St Joseph’s Primary School - O'Connor
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Boronia Drive
O'Connor ACT 2602

Phone: 02 6248 9818
Fax: 02 6247 1792

Week 2 Term 1 2024 Newsletter

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Week 2 Term 1 2024 Newsletter

    063A7588.jpgDear God,

    We have had time to rest,

    And now we are full of energy.

    We have had time to think,

    And now we are full of ideas.

    We have had time to stop,

    And now it’s time to get going.

    Be with us God we pray.



    Dear parents and carers.

    Welcome to the first Newsletter for 2024! The first week of Term 1 has been very exciting and I hope that all of our new students and staff are now settled. The term will no doubt quickly rush by.

    On Wednesday we had our Opening School Mass and Year 6 Induction. Congratulations to our Year 6 Leaders for 2024. They looked great in their new leadership shirts and proudly received their badges. As part of our Opening School Mass, our new staff were presented with a copy of The Little Brown Book.  This book shares some of St Mary of the Cross’ insightful quotes that offer inspiration for educators within a Josephite school and has become a welcoming tradition in recent years.

    Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The symbolism of the ashes is to remind us that we ‘are dust and to dust we shall return’. What therefore are we to do with this message of returning to dust, especially with our students and children. Lent is a time of good intentions, of giving up something as a show of good faith. We challenge ourselves to be the best person we can but tend to trip up at times. Ash Wednesday and Lent are a time to give these challenges to God, to offer ourselves to His love and tenderness. As we move through this season of Lent, we will share with the children this message of unconditional forgiveness.

    School Community Council

    As parents and carers within the St Joseph's community, you all are members of the new School Community Council. Sent out recently via Compass, was further information regarding the move to this School Community Council model, from the previous School Board and Parents and Friends' (P&F) Association.

    I again ask that you take some time to read the shared information and to consider what role you may be able to take as members of the Council. As part of this, there is also the opportunity to put yourself forward for a role on the Executive Council. 

    Please consider putting yourself forward for a role on the Council. Nominations (a simple email to me will do) are due Monday 12 February.

    The first general School Community Council Meeting is Wednesday 14 February at 7.00pm here at the school.

    Parent / Teacher Meet and Greet + Welcome BBQ

    We are looking forward to seeing all of the families from the ELC and primary school at our first community event this evening. Please take the time to visit your child/ren’s classroom to meet their teacher and to find out a little about the year ahead.

    The welcome BBQ will be available from 6.30pm under the trees. Please ensure your children are with you for the evening to allow everyone to enjoy the gathering.


    Think U Know – Cyber Safety - Parent Presentation

    The school is hosting a ThinkUKnow presentation on Wednesday 28 February at 6.00pm in the Hub.

    All parents and carers are encouraged to attend. ThinkUKnow Australia is a cyber safety education program that educates parents, carers and teachers on how people are using technology, the challenges they may face online, and how to help them overcome these in a safe and ethical way.

    The cyber safety presentations sensitively cover a range of topics including cyber bullying, online child exploitation including sexting, online privacy, and importantly what to do when something goes wrong.

    ThinkUKnow.pngThe presentation will be delivered by a local AFP, law enforcement member and an industry volunteer. The presentation covers issues relating to children and young peoples’ privacy and security online, their relationships with other users and their online reputation. It provides insight into the devices young people are using, as well as the popular websites, apps and social networking sites they’re accessing. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about young people and the online environment, and how you can help them to be safe and responsible users of technology.

    For more information, you can visit the ThinkUKnow website.

    School and Family Counsellor – From Anna our School Counsellor


    Hi Families, my name is Anna Cater and I am pleased to be returning to St Joseph’s as School Counsellor in 2024.  I am a Social Worker, and have spent the last 14 years working with children and families in Canberra in a variety of different community settings and roles.

    In school counselling, I provide short-term client-centred support to children and families, drawing from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Strengths-based, Mindfulness and Trauma-informed approaches, in a developmental context. I provide support for children experiencing things such as anxiety, low mood, difficulties with peer and social relationships, family changes/separation, stress, difficulty with emotional regulation, and grief and loss. I am also a trained facilitator in a range of evidence-based emotion and attachment focused parenting programs, and can provide parent consultations and support.  Where further support is needed beyond the short-term support offered in school counselling, or children/families are experiencing complex challenges, I can support with referrals to appropriate services in the community.

    I am at St Joseph’s on Monday and Tuesday each week during the school term, and can be contacted via email -   If you have any questions or would like further information about school counselling, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me via email, or speak to your child’s classroom teacher for a link to our referral form.     

    Swimming Carnival – Years 2 - 6

    A reminder that the Swimming Carnival for students in Year 2 – 6 is being held Tuesday 13 February at Dickson Aquatic Centre. The carnival will being around 9.30am and conclude by 2.15pm. All parents and carers are welcome come along and cheer on the competitors. We are also keen to have some volunteers – please see the information that was sent out via Compass earlier in the week. Event nominations close 3pm Today to allow time to organise the carnival. 

