Lower First news (Kindy)

Lower First news (Kindy)


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


Lower Firsts take home their school reports

Detailed information

Our teachers give a great deal of detail in their school reports.  Our formats enable parents to receive a record of work covered each semester.  Reports arrive in time for parents to read them before they meet with teachers for semester one interviews. 

An example of reporting on Lower First (kindy) classes in reading, oral and written work follows...

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Lower First win the Sanskrit Group Recitation Final

Lower 1st Class recited the Happy Prayer -  with gestures of animals representing all creatures incorporated into the English translation - to win the Group Recitation Finals for the Infants classes age group in our Sanskrit competition this week.  Well done to them, they concentrated so hard, it was beautiful to watch. The Primary age group was won by 3rd  Class, who recited 3 verses from the Eesha Upanishad.


Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Fair Fun for the littlest ones

The focus is on "Life at Big School" at our Open Day, so our Fair entertainment is, for the most part, geared to pre-schoolers and younger students.   Parents enjoy looking through our Infants classrooms and meeting the teachers, while younger students make the most of the animals.

lowerfirstatopenday  lowerfirstopenday2 lowerfirstopenday5 lowerfirstopenday3 lowerfirstopenday4

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Open Day Art Attack

Be sure to visit all our classrooms

Our Lower First (kindergarten) classrooms at the top of the driveway will be full of artworks for parents to see.  A whole term of work has been devoted to "Under the Sea" with works in ceramic, painting and other styles, as well as their Dreaming Stories works on canvas of the Rainbow Serpent and Tidalik the Frog drawings.

2nd classes will be displaying Monet's Frogs and some Picasso inspired art.
3rd classes have their wonderful Egypt works, as well as their artworks influenced by Matisse and Jeannie Baker. 

4th classes display their art of Japan, 5th classes have become mini-rainforests, while 6th class show off their wonderful Gallipoli Art Award work,  their PNG influenced art, and their Japanese kites, among many other things!

Be sure to visit as many classrooms as you can at our Open Day next Sunday 25th May.  Come at 10am to catch our 45 minute concert of singing and recitals by our students. 

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


Lower First children settling in well

A report from our two Lower First (kindy) teachers

Lower First have settled in very well, with ease and enthusiasm.  They have been most attentive in learning a few simple behaviours which have enabled them to self-regulate and participate fully in the experience of school life.  For example they can pack their bags and line up successfully on our ‘lining-up ladder’.  This painted ladder allows the children to arrange themselves into a line without a fuss.  On the floor for learning time the children have participated in ‘Positive Behaviour Support’ lessons.  In these lessons children are taught appropriate and safe ways of interacting with others through modelling, role play and discussion.

The children are well engaged throughout the day with a balance of activities which are presented in a fun, yet rigorous manner.  They have completed work in all areas of the new Australian Curriculum and are well on their way to beginning to write their first sentences and are showing signs of readiness for number processes.  As we endeavour to offer the finest of things to the children they have also been exposed to fine music, art, artists and philosophy.

Teachers of Lower First 2014
Robyn Tefay and Lea-Ann Connell

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Raising baby chickens at school

Over the past two weeks, Lower First (kindergarten) have been looking after little baby chickens. It was a great learning experience for the children as they were able to see the chicks actually hatch out of their eggs. We also learnt how to take care of the chicks which involved cleaning out their cage every day and making sure they were warm enough, with enough food and water. We played with the chicks, gave them all names and lots of love. Fortunately we found homes for all 10 chicks who are now being looked after by people in our school community. Thank you to all those who are taking care of the chicks.

Miss White


Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Grandparents Day art

Our First Classes have been busy making cards to give to their Grandparents on Grandparents day. They will be able to post their beautiful cards to Grandparents overseas.  Some have never met their Grandparents but talked to them on skype. Some Grandparents drop the children to school or pick them up. Some children love that their Grandparents read them books, play with them and spoil them. They love their Grandparents because their Grandparents love them. One boy received a picture of a grizzly bear by phone, another received a message in a bottle from the North pole (by mail). Grandparents Day is a Special Day.
John Colet School has a special Grandparents Day celebration in September.

