Have you seen the new ”population” in the John Colet Garden Club area. There has been an invasion of scarecrows, and very scary too – a week before Hallowe’en! A great job, children and gardening ladies. I wonder whether the scarecrows frighten away rabbits – I have seen plenty of those around – it’s a bit like Mr. McGregor’s garden up there with Flopsy Bunnies everywhere!
The wonderful promise shown at the Primary Shakespeare rehearsals last week paid off, and the performances were absolutely outstanding. Not only that, but the children behaved so well during all the visits to the theatre to rehearse in situ. The teachers and ZoeEmanuel are to be thanked for their inexhaustible efforts and patience. There are many others to mention with gratitude – mostly parents who helped with costumes, food, makeup, hairstyling , transport. The Headmaster too was indefatigable, and was here, there and everywhere. Many thanks to all.
In-house Chess Competitions are looming up this week, in school hours. Heather Berlee and Simone Pietschner are the organisers, with Simone as Chess Chief-Elect. Infants are on Monday and Primary on Wednesday. We also have next year’s Lower First coming for a “Practice Half-Day” on Thursday.
"Give of your best" - there are plenty of opportunities this term to support this value and this is what we have seen with the Primary Shakespeare. They are certainly giving of their best. Last week we saw 'snippets' of all plays for John Bell's annual visit. Now we have been treated to full dress rehearsals of all the Primary plays. It is so encouraging to see the growth in the understanding, presentation and performance of the children: confidence and panache. And there is the sense of their absolute enjoyment. We look forward to the 'real thing' in the coming week. Break a leg!
The week started off with a “new Headmaster” – Mr. William W, presiding at Assembly, suitably kitted out and quite looking the part. His parents acquired this privilege for him at the “Auction of Promises” at the Alice and Wonderland dinner. He did an amazing job, and the children too responded admirably. William had various other duties during the day, including lunch with the Head Boy and Head Girl.
We had our annual visit from Mr. John Bell, who is the Patron of our Shakespeare Festival. He is retiring as CEO of the Bell Shakespeare Company, (after 25 years), but will be taking on other things, including some work with the Sydney Opera Company. He has also agreed to continue to be our Patron! The children did a great job with their “mini performances”: the Festival is in Week 4, so buy your tickets. You can read a selection of the children's Q & A with Mr Bell here.
A busy week, because the whole Infants School went to an ABC Concert. The children were prepared as usual by Mrs. Tefay; the music was excellent, but the programme was a little less interactive than usual. Third Class had an outing to the Imax to see a film on Ancient Egypt, followed by a picnic at Darling Harbour.
Week three is the beginning of complete change to summer uniform. The first two weeks are a period where winter/summer uniform is optional (so has the weather been this week!). Girls’ hair must be tied back – we have had some head lice already, and children should leave the school in full uniform, which means laces done up and shirts tucked in. Uniform guidelines can be found here, or look in your child's school diary for the the photo guide. No flouro shoelaces on sports shoes please.
“Give of your best” – there are plenty of opportunities this term to support this value.
A smooth start to Term 4, which is always a busy one, somewhat taken over for the Primary by Shakespeare. Swimming has also come back into the timetable for the term.
On Thursday evening Malcolm Smith delivered a very successful talk on “Mindfulness” to about 40 people, not all parents of John Colet School – we opened it up to a wider community. What Mr. Smith offered was very much in line with our approach.
The coming week marks a visit by Roger Rogerson, artist, who will be working with 6th class on their Shakespeare mural on one of the panels outside Colet House – the first of many! We have the annual visit of our Shakespeare Festival Patron, Mr. John Bell, on Tuesday, 14th October. He will be treated to “potted” versions of all the plays, and we traditionally have a Q&A session with the older children afterwards. The entire Infants School will be going to the ABC in Ultimo to hear a concert programme, for which Mrs. Tefay has been preparing them in Singing lessons.
Mrs. McKendrick will be on Long Service Leave from Wednesday 15th October, to Tuesday 21st. Any urgent matters should be referred to Mrs. Donald or to the Headmaster.
The “new face about town” is Adam Black, pictured below, who is here for the term as a gap student, and is already proving invaluable, as he is accompanying the Infants swimming groups to the pool and is the only one on the staff, as a male, who is able to enter the boys’ change rooms!!
Adam completed his High School Education at St. James’ School for Boys, at Ashford, Middlesex, a large and well provided campus. He studied Classical Civilisation, Ancient History and History for his A Levels, and wishes to pursue these subjects at University next year. He is interested in Rugby, Football and Athletics. His older sister, Alena, attended Melbourne University in 2012, and it was she who persuaded Adam that the Antipodes was the place for a gap “year”. Adam will move on to the Ficino School in Auckland in the first term of 2015. Best wishes for a happy and productive stay, Adam!
