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 2020 Newsletter

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Week 2 Term 1 2020 Newsletter

Dear Parents, Carers and the St Joseph’s Community,

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through our second week of the 2020 school year. It has been a fantastic start to the year, and it is wonderful to see the fruition of many ideas, planning and consultation from last year being implemented across the school.

Sand Pit Fun!

As the saying goes, it never rains it pours and I am so happy that in this case, it is not only the weather but also with regards to building works that are happening around the school. Yesterday we were thrilled to see fences erected and sandstone and logs delivered as we start construction of our sandpits, the first step in our Nature Playground. Did you know that sand is an excellent tool that offers children not only hours of fun but has many educational benefits as well? Children can benefit from playing with sand by developing a range of skills such as:

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Hand and eye coordination
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Sensory development of the sense of touch
  • Socialisation – a sandpit is a great gathering place that encourages children to communicate, work together, share, be creative and witness other children being creative
  • Language development – playing with sand is a social activity
  • Overcoming challenges – problem-solving

School Rules

Last year, I worked with the Kids Committee and a teacher working party to develop new school rules that align with our Seeds of Growth. Working with the students allowed us (the teachers) to understand what is important to students and how we can ensure they feel safe and equipped to be the best ‘Joey’ possible. I feel it is important to note that the ‘words’ used in the new school rules come directly from the students and that the teachers simply put them into ‘sentences’ to enable them to be accessible to all students:

Seed of Creating

A Joey is excited by exploring, experiencing and experimenting.

Seed of Learning

A Joey inquires, takes risks and perseveres.

Seed of Collaborating

A Joey is inclusive, shares and cooperates.

Seed of Being

A Joey makes safe choices, listens and is respectful.

Social and Emotional Learning

This year I will be going into each class once a fortnight to implement strategies that I recently learnt at a 4-day professional development course on the Berry Street Education Model. The Berry Street Education Model utilises wellbeing strategies that enable students’ academic and personal growth. Each fortnight I will share with you the focus for the week in the hope that you may like to discuss the ideas and strategies with your children in the home setting.

This week and in the coming week my focus is on teaching the students the importance of being Present, Centred and Grounded (ready to learn).

  • This is a form of physical mindfulness
  • We can become centred by drawing all our available energy and conscious awareness into the present moment by grounding ourselves at the core of our body 
  • Everything happens in the present – we need to stop worrying about the past and the future and focus on the present
  • We cannot always alter our external circumstances but by giving our mind something to focus on in the present time we can calm our emotions and find a focus
  • This strategy requires a conscious effort to be mindful of how we feel and think and to let go of our judgments, rationalisation and denial

Our aim is that by establishing a classroom and schoolwide expectation that students are Present, Centred and Grounded we will help generate more confidence, less emotional reactivity, better relationships, improved concentration and engagement in our students.

You might also like to ask your children to share with you some of the Brain Breaks they have been doing in the classroom!

Parent Information Night

We look forward to seeing many of you at our Parent Information Night tomorrow evening. The night will commence with open classrooms from 5:30 pm, followed by a whole school information session in the hall at 6:00 pm and concluding with a social gathering from 6:30 pm. We will be offering supervision for school-age children from 6:00 to 6:30 pm. In the event of wet weather, we ask that children are not brought to the evening as we will not be able to offer care.   

I hope you have an enjoyable end to the week.

Yours in Christ,

 Amy Doszpot

Assistant Principal

Farewell for our community

Sunday 23 February will mark a significant end to such a vital part of our history here at St Joseph’s, O’Connor. After many years of service to the parish, Sr Julie will be farewelled as she takes on a new role in Sydney, supporting those in need. Not only is Sr Julie leaving St Joseph’s Parish, but her departure also ends over 60 years of history, guidance, direction and faithful service to St Joseph’s School by the Sisters of St Joseph. In looking back through prior publications, from the 1981 Silver Jubilee booklet for the school, the beginnings of the Josephite’s history here in O’Connor are described here;

At mid-day on 21 January, 1956, five sisters arrived by train from Goulburn, to be met by the Very Rev. Fr S. O’Donnell, Parish Priest of Braddon, and Rev. Fr P. Bateman, who would later become Assistant Priest at St Joseph’s O’Connor… The sisters took up residence in their first convent, at 61 Boronia Drive, now the presbytery… Across the road, the new Church-School was almost completed: pupils had a long summer vacation that year and classes began for 175 children from Kindergarten to 3rd Grade on 12 February, 1956.

