Finding Focus and Fidget Spinners

The latest craze to emerge in schools is the fidget spinner. For those who are unfamiliar with this little device, it is a small spinning toy that can fit in the palm of the hand and is designed to be held while it spins rapidly. Fidget spinners come in a variety of weights and designs which influence the device’s vibration, noise and spin time. The toy has been advertised as a tool to help people focus or relieve nervous energy but there is no scientific basis to support this claim.

While the marketers of fidget spinners report that these little toys help students to focus in class, in reality, the opposite tends to happen. Children playing with fidget spinners in class become distracted by the sensation of the toy in their hands and focus on it rather than focussing on their learning. For this reason, we recommend that families do not purchase these items to help their children improve their focus. We also recommend that children do not bring fidget spinners or other toys to school as they can easily become misplaced or damaged.

One of the best ways to help children develop the ability to focus and concentrate is to reduce the number of distractions around them. At St John’s we use this method during ‘Big Write’ sessions to help the children really focus on their creative writing. The lights are dimmed, the room is quiet and the students know their story well because they have practised telling it orally. In ‘Big Write’ sessions their task is to focus on how to write their story using correct punctuation, good vocabulary and sentence structure. Using this method, we have noticed a marked improvement in the quality of student writing. The minimisation of distraction is what helps the students to focus.

Children need opportunities to practise how to concentrate and focus in quiet and still settings, free from stimulation. Regular opportunities such as these, help them to develop mindfulness, cope with challenges and build resilience.

Our Prayer Spaces are another way we provide a quiet, still place for reflection and focus. Next week the Chapel will be transformed into a number of Prayer Spaces and each day different classes will enter the spaces and enjoy time in reflection with Reverend Susan and their teachers. In the busyness of life today, particularly with the high level of visual stimulation we experience from so much technology, our minds and bodies benefit enormously from taking time to be still and reflect quietly on our relationship with God, with ourselves and with others. Prayer is a great way to find focus and direct our thoughts. Families are invited to spend time in the Prayer Spaces on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday next week after school for their own time in reflection.

My advice for finding focus and peacefulness in life is not to look to gadgets and other external avenues, but to look within ourselves and concentrate on the moment in time, free from distraction.

Please note: Because the Chapel will be filled with Prayer Spaces from Monday 22 to Friday 26 May, our regular Chapel Service will not be held on Friday. Also, there will be no Clubs or other activities held in the Chapel that week. They will be held in the Music Room or Library instead.

Child Protection Information Session for Volunteers

We are holding another Child Protection Information Session for volunteers on Monday 22 May, commencing at 2.15pm. Any family members who wish to assist at school in class activities, on excursions, or as sports coaches for example, should attend a Child Protection Information Session on an annual basis. Many people did attend the session held last term but for those who have not yet participated, they are asked to come along to the Information Session next week. We will meet in Primary Reception at 2.15pm and move to one of the classrooms for the presentation, which will conclude in time for afternoon pickup.

Thank you to all our family members who volunteer in so many different ways. Their participation is greatly appreciated.

Supporters of Sport

The Parents and Friends Sports committee, known as Supporters of Sport (SOS), has been very active in raising funds to enhance the facilities and programs offered at St John’s. In recent months SOS has donated money to the Primary school to pay for sports coaches and the installation of a new outdoor sound system, which will be very handy for our many carnivals and sporting events.

The SOS committee is looking for a person to act as Primary liaison person. This person would report back to the SOS committee about primary events and sporting requirements and attend SOS meetings, twice a term. The Primary liaison volunteer is a great support for Mr Murray. If anyone is interested in assisting in this way they should contact Kerrie Nissen, SOS Secretary, via email, secretarysos1@gmail.com .

 P&F Raffle Tickets

Thank you to all those families who are supporting our Raffle this term. The Raffle closes on Wednesday 31 May and all ticket butts, money and unsold tickets must be returned to Primary Reception no later than the morning of Friday 2 June, when the lucky winners will be drawn. There are some wonderful prizes available so don’t miss out on your chance to be involved.

Sandra Hawken
Head of Primary