John Colet
11
March
2014

How to teach emotional resilience

Last Sunday there was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled:  Schools Must Teach Emotional Resilience: Study.  The problem is that some high school students have no resilience.  They are apparently incapable of saying no to drugs, alcohol and unwanted sex.  And there are now calls for the government to include emotional resilience in the national curriculum.  

Presumably teachers then will teach this valuable set of skills to the teenagers.  I did notice that the words “parent” and “family” did not appear in the article, but a discussion of that curious omission might be the subject of another message.  For the next two weeks I will address this issue of emotional resilience.  What is it?  How can it be taught?  And to what end?

First question:  what do people mean when they use a term like “emotional resilience”?  In the article it is defined as “impulse control, conflict resolution and relationship building”.  I agree, and I would add: the courage to admit error and apologise; a knack for forgiveness – being able to shrug off minor slights, and to deal robustly but fairly with major ones; an instinct to praise others when appropriate; patience and perseverance through times of challenge; the ability to accommodate boredom; an empathy with others, and an understanding and concern for how they think and feel.  

Next week we’ll look at how this can be taught, and why.  Stay tuned.

My apologies: the answers to the puzzle from a fortnight ago were: Deutschland, Suomi, Myanmar and Bharata

This week’s puzzle:  If you were blindfolded and transported around the world, and the blindfold were removed, which city would you be in if you were looking at: 1.  The Golden Gate Bridge; 2.  The Taj Mahal; 3. The Lincoln Memorial; 4.  The Duomo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Gilbert Mane
Headmaster

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

07
March
2014

NAPLAN - John Colet School results

This week the NAPLAN results from 2013 were uploaded to the Myschool website. Consistent with all previous years of state-wide and national testing, John Colet School performed extremely well, both in absolute terms and in comparison with other schools. Congratulations are due to the teachers and children of the 2013 3rd and 5th classes.

Our results can be compared to all other schools in NSW – where we come out significantly above the NSW average. Or we can be ranked against a pool of forty-one other “comparable schools”. The system of comparison is somewhat controversial as some schools feel they are being unfairly lumped in with selective schools or public schools with OC classes for gifted children. We have both types of school in our pool of comparables, which includes Woollahra Public (which has an OC class and which is, as it happens, one of my alma maters); also in our group are Barker College, St Aloysius, PLC, Mosman Prep, Canberra Grammar, Abbotsleigh, Ascham and SCEGGS Darlinghurst. We take it as a badge of honour to be compared to these elite schools, and to be well-placed in the pack, and often above average in this group of schools. NAPLAN has some value to parents who lack other measures of comparison, and it is also a useful diagnostic tool for us to measure the needs of individual children, and to test the effectiveness of the delivery of our curriculum on the whole.

However I feel the real measure of a school is the good character of the children who pass through its doors. This is somewhat less easy to measure precisely. But, on the whole, the maturity, focus, academic success and, more importantly, the self-confidence, good-nature and courage of our graduates in the long term are the best measure of our success.

Gilbert Mane
Headmaster

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

07
March
2014

Sports reports from Pisa sport

On Friday 7th March the 3rd and 4th class Pisa Girls versed St Lukes in T ball. The score was 16 – 12. We won because we cheered and worked as a team. Our girl of the match is Ella H because she was brave and confident.

Mimi and Samsara

 

Junior Pisa Boy also played St Lukes in T ball. Fortunately we won 21 – 17!!! Good work to everyone!! The men of the match: everyone! That is three wins in a row – WOW! Callum did this cool sort of backwards spin catch and we all played awesomely. We are looking forward to next week’s match!

Leo (Captain)

 

Both senior teams had byes.

Categories: John Colet

07
March
2014

Weekly comment from our stage coordinators

Last year’s participants in the Premier’s Reading Challenge have now received their certificates, and a hearty congratulations to the parents and children who actually saw this through. The Challenge requires the children to read a certain number of books in a given time, from a list of good quality titles. This year’s Challenge is now underway, and our thanks to Mrs. Cherry Hopley who is the force behind the Challenge.

This year the Challenge will be for 2nd Class, 3rd Class and 4th Class, and parents of children in those classes should by now have received an email and link. We look forward to a large number of children reading a large number of books!

Another triumph - Crunch&Sip® this has been very successfully and easily introduced and the playground is resonant with the sound of crunching! Once again, this initiative has received the full support of the parents. This is a very worthwhile move, helping children to strengthen their taste for fresh and healthy food. Many thanks to the parents and teachers.

