This week everyone at John Colet seemed to have smiles on their faces, and rightly so! It has been Science Week throughout the Nation, and very much so here at John Colet. We must thank Mrs. Marissa N (mother of Jason Year 6), Mrs. Renshaw and of course the Headmaster for orchestrating a most enriching week of Science, and for 60 (yes 60!) science sessions throughout the school this week, involving every child. This covered topics ranging from the mysteries of the Universe to the mysteries of Kitchen Science with Mrs. Moor, and even an illustrated talk by Jolan L (Year 5) on stick insects.
Our celebration of science has attracted parents, such as Mrs. N, Mr. M, Dr. J, Ms Mary-Anne Renshaw, Mrs. P, Dr. B, and two past students, Ms Eleanor McKendrick and Ms Kirstin Proft, the latter flying in from Tasmania (thank you P&F) where she is currently working on a Ph.D. To add to all this excitement, two outside providers were engaged – one to bring in an inflatable Planetarium, and the other conducting Robotics sessions, not to forget the Headmaster’s daily challenges after lunch which covered competitions in paper aeroplane, tower and bridge construction, a parachute competition (Mrs. Renshaw), and on Friday, an Oobleck Pool. (Yes, ask your children about that one!)
Just in case there isn’t enough excitement, next week is Book Week at John Colet and Wednesday 24th August will be a “Dress Up as Your Favourite Book Character” Day. The emphasis in class will be on literature and on Monday 22nd author Bronwyn Vaughan will speak to the Primary children, and on Friday Penny Walton (from our Art Dept.), who is a book illustrator, will speak to the Infants children.
Grandparents’ Morning will be in Week 7 on Thursday, 1st September from 9.00-10.30. This will include a friendly cup of tea, a short concert and a visit to the classrooms. There is no specific RSVP, but please let the children know if their grandparents are coming – we need a rough idea of the numbers.
The NAPLAN results were posted out this week and the Literacy and Numeracy assessment for John Colet was once again outstanding. Congratulations to the children and ALL their teachers. The values and practices at the school, supported by all Staff, undoubtedly help the children to achieve these results. Of course the ethos of John Colet and the steady inculcation of our Values remain the aim of the school, and it is always reassuring to see these bear fruit. This is an appropriate point to mention that we no longer use the services of Robert Allwell for professional assessment, and also that Mrs. Jasmine Crowe from our Special Education Department is presently conducting a survey of the school’s assessment practices from L1st-6th Class.
We are all very happy to see Mrs. Tefay return after a long absence on sick leave, but heartily thank Mrs. Mary Garrett and Mr. Glen Miller who stood in without a hiccough, Mrs. Garrett, a former John Colet teacher, driving each week from Canberra.
Judith Donald Infants Mistress Mary McKendrick Primary Mistress
The outstanding event at School this week was the Sanskrit Recitation Competition, organised and orchestrated by Mrs. Rosey Dunstan and Mrs. Joan Childs from our Sanskrit Dept. The whole school participated – Primary first followed by the Infants. The event was attended by several parents, two expert Sanskritists as Judges– Mrs. Chin Wong from the School of Philosophy’s Sanskrit Department, Mrs. Indu Balachandran, a parent of John Colet School, as well as the Vice-Consul from the Indian Consulate, Mr. Rajeev Kumar, and Dr. Raghu Raman, a Sanskrit expert. Our own Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr. Philip Wolfers and his wife Laura Wolfers also graced the event with their presence along with several other visitors. The audience was visibly moved by the beautiful performances of the Class Groups and of the individual finalists. Much courage was shown by all the children, and the Sanskrit prayers were resoundingly beautiful. The visitors were visibly moved.
Another outstanding feature of the morning was the behaviour of the children – they were a model audience, managing to restrain conversation for the whole hour, even when the judges were conferring and nothing was happening on the stage. Grateful thanks must go to the teachers who prepare and train the children for this competition, especially Mrs. Dunstan and Mrs. Childs, whose continuing enthusiasm and encouragement bring about this event. Well done all, not forgetting the children and their efforts.
On the same day the intrepid 5th Class recorder players, who charm every Monday Assembly with their playing, went off to the Ryde Eisteddfod and came back with a “Highly Commended” Award. A big thank you to Mrs. Tomicki and Mrs. Miles for this enriching activity from which the whole School benefits.
By-the-by, the School is lucky enough to be hosting four Practicum students from the Australian Catholic University in the Art Department, to work one day a week for nine weeks with Mrs. Gadsby and Mrs. Allcorn: and what a privilege is theirs, as we know what kind of an Art programme the teachers in the Art Room offer. You may well meet the students about the School.
What a wet week – but the children (and the teachers!) have coped very well with restricted play areas, changes to sport and all the other implications of many showers of rain during the week.
