Dear Parents and Carers,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the School Community Council for all their work this year. Margaret Deerain, Fr Josh Scott, Fr Bernie Patterson, Lee Kormany, Moira Clancy, Brooke Curtin, Daniel Johnston, Michael Castrission, Nicole Mikkonen and Pam Sixsmith have shown such dedication to our community and our students. Each member is a strong advocate for continuous improvement in student learning and in the community engagement at STM.
I would also like to thank all the parent volunteers throughout 2018. Without your assistance, we could not function as we do. We are blessed at St Thomas More’s with a most generous parent community. Helpers have assisted with classroom reading and writing, covering library books, cooking BBQs, handing out pizza, cleaning up after morning teas, sporting carnivals and so on! Thank you for your generosity and continued support.
Christmas Nativity Story
We will assemble in Holy Faith Hall on Friday at 12.00pm, for our annual presentation of the Nativity Story, led by our Kindergarten students. All families are warmly invited to join with the school community for this special event. Following the Nativity, the students will have their hamburger lunch.
The Home Reading Program will finish up this week to allow our Learning Support Assistants to complete a stocktake and prepare for 2019. I encourage all families to maintain a reading regime during the holidays.
End of Year Mass
Our final Mass will be held on Wednesday, December 19, at 9.30am. Everyone is very welcome to join us.
Next Wednesday afternoon, the students will have their “Step-Up Afternoon”. It will start after lunch once children have packed their bags. Children will spend the afternoon with their new teacher and classmates for 2019. This will benefit many students, but particularly our students who become anxious about change.
Semester 2 reports will go home today, December 12. Optional Parent/Teacher Interviews will be held on Tuesday, December 18. Bookings can be made online by clicking on the following link:
A Parent Booking guide is also attached :
Heroes of Faith
Be Centred in Faith
Welcome to Week 9.
The year is almost over and there seems to be many things to do before Christmas arrives, yet not enough time to complete the ‘to do’ list.
The lead up to Christmas can become quite frantic and we can lose sight of the true meaning of this special season. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ into our homes. If we allow ourselves to be caught up with material things, then we often cannot appreciate what we already have ~ family.
I thought I would share this special reading, a parallel story to 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13 – A Christmas Version
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I am just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing
gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I am just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love does not envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way. Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.
May you all enjoy a truly blessed Christmas with your loved ones and safe travels.
Thank you for your continued support in my Religious Education and classroom teacher roles at St Thomas More’s School. I look forward to working with you all next year. I wish all departing families an exciting 2019 in their new location.
Religious Education Coordinator
I have truly loved journeying with the children throughout this year.
Best wishes to families who are relocating. Moving can be a time of mixed emotions for everyone in the family: sadness for leaving good friends, apprehension about what lies ahead, but also excitement for the new opportunities coming up. It is good for children to understand it is natural to have a range of feelings. Communication is so important: talking through the process and encouraging questions and expressions of feelings can help mental preparation of what is to come and reduce anxiety. Thank you for your participation and contribution to the St Thomas More’s community. All the best for a safe and happy trip and settling into your new homes, schools and workplaces.
To one and all, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and safe and happy holidays. Extra special wishes to the families who have a deployed parent.
Please be advised Defence Community Organisation have renamed the Defence School Transition Aide Program to Defence School Mentor (DSM) Program. As of 2019, the position title at St Thomas More’s Primary will be known as Defence School Mentor (DSM).
Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Canberra E-News December 2018/January 2019 Highlights
Assistance for Defence Families to find Childcare
An individual case management service for childcare placement is available to support ADF families when they move to a new area or change their work or care arrangements, such as when a serving member returns from maternity leave. Specialist early learning staff from Mission Australia negotiate with all local registered childcare providers, including family day care and before and after school care, to ensure childcare is tailored to individual family circumstances.
The service provides parents with options to allow them to decide which childcare service best suits their family. It is available to all Defence families across Australia. The placement assistance service is free. Normal childcare fees will apply for any options selected by families. Call the all‐hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or email email@example.com or contact Mission Australia on 1800 757 343 and press 1, then 2 following the auto prompts.
Duntroon Community Centre (DCC)
DCC Playschool is currently accepting enrolments for their 2019 Playschool program which runs 3 hours a day, Monday to Friday during the ACT school term. Visit https://www.duntrooncommunitycentre.org.au/playschool or call 6265 9411 for further information.
DCC will be holding an Open Day for families on Saturday 19 January 2019, 10am-2pm. You and your family are invited to explore the centre, meet new people and find out about services available.
Kookaburra Kids is for Defence kids, aged 8-18years, of serving and ex-serving ADF members. The program targets children who have a parent with a mental illness as a result of military service and offers support to them through the provision of camps and activity days. Referrals can be made at https://kookaburrakids.org.au/how-you-can-help/refer-a-child/ . Once the child has been referred, they will start receiving invites to upcoming events. To find out more call 6109 0408 and ask to speak with Nick.
What Christmas at the Carillion
When Sunday 16 December 6-7.30pm (can arrive from 5pm)
Where: Carillon at Aspen Island
Info Pack your picnic and join in the free family-friendly Christmas Carillon concert. Amazing carillonists and the Canberra Harmony Chorus will be performing including sing-a-longs to Christmas favourites. Free face painting, balloon animals, fairy floss & popcorn. A sausage sizzle, ice cream truck and coffee will also be available to purchase on the day.