Echoes of Shakespeare are beginning to whisper about the school – Zoe Emanuel will begin her weekly drama classes with the Infants this week. Plays have been chosen and the children will be initially prepared with voice and movement training, before “talent spotting” and casting begins. The Infants’ Festival is early in Term 3.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

07
March
2014

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week...

Making the most of leftovers and managing a kitchen budget

Mon

CHEESE TOASTIES (With green salad)

Tue

PUMPKIN SOUP

Wed

FRIED RICE

Thu

TOFU & EGG PAD THAI

Fri

SALAD WRAPS (PISA children – packed lunch!)

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

One of the main ‘tricks’ of the kitchen is balancing a small budget without compromising on taste and nutrition. One of the ways we do this is by adopting an absolute minimal wastage policy. We pride ourselves in the kitchen by ‘reinventing’ yesterday’s food to the teachers in their next day’s lunch or snap freezing it for future use. For instance

• Left over curry turns into soup

• Left over soup becomes a base for quiche

• Leftover eggs from stir-fry or quiche are boiled and served

• Leftover milk becomes Paneer cheese

• Leftover yoghurt becomes Labneh cheese

• Leftover rice becomes rice salad

• Leftover saucy pasta becomes pasta bake

• Leftover sausage rolls…. ridiculous, there are none!

We also freeze leftover bread for garlic croutons, pasta sauce for pizza base, tomato soup for thinning chilli mix etc. for the children’s future use. These methods have allowed us to grow our portion size for your children’s meals and keep our wonderfully hard working staff well fed, as adults. We also recycle vegetables scraps to families that we know of who have chickens. So if you have chickens and want to donate some eggs to the kitchen you are very welcome. It does take approx. 16 dozen eggs to make frittata for the school so I hope that your chickens are prolific layers!

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

05
March
2014

Shrove Tuesday pancakes in our school

Shrove Tuesday traditionally involves the cooking of pancakes to use up 'left overs' before the beginning of Lent, which is celebrated in the Christian calendar leading up to Easter. Our two Second Classes (Year 2) were excited and well prepared for their morning of pancake making, arriving aproned up and ready to cook.  Thank you to the parents who came in to help!  Instructions were read, flour measured, eggs cracked and batter stirred. Then, all the children settled down to pancakes with homemade jam.

Categories: John Colet

27
February
2014

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week...



Mon

BEANS ON TOAST

Tue

SQUIGGLY NOODLES (with fresh carrots and zucchini)

Wed

JAMAICAN RICE AND BEANS

Thu

VEGIE MAC ’N’ CHEESE

Fri

MEXICAN ‘MEAT’ PIES

(PISA children – packed lunch!)

Vegan, dairy free, gluten free and egg free options always available.

Two vacancies have arisen in the kitchen on Mondays and Tuesdays of each week. It is busy and hard work but it is a very rewarding position where you get to invest in your children’s health and respect the work that all the staff at John Colet does for each and every student. The position is open to both mothers and fathers of our student body.
If you can manage some time, or perhaps consider a job share or fortnightly rotation with someone, it would be greatly appreciated. Any interest will be gladly considered.
It is a paid position, 5 hours per day (within school hours). If you have any interest in working in this busy but very entertaining environment please email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eat Well
Donna

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

27
February
2014

Meet and Greet at the school

Friday evening last week saw a large gathering of parents “old” and “new” who attended an evening reception by the School’s Board of Governors.  The purpose of this event was to greet new parents and to introduce them to the School Board and offer a chance to meet other families.  Brief speeches were made by Philip Wolfers, Chairman of the Board, Simon Beissel, the Treasurer, the Headmaster, and by Indu Balachandran, this year’s President of the Parents and Friends Association.  The food was a showcase of what the children eat, but “morphed” into canapé-style.  And delicious it was too!    The School’s Office Bearers from Sixth Class did a marvellous job in unobtrusively and happily serving the food.
Most of the parents had attended class meetings beforehand.  These were informative and successful, and thank you to those who attended.  Lower First parents were introduced to the School’s values and heard about how they are implemented and practised on a daily basis.  There was also a practice of the “pause and dedication”, which of course the children do many times a day.
Phillip House had a working bee on Sunday under the care of the Tate family:  there was a good attendance and lots was done.  Very many thanks to all!   Tuesday 4th March sees Phillip House hosting the Market Day.
Unbelievably, we are already half way through the term, and the children are working beautifully.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

27
February
2014

Our relationship to God, Man and the Universe

This week we are up to that part of the school creed which enjoins us to consider our relationship to God, Man and the Universe.  This is very personal and individual.

