St. Mary's eNews

Term 4 Week 7


Principal's Message 19 November 2021

Dear families,

We ended the week on a high with almost all of our students returning to school from isolation. It was so wonderful to see so many happy students return.


Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding. It was a most trying time for all and I am most pleased to be emerging from these difficult circumstances, as I am sure so many.

I am sure that the Premier’s announcement yesterday was received most excitedly.

While the changes had no bearing on our students coming out of isolation, it is a relief to know that if we have any further cases, students will no longer need to isolate for 14 days. They will only need to undertake a PCR test and return to school upon receiving a negative result. Families will still be encouraged to undertake Rapid Antigen Testing.

I am currently waiting for the official word on this from MACS (Catholic Education) but this news is a great relief for the rest of the year, especially as we head into Christmas festivities.

Another wonderful announcement to come out of yesterday was that our gatherings, including Confirmation and Graduation, will no longer have density limits in place, meaning that we can have as many vaccinated or suitably-exempt guests present as we wish. This has made my heart sing!

Next week we begin welcoming our 2022 Preps onsite as we commence our transition program. Our Uniform Shop will be operating on Tuesday and Thursday morning for Prep fitting. If you are able to assist in any way, please fill out the note shared via Operoo earlier today.

Have a wonderful weekend with all of our newly-acquired freedoms.



Literacy: Summer Reading & Library Challenge

As we enter into the final month of the school year (I can’t believe it either), it’s time to think about avoiding the ‘summer reading slide’. 


Like many skills we acquire in our lives, if we don’t use them on a regular basis, we lose them. This holds true with reading, including important skills in decoding, comprehension, visualisation, thinking and language ability. 

Over the summer, it’s important to keep up a reading routine with your children that is easy to manage and enjoyable. Here are some tips to instill the love of reading and literature into your family routines:

  • Read together and discuss the information you’ve read 
  • Set an example - during down time, pick up a book yourself
  • Let your children read what they want for enjoyment - tap into their interests, this could include cook books, newspapers, magazines and graphic novels as well 
  • Read signs and packaging in shops, traffic signs, signs posted on hiking trail etc
  • Create a summer scrapbook to record events and fun outings, collect brochures along the way (also helpful for those with ‘Holiday Recount Writer’s Block’ at the start of the school year)
  • Celebrate finishing a book - draw the character, make cookies or treats around the theme of the book, act out a favourite scene or create it with Lego
  • Write letters or emails - have your child write letters to family or friends
  • Schedule a daily reading time
  • Subscribe to magazines 
  • Make your own book about a family trip or event or daily life 
  • Visit the library

This year Hobsons Bay Libraries are running a BIG SUMMER READ Challenge. 

What is the Big Summer Read?
The Big Summer Read is a fun way to keep you reading during the summer holidays. Using an app called Beanstack, you can track your reading and compete for prizes. The student in Hobsons Bay who reads the most books will win a $300 grand prize!

How do I sign up?

I’ve attached the instructions on how to sign up for the challenge below. There is also a paper tracking sheet that can be submitted for those who do not wish to use the app. Hobson's Bay Libraries


Registration has started now with the challenge running from December 1st to January 31st!

Sign up today and let your teacher know that you are enrolled, I have prizes for the first 50 students at St Mary’s who sign up. 

Some of the staff will be tracking our summer reading too (not in the competition but we’d love to see if you can beat us!) - so let the competition begin!

Click here to read more about it.
Sign up information

Please feel free to email me with any questions

Brenda Lycke

Literacy Leader


Social Justice - Advent Appeal

Advent, in the Christian tradition, is a time of longing and hope. Our pastoral presence to another is so needed in these Covid to post-Covid times as we head toward the Christmas season, through Advent. Sharing our presence rather than presents can seem like a difficult task when we are busy. 

Advent provides a wonderful reminder to instead share our presence every day through a letter, a visit, a phone call, or a conversation – something that helps warm and transform someone else’s life.

With Christmas only mere weeks away, this should be a time of sharing and celebration, but for many it is a time of hunger, stress, and hardship. Christmas can be a very stressful and tough time for many people who are experiencing poverty, loneliness and hardship. During Advent we are called to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. The 2021 St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal has not been forgotten in the lead up to Christmas.

Prior to COVID restrictions, students at St Mary’s School enthusiastically support the Vinnies Christmas Appeal and the work of Joseph’s Corner.  By reflecting on the things that are most important to them and by looking back on the year, they were reminded of the many things to celebrate, be thankful for, and of the ways they can help those in the community.  School families donated gifts for school-aged children whose families are not able to provide them with a Christmas gift as well as bringing non-perishable food items to assist families to have a lovely Christmas meal and enable them to celebrate the Christmas season.

This year again as we reflect upon the wellbeing of our community, we are filled with a desire to enable all people in our community to celebrate and again take up the call to donate.  These donations will help many vulnerable people in our community to enjoy this special time of year. In our final week of school, our Social Justice Leaders will then collate all donations and organise to deliver them to Joseph’s Corner and St Vinnies.

Donations may be sent in with the children as each class has been allocated a basket to fill, or alternatively, donations may be dropped off at the office.

