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!
Whether you have been enjoying the wonderful Sydney summer or roaming near and far, we hope you have had an enjoyable and rewarding family time together during the break! However, it is time to reset the body clocks and dust off the school bags as we look forward to welcoming you all back to John Colet School next week.
Our staff have all been busy in preparation for a great year ahead. The grounds have spruced up with some landscaping and the buildings have had a paint. Our teachers have engaged in some wonderful professional development on differentiated learning, our new school software system and our approach to the Philosophy and Values that our school holds so important. I am continually in awe of their commitment and passion towards education.
The strength of our school is centred on a community approach to learning and I do encourage you to become involved as much as possible.
I wish you and your family all the very best for 2019.
This is my final whole school message for 2018 and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking all of our students, parents and staff for a very successful year.
We had a lovely example of Service by our 5th Class students this week in their speeches to our graduating 6th Class. It was a wonderful acknowledgement of the impact they have had on our school over their many years at John Colet. There is no better practical example of the Values that we are founded on than these young men and women who will leave us to go on to inspire their new schools and communities. We look forward to hearing of their continued success.
I wish you and your family an enjoyable, safe and rewarding time together over the holidays and a fulfilling 2018.
Last week our Head Boy and Girl, together with our House Captains, spoke to our 5th Class students about their roles this year as nominations were taken for 2019. All six spoke from the heart and it was wonderful for our soon-to-be elders of the school to hear of the service they have given and how they had grown over the year. They provided a wonderful model to our younger students of leadership, yet also of the practical nature of living our Values.
The fine examples provided by our 6th Class were continued on Monday as our 5th Class students gave speeches to the Primary for next year’s leadership positions. There was very little to separate the children and it was inspiring to see such a depth of maturity and passion with so many seeking to give their time in these roles. It would be difficult to find better examples for our students of how the value of Service could be articulated in such a positive and relevant way.
As we address the Value of Service as a school this Term, I would like to make special note of the work our Parents and Friends Association do for our community. All the help that is received either formally or informally throughout the school year from our parents is greatly appreciated. However, two of the core committee are standing down this year and their dedicated service warrants special praise. Both Niki T and Lucy B have shown great commitment and passion over the years and their tireless effort has been the backbone of so many successful events.
I would also like to thank our continuing and new members who will be taking us through 2019. I hope you will join me in supporting them and their endeavours next year. President: Jenny P Vice President: Claire S Secretary: Tony M Treasurer: Glen M Events Coordinators: Manjula Ge – Walkathon & Movie Night Tanya H-Y – Open Day Paul W – Movie Night
Within our Value of Service we are currently exploring the question of whether our actions benefit everyone. This is an exercise in widening our student’s appreciation of their impact and the notion of collaboration and community. As young children we look for personal benefit, which I am sure you have witnessed in toddlers. As children mature with a good education they learn empathy and the need to take into account another’s perspective. This continues to grow as the scope widens to include the immediate family, community, perhaps ethnic or nation group and ultimately an appreciation for all.
The Invictus Games currently being held in Sydney is a strong example of the Value we are addressing this Term, Service. We spoke briefly at assembly this week with regards to the service these competitors have given their countries and the service we give in acknowledging and valuing their sacrifice. If you have not heard the the Duke of Sussex's Speech at the opening of the Invictus Games, I encourage you to do so with your children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68ehGf73c90f We also encouraged the students to look for ways that they could give service during the week, with the extra task of trying to do it without looking for thanks. I hope you may have spotted some examples at home!
Welcome back to John Colet School for Term 4. We hope you have had an energizing and rewarding holiday break with your children. Some of the special events we have this Term include the Primary and Lower First Shakespeare Festivals, Lower First 2019 Orientation, Christmas festivities, Picnic Day and Speech Night. This Term we shall be focusing on our Value of Service. Our guiding questions for our students and staff in our approach both internally and externally are:
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?
We hope to see you at our Parent Trivia Night this Saturday.
This term our focus as a school has been on the value of Courage. We have looked at many aspects within a variety of situations and it has been gratifying to hear of examples at home, in the classroom and at play where our children have made this study practical. Looking to the practical application of values is fundamental in creating positive change and is more meaningful for primary aged children. Next term we will turn to the value of Service where we shall look at our connection to others and the collective benefit of acting beyond one’s own self-interest. Wishing you a safe and rewarding break. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give – Sir Winston Churchill
t has been hard to know lately whether to grab a pair of shorts, a jumper or a rain coat as we seem to be jostling between many seasons, sometimes in just one day. We have put in a request for a lightly overcast day, peaking at 23 degrees, with no rain, and a slight sea breeze around midday for our Athletics Carnival next Tuesday.
However, come fog, rain or a heat wave we know our students will still be keen to get involved and make a fun day of it. We also look forward to seeing as many Mums and Dads as last year in our parent race. Don’t forget to bring your running shoes and have a stretch beforehand!
We have had 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 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 our 3rd and 4th Class Students will be at camp on Milson Island and 5th and 6th Class will be visiting Canberra. These camps run over three days and are a wonderful opportunity for the children to step out of the school environment, experience the wider world and get to know their classmates and teachers better. Camps are an excellent way of building resilience as the children are taken out of their comfort zone 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. 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.
We have seen some fine examples from our students lately as they go that extra inch to show courage and complete their work to the very best of their ability. We hope you may have noticed some evidence of this at home too. If so please do let your child’s teacher know as it is wonderful for the class to celebrate practical examples from both school and home.
Next week we will be building on our courage as we develop our resilience. Life throws up many unexpected challenges and we cannot choose if or when this happens, yet we can choose the way we act and approach these obstacles. It’s often easy to have a positive approach to life when things are going well but you need to adopt the same principles when faced with adversity. A good example for children is biographical literature and stories about people, these often show the power of a positive attitude, persistence and resilience.