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
We are eagerly looking forward to showcasing our school this Sunday at our Open Day. There are some new attractions and performances as well as many of our regular favourites for our community to celebrate and enjoy. Open Day is an opportunity to demonstrate what makes this school truly special with our families and friends. It is also wonderful to welcome visitors from our wider community, invite back past students and allow our current students to perform and enjoy the fun activities of the day. A special thanks to our Parents and Friends team for all the work they have been involved with in preparation for Open Day. Also, thank you to those parents and students who were able to assist in our Working Bee last Sunday. There was some general touch ups, maintenance and cleaning along with some much needed gardening and fuel reduction. The school is looking in tip top shape! See you on Sunday!
As a school we are focusing on the value and practice of Truthfulness this Term. More specifically we have been exploring being honest with our friends, teachers and parents. This may be owning up to poor behaviour or an unwise decision or perhaps just that we do not know something. The first step in this process is exploring with the children the concept of self-knowledge. Considering our true motivations, acting with honesty and reflecting on our actions to gain understanding of self is a lifelong process. To encourage and enable this to happen, children have to be in an environment of care and trust.
Owning up, or coming clean about something we know to be untrue can be incredibly liberating. It takes a lot of energy and constant effort to keep in the front of our conscious mind a story that has to be maintained. The release of this burden in an atmosphere of trust, enables an openness that benefits all.
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. - Mark Twain
John Colet School has a tradition of offering a superb Art Program. Unlike many schools who hold Art lessons in a number of small sessions within a week, we schedule ours with an extended period between an hour and an hour and a half. Lessons are also often linked to other subject areas that our students are studying so that our lessons are given greater meaning, enabling a trans-disciplinary approach to learning. Furthermore, we are fortunate to have a range of Art teachers who are all practising artists themselves with great skill and passion for their subject.
The results can be seen through all of our students' work, however we have had some success stories of late that are worth noting. Our Year 6 students group painting was a finalist in this year’s Gallipoli Art Prize, which student representatives attended over the holidays. Elizabeth W in 6th Class has been awarded 3rd place in the Australia My Country Art Prize. One of our alumni, Sophia W was recently a finalist in the Mosman Art Youth Prize. Arnie H, also a former student of JCS, was recently accepted into the highly regarded National Art School in Darlinghurst. Our own Art teacher Mrs Allcorn was announced this week as a finalist in the Hunter’s Hill Art Prize for her watercolour and pencil on birch wood piece “Lost in the magic of the bush”.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. - Pablo Picasso
Welcome back to John Colet School for Term 2. We hope you have had an exciting and rewarding holiday with your children. Over the break our teachers have had some excellent training on planning for different student needs. The school grounds have had a general sprucing up, including the creation of a new garden club area and the library has had new furniture fitted. This Term is full of activity, including Chess Competitions, 6th Class Debating, Sanskrit Recitation Finals, our school Open Day and Upper First and 2nd Class Shakespeare performances.
Recently Mr Jonathan O’Dea, Member for Davidson, announced that parts of the former Belrose TAFE site adjacent to John Colet School are to be sold to Northern Beaches Council. Current indications are that this specific area will become sports courts with associated recreational facilities. The remaining bushland area is to remain untouched as it has been set aside for bio banking as a special environmental area. The school has been meeting regularly over the past few years with Mr O’Dea, local representative groups, state and local government officials to ensure a positive outcome for this land. We are very happy with this community focused result and we would like to thank all parties involved for their efforts to provide greater recreational facilities while preserving the very special ecology of our area.
As you will see below in Mrs Renshaw’s comment this week we are currently looking at Excellence within the Value of Respect and giving our very best to all that we do. Our Handwriting competition is currently underway and I have been fortunate to see some outstanding examples across our different classes as well as having the opportunity to award some pen licences in 4th Class. The keyboard has certainly taken some of the market out of communicating, however there still remains an important role for handwriting. Handwriting requires attention, promotes consistency of flow and is crucial in developing fine motor skills. While there is a standard form, a student’s handwriting does move on to take a personal aspect, allowing for the expression of individuality. There is certainly a place for keyboard skills (and perhaps even two thumb texting!) however it is wonderful to see this skill and art still being celebrated as it will remain with our students for life.