John Colet

5th class investigates water

Today we did three experiments to observe some properties of water:
  • Can a needle float?
  • How many drops of water can fit on a coin?
  • Detergent and water, what happens when they mix?

Surface tension pulls molecules together.  It's like a 'skin' that holds molecules together.  That's why you often observe water droplets.  A substance called a 'surfactant' breaks this surface tension, you can find it in dishwashing detergent.

By Jaanavi K
5th class

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet


Getting ready for Ryde Eisteddfod

Update from Choir Director Michaela Miles

The John Colet Choir has started learning a new piece for the Ryde Eisteddfod. “Myoon-Myoon” is a mysterious Australian piece, written in 1996 by Stephen Leek, about Uluru.  Tempo changes make it quite tricky, but Choir Director Michaela Miles says they are certainly up to the challenge.

“They are very good at listening to music and are quite quick at memorising their parts,” she said. 

They will also perform “Amazing Grace” at the eisteddfod, which Mrs Miles says is unusual for a primary choir to sing in three parts, as JCS choir does.

Mrs Miles says all our choirs display great focus and discipline when they perform, and in preparation for Ryde she will be continuing that focus, while “developing animation and lifting their faces while looking, like glue, at me.”

Meanwhile our 3rd and 4th class choir is also learning a new Australian work, inspired by the Jabberwocky recital at Open Day.  It is “Songs for Snark-Hunters” by Martin Wesley-Smith, all about the hope, fear and anguish of going on a snark hunt. Or will they find a boojum?

Mrs Miles takes the John Colet Choir, which is open to 4th, 5th and 6th class students by audition, on Wednesday afternoons after school and Thursday mornings from 10.50am -11.30.

She takes the 3rd and 4th class choir on Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 8.40 – 9.25am, and 5th and 6th class choir on Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 9.45am-10.30.

“I give students copies of the music to look at, we go through it together and work out the long and short notes.  There is quite a lot of music reading, and [even if they don’t learn an instrument] they get very good at following a melody and musical phrases.  They are also all very familiar with music with more than one part.”

Categories: Chess & Clubs, John Colet


From the Stage Coordinators: 10/6/13

Congratulations to the winners of the Sanskrit Competition, and indeed to all the children.  Their delivery was excellent, and what was outstanding was the way in which they listened to each other as an audience, showing great respect to one another.  Mrs. Childs has to be congratulated for her organising of the event, and also the House Captains who so astutely judged the Heats.  It is so obvious that events such as this one go a long way in developing the children’s confidence and courage to stand before a large group of people and deliver a piece so beautifully.  The children who falter and then carry on are especially to be praised.

Dr. Jenni Cover and Mrs. Naomi Smith – both Sanskrit scholars, are to be thanked for their encouraging remarks, and of course for their judging: this is always a most difficult task due to the high standard of the children’s performances.

On Wednesday the Headmaster hosted a breakfast for all the Open Day, Fair and Art Show volunteers:   unfortunately there was not much notice given but about 25 people came, and had a delightful time, quaffing tea and nibbling Donna’s delicious breakfast.

Donna also attended the Live Life Well @ School, and she and the teachers who went along will be planning, with Alex D, how we will further implement this programme.  Donna reports that we are already doing many of the recommended things:  apparently there are many grants available and a committee is being formed to work towards accessing these grants and subsidies for classes, the kitchen and our proposed school garden.

Please encourage the children to follow through on a current practice – standing aside for adults:  this is very much in line with our Value of Respect, and has such an uplifting effect.

Infants Mistress Mrs Judith Donald, left, with some parents at the morning tea.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet


From our kitchen: 10/6/13

"Living well at school" conference report











Dairy, egg, lactose, gluten and wheat free and vegan options provided daily.

This week I attended a ‘Living Well at School’ conference to find the new dietary guidelines are being implemented into schools across Australia. Here, at John Colet, we are proud to say that we are way ahead of all of the requirements of the ‘Fresh Tastes @ Schools’ initiative. Many canteens across Australia are still selling soft drinks and fried foods. Your children are very lucky to enjoy a healthy luncheon including 2-3 fruits and 2-9 vegies every day.

One of many interesting facts I learned is that the Department of Education and Community is now recommending that children over the age of just 2 years only require fat reduced milk (2%). This one of many lifetime changes implemented to reduce childhood obesity and to reduce the long term health cost of this growing ‘disease’ (I will discuss more over the coming weeks). Since 1985, the incidence of overweight children has doubled and the prevalence of obesity has trebled.

