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
As we move into our final few weeks of school, we will be looking at our value of Respect in terms of how our actions reflect on ourselves, our families, our school and also on our nation. This links well from the personal practice of actively listening that we have been addressing, as well our renewed focus on pride when wearing our uniform. As we widen our perspective it is also relevant to discussions currently in the media on our national identity. This will also link to our commemoration of ANZAC Day later in the month. “Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions” The Dalai Lama
We have recently completed our Parent Morning Tea’s from Upper First through to 6th Class, and I am looking forward to our final meeting with Lower First on the 3rd of April. It has been wonderful for Mrs Renshaw and I to speak informally with our parents and hear how the year has begun. It has also been a good opportunity for fellow parents to meet and catch up where normally they may not have had the chance. Our school is stronger through a connected and supportive community. One of the many events held by our Parents and Friends Association that helps build our community, is our upcoming Trivia Night on the 6th April. This was a great success last year and a lot of fun. I do encourage you to book a table if you have not already, as I am sure they will fill up very fast!
As we continue to explore our value of Respect this term, we are looking at the simple act of listening. Giving full attention to what someone is saying and really listening is an act of respect. Interrupting is akin to saying what I am speaking is more important than what you are speaking about.
However, it is not as easy as it ‘sounds’. When you are listening, quite often you are getting ready to speak yourself, coming up with something fitting to say, before even hearing fully what has been said. True listening requires patience and openness to new ideas. Also, encouraging others to speak can often be more flattering than compliments, and may actually lead to a closer more attuned relationship.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway
Today, we had our follow up meeting with our artist in residence, Mr Philip Garrett. Our students have recently completed a short pictorial project on representing our School Values. These drawings were shared with Mr Garrett to give further background in preparation for our sculpture. We have been so impressed by the students' appreciation and expression that we are now looking at additional ways to connect them with this exciting project. At one point in the discussions today, our two student representatives were asked what Value they felt was most fundamental to them. Annica P, our Art Captain, spoke of the importance of the Value of Courage and how it is essential in putting into action all the other Values. Respect was chosen by Sophie R, who felt that this had been the most formative throughout her time at John Colet School. The openness of both these children together with all the students who contributed to our exploration of our Values is testament to how important our core principles are.
ur work on Respect, particularly on how our actions can benefit all and are a good example to all, is currently being explored. It is a particularly good time to study this area as we have many new students at play during our breaks, our school sport competitions have begun and we also have our swimming carnival next week. We are addressing what it means to be ‘a good sport’ and how positive encouragement, being humble and giving thanks, adds to the experience of competition. We look for action as a practical application of the development of our Values. Our sport teachers are aware of this focus and have been highlighting this within their programs. Likewise our staff, throughout the school, are on the lookout for evidence to celebrate both inside the classroom and at break times. I hope that if you attend our swimming carnival next week, you too will see this in action. Great comradery and pride within the Houses combined with support for other swimmers, whether they come first or just do their best.
L - R Julian Wilcock, Diane Renshaw, Annette Gadsby, Sarah Wulff (Board) Phil Garrett, Elizabeth Vincent (Board) Demetrius Condos (Templum Design Architects) and Tony Moran (project champion). Art Prefect Annica P and Art Monitor Sophie R represented students in today's session.
Today, we had the pleasure of holding our first meeting regarding the John Colet School Sculpture Project with our visiting sculptor, Mr Philip Garrett. Mr Garrett will be in Australia for approximately three months, predominately working out of a studio in Terrey Hills, while visiting our school from time to time.
Present at the meeting were representatives from the School Board, Executive, students, staff and our architect. It was a stimulating discussion as we looked to pay tribute to the man, the tradition that he represents, as well as the culture and ethos of our school.
No definitive design has yet been established, however, background research has begun in earnest. All students will be helping with the initial creative process next week by creating images that symbolise our School Values. We will keep you updated on the progress of this exciting project as it develops over the coming months.
Last year we took some time to review our Assembly Book that we use on Monday mornings during our whole school assembly. The entire book was reviewed, paying special attention to the Readings. A Reading is chosen each week to be recited by our Head Boy and Girl, which we then go on to discuss with our students. The Readings have been expanded to include a greater breadth of texts and separated under the headings of our School Values; Respect, Truthfulness, Courage, Service and Stillness. We are currently looking at Respect with our students and as an example, our Reading for this week was the following:
Tibetan Buddhist Prayer – The Four Immeasurable Attitudes May all beings have happiness and its causes; (Love) May all beings be freed from suffering and its causes; (Compassion) May all beings constantly dwell in joy transcending sorrow; (Joy) May all beings dwell in equal love for those both close and distant. (Equanimity)
I had the pleasure this week of dining with our Head Boy, Head Girl, Head Chorister and Art Prefect. As we were eating and discussing all manner of things, I was struck by the students' confidence, demeanour and overall positive outlook. We are focussing on the value of self-respect at the start of Term 1 and we should be rightly proud of our new leadership team and the example they set for our younger children. Our students are held in such high regard by many high schools throughout Sydney, not just for their academics, but more importantly for their character and the dignity in which they hold themselves. I am looking forward to having lunch with all our wonderful 6th Class students throughout the year!
“If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
It has been wonderful welcoming our students to school last week and catching up with them about their many adventures in the holidays. Our new students, including those in Lower 1st have settled in so quickly that it seems we have been together for a great deal longer. That being said, we do spend time in these first few weeks going over routines, expectations and explanations of some of our unique features, such as our practice of pausing during the day. New parents joining our school may also have questions at the start of the year and I encourage you to let your child’s class teacher know or pop by the office. We are here to help! The Core Values of our school are Stillness, Truthfulness, Courage, Service and Respect. With our students and staff, we work through these values in all that we do throughout the year. However, we do select a Value to concentrate on each term, along with an aspect of that Value. This term we will be exploring Respect, and in particular over the first few weeks Self Respect. I do hope you can make it to our new welcome event for all parents this year, the Gathering on the Garigal. This is on the 15th of February directly after the class parent information sessions. Adults only I’m afraid as we will have grown up drinks, food and a jazz band!