Welcome to all!
Welcome back to OLSCC for another amazing year! It has been an exciting first few days getting to know all the new students, hear everyone’s news, and see how much taller than me some of the students have become over the holidays! I have had the pleasure of visiting all the classes on Wednesday and seeing great teaching and learning happening, as well as some wonderful pastoral care. I would especially like to welcome all of our new Prep students, new students in other year levels, all their families, and our new teachers and other staff to OLSCC. I know you will love it here as much as I do and will soon feel a part of our tight-knit community. Whilst there are always a few tears on day 1, it was great to see our Captains and Prefects supporting the new Prep students (and Mums and Dads) as they made the transition to school during a time with Covid restrictions. Well done to all involved in making this time both special and successful for the start of schooling for our youngest students.
For everyone not new to the College, it was great to see your wonderful start back for the year and I am very proud with how you have started and how you have supported the new people to our College.
All the best for an amazing 2021!
2020 Year 12 Success
Last year, many of our Year 12 cohort were pleasantly surprised with the excellent results they were awarded as the first students in a whole new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) system. Despite the challenges of being in the class of “firsts”, we are very pleased with results of the Year 12 cohort, including:
- Dux ATAR of 96.75 – Congratulations Charlotte Crothers!
- 2 students over 95.00
- 22% of ATAR ranks over 90.00
- 50% of ATAR ranks over 80.00
- 40% of students obtained VET qualifications
- Excellent university offers
- Excellent transition to employment and further training
These results speak for themselves, though there are some aspects of the outcomes that we are especially proud of. Our university offer success has been excellent over the summer while the holidays have taken place. Almost all students were offered and have accepted their first offer, some are engaging in alternate placements such as the QANTAS Pilot Academy, and despite many employers making contacts regarding possible future employment, all of our 2020 graduates seem to have found their feet or are well on their way to doing so. One was at the College laying carpet on the holidays before he headed off to study Aviation at Griffith, another was beautifying our town by working with council in his time before starting Physiotherapy at QUT, another was trialling as a cabinet maker at the Sunshine Coast, another was well underway with his apprenticeship and another began fulltime working in agriculture in his dream job.
Though our greatest achievement was the actual people that left our grounds in late November last year. At OLSCC, we don’t just educate the students in our care – we grow great people – all day, every day. And that’s what makes our graduates the type of people that go on to support the community they live in and in turn, grow other great people. On 19 December, when QCE and ATARs were shared with students, it was wonderful to sit down and have morning tea with the class of 2020 and enjoy a laugh whilst celebrating success. For them – it wasn’t coming back to the institution where they were educated, it was coming back to share their success at their home away from home before moving onto new endeavours.
Agribusiness Pathways Program
This leads us to our Agribusiness Pathways program which begins this year at OLSCC with the introduction of the Cert II in Production Horticulture through our Year 10 Agriculture elective. You may have noticed the paddock undergoing preparation on the corner of Russell and Cooper Streets. This is where our Year 10’s will complete their Cert II practical component throughout this year and begin establishing the Agribusiness Pathways Program. This is not a program in agriculture, but a variety of learning across the College based on meeting the employment needs of agribusiness across the nation. It’s about raising professionals in agribusiness and business in general, it’s about valuing science and agriculture as interdependent faculties, and it’s about determining the needs of our local industry and developing the future leaders to suit. We are currently working on developing an Agribusiness Pathways Committee which can guide our direction and provide insight and support to enable the program to run effectively and sustainably. We will be hosting an information evening later in the term where further details of the program and how it will be rolled out over coming years. If you are interested in working with the College to raise the profile and capability of Agribusiness in our community, please contact Matt Hodge or myself.
