The school is abuzz with preparations for Open Day, as teachers and their classes work towards producing the magnificent displays of work we see each year, and also the performances for Open Day. Mothers are here and there, too, quietly preparing for one of the year’s big events.
Another event is to take place this coming week, and that is John Colet Day. Governors of the school are invited and the school’s namesake, John Colet, will be honoured by staff and children. There will be some recitation and singing, and also a morning tea for the visiting Board members. Parents are welcome, but please be warned space is limited.
Amongst the several young people currently working at the School (see last week’s Note), we have Andrea Mego (pictured) who arrived only last week from Johannesburg, South Africa and will be at the school till the end of term 4. This visit to John Colet is a real adventure for Andrea who has never been out of South Africa before, and indeed, who enjoyed her first aeroplane flight (though not the considerable jet lag!).
This is indeed a big adventure for her. Andrea is a fifth generation South African of Indian origin. She did her primary education at our sister school in Johannesburg, St. James, and in fact the current Headmaster of Erasmus School in Melbourne, Glen Miller, was her class teacher at St. James. High School was completed at the Nirvana Secondary School. She has joined the Donald household, and is interested in reading, interacting with children, cooking, walking and hiking. Best of luck, Andrea!
Third and fifth classes have been doing NAPLAN tests this week and every time we walk past a class they have their heads down and are extremely quiet, attentive and hard working. The teachers are pleased with their performance and feel that the children have certainly given of their best.
Honesty linked with the courage to own up are still very much our behaviour focus, and this seems to be going well. We heartily encourage the children to practise this both at home, school and abroad.
Honesty is our focus. From our Assembly on Monday, it is apparent that the issue of courage, related to owning up and “ telling the full story”, is very clear to the children because they were able themselves to speak about this. Please do encourage this at home. It stands a person in very good stead to learn this lesson early in life. It’s always very refreshing when a person can admit a mistake!
In case you have noticed an influx of young faces around the school – here is an explanation!
We currently have four Trainee Teachers working at the school: with Miss Marley we have Ellen Murphy, with Miss White Christian Pikhart, with Mrs. McDermott we have James Foley and Mrs. Renshaw has Cat Ellis on Fridays. We would also like to announce the arrival of a Gap Student from South Africa, Andrea Mego, who will be at John Colet till the end of this year.
On Wednesday we had an evening talk at the school, given by Miss Anisha Ramlaul. This is her second visit to Australia – she came last year – to raise the profile of her growing school – St. James’ – in Durban South Africa, and also to raise some funds! She is the Headmistress of that school.
She showed two delightful and informative DVD’s, showcasing the students and their activities. The response from the audience was very promising in terms of funding possibilities, and we hope for a happy outcome. We wish Anisha well in her enterprise! Anyone interested in contributing to this cause should speak to the Headmaster, or to Katrina Beissel (P&F).
It was wonderful to notice how the children returned to John Colet School on Tuesday: they seemed refreshed and full of enthusiasm for the coming term. Teachers report that they settled down to work immediately, and this was certainly obvious at our opening Assembly.
The children had been given “Holiday Homework” by the Headmaster – to honour their parents. Some beautiful examples were given by the children, and even the Headmaster told how he had honoured his parents.
Truthfulness is our term’s practice: in the past we have found this to be extremely fruitful, and the children are gaining an understanding that truthfulness is underpinned by courage and inner strength.
The new term coming up will be the time to pick up the threads of last term’s excellent start, after what will have been, we hope, a refreshing break. The coming term brings with it one of our major annual events – the Open Day and Fair and its adjunct the Art Show; we move towards the NAPLAN testing in May and rehearsals for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival, held early in Term 3, will begin to “hot up” as Term Two progresses.
Our attention will be on Honesty which is how we practically apply the School Value of speaking the truth. This is a large part of the development of good character in the child, and the courage to own up and speak the truth should be supported in the child at every turn. More of this anon.
Our Art Departmentboasts two highly trained and experienced art teachers: Mrs. Annette Gadsby (National Art School) and Juli-Anne Allcorn (Shillito Design School). Both ladies have worked devotedly at John Colet for many years, and are still actively involved in the art world. Alex Coubrough has assisted in this Department for several years, alongside her artistic management of the website and blog. When asked about the special nature of art in relation to a child’s education, Annette responded:
“We consider visual arts to be an important learning area. It helps with the development of the whole child by giving opportunities for creative expression and by developing concentration and fine motor skills. The exposure to accomplished and beautiful works of art nurtures visual literacy in the same way reading great written literature nurtures the inner being of the child. The ability to find peace and stillness in a simple activity such as observational drawing is a life- long asset. Children are naturally creative and visual arts provides the opportunity for this creativity to find a form of expression. Working together as art teachers and with the children is a time of joyous collaboration and inspiration.”
