The weather was against us! – no Sports Carnival on Tuesday, but the new date of 25th November was easily arranged although the calendar is a bit of a “minefield” of end-of-year parties, excursions and other exciting events. Sixth Class is rolling towards the end of their John Colet careers, and are making this doubly memorable with a series of happenings. Rehearsals for Speech Night are underway, and of course there is the Nativity by Second Class coming up the day after the Carnival.
Mufti Day was bright occasion at school, and most of the children came to school sporting “something black” to signify that we were collecting the “gold coin” penalty money for a group of disadvantaged girls at Warwick Farm who are devoting themselves to working for charitable causes. Callum T and his family made a presentation at the Monday Assembly, explaining all about it. $415.75 was collected, and will be handed to Callum to pass on. Thank you to all who participated! A great initiative, Callum.
The Nativity is traditionally accompanied by gift giving on the part of the children, with suitable items going to the needy and underprivileged. These will be collected in the large Treasure Chest that will be placed outside the Maclaren Hall. We hope to receive some gifts for 15-year-old girls, suitable to the Warwick Farm group.
We are all working towards bringing the final term of 2013 to a fulfilling, successful and peaceful end – this to be done by a careful adherence to our school values – Stillness, Truthfulness, Care, Service, Respect.
The School has been full of young adults this week and will be so next week too. Most delightful! Apart from our bright and energetic Gap students, we have had Alex Ladomatos (at University) and Akshai Bhandari (just finished school) helping to move the Office staff out of Shakespeare 1, and we have had Oscar Smith on Community Service (Year 10 St. Andrew’s Cathedral School), his blazer bristling with his achievements! Next week we have Ashwin Manaktala and Tobias Hanson both on Community Service. All these young people are ex-JCS students, and it is such a pleasure seeing them choose to come and work here. Michaela Miles staged her “Open Choir Lesson” on Tuesday – some parents came along. The children sang beautifully – specifically things that they will not be performing on Speech Night. And of course, the Office staff have moved: Carmen Griffiths ensconced in her “orange world” reception; half of the office staff in a new space behind the Headmaster’s office and the others in an office space in Ralston Avenue. (They visit regularly). This week the teachers had a special morning tea, which we do each term. A section of the staff supply “goodies” and the idea is for the staff to have the chance to mix. We had a sumptuous feast which also marked the occasion of thanking several people who are leaving at the end of the year, very sadly. Lynne Werner is leaving and retiring to a northern coastal town, after many years at JCS, Mary Garrett is also moving: from Newcastle and will be settling somewhere south, destination as yet unknown, Helen Thomas, Leisa Brown and Rachel Alexander, three of our wonderful Teacher’s Aides, are regretfully leaving. Marie White is taking a year’s leave to teach underprivileged children somewhere in the Third World, David McDermott is taking up studies in the health sector and will only be here one day a week; Matthew Collis served in the John Colet Sailing Club for 20 years and is retiring, as is the Dance Teacher, Angela Miller. Two of our “Gappies” are finishing up at the end of the term – Andrea Mego, returning to South Africa, and Sam Bodington, seeking adventure further afield. We send them all off with our blessings and wishes that they come back to visit from time to time.
It's been Shakespeare, Shakespeare and more Shakespeare at John Colet this week. The Primary Festival is on and the Infants children had a preview at school on Monday and Tuesday when the Primary put on six wonderful dress rehearsal performances for them in the Hall. The real performances on Thursday were even better, and the auditorium was packed. There was much laughter and sometimes tension as the plays rolled out. A big thank you to the class teachers, so ably assisted by Zoe Emanuel and the Headmaster, and of course thanks for the wonderful contribution the parents made in sourcing costumes, backdrops and props, as well as providing a supper at the theatre. The Friday performances will undoubtedly be as well supported and as enjoyable. For the 6th Class, it will be their final John Colet Shakespeare performance.
Our photographer Michael Hennessey took his usual wonderful photos and they are available to view at his website www.hennos.com.
The next big event is the Sports Carnival, combined Infants and Primary, which will be at Narrabeen on 12th November. Today the Infants had a very successful run-through with Tim Roslin and the teachers. Primary will have their practice next week.
A focus this week for the practice of "Give of your best" has been in speech. Children have been reminded to speak clearly and in full sentences. This has of course found its full expression in the Shakespeare plays, and the diction this year was noticeably improved.
