The Annual Shakespeare Festival for the Primary at the Glen Street Theatre has been on – what an outstanding success, how the children rose to the occasion, how beautifully they were presented and trained with the support of Drama Teacher, Class Teachers and parents and helpers! One never quite knows whether to be relieved or sad when it’s over. Thanks are due all round.
At Infants’ Assembly, in the telling of the Legend of Theseus and his preparation to be, and then testing as, a hero, the children have been alerted to the fact that these ancient legends are really lessons for life, and we have discussed how to be a “HERO” in practical terms, and what in fact are the “ monsters” that we as heroes have to overcome. Vivekananda says
“The earth is enjoyed by heroes. Be a hero – always say ‘I have no fear.’
Our third value is Courage – Self Control, Inner Strength and Right Action”: practice of this is really what it is to be a hero!
Last year at the time of the Nativity Play (on this year in the morning of Tuesday 24th November) we collected gifts for the Smith Family – for children whose parents are experiencing hard times. This year we have in mind to collect for a Kenyan school visited last year by Marie White. Anything in the line of educational materials will be welcome – pencils, readers, colouring books, counters, puzzles, educational toys – second hand items will be most welcome. Perhaps you could begin collecting as you throw out things to make way for the Christmas gift harvest at home! Any educational items will be most welcome.
The School was treated to the dress rehearsals of the Primary Shakespeare Festival during the past week, using the small stage in the Hall. There are some real gems in store, plenty of laughs and perhaps even a few tears. The Primary children will be rehearsing at Glen Street Theatre this coming week with the performances on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 28th – 30th October. Hope to see you there.
A successful Working Bee on Sunday – many thanks to the parents and children who helped to clear debris and wood litter before the bushfire season. With the season for bushfires approaching, we will have another Bushfire Drill before the end of term. A large bed outside Top House was cleared at the Working Bee for use by the Gardening Club to grow bush tucker: that was quite a job clearing out the old growth, and we look forward to future harvests of native edibles. It was wonderful to hear that the Kidpreneur initiatives of 6th Class were so enthusiastically supported by the school, and the senior class raised $1,700 through the sales of the small items they made and brought to school for sale. A magnificent effort by the children, parents and teachers.
The Nativity Play on Tuesday 24th November is the occasion where we collect Christmas gifts for the less privileged in our community. Regular-type gifts will go to the Smith Family, but this year we have in mind to collect also for a Kenyan school visited last year by teacher Marie White. Anything in the line of educational materials will be welcome – pencils, readers, colouring books, counters, puzzles, educational toys – second hand items will be most welcome. Perhaps you could begin collecting as you throw out things to make way for the Christmas gift harvest at home! Any educational items will be most welcome.
The final Term of the year began with a very successful Teachers’ Day. We considered the School Vision Mission and Values and discussed the Value for practice this term – which is “Service and Care for All” Practice: Service
Am I giving full attention?
Is it beautiful, well-presented and pleasing to others?
Does this action benefit everyone?
Am I setting a good example?
Is my attitude positive?
These first few weeks we are focusing on the giving of attention, and the encouragement of the children to be attentive and mindful. We agreed that this value was of immense benefit in life, and that a person who can focus on the task in hand is more efficient and effective in whatever they do. Mrs. Tomicki and 4th Class have a Practicum student from Southern Cross University, who will be at John Colet for six weeks- Michael Godfrey. He is a second year Education student, and will be spending a little time with classes other than Fourth.
Week 2 will see the annual visit of members of the John Bell Shakespeare Company, who will come to see snippets of each class’s plays on Tuesday morning. A little bird told me that Gilbert Mane may also be coming: it’s hard to keep him away from Shakespeare, and he has been helping with one of the 6th class plays. The final performances will be in late October.
The School Campus has been remarkably quiet this past week, as it always is when the Primary classes go off on their three-day excursions. By all accounts, a marvellous time was had by all, and the weather was certainly co-operative. No reports of the finding of large and valuable nuggets on the goldfields!
