Lower First news (Kindy) - John Colet School

Lower First news (Kindy)


Digging up the past

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Lower 1st became archaeologists this week and dug up several mysterious artifacts. We discussed what they could be, who used them and how and what they told us about the people who have lived before us.
Miss Bower and Miss Marley, Teachers

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


100 days!


Lower 1st marked the last day of Term 2 with a special morning tea to celebrate 100 days of school learning!



Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Wonderful world of wild animals for Lower 1st

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Lower 1st learnt about our native animals and birds at Featherdale Wildlife Park this week.  There were lots of sleepy children on the bus ride home!  See more photos on our Facebook page.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Prac student shares her love of teaching

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Lower First M students have had many rich learning experiences in Literacy and Numeracy lessons this week.
They have been engaging greatly with their sentence writing. They have had a main focus on understanding the concepts of poems and their language techniques (especially adjectives and punctuation), in order to create their very own colour poem! The students loved to explore their imagination and think of different colours and objects to match that colour. Students also thought about how objects may make them feel, whilst also gaining knowledge around the importance of our five senses. In addition, students have been creating their own sentences in Handwriting, using their own spelling words. Not only are students able to work at their own level, be creative, and create great pride in their own personal work, the exercise consolidates their spelling list.
Within Numeracy, students main focus has been surrounding the notion of mass (Sub-stands Working Mathematically and Geometry and Measurement). Students have been exploring the concept of hefting as well as the ability to use and read balance scales, all of which they have thoroughly enjoyed. Lower First M have also added “Exit Slips” at the end of their Numeracy lessons. The Exit Slip strategy requires students to write responses to questions on their learning at the end of their lesson (in our case, students told me, and I wrote their answers verbatim). Exit Slips help students reflect on what they have learned and express what or how they are thinking about the new information, as well as giving them the opportunity to express how they would like to improve or what they may be stuck on. Our Exit Slips will be displayed within the classroom in the coming week. The students are very keen on the idea.
Well done on a productive and fulfilling week Lower First M! Keep up the wonderful work!

Harriet Wickett – Macquarie University final practicum student.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Fraction flowers!

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This week L1st M has been focusing on the complex concept of Fractions.
We started the week with simple ideas and notions of sharing, and what it meant to be fair when splitting a whole object into parts. The students were extremely quick to realise that in order for sharing to be fair, we had to divide an object into equal parts.
Students thoroughly enjoyed sharing objects (UNIFIX CUBES) with other members in the class, creating whole circles as a class and splitting into two equal semi circles (Space and Geometry Sub-strand), and have worked extremely contentedly and steadily throughout this period.
During our Fraction lessons, fine motor skills have also been refined during cutting and pasting objects to fit in the “Fraction Flower”, along with colouring. In addition, students further developed these skills through the creation of fraction murals. To do so, students have folded, cut, and stuck, squared pieces of paper, which also consolidated their cognitive mathematical development, surrounding fractions.

Harriet Wickett 
Macquarie University (final year Practicum) student 2018

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Science & Maths, John Colet


Lower Firsts love giving talks!

Lower First students have been bravely and clearly speaking out to their class mates in Show and Tell this term.  In Weeks 6 and 7, they were encouraged to find out about a form of weather which is extreme and share pictures, books or information.  In Weeks 8 and 9, they brought in a favourite book to show to the their classmates, with a discussion about the author, the illustrator and the purpose of the book.  Here are two photos...

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Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Infants swimming details

Swimming for Infants in Term 4

In Term 4 the Infants Classes will again be going to the Killarney Heights Swim Centre for swimming lessons in preparation for the coming summer. (5th and 6th Classes will go for four weeks only on another day of the week).
As we have no male teachers in the Infants and therefore no access to the male change room the children will be changed at school.
The Infants children will swim on Friday afternoons in Term 4, commencing Week 1 (14th  October).
On Fridays they should come to school in their sports clothes and sport shoes bringing with them a swimming bag containing:

  • Casual “slip-on” footwear (such as thongs, Crocs, “jelly” sandals – these not to be worn to school)
  • A towel
  • Goggles for all and swimming caps for the girls
  • Swimming costumes (boys could wear those to school and bring underwear for after swimming)
To go to the pool, they will wear their sports tops over their costumes, with a towel wrapped round themselves, carrying a bag with goggles and caps (girls).  The towels, footwear and sport top will be deposited at the poolside whilst they swim.  After the lesson, they simply dry off, don sports top, footwear and wrap their towel about them, and then proceed to school, where they will change back into their full sports uniform for home-time.
Children may be taken home from the Pool after the lesson by pre-arrangement with their teacher and having been signed off at the pool on the Class Register.
We hope this will be an easy and efficient way of dealing with this.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy)


Sharing their dreams

On 'Dress Up as your Favourite Book Character Day', 6th class wrote and illustrated their own Dreamtime stories to read to their Lower First Buddies.

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Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Lower First learning about "The Little Refugee"

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In the build up to Book Week, Lower First are looking at 'The Little Refugee' by Anh Do and Suzanne Do and drawing their own people using the art room's collection of dolls from around the world as further inspiration.


Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Art classes, John Colet


Morning Teas for Parents of children in our Infants classes

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Lower First: Tuesday 5th May
Upper First: Tuesday 19th May
2nd class:  Tuesday 9th June

The Morning Teas with Mrs McKendrick and Mrs Donald will be held just after morning drop off, in the Staff Common Room on the above days. We look forward to seeing you.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Buddy monitor update


Over several weeks Sophie and I have had the joy of being buddy monitors.  This duty involves planning fun activities for the buddies to enjoy.  Some of the activities we have planned have been Arts and Crafts based others have been more physical and interactive.  Our most popular activity from the children’s perspective has been the rainbow parachute when the buddies run under the parachute and have lots of laughs.  This Friday we had a very successful Easter Egg hunt, which was lots of fun.
We are so grateful for this exciting leadership responsibility as we have really enjoyed working with Mrs McDermott and her class.  We wish all the best of luck to next term’s buddy monitors.  I’m sure they will have a great time like we did.

Isis C and Sophie W (6th K)

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Writing & Speaking, John Colet


An update from Lower First

Mrs McDermott reports that her students are ‘settling in beautifully’. She says they are well on the way with their phonics sounds, and their lists of sight words have gone home to be part of their homework. (They also look at them in class.)

“They have been learning the sounds of A, S, T, I, and M and these have been the topic for their Show and Tell sessions on Friday afternoon. The children bring in an object that starts with one of the sounds, such as “turrets” on a castle that one boy brought in,” says Mrs McDermott.

“We are counting up to 20 and beyond, recognising the numbers, and in science we have started our Living and Non-living Things unit of work.’’

She says the children absolutely love their hour –long Visual Arts lessons with Mrs Allcorn (see our Facebook page) and Mrs McDermott adds that she has never had a class that loves colouring in as much as this one!

“They also love their sports lessons with Mr Roslin and Mrs Keating and they have passed on very good reports about how well the children are participating.”

“In Philosophy with Mrs Donald, we have started by looking at the five school values, so far we have done Stillness, Courage and Truthfulness. They are very good at giving their observations and putting things into practice at school and at home. One Mum was telling me how her daughter showed courage... They are very good listeners and they really enjoy participating.”

“We’ve already done a lot of writing exercises. We took a caterpillar for a walk around the school and the children each did a pictorial personal recount of a caterpillar walk. So they could practise their time sequencing words and their action words and their describing words.”

Mrs McDermott says they are definitely getting used to the school routine and love their lunchtimes and recess.   But an absolute highlight of the week is their Friday afternoon session with their 6th class buddies.

“Last week the buddies arranged everything, they set up activity stations for games and colouring and it was just fabulous. Today the buddies helped Lower First make a start on our giant class jigsaw. They absolutely adore their buddies!


Mrs Tomaz and Miss Buchanan, pictured above, assist Mrs McDermott with Lower First.


Taking a caterpillar for a walk, in preparation for a writing exercise. 

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Our newest students


Our Lower First class had a wonderful start.  On their first day, their many activities included writing, maths, meeting the Headmaster, morning tea and play time.   Some of the 6th class leaders helped Lower First teacher Mrs McDermott in the classroom, while others greeted new parents and showed them to the classroom.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Letter to Lower First parents about Chess

Dear Lower 1st Parents

I am the JCS Chess Club Manager for 2015 and I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know a bit about the Club and especially how the Beginner Chess Classes run.

I have 3 kids currently at the school, Sebastian in Year 6, Kai in year 5 and Heidi in 2nd class. Back in 2009 when Sebastian started in L1st I thought he would have enough on his plate in Lower 1st with adjusting to school and learning to read and write and so promised him he could start Chess in the following year – which he did, but – no surprise, number 2 and 3 I handled a little differently and they both started in Lower 1st.

The Beginner Class is run on a Wednesday at recess – so just about 20mins – not too taxing for short attention spans. The kids line up at top house and one of the young interns walks them to Chess with their recess in their hands. This year it is a very short distance to Chess class, which is in John Colet House 1 (right next door to the Hall). The Chess Master – Miro will be waiting for them there. Miro has a very long association with John Colet and is very accustomed to teaching to all ages and levels. And no, it is not necessary for you to be able to play chess. I’ve seen kids playing chess at After School Care and in the back of their classes during free school time. They will get enough exposure.

In the beginning they are mainly getting familiar with the pieces, what their names are, how the board is set up, how they move and how much their pieces are worth. As soon as practical the class is split into the theoretical portion and a game portion (quite funny to witness in the beginning). You would be surprised to see how attentive the children are and how quickly they catch on.

Learning the game of chess itself has been shown to have many advantages, for children and adults. And as with many things, learning from a young age can make the process a lot easier.

Why play Chess?

·         A study by Dr Peter Dauvergne of the University of Sydney has shown that teaching chess to children can:

·         Raise their intelligence quotient (IQ) scores

·         Strengthen problem solving skills, teaching how to make difficult and abstract decisions independently

·         Enhance reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilities

·         Foster critical, creative, and original thinking

·         Provide practice at making accurate and fast decisions under time pressure, a skill that can help improve exam scores at school

·         Teach how to think logically and efficiently, learning to select the ‘best’ choice from a large number of options

·         Challenge gifted children while potentially helping underachieving gifted students to learn how to study and strive for excellence

·         Demonstrate the importance of flexible planning, concentration and the consequences of decisions

·         Reach boys and girls regardless of their natural abilities or socio-economic backgrounds.

I would just say, that it may do all of those things, but that what I have been impressed with in my observation of the classes at all levels is the playful camaraderie and joy in the classroom, and the amazing sense of achievement that the children feel as they progress. To see the children at the competitions both at our school and at others, is truly inspiring. To see the Mona Vale Public School Hall – which is HUGE, full of kids shaking hands, sitting and concentrating, employing chess etiquette and generally getting a kick out of the total experience is just a wonderful reminder of what children are capable of if they are only given the right opportunities.

In this age where the temptation of screen time is so strong, I will confess that I make chess the exception to what can be some strict rules. My kids are allowed to play chess at home against the computer on Chesskid.com. My 6 year old will play the DinoChess App or Chess-wise App on devices, while in waiting rooms etc. And my older boys will take the chess set out to restaurants with us and play with us on holidays. I try to make a rule that if they ask me to play chess with them to always says yes.

The Fee for lessons is $5/lesson. There will be more information about how to make payments in upcoming newsletters. If you would like to read more about the Chess Club there are some historical Blog entries on the school’s website.

If you are thinking of enrolling your children for Beginner Chess Class in Term 1 can you please let me know, so that Miro and I can plan accordingly. If you definitely don’t want your child to attend than you might want to make that clear to them and their teacher, as they can sometimes tend to just follow the others – especially if their friends are heading that way. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me of give me a call or email me on the below email address.

Yours in Chess,

Simone P
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Chess & Clubs

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