John Colet
24
January
2014

Headmaster's welcome to the 2014 Academic Year

Welcome back to the new academic year. 

I hope everyone had a refreshing and enjoyable break. We especially welcome our new Lower 1st cohort; and we have new members of staff as well, which always enlivens the school, bringing fresh perspectives to the classroom.  The new class teachers are Miss Kate Iacona, with Upper 1st; and Miss Christianne Jackson and Mrs Alison Tomicki looking after 3rd class.

During the Summer Teachers’ study days we concentrated on Mathematics, Computers and Technology, as well as planning and preparing for the year in other ways.

We also spent some time focusing on the fundamental principles of education, on the school’s Vision, Mission and Values, and the core reasons we teach certain special subjects like Sanskrit and Shakespeare.  It is our consistent and practical experience that teaching children these demanding subjects increases their mental strength, problem solving ability, and also gives them confidence that they live in an well-ordered world where there are dependable principles and rules.

This is, of course also true of the other core curriculum subjects such as Mathematics – which tells us that the universe is orderly and lawful; English, which gives us the tools to think and communicate accurately, beautifully and helpfully; History, which tells us our place in the flow of time; and Geography which gives a sense of place; and Science which opens our inner ear to the sound that the universe makes as it goes about its lawful revolutions.

And the teachers are looking forward to the challenge of opening the hearts and minds of the children to this large vision every day.


Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

29
November
2013

Headmaster's end of year message

This is the final weekly message for 2013.  It seems to have come around astonishingly quickly.

This week we had the school’s Christmas Celebration including a Nativity Play beautifully performed by 2nd class.  At this festive time of the year I would like to echo the words spoken by the angels: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

This sets out the simple message of all great philosophies and religions.  We only need to get two relationships right:  First, our relationship to the limitless, to God, the Universal Principal, the Creator, or whatever name you care to use.  And, secondly, our relationship to the limited, to the world, to our fellow men, to the created world.

Jesus gives us one way of doing this, and promises eternal life if we can step up to the plate:  First, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and, secondly, love your neighbour as yourself.

An Islamic sage once pointed out that the second injunction is more important than the first.  He noted that God remains unharmed if we fall short with our love for Him; but, he said, we can do harm to our fellow creatures if we fail to love and treat them as we would love and treat ourselves.

In this spirit, Mrs Mane and I wish all of you everything we would love for ourselves: family warmth, good friendships, robust health, prosperity; and a happy Christmas and a peaceful, abundant New Year.

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

22
November
2013

The things we hear in the lunch room!

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week...



Mon

SPORTS CARNIVAL (PACKED LUNCH)    

Tues

'SAUSAGE' ROLLS

Weds

VEGETABLE NOODLES

Thurs

'HOT DOGS' (BENEFACTORS LUNCH)

Fri

PICNIC DAY (PACKED LUNCH)

Gluten free, dairy free, egg free and vegan options always provided.

Welcome to the final ‘eating week’ of school. It has been wonderful to watch the children learn new flavours and try new food groups.


Some of my favourite quotes throughout the year;

·         “I’m gluten free, except for bread.”

·         “I’m only gluten and dairy free when I don’t like what’s on the table.”

·         “I’m allergic to carrot…in my noodles.”

·         Tomato free…”I like my pizza with a little tomato and cheese please.”

·         “I hate roast potatoes, but I love your chips.” (Same thing)

·         “I love your nachos, thanks for leaving out the beans…I don’t like beans.”

It has been my pleasure to serve.

Eat well
Donna

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

15
November
2013

Keep calm and carry on to Christmas

Mon

SAUCY PASTA          

Tues

NACHO/BURITTO

Weds

VEGETABLE DHAL (GUEST CHEF)

Thurs

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Fri

EGG FRIED RICE

Vegan, dairy free, egg free and gluten free options provided.


There are only about 2 weeks left before the summer holidays are upon us, so don’t forget the importance of sleep and water for you and particularly your children. We cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep as many people think. Once it is lost, it’s lost forever. So as the Christmas and the end of year parties start, remember to drink that H2O to help rid your body of over indulgence and get the kids to bed near their regular bedtime. You will be the better for it as their mood and energy levels will be calmer and steady.




If you would like to help out in the kitchen next year, even if it is ‘on call’ for those just in case days, share a shift or have a regular working day please don’t hesitate to contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We have only 1 more position to fill, so don’t delay.



Eat well
Donna

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

15
November
2013

End of year parties and excursions

From the Stage Coordinators

The weather was against us! – no Sports Carnival on Tuesday, but the new date of 25th November was easily arranged although the calendar is a bit of a “minefield” of end-of-year parties, excursions and other exciting events.  Sixth Class is rolling towards the end of their John Colet careers, and are making this doubly memorable with a series of happenings.  Rehearsals for Speech Night are underway, and of course there is the Nativity by Second Class coming up the day after the Carnival.

Mufti Day was bright occasion at school, and most of the children came to school sporting “something black” to signify that we were collecting the “gold coin” penalty money for a group of disadvantaged girls at Warwick Farm who are devoting themselves to working for charitable causes.  Callum T and his family made a presentation at the Monday Assembly, explaining all about it.   $415.75 was collected, and will be handed to Callum to pass on.  Thank you to all who participated!  A great initiative, Callum.

The Nativity is traditionally accompanied by gift giving on the part of the children, with suitable items going to the needy and underprivileged.   These will be collected in the large Treasure Chest that will be placed outside the Maclaren Hall. We hope to receive some gifts for 15-year-old girls, suitable to the Warwick Farm group.

We are all working towards bringing the final term of 2013 to a fulfilling, successful and peaceful end – this to be done by a careful adherence to our school values – Stillness, Truthfulness, Care, Service, Respect.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

15
November
2013

There is a Santa Claus!

From the Headmaster

The lead up to Christmas is a delightful and energetic time at the school and in the wider community.  Our Christmas Celebration and Nativity play – performed by 2nd class – is a bit of a highlight of the year.

We celebrate Christmas for many reasons.  While, of course, it marks the birth in human form of a divine Saviour, it has moved beyond the confines of a specifically Christian event, to include the celebration of new life and hope, of generosity and gift-giving, and of family unity and love.

When I am asked if Santa is real – an occupational hazard when teaching clever nine and ten year olds – I am very comfortable giving a resounding yes.  I ask the children in return: Who is Santa and what does he represent?  What does he symbolize?

Once we have a conversation going along these lines it is pretty clear that, as a symbol of magnanimity, and bounteous giving, the presence of “Santa Claus” at this time of the year is palpable; with people scurrying around looking for those perfect presents for their loved ones, and getting the meals prepared and the houses cleaned to welcome family and friends.

In this spirit the school had a Mufti Day this week to raise money for young girls in Western Sydney whose situation is dire.  This particular charity was selected because Callum T, a boy in Upper 1st class, met some of these girls and was moved by their plight.  He wrote to me suggesting that we help them and he found himself, figuratively and literally, pushing at an open door.  In this and in countless other ways Santa Claus and the true meaning of Christmas is very much alive.

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

08
November
2013

The Kokoda Track, a report by someone who's done it

James Passmore, who graduated from John Colet School in 2008, walked the Kokoda Track this year, and generously wrote an article for us about it.

Categories: John Colet

08
November
2013

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week



Mon

SUNSHINE THAI & RICE    

Tues

SPORTS CARNIVAL

Weds

VEGETABLE SOY NOODLES

Thurs

MARGARITA PIZZA

Fri

GNOCCHI

Vegan, dairy free, gluten free and egg free options provided.

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

08
November
2013

Lots of 'young adults' about

All being of service...