These excursions are a great training ground for the children both educationally and socially, and the teachers are to be thanked for their work.
Thank you for the very positive responses to the new swimming arrangements for the Infants.
This is a reminder to ensure that the children have the correct footwear for swimming on the first Friday back next Term:
·Casual “slip-on” footwear (such as thongs, Crocs, “jelly” sandals – these not to be worn to school). The teachers will issue more detailed reminders in the first week back.
While on the subject of uniform: for Term 4, the first two weeks, the children may come to school in either summer or winter uniform, as dictated by their individual needs and the weather. After that, summer uniform, of course.
Another important item is the morning tea provision sent for the Infants Classes: under the aegis of our healthy eating policy, we would like Infants to bring fresh fruit for morning tea, and some other healthy items, if necessary, such as yoghourt, muesli bars, a small sandwich or cake. Processed and highly salted or sugared foods such as artificially flavoured chips, we would prefer you to avoid.
Mrs. Moor provides a variety of fresh fruits or vegetables for lunch, and as well as the hot food, the children are offered yoghourt and milk, unprocessed cheese and dried fruits. We went to some effort last year to introduce the Health Department’s “Crunch and Sip” programme to encourage children to bring fresh crunchy foods.
In Term 4 the Infants Classes will be going to the Killarney Heights Swim Centre for swimming lessons in preparation for the coming summer.
As we no longer have any male teachers on staff since Mr. Wakeford went to Thailand, we have an issue with the Boys’ Change Room: it is used by the general public, so no female teachers may go in to help the Infants boys change. As a result, we have made a slight adjustment to the swimming arrangements for children in the Infants School.
The Infants children will swim on Friday afternoons in Term 4, commencing Week 1 (9th October).
On Fridays they should come to school in their sports clothes and sport shoes bringing with them a swimming bag containing: (PLEASE, NAME ALL ITEMS CLEARLY). They will change at school:
·Casual “slip-on” footwear (such as thongs, Crocs, “jelly” sandals – these are not to be worn to school)
·Goggles for all and swimming caps for the girls
·Swimming costumes (boys could wear those and bring underwear for after swimming)
·Please ensure that every item is clearly named
To go to the pool, they will wear their sports tops over their costumes, with a towel wrapped round themselves, carrying a bag with goggles and caps (girls). The towels, footwear and sport top will be deposited at the poolside whilst they swim. After the lesson, they simply dry off, don sports top, footwear and wrap their towel about them, and then proceed to school, where they will change back into their full sports uniform for home-time. We hope this will be an easy and efficient way of dealing with this.
Other matters: The School will be very quiet from Wednesday on this week, as the Primary will be away on their annual 3-day excursions to Milson Island and Bathurst. Two gap students will be going to Milson Island to help “the team” – Julia Fuller, who has already been here for many months, and she will be joined by Sophia Wormold, a new gap student from England. Sophia flies in on Tuesday night and has volunteered to go off to Milson Island the next morning. We hope that all involved have a safe and enjoyable time.
Praise and comments have been rolling in this week about the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival and the amazingly high standard of performance, direction and production. Congratulations again to the children for the lines learnt, the qualities displayed and the love and enthusiasm they showed for the performance. Another outstanding feature this year was the universal support of the parents, and this showed itself particularly with the costumes and makeup, which were detailed, colourful and professional. Thanks to all. By-the-way, I couldn’t help noticing the lips of some parents in the audience moving whilst their children were saying lines on stage. Most endearing!
Primary have moved seriously into their rehearsals and we look forward to seeing their performances later in Term 4.
4th Class achieved second place in the Ryde Eisteddfod with their Recorder Consort. They came home with a cup and much praise ringing in their ears. Well done children, and also great work was done by Mrs. Miles and Mrs. Tomicki. We enjoy the fruits of their work at each Monday morning Assembly, when the Consort plays hymns and “marching out” music.