    ACT School Sport

    Is your child interested in trialling for one of the sports in which ACT School Sport enters a team? Parents must register their child to trial in the first instance and monitor the School Sport ACT website for upcoming trials in a variety of sports. Not all of these dates come through school channels so parents are urged to regularly check the website to avoid missing key events.

    Have a great end to the week.

    Yours in Christ,
    Read Less
    RE News w2t1.png

    Holy Spirit Rocks at St Joseph’s

    Welcome to 2024, the Year of the Holy Spirit, leading us to:

    • Learn from the Holy Spirit;
    • Be in His presence;
    • Create time for Him; and
    • Collaborate with the Him in our community.


    Our focus scripture for 2024 comes from the words of St Paul to the Romans:

    Romans 8:14 - 17

    ‘The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them. The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us children of God.…And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say that we are God’s children. If we are God’s children, then we will receive the blessings God has for us. We will receive these things from God together with Christ.’

    Who is the Holy Spirit?

    The Holy Spirit is a divine Person equal in splendour and worthiness with God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit is often the neglected third member of the Holy Trinity. We can associate the Holy Spirit with flames and flying doves however the mystery of the Holy Spirit can be difficult to understand and comprehend.

    The Holy Spirit is the living breath uniting God the Father and God the Son within each of us. He is the one who opens our hearts and leads us on the right path when we take the time to stop and listen to His direction. The Holy Spirit pours seven gifts out upon us (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord) so that we can share His fruits like joy, peace, patience and kindness with all those we meet.

    The other day I took the time to just sit in my garden and be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. After a while my attention was drawn to the grass area to the side of me, where I noticed three tiny finches silently frolicking around looking for food. I spent some time watching them darting backwards and forwards into the hedge behind me looking for shelter and safety. This encounter led me on the path of researching and planning about other native shrubs we could plant to provide more shelter and food for one of God’s smallest and beautiful creations.

    I encourage each of you to stop and listen and Be in the presence of the Holy Spirit in the days ahead. Be open to being led in a direction you haven’t planned for or thought about..

    Palm Leaves

    Father Thonn has asked for all community members who have palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday to please bring them in to church or place them in the box in the hallway, near the courtyard doors at school by the 12th of February..

    Ash Wednesday Mass

    You are all invited to join us for our Ash Wednesday Mass on the 14th of February at 10am in the St Joseph’s Church.


    Kirstie Buckley

    Religious Education Coordinator

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    Sustainability in Action

    Here at St Joseph’s, we are committed to reducing our waste output through specialised recycling programs. Please see below for an updated list of what we are collecting. Also - help is always needed in bringing collections to Fyshwick (Lids4Kids), OfficeMax (writing tools) and Aldi/ Woolworths  (batteries) if you would like to assist with this process. We would greatly appreciate it!


    We love when our school community contributes to our unusual recycling collection. This year you can bring in your old:



    1. Batteries - We will take them to Aldi for you!
    2. Oral Health Care - Old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss sticks are accepted and sent to Terracycle.
    3. Writing Tools - We can have these recycled through Officeworks’ recycling program
    4. Lids and bread clips - These are donated to Lids4Kids. We ask that you clean and dry your lids before you drop them off. This might include taking the foam insert out as well.
    5. Disposable face masks!

    Please note we are NOT yet collecting bread bags!


    Kitchen Garden Goodness

    4 Green is back in the garden and already getting their hands dirty! We look forward to our first kitchen session where we will enjoy our lovely pumpkins, tomatoes and herb varieties.



    Ryan McGee

    Sustainability Coordinator


    Welcome to the Library for 2024! This year I will be teaching all classes from the ELC to Year 6 in the library and I am excited about sharing my love of literature with all of the students. I have lots of exciting things planned for the library this year and I am looking forward to seeing lots of great reading and borrowing happening!

    As your children may have told you, once we have settled into our library routines, all classes will also begin participating in Digital Technology lessons with me in the Hub. I will send out some more information about this in the next couple of weeks. 

    For now though, a few quick reminders about borrowing. 

    • All students from ELC to Y3 will need to bring a library bag to school on their library day. This can be as simple as a grocery bag. All library bags need to be clearly named. It is still a great idea for students in Years 4 to 6 to bring a bag as it helps to keep their books safe and in one place, but it is not compulsory in those years.
    • Students in F-2 can borrow 2 books each week and 3-6 may borrow 3.
    • Students will not be able to borrow if they have not returned their books from the week before, however if they do forget, the library is open at lunch on Wednesday and Friday and they can have a chance to borrow then.
    • If you do ever have a book that gets accidentally damaged, lost or eaten by a dog (you’d be amazed how often that happens!) please send a note in just to let me know. Whilst not necessary, it is also always greatly appreciated if you can replace the book or make a small donation to cover the cost of replacing. 


    Library days this term are as follows…

    Blue Geckos Wednesday Green Frogs Thursday
    F White Tuesday F Red Wednesday
    1 Teal Thursday 1 Purple Thursday
    2 Magenta Tuesday 2 Yellow  Tuesday
    3 Black Wednesday 3 Navy Wednesday
    4 Green  Tuesday 4 Gold  Tuesday
    5 Blue Thursday 5 Orange  Thursday
    6 Silver  Tuesday 6 Lime  Thursday


    Book Club catalogues came home this week with lots of great books and orders are due by Monday, 19th of February. The easiest way to order Book Club is through the LOOP app or online at This is a great way to support our school as 15% of each order goes back to the Library to purchase new books!