A hot, dry, smoky week at John Colet School, but not nearly so hot, dry and smoky as at schools in the Blue Mountains and other affected communities. Our sympathies and thoughts go to all those enduring and fighting fires. What wonderful examples there have been of care and service to the community from the fire fighters and their enormous support teams, endangering their own safety to help others and their property.
Everyone in the school has been working to condense and showcase their Shakespeare performances for the visit of John Bell and some members of the Board of Governors on Friday: we also look forward to Primary’s full presentations of their plays on Monday and Tuesday, which they will do for each other and the Infants children, in preparation for “the real thing” at the Glen Street Theatre.
The strong winds have made caring for the playground a little more onerous this week, but this remains the focus of the CARE practice.
On Tuesday 29th parents of 2013 Lower First are warmly invited to morning tea with the Headmaster and Mistresses. This will be the final class morning tea for the year – it has been a most enjoyable and well-attended series of get-togethers. Thank you to all those who are able to come.
A week of great rejoicing in the halls of John Colet School! Some outstanding results in the Naplan from children in years 3 and 5: all the teachers are to be congratulated for their work in preparing the children; and the children themselves must be feeling pleased that their hard work is reflected in the wonderful scores they achieved. And why not? – let’s congratulate the parents too! Another happy event was the Introductory Day for next year’s Lower 1st intake. The children had a settled and productive morning, and many of the parents came to the morning tea in the Staff Common Room, where Mrs Moor had laid on her usual feast. Sixteen of the children were siblings of children already in the school, and this of course helps the event to be more relaxed. Thank you to all involved. While this was on, the Infants children went to an ABC concert, which was also deemed a success, and we heard reports of a group of Lower First children enthusiastically responding to a call to dance on stage! Good show. This next week we are highlighting CARE of the playground. We are instituting an “emu patrol” in the grounds, which means that each grade has a designated area of the school where they pick up rubbish. This is a five-minute weekly job, and we hope it will also serve to stop some of the littering, as well as producing a clean playground. Week Three also brings the Phillip Market day on Tuesday 22nd and the attenuated Shakespeare performances on Friday 25th for our Festival Patron, Mr. John Bell. The Board of Governors has also been invited to attend these, which will be held in the Hall. Break a leg! Summer uniform this week!
NB Primary children will need a packed lunch from Monday 28st Oct – Fri 1st Nov which is the week of the Shakespeare Festival.
Parents – come join the choir! Morning tea On Wednesday 6th November there’s an open choir lesson for Primary from 8.40 – 9.15 am followed by a morning tea. Parents please come along, it’s a great way to see what goes into creating the beautiful singing we hear at school events such as Speech Night.
The children settled in very quickly, and in spite of the heat – up and down – everyone applied themselves and got straight down to work. Shakespeare resounds around the school, and we are all looking forward to the Primary performances in a few weeks: don’t forget to buy your tickets early (they go on sale on 14th October), and please do encourage as many relatives and friends as you can to come along! It is so rewarding for the children to see a full audience, and of course it is a wonderful showcase for the school. This year the Infants’ children will be treated to performances at school – this simplifies things for everyone. Thursday will see an Introductory Day for next year’s Lower First, and Mrs. Tefay and Mrs. Connell, next year’s L1st teachers, confess to being very excited about meeting their new charges (although they surrender their present ones with regret!). The parents of this new intake are invited to a morning tea with the Headmaster and Mrs. Donald in the Staff Common Room. Meanwhile, Lower 1st, Upper 1st and 2nd Class will be treated to an ABC Concert in Ultimo, and will be away for the morning. Upper 1st parents are also reminded about a class morning tea with the Headmaster on Tuesday 15th, also to be held in the Staff Common Room. Our focus for the practice of CARE this week is once again school uniform. There is a changeover period from winter to summer uniform for the first two weeks of term: full uniform please – one or the other. It is very nice to see all children arrive at school in full uniform: polished shoes, the right socks, shoelaces done up and shirts tucked in: hats of course! The same applies when leaving school, although realistically by then the shoes are not quite so shiny!
Welcome back to school for the last term of 2013! It’s a big term filled with a panorama of preparation and rehearsals for the year-end events, including the Primary Shakespeare Festival, a Nativity performance, Speech night preparation, the school Chess Competition, events marking the graduation of 6th class and other delights such as the Picnic Day. A few exciting things have happened over the holidays, including the establishment of garden beds for the new Gardening Club (thanks to Ms Delien supported by some funding from the P&F); the move by some of the Administration to premises in Ralston Avenue (just round the block), the imminent relocation of Reception to a new spot in the old Admin Building, and the freeing up of Shakespeare 1 – back to a potential teaching space. And all the while the grass is growing in the part of the Eora playground that has been newly turfed!