The School has been full of young adults this week and will be so next week too.   Most delightful!  Apart from our bright and energetic Gap students, we have had Alex Ladomatos (at University) and Akshai Bhandari (just finished school) helping to move the Office staff out of Shakespeare 1, and we have had Oscar Smith on Community Service (Year 10 St. Andrew’s Cathedral School), his blazer bristling with his achievements!  Next week we have Ashwin Manaktala and Tobias Hanson both on Community Service.  All these young people are ex-JCS students, and it is such a pleasure seeing them choose to come and work here.
Michaela Miles staged her “Open Choir Lesson” on Tuesday – some parents came along.  The children sang beautifully – specifically things that they will not be performing on Speech Night.
And of course, the Office staff have moved:   Carmen Griffiths ensconced in her “orange world” reception;   half of the office staff in a new space behind the Headmaster’s office and the others in an office space in Ralston Avenue. (They visit regularly).
This week the teachers had a special morning tea, which we do each term.  A section of the staff supply “goodies” and the idea is for the staff to have the chance to mix.  We had a sumptuous feast which also marked the occasion of thanking several people who are leaving at the end of the year, very sadly.
Lynne Werner is leaving and retiring to a northern coastal town, after many years at JCS, Mary Garrett is also moving:  from Newcastle and will be settling somewhere south, destination as yet unknown, Helen Thomas, Leisa Brown and Rachel Alexander, three of our wonderful Teacher’s Aides, are regretfully leaving.  Marie White is taking a year’s leave to teach underprivileged children somewhere in the Third World, David McDermott is taking up studies in the health sector and will only be here one day a week; Matthew Collis served in the John Colet Sailing Club for 20 years and is retiring, as is the Dance Teacher,  Angela Miller.  Two of our “Gappies” are finishing up at the end of the term – Andrea Mego, returning to South Africa, and Sam Bodington, seeking adventure further afield.  We send them all off with our blessings and wishes that they come back to visit from time to time.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

08
November
2013

Office Holders - how the decisions are made

A number of key events are coming up to bring the 2013 academic year to a close. We have the sports carnival, the Christmas Celebration incorporating the Nativity play performed by 2nd class, Picnic Day and Speech Night.  And preparations for all of these events are well underway.

One other important matter is the selection of next year’s Office Holders:  The Head Boy and Girl, the House Captains, the Head Chorister and the Art Prefect.  The process of selection is very careful.  The 5th class children are told of the qualities that are expected; and during the year there is consultation with teachers and students – the present office holders have a special lunch with me where we discuss the various options.  And next week a poll will be taken of 4th, 5th and 6th class children and the staff.  The new office holders are then announced on Speech Night.  This year we are going to adopt a practice from other schools whereby the new office holders will make a promise to do their best to carry out their duties faithfully.

Another series of events are held to farewell the present 6th class.  I have a conversation with each of them wishing them well in the future and giving some useful (I hope) advice on the challenges of the teenage years.  They also receive a promise that the John Colet community will be available to them whenever they wish to avail themselves.

There is a lunch where each 5th class child makes a farewell speech to one of their 6th class friends, praising their qualities and wishing them well; and there is a final 6th class dinner where each member of the graduating class makes a speech thanking and praising their parents.

All this is a natural expression of the school’s ethos of care and service and respect.

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

01
November
2013

Festival focus

And then it's over...

It's been Shakespeare, Shakespeare and more Shakespeare at John Colet this week.  The Primary Festival is on and the Infants children had a preview at school on Monday and Tuesday when the Primary put on six wonderful dress rehearsal performances for them in the Hall.  The real performances on Thursday were even better, and the auditorium was packed.  There was much laughter and sometimes tension as the plays rolled out.  A big thank you to the class teachers, so ably assisted by Zoe Emanuel and the Headmaster, and of course thanks for the wonderful contribution the parents made in sourcing costumes, backdrops and props, as well as providing a supper at the theatre.  The Friday performances will undoubtedly be as well supported and as enjoyable.  For the 6th Class, it will be their final John Colet Shakespeare performance.

Our photographer Michael Hennessey took his usual wonderful photos and they are available to view at his website www.hennos.com.  