Welcome back to school, after what we hope was a wonderful Spring break! The teachers are refreshed and ready to go!
School uniform is optional summer/winter for the first two weeks and thereafter summer only.
Exciting news is that the P&F-sponsored fitness equipment has been installed and is looking wonderful: there are “chin ups”, “push ups”, climbing ladders, “leap frogs” and a hurdle, all cushioned with eucalyptus soft fall. Many thanks to the Parents and Friends for providing this new interest in the playground, which fits in with our Crunch and Sip/LiveLifeWell@School programme.
Another Gap Student has arrived – Adam Black, who is staying at the Laytons: more about him in the next edition.
And news just in, Brigitte S and Ryan B in 6th class were awarded Distinctions in the Sanskrit International Examination administered by the St James School in London. Congratulations to them both on their terrific results.
The term has come to an end – and a busy and successful one it has been.
5th and 6th Class had a wonderful trip to Canberra, particularly memorable for 6th Class. Both Upper 1st and 2nd classes had great outings too: U1st to the Environmental Centre at Narrabeen, and 2nd Class to Bradley’s Head, Sydney Harbour National Park, looking at “shelter”.
Primary Shakespeare is well under way, and before we know where we are, we will be watching the plays at the Glen Street Theatre.
Today there was a special Assembly for Founder’s Day and Mr. Mane spoke about Leon MacLaren and his vision for schools such as ours. The Head Boy and Head Girl gave speeches to the assembled teachers and children about what makes John Colet School special. The Headmaster also emphasised the need for the children to honour their parents, and to find ways of expressing that honour.
Uniform next term – optional winter or summer uniform for the first two weeks, dependent on the weather, and then from week 3 onwards, summer uniform only.
Many thanks to all the parents and friends of the School who have worked in so many ways to help with and enhance the busy life of the School. Happy holidays!
Week 10 and the end of term in sight. When we have school photos taken and the staff are being photographed, one thing the cameraman always says to make the teachers smile is …”School Holidays” – we all say it and cannot help a smile. Any parents feel the same?
A most wonderful Gala Dinner was held on Saturday last – what a splendid occasion, and there was obviously much behind-the-scenes work, as the event ran very smoothly, under the amusing guidance of John Brogden – who was a wonderful M.C. It is hard to imagine that 30 years have gone by since that first day, pictured below...
One of those little lads is now on the Board!
The weather was very kind to the 3rd and 4th Class children who had a marvellous time at Milson Island, and 5th and 6th class children are gearing up for their visit to Canberra next week.
Mrs. Carolyn Lambert made a guest appearance at Monday’s Assembly with prizes for the winners of the “Guess the Teacher” tea towel competition and we had a few laughs at the wonderful drawings the children did of the teachers. The Strings Ensemble also appeared and played several pieces for the assembled teachers and children: the improvement since their last appearance was quite noticeable.
If any parents from JCS wish to enrol in a School of Philosophy Course, see the ladies in the JCS office and fill in the form and ask the school to fax it to SOP. For more information click the link below. School of Philosophy Courses
Of course the Talk of the Town at present is the forthcoming Gala Dinner: there is a certain buzz about the school today– hope you will all be there!
Excellent news on the academic front: John Colet children did extremely well in the Naplan, scoring well above the State Average in all tests. We did particularly well in Reading – in one of the classes the children ALL SCORED above the top of the scale!
As well as these outstanding Naplan results, 6th class entered four children in the Australian Mathematics Trust’s Maths Competition with the following wonderful results: • Ryan B and Lucas V de S both scored High Distinctions and won prizes • Xavier S scored a High Distinction • Sean B received a Distinction
How about that! Congratulations to all these children who have represented the School so well in the public domain.
Staff news: Mrs. Ann Wakeford has agreed to work with the Special Education Department till the end of the year as an outside provider, to replace Mrs. Little who left our employ a few weeks back. Mrs. Wakeford brings back to us all her expertise and experience, and we are delighted that she has been able to do this. Olivia Buchanan has just arrived from the U.K. and will spend ten months at John Colet as a gap student. She has just graduated from our sister school, St. James’ in London. She has “connections” with us as her aunt and uncle have both been here as student teachers some years ago – Ellen and Richard Fletcher. Olivia has agreed to plunge in and will be going to Milson Island with Mrs. Renshaw, Mrs. Navidi, Miss Jackson, Miss Cipollone and 3rd and 4th classes next week.
Future Directions Address Parents are encouraged to attend a meeting at John Colet School on Wednesday 17th September at 7pm to hear short presentations by members of the Board of Governors and the Headmaster on school matters including fees, finances and building works.
