A full and rewarding week past, and a full and rewarding week to come…….
The Infants Shakespeare Festival Dress Rehearsal for the Primary School was held on Tuesday – a whole week ahead of the event, and all-in-all it went very well, showing the promise of good things to come. We look forward to welcoming the parents and friends of the children to the “real” performances. Here is the schedule: please come along!
“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
U1st and 2nd
“Romeo and Juliet” – performance
Parents and guests
“The Tempest” – performance
L1st and 2nd
“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
Parents and guests
“Romeo and Juliet” – performance
Parents/guests L1st and U1st
“The Tempest” – performance
Parents and guests
This week we also had testing for 2nd and 4th classes by Robert Allwell Associates, and ICAS testing. There were wonderful results from the “Maths Challenge”, with one Distinction and many Credits gained by the John Colet participants.
And we had bumper turnout of keen students taking part in the Australian Maths Competition on Thursday. Mrs. Dunn was invited to speak about it on air interviewed by Mike Jeffries on 2UE on Tuesday night.
The school was “on show” too for the BOSTES Inspection, and the outcome was “recommendation for Registration.” Much praise due to all.
An update will be sent on the hunt for a Latin teacher for Primary Latin as soon as there is any news.
A full week as usual, beginning with a beautiful, moving and successful Teachers’ Day Ceremony. Some of the children’s written contributions to this have been put up at the School of Philosophy along with delightful photos. We had an Information Evening for new parents and 5th and 6th Class entered the Ryde Eisteddfod, coming Highly Commended. Infants children are on the stage every available minute and looking forward to a Dress Rehearsal at school on Tuesday, for the entertainment of the Primary classes.
As many of you will already know, our dear Sue McKinley will be leaving John Colet after the Shakespeare Festival for areas further north, where she and her husband, Howard, are establishing a new home for their retirement.
Sue has been at John Colet since 1998, working in particular for seven years with Luke W, who was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. Sue even used to swim with him and run in races pushing the wheelchair! When Luke finished at John Colet, Sue was taken on as a Class Aide and then a Special Ed. support Aide. She has been a generous and efficient member of the team for 17 years, and will be sorely missed. Sue has also run the Dimensionz Dance School in Narrabeen, attended by several of our students. We wish Sue and Howard all the best in their new life in Nelson Bay.
Other Staff news: we welcome Jasmine Crewe to the Special Ed. Department, where she will be replacing Edmund Wakeford. Jasmine has specialised in Gifted and Talented Education and is also trained in Support. Jasmine has taught at Pymble Ladies College, Pius Chatswood, Greenacre Public, and Killara Public. She is still a Careers Advisor at Killara High one day week. Jasmine has three young children, her husband is also a teacher, and her other great love is dancing!
I am glad to report that the uniform has been very good this week, with only a couple of caps and blazers missing early in the week. More importantly, many children have been showing respect, particularly standing aside at doors, waiting for conversations to end before interrupting, and not walking in between people conversing. And as for standing up when adults enter the classroom – it’s been wonderful. Have you ever seen 25 Jack-in-the-Boxes! I have, and frequently this week.
On Friday we had a farewell morning tea for Mr. Edmund Wakeford who has taught at John Colet on and off over fifteen years. He began as a High School boy doing Work Experience, then he worked for a period during a gap year and finally as a trained teacher, both in the classroom and in the Special Education Gifted and Support area. He has worked quietly in the background supporting and extending children according to need. He is going to live in Thailand and has taken a class position at an International School outside Bangkok. He will join his Thai wife, Yo, in Thailand. We wish him all the best.
We also said farewell to Mrs Caroline Brehaut, who has been with us since the beginning of the year, and has been a shining light in the Primary Latin Department. She is going to teach at Queenwood, where she has been offered a position. A short, but happy association, Mrs. Brehaut is helping us to locate a replacement. More anon.
Teachers’ Day on Monday – Mrs. McKendrick will be back (if jet-lagged!) and we expect Mr. Philip Wolfers, Chairman of the Board, to join us for the celebration, which is taking a slightly different form this year – flowers and brief verbal offerings from the children. Parents are very welcome. I have read some of the children’s offerings and they are touching. A portion of the flowers will remain with the teachers in their classrooms, and most will be taken to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home by Mrs. Tomicki and 4th Class and presented to the ladies and gentlemen there.
