Here we are at the end of another eventful and rewarding year: what a year!
Now we look forward to one of the year’s highlights which carries us forward to the following year: Speech and Prize night – the rewards of the year past, and the promise of the year to come with the announcement of the 2013 Office Bearers for the school, all beautifully cradled in the performances of the school’s showcase Choirs. This year the Choirs’ performances are the swansong for Mrs Mane and Miss Irvine as Choir Mistresses, and heartfelt thanks to them both for the exceptionally high standard of performance we have enjoyed. The Infant’s Department is sadly losing Mr Kininmonth and Miss Hayes, and we will be welcoming Miss Miles (Choir Primary), Miss Marley (Lower First) and Miss Cipollone (Upper 1st) to join our team.
It remains only to say thank you to parents and others for the incredible support we have continued to receive, especially around the fire, to thank Mrs Moore and her undaunted team for the outdoor lunches and service to the teachers, and to say “Merry Christmas to You All!”
A 'stained glass' window by Upper First T students.
Our core values of Care, Respect and Service are all embodied in the practice of good manners.
It has been quite obvious around the school that the children are practising last week’s direction relating to speaking to others: amongst other things, addressing people by name, looking at them, speaking clearly and not interrupting. “Please” and “thank you” also go a long way! It would be excellent to support this at home and abroad.
This week we will target standing aside for adults at doorways. This little courtesy requires wakefulness, and the respect it engenders helps everyone to be more mindful of one another.
Rehearsals for the Christmas Celebration are going full steam ahead. The performance of the Nativity and carols will be held upstairs in Shakespeare House on Tuesday 27th November, from 9.00 to 10.00 a.m. We are looking forward to a delightful presentation. This is also the occasion when children are invited to bring a Christmas present (unwrapped) for the underprivileged. The Treasure Chest into which they go (they are then delivered to the Smith Family) will be outside the Office on the day.
Unfortunately both Mistresses will be away from School on that day attending an In-service Course at the Association of Independent Schools about the new Curriculum for schools. The Headmaster will be your host!
This week’s major event was the Primary Intra-School Chess Competition: 35 children entered which was wonderful. They battled it out over six rounds and the winner will be announced. Thanks are due to the generous Mrs. Heather Berlee and the redoubtable Miro: their enthusiasm and commitment are what carries this event along. Next week on Thursday we have the Infants version and we are expecting some serious contests!
Manners: following on from our theme last week, we will target manners in speech this week:
· Always speaking the truth
· Addressing one another with respect and clarity
· Using names as appropriate
· Looking people in the eye and engaging with focus
· Not interrupting others when they are already engaged
The Shakespeare Festival is over and now it’s preparation for Speech Night and also our Christmas Celebration: Carols, Bible Readings and the 2nd Class Nativity. The school reverberates with the sound of music. We can look forward to two wonderful events as theChoir Mistresses and 2nd class teachers prepare their magic!
It is worthy of comment to say that there has been a noticeable improvement in manners about the school:
· Children standing aside at doors
· Opening doors for others
· Greeting teachers
· Waiting quietly whilst teachers and others finish conversations
· Stopping ball games when adults are passing and in danger of being hit
Please do encourage the children to transfer this consideration for others to out-of-school contexts. Remember the old adage “Manners maketh Man”!
Please also encourage your children to leave school dressed properly – most of them arrive at school wearing full uniform, shoes done up and shirts tucked in, hair neatly done. Given there will be a little wear and tear, let’s help them to leave school also properly dressed. Many thanks.
How is it that every year the plays seem to get better and better? Last week was indeed a “Feast of Drama!"
· Congratulations to the children for their performances, enthusiasm, steadiness;
· thanks to the teachers whose continuing devotion to the outcome of the Festival is remarkable;
· thanks to those teachers who “ran the gauntlet” for the first time;
· acknowledgements to the inimitable Zoe Emanuel and her supportive directing and ideas;
· and last not least, to the Headmaster for his consistent presence and amusing compering!
What was also noticeable, and rather pleasing, was what parents and friends didn’t see. The backstage scenario: the work of the parents in costuming, hair and makeup; the ancillary teachers who worked to give backstage support to teachers and children; and also the obvious care that the children themselves took behind the scenes, in helping each other with cues, entrances, quick costume changes and props.
All in all it was the wonderful culmination of much effort. The School’s Values were very evident!
John Bell, Founder and Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company, who is Patron of the John Colet Shakespeare Festival, came to the school on Wednesday to see a specially crafted programme of “snippets” from each of the class productions. The children were excited to perform, and, as always, Mr Bell was delighted! The Primary children were full of questions and John Bell was generous in his responses.
The Shakespeare Festival looms on the horizon and there is a general level of anticipation as last minute preparations of performance, costume and props are put into place. We fully expect the usual excellence and enjoyment for and from the children and the audiences. Have you bought your tickets??
The Infants will be going to the Sydney Symphony at the ABC, and have been well prepared by Mrs. Tefay. Unfortunately this clashes with the Wednesday Glen Street performance, but the children will catch up and see a dress rehearsal at school.
Everyone should be in full summer uniform by now. If we have another unexpected cold snap as happened last week, children should wear blazers and not jumpers to and from school. Blazers are compulsory for 5th and 6th class. Some laxity has crept in with headgear and unfortunately some of the older children have had recess detentions as a consequence.
At each Monday assembly we have gone through the school values with the children so that they learn them by heart, and in so doing these values may be available to the children as they pass through the vicissitudes of life.
The school values are presented to the children as:-
As mentioned last week, this term we are practicing care with an emphasis on giving attention and presenting things beautifully.