Both art teachers are currently studying drawing and painting with artist Daniel Pata as part of their ongoing commitment to visual art education.
John Colet has had a long term relationship with the Art Gallery of NSW and both Juli and Annette were invited to become Critical Friends of the Art Gallery for two years; they have worked on the children's programme for the Archibald Prize.
The children settled back quickly after Easter, which is indicative of the whole term – they have applied themselves well and shown stamina in a long eleven-week term. A great deal of work has been covered and the teachers are very pleased: let’s keep up the impetus for the last week before the holidays.
Sport at John Colet: The School’s Sports Co-ordinator is Mrs. Roslyn Dunn, who continues to make a magnificent job of a very complex task, in an energetic and diplomatic way! John Colet outsources sports training to Tim Roslin of Sportextra, who has been working at JCS for almost nine years. He has a Degree in Sports Management and a Diploma of Teaching and Coaching Sport, which covers a huge range of sporting activities. He came to us from England and Zimbabwe having worked with over 50 schools in those two countries. Tim also offers lunchtime fencing lessons and holiday sporting activities.
His chief co-worker is Mrs. Joanne Keating, who was in her time an international basketball player. She currently works at Knox as well as John Colet and has been coaching the girls for 3 years. She is also the Sports Co-ordinator for the Special Olympics Programme for Children with Intellectual Disabilities!
Tim has initiated our involvement in an inter-school sporting competition (PISA), which has helped to challenge the JCS children to achieving higher standards and has encouraged inter-school camaraderie. Tim is assisted on Fridays at PISA by one of our ex-students, Alex Ladomatos, who is currently studying at University but whose love of sport has brought him back to us as a Sports Aide.
As the school has grown in numbers, forming competitive teams has become easier and we are now even at the stage where the non-PISA children play competition at school on Fridays, all of which helps them to develop their skills and learn good sportsmanship.
Happy Easter to all – we hope that everyone enjoys the break and that the present balmy weather holds out. Don’t forget to come back for the last two weeks of term!! We know it’s tempting….
The Lower First performance and Easter Hat Parade was a delight and the parents obviously thought so too because there were many mobile phones clicking and even a few moist eyes! The children visited all the other classes to wish everyone a Happy Easter. This was enjoyed by one and all.
Great enthusiasm and excitement has been shown by the children for the lunch time Easter Egg Guessing Competition (“How Many Easter Eggs are in this jar?”) set up by Donna Moor and her tireless kitchen crew. We had guesses between 22 and 475, but the nearest guess was that of Brigitte S from 5th Class. The answer was 114 and Brigitte guessed 113. The Easter eggs were shared with her whole class.
Administration: We are continuing our weekly feature highlighting one of the School’s departments.
We are all admirably and generously served by the Admin Dept. headed up by Christine Condos, the School’s Bursar. Bav Bhandari is the Office Manager, and oversees Catering, After School Care and Uniforms, but most importantly she is the Paymaster who keeps the wolf from the door.
Carmen Griffiths is our “frontline” as the Receptionist, and you would all have had dealings with her in her many capacities, and also Bobbi Ladomatis who is on Reception once a week. Bobbi handles Student Health and Uniforms as well. Toni Cleaves is our Facilities Manager who cares for our gardens and buildings and arranges maintenance and refurbishment with ample help from Groundsman Karl Werner. Alex Coubrough looks after Marketing and publishes the Weekly Note, as well as being very active in her role as a School parent. Denise Farrelly looks after fees, and Marie –Laure Aymonier is a bookkeeper and visits us several times a week.
You would all have engaged with Lynne Werner, a very long-standing employee who now serves as the Registrar. Mrs. Sarah Mane is Assistant to the Headmaster, and is and has been responsible in the last few years for work done on special projects.
I am sure you find all these Staff members very responsive and friendly in your dealings with them – we do!
Welcome back to the Headmaster – we managed without him, but he was sorely missed, and we don’t envy him his email backlog! Welcome also to Mrs. Mane, who went with him.
Respect: At Assembly on Monday, we had some beautiful examples of ways in which the children could respect each other. This is our continuing practice for this week, and it would be wonderful if it could spill over to respect for siblings!!
The Walkathon is looming on the horizon. Your children should be working hard to get as many sponsors as possible – we heard a rumour that there are great expectations that we will raise a record amount. A reminder that every child will need to be sun protected – sun hats, water, and well hydrated legs! Sports uniform of course, since it is Friday anyway, and PISA children will be hurried to the oval as soon as possible. PISA children are to bring their usual packed lunch, but the rest of the school will eat in the dining room in the normal way.