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


Lower 1st excursion to Featherdale Wildlife park

Rounding out a body of work on living and non-living things, our Lower First classes had a wonderful day out at Featherdale Wildlife Park this week.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), John Colet


Mother's Day portraits

Lower first have hit the jackpot this year for as well as having art with the specialist art teacher they also have an art class with Miss Marley who, as well as having her degree as a teacher has a Fine arts Degree and loves teaching art.
In the Lower First rooms you will find many fabulous works taught by Miss Marley: Georgia O’Keefe flowers, Kandinsky patterns, The very hungry caterpillar paintings to name a few. She loves working with pastels and watercolour. One of her projects was a Mother’s Day painting as a gift for the lower first Mum’s. Of course it’s hard to believe that L 1st produced these art works but she has taught them the proportions of the face, which to be honest I don’t usually teach until 2nd class. As you can see it has been highly successful.

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


5 year olds learning Shakespeare, no drama!

This week in drama classes, our infants students start learning their lines in earnest as they start rehearsing for their Shakespeare Festival  in August. 
Their first term drama classes focused on expression, vocal clarity, gesture and making interesting shapes with their bodies. 
"We've been doing exercises to get them connecting with the language," says drama teacher Zoe Emanuel. 
"And because they say quite a few lines in unison,  team work and acting in chorus has also been part of the mix."
Our Lower First students (Kindergarten) will present "All the world's a Stage", Upper Firsts will be doing "The Tempest" and 2nd classes will do "Macbeth".
The  Primary students have their Shakespeare Festival later in the year.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Our Lower First M class knows about Georgia O'Keeffe

Kindergartners leaning about abstract painting

Miss Marley gave her infants class children a detailed look at some of the abstract flower paintings of American artist Georgia O'Keeffe.  They were very keen to do their own and quickly understood the idea of filling the page with their paintings of their favourite flowers in closeup.  Click continue reading to see some photos.

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


From the Stage Coordinators: 28/3/13

Happy Easter to all – we hope that everyone enjoys the break and that the present balmy weather holds out.   Don’t forget to come back for the last two weeks of term!!  We know it’s tempting….

The Lower First performance and Easter Hat Parade was a delight and the parents obviously thought so too because there were many mobile phones clicking and even a few moist eyes!  The children visited all the other classes to wish everyone a Happy Easter.  This was enjoyed by one and all.

Great enthusiasm and excitement has been shown by the children for the lunch time Easter Egg Guessing Competition (“How Many Easter Eggs are in this jar?”)  set up by Donna Moor and her tireless kitchen crew.  We had guesses between 22 and 475, but the nearest guess was that of Brigitte S from 5th Class.  The answer was 114 and Brigitte guessed 113. The Easter eggs were shared with her whole class.    

Administration:  We are continuing our weekly feature highlighting one of the School’s departments.

We are all admirably and generously served by the Admin Dept. headed up by Christine Condos, the School’s Bursar.  Bav Bhandari is the Office Manager, and oversees Catering, After School Care and Uniforms, but most importantly she is the Paymaster who keeps the wolf from the door.

Carmen Griffiths is our “frontline” as the Receptionist, and you would all have had dealings with her in her many capacities, and also Bobbi Ladomatis who is on Reception once a week.  Bobbi  handles Student Health and Uniforms as well.   Toni Cleaves is our Facilities Manager who cares for our gardens and buildings and arranges maintenance and refurbishment  with ample help from Groundsman Karl Werner.  Alex Coubrough looks after Marketing and publishes the Weekly Note, as well as being very active in her role as a School parent.   Denise Farrelly looks after fees, and Marie –Laure Aymonier is a bookkeeper and visits us several times a week.

You would all have engaged with Lynne Werner, a very long-standing employee who now serves as the Registrar.   Mrs. Sarah Mane is Assistant to the Headmaster, and is and has been responsible in the last few years for work done on special projects.

I am sure you find all these Staff members very responsive and friendly in your dealings with them – we do!

Lower First and their Easter Hats

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Coordinators' Comments, John Colet


Tongue twisters and dandelions

It's all about the voice...

Lower First students are learning about voice projection and really enjoy the process with our drama teacher Zoe Emanuel.  Today they pretended to blow the petals off a dandelion, while making clear, loud and hard syllable sounds (no shouting or yelling!).  Then there were tongue twisters - it's harder than you think to say "Mixed Biscuits" five times in a row, clearly.  In another exercise, the children were seeds growing as Miss Emanuel watered them.  Who had the most unusual flowers?
The infants Shakespeare Festival will be held at the school in August, so these early drama lessons get them moving and speaking more confidently, ready to start learning their lines.

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

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