The next big event is the Sports Carnival, combined Infants and Primary, which will be at Narrabeen on 12th November.  Today the Infants had a very successful run-through with Tim Roslin and the teachers.  Primary will have their practice next week.

A focus this week for the practice of "Give of your best" has been in speech.  Children have been reminded to speak clearly and in full sentences.  This has of course found its full expression in the Shakespeare plays, and the diction this year was noticeably improved.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

01
November
2013

What vegetarian lunches do 11 year olds like best?

Mon

‘BEEF NACHOS’

(with sour cream and salsa)

Tues

SAUSAGE ROLLS

Weds

AMERICAN 'HOT DOGS'

(with mustard, sauce and cheese)

Thurs

MEXICAN FRIED RICE

Fri

GNOCCHI DELA CASA

Vegan, gluten, dairy and and egg-free options provided.

This week’s lunches are at the request of the outgoing year 6 class! They also really wanted pizza, but as they are on a ‘Bushwalk’ we have deferred it to next week.
The infants have been exceptionally accommodating to the primary Shakespeare festival with all its performances. The Benefactor lunches (formerly known as the ‘Breezeway Lunch’) were great fun and the children rallied beautifully to assist their peers.
We hope the rest of the school enjoys the year 6 favourites.
Eat well
Donna

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

01
November
2013

Growing Renaissance men and women

Or, why we do Shakespeare...

The Primary Shakespeare Festival is, at the time of writing, half way through.  The 4th and 5th class children’s performances were stunning, and the rehearsals for tonight promise equally great things from 3rd and 6th class.

The key educational element to the Shakespeare Festival is nothing less than the immersion of the children in the greatest products of human civilization.  It represents a radical re-imagination of the concept of primary education. 

This education includes not only the acquisition of useful skills – counting, reading, writing; and not just the honing of mental abilities – problem solving, reasoning, enquiry; and not even just the development of good character – honesty, resilience, compassion. 

It is all those things and more: by introducing the children to Shakespeare, Mozart and Leonardo Da Vinci, as well as Jesus, Buddha and Plato, our aim is also to help the children grow into Renaissance men and women. A Renaissance man or woman is self-assured, inwardly confident and integrated; from a position of strength he or she can intelligently and effectively turn his or her hand to anything: cooking a meal, discovering a cure for cancer, or changing a nappy.

Our graduates over the past decades, and those from our affiliated schools around the world (see our present gang of gap students for incontrovertible evidence!) give encouraging indications that this bold experiment in education is succeeding.



Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

25
October
2013

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week



Mon

HOT DOGS     ‘Benefactor’s Lunch’

Tues

SAUCY PASTA ‘Benefactor’s Lunch’

Weds

CHIPS AND BEANS

Thurs

ASIAN FRIED RICE

Fri

NOODLES

Gluten, dairy, egg free and vegan options provided.


ALL PRIMARY STUDENTS ARE TO BRING A PACKED LUNCH EVERYDAY (WEEK 4) DUE TO SHAKESPEARE REHEARSALS AND PERFORMANCES




Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

25
October
2013

Fire fighters a great example of Care and Service

A hot, dry,  smoky week at John Colet School, but not nearly so hot, dry and smoky as at schools in the Blue Mountains and other affected communities.  Our sympathies and thoughts go to all those enduring and fighting fires.  What wonderful examples there have been of care and service to the community from the fire fighters and their enormous support teams, endangering their own safety to help others and their property.

Everyone in the school has been working to condense and showcase their Shakespeare performances for the visit of John Bell and some members of the Board of Governors on Friday:  we also look forward to Primary’s full presentations of their plays on Monday and Tuesday, which they will do for each other and the Infants children, in preparation for “the real thing” at the Glen Street Theatre.

The strong winds have made caring for the playground a little more onerous this week, but this remains the focus of the CARE practice.

On Tuesday 29th parents of 2013 Lower First are warmly invited to morning tea with the Headmaster and Mistresses.  This will be the final class morning tea for the year – it has been a most enjoyable and well-attended series of get-togethers.  Thank you to all those who are able to come.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

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