“Always give of your best” is the aspect of our Values that we will give attention to this term, and we have distilled this to the word “CARE” for the children to remember easily. This is reflected in the following questions: • Am I giving full attention? • Is it beautiful? • Is it well presented? • Is it pleasing to others? Teachers will take this up in the classroom and perhaps this could also be taken up at home! Care of uniform and the presentation of ourselves as members of John Colet School will be an early focus, moving on to care of each other, our possessions, care in our speech and actions, care in our work, and care for our environment, both natural and man-made. Good wishes and hopes for a productive and rewarding term!
Week 9 has been quiet at John Colet School, as the whole Primary Department has been off on excursions, and the weather has been very kind: we expect to hear more about their adventures and hopefully see some photos.
A very successful and delicious Roman breakfast was held for one of the Latin classes, who dressed in tunics and togas for the event: the menu included “wine”, fresh and dried fruit, cheese and eggs, olives of course, baked “dormice” – a real Roman favourite, and a generous supply of Roman marching biscuits – not unlike our ANZAC biscuits – which the children had made themselves the day before. No drunken and disorderly behaviour was reported, and the Romans returned to class well satisfied, distributing Roman marching biscuits to all and sundry!
This coming week we are expecting a two-day visit from Mrs. Monique Miotto from our sister school in Melbourne – the Erasmus School. She is Head of Learning and looks after the curriculum.
A third gap student has joined us from England for six months – Mr. Sam Bodington. Sam’s father, Peter Bodington, lived in Australia for twelve years as a young man, but Sam will only be here for six months. Sam went to St. James’ School in London until the end of Year 10 and then transferred to Brockwood Park in Hampshire for his two final years of schooling. Brockwood Park is a small school of 60, run by Krishnamurti followers. Sam has a particular attraction to Drama and Literature: and his visit has been most timely, with the Primary Shakespeare Festival coming up mid-next term.
Generosity continues as the theme until the end of the week. This virtue gives endless opportunity for practice, both at home and abroad.
Making Roman marching biscuits for the Roman breakfast.
We can happily say that Grandparents’ Day was a resounding success! The first indicator was the wonderful response – over 100 grandparents came, and were entertained by their grandchildren, served and looked after by Sixth Class and given the opportunity to see lessons in progress. I must say that some of the children’s writing about their Grandparents which was displayed in the classrooms, was very touching, as well as portraits and photos. Thanks to all those who contributed. The week ahead brings more adventure: the Primary classes will be away from Wednesday to Friday exploring life further afield – Milson Island and Bathurst. Undoubtedly they will have opportunities both to learn and to have fun! Generosity – our present practice: A little reflective moment: all the children have been blessed with gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities: every child can dip into this cornucopia of endowments: some have gifts, some talents, all have particular abilities and certainly all have opportunities. The big question for all of us is what we do with them. Marsilio Ficino, 15th century Renaissance scholar, philosopher and mentor to many of the Renaissance “greats”, states in a letter to Cosimo de’ Medici that whilst a person may have many endowments, he or she will not be truly happy until they discover what they are. Having discovered them, they need to be used, for what is the point of a gift or talent that lies idle? However, real happiness follows when these abilities and opportunities are made good use of, and that always entails using them rightly for the good of all. Using what we have been given for the benefit of all is an act of generosity. Let us thus be generous to one another.
Grandparents and students mingle in a classroom on Grandparents Day.
A warm thank you to the parents who have been able to come to the Headmaster’s Class Breakfasts in the Staff Common Room – so far the Primary parents and next the Infants’ parents. Thanks also to Donna for providing delicious things to help the conversation along. These occasions have been most enjoyable and have offered a further opportunity for communication on a more personal level. Our next big social “event” is to welcome Grandparents to the School on Wednesday 4th from 8.30 to 10.30. The children will be serving and then performing. The location is the Hall. This week we welcome a second Gap Student to John Colet – this time from London. Joy Mendes da Costa had her education at St. James’ Girls School, one of our sister schools in London. She will be here till mid-2014. Her interests are sports, drama and history, and we look forward to her helping teachers in all of these areas, as well as Sanskrit, Art and Singing. In her spare time she likes to play tennis and lacrosse and read and sing. Joy is a very experienced babysitter! She is intending to take up studies in education next year with the hope of becoming a teacher. The Garden Club is very close to “launch” thanks to the great and enthusiastic efforts of Alex Delien and a host of helpers, including members of staff. We are encouraging interested children to keep to existing after school activities and wait for gardening to rotate to another day of the week, which we will do each term, so that everyone gets a chance to participate. Best of luck! We are moving on from Steadfastness to the practice of Generosity for the next few weeks. Generosity includes allowing others to enjoy what is theirs – their personal talents and abilities as well as possessions; it includes not taking more than we actually need, and also of course the usual concept of giving and sharing with others what we ourselves have and enjoy. There is much scope here! Please encourage this quality in the children: it is one that can bring much happiness to both giver and receiver.
