This term our core value in focus has been Courage, particularly in developing self-control, inner strength and understanding the role of forgiveness.
We take this a step further next term as we delve into one of our other core values, Service. Words need to be translated into action, preferably spontaneous, thoughtful, independent action by our students. We will remind the children at our assembly on Friday to look for opportunities during the holidays. If you do witness any such examples over the break, please do let us know as it’s always good to be able to share with the whole school when we return.
Have a wonderful holiday with your family and we look forward to welcoming you back on the 15th of October.
The adverse weather didn’t deter us from having a wonderful three days with our 3rd and 4th Class students at camp on Milson Island. It has been a great opportunity for them to build deeper friendships, push themselves in personal and group challenges and to work more independently. Both the camp staff and I have been extremely impressed with our student’s engagement, respect and behaviour. They have been true ambassadors of our school.
Next week sees another opportunity for our students to extend and challenge themselves at our school Athletics Carnival. It is a wonderful day with a range of sporting activities to test personal limits, as well as enjoy fun individual and group games. You are welcome to come for the entire day and are encouraged to join the annual parent race.
We are fortunate to have at John Colet School, students who ‘most of the time’ exhibit behaviour of strong character, respectfulness and resilience. It is an aspect that is often commented on by visitors to our school and should be something that we are very proud of. This is achieved by having a collective understanding of our responsibilities and how we relate to each other with support and kindness.
It is important to remember that this is a central aspect of what primary education is all about. Our students are continually learning how ‘to be’ and are all at different stages of self-awareness, maturity and confidence. Disagreements will occur, friendships will rise and wane and sometimes frustrations will boil over. Our practice of stillness and mindfulness is very helpful during these situations, as is the collective understanding within the school of what is right and fair.
Do I meet challenges with resilience? That is the question we are asking our children to explore over the next few weeks. Your ability to succeed when faced with a difficult challenge lies in your mental attitude. Creating these challenges in a safe and supportive environment is what school and learning are all about. This can be as simple as a new maths problem or as daunting as stepping onto the stage at Glen Street Theatre for the first time. Resilience isn’t about not experiencing difficult emotions or sweeping things under the carpet, it’s about choosing to harness your inner strengths to help you cope when times are tough.
In just a few weeks our 3rd and 4th Class students will participate in camp on Milson Island. This camp runs over three days and is a wonderful opportunity for the children to step out of the school environment and operate with greater independence in a new environment, with fresh challenges. This is especially true for our 3rd Class students, many of whom will be away from their parents for the first time. It is natural to be nervous without the comfort of knowing your family is nearby, yet personally affirming when they can persevere, trust in themselves and show greater self-sufficiency. Meeting this new experience with a positive attitude is a wonderful way of building courage. This year I will be joining the Milson Island Camp and I am looking forward to being a part of this great learning opportunity.
Over the past few weeks, within our School Value of Courage, we have been exploring forgiveness. There have been some thoughtful discussions prompted by a variety of readings, real-life stories and questions such as; Why is forgiving important? How does it feel when someone forgives you? What is real forgiveness? Should you forgive and forget? How is asking for forgiveness different from apologising? Should you always forgive? Who deserves to be forgiven? Where does justice fit into forgiveness? Who benefits when you forgive? How does forgiveness relate to happiness?
These questions are addressed in different ways and degrees depending on the age of the students, however, the goal, like much of philosophy is in the exploration rather than a definitive right or wrong answer.
It was wonderful to see the children dressed up for our Book Week Parade on Monday. The children (and parents) really outdid themselves this year with some creations inspired from both new and classic literature.
It has been a great deal quieter over the past few days with our 5th and 6th Class students at camp. They have had a wonderful experience together and have managed to enjoy some real winter weather before we head into Spring. We look forward to having them back with us on Monday.
As we come towards the half way mark in Term 3, we have a lot to look forward to. Next Wednesday, we have our 6th Class Market Day fundraising with a crazy socks day, Grandparents’ Day on the 4th September, P&F Movie night on the 7th and a Science Week visiting show on the 9th . Later in the month our 3rd and 4th Classes are off to camp at Milsons Island, our Athletic Carnival is on the 24th, followed soon after by our Infants Concert.
Within the Value of Courage that we are focussing on this term, we are looking at forgiveness. The courage to forgive others and also ourselves requires self-control, inner strength and understanding of what is right. It is this concept within Courage that promotes a growth mindset, resilience and a willingness to learn from our errors.
Forgiving is not the same as forgetting. In fact, it is more closely aligned to remembering for it to be useful. It does not mean that you are saying what happened was okay, it does however, mean that you have let go of the anger or guilt towards someone, or towards yourself.
As we go through life we all make mistakes. We shouldn’t spend our time in regret, thinking of what could have been. Instead, the focus needs to be on the present and ensuring that we have learnt from past mistakes. This is what learning is all about, the confidence to take risks, have slipups, learn from them, forgive yourself and others, and move on.