It is bound to be exciting times ahead for our students as we further refine how we support the right pathways for them, particularly those who can utilise the learnings from the Agribusiness Pathways Program to slingshot themselves into careers that are in great demand locally and internationally, now and in the future. We also continue the focus that it is their pathway, not the College’s, that is our focus. We will continue to have students achieving ATARs from the 40’s to the 90’s. We won’t make students change pathways to impact our percentages and data, we will support them to study the appropriate course to get them where they need to go. Some strive to achieve their QCE, Cert II, Cert III, Apprenticeship or entry into med school. Whatever the goal, that is the pathway that OLSCC will support your child on.
It was absolutely wonderful in our staff professional development week for us to take some time and work through exactly what our graduates of 2020 are up this year and the success they have achieved throughout their Journey in faith and knowledge.
Welcome back to 2021 Academic School Year. The potential of 2021 is before us and so we pray that we will embrace all that this year offers us as a College Community.
We give you praise, O God, for everything that is new and beautiful, for everything which holds promise and brings us joy.
Bless us as we start this new year with our friends and teachers Help us to make the most of every chance we have to start afresh.
May we show love to one another and to all.
May the new beginning of this school year remind us that you give us chances to start over again and again. Help us to forgive others as we receive your forgiveness.
Help us to learn and to work together. Help us to listen when we should and to know the best words when we speak and when it is better not to speak.
We thank you for our friends Help us to be good friends this year. Help us to be patient with ourselves and with others.
Bless our school and keep us safe. Be with us as we travel each day.
Help us to be aware of your love shown to us in the people around us.
Bless all those who care for us in school and at home. Help us show our care for them and to say sorry when we need to.
May the Blessed Mother Mary protect us And help us to live as well as we can Giving thanks and glory to God as she did. Amen
Arrival at school
We encourage students to arrive at the College from 8:30am each morning. Before this time there is no direct supervision of students. Any students who do arrive at the College before this time must go directly to the seating outside the MPC with all of their belongings (e.g. bags and laptops). No students are to be at lockers or classrooms before 8:30am. At 8:30am staff supervision of common areas at the College begins with students allowed to access the Senior Plaza, nearby handball courts and Basketball Courts. After 8:30am students may also access verandahs to drop off bags and may enter classrooms only if their teacher is present. The school day begins at 8:50am, please ensure your child/ren are dropped off at school with enough time to prepare for class and ready to begin their lessons at this time.
Back to School – implications of COVID in 2021
Whilst the occurrences of COVID-19 in Queensland have been limited in the past few months very few of the guidelines and restrictions placed on us as an education service have changed from 2020. We must still maintain high levels of cleaning and hygiene (a positive), physical distancing between adults, reduced number of adults based on square metre rules in indoor locations, and not encourage congregation. As such last week we released three detailed documents via SZApp and on our website about our guidelines in relation to this. Please ensure you have familiarised yourself with these and support our College by adhering to these so we can focus on the teaching and learning in our classrooms. These three documents can be found under the ‘Back to School’ section of our website. I understand the frustration this causes many parents who feel they are missing out on milestones and opportunities to be involved in College Life. We miss the freedoms of pre-COVID-19 too but we aim to do the best we can for our families
and in particular our students as we travel this road together.
Week 2 Events
On Tuesday 9 February teachers from Prep – Year 8 will open their classrooms from 5:00-6:00pm to meet families and allow students time to show off their class spaces. This will be a great opportunity to come along and say hi to your class teacher and other parents and families who are also in attendance. There is no formal program for this time rather it is an informal opportunity for a class visit. Feel free to move about the College during this time frame. At this time Senior Years will run an information session in the Chapel with SY teachers based around feedback from parents about this important phase of student’s learning. This session will begin at 5:15pm and will run for approx. 30 minutes. One member from each family needs to sign in at our QR sign in points on arrival for our records. These sign in points will be at entrances to the College.
Deputy Principal Religious Education
It was an amazingly smooth start for all students across the Early Years on Wednesday. Our planned transition program from 2020 has been successful in eliminating many of the unknowns for our students. This, coupled with the terrific preparation by our parents, has enabled our students to begin learning immediately. Thankyou for your support in guiding your children through this process, particularly as we continue to navigate changed circumstances for drop off and pickup arrangements. Your respect for farewelling children on verandas and not entering the classroom was greatly appreciated.