What 74th Annual Canberra Carols by Candlelight
When Wednesday 19 December, 7-9.30pm
Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
Info Woden Valley Youth Choir accompanied by Canberra City Band, with special guest artists. MC will be popular local identity, Ian McLean. Food and drink will be available at the event, or bring a picnic and enjoy it on the lawns.
Save the Date
What Welcome to Canberra event
When Saturday, 9 February 2019
DCO Canberra E-news is promulgated monthly via email. It includes handy information such as upcoming events, contact details for social groups and links to DCO resources. If you wish to be on the E-News mail out list, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively, ‘like’ the DCO Facebook Page to receive information and updates.
Feel welcome to visit or contact me on 6249 8869 or send an email to email@example.com .
Sonja Mingay DSTA
Work hours: Mon-Wed 9am-3pm, Thu 9-11am
Christmas Hampers for St Vincent de Paul
Thank you very much for your generosity in donations towards the Mini Vinnies Christmas Hampers. The hampers will be presented to Kym Duggan and Andrew Phelan, delegates of St Vincent de Paul for our parish, after the Kinder Nativity this Friday, 8 December.
Mini Vinnies Social Justice Workshop
Our Mini Vinnies Social Justice Workshop was held on Thursday 6 December.
Eva Davidson reports:
On Social Juctice Day we learnt about homelessness. Mrs Mingay created a series of different points, all on homelessness for us to learn about. They included games, a video conference, and activities.
One of the games I enjoyed and learnt from the most was when Mrs Mingay named a job and a time frame, for example polishing shoes and a week. If you had done that chore in the time frame, you got chocolate. If you hadn't, you got no chocolate.
The intention of this game was to show you how it felt to be at the bottom or top of society. If you had lots of chocolate, you were 'at the top'. If you had no or little chocolate, you were 'at the bottom'. What I found interesting was that only one person said 'I will only take a few, because I don't want to be greedy'.
Overall, I think everyone had a good time and learnt a lot.
The focus of the workshop was Homelessness to align with the Social Justice Statement 2018, titled: ‘A Place to Call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land’, released by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council on 30 September this year http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/files/SJSandresources/2018/050918/Social%20Justice%20Statement%202018%20WEB.pdf ).
The latest figures for Homelessness are sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics Census taken in 2016. It revealed that on Census night 116,427 people were homeless in Australia. 7% of the total were ‘rough sleepers’, those who sleep on the streets, in parks, under bridges etc. 42% of the total were under 25 years of age. There are various reasons for homelessness: broken marriages and domestic violence, financial difficulties (unemployment for example resulting from illness/accident/redundancy, increase in rent for accommodation, increase in bank interest rates, migrants unable to access assistance, elderly people effected by increase in cost of living), short supply of affordable housing for those on low incomes, disabilities, drug/alcohol/mental health issues.
What can we do?
Educate – be aware of the situation. Read good information sources. Help dispel the stereotype of a ‘homeless person’ being dirty, begging and in that situation due to poor life choices. An informative website is https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/fact-sheets
Respect – treat people who are experiencing homelessness with respect and courtesy.
Donate - donate money, toys, clothing or food to organisations who assist people who are experiencing homelessness
Volunteer – volunteer your time, skills or expertise to organisations who support people experiencing homelessness. A list of organisations in Canberra can be found at: https://www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au/Australian_Capital_Territory/Canberra/Accommodation_Services/Specialist_Homelessness_Services
Holiday Happenings is an excellent resource for activities for children during the school holidays. There is a great Colouring-In Competition in the middle spread with Family Passes to be won to tour the National Carillion, see the giant bell and meet a carillionist. Entries must be in by 16 January 2019. Access online at https://www.holidayhappenings.com.au/online-booklet
Thank you to everyone for all your support and contributions throughout the year. It has been a real pleasure to work for and be part of the St Thomas More’s community. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and New Year and safe and happy holidays.
Feel welcome to visit or contact me on 6249 8869 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Work hours: Thu 11am-3pm, Fri 9am-3pm
We are coming to the end of another action-packed year at St Thomas More’s. On behalf of the STM School Council, I want to thank everyone for helping make the school such a great community. This includes a special thank you to the staff and to the parents, carers and other volunteers who contribute in different ways to support the School.
I also wanted to provide a wrap-up of the work of the STM Council for the year. The STM School Council is made up of staff, parents and the parish priests meeting formally 8 times a year to support the work of the School and our community. Some of the key action areas during 2018 included:
- A welcome BBQ/picnic evening event on 18 March 2018.
- A “cuppa at the gate” to introduce parent Council members to other parents (as they dropped their children off for the day).
- Overseeing the parental contact network which is one of ways we build a strong community, and which is very effective in ensuring each class takes responsibility for supporting a community event during the year (eg Mother’s Day breakfast, Father’s Day breakfast, Annual Dance Concert BBQ) and other social activities organised by classes.
- Contributing to the costs of installing a new large sandpit in the playground which has been a great addition to the School.
- together with teachers organising a art and wine evening in Term 4 to showcase the artwork of the students during the year.
- The School Council supported several pizza lunch Fridays throughout the year which is popular with students and has been a good fundraising activity.
We are looking for some more parent reps in 2019 so if you feel you might like to nominate, please do! If you are interested, please let Julie Wiley know.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas season. I look forward to seeing continuing families next year and for those families leaving the school this year, I wish you and your children all the very best for the future.
Chair, STM Council
The St Thomas More's Choir will be singing at 'Carols at the Cathedral' on Thursday 13 December at 7.30pm. Please invite your family and friends to attend. Entry is free, but there will be a collection taken up to help pay the costs of the professional brass musicians.