    We DON’T ACCEPT CASH PAYMENTS so please make sure you order online.



    Next week I will also be starting a Chat and Cover session, for anyone who loves to contact books! This is a great way to get to know some of the other parents at school as well as being really helpful in getting all our great new books on the shelves in the library. Depending on interest and availability, the sessions will run from 12 until 1 each Wednesday starting next week, 14/2 in the staffroom. If you are interested in coming along to a session (you don’t need to come every Wednesday) please fill in the form below and I will get back to you with some more details.



    I’m looking forward to a fantastic year in the library with your children.

    Liz Mihalopoulos



    Welcome to our nuevo Spanish program! I am very excited to see students get right into their learning. We have already begun with our greetings, numbers and colours. Be sure to encourage your child to practica, as we know practice makes perfecto!



    Many families have asked about DuoLingo. This excellent app helps make learning a new language a fun family activity. I am hopeful students will use their school login information, so please wait if your child is Year 4-6 and has not yet signed up. This app is great for the whole familia to enjoy!


    I am looking forward to learning and enjoying this new language adventure with our escuela community!



    Ryan McGee

    Spanish Teacher


    My name is Emily McFarland. I am the Defence School Mentor (DSM) at St Joseph’s Primary School. The following information is about how my role as DSM can support your family as well as some background about myself. DSMs are funded by the Department of Defence through the Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS) and employed as a member of the school staff by respective education systems within each State or Territory.


    In my role as DSM I can assist with:

    • Settling in: Transitioning into a new school can be stressful for some children. Understandably, the reasons are often not knowing anyone and having to make new friends or adjusting to a different educational system. I will work on helping your child feel that they are an important member of the school community and develop friendship and support networks as quickly as possible. I can provide information on educational allowances provided by Department of Defence, should your child require extra tuition.

    • Deployed Parent: Family separation affects all members of the family and children’s behaviour can sometimes alter as they try to adapt to the changes in home. Often children enjoy and benefit from being in the ‘Defence Kids Club’. This is a support group held Tuesday at first break for all children who have a parent in the armed forces. We do activities such as journaling, playing board games and craft. This is a completely voluntary arrangement where the children can choose on the day whether they wish to come along. It is highly recommended for you to notify your child’s teacher when a parent is away so your child can be monitored.


    • Posting out: Most children adapt well and see moving as an adventure. Other children need extra encouragement and positive thinking strategies. I work with children who are posting out of Canberra to farewell their current friends and talk through preparing for their new school. We can also gather a portfolio of their school work for their new school.


    I host Defence Kids Club twice a week, one for years F-2 and one for 3-6 where we do different activities each week. The children are welcome to bring a friend. The aim of Defence Kids Club is to provide an opportunity for students to relate to other students and to assist in building resilience and coping skills.


    With regards to my background, I grew up in an Army family. My Dad served for 26 years and he was often away for long periods, because of this I have a strong understanding of what being a Defence kid entails. I also have a strong connection to St Joseph’s school as I am a past student, and my mother was a teacher here for many years.


    If you require assistance or would like to chat, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can call me at the school on 6248 9818 or come and chat any time you see me around the school. My days at school are Thursdays and Fridays. My e-mail address is:


    I look forward to getting to know you and your family.


    Kind regards,




    Name Website Phone

    Defence Community Organisation (DCO)

    Defence Family Helpline

    1800 624 608

    Defence Families of Australia (DFA)

    Official body appointed by the government to represent the views of Defence Families. 1800 100 509

    Duntroon Community Centre

    Supports the development of social networks and common interest groups.

    02 6265 9411

    The Snack Shack

    Hi parents and families,


    Please be aware the Snack Shack will NOT be open this Friday 9th February.

    We need volunteers! If you can spare 1 hour, once a year, on any day, whether that be to just prepare some delicious snacks or help pack lunch orders, please send a email to


    Thank you,


      Uniform Shop News

      Congratulations to the Week 2 award recipients. 

      1 Purple

      Japnoor D

      Maeve G

      1 Teal

      Delilah P

      Kobi P

      2 Magenta

      Antonino R

      Asher F

      Charlie P

      2 Yellow

      Aaron R

      Billy T

      Fleur E

      3 Black

      Jigmee N

      Saxon M

      3 Navy

      Eden N

      Levi N

      4 Gold

      Yuki L

      Ario H

      4 Green

      Indiana M

      Jackson M

      5 Blue

      Liam B

      Emma P

      5 Orange

      Ariadne M

      Olivia T

      6 Lime

      James J

      Scarlett S

      6 Silver

      Natara H

      Taj T


      Jackson M

      Happy birthday to these students who celebrated their birthday this week:


      Mae T
      Aundrei T
      Edmund G
      Jack S
      Kayle K


      Girl Guides w2t1.PNG