The Journey Bell rang loudly many times on Wednesday as we welcomed many new students in their journey of faith and knowledge. Every year level in the Early Years has an influx of new friends and our existing students have been exemplary guides to assist with settling them in.
Whilst uniform standard was high throughout the Early Years, there are a small number of instances that need clarifying:
- Earrings may only be sleepers or plain studs (no coloured earrings)
- Sport socks must be ankle high (ie above the ankle bone – not sockettes or anklets)
Your prompt attention to these matters will avoid difficult conversations.
Lastly, please remember that teachers are available for you to contact for any queries you have regarding your child or any classroom matters and should always be your first point of contact. Whilst friends and acquaintances from your child’s class or across the College may have advice for you, the best person for any clarification is always the teacher. This way, you can always be assured of getting the right information, first time, every time, from the source!
Assistant Principal Early Years
In Week 3, the Early Years Choir will begin rehearsals for Years 2, 3 and 4 students. A note containing all of the information will be sent home with interested students on Tuesday 2 February. This year, the choir will rehearse in the morning before school at 8:20am in the PAC. These students will be given a pass so that they can move through the school prior to 8:30am. Any students wishing to join who catch the bus, can move to the PAC as soon as they arrive. This year we are hopeful that COVID restrictions will allow Eisteddfod and lots of other performing opportunities! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email Michelle.Garside@twb.catholic.edu.au
Welcome to the 2021 Academic school year. It was great to see students back on site this week. There were plenty of smiles and laughter as they caught up with their friends and discussing the holidays and their recent adventures. I hope that all students have enjoyed their first week back this year and are settling into their classes.
The Journey Bell
The tradition of ringing the Journey Bell may still feel new to some. All new students get the opportunity to ring the bell to symbolise the beginning of their learning journey. The Middle Years was blessed to witness the bell being rung many times on Wednesday as we welcomed new students to Year 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Below are some reminders for students and parents:
Uniform and Grooming Expectations
In an effort to avoid any misunderstanding moving forward, I encourage all parents to read the uniform section of your child’s diary (page 22) Particular attention should be given to Personal Appearance (p22), Jewellery (p23) and Shoes (p24/25). Students who continue to not follow our expectations, by not complying with our grooming and uniform expectations, may be sent home. Students must provide legitimate written documentation from their parents/guardians as to why they are not meeting the College’s expectations.
Hair: Sometimes students have alternative hair styles or colouring during holiday periods. It is necessary for parents to ensure that students have a hair style acceptable to the school. Any student who contravenes rules regarding haircuts – colours or styles will be sent home and asked to remain at home until the problem is rectified.
I ask you to support the staff and the College by ensuring that, when your son/daughter leaves homes, he/she is meeting the standards stipulated.
Staying in Touch
The best way for us to stay in touch with you is email. We send many announcements, invitations, and our fortnightly newsletter electronically. From time to time, teachers contact parents directly, using emails to keep parents informed of any student related issued.
Also, if we have your mobile number, we can contact you regarding student absences and can update you quickly in case of emergency.
The Change to a New School
Change is never easy - not for anyone. The change to a new school constitutes a major change for students. To minimise the effect of this change we have implemented an effective transition program that includes Up Day and specialised sessions on Day 1. While most students cope well with the transition, some will find the move to a new school to be the most difficult aspect of their schooling experience. The move to a new school is almost always accompanied by some stress and concern. Parents may find it takes some time for their son/daughter to settle. Students need time to adjust to the different culture at Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, a new and different peer group, learning new forms of school organisation and having several new teachers – each perhaps having a different learning style. If parents find that their son/daughter is not settling at the College, then please contact the relevant classroom teacher for advice and assistance.
The College recognises that there may be genuine need for some students to have their mobile phone at school (for example, for safety before and after school hours). Students can, should they choose, to leave their phone at my office at the start of the day and collect it at the end of the day. The College takes no responsibility for mobile phones that are not handed in to the College Office. Students who use their mobile phone during school hours without explicit permission from a staff member will have their mobile phone confiscated. Further sanctions may also be implemented.
