Walking past Upper First on Thursday, it was very obvious that the children were totally engaged in their Science lesson on Photosynthesis, and they could actually explain what it was about!! This is the feel of the school at the moment with the children working quietly and enthusiastically as we approach the end of a long term. Also on Thursday Fourth class celebrated “Greek Day” as part of their study of Ancient Greece (some photos are below). There was great enthusiasm and excitement all round. The Greek Olympics proved to be such fun with some children winning medals and all of them having a very good time. This was followed by making Greek mosaics, Trojan Horse construction, and culinary feasts such as Greek cookies and dolmades. There was also a tasting table where the children could taste Greek food, but it was received with dubious enthusiasm. A wonderful day was had by all and our thanks goes to all the parents for providing such wonderful costumes and a special thanks to those parents who helped in the class room on the day. The term’s practice of Respect has borne much good fruit, and one is constantly noticing mannerly and respectful behaviour from the children. A visitor to the school commented on this last week when a child entered the room where we were speaking in a very polite and considerate way.
This morning we had our traditional Easter Assembly which is always quite a moving event. The 6th Class House Captains and Head Boy and Girl read the Easter readings from the gospel of St Luke. It’s a wonderful thing to see the confidence of the 6th Class as they read to nearly two hundred of their fellow students. All the children develop in confidence as they progress through the school, and it comes from giving them the opportunity, teaching them well and having trust and faith in them. The children also sing the Easter hymns as part of the Assembly, and being true to their Singing teachers, they sang like angels.
We had a short discussion about the meaning of Easter, the coming of new life, and how it is celebrated in various traditions. During the discussion the children contributed in various ways but the thing that stood out as one or other of the children were speaking was their uprightness, and their willingness to contribute and to listen to each other. This term we are working on respect and the Assembly was such a fine example of Respect in action. As we would expect, disrespect emerges from time to time, but on the whole the children are full of respect.
The children were also asked to consider gratitude over the Easter break, and the many things for which they could be grateful.
Great news on the Chess Club front – a team of more than twenty children went to Mona Vale School for the Northern Beaches Primary Chess Competition: the children have to be congratulated on their wonderful performance: the girls’ team won their competition and the boys came 5th. Mi Mi P won seven games out of seven – a magnificent achievement, and I’m sure that the children both won and lost with good grace. Thanks to Mrs. P for her continuing work with the Chess Club.
Second Class had a wonderful excursion to Narrabeen to study coastal environments – and this was achieved in spite of the rainy weather, and with the help of three parents.
The children were so excited about the Friday Walkathon, unfortunately due to the inclement weather it has meant that this fundraising event has to be postponed. The rescheduled date will be confirmed early next week.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of a new member of staff, Ms. Abby Jansen, who will take over from Ms. Madalaine Renshaw in one of the Lower First classes, alongside Ms Sarah Marley, at the beginning of Term 2. Ms. Jansen lives locally, yet has taught internationally in London previously as well as here in Sydney. She has a keen interest in cultural understanding and world languages, particularly Japanese. Ms. Jansen is also a committed netball devotee. Miss Jansen’s love and enthusiasm for teaching was very evident in her interview, sample lessons and subsequent interaction with the children. We welcome Miss Jansen to the staff.
We continue to practise Respect this week, and in particular to ask ourselves whether our actions unify or divide. Staff and students are both practising this. The children have been asked to look at their relationships with other children in the playground and consider whether their actions divide or unite, and if they divide to restore unity and harmony. For the most part the children play harmoniously and nearly always want to restore the balance if it is lost.
Once again, excellent results in the NAPLAN tests, especially in the Reading. And all are to be congratulated.
Also of interest is a report from Mr. Tim Roslin, our Sports Teacher, who has written this week of the outstanding performances of our teams in the Interschools Sports competition. He points out that most of the schools against which we compete have far greater numbers of children from whom to select their teams – sometimes three times as many. In spite of this, John Colet teams have consistently won their games this year, and more importantly, have enjoyed the competition, and shown great sportsmanship too.
Upper First went on a very successful excursion to Taronga Zoo, and 2nd Class are due to visit the Narrabeen Ocean Environment Study Centre on Wednesday. This is the same day that three John Colet Teams are going into the Northern Beaches Chess Competition at Mona Vale. We wish them luck!