Unfortunately this also meant that the “Whole School” photos were not able to be taken, since the Garigal Quadrangle was waterlogged, but all the class, family and individual photos were done with efficiency by the team, helped by Mrs. Ladomatos and Mrs Griffiths. Once a date has been set for the whole school photo shoot, we will let everyone know.
Phtogoraphy for the Prospectus, also postponed, will now take place next week on 10th August.
There will be a number of new faces about the school – we have four Practicum students starting next week for a 9-week stint in the Art Room. This has arisen because we offer such a unique and fulsome Infants and Primary Art Programme and Art Enrichment. Ms Aneeka Bartlett – a former Gap Student from England currently visiting Down Under is also going to be spending some time with us this term, especially in the Sanskrit Department. We are also expecting two general class Practicum students later this term. The School will be buzzing -we are very fortunate to have so many young people wanting to come and enjoy the “John Colet Experience”.
The Sanskrit Recitation Competition Heats will be held on Tuesday 9th August, run by the House Captains under the supervision of teachers. The Finals are on Thursday – and this is always an event worth watching. We have a parent judge and a School of Philosophy judge, and a guest from the Indian High Commission. Parents are most welcome to attend.
Courage is very much to the fore – and in particular the courage to see things through – to persevere, to complete work and projects, to finish the job. As always, this is something that we can all practise.
The children are asked to practise the courage to be truthful – this is of course a wonderful training for life, as so often fear of consequences leads us to dissemble where openness and honesty would serve better. Our value this term – Courage, is the practice that goes with “Display self-control, inner strength and right action”, and the first subscript is “Are my words and actions truthful?”
The Teacher’s Day celebration was, as usual beautiful and very moving: children from the youngest to the oldest read out their considerations about “Who is a Wise Person in my life?”. Many chose parents or famous people of the past and present. The words, sentiments and expression were as beautiful as the many flowers that were laid by the children and their teachers in front of a photograph of Their Holinesses Sri Shantananda Saraswati and Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati, from whence has come so much guidance in the principles of education.
Flowers were distributed around the school and many were taken to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home, nearby.
John Colet had yet another successful debating season and came first in this year’s competition against local schools.
Ms Bower has arrived from England and is settling in this week with Miss Jansen, who will leave on Friday. Mrs. Tefay is recovering and will return to school at the beginning of Week 4. Many thanks to Mrs. Garrett who has been able to stand in.
A full term coming up with many interesting and exciting events including Book Week, Science Week, the Sanskrit Recitation Competition, Grandparents Day and two “away” excursions for the Primary classes. There will be plenty of opportunities to practise Courage, which is our School Value for the term.
The Primary classes have started their Shakespeare rehearsals and Sanskrit recitations are well under way. Upper First classes began their before-school Latin sessions on Friday; we are all looking forward to the Teachers’ Day celebration on Monday.
Week 2 marks the departure of Ms Abby Jansen, who has been with one of the Lower First classes this term. She will be returning to England to work with schools in North London where she worked previously. She has plans to travel in Europe and later to teach in India. We thank Ms Jansen for her care of the class and wish her all the best.
On Wednesday of Week 2, Miss Grace Bower will be joining our staff to replace Ms Jansen. Miss Bower previously worked at John Colet School for a full year in the capacity of a Gap student. Her own schooling was at one of our associated schools in England: She says: “I have particularly fond memories of studying and performing Shakespeare from an early age and strongly believe that this has helped mould the outgoing person I am today.” On returning to England from Australia she completed a teaching degree which included specialising in Philosophy for Children. She has been teaching in a Church of England school for the past three years, and was particularly pleased to establish a Mindfulness Programme within the school during her time there .
This is the end of a very busy and successful term. The main message is one of thanks to the teachers, children and parents, all of whom have helped to bring about events such as Open Day, the Inter-Schools Chess Competition, Parent-Teacher meetings and of course the most amazing and marvellous Shakespeare Festival for the Infants. One never knows whether to be happy or sad that it is over! Either way, it was a great success, and the culmination of much work.
Enjoy the holidays: many are travelling, including Miss Cipollone and Mr. Miller, both going to the International Teachers’ Conference run by the Renaissance Schools (of which we are part) in Lucca Italy. Miss Cipollone has been very generously sponsored by the P&F and Mr. Miller will be attending as a tutor.
The School Holidays are upon us, but before that we have the delight of the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival, which is the culmination of much work on the part of the children, teachers and the wonderful parents who have given their support. I know the experience will be rewarding for us all.
The Chess Club has had a very successful term under the care of Mrs. P and parents, and under the direction of the very able chess coaches. Inter-Schools matches have been played throughout the term, and four have been staged at John Colet. Mrs. P has spent some time preparing a very comprehensive Chess Club Protocol and information document for parents, and anyone wishing to receive a copy should contact the Clubs Co-ordinator, Mrs. Donald.