Milson Island camp 3rd and 4th classes depart for Milson Island camp on Wednesday. Please arrive at school at 8am sharp as it's a tight schedule to meet the ferry. Children are to bring morning tea in a paper bag (not in luggage) to eat before the ferry trip.
Another wet week, and all things considered, the children managed well and behaved beautifully. Well done.
Another cause for congratulations was that at Assembly on Monday every child in the School was in full uniform, blazers on, and the shine on the children’s faces making up for a few pairs of shoes not quite up to scratch!
The Infants children enjoyed a delightful puppet show at the school on Tuesday, but all in all, just a quiet, hardworking week, with the Headmaster back at the helm!
It has been a wet week with Mrs. Moor vacating the lunchroom for indoor sport and teachers and children having “Hatchway” lunches – food taken from the servery and then back to class. Thank you Mrs. Moor for accommodating this so cheerfully.
This week at the Whole School Morning Tea, put on by the Primary Department, we said goodbye to Lucy Little (Special Ed. Dept.) who has been with us for three years, and the re-organisation of Spec. Ed. will happen when the Headmaster returns from his week of Long Service Leave. On that occasion, we also said a warm thanks to Geraldine West and Carol Krebs, both of whom has done an extraordinary amount of work, entirely out of the goodness of their hearts – Geraldine in the Shakespeare Costume Room, and Carol in the Library. This was much appreciated by all the Staff.
On the subject of staffing, we will soon be graced by the presence of two new Gap Students, Olivia Buchanan in week 8 and Adam Black at the beginning of Term 4 – both from England. More anon …..
On Wednesday the Primary children had an in-school event – a visit from an Aboriginal Story Teller, and from what I saw, the children were eating out of his hand! Also, the “Amazing Me!” evening for 5th and 6th class on Thursdaty, was attended by a record of 90 people.
And now, probably the best news of the week, John Colet Choir went to the Hawkesbury Eisteddfod (for small schools such as ours) and won both the Senior Choral Section and the Whole School Section. We are absolutely delighted. Congratulations children and Mrs. Michaela Miles – the Choir Mistress. Smiles all round!
The Infants children have been back hard at work this week, returning to a more normal routine after all the excitement and upheavals of the Infants Shakespeare Festival: the lunchroom looks empty without the stage, and Mrs. Moor was heard to give a sigh of relief after all the changes she and her team had to accommodate to get lunch to plate during that time: ( Many thanks!).
However … the words of Shakespeare, in this anniversary year, have not died away in the School, as the Primary are now fully underway with their rehearsals for the late October Primary Festival at the Glen Street Theatre.
School photos were taken (the process went very smoothly), but due to heavy rain the night before, we were unable to take the outdoor photo of the whole school. More anon …
We are still focusing on the giving of attention, and the Headmaster was telling the children at Monday’s Assembly that real strength is the ability to carry out what you intend, and weakness is being distracted by passing and unimportant things. A strong body is useful, but a strong heart and mind carry the day.
On a practical note: wearing of uniform has generally been very good this term, but the children were asked to give a little attention (and polish) to their shoes. We hope to be dazzled by shiny shoes on Monday!
The Headmaster will be away on leave this week, but Mrs. McKendrick and Mrs. Donald will be in place!
What a wonderful week! – the MacLaren Hall resounding with drama, dance and song, and this - the 450th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. I am sure he would be amazed and very proud to know that his wonderful works have endured: and bring to such young children so much enrichment, education and pleasure as well as opportunities to show courage and shine. It certainly was an opportunity for children and teachers alike to practise : • Stillness • Focused attention to the task in hand • Patience • Perseverance Congratulations to all involved: the Class teachers, Mrs. McDermott, Miss Cipollone, Miss Marley, Miss Iacono, Mrs. Tefay and Mrs. Connell; congratulations to Miss Zoe Emanuel, the Drama Coach and to all the parents who so lovingly and efficiently help in many, many ways. Thank you to the Headmaster for his amusing introductions, and we mustn’t forget to thank the Administration, who work quietly in the background. We must also thank Donna Moor and her kitchen staff, who have done wonders to keep us well fed in the face of so many disruptions to their work space.
This coming week we have several children coming to have a trial day at the school; Mrs. McKendrick and Mrs. Donald with be away with Mrs. Mane on Tuesday at a workshop in the city on Re-Registration for the School in 2015. Wednesday is PHOTO DAY – come to school in full uniform – spruced up!
It’s arrived! The Infants’ Shakespeare Festival, that is! This coming week sees the roll-out of the enormous amount of work put in by Infants’ Teachers and support staff, literally “to get the show on the road”. Break-a-leg all round! And we have no doubt that all the rehearsing and preparation will bear its usual delightful fruit. Dress Rehearsals begin on Monday and Tuesday - Primary classes will be the audience. Wednesday will be “the real thing” for Lower First in the morning and 2nd Class in the evening, and the other classes later in the week.