Fifteen children from John Colet 5th and 6th Classes are being introduced to meditation this weekend in a beautiful ceremony at the School of Philosophy’s Sydney heritage-listed headquarters, Mahratta, Warrawee.
Our drama teacher, Zoe Emanuel will begin on the preparations for the Infants Shakespeare Festival 2016, and if you hear loud voices around the school, do not be alarmed – it could be some villainous Shakespearean character venting!
The children are encouraged to register for the Premier’s Reading Challenge. Last year was a great success and we look forward to fuller participation this year.
The term is well under way and everyone is working happily and to capacity: walking around the school one sees children who are engaged and enthusiastic. It is worth mentioning how well the new 3rd Class children have settled into the Primary rhythm, and their growing maturity and independence are obvious.
On Wednesday, the two 6th Classes went to a leadership event at the Olympic Stadium, along with many other primary children. The speakers included Andrew Scipione, NSW Police Commissioner, and Paralympian Ben Austin. The theme was “Mastering the Little Steps”: taking little steps to improve and enhance our skills, talents, and good character with the aim of self-mastery, which is an essential quality for leaders.
The Uniform Room now has good stock of school caps. For those who were previously unable to purchase one – they are now available.
The children were asked at Assembly to take up the practice of respect for their own work – always present your best – and respect for the work of others.
In spite of the “heat wave”, it was a very good week, and one of those hot days was fortuitously the Primary Swimming Carnival. This was a very successful event, which takes much forethought and planning by Mrs. Renshaw, the event organiser. The House Captains, supported by 6th Class, did an outstanding job in helping with the smooth running of the event. As well as the good general behaviour, there were two commendations for Good Sportsmanship, both 4th Class children, Darya T and Hartley E.
Good news for Lower First parents and children: Miss Madalaine Renshaw is able to continue with the class until the end of Term 1, at which time she will be returning to France. We hope to have a fulltime teacher in place for Term 2. The Lower First children are settling well and becoming more accustomed to the school routine.
The children in after-school clubs are being reminded that we expect the same high standard of behaviour in the clubs, as is in the classroom. Also, if your children are attending one of these clubs, please pick them up promptly at the club finishing time. Children who are not picked up will be delivered to After School Care, for which there is a charge.
Respect for place and property are still in the spotlight for our practice of the week.
The term is well and truly under way, and the children are settled and working steadily. Tonight, Friday 19th, is the evening many class teachers have set aside to meet with parents, and these meetings will be followed at 7.30 by the Reception of the Board of Governors for parents, and especially parents new to the school community. Hope to see you there. Hope also to see many parents at the Primary Swimming Carnival on Wednesday 24th! The visit of the “Life Education” van was a great success, with each class visiting for a lesson of their teacher’s choice. We hope to make this an annual event. Two important points:
Please do not drop children off at school before 8.00 a.m. (except it be for a specific Club such as Chess). There is no supervision of children before 8.00 a.m. at school, even if they have a sibling attending an early activity. This is a safety concern.
Uniform: no hat or cap need be worn to and from school when the children are wearing sports uniform, but they are very much required to be worn when the children are in standard uniform.
Many of the Clubs “contracts” have not been returned. If you have any outstanding, please give them to the class teacher as soon as possible. Sophia Wormald, our current Student, is returning to the U.K., and her last day with us will be Tuesday 23rd February. Thank you Sophia for your wonderful contribution!
Walking round the school and looking and listening, it’s quite obvious that the children have settled back into school beautifully and are working hard. Clubs and sporting activities are all under way, and one exciting feature this week is the presence of Healthy Harold in the “Life Education Van”, parked below Chisholm House. Children disappear into it with their teachers throughout the day and come out wiser after discussions on healthy eating, exercise, syringe and medicine safety, the wisdom of following rules and so on.
We have recently installed a very classy sound system in the Maclaren Hall, through the kind efforts of Glen Miller. This system can be used with DVD, CD, USB, Ipad and Iphone, providing sound and projection, and was bought with money from the P&F. This will be of great use for various functions and especially for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival. Many thanks to the Parents and Friends.
BOARD OF GOVERNORS’ RECEPTION Friday 19th Every year the Members of the Board of Governors hold a Reception at the beginning of the year to welcome the new parents to the School, and also to provide the opportunity for established parents to greet them. It is also an occasion where members of the school community can meet Members of the Board, and also others of the teaching and administrative staff with whom they do not regularly interact. The opportunity is taken for brief addresses from the Chairman of the Board, the Headmaster and Treasurer to introduce themselves, and say a few words about any relevant current situation. A representative of the Parents and Friends also makes a brief presentation. Food and drinks are served by School office bearers, and also sometimes by members of the School Alumni. The reception often follows class meetings with teachers, to make it doubly worth coming! The Reception begins at 7.30 and finishes by about 9.00 p.m.