Forgiveness is like the fragrance a flower gives after it’s been stepped on – Anon
On Monday at 8:30am we will have the unveiling of the John Colet Statue. Having a representation of the person the school is named after, allows our students to make a connection to his legacy and also the values he inspired in our school.
Our resident international artist, Mr Philip Garrett, is returning to England next week. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Garrett for the fine sculpture he has produced as well as the lessons he has undertaken with our students. He has worked passionately to combine both the historical records of the man, art of the period, as well as factoring in the current context of our school.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Moran family, who originally presented the idea of a sculpture to the school and have been supporting Mr Garrett while in Australia. A project of this magnitude is not possible without the kind donations of both time and money from our parents and friends, for this we thank you.
The school community celebrated Teacher’s Day this week. Each child prepared a piece of writing on someone who has or continues to have a significant influence on their life. One child was selected to represent each year to speak at assembly, and it was wonderful to hear such a wide range of examples.
Mrs Renshaw and I also had the opportunity to visit Lower 1st later in the day and read each of the children’s pieces. We were both blown away by the level of writing that has been developed in such a short time. However, the most striking element was the heartfelt examples of friends, teachers and family that were given as significant teachers in their lives.
Teachers can be in your class, part of your family, a friend or someone in the wider community that inspires you. The teacher is always whoever or whatever is in front of you at any given time. Our students are also learning to be their own teacher, pausing, considering what would a wise person do, brings them closer to independently choosing the right path.
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself – Chinese proverb
It has been wonderful to see our students return this week. They have been full of stories of adventures from the holidays and eagerly reuniting with their friends. I had the opportunity during the break to attend a Heads of School conference which was held for schools with a similar foundation, education and ethos to John Colet School. Schools from Australia, Ireland, England, Trinidad, South Africa and New Zealand were in attendance. While the schools varied widely in structure, there was a common thread throughout, that reaffirmed the uniqueness of our program and the education we provide our children. It was also an ideal occasion to share best practice and ways in which our schools could be further improved. We will begin this Term focussing on our core Value of Courage. Initially, we are linking this study with the Value of Truthfulness, which we explored last Term. As always, we look to ensure the practical application of our Values throughout the school community.
Congratulations to all those involved with our Infants Shakespeare Festival this week. A special thanks to all those parents who have lent a hand, we are fortunate to have such a supportive community behind the scenes assisting our teachers and students.
Term 3 has a lot for us to look forward to; P&F Movie Night, 3rd to 6th Class Camps, Book Week, Grandparent’s Day, Science Week, and the Infants Concert.
We hope you have an enjoyable break with your family and look forward to welcoming you back on the 23rd of July.
Our school prides itself on actively teaching attention and focus skills to our students. We do this through a mindfulness program that has been in operation for over 30 years. We also promote this through our regular classes, the teaching of classical languages, choir, a specialist art program and chess. Our Shakespeare program is a fine example of the use of high levels of concentration, attention and focus. It is truly magical watching our students as they practice their plays, move from simple line recitations to giving their all, embodying the character and simply being there. Next week we will be holding our annual Infants Shakespeare Festival. These performances are a highlight within our calendar and are truly remarkable. During rehearsals, it has been wonderful to witness their confidence and passion. The plays encourage the commitment to the wider cast, empathy for the characters and a deeper appreciation of history and language. This above all; to thine own self be true – William Shakespeare
Within the Value of Truth that we are exploring this term, is the question; Is it uplifting? In other words, in our speech and our actions do we encourage and inspire those around us? At times, we all get caught in negative thinking, self-doubt and procrastination. Having an encouraging friend, parent or teacher to talk with can be of great benefit. A positive perspective can enable us to see the truth in a situation that may need addressing and a practical way forward. One of the defining elements of John Colet School is that we explore and embed our values as a whole school. We approach the learning of our values in a developmentally appropriate way which will differ depending on which age we are with, yet the core remains the same. This is just as valid for our staff and our supporting community. Our goal is that all may inspire!
This week, John Colet held our annual Sanskrit recitation competition and finals. Sanskrit instruction from Lower First to 6th Class is one of the unique features of our school that has been an integral part of the program since the school was founded. Our students benefit from learning this ancient classical language, which like Latin has influenced languages, literature and culture throughout history. The simple, clear grammar used in Sanskrit helps in the development of learning other languages, including English.
Sanskrit opens up our children to a greater understanding of language, its history and the interconnectedness of our society. For example the Sanskrit root da – give, Sanskrit word dana – gift, Latin word donum – gift, French word donner – to give, English words donate, dose, dedicate, etc.
As was shown during the finals, this language also lends itself to a beauty of sound and structure that when combined with some of the universal themes of spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health, produce work of the highest standard. If you missed the recitations this week I highly recommend saving the date for next year.
Amongst a few days of wild weather changes, we were very fortunate to have perfect conditions for our Open day! However, the fine weather was just the backdrop to what was a lovely community event. Thank you to all those who were able to contribute or lend a hand on the day, it was greatly appreciated. As we continue looking at our Value of Truth, below is something practical for the fridge you may find helpful...