The past week was studded with events and achievements, which made it a happy one in spite of the very cold weather, and the sudden return of winter. Congratulations to the Chess cohort! John Colet will be represented by a team at the semi-finals of the Inter-Schools Chess Challenge – an outstanding achievement for a school of relatively small size! Well done Miro, Heather B and the children and helpers. We look forward to a happy outcome – win or lose! There were three events – one was an excursion by the Primary children to see the show “Storm Boy”, based on the famous Australian novel of the same name by Colin Thiele. This was much enjoyed by one and all, and apparently had some great puppeteering in it. The Infants too had puppets on Wednesday, this time shadow puppets: a one-person show called The Owl's Apprentice, and very delightful. Supporting our child protection instruction, three Police officers came to John Colet on Wednesday morning to talk to each of the Infants grades about “Keeping Safe”: they covered getting lost and Stranger Danger, and the talks were very interactive, reinforcing what many of the children already knew. Our practice of Steadfastness is being remembered by staff and children alike: it very much links with self-discipline, stillness, reliability and self-respect. Two important items: 1. GRANDPARENTS’ DAY: An invitation has been sent out to all families for Grandparents Day on 4th September, including a programme. If your child has no available grandparents and wishes to invite an Honorary Grandparent or two, please feel free. Please understand that it is vital that you register this attendance with the School Receptionist – we need this information in advance for catering purposes. Your co-operation would be much appreciated by the Catering Department! 2. AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Please note that if your children are attending after school activities other than After School Care, such as Pisa training, Mandarin, Music lessons, French, and soon Gardening Club etc., if you are not there to collect them, they will be sent to After School Care as a routine matter of protection and safety. Please understand that we cannot have them running about without supervision whilst waiting for you. The office staff goes by 4 p.m. and teachers will generally be working in their classrooms. Many thanks.
Pictured above is Jenny Ellis of Little Wing Puppets, with the star of her show, The Owl's Apprentice.
The Infants Shakespeare Festival was a resounding success, and as usual, nothing short of miraculous!
Top marks to the class teachers, the Drama teacher, Miss Emanuel, and the many helping hands who provided costumes, props, hair and make-up and also the delicious suppers at the evening shows. The office staff also played its part in providing the venue, setting up the new stage and backdrop and selling the tickets. Mrs. Moor and her intrepid team did wonders in providing “Breezeway Lunches” three days in a row, so the Hall could remain set up for the show, and parents didn’t have to be called on to provide packed lunches on top of everything else! It certainly was a wonderful event and judging from the smiling faces of parents and visitors, everyone involved thought so. The children were praised for their flair, courage, steadfastness and discipline. I am sure that you would agree that these were the qualities shown.
Now roll on the Primary Shakespeare Festival ……. Practice is already well under way!
The school photos were taken without a hitch, and once again, the children are to be congratulated on their behaviour. The photo team told us that the children were polite and co-operative.
We are now practising STEADFASTNESS. This means sticking to things: our values, keeping promises, seeing a job through, completing a task even though we don’t much like it, being faithful to friends and holding to the Truth – these and much more. It is so easy to change our minds when things don’t go the way we like.
There have been quite a few absences this week – staff and children - and we wish everyone a quick recovery.
5th class has been growing cress in egg shells, making hairy heads. Great fun!