How do we relate to God?  Is He, to us, a Father in Heaven watching benignly and justly over His creation?  Is He an inner presence, a still small voice, an inner prompting guiding us to do what is right and refrain from what is wrong?  Do we see a spark of the divine in everything we meet?

And what is our relationship to humanity? Do we greet everyone in their own peace?  Do we deal justly and fairly with our fellow man?  Do we acknowledge our own humanity and delight in the gifts, and undertake the responsibilities of the human condition?

And, what is our relationship to the Universe?  How do we treat our environment?  Are we a trustee and a steward?  Do we give as well as take?  Do we leave places a little better than when we arrived?

Leon MacLaren gave a simple piece of advice which would cover all these seemingly complex relationships.  He recommended that we give focused attention to what is in front of us, and to respond to any need with energy and love.  If we do this our relationship with the divine, with our fellow man, and with our immediate environment would be attended to happily and efficiently.

Last week’s puzzle: What is the longest word in English with one vowel?  Strengths.  Also, depending on how you interpret the question: Screeched.

Next question: What is the German name for Germany; The Finnish name for Finland; the Burmese name for Burma; the Indian name for India?

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

25
February
2014

Sports reports from Friday 21st February

Sorry, these reports were not included in Friday's blog.

On Friday 21st February 5th and 6th class girls played softball against St Lukes and we tied 7 all.  The girl of the game was Lone Fotis for her excellent pitching.  It was a really close, great game.  Everyone played really well.
Tally (Captain)

This week 5th and 6th class boys played cricket against St Lukes.  We lost 64 – 34.  It’s an improvement because we went better than last week.  The man of the match was Nathaniel for his great fielding and batting.  Although that’s two games lost in a row, we have versed some of the hardest teams and we hope to win next time!
Xavier and Raam

Junior Boys Pisa team played Northern Beaches Christian School in T- Ball.  Fortunately we won 19 – 14!!!  The man of the match was Sasha G for his superb batting.  He got a lot of people out as the fielder on 2nd base.  We all played really well and are looking forward to playing next week’s match!
Leo and Anikan

The Junior Girls Pisa team played Northern Beaches in T-ball.  The score was 16 – 15 and we lost by one run.  We all had great sportsmanship.   The girls of the match were Caly, Samsara and Caitlin.  We all had a big improvement from last week!
Mi Mi and Samsara

Categories: John Colet

21
February
2014

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week...

Mon

INDIAN CURRY (with minted yoghurt)

Tue

SAUCY PASTA

Wed

FRIED RICE (and fruit salad yoghurt)

Thu

VEGETABLE & LEEK or TOMATO SOUP

Fri

HOT DOGS (PISA children – packed lunch!)

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

We treated the Infants to a pizza day last Wednesday (during the Primary Swimming Carnival) to show our appreciation of their good manners, clean eating and, most recognisably, their value of gratitude. As you can imagine it was very well received! The Primary children will have their turn.
For new parents, please be assured that we are providing your children with a well balanced and nutritious meal everyday. There is always a small portion of plain (i.e bland) food for those whose taste preferences are still developing. Fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, butter, sultanas, yoghurt and cheese are always available.
We have carefully evolved the menu over many years in consultation with an independent dietician. Sweet spreads such as jam and honey, and peanut butter have not been served for several years, in accordance with our nutritional and nut aware policy.
The weekly menu balance must take into consideration many things; the weather, season, budget, taste, time, age appropriateness, texture, likes and dislikes of the student majority, staff, school policy and the NSW Government regulations.
It is our happy duty to offer a healthy, vegetarian meal to all students and we support them to attempt the meal that is offered with respect and gratitude.
If you would like to see and experience more, you are welcome to join the kitchen staff and myself for a week to ‘walk a week in our shoes’ and to appreciate the “John Colet Lunch.” Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to take up this offer.

