIBLE LEARNING
Minister Merlino has announced a community consultation on the lessons learnt during the period of remote and flexible learning. Principals, teachers, parents and students are being encouraged to participate in the survey ahead of a summit, to be held in July, to discuss the lessons learnt and investigate what improvements can be made to the education system.
To have your say, visit: https://engage.vic.gov.au/lessons-remote-and-flexible-learning
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Today’s newsletter is in a temporary format. We had planned to introduce our new, shorter eNews at the start of Term 3, however, with students’ early return to school, we’ll do this as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are between LFH eNews and the upcoming version, so stay tuned!
Now LFH is over, the newsletter will revert to fortnightly soon, and be in this shorter online transition until the new format is published. It is now also mobile-friendly and a message will let you know when it’s ready to view. Although the implementation has been slightly different to what we had planned a term ago, with LFH eNews suddenly taking centre stage for eight weeks, this is the next stage in implementing the Communication Strategy adopted by School Council. You will also notice Skoolbag disappear as those functions are transferred and we rely more on Sentral for emails and parent SMS in the case of any urgent matter.
Our detailed Event Calendar remains available on the website under the 'News' tab and will be linked to the newsletter. Term 3 dates are, of course, dependent on how COVID-19 impacts future school arrangements.
School Council has optimistically approved the rescheduling of the student-free day that was postponed in May. It is now planned for Friday 14 August, depending on the social circumstances in Term 3.
Finally, we do need to give additional thanks to those parents in our community who are doctors, nurses and frontline health workers. It’s hard to imagine the added pressure of going to work in a clinical setting during a pandemic. We are very grateful for everything you’ve done in the last few months, and continue to do.