Students are also strongly advised to avoid bringing expensive items such as iPods, MP3 players and alike to school. The school takes no responsibility if any such items are misplaced, lost or stolen. Students who bring them to school do so at their own risk.
OLSCC employs a College Counsellor who is available for students (individually or in groups) and for family counselling. Appointments are confidential. Students’ rights to confidentiality will be respected, however, there are legal and ethical requirements for counsellors to breach confidentiality when a student is being neglected, abused, or harmed (including self-harm), or when there is current domestic violence or danger to someone’s life, health or wellbeing. In these exceptional circumstances the College Counsellor is required to report the matter to the Principal (or his delegate) who is required to notify the appropriate authorities which may or may not include parents depending on the circumstances.
Change of Contact Details
Please contact the College office if your contact details, including email addresses, and work telephone numbers change throughout the year. As many announcements use these details, it is vital they are constantly up to date.
Classroom teachers have a number of strategies available to them to ensure effective learning takes place. OLSCC implements the 10 Essential Skills to Classroom Management framework to help establish good classroom routines and avoid potential conflict within the classroom.
Opportunities in 2021
Our students can look forward to many exciting learning opportunities and experiences in 2021. Many of these will be off-site this year, pending the state of Covid restrictions continuing to ease throughout the year. Our first opportunity is the Words Out West festival on 12 March, and we look forward to the Middle Years camps running again this year.
I wish every student the best success this year. If any parents have Middle Years specific questions, please do not hesitate in contacting me via email@example.com
Assistant Principal Middle Years
Welcome back to a new school year and, in particular, a warm welcome to our new families and those students entering Year 9 as they become part of the Senior Years community. We look forward to supporting our students this year as they develop greater independence and self-reliance in their education.
We also welcome a number of new teachers to the Senior Years team. In upcoming newsletters, we will profile our new teachers as an introduction to the College community. I have been heartened by the positive feedback received of the lessons and support that they are providing in the classroom. I am very much excited of the quality teaching and learning that will occur across the Senior Years this year.
Uniform & Grooming
Senior Years students have made a commendable start to the new year, ensuring that their commitment to our dress standards have been adhered to. I thank all parents for your assistance in having your child is presents in such a manner.
The College always receives delightful feedback from visitors and community members on how respectfully our students uphold the appearance of their uniform.
Though most students have returned to school complying to our agreed College rules, there are only a few that may need to address some concerns. We would expect our students to have all uniform and grooming expectations correct from the commencement of School, however, next Monday 1 February will be the date that any concerns should have been addressed, particularly those students who require conformity to the College’s explicit hair requirements. Our Senior Years staff, as do our students, enjoy the fact that if all rules are adhered to, it allows for even more time to build positive relationships with all stakeholders and holistic progress, rather than the regulating of consequences.
So that we can have your support at home to ensure our students understand are meeting expectations, the College rules are printed in Student Diaries. I encourage all parents to read through these rules and expectations with their child.
Certificate II in Production Horticulture
Next week we have 15 students starting their TAFE course as part of our Agribusiness Pathways Program. This is an exciting development for the College. I am sure you will join me with keen interest to see what these students will achieve in their new paddock space at the back of the College. Broccoli for days I have been told!!
Communication and Pastoral Concerns
Throughout the year, parents are encouraged to communicate with their child’s subject teachers as an initial point of contact for any pastoral or academic matters. For further matters, please contact me through the College Office or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
I certainly look forward to working with the Senior Years students, staff and parents in 2021. I wish all our students a fulfilling and successful year.
Assistant Principal Senior Years
Do you love music and drama?
Have you ever wanted to be a musician or performing artist?
Here is your opportunity!