Our work on Respect will move on to respect for property and place: caring for equipment (personal and school) and our environment.
Great news: we welcome Ms Madalaine Renshaw as the second teacher for our entry level class, Lower First, but only for a month. Ms. Renshaw will be working with Ms Marley over the next four weeks, settling them in and establishing the two classes. Ms Renshaw is herself an ex John Colet Student, and indeed did her Teacher Internship with us and has been a casual supply teacher at JCS in the past few years. She is currently here on a one-month visit from Bordeaux, France, where she is going to live and teach.
We are hoping soon to be in a position to announce details about the teacher who will be taking up this position with Lower First.
Thank you to parents who have returned the Clubs Behaviour Contract. Details of the Clubs are on our website.
Pick Up Zone: Last week we published information from Warringah Council on the roads management aspects of this. Could we also mention the following:
the official time for pick up is 3.10-3.30 p.m.
drivers should not get out of their cars: teachers will load the children
please do not park in this area: it holds up the flow and is subject to a heavy fine if caught
No conversations with teachers please – it also holds up the flow: call another time
Please pass this on to anyone else (e.g. grandparents, au pairs) collecting the children
Another related safety issue: we respectfully ask that you and anyone else delegated to collect the children, use the designated safety crossing, particularly as an example to the children of the correct procedure, and of course for the safety of all.
Practice for the Primary Swimming Carnival has begun – don’t forget to come and cheer on Wednesday 24th February.
How lovely to see the children returning so happily to school on Wednesday – most of them a great deal taller than when they left at the end of Term 4 last year. Also a warm welcome to the many new children at John Colet.
The new Head of School, Mr. Julian Wilcock, made himself known to the students at Assembly on the first morning. The new Head Boy and Head Girl were in place and read the weekly Psalm beautifully, and the recorder children (Year 5 now!) played in their usual melodious fashion during and after the Assembly. It all bodes well for a great year.
Mr. Wilcock has been much in evidence around the School, getting to know the parents and children, and even braved the new Lower First children during their first Recess accompanied by a photographer from the Manly Daily.
Please note that teachers are not in a position to answer emails during the day. Please allow them overnight to deal with matters. If it is something urgent such as a late change in transport home, please speak to the Receptionist and ask her to convey the message to the teacher.
At John Colet we have quite a few before and after school Clubs. (Language-French and Mandarin, Chess, Yoga, Gardening, Chanting, Sailing, Science, Art, Sewing, String Ensemble, Dance). We will be instituting a Club Contract for the children to show you to sign and return. This is a contract with behaviour guidelines. They will be self-explanatory, and will be issued once membership of the Clubs is confirmed. More anon.
Children and Staff are working on Respect, and for the children it is respect towards their teachers. They know the ropes – Mrs. McKendrick asked at Assembly for suggestions as to how that respect could be shown. They came up with
Welcome back to a new year – we have no doubt it is going to be a productive and interesting one.
Over and above all the preparations the teachers have been making over the holiday period, the Staff have been in last week for some training, planning and personal development sessions. There have been some very inspiring conversations by the teachers of ways in which they have found it useful to inculcate the values to the children, to bring them closer to an understanding of who they are and how they can realise their abilities and talents. Child Protection and health and safety have also been addressed, particularly anaphylaxis and asthma, and further training in the use of the iPads.
In recent weeks there has been a continuing interest in John Colet, which has resulted in enquiries, tours of the school, and a number of new enrolments. In recognition of this and in the interests of the children, we have decided to split three classes that were already becoming large, rather than waiting for further enrolments and making changes later in the year. These classes are Lower First, Upper First and Third Class. This is far better for the children, teachers and other aspects of school management.
By-the-way, we have heard from Miss Marie White (former JCS teacher) regarding the overwhelmingly generous donations made by parents to her “Africa Collection”, and a large assortment of school equipment and educational toys is on its way to Africa. Many, many thanks to the generous donors. This term we will be looking at Respect, and of course this impinges on all aspects of our behaviour. Updates on that in the weeks to come!
