Also Plato Summer School in Athens, Delphi and the Peloponnese
In the coming week the Headmaster will be back at school after his international Headmasters’ Conference at Lucca in Italy, but Mrs. McKendrick and Mrs. Donald will both be absent for a few days at a G.A.T.E. Conference (Gifted and Talented Education) at Darling Harbour (no, not Italy unfortunately!). Mrs. Dawson and Miss Cipollone will also be attending the G.A.T.E. Conference.
There will be several teachers going on Long Service Leave during Term 3, some to attend a Plato Summer School in Athens, Delphi and the Peloponnese – in situ as it were. Individual teachers will contact their class parents about arrangements, and we are fortunate to have a back-up “team” of experienced and enthusiastic replacements!
A practice that we will be giving our attention to over the next weeks – both teachers and children alike – is the practice of patience. At the whole school Assembly the children considered ways in which they may practice patience in the class and in life in general. Waiting in a calm, considerate way is a very great skill.
Our core value for practice this term is SERVICE, and we will start with service in the dining room – attention to each other’s needs.
Last week and this week are the “Weeks of Reckoning”, with Parent-Teacher Interviews and Mid-Year Reports being sent out! Another way to approach this is to think of it as setting goals for the second half of the year – reinforcing the good bits and working on the not-so-good! The children have worked hard and are, no doubt, looking forward to the three week break.
As you know, we have worked on honesty this term, and in particular having the courage to own up. Here is a story with a happy ending: the Art Teacher reported that children had been putting sand in the outdoor troughs on the Art Room verandah, blocking the drains and making them inoperable. The children were asked to stop this and it was explained why. Nothing more was said and no-one was asked to own up. A short while later a boy from the Infants approached the Infants Mistress and very quietly said that he had done it and was sorry. A spontaneous admission! He was praised for his courage, and then he faced the consequence, which was an apology in the right quarters. This is the kind of behaviour we hope to encourage.
We are still working on standing aside for adults, and this is certainly a practice to keep up during the holidays. Warm wishes for a restful and enjoyable break!
Congratulations to the winners of the Sanskrit Competition, and indeed to all the children. Their delivery was excellent, and what was outstanding was the way in which they listened to each other as an audience, showing great respect to one another. Mrs. Childs has to be congratulated for her organising of the event, and also the House Captains who so astutely judged the Heats. It is so obvious that events such as this one go a long way in developing the children’s confidence and courage to stand before a large group of people and deliver a piece so beautifully. The children who falter and then carry on are especially to be praised.
Dr. Jenni Cover and Mrs. Naomi Smith – both Sanskrit scholars, are to be thanked for their encouraging remarks, and of course for their judging: this is always a most difficult task due to the high standard of the children’s performances.
On Wednesday the Headmaster hosted a breakfast for all the Open Day, Fair and Art Show volunteers: unfortunately there was not much notice given but about 25 people came, and had a delightful time, quaffing tea and nibbling Donna’s delicious breakfast.
Donna also attended the Live Life Well @ School, and she and the teachers who went along will be planning, with Alex D, how we will further implement this programme. Donna reports that we are already doing many of the recommended things: apparently there are many grants available and a committee is being formed to work towards accessing these grants and subsidies for classes, the kitchen and our proposed school garden.
Please encourage the children to follow through on a current practice – standing aside for adults: this is very much in line with our Value of Respect, and has such an uplifting effect.
Infants Mistress Mrs Judith Donald, left, with some parents at the morning tea.
Well, the Gods smiled upon us and blessed us on Sunday with the most perfect weather for the John Colet Open Day, Fair and Art Show. Not only the Gods smiled, but there were smiles everywhere …
So many thanks are due – the parents who under the guidance of P&F “chief” Katrina B, and the indefatigable efforts of Liz K and her team, got the show on the road; the teachers and children for their magnificent and outstanding class work, Michaela Miles and Robyn Tefay for the singing, Angela Miller for the dance and the class teachers and children again for the recitation, Donna Moor and her team providing us with a wonderful lunch, the Stall teams and also the Admin. team, quietly working away in the background under the Eagle Eye of Alex Coubrough. The Art Show was beautifully curated by Katrina B and Sarah W, and the Opening on Friday was a very successful event with superb catering by Mrs. R and Ms. S and music by Harry L and his band. It’s a miracle how it all comes together, and another miracle how it gets quietly and efficiently dissolved. A sort of magic that comes from co-operation and good hearts. Many, many thanks …
Next week sees the beginning of a sequence of staff absences going on Professional Development, Long Service Leave, and one to be married – Teacher’s Aide – Rachel Humphry! The Headmaster will be away overseas (during the holidays and the first week of Term 1) at a Renaissance Schools’ Headmasters’ Conference in Italy (some people have all the luck!). We start with Miss White and Miss Cipollone going on PD to a “Live Life Well @ School” Workshop for two days next week. This will tie in with the soon-to-be –started Gardening Club. Individual teachers will be informing their class parents of their forthcoming absences – no need to mention them all here.
The Sanskrit Recitation Competition is coming up on 4th June (Heats) and 6th June (Finals). The judging will be done by two Sanskrit Gurus – Mrs. Naomi Smith and Dr. Jenni Cover, and Mrs. Dunn will be the M.C. All the very best …
Did everyone see the Manly Daily front page on Tuesday? Echoes of the fire but great publicity for the Art Show and Open Day.
School has been a hive of activity with a marquee and stage being put together, the Art Show being prepared by a group of dedicated ladies and men, artists dropping a wonderful array of works, ladies with clipboards assessing locations, children rehearsing, and the school’s Art Department and teachers busily putting up work for our general admiration! The Catering ladies are scheming to feed us all with their usual panache on Open Day, and in the meantime, they have managed to keep lunches going in a Camp Kitchen in the breezeway. (The children seem to enjoy these “picnic lunches” and are to be seen in clusters in the Garigal Quad at lunchtime.)
Professional Development: Miss Cipollone attended a Maths Inservice this week, and Miss White and also Miss Cipollone will be going to two PD days in early June relating to Health and healthy eating and how to incorporate this into the curriculum.
This is sponsored by the Health Department and the Council. We are also hoping to promote healthy food awareness with the starting up a little later in the year of a Garden Club after school.
John Colet Day: We were honoured by the presence on Monday 20th of several of our Board members who came to honour our namesake – John Colet , and to tour the school, looking at the children’s work. The Headboy and Headgirl each gave a speech on the background of John Colet in the 16th century, and they delivered these with confidence and clarity. The school performed various recitations and singing – a treat by any standard.
The tour of the Board was very successful and not the least because the children demonstrated excellent behaviour (thank goodness!), but also the Governors, quite fortuitously, happened upon some Writing lessons, and were thoroughly entertained by some budding authors!
In the meantime, we pray for rain, but also ask for it to hold off during the Fair this Sunday!
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.