On behalf of the St. Matthew school community, I would like to extend a warm “Welcome Back” to each one of our students and their families! I hope that all of you had a blessed, restful and holy Christmas.
January is the month of new beginnings. The word “January” comes from the Latin word “Jana”, which means “doorway.” January is the year’s doorway, an entrance into a bright new beginning. Here at St. Matthew school, we are focusing on the occasion January brings to us all – a chance to renew our commitment to God, to others and to ourselves.
Our virtue of the month for January is Courage. Courage is also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Our focus at St. Matthew will be moral courage. “Moral courage” is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. The virtue of courage helps us to take the initiative to make changes in our lives and/ or to accept changes brought before us. Courage can often lead us to a spiritual awakening and/ or enlightenment. Courage can allow you to shed old patterns, especially those patterns that are harmful to your body or soul. This virtue allows you to reach new levels of being. No matter who you are, no matter what has already happened to you, no matter what you have done, it is still possible to have a “new beginning”.
A New Year’s Prayer
May God make your year a happy one! Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy, But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you, But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine, But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant, But by showing you when people and their causes need you most, and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.
A Prayer for Courage
God of courage,
May we always seek to do what is right, no matter what others say or think.
May we face our fears knowing that you are by our side.
May we honestly try to be the best we can be, each and every day.
We know that we may not always be brave, but with your gift of courage,
May we be always willing to try new things as we follow Jesus, your Son,
Our model of courage.
Wet Weather and Indoor Shoes
We ask that students keep a pair of shoes at school to change into, particularly when they wear boots. Changing to indoor shoes will help keep students’ feet dry and help keep classroom floors free of mud and water.
Snow and Cold Weather
We have reminded all students that snowball throwing is NOT ACCEPTABLE as it can lead to injury, especially facial or eye injuries. Please reinforce this safety guideline with your children. We also ask your cooperation in reviewing with your children the need to be respectful of each other outside on the playground. This includes NOT destroying any snow forts that may be built by other students during recess times. The students at St. Matthew have all been told that no one owns the snow or the snow creations. God has given us this beautiful white powder to be shared and enjoyed by all.
Cold Weather and Safe Arrival
As we deal with the inconsistent weather patterns we should all be reminded of two ongoing issues: dressing for the weather and safe arrival and departure to and from school. Students and parents should always assume (even when the day begins with inclement weather) that the students will spend time (as much as 45 minutes) outside in Canadian conditions. Proper dress allows children to have more fun and stay healthy! Please ensure that you call the school immediately to report student absences.
Dangers Presented by Snow Banks
It has been brought to my attention by a concerned neighbor in our community that students are sliding down snow banks on their way to and from school and while waiting to be picked up after school. These snow banks present a very dangerous situation for drivers and students because of the reduced and in some cases no visibility scenarios. Also, students are in many cases sliding into the road and driveways potentially exposing themselves to moving motor vehicles.
NO student should ever be sliding down a snow bank that is off of school property. Students should be walking home immediately after school on the sidewalks. Parents please speak with your children about the dangers of the situations and scenarios mentioned above.
Math Tips for Parents
You are a math teacher!
We all know that reading with a child helps literacy skills, and that playing sports in the backyard teaches the value of teamwork and being physically active. But where are the life lessons for mathematics?
The truth is that we all use mathematics many times each day, but often don’t realize it. From trips to the grocery store to swinging in a hammock, math is part of our daily lives.
Don’t underestimate your own math skills. You can help your child learn math!
Math in everyday life
It is important to help children recognize that everyone uses math all the time. Here are tips to help your child have a positive attitude about mathematics.
- Make learning math a positive experience. Don’t talk negatively about math to your child—it can lead to “math anxiety” (a proven cause of low achievement).
- Schedule math homework at the same time in a quiet location every day. Be available during this period to talk with your child. Create a math homework toolkit with pencils, erasers, ruler, protractor, graph paper, counters (beads or beans) and a calculator.
- When helping with homework, follow the method being taught. Don’t teach short cuts that could confuse your child. Do not say, “Let me show you my way – it’s simpler and faster.”
- Be relaxed and positive. You are not expected to be an expert. You are there to encourage learning.
- If your child becomes frustrated, stop. Remind your child of the things they have already learned how to do successfully, such as riding a bicycle, writing a paragraph or speaking a second language.
- Ask your child’s teacher for strategies to use at home that reflect your child’s learning style. If your child asks for help and you do not know the answer, be honest and say, “I don’t know, but let’s figure it out together.” If you continue to be unsuccessful, you can also ask your child’s teacher for help. This gives your child permission to ask for help as well.
Be a math role model
Children learn by imitating the people around them. Imitating a parent’s positive attitude about education helps children develop healthy academic skills.
- Talk out loud as you do everyday tasks. Talking out loud allows children to hear how you think and helps them develop important skills for “thinking things out” and solving problems.
- Do informal math together. On rainy days, family evenings and vacation time, play math games such as Dino Math Tracks, Dominoes or Connect Four. Show your child that math is fun!
- Grocery stores are a great source of math lessons. For example, you can talk aloud about how to weigh fruit on a scale or how to estimate.
- There are many educational websites such as www.mathies.ca which is specifically designed to assist parents with making math fun and engaging for kids.
Parents and Caregivers
The school has received an increasing amount of calls and concerns from neighbors in the community who are having their private property used as parking spots and turn arounds. Please be respectful of the property of others and do not block driveways or use them as turn around stops. Thank You.