Handy tips ahead of school year
19 Jan 2024
Tim Vane-Tempest with some of last year's kindergarten students.
With 2024 now well underway, the countdown is officially on for the school year to begin. Though for many it's just the same old stuff, the transition for those going to new schools for the first time can be a little bit trickier.
Tim Vane-Tempest, Principal at St Nicholas of Myra Primary School, said that he's expecting to have another full class of 30 kindergarten students starting in 2024. As per usual, he's expecting an array of emotions from parents upon walking through the gates on day one.
"For more experienced parents it's not so bad, because you've got a sense of the school and the community and the teachers and what their values are, but for new parents there's certainly an anxiety around handing over your child, especially those children with additional needs - they're always on very high alert looking for any signs that things aren't going well," he said.
His biggest piece of advice to parents is to build a relationship between home and school.
"I think that they should engage with their child's teacher as often as they can, they need to connect with the school and be involved in school activities as early as they possibly can and as much as they possibly can, and not be afraid to ask questions. If they've got a question, it's important to them, and it needs to be answered," he said.
In the time leading up to the big first day, Vane-Tempest recommends preparing your child as best as possible, and making sure they know what's happening, and where they're going.
"Parents should be taking their children past their new school as they're getting close towards the end of the holidays, talk to them regularly about them going to school, show them their uniform, get them to wear their uniform, and wear their new shoes in if they're getting leather shoes, as that can sometimes cause an issue with blisters," he said.
"If you know some other children who are going, it can also be good to make contact, get some playdates, and form some friendships with parents and with children."
Though the first day is always hard, Vane-Tempest says to trust the teachers.
"If they're having trouble leaving you, give them a kiss, tell them you love them, and leave straight away, because teachers are used to handling these things, and five minutes after the parent is gone, they tend to settle and find their feet," he said.
Charlie Thomas (Vice Captain), Ben Norris (Captain), Peta Sparkes (Principal), Imelda Wright (Captain) and Montana La Rosa (Vice Captain)
On the other end of the spectrum, transitioning into Year 7 from primary school can be just as difficult, according to Penola Catholic College Principal Peta Sparks, though of course there are many exciting aspects for students.
"They've been big fish, and now they're little fish," she said.
"I think they would be super excited to now be coming into different subjects. The kids are often very excited to get into a science lab, to get into a TAS workshop, and to be out in the ag farm."
For kids who will be meeting an abundance of new people at high school, Sparkes said it's most important to be kind.
"The start of relationships are exciting and fun and full of energy, but you're still trying to work out who's who around the place, and I think if you're kind to everybody, then that shows you to be at your best." she said.
For parents, Sparkes noted how important it is to be present - despite how 'embarrassing' it might be.
"Even though their child might say to them, 'Don't come into the school, or 'Don't come to that night', I would absolutely say, keep coming," she said.
"The kids are trying to fit in, and they're worried about what the other kids will see, but if the parents just keep coming, that continually shows their love."
27 Feb 2024
⭐SMASHED LIVE 2024 - ALCOHOL EDUCATION⭐ On Wednesday, our Year 9 and 10 students experienced an impactful presentation from Gibber Educational called 'Smashed.' This life-changing education program addresses underage drinking through positive thinking. When young people encounter tough choices, ‘Smashed’ aims to empower our students to make good decisions. Our students were highly engaged and found the presentation incredibly insightful. Thank you to Gibber Educational. Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
23 Feb 2024
🏊SWIMMING CARNIVAL🏊 Last week, we hosted our Penola Swimming Carnival at Ripples Penrith. Despite the temperamental weather, our students had a wonderful time and truly embraced the school spirit. A special thank you to Mr Elston for coordinating the event and our teachers for their hard work in making this day possible. Lastly, we express our gratitude to our enthusiastic students. We had the best turnout ever, and it was fantastic to see our students and their amazing efforts in the pool. Thank you Ripples Penrith for having us! Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
23 Feb 2024
School leaders from across Penrith and the South West have shared their hopes for 2024, from vying for class dux to aspiring heart surgeons and talented athletes. Meet the new year’s young legends.