Food matters, and at our school we strive to be ahead of all of the current requirements of childhood nutrition. Let’s all go for ‘2 & 5’ – 2 fruits and 5 vegies every day.

Please go to the ‘Healthy Kids’ web site htpp:// and read about some great ideas to get your kids moving and eating well.

Eat well,
Donna Moor

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet


Headmaster's Weekly Comment: 10/6/13

Why Sanskrit?

Congratulations to all involved in the Sanskrit Recitation Competition.  The children were excellent as confirmed by the judges.

I am occasionally asked why we teach Sanskrit. It is one of the key features of the school along with Singing and Shakespeare.  These three were recommended to us by Leon MacLaren, the founder of the School of Philosophy, as the basic subjects which would be nourishing and beneficial to Australian school children.  Particularly in relation to powerful, beautiful and effective speech.  Hence our continuous commitment to them.

But Sanskrit has special benefits.  Any classical language, effectively taught, gives one a firm basis in linguistics, grammar, and orderly thinking.  In addition, a subject which is hard and challenging deepens the children’s emotional vocabulary in areas such as perseverance, patience, seeing things through to the end, as well as logic and reasoning.  Learning a foreign language also expands cultural horizons.

But this week one of the chief benefits of Sanskrit was on open display.  Simply put, it is beautiful.  The harmonies and cadences of its sounds are uplifting and nourishing.  Part of our vision for the school is to surround and immerse the children in beautiful, uplifting and inspiring works of human excellence.

Like beautiful music Sanskrit is mysterious and hard to explain, but you know it when you hear it.  More, it is a mistake to try to over-explain and over analyse a thing of beauty like Sanskrit; best to accept it as a special gift from the Universe and enjoy it.

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet


Worry dolls

Art classes this week for our 2nd class students were based on the legend that Guatemalan parents tell their children. Guatemalan children have a set of tiny dolls that they tell their worries to and put under their pillows. The legend says all their worries will go away.  In art class we read "Silly Billy" byAnthony Browne about Billy who had all sorts of worries and couldn’t sleep properly. His Grandmother made him some worry dolls. In class we made rather large worry dolls, more like peg dolls, and the children were very creative in designing their costumes.
Annette Gadsby
Art Teacher

Categories: Art classes, John Colet


Sports reports from this week's Pisa round

4th class Girls
On Friday, 4th class girls played St Luke’s in netball.  We won 7-0.  The Players of the Match were Isis C and Alexa D because they both tried their hardest at GS and GA.
-Jasmin (vice Captain)

5th and 6th class Girls
We played St Luke’s in netball.  I think we played well but it wasn’t our best game.  We lost 6-11.  But we all tried our hardest and we were all pretty tired.  Girl of the Game for 5th class is Jaanavi K because while playing GD she defended GA really well and got the ball a couple of times.  Girl of the Game for 6th class is Eden T because while playing WA she got free and got the ball multiple times.  Also, when she was asked to play WD she did so willingly even though she doesn’t like that position.
-Chloe (Captain)

4th class Boys
The junior boys played Pittwater House in soccer.  They played hard but lost 3-2.  Player of the Match was Harry P because he saved a lot of goals.
Tim Roslyn, Coach

5th and 6th class Pisa Boys
We played soccer against Pittwater House.  The whole team played well and we were rewarded with a win of 5-0. All the boys were happy with the win, and we all thought Lucas v de S was the Man of the Match with his great passing and his great goal.  All the boys played well and we are excited for next week.
- Josh (Captain)

(Pisa is an inter-school sports competition for independent schools on the Penisula)

Categories: John Colet


From our kitchen: 3/6/13

On the menu this week...











Dairy, egg, lactose, gluten and wheat free and vegan options provided daily.

This week is a time of great thanks, following the monumental efforts that individuals put in to make the food stall a great success at last weekend’s School Fair.

Firstly, the cooks who worked all day Saturday and Sunday, particularly Mrs Lara B and her delicious vegetable curry. She also kept all of the curries warming for service on a less that worthy stove top. Then there’s the indefatigable Mrs Sandy B who really was the kitchen manager (I was truly just a bystander) and best onion and garlic chopper ever. This woman never left the kitchen all weekend!

Next, I must mention Clive and Jude P. Clive was the ‘Rosti’ chef...all day, and Jude the rice and main food runner between the kitchen and service which is a heavy, unrewarding job. She was the only one brave enough to pass me any bad news. This couple were also the main contributors to the clean up process with Sandy and Lara, which was a hideous task after 500 plus meals.