A big finale for the wonderful Jump Rope for Heart initiative by Mrs. Cipollone and 5th Class was held on Thursday afternoon. As many parents will be aware, there has been much skipping going on and children have sought sponsors to support their efforts. The Primary children have so far raised in excess of $2,500 for the Heart Foundation, and in the process gained new levels of skill ……. and hopefully become fitter!
The Thursday “Jump Off” event was designed to showcase the children’s new skills, fancy or otherwise!, and for everyone to have a healthy and very enjoyable afternoon. Although the Infants children were not directly involved, they were invited to watch and, hopefully, will be inspired to participate next year.
The third in a series of “Morning Tea with Head of School” was held on Tuesday and well attended by 2nd Class parents, including three new or potential parents of children in that class. This gave those new parents the chance to find out firsthand how parents have found the School., and also to gain a taste, not only of Donna Moor’s delicious catering, but also a taste of the warmth and mutual support of the school parents. Primary Class parents will be invited to a series of such morning teas next term.
About the Australian Early Development Census 2015 Mrs. McDermott had a day off class to do a large part of the work on the Government Survey on early childhood development. This survey measures the development progress of children as they start their first year of full-time school, and looks at groups of children in the community rather than at individual students. This census is used by early childhood educators and health services, local councils and community groups, schools and government to help plan and allocate the right types of services, resources and support for communities. It seems to be a very useful tool, and John Colet, along with Lower First parents, has been happy to support this since its inception in 2009.
I hear a whisper that the holidays are coming up at the end of this week. How does it happen so quickly!!
It’s been a week delightfully dominated by Sanskrit – the week of the annual Sanskrit Recitation Competition, both Heats and Finals. What a splendid event the final competition was, attended by distinguished guest, parents and the children and their teachers. The children were outstanding both as audience and performer, showing a steadiness and confidence that was very impressive. The atmosphere was imbued with the meaning of the prayers they recited, and our guest-of-honour, Mr. Rajeev Kumar, Vice-Consul of the Consulate General of India, said how very impressed he was. He had himself studied Sanskrit at Primary School and knew its value. After the competition and the acknowledgement of the winners and judges, and the organisers, Mrs. Rosey Dunstan and Mrs. Joan Childs our Sanskrit Teachers, Mr. Kumar took questions from the senior children on life in India. The event was a huge success. Mr. Kumar undertook to come again next year ….. He must have enjoyed himself!
Another event was held on Thursday evening by the Music Faculty, under the care of Ms. Rosey Davidson to showcase the skills of the School’s music students and Music Ensemble, who were called to perform for their parents. The qualities of steadiness and courage were obvious in the children, and they played beautifully
We have had quite a number of enquiries from parents of potential new students, funnily enough mostly for 2nd Class. Mrs. James confirms two definite enrolments and two further trial days for children. 2nd Class is expanding and we have “loosened our belts”! From Week 7 Mrs. Connell will be moving across to work with Miss Marley on 2nd Class for three mornings and an afternoon per week, whilst still working with Mrs. Tefay and U1st on two other days. To this end Mrs. Tefay and Mrs. Connell have increased their days of work, and Mrs. Tefay will receive more Teacher’s Aide support.
In line with our policy to offer the children Positive Behaviour Support, we will be introducing early next term an agreement document that children who attend after-school activities and Clubs, and their parents, will sign. Positive Behaviour Support, long practised at John Colet School, outlines before an event the sort of behaviour that is expected, and offers guidance and training to the children.
The Agreement will set out expected behaviours at the many Clubs and extension activities in the School that are held during Recesses or before and after school hours. Some are supervised by School teachers and some are not. These include Chess, French, Mandarin, Gardening, Music Ensemble, Needlecraft, Conducting and others. This Agreement will set out parameters for behaviour and general conduct, and will support the children in their efforts to gain the maximum from these activities.
Reports should go out mid-next week and many teachers are having Parent Meetings.