Jump Rope for Heart finishes at the end of term, with much money already in the pipeline. On Thursday afternoon there was a “Jump Off” at school – a celebration of skipping, highlighting for the children the importance of exercise in the care of their own health. We can say unreservedly that the event was enjoyed all round. The final fundraising tally will be published next term.
The practice of the School Value of Truthfulness has been offered to the children in the form of not gossiping or not passing on unsubstantiated comments about people and events. Speak the truth with courage but also with kindness. There have been several instances this week of children owning up to things without hesitation: this is impressive and should always be praised before tackling any necessary “consequences”.
We trust that everyone has come through the “deluge” with minimal effect. By a strange co-incidence the Lower First Philosophy lesson this week was related to the story of Noah’s Ark, so the children were keenly aware of what it meant – “the Heavens opened”!
The wonderful photographs that won the Primary Photography Competition have been transported to the School of Philosophy’s Mahratta, and displayed there, so that a wider audience can enjoy the amazing work of the children.
The School hosted the debating teams and the level of argument was high, although the John Colet team did not win this time; but they put on a good show under the tutelage of Mrs. Jasmine Crewe.
Another exciting event was First Aid training for each of the Primary Classes on Wednesday: much fun, but serious lessons learned.
Thank you to all the parents and children who provided “goodies” for the Flinders Market Day: the money raised is to go to Westmead Children’s Hospital.
The thermometer is rising in the Infants’ Shakespeare Department, and last minute adjustments are being made. Please alert your friends and relatives – bookings will open online but tickets will also be available at the door. We look forward to the usual delightful performances, which will once again be professionally recorded. The Primary children will be watching the Dress Rehearsals on Tuesday morning of Week 9.
Judith Donald Infants Mistress Mary McKendrick Senior Mistress
Thank you to everyone, including the Weather Man, for making the Open Day such a resounding success. Most outstanding was the work in the classrooms and the care and effort put into it by the children and their teachers. The Sixth Class also shone with their imaginative stalls, which provided so much fun for the younger students and raised a considerable amount of money.
Reports have been posted and Parent-Teacher interviews are general to be held in Week 7.
Looming up, of course, is the Shakespeare Festival in the last week of term, and it’s full steam ahead now.
The much-needed rain has had its downside – restrictive use of the grassed area in the playground to save churning it up: so no ballgames and running ‘til further notice. Apologies children!
In working with the value Truthfulness, we are asking the children to become a little more reflective, and when in doubt about an action to ask “What would a wise person do here?” The children need to discuss with their teachers; who is wise and how do we know, and then ask why is it good to follow their example. This is a worthwhile practice for everyone.
There hasn’t been much else to talk or think about this week except Open Day. The campus is slowly being transformed into a show piece, both in the grounds and in the classrooms. Everyone has been working hard to get things up to scratch: the children polishing up their concert performances and bookwork, the teachers have been preparing displays, with enormous help and support from the Art Department who have been performing their usual magic. Michaela Miles and Robyn Tefay have been refining the singing and Mrs Condos, Mrs James and Ms Coubrough (school orqanising committee) can be seen here and there, setting things up in their inimitable, efficient way. Aldo (with the help of parents at the Working Bee last Sunday) has been sprucing up the grounds, and Donna has been cooking for Open Day for weeks now: she has also prepared an amazing array of bottled goods. Please be sure to bring your savings! We hope that many of the John Colet community are quietly baking cakes at home for the amazing Cake Competition. Best of luck! Come along - bring friends and relatives (but no dogs, please). Beware the parking rangers! The School Reports are well on the way to being printed and will be posted out towards the end of next week, in good time for the Parent -Teacher interviews. Lower First children went on their first John Colet excursion with their teachers, aides and several parents. They had a wonderful time at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, encountering a range of animals: it was a very full day. Wishing you all a happy and enjoyable Open Day!
Congratulations to the John Colet 6th Class debaters – they won their first debate of the season against the Alexander School. Congratulations also go to all the children that have been coming to school in full uniform, shipshape and Bristol fashion! It is a constant effort, but a very worthwhile one, reflecting well on the individual, the family and the School.
Congratulations a third time to those children making an effort to try some of the new and delicious foods that Mrs. Moor is introducing to the table. The Live Life Well @ School initiative by the Health Department is fully embraced at John Colet, and lunches are fresh and nutritious. A word about morning tea provision: we would be pleased if parents did not send sweets and chocolates to school: these are contrary to our Healthy Eating Policy – there are plenty of opportunities out of school to eat these “treats”. Crunch and Sip – make it fresh and healthy.