Our Lady of the Southern Cross College Instrumental Music and Performing Arts Program kicks off in Week 2 with tuition places available for strings, brass, woodwind and percussion. We also have exciting opportunities to develop stage skills through Performing Arts tuition places and limited places left in our Vocal Training program. We have highly qualified teachers to nurture and guide your musical and performance learning journey. Students from Year 3 right through to Year 12, can begin or continue learning to play a classical instrument, guided, inspired and challenged by passionate music tutors.
Our strings program starts this year with violin and plans to extend into viola and cello as interest and commitment develop. We look forward to developing student talent toward performance standard and intend to nurture a quality orchestral ensemble where talent can flourish and be showcased. Music and performance are a gift to the whole community and powerful skills for life.
Students are encouraged to bring their own instrument where possible, and the College has a growing instrumental hire scheme to get our new musicians started!
Expression of interest forms for the Instrumental Music and Performing Arts Program are available at the College Office.
We look forward to welcoming new and existing students to the program for 2021!
Have you ever wondered what sort of university degrees are available in the Science field. There is so much on offer and a million opportunities to consider. Check out the Periodic Timetable of Science Careers for some ideas.
Inter House Swimming Carnivals
The Under 9 Under 12 (Born 2012 – 2009) Swimming Carnival will be held next Thursday morning 4 February and at the Dalby Aquatic Centre. Under the Covid safe plan in place at the venue, no parents or spectators will be in attendance. Students will travel on the College Coach leaving at 8.50am. Students will be back at school before the recess lunch break. No tuckshop is to be ordered for first lunch at 11.30am. The canteen at the pool can be accessed on the day. Swim shirts are optional for all races. Students will be watching and marshalled from the grandstand so they will be in the shade most of the morning. Students may wear their house colours on the day. All students who are swimming in the 100m Freestyle event need to be ready for a 8.45am start. It will be best if these students get dropped off at the pool and do not catch the bus.
The Under 13 - Under 18 (Born 2008 – 2003) Swimming Carnival will be held next Friday 5 February and at the Dalby Aquatic Centre. Under the Covid safe plan in place at the venue no parents or spectators will be in attendance. Students will travel on the College Coach leaving at 8.50am. Students will be back at school by 3.00pm. Swim shirts are optional for all races. Students may wear their house colours on the day.
Primary Catholic Schools Swimming Carnival
The Catholic Schools Swimming Carnival will be held on Wednesday 10 February at the Glennie Aquatic Centre in Toowoomba from 9.00am – 2.00pm. This is for students in Years 3-6 only. Students will be notified shortly after the school carnival if they have been selected to attend. The College Coach will transport students to this event. Under the Covid safe plan in place at the venue no parents or spectators will be in attendance.
Bunya District Swimming Trials
The Bunya District Under 9-12 Years Swimming Trials will be held on Tuesday 23 February at the Dalby Aquatic Centre. Students who meet qualifying times to attend this carnival will be notified after our school carnival.
Season 1 of the Dalby Touch Football Competition starts on Monday 10 February for the Open Mixed Team (Stingers) and Wednesday 12 February for the Under 15 Girls Team (Vipers). Students interested in playing in these teams at the SWQ and QLD All Schools Carnivals (new venue Gold Coast in 2021) need to sign on via the Sports Notice Board and are invited to play in the first two rounds of the Dalby Touch Competition. If required trials maybe held to finalise teams after these two rounds. The draw for the games will appear on the Dalby Touch Football Facebook page. Any queries please see Mr Lincoln.
2021 Confraternity Shield Rugby League and Netball
The 2021 QISSRL and QISSN Carnivals will be held in Brisbane in the first week of the June/ July holidays. The Rugby League Carnival is open to any boys turning 16 or older in 2021. The Netball Carnival in open to any girls in Years 9-12 in 2021. Morning training for both teams recommenced this week at 7.00am (Rugby League – Thursday, Netball – Friday). Final team selections will be announced later in the term.
Inner Downs Cluster 1 Sports Trials
- These trials will be held on Friday 5 February in Dalby
- Sports involved will be U15 Boys and U15 Girls Touch Football, Open Boys and Open Girls Touch Football, Open Boys and Open Girls Tennis, Open Boys Cricket.