Excitement is starting to build up as the Primary Shakespeare Festival approaches. Words of the Bard can be heard emanating from the classrooms of Shakespeare and Colet House, sometimes with some vigour! The costume room has been frequently visited and things are beginning to take shape in the various productions.
The filming of the school and children has been successfully completed, and we look forward to viewing the final footage. The filmmakers did warn the children that even if they have been filmed, they may not appear in the final rendition, as they film many hours’ worth but the completed version will only be about 6-8 minutes.
“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!
On the Teachers’ Study Day last week we had a very informative visit from Shelley Brennan of The Asthma Foundation, who gave us a full refresher on the care and management of asthma sufferers.
Please make sure that you keep your child’s teacher up-to-date on any changes or developments, if they are asthmatic. This will help enormously with asthma management.
Also on the Study Day, we considered how we actually implement the special ethos of John Colet School, how we can evaluate this in an informal way, and how we can inspire the children to take this ethos into their life’s journey in a meaningful way.
Another session was held on an appraisal of writing and ways in which we as teachers can share our skills and experience with a view to enhancing the children’s writing skills.
We trust you have had a restful and refreshing holiday and the children are looking forward to a new school term with enthusiasm and gusto. It will be short but extremely full.
With a film crew in the school in week 2, the Primary Shakespeare Festival in week 4 and Speech Night in week 9 the children will be kept well occupied.
John Bell will also be visiting the school, 6th class debaters have reached the finals of the inter-school Debating Competition and that will be played out, there will be an intra-school Chess Competition, the Art Exhibition for the Orang-utan Project and several excursions.
Our value for the term is Always Give of your Best and there will be ample opportunity to practise this.
We are looking forward to a most enjoyable and interesting term.
There is an air of excitement around the school as the Primary children prepare to go on their yearly excursions to Milson Island and Canberra.
Three days at Milson Island, engaging in outdoor activities, does wonders for the children. There is also a great communal spirit as the children bunk together, eat together and engage in group activities. These situations build and strengthen friendships in the children, develop their character, and help them work with, and care for, others. They are also given the opportunity to engage in adventurous challenges within the context of a safe environment.
Canberra is quite a different excursion where the children learn about our government and the value of a democracy. When I have been to Canberra with the 5th and 6th Class I have always been impressed by their maturity, helpfulness and general consideration for others. We place a great deal of emphasis on the building of character in the children and this usually becomes very evident during the Canberra excursion.
The Infants are looking forward to their Sports Carnival next week – this is always a delightful experience for one and all. We hope that the weather stays kind and look forward to the day.
With the Infant’s Shakespeare Festival only just brought to a glorious conclusion the Primary is now starting to gain momentum, and the Bard’s words can again be heard reverberating throughout the school. It’s amazing how the children get better from year to year. They look as if they have reached the peak of what children their age can do, and then go on to excel themselves.
Also, at the present time, there is much practice around the school in the sporting area as the Infants prepare for their carnival, which is always such a delight, and so good for the children in terms of building fortitude, courage, sportsmanship and much more. Mrs Dunn took our best sports children to the IPSHA Athletics Carnival last Tuesday and they certainly made a valiant effort - a good time was had by all, particularly Mrs Dunn!
We very much appreciate your co-operation in the area of uniform and understand that it’s not always easy, particularly with hats and caps. The standard of uniform has been good over the term and we wish to thank you for your co-operation and continued efforts.
The children are still practicing “service” and the school has a harmonious feel about it – the children certainly seem very happy.
Happy, but weary, the Infants cohort can now look back on yet another successful Shakespeare Festival, and of course for the Lower First it was the beginning of what we hope will be a seven-year courtship of Shakespeare.
Parents are to be thanked for their usual indefatigable support of the event (there was an extra one this year due to the small size of the space), which includes providing and selling food and tickets, as well as making costumes, doing hair and makeup and being a wonderful, enthusiastic audience. The latter is of course the most important aspect! Primary are full steam ahead with preparation for their Festival at Glen Street Theatre in November, and they have been inspired by the performance of the younger children.
The big event this coming week is the Infants Shakespeare Festival, which is the culmination of many hours of work by teachers, children and of course wonderfully helpful parents. Everyone is very excited, and the dress rehearsals put on for the Primary School, went very well. The Primary children were delighted. The venue, despite early reservations, has proved to be excellent for an Infants performance, being contained and somewhat intimate, and the young voices were more easily heard. Teachers have voted to keep the “Secret Service” practice going for another while, as it has been so very successful, and they have noticed an increase of kindness amongst the children.
The gods were definitely on our side on sports day and everyone was commenting on the benign weather which helped to make the day such a pleasant and successful one. Another aspect that contributed to the success of the event was the attitude of the children. At Assembly on Monday the Headmaster asked the children about good sportsmanship and many of them spoke of courage, honouring each other’s performance, cheering each other’s houses and giving full support to those children who are not quite so sporty. The event is an end in itself and can be enjoyed by all, winners, losers and spectators. This is an ethos which will hold the children in good stead as they get older and it should be totally encouraged. An enormous amount of work goes into the organisation of this and a “technological first” should be noted – Mrs Layton recorded results directly onto the computer! Many thanks to Mrs Dunn and Mrs Layton. The next major event is the Infant’s Shakespeare festival beginning this week with full dress rehearsals staged for the Primary.
Last Monday in Assembly the children were asked how the secret service was going. They gave many observations of kindness and generosity to their fellow class mates, and others. It’s very encouraging to see the children look after and care for each other. We will continue this practice for another week or two because the children are enjoying it, and it obviously makes them happy.