What a wonderful day the Open Day was, much enhanced by the weather. A big thank you to Christine Condos, Belinda James and Alex Coubrough on the organising committee and Lucy B on the P&F; also to all the parents who helped or organised stalls, providing extras here and there. An especially big thanks to the teachers and the children for the magnificent work presented and the wonderful concert. It was a great way to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Another exciting aspect is the number of new and interested families who came along to look at John Colet School. The behaviour of the children was exemplary, and they obviously had a wonderful day.
Art at John Colet One of the outstanding aspects of the children’s work is the Art which is lavishly presented about the school. Several people commented on the high standard. Mrs. Gadsby and Mrs. Allcorn run the Department, ably assisted by Mrs. Anne Fox, who has recently joined as a very experienced volunteer, and of course, by Ms. Alex Coubrough as well as the Art Prefect, Alexandra R and Vice Art Prefect Kauri P. Mention must also be made of several other senior children, Sophia W, Sasha B, Jaanvi K and Eugenia C, who as our Art Monitors, give their time to help. It’s obviously a very popular location in the school!
The Visual Arts programme is fully integrated with other aspects of the Curriculum. It helps with the development of the whole child by giving opportunities for creative expression and by developing concentration and fine motor skills. Through studying art, children develop visual literacy, and an understanding of cultural symbols and the importance of artistic expression as a means of communication. The children’s work is grounded in drawing: firstly from observation of natural forms, and then still life, mark making, pattern making, portraiture, landscape and creative drawing. The ability to design and produce a finished artwork is encouraged. This culminates in the making of artworks in the different media of painting, sculpture, ceramics and print making. Art at John Colet is artist-based, in that the children see themselves as artists producing artworks. They learn about the works of a variety of artists and study the different ways art is produced. This is in keeping with the current curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on culture based art integrated in with the H.S.I.E. curriculum.
Mrs. Anne Fox Mrs. Fox began on Wednesdays at John Colet at the beginning of the year. Her original training was in Secondary School Art Education at The Alexander Mackie School of Arts in Sydney and then at the Polding College: Her experience includes teaching at the Gilroy Catholic College in Castle Hill, and then at St. James’ School, London, followed by nine years as Art Teacher at the School of Philosophy Day School in New York. In the meantime, she married and has three daughters. Her husband, William Fox, is a new Member of the JCS Board of Governors. Her special Art interests are children’s art, the great artists, art history, Greek art, primitive art, and Indigenous art. It is with great pleasure that we include her in our teaching ranks.
Congratulations to all the children (and parents!) Every child in the Hall on Monday at the start of Assembly was wearing correct uniform! – blazers for most and sports uniform for some! Well done. This makes my Recesses much happier, as I don’t have to have any children on detention!
Assembly has taken on a “new look” and the essence of it is the participation of the children, and the music – ah, the music!
After the Prayers, Creed, National Anthem and School Values, we have the delight of Henry B and Carys H leading the week’s hymn. The first verse is sung by these Choristers and then the School joins in with the following verses; the hymn is accompanied by Mrs. Tomicki on the piano and children from 4th Class playing on their recorders. It is wonderful.
Another aspect of the new style Assembly is the presentations by children to the whole school – either work from their classes or other activities. The outstanding presentation this term has been from 5th Class who have embraced the “Jump for Heart” skipping campaign by the Heart Foundation. 5th Class has advertised and promoted this fund-raising effort, encouraging children in other classes to skip and seek sponsors. There has been a weekly update on money raised, and it has almost reached $2,500. A magnificent effort. We see the children skipping away at Recess times.
At the end of the Assembly, Mrs. Tomicki plays the piano whilst the children leave quietly. So this is the new, very interactive Monday Assembly. Parents are welcome to attend from time to time and at their convenience. I encourage you to come along!
This week we will begin a series of information items on some of the aspects of the curriculum that make John Colet special.
Latin, once the lingua franca of Europe, has long been known for its training in mental acumen and language skills. It brings with it the mental processes of a remarkable and energetic culture – that of the Ancient Romans, known for their love of law, architecture and the liberal arts.
Latin is offered at John Colet School, both in the Infants and Primary. and is of great benefit for all sorts of reasons – it teaches grammar, sentence structure, language skills, thinking skills, vocabulary, translation, and etymology Like Sanskrit, Latin is a highly structured language and trains students in the understanding and analysis of language structures. The content of the course covers Roman lifestyle, aspects of Roman history and Greek and Roman mythology and legends.