The Sisters of St Joseph have had a continuing presence in O’Connor and Lyneham, and in particular in our parish and our school, since that day in January, 1956. On behalf of all within our wider St Joseph’s community, I thank Sr Julie, and all the Sisters of St Joseph who have been a faithful presence over the years.

A morning tea will be held following Sunday Mass, 9am 23 February, to farewell Sr Julie. 


Sr Julie, third from right.


Religious Life of St Joseph’s

Over the past few weeks our staff have had a number of opportunities to spend time growing together in faith. We started our year with an overnight Spirituality retreat, where we went off-site to spend a day in prayer and reflection on our 2020 focus: Be God’s Love. This time for staff is essential as it provides the time and space for prayer to reconnect with God away from the busyness of our everyday lives. As a part of our retreat all staff contributed to creating our 2020 focus artwork, which is on display as you enter the front office. These handprints are an ongoing reminder of our commitment to Be God’s Love in our Christ-Centred Community.


Our Opening School Mass is being held tomorrow, 13 February at 9.15am. All are welcome to join us as Father Paul leads our Christ-Centred Community in prayer for our new year. Our Year 5 and 6 students will also be blessed and receive their leadership badges.

Religious Identity and Culture

Ethos and Charism

Our strategic priority to deepen our St Joseph’s identity means to deepen our understanding of our Josephite Charism.  We can learn much about our Josephite Charism through quotes from Saint Mary Mackillop.


Prayer and Worship    

Student Led Christian Prayer

Each Friday after the first break, Year 6 lead classes in prayer.

Liturgical Season: Fourth week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Liturgical Season Colour: Green

This week the focus is on Matthew 5:17-37

Jesus spoke to his followers: “Remember to keep God’s rules and always do what is right. My father’s rules do not just tell us what we should not do, they also tell us what we should do if we truly want to live in God’s way.

  1. Nothing is greater than God, so always put God first.
  2. Do not use God’s name carelessly
  3. Make Sunday God’s special day, to share some time with him.
  4. Love and care for your mother and father
  5. Life is precious, so do not harm anyone by your thoughts or actions.
  6. Always love your friends. When two people marry and promise to always be friends, they should not break that promise and spoil their friendship.
  7. Always be honest, and do not steal or cheat.
  8. Tell the truth to others and about others; do not lie.
  9. Married people give each other the gift of their love. Never be greedy or jealous of others so that you spoil that gift.
  10. Be happy with what you have and do not be jealous of other people’s belongings.”

At home, we invite you to sing our focus song for 2020, “Be God’s” by Danielle Rose and discuss how we can Be God’s Love. You can view a version with the lyrics at

Celebrating Liturgy and Sacraments

Term 1 Liturgies and Class Masses

Week 2

Thursday 9.15am Opening School Mass

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, 2 Yellow and 6 Lime 

Week 3

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, 2 Magenta and 6 Silver

Week 4

Wednesday 12.00pm- Ash Wednesday Liturgy

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, 1 Teal  and 5 Orange

Week 5

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, 1 Purple and 5 Blue

Week 6

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, Foundation Red and 4 Green

Week 7

Thursday 9.15am St Joseph’s Feast Day Whole School

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3, Foundation White and 4 Gold

Week 8

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3 and ELC Frogs    

Week 9

Friday 9.15am Class Mass: Year 3 and ELC Geckos

Week 10

Monday 9.15am Palm Sunday led by  1 Purple

Wednesday 9.15am Holy Thursday led by 3 Black

Thursday 9.15am Good Friday led by 5 Orange

Sacrament Dates 2020


Wednesday 11 March 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of Reconciliation Formation Session 1

