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Coordinators' Comments

18
November
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

Managing the uniform requirements of a school is always a challenge for both parents and children, but it is an important factor in the currency of schools such as John Colet.  The uniform reflects the school, the family and the child.  In supporting an ethos of mindfulness, care and respect, it is important that the children reflect this in their appearance.  They should take pride in a clean uniform and shiny shoes and should arrive and LEAVE school looking their best, and in full uniform.

The same applies to demeanour and general deportment.  We have had several new parents reporting that they were attracted  to the school when meeting existing students ….:  “Where did your children learn to look someone in the eye and shake hands like that?”  Manners maketh Man!

Please see elsewhere in this bulletin a suggestion that the John Colet children attend the Nativity Play (performed by 2nd Class) on Tuesday 29th with a gift for charity:  new or second hand in good order.  These gifts go to the Smith Family for wrapping and distribution.  Anyone who would like to stay to watch the Nativity and sing Christmas Carols, is welcome to do so!

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress

Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

11
November
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

The Sports Carnival was a huge success and the courage of the children and their sportsmanship was very evident: highlighting our values particularly in relation to Courage:  Inner Strength, Self Control and Right Action.  There were some wonderful efforts on the part of individual children, and all were conscious of the need to work for their House.  The weather was more propitious than we had expected (very hot weather predicted) and then there was a change but the rain held off.  Thank you to those parents who came to support and cheer.

It’s In-School Chess time:  Infants had their competition two weeks ago and Primary had theirs today.   A record number of children have participated.   We have also had recent success in Inter-Schools competitions, most recently at Mona Vale on Thursday.   Our thanks to Mrs. P, who has been tireless in her nurturing of our chess talent.

On Monday evening the School Executive joined the P&F for their “Annual General Meeting”, a delightful dinner at a St. Ives venue, and the new Office Bearers were announced:  Niki T will be the President, and lead the new team.     Many thanks to the “Old Guard” and all their supporters, who have done such a wonderful job.  This of course includes the Class Parents.  Please note that the P&F is still looking for a parent to take up the position of Garden Club Co-ordinator.  Any interested applicant should contact Mr. M or Mrs. Donald.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

21
October
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

What a week, but a very successful one.  The Primary treated the Infants and each other to dress rehearsals of their Shakespeare plays – you had better get excited about the performances coming up next week.  The plays are great, the children are great.  What stood out was the confidence and stage presence of  the children at large.
 
We also hosted potential new parents, present parents and next year’s parents in a series of tours, information mornings, morning teas and Introductory Day for next year’s Lower First intake.  Present Lower First were “displaced” and went off to the aquarium with teachers and some parents.  We had to have four outdoor lunches to free the Hall, and of course the children loved that.  It’s all about Service.
 
Next week sees the Infants’ In House Chess Competition and of course the Shakespeare plays themselves from Wednesday to Friday in the evening at the Glen Street Theatre.  Break a leg!
 

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress

Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

14
October
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

This Term the practice is

Service – “Always give of your best”

The leading questions are:    Am I giving full attention?   Is it beautiful, well-presented and pleasing to others?   Does this action benefit everyone?   Am I setting a good example?   Is my attitude positive?  And of course the special flavour to this practice at the moment is   

Service without seeking a reward! 

Five new John Colet  students started at the school this week and they already seem settled in.  We also have three Practicum university students in the classrooms for the next few weeks and four in the Art room one day a week each.  We are blessed, and we hope they enjoy their John Colet experience.

The new area of the school that has been opened up this week  is the “Nature Reserve”, which the children have been enjoying at lunch play this week.  They have been spoken to several times about what to do if they see a snake, how to respond and what to do afterwards.  We would also ask parents to check from time to time for ticks, although we are not aware of any tick bites so far this week.   The children have also been asked to respect the space as a nature reserve and not to pick or break the foliage, but to use it as a quiet space and not to run about, as that also tends to damage the plants.   Teachers are being given extra training on snake bit first aid procedures.   Of course going there is optional, and if you would prefer your child not to venture there, please ask them to play elsewhere.

You may have noticed the work going on at the back of Top House to open up and level that area for future use.  This is a work in progress and more anon …

Chess Club:  Mrs. Simone P has been our Chess Organiser for the past while and has done a most enthusiastic and efficient job.  Although she will still be involved and interested as a parent, she will be handing over at the end of this term to Mrs. Jasmine Crewe, Staff Member, who will look after all things Chess from next year on.