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

21
February
2014

The third part of the John Colet School Creed considered

This week we are considering that part of the School Creed which recommends that we learn about the Universe.
This is a simple one (although not necessarily easy!)  The universe is a highly complex mechanism of interacting material and energetic forces; but it is governed by a few simple principles.  There is the law of attraction which can be seen in the form of gravity and magnetism, but also as love and friendship.  
There is the principle of exchange of substances – where everyone and everything provides food and support for everything else.  Plants feed us with oxygen, and we supply them with carbon dioxide.  And this also works on a subtle level – we provide love, and happiness, and encouragement to others; and we find that we receive these in return.  On the other hand if we approach people and events with suspicion, anger and selfishness we will find our lives become, in Shakespeare’s phrase, “cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in”.
One formulation of this rule is “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”. Another way of putting it, which Leon MacLaren often used, is:  Give what you think you lack.
On another front of learning about the universe each class is going to institute “Fun Facts” activities and quizzes, because we would like all children to have good general knowledge:  continents and countries; rivers and mountains; planets and constellations; famous men and women.  You may like to join in by testing their general knowledge and your own.
Here’s one: what is the longest word in English with one vowel?  (Hint: it has 9 letters; and the first and last letters are the same; and the vowel is “e”).

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

19
February
2014

Report from our P&F

With a whip around of the large circle of parents at the first P&F meeting of the year, we discovered what we'd like from the P&F this year. Some quotes:

"Bottle the JC spirit"

"Communication"

"Deliver what the parents want"

So what can you do to support our school right now?

The walkathon on Friday afternoon, 21st March
Wonderful parent from year 2 Linda Z has (thankfully) popped her hand up to be the coordinator for this great and easy fundraiser. Let’s get behind her and show her some love and support.
Get in on the Gala Dinner, which is a big bash to launch celebrations for 30 years of our wonderful John Colet. "Simple and elegant, with a twist”. Veteran events coordinator Georgie C  is making this one happen and has a list of roles. Oh, and you'll need to save the date, 6th September 2014.
Get in touch with viable fundraising or community-building ideas. We have a few new things on the menu, including tea towels, hot cross buns, a disco night (indeed!!). Does your company offer grants, do you know a hot-cross bun baker, have you run an event that is a guaranteed success? Sarah O  is pulling this list together, so get in touch, and we can program your idea in over the next 18 months. Don't say we don't plan ahead.
The detailed minutes will follow. Make sure you come to the next one.
 
With love,
The P&F Executive 2014

Categories: P&F, John Colet

14
February
2014

First week of inter-school sport results

Pisa Sports Reports

Today the John Colet Junior Boys team played Covenant Christian School in T-ball.  We won 17 – 12.  The man of the match was Charlie as he caught an amazing ball in the out-fielders position and did great batting.  We played excellently and had lots of fun! We are looking forward to next week’s match.
Leo and Annikan

The Junior Girls versed Covenant Christian in T-ball.  The score was 11 – 15, we lost but we all did our best.  Mi-Mi was our Captain.  Our girls of the game were Milla and Amy.  Milla had a lot of home runs, and Amy tried her very best.
-Samsara, Vice-Captain

Senior Boys played cricket.  We lost 57 - 20 against Northern Beaches.  Although we lost, we bowled a lot of wickets and caught a lot of catches and batted quite well.  The man of the match was Ethan because of his amazing catch but everyone else played well as well.
-    Lucas and Xavier

The Senior Girls played softball against Northern Beaches.  We won 10 - 5, which was fantastic.  We all played well but the girl of the game was Roxana because she volunteered to get all the balls the catcher missed.   
- Tally, Captain

Categories: John Colet

14
February
2014

On the vegetarian lunch menu this week...

Lots of children trying new foods



Mon

CHIPS AND BEANS

Tue

SAUSAGE ROLLS

Wed

MILD INDIAN CURRY

Thu

MEXICAN RICE (with garlic and ginger)
Fri

NACHOS
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free and vegan options always available.

This past week has seen a great many students trying new foods and having healthy eating habits. Most recognisable is on our Salad Wrap with peri-peri mayo day. The children ate a monstrous 220 large wraps, 10kgs of tomatoes, 8 lettuces, 6kgs of cucumbers, 5kgs of cheese, 5kgs of carrot, 1kg of mayo, 2 kg of pears, 1kg of grapes, 1kg of nectarines and 2kg of bananas.
For this massive healthy effort I have decided to test out our new lunch ladies with a school favourite next week…sausage rolls!
Well-done and great effort to everyone.

NB. If any forgotten items are left in the kitchen or at after school care, they will be taken to the office and placed in lost and found each morning.
Donna

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet

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