23 Feb 2024
⭐PARENT/CARER HUB⭐ WEDNESDAY 6 MARCH 2023 9:00am to 10:00am AND 6:00pm to 7:00pm Book tickets through compass: https://compasstix.com/e/p5haphp7dr Ticket bookings close Tuesday 5 March 11:00am.
22 Feb 2024
🚌BUS SAFETY WEEK🚌 This week is Bus Safety week. Bus Safety Week raises awareness among all road users on how to stay safe on and around buses, helping to reduce injuries and fatalities.
21 Feb 2024
⭐BETHANY CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL VISIT ⭐ On Monday of this week, our Principal Mrs Sparkes and Assistant Principal Mr Borg accompanied by our Vice Captain Montana L and SRC Year 8 representative Anjelica V, to visit Bethany Catholic Primary School and let their students know about our Open Night on Monday 11 March 2024 4pm to 7pm. These visits to Catholic Feeder primary schools provide Year 5 and 6 students with the opportunity to learn about Penola Catholic College and the learning opportunities we provide. The students were captivated and thoroughly enjoyed asking Montana and Anjelica questions about their experiences as Penola Catholic College students. Thank you to Mr Rosato and all of the Year 5 and 6 students and staff for a wonderful visit. We look forward to our visits to other local Catholic primary schools in the upcoming weeks. Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese Bethany Catholic Primary School, Glenmore Park
19 Feb 2024
📚 LIBRARY ACTIVITIES 📚 During break 2 last Friday, our library hosted the weekly activity 'Giant Games and Board Games.' It was delightful to observe numerous students actively participating together and thoroughly enjoying the experience. 🎲♟️ Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
16 Feb 2024
📷 PHOTO DAY 📷 Last Friday was our photo day, and it proved to be a resounding success. We extend our gratitude to our students and staff for their cooperation in ensuring the day ran smoothly. Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
16 Feb 2024
⭐ BIG FISH LITTLE FISH ⭐ Last week our Year 7’s attended a workshop run by Human Connections titled ‘Big Fish Little Fish’. The Big Fish into Little Fish presentation focuses on easing Year 7’s transition into high school, building rapport among the year group and enhancing self-esteem and resilience. Our Year 7 Students participated in activities to help minimise fears and maximise their collective hopes and dreams. Together they worked to develop empowering self-identity beliefs, which will lay the foundation for our students to continue to grow in the areas of resilience and self-worth. In addition to this they were able to discover ways to engage with new friends and develop the cohesion among the year group. Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese Human Connections - Student Wellbeing Sessions
16 Feb 2024
🌟 ASH WEDNESDAY 🌟 Wednesday was Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a time where Christians all over the world spend time renewing their faith in Christ through increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving. To commemorate the penitential nature of this season, Christians traditionally place ashes on the heads of those undertaking the fast as a sign of their mortality and their sorrow for their sins. This symbol is most ancient, mentioned, along with sackcloth, throughout the Old Testament. Penola hosted a liturgy for each stage, where students were invited to receive their Ashes. Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
16 Feb 2024
🥞 SHROVE TUESDAY 🥞 On Tuesday in celebration of Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding Ash Wednesday and the commencement of Lent, our students enjoyed pancakes, the proceeds of which contributed to supporting Caritas Australia. We extend our gratitude to all our students and their families for their support. The pancakes were a big hit! 🥞 Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese Caritas Australia
15 Feb 2024
🏊♀️SWIMMING CARNIVAL🏊♀️ Our Year 12's final Swimming Carnival, so we captured a few moments in their 'Aussie Icons' costumes before they set off this morning. Stay tuned for more photos covering the entire carnival... Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese
15 Feb 2024
💝VALENTINES DAY💝 In celebration of Valentine’s Day yesterday and Library Lovers Month, our library has curated captivating displays and organised a reading activity titled ‘Blind Date with a Book.’ This initiative serves as a delightful way to promote a love for reading among our students. This month, our library is also offering a book matching service and inviting students and staff to answer the question ‘why do you love the library?’. Happy reading! 📚 Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese