Welcome back to Term 3. Despite the number of broken limbs I have noticed in classrooms, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. How quickly things can change?? We finished Term 2 with grand plans for Term 3 and unfortunately due to the emerging COVID situation a lot of the restrictions and guidelines from the Department of Education have forced us to postpone or cancel our plans.
Whilst I appreciate the plans for exiting the school are not great, I also realise that they are in place to keep us all safe and well. We want school to be open, we want to teach our students face to face. We are prepared should we move into remote learning, but if we all follow the guidelines, hopefully we can remain open.
It is with a great deal of consideration, talking and disappointment that I announce that the schools’ biennial performance has been postponed until 2022. I have not made this decision lightly and there are a number of reasons I feel this is the right decision. The staff and students put a lot of work into the performance, from ideas and scripting, hours of practice, designing and sourcing costumes. It is a whole school effort. We value the creative arts, the skill set and opportunity that performing on stage gives the students. With all of this mind, it would have been devastating to cancel it closer to the performance date. It would be upsetting to postpone until next term and find that we are in the same position. Currently singing and chanting are banned activities unless they are outside, which then makes practice and performance difficult. If the current guidelines are still in place, we would not be ready for an end of term performance. We would have to follow a strict COVID plan for seating arrangements, which would in turn restrict audience numbers. In order to make this fair for families we would have had to increase the number of night performances. I am conscious of the effort my staff put in during school hours and the increased hours they put in when we do two night performances, as was planned. To increase the number of performances at night would not be fair to the staff or their families. I have made the decision, as I said with a great deal of deliberation and discussions with staff members and decided the best way forward is to plan for our Stockton Public School performance to be in 2022. We will be bigger, better and brighter next year.
Current guidelines from the Department of Education have led us to the following changes in activities and events –
- Our Spelling Bee and Public Speaking finals will happen in school over the next couple of weeks. However, we will not be able to have parents/carers as audience members.
- Backflips against bullying incursion has been postponed until later in the term.
- Great Aussie Bush camp – currently overnight excursions are cancelled under Department of Education guidelines. I will make a decision by the end of this week, considering all information, as to whether this excursion, planned for August 23 – 25 (Term 3 Week 7) for Year 4 students will go ahead. Please look out for communication at the end of this week.
- Book Week, Week 7 – we are still planning on Book Character Dress up day. More information to come.
- Student led conferences which are planned for Week 5 – these are usually face to face, however this term they will be via zoom or a phone call. More information to come.
We will keep you informed via our communication channels – Skoolbag, Stockton PS Facebook page and Seesaw, as we know more.
On a brighter note, thank you to the team of staff who organised our NAIDOC celebrations “Heal Country 2021” at the end of last term. They were FABULOUS!! Unfortunately, St Peter’s could not join us for indigenous games, funnily enough due to weather not COVID. We got on with our games opening ceremony and all without them. A great day! I think the highlight was Wednesday of Week 10. I spoke on the day of one of my goals, since starting at Stockton Public School two and a half years ago, was to have a Welcome to Country from a local elder. Wednesday 23 June – ACHIEVED! Uncle John Ridgeway welcomed us to Worimi land including his very own song. Uncle John is the grandfather of one of our Year 1 students, Ava Wendy, and I was just so proud to see Ava Wendy, her grandfather, her grandmother, her mum and dad and brother all under our COLA. It really was a wonderful experience – one I will not forget.
Uncle John, we thank you for joining us at school. Thank you for sharing your very own song with us all about Worimi land. We look forward to seeing more of you, not just at NAIDOC celebrations but when our doors are open. Once we can have visitors again, we would love for you to join us for a cuppa and a yarn – another chance to connect.
Equally as amazing was Christine Anu’s performance. Her voice, her song, both in English and language, her stories and her engagement with the students made for such a special performance for all. She taught us a new song and sit down dance. “With sit down dances, you usually sit on the spot in babuk (crossed legged). You do the movements with your upper body, your hands, your fingers, your head” https://bangarra-knowledgeground.com.au/productions/turtle/cultural-consultant-peggy-misi-discusses-the-importance-of-sit-down-dances-in-torres-strait-island-culture
Everyone left the performance buzzing! We were very fortunate to have Christine perform in our school and we are grateful she could make the time for us.
Our choir were exceptional with their version of “Our Island Home” and our boys playing didgeridoo beside Uncle John was brilliant. It was a fabulous celebration and recognition of culture.
Christine Anu recorded some songs for the Department of Education during NAIDOC this year. Here is the link if you are interested in watching and listening.
Ms Jodie Holt