Sanskrit: Many thanks are due to the dedicated and enthusiastic ladies who come to John Colet to teach Sanskrit to the children on a weekly basis. They are currently preparing the children for the annual Sanskrit Recitation, as well as teaching the Sanskrit alphabet, grammar and vocabulary; this is presented in story form for translation at the various class levels, and begins in a very simple way in Lower First. You will all have read about the Sanskrit dedication (the pause) that we use, and copies are available at the Reception desk.
Value being practised: Respect. The children have been encouraged to respect each other in every way. This is proceeding well, and has been enthusiastically received by the children.
The new issue of our pamphlet on the School’s Vision, Mission and Values has been published. Copies, as promised, have been sent to the parents of the new Lower First Class. If any other parent wishes an updated copy, please speak to Mrs. Griffiths at the Reception desk. And by the way, Lower First parents will also soon be receiving a Sanskrit and transliterated version of our “Pause”. Mrs. Griffiths will also have copies of these available for anyone else who wishes one.
The Headmaster and Mrs. Mane are currently at the Headmasters’ Conference at which he is speaking, and we have had brief emails letting us know that all is going well there. Look forward to “breaking news” about it on his return!
Shakespeare is looming again and Zoe Emanuel begins her drama coaching in the Infants’ Department this week. Rehearsals will begin in earnest next term, and the performances for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival will be held at school at the beginning of Term 3.
Good news - Geraldine West and Donna Taylor have very generously offered their services to streamline and organise the Shakespeare/Nativity costume collection and our range of “props”. Teachers are sighing with relief …. It’s a huge job that these two ladies have undertaken and we are most grateful.
There are whispers about, regarding the possibility of starting a Gardening Club for some interested children after school. Keep your ears open for something louder, because support and help will be needed if it gets off the ground! (Whoops, “into the ground” would be better!)
The Pick Up Zone has been running smoothly and efficiently, thank you, and your continued co-operation will be most appreciated.
Enjoy these lillies by 4th class students this week...
Respect This value is being practised by the children with the emphasis on looking and listening. The teachers are enjoined to look in particular for the good in the children.
National English Curriculum for 2014 The National English Curriculum is due to be implemented in all New South Wales Schools in 2014.
John Colet is preparing for this process: for our Teachers’ Week study in January, we invited a consultant from the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) to workshop this new syllabus over a full day, which means that the teachers are well on the way to becoming familiar with its content and requirements. Further study will be undertaken during this year to refine the process so that teachers will be ready by the end of the year.
Lunches What a joy to have the kitchen open again, under the marvellous direction of Donna Moor and her team. We are being treated daily to culinary delights and you will be pleased to hear that the children are being encouraged to eat fruit and to be adventurous in trying new tastes. A variety of proteins and carbohydrates is being offered with bread only occasionally. All special dietary requirements are being met. The children are enjoying a relaxed and nourishing meal: they particularly warm to the social aspect of the lunch table, and are often seen to be caring for and serving each other.
PRIMARY SWIMMING CARNIVAL: What a great event! The children are to be commended for their enthusiasm, efforts, courage and sportsmanship. Well done children. Commendations also for the new House Captains in rallying and directing their houses.
FOOD AT RECESS: John Colet School promotes a healthy diet for the children and we consider this to be of great importance both nutritionally and also setting good eating habits for later life. For recess could parents please send fruit or other healthy items. We would ask your co-operation in not sending chips, highly flavoured snacks, lollies and chocolates. Please also remember that we are a “nut free” school!
WOMBAT CROSSING: Please ensurethat the children are standing well behind the yellow line and that they wait to be called by the crossing lady before they enter the crossing.
PICK UP ZONE: Parents are asked to assist with the efficiency and safety of this procedure by:
· Clearly displaying family names of children being collected;
· Moving up towards the front of the line of cars wherever space permits, thus making space for others to move forward behind you;
· Loading as quickly as possible whilst remaining in the car;
· Refraining from engaging the teachers in conversation or from asking questions of them: rather ring them after 3.30 when collection is over. Thank you for your co-operation.
All students should be wearing the correct school uniform. There was a two-year phasing in of the new style. For both boys and girls this means blazers, school jumpers and vests with the new school crest. Boys’ shirts should have a school crest on the pocket, as the senior girls have on their new blouses; the new-style boys’ school caps have an embroidered eagle. (There is a small exception: this year’s 6th class have been given permission to see out their final year in the older blazer to save buying this expensive item for just one year.)
Please ensure that your children are correctly equipped, and that all items of clothes are clearly named in a place on the garment that is easy to find! This makes life so much easier and hopefully leads to less loss.
