Overrun with a flurry of colour

St Joseph's Primary School, Taree was recently overrun with a flurry of colour when Snow White, Thing 1 & Thing 2, a unicorn, pirate, ballerina and football players paraded on the school's grounds. 

They were joined by many other characters including Harry Potter, Pippi Longstocking and Oompa Loompas as part of St Joseph's 2020 Book Week festivities. 

The global pandemic meant there were changes to the events the school traditionally stages during Book Week; however, this did not dampen the spirits of the schools' 300 students. 

Brooke Saville is the librarian at St Joseph's and says the school community values the opportunity to celebrate literature, and that they did so in a COVID safe way. 

"Ordinarily we combine Book Week festivities with Grandparents Day, inviting the extended school community to join us for a school liturgy, followed by a book parade and shared lunch."

Due to COVID restrictions that are in place across all schools, parents, grandparents and carers were unable to participate in this years' festivities. It also meant the parade, which is ordinarily a whole school event, was broken into separate affairs for the infants and primary groups. 

"Students were able to sit and parade as part of their class groups, and we had prizes for the best-dressed characters for each grade, followed by lunch orders for the entire school," Mrs Saville said.  

"The students had a great time, even with the changes. The opportunity to dress-up and share stories with their friends bought smiles and laughter to students and staff alike!"

The parade was supported by other activities that were organised by Year 6 for all students to take part in during their allocated library time. 

"It was great for the students to take part in such a fun day, focused on celebrating books and characters and the imaginational aspect of stories," Mrs Saville said. 

Year 6 organising activities for all students to take part in was particularly significant, as many of the traditional roles and responsibilities imparted on the senior year group had not come to fruition due to an extended period of home learning and ongoing COVID restrictions. 

"2020 has had its challenges for all students, particularly those in Year 6. Ordinarily, our senior students are given the opportunity to stage several events, fundraising initiatives and represent the school in the public forum, but the pandemic has curtailed this. 

"Year 6 performed a wonderful job organising games, books and songs for all students, and the staff is very proud of their leadership!"

All students had the opportunity to purchase books as part of the festivities and were encouraged to share them with friends before taking them home. 

Mrs Saville says that sharing the joy of reading is one of the many benefits of Book Week. 

"The best gift we can give our children is the gift of time spent together reading and sharing a book.

"Reading can be for fun or learning.

"Reading at any age can improve brain activity, academic achievement, spelling, writing, creativity, and the list goes on. It is such an important skill for all children, and it starts early by reading with their parents and carers."

Mrs Saville says St Joseph's extended school community is looking forward to celebrating together again, as soon as it is safe to do so. 

"We are very much looking forward to face-to-face engagement with our wonderful parent and carer community. Building relationships with them is such an essential partnership in supporting students' education."

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.