St Joseph's Catholic Primary School Wandal Newsletter

22 April 2020

Casting the Net - Weekly Prayer Reflection


There are many great clips on the internet now concerning the pandemic. My favorite funny one is a puppy singing ‘The Pets will Thrive’ (See The most thought provoking is a sketch of a woman from April 2020 returning to give herself advice in January 2020 (See She can’t say anything directly about the future but can give ‘hints’ to her past self to prepare. January woman finds the suggestions so ‘out there’ one can see her just dismiss them. She, and we, didn’t see this coming. Oh yes, we had seen pandemic movies but this is nothing like the movies.

Yet like April 2020 we have adapted. Yes, we are all in this together but each of us has a different story. Most likely, you reading this, have survived and, in some ways, thrived. You may not feel it. I think the deep uncertainty we face clouds us to the growth we have had. Take a little time and imagine the advice you would give to your January 2020 self…there, see how much you have grown.

This is at the heart of the Easter Story. Jesus, in his death, faced the worst that can happen to us humans: death, and he turned it into glorious Resurrected Life. That Life and Power, he offers to us. Every time we turn something bad into good, we are joining in his passion for Life. In the midst of this mess, challenge and uncertainty, we are discovering what and who is important to us. We are being creative, patient and loving. We may directly think or feel that this is particularly ‘religious’ but this is the real thing: we are being swept up into God’s passionate, creative love. As you have already travelled this far, just imagine what God can do through you in the coming months.

Loving God, we have been sideswiped. At times, life is very difficult and others, deeply fulfilling. Give me your wise Spirit to show me how to grow in love, joy, and, oh yes, patience. I ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear me.

Sr Kym Harris osb

From the Principal

Welcome to a very different looking start to Term 2. As you are aware, from the commencement of Term 2 until 22 May 2020, most students will be learning from home. Our school will remain open during these five weeks for children of essential workers where home supervision is not possible and for all vulnerable children in our school community.

The Queensland Government provides the following definitions that may be of help:

• Essential worker as any worker who must continue to attend their workplace for essential business during this time;

• Vulnerable children include children identified by schools or who are currently receiving services from Child Safety, including children who are subject to a child protection order, or are subject to a youth justice order.

Students who attend school during this period will receive support and supervision to participate in the same learning program that is being delivered by their classroom teachers to students who are learning at home. Each Wednesday an E-form will be available in the Skoolbag App for you to indicate your child's expected attendance for the following week. Please ensure you complete this form each and every week; it is essential that we know how many children to expect on site. The E-form will be closed each Friday afternoon at 5pm.This will occur for at least the first 5 weeks of this term.

Students will actively learn from home to access explicit instruction, learning materials and feedback provided by their teacher. I know that teachers have sent very explicit details and instructions about at-home learning, so I will not repeat those here. I know that it is challenging for some of you to be assisting your children to learn from home during this time, especially if you are also working from home. Please do not hesitate to reach out, we are only too happy to assist you.

I am very grateful to all school staff, especially classroom teachers, for their efforts over the past few weeks.  I am thankful to work with such a capable group of educators, who have basically had to readjust every aspect of their professional duties including planning, preparation and delivery of curriculum in a very short amount of time. At the moment, due to the limited number of children attending school, teachers are being released from class supervision for parts of the day to work with students working from home, and their families. We have been very pleased with how the transaction has gone so far, although there are a few little kinks which we will endeavour to sort by the week’s end. We would be grateful for any feedback you wish to share or photos of your children learning at home.

If you haven’t already, please view the message from Bishop Michael  We are very appreciative of our Bishop’s prayerful support as we commence this term.

I  thank Carmel Nash, Executive Director of Catholic School Parents Queensland, for her informative and supportive letter which will be distributed today, along with this newsletter. Please take the time to read Carmel’s message to all parents.

In closing, thank you for your ongoing support of the school staff. Please  do not hesitate to get in contact should have any queries, suggestions  or concerns.

Online Privacy for our Students and Staff - An Important Disclaimer

Seesaw and Google Classroom provide opportunities for a shared digital platform where teachers can provide explicit instruction, set tasks, receive completed tasks from students, and design feedback for ongoing learning. On many occasions this may involve images or videos of teachers, and while we only share student images where media consents have been obtained, we increasingly have parents who don’t want their child appearing in Social Media. Therefore, parents are requested not to repost images from Seesaw or Google Classroom onto social media or share via the internet. This includes images of student work, images and videos of teaching and images of other students.

School Fee Concessions

In the letter sent to all families last week from our Director, you would have read that in response to financial difficulty that families in our schools may be facing as a result of impacts of COVID 19, Catholic Education has fast tracked some changes to school fees for Term 2. In brief, the automatic concession applied to Concession Card holders has been increased from 70% to 100% of tuition fees and the categories have been extended to include the recent COVID 19 categories announced by the Government. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are experiencing financial difficulties and would like some assistance with regards to your school fees.