Outside, the accounting genius of Mrs Sam R saw the money flow...and she was also an all day stayer.

Then there’s the Year 4 and 6 parents who came for 1, 2 and even 3 shifts. They now know what service for 250+ in one hour is like and they rose to the challenge admirably.

Finally, the UK ‘engineering and maintenance team’, namely Ray B, Vic M and Kenny W for their technical prowess and devotion to the French Cafe's profits. We had real issues with electricity on the day, as demonstrated by Mr Mane being silenced when he first spoke. They also ran around like crazy men doing the 'stuff' no one else wanted to. 

I thank you all. Your combined efforts were truly amazing!


Eat well,
Donna Moor

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet


From the stage coordinators: 3/6/13

Well, the Gods smiled upon us and blessed us on Sunday with the most perfect weather for the John Colet Open Day, Fair and Art Show.  Not only the Gods smiled, but there were smiles everywhere …

So many thanks are due – the parents who under the guidance of P&F “chief” Katrina B, and the indefatigable efforts of Liz K and her team, got the show on the road;  the teachers and children for their magnificent and outstanding class work, Michaela Miles and Robyn Tefay for the singing, Angela Miller for the dance and the class teachers and children again for the recitation, Donna Moor and her team providing us with a wonderful  lunch, the Stall teams and also the Admin. team, quietly working away in the background under the Eagle Eye of Alex Coubrough.   The Art Show was beautifully curated by Katrina B and Sarah W, and the Opening on Friday was a very successful event with superb catering by Mrs. R and Ms. S and music by Harry L and his band.  It’s a miracle how it all comes together, and another miracle how it gets quietly and efficiently dissolved.  A sort of magic that comes from co-operation and good hearts.  Many, many thanks …

Next week sees the beginning of a sequence of staff absences going on Professional Development, Long Service Leave, and one to be married – Teacher’s Aide – Rachel Humphry!  The Headmaster will be away overseas (during the holidays and the first week of Term 1) at a Renaissance Schools’ Headmasters’ Conference in Italy (some people have all the luck!).  We start with Miss White and Miss Cipollone going on PD to a “Live Life Well @ School” Workshop for two days next week.  This will tie in with the soon-to-be –started Gardening Club.  Individual teachers will be informing their class parents of their forthcoming absences – no need to mention them all here.

The Sanskrit Recitation Competition is coming up on 4th June (Heats) and 6th June (Finals).  The judging will be done by two Sanskrit Gurus – Mrs. Naomi Smith and Dr. Jenni Cover, and Mrs. Dunn will be the M.C.  All the very best …




Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet


John Colet School buys beautiful artworks

John Colet School bought three artworks by local artists at our art show last weekend.  They will replace some works that were destroyed in the fire at the school last year.  They also provide a wonderful teaching resource for our art classes. 
This week, 3rd and 4th classes studied one of the paintings, by Sledjana Adzic, in art class.  Then they drew the painting (4th classes did this by drawing the negative spaces in the artwork) and did their best to replicate the radiant colours of the original using crayola and colour wash.
A great way to teach children how to study paintings closely.

See more John Colet School artwork on our Facebook page

Categories: Art classes, John Colet


Headmaster's Weekly Comment 27/5/13

In the spirit of reporting our school’s triumphs I should like to congratulate the debating team on a determined effort this week.  The topic was “City children have the advantage”, and we were arguing the affirmative case.  The team worked very hard all week to prepare their arguments and, on the day, presented them cogently and confidently.  Unfortunately the Sydney Japanese School put up a spirited negative argument and they carried the day by one point.

One fundamental factor in a successful life is so obvious that we can take it for granted.  That factor is the ability to speak and listen (not necessarily in that order).  Those who can marshal their thoughts in a clear, accurate way; and then express those thoughts in clear, authoritative speech, or writing, will generally find their path in life easier than those whose thought processes are confused and chaotic; and who speak haltingly, inaudibly and with a lack of confidence.

Many of the subjects on our curriculum are either wholly or in part designed to foster this very basic skill in the children: English (of course), Singing, Shakespeare, Sanskrit, Latin, and again of course, debating.

A note on the Sanskrit Recitation Competition coming up on 6th June: This is a wonderful showcase of the children’s ability to memorise and recite beautiful words in an ancient language.  We congratulate the teachers and children for all their efforts and wish them all well.


Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet


Update from last P&F meeting

Walkathon Update
So far $7,514 has been raised and 73% of children have made donations. Katrina B reminded the committee to think clearly about communication for the event as target setting misrepresented the event to the school community. Cherry was thanked for her excellent efforts. Class parents are asked to send out final friendly reminder for any pledges outstanding.

Open Day
-       Fair/Stalls Update – By Liz K
Liz K advised that all rosters have been given to class parents and the website is up to date. Liz K asked that class parents contact her with any other questions as soon as possible.
Judith D advised that the small broken down shed at the back of the school is to be removed, making the environs tidier.
Balloons will be made available for the Art Show opening night as well as for fair.
The stage will be set up Monday before event. Three additional gas ovens were offered to the food stall operators, which they have kindly accepted.
Liz K will be roving about on Fair Day to answer any issues raised.
Alex C will put John Colet aprons out for each stall – usually about six per stall.
Liz K will send a PDF file (advertisement for fair and art show) to class parents, to send on to all parents so they can forward it onto family and friends.
This year the John Colet Fair does not clash with the Kamaroi School fair.
Liz K advised that a map has been put together, outlining placement of stalls on Fair Day. Alex C suggested that these maps be placed at the Board of Governor’s stall, at the ticket stall and near the food stall.
Katrina B thanked Liz K for her amazing efforts in co-ordinating Fair Day.

- Art Show Update – Sarah W
Sarah W noted that the artworks are of a very high standard this year.
Sarah W asked class parents to promote the event among the parent body.
A jazz trio will be playing on opening night and tickets will be available at the door. The organisers would prefer, however, advance ticket sales so as to give them an indication of numbers attending. Tickets cost $15 and wine will be available by the glass. ($5 per glass)
The children’s artwork will be displayed in the staff room.
Judith D asked if there is any security on gate. Alex C advised that this had not been done in the past, as the event is fairly quiet.
Katrina B advised that the children’s artwork should be framed or on a canvas to facilitate hanging. They also need to be labelled with the child’s name and title (if they have one and should be approximately A4 size.

Treasurer’s Report – Samantha R in Donna T’s Absence
Cash at bank position:

As at 8 April 2013                                   $  22,010

Plus deposits                                                5,587

Less outgoings                                             4,116

Less unpresented cheques                          106
Current cash at bank @ 13/05/2013: $ 23,375
Fundraising for 2013 Year to date:
Walkathon takings                                    $7,514

Funds Allocation Procedure – Katrina B
The P&F Committee, in consultation with the school, prioritises items that require funding. Parent suggestions are also taken into consideration. These items are then brought to the attention of those at the P&F meetings at which time comments are taken. Approval is then sought from the parent representatives at the meeting.

Board Report/Executive Report – Judith D
Judith advised that a Gap student will be arriving at the school shortly and notification will be placed in the next weekly note.
Approved school student numbers currently stand at 225. An application has been lodged with council to increase that number to between 320 and330. This allows 2 classes per year.

Future Building works include the administration wing and the COLA. An architect is currently looking into the most favourable site for the COLA (covered outdoor learning area).

Judith advised that risk assessment forms need to be filled in for Fair Day. Alex C will handle those.

There will be a Board of Governors stand at the Fair and members will respond to any enquiries from the community.

A site for the Gardening Club has been located outside the music room and will consist of octagonal raised beds. Alex D is fulfilling the risk assessment criteria. Two teachers will attend a workshop that informs and encourages schools to bring the healthy living concept into school. Grant money will be used to fund substitute teachers while they are away and also buy supplies for the club.

The large grevillea out the back of the school has died of natural causes.

Judith D asked for feedback about the possibility of Mike McDonald, a behaviour management consultant, coming to the school to give a talk to school parents. Meeting responded positively to this suggestion.

Teachers have taken on the supervision of the chess club.

Maintenance of Park on Corner of Cotentin Road and Wyatt Avenue
A letter (as advised in the minutes of last meeting) has been sent to council on behalf of the P&F Committee. Council has acknowledged receipt of letter and they will respond in due course.

Rehabilitation of Playground Within School Grounds – Judith D
Judith D advised that any landscaping will be delayed until all building works (as advised above) are done so as to save on duplication of expenses As such, the timing of the rehabilitation of this site has not been set at this time.