I will be on Long Service Leave for weeks 6 and 7: I am going to a Plato Conference in Delphi, Greece, where we will be studying “The Symposium” along with nearly 100 other students from all over the world.
Once again the Infants children and their wonderful teachers, including the dynamic Miss Zoe Emanuel, have joined forces with their parents (props, sets, costumes, hairstyles, makeup) to produce an amazing Infants Shakespeare Festival: it simply gets better and better every year.
A big thank you also to Geraldine W – Wardrobe Mistress, to the Administration team for background help, to Mr. Glen Miller for installing a professional sound system, Mrs. Sue McKinley for choreographing and teaching dances, and of course, Mrs. Donna Moor for accommodating the constant changes to her lunch operations with all the comings and goings. Thank you all. By-the-way, the Chairman of the Board came to the first performance and Mr. and Mrs. Mane attended all daytime performances, and were seen to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. The Infants classes watched each other’s plays.
Another noteworthy event was the Interschool Debating – this week John Colet hosted the Sydney Japanese School, The Galstaun School and the Alexander School, under the care of our new Debating Instructor, Mrs. Jasmine Crewe. John Colet (pictured below) won its round, and one of the comments made by the Adjudicator was about the style and manner of the presentation of all the John Colet children: they were consistent in their ability to speak out confidently and engage the audience, resulting in a strong delivery. Could this be due to years of Shakespeare? It must be mentioned that several children from the other schools also spoke well.
We had a lovely morning tea farewell for Sue McKinley after eighteen years of extraordinary service and friendship, and also said goodbye to Olivia Buchanan who has lived up to the high standards set by former Gap students – they seem to bring a breath of fresh air and are very responsive to all that is asked of them. Sue is moving to the Central Coast and Olivia is returning to the U.K.
A full and rewarding week past, and a full and rewarding week to come…….
The Infants Shakespeare Festival Dress Rehearsal for the Primary School was held on Tuesday – a whole week ahead of the event, and all-in-all it went very well, showing the promise of good things to come. We look forward to welcoming the parents and friends of the children to the “real” performances. Here is the schedule: please come along!
“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
U1st and 2nd
“Romeo and Juliet” – performance
Parents and guests
“The Tempest” – performance
L1st and 2nd
“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
Parents and guests
“Romeo and Juliet” – performance
Parents/guests L1st and U1st
“The Tempest” – performance
Parents and guests
This week we also had testing for 2nd and 4th classes by Robert Allwell Associates, and ICAS testing. There were wonderful results from the “Maths Challenge”, with one Distinction and many Credits gained by the John Colet participants.
And we had bumper turnout of keen students taking part in the Australian Maths Competition on Thursday. Mrs. Dunn was invited to speak about it on air interviewed by Mike Jeffries on 2UE on Tuesday night.
The school was “on show” too for the BOSTES Inspection, and the outcome was “recommendation for Registration.” Much praise due to all.
An update will be sent on the hunt for a Latin teacher for Primary Latin as soon as there is any news.
A full week as usual, beginning with a beautiful, moving and successful Teachers’ Day Ceremony. Some of the children’s written contributions to this have been put up at the School of Philosophy along with delightful photos. We had an Information Evening for new parents and 5th and 6th Class entered the Ryde Eisteddfod, coming Highly Commended. Infants children are on the stage every available minute and looking forward to a Dress Rehearsal at school on Tuesday, for the entertainment of the Primary classes.
As many of you will already know, our dear Sue McKinley will be leaving John Colet after the Shakespeare Festival for areas further north, where she and her husband, Howard, are establishing a new home for their retirement.
Sue has been at John Colet since 1998, working in particular for seven years with Luke W, who was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. Sue even used to swim with him and run in races pushing the wheelchair! When Luke finished at John Colet, Sue was taken on as a Class Aide and then a Special Ed. support Aide. She has been a generous and efficient member of the team for 17 years, and will be sorely missed. Sue has also run the Dimensionz Dance School in Narrabeen, attended by several of our students. We wish Sue and Howard all the best in their new life in Nelson Bay.
