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...
Is it kind, pleasant and beneficial? This is what we are exploring presently through the Value of Truthfulness. Speaking the truth in itself should be promoted, however, the intention behind sharing and the form of communication should always be taken into consideration. Everyone likes sharing stories and news with their friends, however, it can become personal and also evolve through miscommunication and snowball out of proportion. It is a difficult lesson for students to learn to pause and think is this true, is it kind or is it beneficial; and make an active decision to question the facts and decide whether to pass it on. Taking a proactive approach to understanding the important value of Truth and its related application is a lifelong skill being developed at John Colet School. It will place our students in a stronger position for challenges they may face in the future. The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it – Stanley Kubrick
We are eagerly looking forward to showcasing our school next Sunday at our Open Day. There are some new attractions and performances, as well as many of our regular favourites for our community to experience and enjoy. Open Day is an opportunity to celebrate what makes this school truly special with our families and friends. It is also wonderful to welcome visitors from our wider community, so please feel free to invite neighbours and family friends. A special thanks to our Parents and Friends team, led by Mrs Tanya Hyams-Young, for all the hard work they have been involved with in preparation for Open Day. There are plenty of ways you can support this event, so please do sign up. Also, thank you to those parents and students who are able to assist in our Working Bee at school this Sunday.
This term we are exploring our Value of Truth. Every few weeks we will explore a different practical element within this value, all of which are contained in simple questions outlined within our Vision, Mission and Values Statement. Speak the Truth: Practice: Truthfulness
Is it true?
Is it kind, pleasant and beneficial?
Is it uplifting?
What would a wise person say or do?
In these first few weeks we have simply asked; is it true? Some good questions to spark debate around the dinner table include:
It has been wonderful to have the children back at school this week. Like our teachers, they have returned refreshed and energized for the start of Term 2. Today you will be receiving a copy of the 2018 Yearbook; The Eagle Eye. It is a wonderful example of the breadth and diversity of our program and talents of our students. Keep an eye out for an editorial appearing soon in the Manly Daily on our resident artist Mr Philip Garrett show casing his work on the sculpture of John Colet. The sculpture will soon move into the moulding and casting phase. We would like to pass on our thanks to all those families who were able to donate, along with a special thanks to Mr Tony Moran for initiating and promoting this project. We are still short of the fundraising target that was set, as a result donations are still very much welcomed. Sadly we had to cancel our Movie Night for this weekend due to the strong likelihood of rain forecast for both Friday and Saturday. However, we will look to determine a new date at our next P&F Meeting.
On Monday at Assembly we shall hold our Easter Service. For Christians, Easter lies at the heart of their faith, yet the central message is one that moves through many religions, beliefs and philosophies. The themes of sacrifice, renewal and hope within the Easter message, ultimately come into practice in loving our neighbour as ourselves. As a multi-faith school it is the unity of a common understanding and appreciation for universal principles that underpins our practical approach. Similarly within our commemoration of ANZAC Day next week, we pay our respects not just to our nation's fallen, but also, as a school representative of more than thirty nationalities, to all those that have made sacrifices in the hope of a better future for all. 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’. John 15:13