It was so lovely to see the children back at school this week for the commencement of Term Three and to welcome a number of new families into the St John’s community. After the excitement of the first day of term and then catching up on holiday news the children quickly settled into new learning activities and class routines.
We have an eventful term ahead of us with numerous celebrations associated with the 25th Anniversary of the College. Our first event is next Monday 23 July, when the students in Years 3 to 6 will travel to the secondary campus for our Foundation Day Assembly in the Performing Arts Auditorium. All students are to wear formal uniform for this special event. Information about other events can be found on the ‘Events’ page of this newsletter.
Our trial of the eSafe monitoring system has commenced on all College devices, and alerts are now sent to key staff when an inappropriate website is accessed or text is identified as possible cause for concern. While we can carefully monitor what students are accessing on school computers, it is important for families to supervise their children’s activity when using home devices to access the internet. The Internet is a wonderful source of information and entertainment, but it can be a very dangerous place for children and excessive use of computer technology can be detrimental to a young child’s development.
I know that the holiday period it is a great time for children to have fun playing games on their iPads and computers, but now that the new school term has commenced I encourage families to minimise the time their children spend playing games online, particularly games that involve fighting, killing and the use of weapons.
One of the most popular online games, at the moment is ‘Fortnite’ and a number of our Primary students are very excited about playing this game. However, the game is not recommended for children under the age of 12 and therefore, it is not suitable for children of Primary school age. Why?
Let’s find out: ‘Fortnite’ is a survival action game and the Battle Royale version can be freely downloaded and played on Xbox, Playstation, Windows and Mac. The game involves fighting and killing off opponents with the winner being the last ‘man’ standing. The game is animated and there is no blood or gore when an opponent dies, (they just disappear), but the animations are quite life-like and the weapons look realistic, and there are plenty of them.
Children like this game because it is humorous and cartoon-like. It involves strategic thinking, team work, creativity and forward thinking, and so it can be seen as beneficial. The down side is the violence children are exposed to, the lack of empathy they can develop by ‘wiping everyone else out’ and the possible exposure to inappropriate dialogue between players. There is no profanity in the actual game but players can interact with unknown players and random strangers who may use voice or on-screen text chat. In games with strong competition and battle, dialogue can become heated and profane. The adrenalin rush players feel in the heat of the game also has a negative impact on young people particularly when it is repeated over and over again. Each match in the game lasts 20 minutes and it is easy for children to fall in to the trap of playing ‘just one more’. Too many matches can cause children to become too connected to the game.
We may think that ‘Fortnite’ is just a fun game that causes no harm, but I know that several of our students see ‘Fortnite’ as more than a game. During our Prayer Spaces reflections last term, a number of students wrote that the most important thing on their mind was ‘to get a win in Fortnite’. If a computer game becomes the most important thing on our minds, then we are playing the game too often.
I encourage families to take a strong interest in what their children are accessing online and know what games they are playing. I also recommend that time on computers is limited. All young children should be supervised when using the internet as we never know where their online activity can take them. Working together and giving our children the same message about computer usage at home as at school will assist our children in developing safe and appropriate on-line behaviour.
Academic Assembly – Monday 30 July, commencing at 9.00am, to be held in Living Faith Chapel, to recognise the students who are receiving awards for their academic achievements in Semester 1, this year. Formal uniform is required.
Families of students receiving awards have been notified and are invited to attend a morning tea after the assembly.
Supporters of Sport
This Term, we will host a number of home Soccer matches and would like to run a SOS (Supporters of Sport) canteen alongside the Primary oval during these matches. We need the assistance of Soccer parents to help in the running of this canteen. If any parents are able to assist in co-ordinating or helping please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . The SOS Committee members are willing to assist with the planning and logistics of the canteen, but we do need some helping hands to assist with serving on the days the matches are being held.
The SOS committee does wonderful work in raising funds to assist with the sporting program at both the Primary and Senior campuses. They meet a couple of times each term, and it would be fabulous to have some Primary parents represented at these meetings. Please contact Mr Murray if you would like to be involved in this committee. The committee is made up of a great bunch of people who would be thrilled to have some Primary families involved.
During the holidays I had the privilege of travelling to the UK to learn about their approach to ‘Oracy’ and intervention programs that can be used to assist with improving oral language development. I am really looking forward to sharing the knowledge I have gained with others and to enhancing the programs we have in place at St John’s. I am also looking forward to this new semester and all the learning that will take place.
If you can’t make it to the Ekka for a show bag, you can get yours from the Tuckshop on Tuesday 14 August for just $6.00. In the Ekka Showbag, students will receive a sausage roll with a choice of sauce, Sour Pop ice-block, Focus Water or plain water and a toy.
Orders can only be placed via Flexischools and the showbag will be delivered to your child’s classroom on Tuesday 14 August. All orders to be placed Wednesday 8 August.
Uniform Shop News and College/House Badges
Primary Reception holds a supply of both the College and House Badges. These sell for $6.00 each and can only be paid for with cash. Remember, if your child’s badge breaks or is faulty it can be returned to either the Primary Reception or the uniform shop for a free replacement.
Uniform Shop Opening Hours
*The Uniform Shop will be open the first Wednesday of each Term.
Pizza Day / Fundraising Event
During the June/July school holidays in 2019, a group of secondary students and staff, will be travelling to Nepal as part of an Antipodean’s Abroad trip. As part of this adventure each group selects, plans and fundraises for a community project. As part of the College’s support of this trip, a Pizza Lunch Fundraiser will be held at the Primary Campus on Monday 20 August 2018. An order form will be sent home with your child shortly. Please complete and return with payment (cash only) to your child’s classroom teacher.
Best wishes for a wonderful Term Three,
Head of Primary