Wednesday 18 March 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of Reconciliation Formation Session 2

Wednesday 1 April: Reconciliation Retreat Day

Wednesday 1 April 6.00pm-7.00pm: Sacrament of Reconciliation

First Holy Communion

Wednesday 13 May 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of First Holy Communion Formation Session 1

Wednesday 27 May 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of First Holy Communion Formation Session 2

Friday 12 June: First Holy Communion Retreat Day

Sunday 14 June 9.00am: Sacrament of First Holy Communion


Wednesday 14 October 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of Confirmation Formation Session 1

Wednesday 21 October 5.30-6.30pm: Sacrament of Confirmation Formation Session 2

Friday 30 October: Confirmation Retreat Day

Sunday 1 November 9.00am: Sacrament of Confirmation

Enrolment details for the Sacraments will be available at our Parent Information Night this week.

Yours in Christ,

Melanie Stratford

Religious Education Coordinator

Sustainability in Action

At St Joseph’s, we know reducing is best, but there are just some products that need to be recycled. We are currently running 4 recycling programs that you can contribute to with goods from home.

  1. Lids 4 Kids recycles plastic caps into prosthetic limbs for kids. Please be sure your caps are cleaned before drop off.
  2. Bring in your used coffee pods for a collection sponsored by the Collette family. All brands are welcome!
  3. Any toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, floss containers or oral hygiene products can be recycled through the Colgate Oral Care Recycling Program (products may be any brand).
  4. Pens, textas and any other writing tools are also part of our weekly collection.

Please bring these items to the Sustainability Corridor, outside 1 Teal. And remember, recycling is good, but reducing is best!

“The greatest threat to our earth is the belief that someone else will save it.” -Robert Swan

Ryan McGee

Sustainability Coordinator

We hosted a welcome event for Year 4 as well as regular Defence Kids club this week. All our new students seem to be settling into St Joseph’s really well. We are so blessed with a supportive and welcoming community.

Community news

All Defence families are invited to DCO’s welcome event this Friday 14th. See details in the link below.

Need some inspiration to find out more about your child’s day… try this link for ideas. 

Sally Adams

Defence Support Mentor 

P&F Meeting - Tonight, 12 February 7.00pm in the Staffroom. All are welcome.  It is a fete year!!

UNIFORM SHOP - Opening Hours 2020

Tuesday 8:45am to 9:15am

Friday 8:30am to 9:00am

Remember - you can order uniforms via Qkr! and have uniforms delivered to your child's class!

Congratulations to this week's award recipients. 

1 Purple

Gianluca P

Emma P

1 Teal

Annabelle F

Jacob S

2 Magenta

Luerice G

Thoendrupe W

2 Yellow

Maddison D

Luke D

3 Black

Adah A

Stefano V

3 Navy

Callum A

Olivia O

4 Gold

Samuel S

Dominic S

4 Green

Jack S

Lottie W-B

5 Blue

Angela L

Kennedy W

5 Orange

Elise M

Ebenezer A

6 Lime

Thomas O'K

Alexandria S

6 Silver

Angelo P

Alyssa D

Happy birthday to these students celebrating their birthdays this week:

Aria K
Celeste P
Sophia R
Lekzeen G


Woden Valley Youth Choir has provided a music education to hundreds of students from ACT and surrounding region for over 50 years.   WVYC offers a dynamic choral programme for young people aged 8 to 25 and we are proud to provide so many positive benefits to our members: the value of learning to sing with confidence, positive self-esteem, and performance skills, which will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives. WVYC is a not-for-profit community choir with a strong music education programme. We don’t just sing – we become musicians.

WVYC will hold an open day on Tuesday 18 February.   Auditions will follow, for those interested, on Saturday 22 February.   We have vacancies in all choirs although quite limited places in our high school/university age treble voice choir.  We are especially keen to audition more young men for our changing and changed voices choir, Centauri Voices.  For more information on open day times and auditions please go to and download an application form or email or phone 1300 599 655.