- Inner Downs Teams will be selected to attend the Darling Downs Trials on 9 February for Cricket and 16 February for Touch Football and Tennis
- Students interested in attending need to sign on via the Sports Notice Board.
- No parents or spectators are able to attend these trials under the Covid guidelines in place
Darling Downs Cluster 1 Trials
- Students will nominate directly to Darling Downs Trials in Open Girls and Boys Softball and Water Polo and Boys and Girls Under 15 and Open Volleyball.
- Students interested in attending need to sign on via the Sports Notice Board.
Middle Leader Sport
The start of a new school year brings with it the excitement of meeting new staff and this year we have welcomed new teachers and school officers to our community. Last week was a busy week with many inductions and we were pleased to be able to meet and get to know our new staff before all the students arrived back on Wednesday.
In the Senior School we welcomed Ms Glistening Deepwater, Miss Harriet Nicholson, Miss Tamara Creeley, Mr Wayne Dunbrack and Mr Brad Grayson while in the Middle Years we welcomed Mr Daniel Cross and Miss Lucy Price. Mrs Jo Cuskelly has taken up the role of Library Assistant while Mrs Courtney Geiger, Mrs Ros Boland and Mrs Yolande Brand will join the School Officer team working across many year levels.
This week we will be introducing our Arts and Culture team as well as Mr Wayne Dunbrack who is the Middle Leader of Senior Years and in the weeks to come we will introduce our other new staff members.
Mr Dunbrack comes to us with a wealth of experience in Maths and Science and is really keen to motivate the students to achieve their best in these subjects. In his last role, Mr Dunbrack was the Senior Years Curriculum Leader at St Mary's School in Kingaroy and specialised in Physics and Maths but he has a real passion for the Senior Sciences. Originally from Canada, Mr Dunbrack moved to Australia in 1970 and first lived in Western Australia. He then taught in a prison school in NSW before moving to Cairns and has been a Queenslander now for 23 years. He spent 10 years as the Head of the Science Department at Corinda State High School in Brisbane and is now really pleased to be working at our College and living in Dalby. In his spare time, Mr Dunbrack likes to play chess and has played in some overseas online chess competitions. He also likes to take long walks and has completed hikes of 200km to 600km. So far, Mr Dunbrack thinks Dalby is a lovely town, he says our College has brilliant staff and great students and he is looking forward to spending the next few years here.
Miss Tamara Creeley is the Drama and HASS teacher and she is hoping to inspire a passion in her students in both of these subject areas. Miss Creeley graduated from the University of Queensland last year and is excitied to be in her first teaching position. When asked what she thinks of Dalby, she said, "I love the people. The community has been very welcoming and the staff and students at OLSCC have been the absolute best." In her spare time, Miss Creeley enjoys sewing and making her own clothes.
Ms Glistening Deepwater is the Visual Art teacher and Middle Leader of Culture and she is looking forward to inspiring our up and coming artists to be bountiful in their creativity and to really enjoy their art-making. Ms Deepwater has lived in and around Cairns for the past 27 years and her last teaching job was at Mount Garnet State School where she taught a multi-age upper primary class. She had Art in every subject area with them! Ms Deepwater is a Bachelor of Creative Industries and Master of Teaching and Learning and earned both these degrees at James Cook University. When asked about her hobbies, Ms Deepwater says she loves to make things from the fleece of wooly animals. She can spin, weave, knit and crochet when time permits and also loves to keep exotic aquarium fish and aquatic plants. She also loves gardening, reading and dancing. When asked about her first few weeks in Dalby, Ms Deepwater said, "I love how friendly and helpful everyone is here in Dalby, and I love the big big sky!"
