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.
There have been some wonderful examples over the past couple of weeks of students embracing our current Value of Courage and ensuring they complete a task to the best of their ability. It is connected to the underlying concept of having a growth mindset. When students practically see how their effort and persistence results in great work they are more likely to appreciate that they can develop themselves and improve. Our 2nd Class students presented a fine example of this on Thursday and Friday where they presented narratives which they have been developing and improving on over the past few weeks. The results were exemplary and the children were rightly proud of the finished product. These students are now more likely to have courage, choose a challenge, and increase achievement rather than be satisfied with average work or look for an easy way out. It’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer – Albert Einstein
As we continue to explore the Value of Courage this Term we bring our focus to finding the courage to finish the task we are doing and finish it well. You may see this in practice in our children’s work in the classrooms or perhaps in that which is brought home. In all subjects we look for the children to persist in ensuring that they go the extra mile, or in many cases, just that last inch to ensure the highest quality and their best work.
The job is almost finished, the goal almost attained, everything possible seems to have been achieved, every difficulty overcome — and yet the quality is just not there. The work needs more finish, perhaps further research. In that moment of weariness and self-satisfaction, the temptation is greatest to give up, not to strive for the peak of quality. That’s the realm of the last inch. Alexander Solzhenitsyn - The First Circle
Our Teacher’s Day held on Monday this week was a very special occasion. At John Colet School, we look to pay respect to the great teachings as well as how they are practically realised in our daily lives. At our assembly the children acknowledged the many teachers through history who have contributed to our spiritual foundation. As a multi faith school we look to the common threads from many teachers such as Christ, Plato, Mohammed, Sri Shantananda Saraswati, Buddha, Kabir, Confucius and many more. A good example of the breadth throughout history can be seen on the cover of the 2017 Yearbook.
At our assembly a selection of students gave practical examples of the important teachers they have had. These examples included world leaders, parents, school teachers, students and friends who have given lessons in service and resilience….and even why you should not stick your finger in a blender. It is this openness to understanding and learning of how we can be the best that we can be that we look to inspire.
Yesterday the school received three picnic tables which have been donated from our current 6th Class as their gift to the school and future students. The money was raised by them during our Open Day and has also been supplemented by our P&F. These picnic tables will allow for a quiet space for students at break times as well as an outdoor learning space for class activities. This Term the Value that we are focussing on is Courage and specifically in the first few weeks, how we can have the courage to be truthful to ourselves. Our own inner honesty, through self-reflection must be the first port of call before we look at how we behave with others. It requires consistent practise.
As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility. -Nelson Mandela
We are looking forward to welcoming back all our families for Term 3 and trust you have had a rewarding and enjoyable break together.
We will begin this Term focussing on our core Value of Courage as it is expressed within our Vision Mission and Values: Display self-control, inner strength and right action.
Are my words and actions truthful?
Can I forgive others?
Do I meet challenges with resilience?
Do I step up to protect those in need?
Initially we are linking this study with the Value of Truthfulness, which we have been exploring in Term 2. As always, we look to ensure the practical application of our Values throughout the school community.
Congratulations to all those involved with our Shakespeare Festival this week. We are fortunate to have such a supportive community behind the scenes assisting our teachers and students. A special thank you to our P&F for fund raising for the new stage lights for our hall and particularly to Mr Miller for organising and giving his time to make this a reality. It certainly added to the atmosphere. We hope you have an enjoyable break with your family and look forward to welcoming you back on the 24th of July.
There have been some wonderful examples of success at John Colet School that can only be achieved by being present in the moment and focused, a skill that we pride ourselves in instilling within our students. Along with the daily practice within the classroom, we have seen much success lately in our debating and sports competitions, together with a first place in the recent inter school chess competition. Our Upper First and 2nd Class Shakespeare performances next week are another 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 mere line recitations to giving their all, embodying the character and simply being there.
This week I had the pleasure of having lunch with one of our Lower First classes as they had raised the most money for our Parents and Friends Walkathon. The pizza, created by our Chef Mr Galloway, was delicious! However, the real pleasure was speaking with them about a variety of topics from extreme weather (a current class project), our local cheeky bush turkey, to why I need to have so many different ties! I also have the pleasure of dining with a different group of 6th Class students each week. It is a great opportunity, in an informal setting, to speak about whatever is of interest to them. Often this includes suggestions for school improvements, or discussions on high schools or just what is in the media of late. From Lower First to 6th Class, I am always impressed with both our students' willingness to engage honestly, and their fresh perspectives towards life and the future.
While we focus on one Value per Term, our Value of Stillness is addressed throughout the year, often in relation to the Value we are currently studying. This Term we have been looking at Truthfulness and next week we will explore our practice of pausing and how this benefits our approach to the truth. When bringing oneself to a point of stillness there is a letting go of thoughts of the past or future and often a release of the connection to ongoing thoughts that may cloud our judgement. Being mindful enables our students to begin afresh, operate with greater clarity, and act in a way that is beneficial to all.
Thank you to our entire school community for a wonderful Open Day. It was a magnificent example of the practical application of our school values through the actions of all involved. An event such as this is only possible through teamwork between students, parents and John Colet School staff. Our school was abuzz and this only occurs with a shared spirit of why we are here. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to many parents on Open Day and the positive mood was profound. One of the more memorable comments was from a lady in her 90s who commented on how moving it was to see such a diverse community in true harmony together.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead