Strengthening relationships at St Patrick's

Year 6 student and school captain, Vaughan Gridley, enjoys learning from home.

St Joseph's Pakenham school captain, Vaughan Gridley, says learning at home has been an education for students and teachers alike.

Members of the school community at St Patrick’s Primary School in Pakenham are finding ways to build stronger connections with each other.

Year 6 teacher Lauren Rietschel has been in touch with parents each week during remote schooling, something that isn’t usually possible in a regular school week.

“It’s been really great to be able to build those relationships, and check-in with each other.

“The students have adapted so well. They understand what’s going on, and that we need to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Ms Rietschel said that although school camps and excursions had been cancelled, what students are really missing is the interaction with each other.

“We have small group video conferences with the students so that I can give them feedback on their work, and they can have a chat with me and each other. That’s really important,” she said.

Year 6 student and school captain, Vaughan Gridley said that he’d never imagined he would be school captain during a pandemic.

“I think remote learning has been an education for students and teachers alike. I’m grateful that we learnt how to use the technology at school before all this started, because now accessing it at home is easy.

“I look forward to our weekly Google Meets and the chance to have some sort of social interaction with one another. Sometimes we get to listen to presentations too,” he said.

The Principal of St Patrick’s, Mr Simon Dell’Oro, said he’s heartened to see the school community coming together to support each other and make the most of remote schooling.

“I thank our staff, students and families for the way they have adapted to the changes that have been imposed on them this year. I’m so impressed by the resilience and responsibility they have shown.”

“Particularly in the older children, we have seen them blossom into independent and self-motivated learners who are able to seek help when they need it. These are really valuable life-skills,” he said.

Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sale, Ms Maria Kirkwood, said all Catholic schools in the Sale Diocese are working hard to provide students with a sense of normality.

“Our school staff have exhibited a confidence in their craft – teaching, counselling and leading their students in new and innovative ways. We appreciate the efforts made by teaching and support staff and the hard work of families as our faith and spirit guide us through these unprecedented times,” Ms Kirkwood said.