Miss Harriet Nicholson is the Music teacher and she would love students to just love learning about and listening to music! Miss Nicholsoin went to the Conservatorium of Music and has a Bachelor of Music. She then went on to do her Masters of Secondary Teaching all while she did private violin and viola tutoring. We are really fortunate as Miss Nicholson LOVES playing netball! She plays semi-professionally in the Queensland Sapphire and Ruby Series and in the last 6 years, she has been a part of the Wildcats team, but now will play for the Panthers. So far, Miss Nicholson says everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. "It feels like I’ve lived here for years! The staff are always there to check in and see what I need help with or just for a chat, and the students are so respectful," she said. "The only negative is that Dalby does not have a Kmart… yet!"
As Mrs Chalmers has retired from her role as Tuckshop Convenor at the end of last year, we are currently looking at a restructure of the way we run our College canteen. The time for change is now, and to make our Tuckshop viable we need to encourage parent input into how our Tuckshop is run and in turn, we need to rely on parent volunteers for daily food service and preparation.
In order to make this work, we will need daily volunteers as Mrs Crump will still be required to do all the behind the counter work with ordering and management of the Tuckshop. She will need parents every day to help so some suggestions on how we can set up a roster throughout the year will also be welcome. We will also be looking at new and exciting menu options and this is where your input will be valued.
If you would like to have some input into what the Tuckshop will look like in 2021, now is your chance. If you would like to be involved, please email Dalby@twb.catholic.edu.au to register your interest.
We will commence the year with our first P & F Meeting at the College on Tuesday, 2 February starting at 6pm. We will then be hosting the P & F BBQ straight after the open Classrooms evening which commences at 5pm on Tuesday, 9 February. We look forward to representing the parents at the College and we always welcome anyone to come along to our meetings.
Returning to school or starting school can be a very worrisome time for children and parents alike – and that’s perfectly natural, as we often have concerns of the unknown. Sometimes our child’s transition to school starts off well, but after a few weeks the “glitter and glamour” of starting school can begin to wear off, and before we know it, parents are stuck with the pleading and coercing from their child to let them stay home. It’s not unusual for children to feel a little anxious about going back to school. It usually starts on a Monday morning in the lead up to going to school or may even start the night before.
Children can complain of having a stomach-ache or headache and can be teary. Anxiety can affect the body and will often present itself as physical symptoms in our children. Although it is normal to have worries, it is essential that you encourage your child to attend school. Avoidance only increases fear and makes it more difficult to attend school in the long-term. Here are some strategies to deal with back to school worries:
- Keep a predictable routine and ensure your child is sleeping and eating well. Use an alarm clock to make sure your child wakes up on time.
- Be organised to reduce any rush in the morning – plan school lunches, pack school bag the night before, lay out school clothes.
- Make a regular time to talk with your child. Encourage your child to problem solve through any fears they have and develop and rehearse a plan.
- Teach and practice coping skills to use when they are nervous – deep breathing, positive self-talk (e.g. ‘You’ve got this’).
- Tell your child when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. Sneaking out without saying goodbye can make things worse. Your child might feel confused or upset when he realises you’re not around and might be harder to settle the next time you leave him.
- Settle your child in an enjoyable activity before you leave.
- Say goodbye to your child briefly – don’t drag it out.
- Keep a relaxed and happy look on your face when you’re leaving. If you seem worried or sad, your child might think the place isn’t safe and can get upset too.
- Sometimes children can be attached predominantly to one parent, if this is the case have the other parent drop your child to school. Alternatively, have them go with a friend / Nan and Pop etc.
- If the behaviour continues, connect with your child’s teacher and request additional support to help your child settle at school.
Things to look out for that may indicate that further support is needed:
- The anxiety interferes with your child’s life, and therefore with your life.
- Your child has more severe anxiety than other children the same age.
- Your child’s anxiety has gone on for at least four weeks.
For more information:
Separation anxiety in children (Raisingchildren.net.au)
Joanne Garfi– Overcoming School Refusal: A practical guide for teachers, counsellors, caseworkers and parents
Ronald Rapee – Helping Your Anxious Child Second Edition: A Step-by-step Guide for Parents