What an overwhelming and generous response from parents, children and teachers to the Nativity Play charity collection for the Smith Family and the children in East Africa. It took five ladies making several journeys each to carry all the items up to Top House, where they are awaiting collection by Miss White, or delivery to the Smith Family Christmas Collection depot. A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL. Late contributions will be gladly accepted by Mrs. Donald!
Several end-of-year parties were held during the week, not the least was the beautiful luncheon and speeches at the 6th Class Farewell Lunch on Wednesday given by the children of 5th Class and their teachers. Picnic Day was a hot one, but fun was had by all, and the heat alleviated by frequent dips in the water, and the cooling breeze. The behaviour of the children was exemplary. The Ice Cream Van Man had a smile from ear to ear, as there was a steady stream of children eating his ices! We had four Lifesavers and a St. John’s Ambulance person, but no real call was made on them, except for vigilance. A very happy event, well organised by Mrs. Mary Layton.
Friday was “moving day”, not a favourite day with the teachers, when they migrate to their new rooms for 2016.
Reports are well on the way and will be sent out early next week. And then it’s Speech Night and it’s all over for the children for another year! Many thanks to all, and a special cheer for our wonderful teachers. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday.
All children and their families are invited to donate a Christmas gift for those less fortunate than we: these will either go to the Smith Family or to an underprivileged school in Kenya
·The gift can be something second hand in good order;
·It can be something new;
·It should not be wrapped so that the Smith Family helpers can check what age is appropriate. They then wrap them.
·There will be a big treasure chest put outside the Assembly Hall for the presents to be dropped off.
·Late gifts can still be given to Mrs. Donald before end of term.
·This year we are also collecting for very poor children at the school in Africa where Miss White worked last year. They have almost nothing. Puzzles and writing and drawing equipment, games (not run by batteries please – they don’t have such things!); readers and picture books; old coloured pencils with a bit of life left: bring them in – there will be a separate basket for them. Miss White will be arranging for them to be sent to Africa.
The children at John Colet School are constantly reminded about and instructed in the real application of the school values, and this has been very much in evidence in the School this week in a very practical way. The Sports Carnival was a huge success and the courage of the children and their sportsmanship was very evident: highlighting our values particularly in relation to Inner Strength, Self Control and Right Action.
This is also what we hope to put across with Remembrance Day – which is not to glorify war, but to honour the courage of those who have gone before to ensure our freedom. It is to promote peace and conflict resolution.
A teacher reported to me that whilst on playground duty in recent weeks, she has seen several incidents where arguments have arisen, have begun to escalate, and where the children themselves have applied principles of conflict resolution, and have been able to resolve the problem in an amicable way, avoiding real conflict.
In fact this week in a Philosophy Class, children from 2nd Class described exactly such a thing. They told how they were helped by some 6th Class children to dissolve a conflict that was escalating and continue their play happily. They showed great satisfaction in having managed this. This is the practical application of the School Value: Courage, - Self control, Inner Strength and Right Action.
Two sounds have predominated around John Colet this week – one the steady pitter-patter of the rain and the other the angelic tones of children preparing their singing for the Speech Night Event. Both very beautiful, although I am sure I echo the teachers’ feelings when I say that a break from the pitter-patter would be welcome! We have all borne it well.
A sound that has been missing is the reverberation of Shakespeare rehearsals – that has all been put to bed after a most wonderful display of acting, courage and co-operation. There are so many related skills to the production of Shakespeare that it is difficult to measure them. Our new Wardrobe Mistress, Ms Roya Azanchi, is now looking forward to the costume “returns”.
It’s in-school Chess time and a record number of children are participating. Our thanks to Mrs. Pietschner, who is tireless in her nurturing of our chess talent.
It was a slightly damp “Mufti Day”, but nonetheless obviously enjoyed by the teachers and children alike. $643.65 has been collected so far for Lifeline from that and also from the Macquarie Market Day. A thank you to those parents and children who contributed, and thank you to 6th class for organising the Market Day.
Just repeating the request from last week for the donation of educational items and other gifts (the usual) to be collected at the Nativity Play. The former items are to go to very underprivileged children in Kenya, and the latter as usual to The Smith Family. Many thanks.
Oh and don't forget it's our school Athletics Carnival this Tuesday, for Infants and Primary students. Please have your children at school by 8am if they are going to the sports venue by bus. The bus departs at 8.05am.