P&F Email Contact – Katrina B
A new email address for the P&F Committee will be created in the near future and included on the school’s website. In the mean time, all agenda items should be sent to P&F secretary Samantha Richards at her email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Library Re-Opening Enquiry – Judith D
Judith D advised that the library would not open before Fair Day. It is noted that the teachers are keen for access, so too the children. The headmaster will take further action to expedite the process. As such a definitive re-opening date is not available at this time. More shall be known before the next P&F meeting.

Fundraising BBQ at Bunning’s – Katrina B and Alex C
A tentative date has been set for 23rd June 2013. This is the first weekend of school holidays. The previous BBQ’s have been run by the Chan family, but due to their departure from the school there is need of a volunteer to co-ordinate this event. There was a feeling among attendees that this timing may be difficult, being at the beginning of school holidays. Maria Mury will contact the Chans to ascertain whether the date was definite or tentative and other arrangements set in place. Alex C to communicate with Bunnings.

Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting of the P&F Committee – Katrina B
Due to the resignation of Liz K as Vice President due to escalating work commitments there will an extraordinary meeting following the next P&F committee meeting to elect new office bearers.

Other Business
A query was raised as to the timing of fee notification. Judith D will follow this up with Board of Governors.

Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held 8.30am Monday 3rd June 2013.

Meeting Closed
Katrina B closed the meeting at 9.00pm.

Categories: P&F, John Colet


From our kitchen: 27/5/13

On the school menu this week...











Dairy, egg, lactose, gluten and wheat free and vegan options provided daily.

This week’s ‘Camp Kitchen’ has been a great success with the help of teachers and students. The children have enjoyed picnicking on the lawn or in the warmth of their classrooms. The lunch ladies have yet again risen to the task without getting frost bite.

This Sunday is the annual school fair so don’t forget to come hungry! Out of the kitchen we will be showcasing some of the children’s and teachers’ favourite meals. They include sausage rolls, nachos, hot dogs and three different curries with all the trimmings. We all hope you enjoy them. We will also have simple tea and coffee, so if the line to the coffee cart is too long, pop over for a warm cup of tea with a little something from the cake stall or the French cafe.

Don’t forget to invite your neighbours and friends to the fair to show them what a great school we have.

Categories: Lunch menus, John Colet


Thanks to Flinders House parents

Parents of children in Flinder's House attended this term's school working bee last weekend. They did a huge amount of work including:
Moving dining tables and benches, pruning hedges, rock removal, levelling bark chips, washing pathways and balconies, assisting in hanging school art, cleaning main kitchen, cleaning scuff marks from walls inside and out, de-cobwebbing, clipping garden beds, washing desks and floor in art room, washing classroom doors, cleaning ceiling fans, picking up litter from outside school grounds, cleaning bubblers and metal benches, cleaning staff kitchens, clearing ground gutters, raking and removing leaves, weeding.
Thank you everyone for your willing help and good company!!

Categories: John Colet


From the Stage Coordinators: 27/5/13

Did everyone see the Manly Daily front page on Tuesday?  Echoes of the fire but great publicity for the Art Show and Open Day. 

School has been a hive of activity with a marquee and stage being put together, the Art Show being prepared by a group of dedicated ladies and men, artists dropping a wonderful array of works, ladies with clipboards assessing locations, children rehearsing, and the school’s Art Department and teachers busily putting up work for our general admiration!  The Catering ladies are scheming to feed us all with their usual panache on Open Day, and in the meantime, they have managed to keep lunches going in a Camp Kitchen in the breezeway. (The children seem to enjoy these “picnic lunches” and are to be seen in clusters in the Garigal Quad at lunchtime.)

Professional Development:  Miss Cipollone attended a Maths Inservice this week, and Miss White and also Miss Cipollone will be going to two PD days in early June relating to Health and healthy eating and how to incorporate this into the curriculum.

This is sponsored by the Health Department and the Council.  We are also hoping to promote healthy food awareness with the starting up a little later in the year of a Garden Club after school.

John Colet Day:     We were honoured by the presence on Monday  20th of several of our Board members who came to honour our namesake – John Colet , and to tour the school, looking at the children’s work.  The Headboy and Headgirl each gave a speech on the background of John Colet in the 16th century, and they delivered these with confidence and clarity.  The school performed various recitations and singing – a treat by any standard.

The tour of the Board was very successful and not the least because the children demonstrated excellent behaviour (thank goodness!), but also the Governors, quite fortuitously, happened upon some Writing lessons, and were thoroughly entertained by some budding authors!

In the meantime, we pray for rain, but also ask for it to hold off during the Fair this Sunday!

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

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