Another aspect of the school uniform is to ensure that the children look neatly and properly dressed when they leave at the end of the day. A uniform is something to be proud of, as it denotes our membership of a particular group and reflects back on that group. After School Care is often an area where uniform may need attention at the end of the day, as the children would have been playing and relaxing. Putting on full school uniform at that point is also a way of making sure that nothing gets left.
Respect: The behaviour focus this term is respect of one another and respect of place: to this end we have been practising silence on entering the Assembly Hall and Lunch Room, respect for the Headmaster and teachers by giving full attention and listening. The children’s response to this reinstated protocol has been outstanding. This includes the new Lower First intake, who have been remarkable in their steadiness both at Assembly and at lunch, no doubt due in part to the example set by the older children. Well done!
The Golden Rule: The Headmaster introduced the children to this Rule at Assembly this week, and the children seem to have taken this on board too! Ask them to explain it to you.
Wonderful owl artwork by Mrs Renshaw's all boys 3rd class.
The children are to be congratulated on their steadiness and the way in which they have settled down to work. The school has a very settled feel about it and the children are enjoying having lunch in MacLaren Hall each day.
This week we will continue on the theme of Care – Always give of your best. Teachers are focusing on shirts tucked in, shoelaces done and uniform worn correctly to leave the school.
We look forward to the Primary Swimming Carnival on Wednesday 20th February. It will begin at 11.30am and is due to end at 2.30pm. The way in which the children swim one race after another is quite amazing.
We hope to see many parents at the annual Board of Governors Reception this Friday evening 15th February. The short presentations are a good way of learning more about the school’s administration and plans.
What a wonderful start to the year – to have Colet House open and up and running after being out of action most of last year. A big thank you to all who pushed to have it ready for the start of the year: it now offers a refurbished and dynamic kitchen under the leadership of Donna Moor (let’s get out priorities right!); a restyled hall spaciously housing us for assemblies, singing and lunch; three bright classrooms and the staff work room and common room, as well as offices for the Mistresses (that’s where you will find us).
Another warm welcome to new staff: Mrs. Judith Navidi for 3rd class, Miss Simona Cipollone for Upper 1st, and Miss Sarah Marley for one of the new Lower 1st classes.
The new recruits have settled into various classes, and in particular the new Lower 1st children seem to have taken to school like ducks to water, with minimal fuss and tears! Seventeen of them have siblings at John Colet, and all of them seem to have been well prepared: holiday get-togethers no doubt helped.
We would like to remind you that there will be a Board of Governors Reception for parents and staff at 7.30 p.m. in the Hall on Friday 15thFebruary ; this incorporates the P&F AGM and re-elections! Last year’s P&F was large and very supportive, and we hope this continues.
So welcome back to all and we look forward to a happy, fulfilled and very productive year!
Some of our new Lower First students at lunch in the dining hall.
Here we are at the end of another eventful and rewarding year: what a year!
Now we look forward to one of the year’s highlights which carries us forward to the following year: Speech and Prize night – the rewards of the year past, and the promise of the year to come with the announcement of the 2013 Office Bearers for the school, all beautifully cradled in the performances of the school’s showcase Choirs. This year the Choirs’ performances are the swansong for Mrs Mane and Miss Irvine as Choir Mistresses, and heartfelt thanks to them both for the exceptionally high standard of performance we have enjoyed. The Infant’s Department is sadly losing Mr Kininmonth and Miss Hayes, and we will be welcoming Miss Miles (Choir Primary), Miss Marley (Lower First) and Miss Cipollone (Upper 1st) to join our team.
It remains only to say thank you to parents and others for the incredible support we have continued to receive, especially around the fire, to thank Mrs Moore and her undaunted team for the outdoor lunches and service to the teachers, and to say “Merry Christmas to You All!”
A 'stained glass' window by Upper First T students.
Our core values of Care, Respect and Service are all embodied in the practice of good manners.
It has been quite obvious around the school that the children are practising last week’s direction relating to speaking to others: amongst other things, addressing people by name, looking at them, speaking clearly and not interrupting. “Please” and “thank you” also go a long way! It would be excellent to support this at home and abroad.
This week we will target standing aside for adults at doorways. This little courtesy requires wakefulness, and the respect it engenders helps everyone to be more mindful of one another.
Rehearsals for the Christmas Celebration are going full steam ahead. The performance of the Nativity and carols will be held upstairs in Shakespeare House on Tuesday 27th November, from 9.00 to 10.00 a.m. We are looking forward to a delightful presentation. This is also the occasion when children are invited to bring a Christmas present (unwrapped) for the underprivileged. The Treasure Chest into which they go (they are then delivered to the Smith Family) will be outside the Office on the day.
Unfortunately both Mistresses will be away from School on that day attending an In-service Course at the Association of Independent Schools about the new Curriculum for schools. The Headmaster will be your host!