School’s in session

Circular Head Christian School junior coordinator Meagan Popowski is preparing for the start of another school year, welcoming new and returning students through the front gates next week. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Guidance. With 22 years of teaching experience under her belt, Smithton’s Meagan Popowski is no stranger to the first day of a new school year.

Whether it’s students eagerly returning to catch up with friends they’ve missed over the holidays, or a five-year-old taking their first step into an unfamiliar classroom, she’s witnessed many reactions of a term-one start from parents and children.

But Circular Head Christian School’s junior coordinator has some comforting advice: teachers are in the same boat.

“You still get nervous though I’ve learned, even after 20 years – the same as what the kids feel,” Meagan said.

“It’s a nervous excitement: the sort of excitement that makes you do really well.”

Having left Melbourne as a 21-year-old to take on a two-year teaching job in Circular Head, her first location out of university would end up becoming her home, meeting husband Marcus in her second year and settling in for the long-term.

From humble beginnings of a school which boasted around 100 students and only offered kinder to grade six classes, Meagan now works with some of those she once taught while looking after the sons and daughters of others.

For incoming students, she believes the best way to approach the year is to come in with “a positive attitude”, while parents can ease any anxieties by “giving confidence to their children”.

“I know how it feels from being a parent: it’s a big thing especially if it’s your first or last child,” she said.

“I love seeing the kids when they get out of the car and they’re so excited; they’re so pumped to get back to school.”

Meagan believes the majority of parents and children are becoming better adjusted to the holiday transition, with integration programs through pre-kinder and kinder helping youngsters to get used to the idea at an early age.

Appreciative of the support from staff and the school community over her tenure, she said the learning process hasn’t stopped personally in continuing to “learn a lot from the kids”.

Now heading into her 23rd year of service at CHCS and her third in the role of junior coordinator, the 43-year-old joins a host of colleagues in the field busily finalising programs for the opening eight weeks.

“It’s a fresh start: go in and enjoy the first day, get to know the kids and set boundaries.”


 

Circular Head Christian School junior coordinator Meagan Popowski provides a few handy hints for parents and children preparing for the first day back at school:

Parents

  • Label everything (clothes etc.) with your child’s name
  • Pack a healthy lunch (eg. fruit, sandwiches, salad, cheese and biscuits. Limit junk food (eg. lollies, chips, high salt/sugar)
  • Pack water to keep hydrated
  • Have a positive attitude to school yourself
  • Get into habits of reading with children, especially younger
  • Create a friendly attitude with teachers and other parents
  • Check uniforms/hats

With younger children

  • Routines of school recess/lunch bells
  • Opening lunch boxes and drink bottles independently
  • Going to the toilet independently, washing hands etc.
  • Practise leaving mum (eg. playdates)

Children

  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Get enough sleep with an early night prior
  • Be friendly, smile and be positive

 

Term dates 2015

As listed on the Department of Education website.

Schools

Term 1

Wednesday February 4 – Wednesday ​April 1

Easter break: Friday April 3 – Tuesday April 7

Term 2​

Monday April 20 – Friday July 3 ​

 

Term 3​

Monday July 20 ​- Friday September 25 ​

 

Term 4

Monday October 12 – Thursday December 17

 

Colleges

Term 1

Wednesday February 4 – Thursday ​April 2

Easter break: Friday April 3 – Tuesday April 7

Term 2​

Monday April 20 – Friday July 3 ​

 

Term 3​

Monday July 20 ​- Friday September 25 ​

 

Term 4

Monday October 12 – refer to individual college dates

 

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