Sanskrit On a recent visit to the Sanskrit Room, the following was spotted on the Notice Board:
“The word “Sanskrit” means “perfectly constructed”. It brings order to the mind and clarifies thinking. It brightens the mind and opens the heart.
The study of Sanskrit is nourishing for mind and spirit as it works from the deepest level of being. It is a spiritual language which has a transforming effect on the whole being.”
Just in case you were wondering …….!
There will be Sanskrit recitation at Open Day and you are encouraged to attend the Sanskrit Recitation Competition on 11th August.
In spite of the beautiful “Indian summer” we are currently experiencing, winter uniform must be worn from Week 3 onwards. This includes blazers to and from school, and of course the new optional waterproof jackets, which need to be ordered through Mrs. Ladomatos, can be worn over the blazer as necessary.
Naplan testing will be on for 3rd and 5th class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Week 3, and we ask that everyone respect this whilst moving about the school.
OPEN DAY: This special school event will be held on Sunday 29th May, and it is an occasion when all children at John Colet are required to be present, being one of the major events of the year, aimed at showcasing the children’s work and performances, and also offering a day of family enjoyment and fun.
The children should arrive, in full school uniform (winter) with blazers, at 9.00. Should they arrive before that time, they should remain in the close care of their parents. The Head of School Welcome and the stage performances begin at 10.00 promptly; classrooms are open and teachers present from 11.00-12.00; children change into their sports clothes and then are free to enjoy the stalls, entertainment and lunch. Open Day finishes at 2.00 p.m.
Garden Whispers: Mrs. Moor was sighted today harvesting herbs from the Garden Club beds for today’s lunch, and last week some of us were lucky enough to take home a bunch of the bitter greens from the Bush Tucker Garden. Thank you Garden Club!
Welcome back to Term 2, which promises to be an eventful term as we pick up the threads of last term’s excellent start to the year. We hope it was a refreshing break: the weather certainly helped. Preparations are well under way for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival under the creative care of Zoe Emanuel our Drama Teacher, and the Infants’ class teachers. The Infants’ Shakespeare Festival will be earlier this year than in previous years - the last week of Term 2 instead of beginning of Term 3.
3rd and 5th class will be joining in the Naplan testing and of course there will be internal testing for the mid-year reports.
The big event this term is the Open Day on Sunday 29th May, the emphasis being on showcasing the children and their work with a concert and the open classrooms. It is also a time when potential families come to have a look at John Colet School in action and also many past children visit their Alma Mater and enjoy the activities on offer.
This term we will focus on truthfulness, which is the second of our values. The questions to be asked about an action are:
Is it true?
Is it kind, pleasant and beneficial?
Is it uplifting?
What would a wise person say or do?
These are the questions we will bring to the notice of the children and apply in different ways during the term, the first being owning up. This of course requires courage. Chess this term includes a series of interschool matches, four of which will be held at John Colet.
UNIFORM: Summer or winter uniform ? – it is optional to wear either for the first two weeks of this term. Week 3: winter uniform. An email has been sent out about an optional waterproof jacket on offer for use in winter.
A wonderful start to the year, with congratulations especially to the new children throughout the school, particularly the Lower First students who have all settled in so well! By next term you will all be “old hands”.
This week was marked by the achievement of the John Colet Chess Club in winning through to the semi-finals of the Northern Beaches Chess Competition, with great work by all team members and a few special successes by Daniel S, Mimi P and Ramakrishna B.
I trust that all parents who brought children to school on Friday were able to pause and enjoy the beautiful ANZAC display prepared by Mrs. McDermott, and the moving array of small, decorated wooden crosses which will be sent to put on the war graves in Europe. These will join the thousands being prepared anonymously by children throughout Australia.
We are currently trying to set up an Introductory Philosophy class for parents of new children at John Colet. This course is put on by the School of Philosophy (free to parents), and will be offered here in Belrose so parents can become acquainted with the approach taken by John Colet to the moral and spiritual education of their children. The course, “Mindful Wisdom”, lasts for just over two hours each week, and is taken by a Tutor from the School of Philosophy. It is likely to be on a Wednesday from 8.45 a.m. to 11.00 (approx.) and further information will be forthcoming early next term. Evening courses are also available, but are not held at John Colet. A visit to the School of Philosophy website will provide more detail.
It is with sadness but very good wishes that we say farewell to Miss Madalaine Renshaw, who stepped in to take one of the Lower First classes when it became obvious that the class needed to split in order to accept more students. Miss Renshaw, herself an ex-John Colet student, stepped into the breach, but now, armed with her Visa, is setting off to France to take up a job teaching there. We thank her and wish her well. Miss Abby Jansen has been understudying her this week and will take over as Class Teacher from next Term. A warm welcome to her.