IT’S January – that time of year when the focus turns to all things school-related – new school shoes, clean uniforms and making lunches, perhaps even some nerves.
For Year 2 student Nathaniel Yates from St Agnes Primary School in Mount Gravatt, the start of the school year is a bit more exciting with younger brother Joseph starting Prep.
“Joseph has my Prep teacher Mrs Scott, and I really like her,” Nathaniel said.
“He’s going to love Prep, I keep telling him that.”
St Agnes Prep students will transition into classes gradually, in an effort to gently orientate them into their classroom, friends and school environment.
St Agnes Prep teacher Judy Scott has been working with Preps for nine years and knows what challenges lay ahead for her pupils and their families.
“It can be really hard for some Preps to realise that they have to go to school five days a week,” Mrs Scott said.
“There are lots of distraction techniques used in the first term, and some cuddles – we use all the tricks in the book to help everyone settle in.”
St Agnes principal Rick Sheehan said starting school could be a nervous time for children of all ages.
“There is always a transition period for some children,” Mr Sheehan said.
“We get straight back into the routine of daily school life and focus on looking out for each other, especially our friends who may be finding it a bit more difficult.
“We endeavour to create a safe, welcoming and educationally purposeful environment for all our students.
“Our goal is to empower every child to shape and enrich our changing world by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Joseph Yates feels like most Prep students starting the school year.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” he said.
“But I can’t wait to play and meet new friends.”
More than 147,000 students and 19,000 teachers and staff were beginning the school year at one of 300 Catholic schools across the state this year.
The 2016 school year also marks the commencement of two new Catholic schools in Queensland – MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter, and St Joseph’s Parish School, Weipa.
The kindergarten at St Brendan’s Catholic School at Mackay’s northern beaches will welcome its first cohort of students.
Catholic schools in Queensland educate about 18.5 per cent, or almost one in five Queensland students.
Enrolments in Catholic schools have been increasing by more than two per cent over the past decade.
“Catholic schools strive to provide a high-quality, faith-based and affordable educational option for Queensland families,” Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.
“Through their culture, ethos and mission, and through the commitment of their staff, Catholic schools integrate Gospel values within a holistic educational program.
“I thank our families for their ongoing support for Catholic schools and offer best wishes to all Queensland school communities – Catholic, state and independent – for a rewarding, safe and enriching year ahead.”