Library Books

Several library books were loaned to students at the end of last term. I would like to offer students working from home the opportunity to return the books they have and borrow new ones. A box will be placed in the office for books to be returned. These will be sanitized before being placed back on our library shelves. If we can have some notice (24 hours would be great), the librarian will choose some books for your child, appropriate for their age and interests, and have these new selections waiting at the office. We can offer contactless pickup if you like, admin staff are happy to deliver the books to you in your car.

Dont forget there are many, many online books available via SORA. Please refer to Miss McLennan's section in this newsletter for further details. 

Talking with Children about COVID-19

You may be looking for resources to assist with explaining the changes that are taking place. The Queensland Government has prepared a fact sheet to help parents talk about the coronavirus with their children:

In addition, this UNICEF site might be helpful. An easy-to-read picture book to explain COVID-19 is available for younger readers, as is one for older readers:

Winter Uniform

The weather will soon begin to cool and a reminder about our winter uniform expectations may be timely.

· The winter uniform consists of the SJW logo jacket (available from Wearitto) and plain navy tracksuit pants.

· Girls may wear navy blue tights.

· Long sleeved shirts under uniform shirts are not permitted.

· Jumpers and pants with stripes, brands and logos etc. are not permitted.

· ‘Hoodies’ are not permitted.

· Once again, a reminder that all students are to wear plain black leather shoes or plain black joggers. Canvas style shoes are not school uniform and should not be purchased.

Please refer to the school website for further details.


Thank you to our hard working facilities and cleaning staff who continue to work over the recent school holiday break. The school was a hive of activity over Easter, with fresh paint livening up the undercover area and the exterior of the Prep classrooms. We are very excited to have solar panels installed now on a number of buildings in the school. Thankfully, the new solar panels all survived the hail storm on Sunday, although a few of the shade sails in the quadrangle are looking worse for wear and will need to be repaired/replaced.

School Counselling - Reminder

Over the past few weeks, we have experienced significant changes to our daily life including how we interact with others, and most recently, the decision to have most children learning from home.   These changes to routine can be unsettling for kids and parents alike, and we may grieve our old freedoms. As a school community, your child will continue to have regular contact with their teacher and classmates, through online classrooms, zoom meetings and the like. 


I would like to offer counselling support to any of our students, parents and families during this time, acknowledging that this time has brought new and different stresses – learning from home, parents working from home, loss of employment or reduced hours, financial difficulties, reduced social contact with family and friends, reduced outside activities, increased anxiety with the unknown, and just being together 24/7 can be stressful in itself!


With face2face contact discouraged at this time, counselling may be in the form of email contact, telephone support, or zoom meetings with parents and kids.  Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time, and please contact if there is any assistance I can offer at this time. 


Kindest regards

Charmian Deed

Student Counsellor


Tuckshop will continue to be available, as normal on Wednesdays and Fridays this term, for students who are attending school.

P and F and School Board Meetings

P and F and School Board Meetings will continue as planned this term. These will be held via Zoom (email invites to be sent closer to the time) on the following dates/times:

  • P and F Meeting (all parents welcome to join in)  Thursday 30 April 5.30pm via Zoom

  • School Board Meeting Thursday 7 May 5pm via Zoom

Friday Assembly - please Zoom in!

Our whole school Friday Assembly and messages will be delivered via Zoom. We encourage all students working from both home and school (and their parents) to Zoom in on Friday at 8.40am. Student Awards will be announced during the Zoom. I look forward to seeing you all online. The link for the Zoom will be emailed to all parents tomorrow. 

Have a great week,

Kellie Jenkinson

From the Assistant to the Principal: Religious Education (APRE)

eSafety Commission Webinars for Parents

The eSafety Commission have developed numerous webinars for parents and carers which are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks.  I would encourage parents to view these worthwhile webinars as learning for the beginning of Term 2 moves online.

 Topics include:

• Helping kids thrive online - Suitable for parents and carers of young people aged 5-12 years old.

• Tech, teens and time online - Suitable for parents and carers of young people aged 12- 18 years old.

• Keeping safe and healthy online - Suitable for children aged 7-12 years.

• Keeping your sanity and supporting your kids online - Suitable for parents and carers.

• My house, my rules - Suitable for parents/carers and their children. 

 The webinars can be accessed from  

 If you do not currently subscribe to the eSafety Commissioner newsletter, you can subscribe by clicking on 

Student Wellbeing

Wellbeing relates to the whole person and the interconnectedness of the physical, cognitive, cultural, spiritual, social/emotional and psychological dimensions within the person. During these unprecedented times as we approach learning through a different model, the continued focus on wellbeing is of paramount importance.

A challenge to take up: Bucket Filling

The concept of bucket filling is to use actions and words to make someone feel good about themselves, to enhance resilience and inspire them to achieve internal happiness. Our bucket represents how we are feeling at a given time: how happy we are, how connected with others we are and that different interactions and events throughout the day can 'add' or 'dip' from our buckets. Kind interactions, a smile, or laugh, an accomplishment, feeling loved, all add to one's bucket.

Please email photos to of your bucket.  You may wish to write notes or draw an image as a reminder of how your bucket was filled for the day.