For many years the School taught Latin formally to the senior grades. In general the criterion then for entry into these classes was the successful completion of the School’s Spelling programme. Two years ago, as a pilot programme, the School experimented with opening up Latin study to the younger grades as well on a less formal basis to the Primary grades. Mrs Donald holds before school classes for the Upper 1st and 2nd classes; and Mr Mane, and now Mrs. Caroline Brehaut, teaches the primary grades.
The details of the classes in 2015 are as follows:
Upper 1st begins in Term 3 on Tuesdays from 8.10-8.45 in Colet 1. This class is still to be selected, and the offer will be made through the class teachers. Fluency in reading and writing is the criterion. A further opportunity to join is offered at the beginning of 2nd Class. The maximum practical class size is 12.
2nd class Wednesdays 8.10 – 8.45am Colet 1
3rd and 4th classes beginners Tuesdays 1.05-1.35pm (lunch play time) Colet 2
3rd and 4th class advanced Thursdays 8:00 - 8.30am Colet 1
5th and 6th classes Tuesdays 12.30 - 12.55pm (Primary Lunch)
5th and 6th classes Children who have completed the Spelling syllabus learn Latin three times per week during school teaching hours.
If you are interested in Latin for your child, please talk to your class teacher in the first instance.
The sun is shining again and everyone is basking in it. We are also basking in our success at the District Inter-schools Chess Competition which was held at Bilgola Plateau on Wednesday: Liam McW gained a medal, and Thomas J was a credit to the school by quietly correcting an error that mistakenly saw him awarded that medal. Commendable behaviour.
Our debating team won against the German International School, and what is more, the Adjudicators said that the John Colet Team was the best-spoken and clearest performance they had ever heard from Stage 3 students. Well done teachers and children.
How is this for consideration – it came to me from one of the tutors of the Youth Group at the School of Philosophy – and I thought it worth passing on:
I asked for Strength... And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong. I asked for Wisdom... And God gave me Problems to solve. I asked for Prosperity... And God gave me a Brain and Brawn to work. I asked for Courage… And God gave me Obstacles to overcome. I asked for Love... And God gave me Troubled people to help. I asked for Favours... And God gave me Opportunities. I received nothing I wanted... But I received everything I needed. (Robert Mulhall)
This is the attitude of the resilient, and an attitude that would fit a person for life!
Shakespeare is on us again, and the Infants children have been learning their play parts, Zoe Emanuel is starting serious rehearsals on Fridays and soon we will be looking for costumes and props.
Our Costume Store has been wonderfully ordered and looked after by Mrs. Geraldine W for the past number of years, and this has made a huge difference to the selection of suitable costumes for the different play characters. Mrs. W will no longer be a school parent after this year, and we are looking for one, two or three parents to take over this role. Geraldine has generously offered to help and advise the new incumbents until they feel confident to take over.
PLEASE CONSIDER THIS NEED, TEAM UP WITH A FRIEND AND MAKE AN OFFER TO SUPERVISE THE COSTUME ROOM!
The wet weather has been very testing for everyone, and sport has had to be rearranged, also the PISA competition has not been able to go ahead yet this term.
However, our best indoor sport, Chess, is going ahead, in spite of Mr. Nowak's urgent departure for Europe to assist a sick relative. Thanks go to Mrs. Pietschner for holding things together in Miro’s absence. Interschool competition has started and we look forward to repeating our success of previous years. Many thanks to Mrs. Pietschner for her continual efforts: also the mothers who “taxi” the children and prepare food for “home games”. All these happenings test our resilience – teacher, parent and children. Let’s rise to the occasion with good grace!
Well - what a week! Trials are sent to test us, and the perception here is that we passed the test! Little electricity, no internet, no playground, no outdoor sport on some days and a crippled kitchen! But everyone got on with it.
