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.
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.