Over the past two weeks we have been practising forgiveness. This mainly arises in the children when there is a dispute or some kind of disharmony. Most of the children have a very forgiving nature anyway, but it’s good for them to be reminded and it’s a wonderful asset if they can manage to continue to practise forgiveness as they get older. Forgiveness does not necessarily remove the consequences of accountable behaviour, but dissolves resentment, anger and disharmony for both parties. It’s been a week rather dominated by Shakespeare and the school has been resounding with words of the Bard. So much effort is put into this Festival by teachers, children and parents, both on the frontline and behind the stage as it were, and to such magnificent effect. The “breezeway lunches” which have been necessitated by the Festival, have proved very popular, and the children have enjoyed the slight “picnic” atmosphere of eating outside on the lawn. Thanks to Donna and her team, who seem able to meet all contingencies and still come up smiling! Uniforms are looking better: please keep up attention to this very important aspect of the School’s presentation. We are especially looking for full uniform and a neat and clean presentation. Leaving the school in the best possible condition can be a challenge after a day at the coal face!
Mrs. McKendrick and Mrs. Dunn have left for the Plato Summer School in Delphi. Any Primary issues can be discussed either with the Headmaster, or Mrs. Donald.
The artworks this week are from two 4th class D students: Impressionist style vases of flowers, seen through the green shutters of the artist Monet's house. Lovely work!
Ryde Eisteddfod, Infants Shakespeare and forgiveness
The John Colet Choir of 25 children from 4th, 5th and 6th class entered in the Ryde Eisteddfod earlier in the week and performed beautifully. They looked very smart in their uniforms and many thanks to the parents for presenting them so well. Although they didn’t get a place, they sang very sweetly, but made a few mistakes. Mrs. Miles commented on their good sportsmanship – they were all very cheerful afterwards, even though they didn’t gain a place. In this they were fine representatives of the school, along with their good manners and consideration. The Infants’ Shakespeare dress rehearsal, with a Primary audience, was very well received and we would like to whet your appetites by saying how wonderfully well it went. This is of course the first time we are using the lunchroom, and thanks to the Catering team for accommodating this by having “breezeway lunches”. We’ll save the congratulations for the end of next week! Progress (2nd Class) and Scholarship (4th Class) Testing also took place this week. The Progress Testing, done by Robert Allwell & Co., is a good diagnostic tool to help the teachers in assessing progress. Some ICAS results have been returned with several Distinctions and Credits. Thank you to all the Macquarie Parents for the good work put in at the Working Bee. That event was also the occasion of the school participating in National Tree Day. Alex Delien organised the planting near Top House of a White Aspen to mark this Day – this is a “bush tucker” tree with beautiful white blossoms. Many thanks to those who attended. Mike MacDonald generously gave his talk “Unleashing Your Parenting Super Power” to a group of parents and teachers, and he was his usual informative and amusing self. Many thanks to all who attended – and of course to Mike himself. Forgiveness is our behaviour theme for the next few weeks, and the children are reminded of this practice many times during the day. This is based on the Biblical understanding in the Lord’s Prayer and calls for a generosity of spirit.
And don’t we all really know it’s WINTER …! On that theme, please check your child's winter uniform. Many children have been coming to school without jumpers and looking slightly blue. Remember that Belrose is a particularly cold spot, and that there can be a drop in the temperature during the day. Five members of staff have attended a highly informative and successful Conference, hosted by the Dept. of Education, on Gifted and Talented Education. We hope to see the benefits of this roll out over the coming terms. Two of the keynote speakers were internationally renowned educators who have specialised in Gifted and Talented education, and have published many well-known research articles and guidelines for teachers, both in books and papers – Dr. June Maker and Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska. Both ladies have developed educational models that are used throughout the world. This course confirmed the fact that the John Colet curriculum is indeed an enriched one, and we noted that many of the concepts espoused are already in place at our school. You may be interested to know that Mrs. Toni Cleaves, who looks after the school facilities, also attended a two-day workshop: on Workplace Health and Safety. By-the-by, it was so lovely to return to the school after those days away and find it bedecked with flowers – they seemed to be everywhere after Teachers’ Day, and that is over and above the flowers that were taken by Lower First to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home. What a treat. Many thanks to the parents for their generosity. Fourth class children enjoyed a Greek day earlier this week. There was much excitement with the John Colet Olympics in which some of the children won bronze, silver and gold medals. There was also delicious Greek food and many enjoyable activities. This Sunday at the Macquarie Working Bee, a group of interested parties, under the leadership of Mrs. Alexandra Delien, will be supporting the Plant a Tree programme. A new “bush tucker” tree will be planted near Top House in the garden bed where a gum tree was recently blown down. A garden club is shortly to be established. We continue to encourage and support acts of service to the school and each other, and also to practise Patience.