Community News – 13 February 2020

Welcome 

What a terrific start to the 2020 school year we have had. It was wonderful to welcome our new students and staff to St Francis Xavier College. Our Year 7 students have embraced life at the Berwick and Officer Campuses and are settling in well. We look forward to assisting each student to grow and flourish in our faith-based learning community. Students who have commenced classes in Years 8 to 12 are also engaged with their programs and developing Positive Learning Partnerships with their teachers.

 

Partnerships

Parents/Guardians often ask what they can do to assist their children with their learning at secondary school. Firstly, we anticipate that each student attends classes every day unless they are ill. Arriving promptly each morning with the correct uniform, homework completed, and a positive attitude will assist your son/daughter to make the most progress.

We thank you for all that you have done to provide for your child so that they can achieve great things. Learning outcomes are enhanced by parents and staff working together. When all stakeholders share common goals, the journey is a wonderful experience.

Last year we updated the College’s Positive Learning Partnership document to include guidelines for parents. I am sure that you will find the document below and the Parenting Ideas article useful.

Parent Focus Groups

We invite parents to work together with staff to assist students to have a productive, fruitful and enjoyable experience at St Francis Xavier College.

The Parent Focus Group offers an opportunity for parents to gather and share a parent perspective regarding school matters such as Catholic Identity, Wellbeing, Pathways and Connectedness to the College. The group will work to:

  • Assist families to understand the College’s vision, mission and curriculum objectives;
  • Assist students to succeed at school;
  • Ensure students develop skills to operate efficiently in our constantly changing society;
  • Enhance the health and wellbeing of students.

 

We know that home/school partnerships provide the opportunity to develop a shared understanding of learning and the needs of adolescents. It is our intention to help parents support their children during their secondary schooling knowing that one of the most influential factors in creating success for students is you.

The Parent Focus Group will meet for the first time this year on 25 February from 6.30pm to 7.30pm in the Hospitality Centre at the Beaconsfield Campus. This year the College is working towards developing a new strategic plan. As part of our consultation process we are seeking feedback on a range of topics: Teaching and Learning, Catholic Identity and Wellbeing in order to develop a self-reflection report

Parents appointed to the Parent Focus Group would be expected to:

  • Support the Catholic ethos of St Francis Xavier College;
  • Listen the opinions of others with respect, courtesy and fairness;
  • Be willing to engage in positive relationships;
  • Have the capacity to work as a team;
  • Commit to attend scheduled meetings;
  • Advocate for the College.

 

If you are keen to join the Parent Focus Group, please email Jennie Laukart (jlaukart@sfx.vic.edu.au)

We look forward to working collaboratively with you as the Hands and Heart of God.

 

 

Creating a Personal Learning Centre for your child

by Michael Grose

 

Schools work hard to reinforce in students that learning doesn’t end at the school gate. In fact, the notion of continuous learning is one of the greatest gifts a child can receive as it sets them on the road to a lifetime of learning and self-improvement.

A practical way parents can develop a continuous learning mindset in their child is by establishing a Personal Learning Centre at home, and it’s easier than you might think.

 

Location carries memory

If you’ve ever established a dedicated children’s play space in your home then you’ll know how powerful location can be for shaping attitudes and behaviour. Your children will have learned to associate play with those designated areas – as location consistently carries memory of use. The same principle applies when you establish a personal learning centre – your child will associate learning with that designated space, which is reinforced every time they spend time there.

 
It’s more than a workspace

At the moment, your children may use a desk or kitchen table that doubles as a workspace for homework, projects or completing other formal school tasks. This workspace probably doesn’t necessarily promote deep or pleasurable learning. It enables kids to get their schoolwork done.

A Personal Learning Centre is part library, part research centre, part entertainment area and part creative space. It’s a place that a child chooses to retreat to for fun and informal learning, a place to find answers to those quirky questions such as “why do my fingers go wrinkly in the bath?”, a place to go to read more about their favourite band/hobby/sport; a place where learning, curiosity and comfort come together. More importantly, a Personal Learning Centre helps promote the concept of lifelong learning to children, which is a wonderful mindset to develop.

 

Features of a Personal Learning Centre

A Personal Learning Centre can be established anywhere in a house or apartment, including in a child’s bedroom or any quiet space. It can have some or all of the following features:

  • Comfortable place for reading – bean bag, couch or chair
  • A bookshelf with a variety of fiction and non-fiction books
  • A digital screen (portable or fixed) for research
  • Materials for writing, recording and note taking
  • Digital device equipped with age-appropriate apps and programs that enable learning, research and content creation
  • A place for a water bottle or jug of water
  • Table or desk and suitable lighting
 
 
What’s in a name?

A quick glance at the list above may have you thinking that a Personal Learning Centre is basically a desk with a few fancy gadgets attached. On one level this is correct however there are three advantages a Personal Learning Centre has over a simple work space or desk.

First, the name says it all. A Personal Learning Centre is a place children can go to learn, not necessarily to work. In the past educators have managed to make learning seem very unattractive for kids by using terms such as ‘homework’, ‘work tasks’, ‘projects’ to describe the learning they are to undertake at home. Some rephrasing is desperately needed if we are to engage kids to see themselves as continuous learners and not continuous workers.

Second, the nature of a Personal Learning Centre implies that it’s something to build upon rather than a finite entity. You can start a Personal Learning Centre very simply by establishing a bookshelf and some comfortable chairs, and build from there.

Third, a Personal Learning Centre is a concept that your child can take into adulthood that’s easily adapted to suit any situation. When I travel, my Personal Learning Centre consists of a phone, a book and any comfortable couch or chair I can find. It’s the idea rather than the furniture and physical setting where the learning magic lays.

 

Getting started is easy

Start by setting up your own Personal Learning Centre. If you think this is a strange idea then there’s no point introducing it to kids. It just won’t wash, as your heart won’t be in it. Set aside a space for your own learning – a chair in another room with a few books, a space to go to read the newspaper; or a quiet place to look up recipes on YouTube. Start small and gradually build from there. If you feel comfortable so far congratulate yourself for taking concrete steps down a lifelong learner path.

The next step is introduce the idea to your child. This shouldn’t be a difficult idea to sell, particularly if you provide some new writing implements and perhaps a comfortable chair or beanbag for their new Personal Learning Centre.

Timing makes a big difference to how ideas are received so going back to school is the ideal time to present this new idea to your kids as they tend to be more open to change at this time. Also, for kids going back to school,  a Personal Learning Centre maybe a whole lot cooler than returning to the same old work desk for the first assignment for the year.

 

 

 

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