This is a real test of resilience in the face of life's difficulties, and this is a particular focus at John Colet at the moment. The test is not what you have to face, but how you face it. It's a positive attitude of mind, a change of thinking. This is what we want to foster in the children. Of course, we begin with ourselves as this is the most powerful teaching tool - example. Challenges and difficulties can be met in a positive way. An example of this at school this week was the attitude of the 6th class children who were unable to attend the ANZAC Art Award winners announcement event. Several children had to be asked to stand aside as numbers were too high, and the disappointed ones responded positively. All signs of a good term to come!
The children have been treated to several talks in the spirit of the ANZACs this week: One from Mr David Rundle, grandfather of the Trowbridge children, and others from Cdr. Quain and Lt.Cdr. Lain, our perennial presenters at our ANZAC ceremony today (Friday).
By-the-way, we welcome back Mrs McKinley from a term off on long service leave, and we say "au revoir" to Mrs Dawson who will be off on maternity leave. She will largely be replaced by Mrs Sjogren with a day per week by Mrs Anika Little, who came to John Colet as a practicum student.
Welcome back to Term 2, which will be an eventful term and time to pick up the threads of last term’s excellent start, after what will have been, we hope, a refreshing break. It is also the beginning g of a new era following Mr. Mane’s retirement. We trust the change-over will be seamless!
This term sees the Infants gearing up for their Shakespeare Festival under the creative eyes of Zoe Emanuel our Drama Teacher, and their class teachers; some of the Primary classes will be moving forward to Naplan, other classes to internal testing. The big event is of course the Fair and Open Day, which will be a little simpler this year with the emphasis on showcasing the children and their work, giving the parents more opportunity to visit the classrooms.
This term we will focus on truthfulness, which is the second of our values. The questions to be asked about an action are:
·Is it true?
·Is it kind, pleasant and beneficial?
·Is it uplifting?
·What would a wise person say or do?
These are the questions we will bring to the notice of the children, and apply in different ways during the term.
UNIFORM: Summer or winter uniform – it is optional to wear either for the first two weeks of this term.
This week is of course a very special one at John Colet School – it is the last week as Headmaster of Gilbert Mane, who is retiring after 25 years of service to the School, both as Head and also on the Board of Governors. Mr. Mane was involved at the very beginning of the school, when it was still in the concept stage, when he offered his legal services to the Board, as that was his current profession. He later took up the Headship and undertook studies in Education. The rest is history. He and his wife, Sarah, have worked indefatigably to lead the School to where it is today. Mrs. McKendrick will, of course, take over as Headmistress until the role is filled in a permanent way.
This coming week, the final of the term, will see a Farewell Assembly for Mr. Mane, put on by the teachers and children: parents are welcome but – A WARNING –there will probably be standing room only. Mrs. Moor promises us a lovely morning tea outside Colet House 1, under the Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA) facing the Garigal Quadrangle.
Focusing on Stillness: the children are being brought to understand that all actions begin in stillness (hence the pause before and after lessons); being aware of that is a great advantage: from stillness we can make choices rather than simply reacting – “ Is this in fact the right thing to do or say?” for example.
Courtesy: not interrupting adults, standing aside and saying please and thank you: all of this encourages care of others and teaches advertence and mindfulness.
Happy Easter to you all! And by-the-way, congratulations to the parents of Lower First and Mrs. McDermott, for a wonderful concert and Easter Bonnet Parade.
Congratulations to staff and children for the excellent academic results as highlighted in the outcome of the Naplan tests – a wonderful achievement, but as the Headmaster said in his interview with the Manly Daily where this success was reported (top Primary School on the Northern Beaches), this academic performance is the outcome of the overall approach at John Colet to the teaching of children. Our Vision Statement for the school is
“.. to make practical the school’s motto “Testare de Illa Luce” (Bear Witness of that Light - from St. John’s Gospel), by:
·Introducing the children to simple, effective techniques of self-awareness
·Building good character by giving children a moral and ethical framework for living
·Having dedicated teachers teach the finest content; nourishing the children physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; and preparing them for a happy, productive and responsible life.”
Our practice this week is Stillness: if we can step into any action or situation from this point of stillness, then we are far more likely to achieve a successful and pertinent outcome.
This week the Infants children began their Drama lessons with Zoe Emanuel: the prelude to commencing on their Shakespeare presentations for the Infants Shakespeare Festival in August.
And of course the coming week brings the Walkathon. More news elsewhere.