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.
Welcome back after a good long break and some wonderful sunny weather. We look forward to receiving the children back at school tomorrow after the Professional Development Day today (Monday).
It looks like a full term beginning with Teachers’ Day on Monday of week 2, Cyber Safety talks for all the children at Grade level and of course the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival preparation will be going into top gear for their annual performances in Week 4. Parent support for this Festival is wonderful, as there will be many jobs to be done. A special note of thanks once again to Geraldine West for the storage, care and help with selection of the costumes. School photos, exciting 3-day excursions for the Primary – some classes to Bathurst and some to Milson Island – are coming up this Term, as well as the Primary preparation for their Shakespeare Festival in Term 4. It should be a full and enjoyable term. This term we will be targeting our core value of Care– and a good place to begin the term is care of uniform: the right clothes and equipment at the right time and place. More details on this in due course. All the best for the Term!
Working bee House Changes Term 3 working bee on 27th July is now to be held by Macquarie House. Term 4 working bee will be held by Flinders House on 12th October. Mindfulness Seminar – due to a double booking with the Amazing Me talks on the evening of Thursday 21st August, we will have to reschedule the seminar event. A new date will be advised.
Cyber safety talks The Cyber Safety/ Keeping them Safe talks for students will now be held on Tuesday 22nd July from 9.00 – 10.00 am. Manly Police will be sending four officers and the children will be divided into four groups, two in the Infants and two in the Primary.
It seems incredible that this is the last week of Term 2 and that the holidays (three weeks this time) are looming. It has been a short but eventful term, punctuated by the Open Day and the Sanskrit Competition.
Infants’ Shakespeare is coming up early next term, and tickets will soon be available. The performance schedule is below.
Teachers have had a very busy week with Parent-Teacher interviews following the Semester 1 Reports. The Headmaster being away in New Zealand for a Headmasters’ Conference, has also meant that certain people have been a little busier!
We have all received a delightful “keep this date free” card from the organising committee of the School’s Gala Dinner on 6th September, so we hope it’s in the diary.
Wishing all a happy and restful holiday.
Dates and Times of PERFORMANCE Week 4 Wednesday 6th August -Friday 8thth August
A threefold discipline: • become still, • focus, • then move into action as necessary, from that point. This continues to be a practice we wish to promote. It was certainly very obvious in the Sanskrit Recitation Competition on Thursday. What brilliance, what self-possession, what a delight. And not only from the performers, who were wonderful, but also from the watching children. Their interest was palpable and demonstrated by their focus and attention, and their self-discipline. Thank you to Mrs. Dunstan and Mrs. Childs for organising this great, annual event. We had some visitors, several parents: the Indian Vice-Consul, Mr Harjeet Singh Sethi and a few members of the Indian community with an interest in Sanskrit. This is how Anikan K and friends from 4th class spend their rainy-day Recess. The photo shows Anikan with a “class-made” pulley, constructed entirely from the contents of his pencil case: two rulers, a glue stick for a reel, a pencil sharpener for a conduit for the string (the string was threaded through it), the weights at the end of the string were a pen and a rubber. Anikan is seen testing it out over the edge of the balcony! It worked alright.