Other Staff news: we welcome Jasmine Crewe to the Special Ed. Department, where she will be replacing Edmund Wakeford. Jasmine has specialised in Gifted and Talented Education and is also trained in Support. Jasmine has taught at Pymble Ladies College, Pius Chatswood, Greenacre Public, and Killara Public. She is still a Careers Advisor at Killara High one day week. Jasmine has three young children, her husband is also a teacher, and her other great love is dancing!
I am glad to report that the uniform has been very good this week, with only a couple of caps and blazers missing early in the week. More importantly, many children have been showing respect, particularly standing aside at doors, waiting for conversations to end before interrupting, and not walking in between people conversing. And as for standing up when adults enter the classroom – it’s been wonderful. Have you ever seen 25 Jack-in-the-Boxes! I have, and frequently this week.
On Friday we had a farewell morning tea for Mr. Edmund Wakeford who has taught at John Colet on and off over fifteen years. He began as a High School boy doing Work Experience, then he worked for a period during a gap year and finally as a trained teacher, both in the classroom and in the Special Education Gifted and Support area. He has worked quietly in the background supporting and extending children according to need. He is going to live in Thailand and has taken a class position at an International School outside Bangkok. He will join his Thai wife, Yo, in Thailand. We wish him all the best.
We also said farewell to Mrs Caroline Brehaut, who has been with us since the beginning of the year, and has been a shining light in the Primary Latin Department. She is going to teach at Queenwood, where she has been offered a position. A short, but happy association, Mrs. Brehaut is helping us to locate a replacement. More anon.
Teachers’ Day on Monday – Mrs. McKendrick will be back (if jet-lagged!) and we expect Mr. Philip Wolfers, Chairman of the Board, to join us for the celebration, which is taking a slightly different form this year – flowers and brief verbal offerings from the children. Parents are very welcome. I have read some of the children’s offerings and they are touching. A portion of the flowers will remain with the teachers in their classrooms, and most will be taken to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home by Mrs. Tomicki and 4th Class and presented to the ladies and gentlemen there.
A big finale for the wonderful Jump Rope for Heart initiative by Mrs. Cipollone and 5th Class was held on Thursday afternoon. As many parents will be aware, there has been much skipping going on and children have sought sponsors to support their efforts. The Primary children have so far raised in excess of $2,500 for the Heart Foundation, and in the process gained new levels of skill ……. and hopefully become fitter!
The Thursday “Jump Off” event was designed to showcase the children’s new skills, fancy or otherwise!, and for everyone to have a healthy and very enjoyable afternoon. Although the Infants children were not directly involved, they were invited to watch and, hopefully, will be inspired to participate next year.
The third in a series of “Morning Tea with Head of School” was held on Tuesday and well attended by 2nd Class parents, including three new or potential parents of children in that class. This gave those new parents the chance to find out firsthand how parents have found the School., and also to gain a taste, not only of Donna Moor’s delicious catering, but also a taste of the warmth and mutual support of the school parents. Primary Class parents will be invited to a series of such morning teas next term.
About the Australian Early Development Census 2015 Mrs. McDermott had a day off class to do a large part of the work on the Government Survey on early childhood development. This survey measures the development progress of children as they start their first year of full-time school, and looks at groups of children in the community rather than at individual students. This census is used by early childhood educators and health services, local councils and community groups, schools and government to help plan and allocate the right types of services, resources and support for communities. It seems to be a very useful tool, and John Colet, along with Lower First parents, has been happy to support this since its inception in 2009.
I hear a whisper that the holidays are coming up at the end of this week. How does it happen so quickly!!