Parents of 2nd -5th classes  (next year’s 3rd to 6th classes)  should have received an email from the school asking them to enter their  children into next year’s Swimming Carnival. Please would you complete your bookings before 28th October – this is very important for the organisation of the event.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

11
October
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

Welcome back to the final term for the year, and an action packed one it will be with Shakespeare for the Primary, the Athletics Carnival, the School Chess Competition, the Nativity and preparation for Speech Night.  We also have five Practicum Students at the school this term, and new students to welcome in several classes.  Another novelty will be a new play area that is being opened up, on trial, and that is the bushland in the back corner of the school:  children are allowed there to play, but have been told to treat it as a Nature Reserve, which in fact it is, and to respect any “wild life”.  Instruction in that regard has been given.

Service  is our value for the term, and the children gave some delightful examples at Assembly of the practice of this during the holidays:  everything from cleaning the car to tidying up a brother’s bedroom!  In particular the children are asked to give “Secret Service” – this means doing something quietly and discreetly without looking for reward or praise.   We can all try it!

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Senior Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

23
September
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

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The Bush Dance was an unqualified success and enjoyed by young and old!  Many thanks to the parents who put in the hard yards!  And the perfect venue!

Among the many wonderful people who come to work at John Colet for love or money, we now have Mrs. Libby M.  Libby is an ex-John Colet parent (now a grandmother) who will be volunteering at John Colet, particularly helping with children throughout the school who need one-on-one support.  She has just returned to Australia from Auckland where she was working at our sister school there – The Ficino School.  Look out for her on Tuesdays!

We hope that everyone has a refreshing break before the final and very busy fourth term which will include the Primary Shakespeare, the Athletics carnival, assessments for reports, swimming for Infants and many Primary classes, the Nativity play, preparation for Speech Night and all the sixth Class celebrations.

Rest well!

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

16
September
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

The last week of term is here, the weather is warming and we will be in summer uniform next term. Swimming for Infants will commence in Week one Term 4 – on Fridays.
This week there was a display in the Staff Room of the pottery produced by each class in their Art lessons - these were plates decorated to the theme of bush plants and creatures, perhaps you have seen them on our Facebook page?  They will be auctioned at the Bush Dance and they are absolutely delightful.  Look out for them if you are going to the Bush Dance.

EDUCATION RENAISSANCE TRUST (ERT)
John Colet School comes under the umbrella of the Education Renaissance Trust which is an independent educational charity in the U.K. whose aim is to facilitate a renaissance in the education of children. 
It was founded in 1997 to support a group of schools around the world  who share this view of education, which is to put spiritual values at the heart of education.  The first such school – St. James’ School in London, a sister school of John Colet – was founded in 1975.  John Colet was founded ten years later, in 1985.
 
The purpose of the Trust is to help and encourage schools and teachers who put spiritual values  into education in order to inspire children with good and true principles for living.  Its scope includes fundraising, financial support for affiliated schools if needed, teacher training and other educational initiatives such as the Teachers’ Study Week recently held in Lucca, Italy, which was attended by two John Colet teachers, one paid for by the John Colet P&F and the other by the ERT itself.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

02
September
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

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Grandparents’ Day was a great success, especially as nature was most co-operative and offered truly “first day of Spring “ weather.  The children performed beautifully in song and in Sanskrit and were very excited to invite the Grandparents into their classrooms where special items had been prepared.   Many children were generous in sharing their grandparents with children whose were unable to come.

Yet another exciting week anticipated for Primary  classes as they head off for either Canberra or Milson Island.  The campus will seem very quiet with only the Infants’ children present.

Children in 4th Class – twelve of them – have been able to get back to the study of Latin, which they do now with Mrs. Crewe before school on Wednesdays.  As a result, Latin is now available in all classes from Upper First right through to 6th Class.  For the younger children it is only once a week, but it should have a noticeable impact on their language and thinking skills and provide some interesting general knowledge.  We use both the Oxford University “Minimus Mouse” programme as well as the Cambridge University programme.  According to the Board of Studies information, John Colet School and a Catholic girls’ School in the Eastern suburbs are the only two Primary Schools in Sydney offering Latin, and of course we are the only one offering Sanskrit throughout the school.

Here’s to hoping  that the many children who have been absent this past week with flu and other illnesses are making a recovery and that we have a full complement of bright children next week.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

26
August
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

Just in case we thought things might be flat after the amazing Science Week at John Colet, this week it has all been about books, books, books,  with “Read-Ins”, competitions and a  “Dress-up as a Book Character Day” on Wednesday.  There were some mighty strange characters wandering about the school, and many warmly familiar ones!    On Monday 22nd author Bronwyn Vaughan presented  to the children, and on Friday Penny Walton (from our very own Art Dept.), who is a book illustrator,  explained the ins and outs of her craft to 5th and 6th Class.