Your gift could change lives.  Through your support, many individuals and families will be able to have the Christmas they deserve, a Christmas of hope and joy.  

With thanks

Gisella and Ruby

Social Justice Leaders      

Yours in Faith
Matthew Taylor

Leader of Religious Education

Book Fair

Get ready for this year's much anticipated Book Fair! 

Please read for an update on how the Book Fair will run this year
Book Fair (Tuesday 23/11 - Wednesday 1/12):
Unfortunately, the current restrictions still in place mean that next week's Book Fair will not be open before and after school. 
However, children will still have a walk-through tour with their class, where they can write a Wish List. An additional Wish List will also be sent home. 
To purchase books, please send your child's Wish List back to school with either cash or a receipt number, if paid online.
The Book Fair will be "open" for orders from Tuesday the 23rd of November, to Wednesday the 1st of December. 
Thanking you for your ongoing support,
Beryl (Book Club) and Milly (Library)

 Every purchase made at the Book Fair earns resources for our school, so come and take a look! 

Australian Girls Choir Open Day

The Australian Girls Choir is holding Open Days on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5 and the girls at St. Mary's are invited to come along!

Australian Girls Choir Open Day

The Open Day gives girls the opportunity to try a fun complimentary class, and for parents to attend an information session to find out more about the Australian Girls Choir.

Look no further than the Australian Girls Choir (AGC) because we encourage, challenge and inspire girls as they learn to sing, dance and perform. School aged girls are invited to come along to our Open Days on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5 to try our fun and inclusive classes and learn more about being part of the AGC! Please visit our website to register to attend our free Open Day:

Camp Australia Rocketeers!

Kickstart your school holidays with over 300 showcase experiences, at over 200 convenient locations. As Summer gets started, so too does festival season, so Camp Australia is celebrating with Rock-eteers - featuring 6 dedicated music festival themed experiences coming to Base Camp. Register now at to book into your most convenient Rocketeers location.

More info here!

Example of a day at Rocketeers here

Students: Wearing Masks

Although many other rules around COVID protocols have changed, it is still a requirement that students in Year 3 to 6 wear masks when indoors on school premises, unless a medical exemption applies.

Thanks to everyone who has been wearing their mask in the correct way.

 We understand that some children may feel uncomfortable and anxious about doing this so we have sourced this short story that can be read with them.

The story explains in simple terms the importance of doing so. 
Click here to access.

Lawful medical exemptions exist for the following only:

  • A physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable

  • Obstructed breathing (this does not generally include Asthma)

  • A serious skin condition of the face

  • An intellectual disability

  • A mental health condition

  • persons who have experienced trauma


If your child qualifies for an exemption, please contact Sonia to discuss this further. 

Students who are exempt may choose to consider wearing a face shield.

It is an expectation that for the safety of all staff and other students, that all students unless lawfully exempt, wear a mask when indoors onsite. 

Students who do not wear a mask will be asked, when and where practicable, to maintain distance from others when indoors.

It is highly recommended that students in Prep-2 wear face masks but this is currently not a requirement.

Community News

Take a look at this weeks Community News! Please read our reminder from the Canteen. Check out the new Softball program info. We also have a message from OSHC Camp Aus, Emmanuel College, our Church bulletin, and Hobsons Bay Library's upcoming summer programs. A reminder that prices have been altered at the Tuck Shop, so please double check when ordering that you are providing the correct amount. You can find the current price list here

Softball Batter Up Program 

- The Hawks Fastpitch Softball Club affiliated with Werribee Softball Association will be running a Softball Batter Up Program for 4-8 year old’s starting on Saturday 20 November for 5 weeks from 9.30am – 10.30am. The program will be delivered with COVID safety measures in place. Click the link for more information!

Church Bulletin

Camp Australia OSHC Talent Week 

Emmanuel College News

Hobsons Bay Library Programs

Now We're Talking - On site tutoring available 

Social Skills Group Program

Introducing ~

I have enjoyed living in Altona Meadows for over 30 years. I am married with three adult children. My career has been, in short varied and have made many long life friends along the way. 

My journey at St. Mary’s began in March 2011 in the school office Administration and occasionally filled in as a Learning Support Officer. In 2016, I was offered a position as an Learning Support Officer and as they say the rest is history.

In 2013, received Cert IV in Education Support and in 2018 became a qualified Trainer and Assessor. I absolutely love working at St. Mary’s the staff, parents and students are wonderful.
It’s my home away from home.

Tuck Shop

A reminder that the Tuckshop is open everyday but only for lunch orders. Lunch orders should be placed in the class tub as children enter the classroom. 

   No over the counter purchases can be made at this stage.

  Click here to access our Tuck shop menu.

New Ways November

This month Action for Happiness are exploring new ways forward. Getting absorbed in a new activity is a great way to boost your wellbeing. Trying out new things also brings challenge and fulfilment - and can help us make new friends too! The New Ways November calendar is full of ideas to help you try new things or take new approaches to things you do already.
Click here for a pdf version.

Why not share it with a friend?

You can also use the app to receive the daily calendar actions and join a supportive community putting these into practice.