It’s been a week delightfully dominated by Sanskrit – the week of the annual Sanskrit Recitation Competition, both Heats and Finals. What a splendid event the final competition was, attended by distinguished guest, parents and the children and their teachers. The children were outstanding both as audience and performer, showing a steadiness and confidence that was very impressive. The atmosphere was imbued with the meaning of the prayers they recited, and our guest-of-honour, Mr. Rajeev Kumar, Vice-Consul of the Consulate General of India, said how very impressed he was. He had himself studied Sanskrit at Primary School and knew its value. After the competition and the acknowledgement of the winners and judges, and the organisers, Mrs. Rosey Dunstan and Mrs. Joan Childs our Sanskrit Teachers, Mr. Kumar took questions from the senior children on life in India. The event was a huge success. Mr. Kumar undertook to come again next year ….. He must have enjoyed himself!
Another event was held on Thursday evening by the Music Faculty, under the care of Ms. Rosey Davidson to showcase the skills of the School’s music students and Music Ensemble, who were called to perform for their parents. The qualities of steadiness and courage were obvious in the children, and they played beautifully
We have had quite a number of enquiries from parents of potential new students, funnily enough mostly for 2nd Class. Mrs. James confirms two definite enrolments and two further trial days for children. 2nd Class is expanding and we have “loosened our belts”! From Week 7 Mrs. Connell will be moving across to work with Miss Marley on 2nd Class for three mornings and an afternoon per week, whilst still working with Mrs. Tefay and U1st on two other days. To this end Mrs. Tefay and Mrs. Connell have increased their days of work, and Mrs. Tefay will receive more Teacher’s Aide support.
In line with our policy to offer the children Positive Behaviour Support, we will be introducing early next term an agreement document that children who attend after-school activities and Clubs, and their parents, will sign. Positive Behaviour Support, long practised at John Colet School, outlines before an event the sort of behaviour that is expected, and offers guidance and training to the children.
The Agreement will set out expected behaviours at the many Clubs and extension activities in the School that are held during Recesses or before and after school hours. Some are supervised by School teachers and some are not. These include Chess, French, Mandarin, Gardening, Music Ensemble, Needlecraft, Conducting and others. This Agreement will set out parameters for behaviour and general conduct, and will support the children in their efforts to gain the maximum from these activities.
Reports should go out mid-next week and many teachers are having Parent Meetings.
What a wonderful day the Open Day was, much enhanced by the weather. A big thank you to Christine Condos, Belinda James and Alex Coubrough on the organising committee and Lucy B on the P&F; also to all the parents who helped or organised stalls, providing extras here and there. An especially big thanks to the teachers and the children for the magnificent work presented and the wonderful concert. It was a great way to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Another exciting aspect is the number of new and interested families who came along to look at John Colet School. The behaviour of the children was exemplary, and they obviously had a wonderful day.
Art at John Colet One of the outstanding aspects of the children’s work is the Art which is lavishly presented about the school. Several people commented on the high standard. Mrs. Gadsby and Mrs. Allcorn run the Department, ably assisted by Mrs. Anne Fox, who has recently joined as a very experienced volunteer, and of course, by Ms. Alex Coubrough as well as the Art Prefect, Alexandra R and Vice Art Prefect Kauri P. Mention must also be made of several other senior children, Sophia W, Sasha B, Jaanvi K and Eugenia C, who as our Art Monitors, give their time to help. It’s obviously a very popular location in the school!
The Visual Arts programme is fully integrated with other aspects of the Curriculum. It helps with the development of the whole child by giving opportunities for creative expression and by developing concentration and fine motor skills. Through studying art, children develop visual literacy, and an understanding of cultural symbols and the importance of artistic expression as a means of communication. The children’s work is grounded in drawing: firstly from observation of natural forms, and then still life, mark making, pattern making, portraiture, landscape and creative drawing. The ability to design and produce a finished artwork is encouraged. This culminates in the making of artworks in the different media of painting, sculpture, ceramics and print making. Art at John Colet is artist-based, in that the children see themselves as artists producing artworks. They learn about the works of a variety of artists and study the different ways art is produced. This is in keeping with the current curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on culture based art integrated in with the H.S.I.E. curriculum.