Some useful mindful and meditation online videos to try include:

Bring it Down - Way to reduce stressful energy

Rainbow Breath - Way to raise the energy ready for learning

Mindful Moments - Soundcloud 

ANZAC Day - Light up the Dawn

When times are tough, Australians have always relied on the distinctive qualities of mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance to get us through. Known as the ANZAC Spirit, these five qualities have defined Australians ever since the first troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War I.   

This year, you are invited to stand in your driveway, on your balcony or in your living room to remember all those who have served and sacrificed. You may wish to acknowledge this observance with a minute's silence, use of candles or a homemade craft like our Year 6 student Ahliah has created, to light up the dawn.  

Here is a link that families can access to register for the driveway ANZAC service:

Have a great week,

Rheanna Starr

From the Assistant to the Principal: Curriculum (APC)

Learning From Home


Thank you to those students who are learning from home.  We have seen some of the awesome work you have done already!

Thanks to the parents and caregivers who have helped to implement all of the quality learning activities the teachers have prepared.

Thanks to the support staff who are answering phonecalls, helping to supervise students and generally being awesome!

Thanks also to the teachers who have changed everything so quickly.  Thank you for spending the last week of Term One and part of your holidays coming up with amazing, creative and engaging learning resources.  This is my 30th year of teaching and I have never seen such a big change happen so quickly or with such a generous and supportive spirit.

I wanted to reassure students learning at home and at school (as well as their families) that it is okay to stop and take a breath.  This is new and very different.  Some days your child will 'fly' through things and everything will go swimmingly.  Some days - it won't!  That happens in the classroom too!  Some things we thought would take an hour take under ten minutes, and something we thought we could hurry though before lunch might last for the rest of the day.  We all need to be flexible, and do what we can do.

Finally, I wanted to remind you of two things:

  1. Your child's teacher is best placed to answer questions about learning materials.
  2. Never underestimate the usefulness of 'googling' tech problems.  There are very few new technology issues - someone will have had it before and probably has posted the answer online.  If not, refer to point one!

A Parent's Guide to Google Classroom

The students at St Joseph's Wandal have access to the SORA online library.  The link above shows how to access the site.  

Details of how to navigate the site can be found here.



This year it is going to be impossible to honour ANZAC Day as we traditionally do.  Mrs Starr has shared with you all information about the 'Light up the Dark' initiative.

I wanted to add another couple of suggestions.  The first one is to make a rosemary wreath to hang in your house.  If you have rosemary growing at home, the instructions for the wreath are here -

According to the RSL's website, rosemary - long associated with remembrance - has ANZAC significance because it was growing on the slopes of the Gallipoli Peninsula and tradition says that a wounded Digger brought home a small rosemary bush from ANZAC Cove which was then planted in a hospital in South Australian.  Cuttings from this bush were then sent to nurseries throughout Australia.  Rosemary is now worn as a reminder of those who served.

ANZAC Biscuits

This is another tradition around ANZAC Day.  Here is  avideo showing you how to make these tasty treats

Many of you might have a family recipe.  We still use the one out of the CWA cookbook!  But how did this become an ANZAC tradition?  The origins of the biscuit might be Scottish, and these biscuits were around long before World War I.  During the war, people baked the biscuits to raise funds and became known as 'soldier's biscuits' or 'Red Cross' biscuits.  They were also sent in care packages to those serving  overseas.

Have a great week,

Janette McLennan

Letter to parents and caregivers

Letter to parents and caregivers from Catholic School Parents Queensland.

April Vacation Care

We would like to thank parents of our community for their support throughout our April Vacation Care Break. The children who attended OSHC over the holiday break had a variety of activities each day to choose from. Some of the favourites were the jewellery and kite making days where the children had the opportunity to plan, prepare and show their creativity.

A couple of notices:

· We have made some changes over the holiday break to our drop off and collections procedures.

Please text OSHC staff upon arrival at the service for us to meet you at our designated meeting point to sign your children in/out as when you phone, we may be in the middle of activities and conversations with the children. Our meeting point is located on Rundle Street in the two-bay, concrete car park outside the tuckshop. Please avoid parking in this space where possible to ensure the safety of children and parents. Please feel free to continue to phone us for any urgent matters or any matter that may require a conversation.

· Regarding current OSHC fee arrangements, the government is currently covering the cost of childcare. Please refer to correspondence emailed out to all families on the 16th of April. If you are unable to locate this document, please contact the OSHC team and we are more than happy to send another copy through to you and/or answer any questions you may have.

· If you have permanent OSHC bookings and your children have not been attending the service regularly, or at all during this time, you will have absences being attached to your account. This is nothing to worry about as the government has increased the number of allowable absences on your account and any current absences will not impact your future allowable absences in any way. However, if you do have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

· If your children are not attending the service on any booked attendance day, please continue to notify OSHC staff via either text or email (0429 316 543 or to ensure we can prepare our morning and afternoon programs for the appropriate number of children in attendance. This is also to limit the amount of time spent by staff looking for children throughout the school and contacting parents for confirmation of absenteeism.

We thank you all for being so understanding and accommodating with these sudden changes and for the continual support from families.


April Vacation Care