Cakes, cakes, cakes …. This week the school has been full of cakes (not that we have heard any complaints): cakes in the Staff Room, cakes in the office, cakes in the classrooms. This is, of course, the final echo of Open Day, and the Annual Cake Competition! We all agree – it was a wonderful event, well organised and well run, and everyone seemed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves. Many thanks to Lucy B and her team of tireless parents. One of the outstanding features of the day – besides the wonderful singing, the performances and the magnificent classrooms, was the behaviour of the children. Disciplined during the performances and beautifully behaved for the rest of the day: this is a tribute to the teachers and parents in the inculcation of the school values and the encouragement of self-discipline. The children have been congratulated, and very deservedly so. A mention should be given to the departure of two wonderful teachers who have made an enormous contribution to the school over many, many years. On Wednesday, the staff had a morning tea to say farewell and thank you to Judith Irvine and Ann Wakeford. Judith’s experience in and knowledge of the world of music was offered to students of the school to whom she taught music and choir: always to the highest standard. The brilliance of the present day choirs is attributable to her work, and also the work of Mrs. Sarah Mane. Mrs. Ann Wakeford has managed the Special Education facility at John Colet, also for many years. Her professionalism and caring approach have provided a great service to children in need of support or extension and also to their parents. Many thanks to both these ladies: Miss Irvine is moving to the United Kingdom, and Mrs. Wakeford will still be “on call” as a consultant, should she be needed. The coming week brings several events: John Colet Day Assembly on Monday – we are expecting some members of the Board of Governors and perhaps one or two other visitors. Also on Monday at 7.30 p.m. there will be a “State of the School” address given by the Headmaster, Mr. Gilbert Mane. Sanskrit is “in the air”, as the Sanskrit Competition is to be held on Thursday (heats on Tuesday). Our Guest of Honour will be the Vice-Consul for India. We trust that he will be “blown away” by the recitations! We always are. Our behaviour focus is Truthfulness, and we, teachers and children, have also been practising a threefold discipline: • become still, • focus, • then move into action as necessary, from that point. Try it – it’s a great way to begin anything!
We look pretty set for Open Day: stalls and stands are going up, classrooms are almost ready and rich with wonderful work, and the forecast for Sunday seems propitious for a wonderful day. Now we need the people …..Please be very mindful where you park. We have informed close neighbours of the event, but respecting the access to their homes is paramount.
We have been very lucky this term to have had the assistance of two “bright young things” from the U.K.: Joy Mendes da Costa has already been with us since mid-year 2013 and has made herself almost indispensable! Joy went to St. James School in London, our “mother school”, and when she leaves Australia early next month, she will firstly be going to Geneva to undertake an intensive 3-week French language course. After that she will be a volunteer pancake maker at “Art in Action”, a large and very successful annual event staged by the School of Philosophy (School of Economic Science in England) to host a wide range of artists who demonstrate their art and sell their wares. This event attracts around 45,000 from the U.K. and Europe. She’ll be an expert pancake maker by the end of it! Joy will then will go to the University of York to complete a four-year course in Education. Olivia Jones came at the beginning of Term 2, fresh from a month of volunteering at a school in Thailand, and before that, from four months as a nanny in the Cinque Terre, Italy. Olivia went to Bury Grammar School in Greater Manchester. In October this year she will begin her studies of Psychology at the University of Bristol.
They have immensely enjoyed their time in Australia, and our wonderful climate, the huge variety of landscapes so different from their own, and the richness and extent of what Sydney has to offer its residents and visitors. They found Australians to be open, friendly, generous and hospitable, and we won’t be too surprised if they return.
We mustn’t fail to mention that we have also been blessed with the presence this term of two Education students from Notre Dame University who are here for Professional Experience: Taylor Carmichael and Kristen Wilde. They too have been of great support and help, and hopefully are learning new skills on the job. Taylor and Kristen will be with us till the end of Term 2. Good wishes to all for Open Day: especially the teachers, the children performing and the P&F organisers.
On Tuesday morning the children seemed cheerful and confident as they prepared to write the first of the Naplan tests. We wished them good luck, knowing they would do their best and that is the most important thing. Very relevant here is the week’s practice for teachers and children which is to firstly become still, then focus and then do whatever is required by the situation. This is a skill for life, and is in fact the only reasonable way to approach whatever faces us.
Another outstanding event in our week was the performance of the John Colet Strings Ensemble at Monday’s Assembly, under the direction of Rosey Davidson. They played three pieces: it was delightful and it’s amazing to think that the Ensemble only came together last term. We look forward to regular future performances.
This weekend the parents of Cook House will come for Sunday morning to help prepare the school for Open Day; this is in tandem with the enormous effort put in by the teachers, children and especially the Art Department, not forgetting the P&F, to prepare the school for this annual event and to showcase the work and activities of John Colet School.