Mrs. Anne Fox Mrs. Fox began on Wednesdays at John Colet at the beginning of the year. Her original training was in Secondary School Art Education at The Alexander Mackie School of Arts in Sydney and then at the Polding College: Her experience includes teaching at the Gilroy Catholic College in Castle Hill, and then at St. James’ School, London, followed by nine years as Art Teacher at the School of Philosophy Day School in New York. In the meantime, she married and has three daughters. Her husband, William Fox, is a new Member of the JCS Board of Governors. Her special Art interests are children’s art, the great artists, art history, Greek art, primitive art, and Indigenous art. It is with great pleasure that we include her in our teaching ranks.
Congratulations to all the children (and parents!) Every child in the Hall on Monday at the start of Assembly was wearing correct uniform! – blazers for most and sports uniform for some! Well done. This makes my Recesses much happier, as I don’t have to have any children on detention!
Assembly has taken on a “new look” and the essence of it is the participation of the children, and the music – ah, the music!
After the Prayers, Creed, National Anthem and School Values, we have the delight of Henry B and Carys H leading the week’s hymn. The first verse is sung by these Choristers and then the School joins in with the following verses; the hymn is accompanied by Mrs. Tomicki on the piano and children from 4th Class playing on their recorders. It is wonderful.
Another aspect of the new style Assembly is the presentations by children to the whole school – either work from their classes or other activities. The outstanding presentation this term has been from 5th Class who have embraced the “Jump for Heart” skipping campaign by the Heart Foundation. 5th Class has advertised and promoted this fund-raising effort, encouraging children in other classes to skip and seek sponsors. There has been a weekly update on money raised, and it has almost reached $2,500. A magnificent effort. We see the children skipping away at Recess times.
At the end of the Assembly, Mrs. Tomicki plays the piano whilst the children leave quietly. So this is the new, very interactive Monday Assembly. Parents are welcome to attend from time to time and at their convenience. I encourage you to come along!
This week we will begin a series of information items on some of the aspects of the curriculum that make John Colet special.
Latin, once the lingua franca of Europe, has long been known for its training in mental acumen and language skills. It brings with it the mental processes of a remarkable and energetic culture – that of the Ancient Romans, known for their love of law, architecture and the liberal arts.
Latin is offered at John Colet School, both in the Infants and Primary. and is of great benefit for all sorts of reasons – it teaches grammar, sentence structure, language skills, thinking skills, vocabulary, translation, and etymology Like Sanskrit, Latin is a highly structured language and trains students in the understanding and analysis of language structures. The content of the course covers Roman lifestyle, aspects of Roman history and Greek and Roman mythology and legends.
For many years the School taught Latin formally to the senior grades. In general the criterion then for entry into these classes was the successful completion of the School’s Spelling programme. Two years ago, as a pilot programme, the School experimented with opening up Latin study to the younger grades as well on a less formal basis to the Primary grades. Mrs Donald holds before school classes for the Upper 1st and 2nd classes; and Mr Mane, and now Mrs. Caroline Brehaut, teaches the primary grades.
The details of the classes in 2015 are as follows:
Upper 1st begins in Term 3 on Tuesdays from 8.10-8.45 in Colet 1. This class is still to be selected, and the offer will be made through the class teachers. Fluency in reading and writing is the criterion. A further opportunity to join is offered at the beginning of 2nd Class. The maximum practical class size is 12.
2nd class Wednesdays 8.10 – 8.45am Colet 1
3rd and 4th classes beginners Tuesdays 1.05-1.35pm (lunch play time) Colet 2
3rd and 4th class advanced Thursdays 8:00 - 8.30am Colet 1
5th and 6th classes Tuesdays 12.30 - 12.55pm (Primary Lunch)
5th and 6th classes Children who have completed the Spelling syllabus learn Latin three times per week during school teaching hours.
If you are interested in Latin for your child, please talk to your class teacher in the first instance.