If you are not a current parent at John Colet School reading this, and would like to see the marvellous achievement of 5-8 year olds performing Shakespeare, do call our Registrar Belinda James at school on 9451 8395 and she will arrange your seats.
Two major events took place this week – the testing of 2nd and 4th classes by Academic Assessment Services: this is designed to track the children’s progress in an unbiased way through their Primary years. It gives valuable diagnostic information to the teachers. The staff members from Academic Assessment Services were very impressed with the ability of the children to focus over an extended period.
The second event - a victory for John Colet Primary Choir who were entered, with their Choir Mistress, Mrs. Michaela Miles, to perform at the Ryde Eisteddfod and took 2nd place: there was only one mark between 1st and 2nd places. The children performed beautifully and their behaviour was a credit to the school. We must also thank all the parents for sending their children looking very smart and well presented in their school uniforms.
The final debates of the season were hosted by John Colet on Wednesday, and guests at the school were from Gaulston College, the Sydney Japanese School and The Alexander School. The Japanese School team won against The Alexander School team. The John Colet team debated against Gaulston College, and a tie was declared – so close were their arguments.
Teachers and children alike are enjoined to practise the following sequence throughout the day, whenever remembered: • Stillness • Focused attention to the task in hand • Patience • Perseverance. Try it!
The Teachers’ Day Ceremony was beautiful, with the usual cornucopia of flowers, and a conversation between the Headmaster and the children at Assembly on some unusual teachers, such as the Earth: what does that teach us? The children came up with – patience, abundance, yielding food and plants, and steadfastness. The Headmaster related that one of our past gym teachers said that the earth was the best teacher in gymnastics, because if you don’t pay heed, you land on it in an unfortunate and painful manner! In a way, anything can be our teacher, if we are alert to it and consider its qualities.
Fourth Class children, with their teachers, paid a visit to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home across Forest Way and distributed many of the flowers to the people living there, hopefully bringing a little extra joy into their lives. Some of the flowers stayed at school, and we have all been able to enjoy them. Thank you to the parents from all the teachers for their continuing generosity.
Olivia Jones, one of our gap students from the U.K., has safely arrived home in Manchester. Her cheerful and efficient presence at Sport, in the Art Room and in the classroom has already been sorely missed. We wish her all the best in her studies. This is a good opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful contribution by these young men and women, who come to us as Gap Students, and offer full and enthusiastic service to John Colet. We think we can fairly say that they too have a great time, and once again, many parents and teachers have shown generosity and appreciation in their direction.
On Tuesday we had a visit to the School by three members of the local Police Force: the Infants had a session on Stranger Danger, and the Primary on Cyber Safety.
A very interested group of potential school parents came to an Information Evening on Wednesday. The Head Boy and Head Girl were great as examples of a John Colet education! Under the umbrella of our practice of the School Value – Always give of your best (care) our behaviour focus is on the giving of attention: children naturally pay attention to things that interest them, but are encouraged to attend fully to things that are perhaps a little more difficult.
It’s definitely Winter! But a very settled beginning to the term, with the children looking rested and smart in their winter kit. Our focus with the children, especially in the classroom, is the giving of attention – prolonged attention – to the task in hand. This produces a wonderful atmosphere in the room, almost palpable, when everyone is engaged, attentive, and working quietly. This links in nicely with our Value for the term - Always give of your best: Care: • Am I giving full attention? • Is it beautiful? • Is it well presented? • Is it pleasing to others?
Monday is Teacher’s Day, and the children are invited to bring flowers which will be laid before a photograph of our Teacher; Shantananda Saraswati. Some of the flowers will remain in the school, but in line with our tradition, 4th Classes will be going with their teachers to deliver a portion of the children’s offerings to the elderly people in the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home in Wyatt Avenue.
Our long-standing Groundsman, Karl Werner, is leaving us and moving fully into the gardening area. He will be working fulltime for Adam Trevallion, John Colet’s Landscape Gardening contractor: so we will still see him from time to time. He will be replaced by “Mr. Aldo”.
Joining us this term is Aneeka Bartlett (pictured below), a “mini-gap” student from St. James’ School, London. “Mini-gap” because she is only with us for three weeks – she only finished school a few weeks back, and will be returning to the U.K. in Week 4 to pursue studies in Sanskrit. We also have the pleasure of having Tara Blanche this term, a 4th year Practicum Student, who will be working with Miss Marley in Upper 1st.
The stage is up for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival and the children are rehearsing on it daily. Mrs. Moor has been her usual flexible self in accommodating changes to the lunch room.