Grandparents’ Morning will be in Week 7 on Thursday, 1st September from 9.00-10.30.  This will include a friendly cup of tea, a short concert and a visit to the classrooms.  There is no specific RSVP, but please let the children know if their grandparents are coming – we need a rough idea of the numbers.

The Staff had a very interesting presentation at a recent Staff Meeting  by Jasmine Crewe (JCS Enrichment and Learning Support) on a talk by Dr. Chris Seton about Sleep Deprivation and its effect on learning.   

We are looking for a Gardening Club Co-ordinator to support Theresa Rutherford on Fridays, as our present Co-ordinator, Dr. Heather M, is unable to continue due to work commitments.  Thank you  Heather for your brief, but enthusiastic, tenure.  Are there any green thumbs out there?

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

19
August
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

This week everyone at John Colet seemed to have smiles on their faces, and rightly so!
It has been Science Week throughout the Nation, and very much so here at John Colet.  We must thank Mrs. Marissa N (mother of Jason Year 6), Mrs. Renshaw and of course the Headmaster for orchestrating a most enriching week of Science, and for 60 (yes 60!) science sessions throughout the school this week, involving every child.  This covered topics ranging from the mysteries of the Universe to the mysteries of Kitchen Science with Mrs. Moor, and even an illustrated talk by Jolan L (Year 5)  on stick insects.

Our celebration of science has attracted parents, such as Mrs. N, Mr. M, Dr. J, Ms Mary-Anne Renshaw, Mrs. P, Dr. B,  and two past students, Ms Eleanor McKendrick and Ms Kirstin Proft, the latter flying in from Tasmania (thank you P&F) where she is currently working on a Ph.D.  To add to all this excitement, two outside providers were engaged – one to bring in an inflatable Planetarium, and the other conducting Robotics sessions, not to forget the Headmaster’s daily challenges after lunch which covered competitions in paper aeroplane, tower and bridge construction, a parachute competition  (Mrs. Renshaw), and on Friday, an Oobleck Pool. (Yes, ask your children about that one!)

Just in case there isn’t enough excitement, next week is Book Week at John Colet and Wednesday 24th August will be a “Dress Up as Your Favourite Book Character” Day.  The emphasis in class will be on literature and on Monday 22nd author Bronwyn Vaughan will speak to the Primary children, and on Friday Penny Walton (from our Art Dept.), who is a book illustrator, will speak to the Infants children.

Grandparents’ Morning will be in Week 7 on Thursday, 1st September from 9.00-10.30.  This will include a friendly cup of tea, a short concert and a visit to the classrooms.  There is no specific RSVP, but please let the children know if their grandparents are coming – we need a rough idea of the numbers.

The NAPLAN results were posted out this week and the Literacy and Numeracy assessment for John Colet was once again outstanding.  Congratulations to the children and ALL their teachers.  The values and practices at the school, supported by all Staff, undoubtedly help the children to achieve these results.   Of course the ethos of John Colet and the steady inculcation of our Values remain the aim of the school, and  it is always reassuring to see these bear fruit.  This is an appropriate point to mention that we no longer use the services of Robert Allwell for professional assessment, and also that Mrs. Jasmine Crowe from our Special Education Department is presently conducting a survey of the school’s assessment practices from L1st-6th Class.

We are all very happy to see Mrs. Tefay return after a long absence on sick leave, but heartily thank Mrs. Mary Garrett and Mr. Glen Miller who stood in without a hiccough, Mrs. Garrett, a former John Colet teacher, driving each week from Canberra.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

12
August
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

The outstanding event at School this week was the Sanskrit Recitation Competition, organised and orchestrated by Mrs. Rosey Dunstan and Mrs. Joan Childs from our Sanskrit Dept.   The whole school participated – Primary first followed by the Infants.  The event was attended by several parents, two expert Sanskritists  as Judges– Mrs. Chin Wong from the School of Philosophy’s  Sanskrit Department, Mrs. Indu Balachandran, a parent of John Colet School, as well as the Vice-Consul  from the Indian Consulate, Mr. Rajeev Kumar, and Dr. Raghu Raman, a Sanskrit expert.  Our own Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr. Philip Wolfers and his wife Laura Wolfers also graced the event with their presence along with several other visitors.   The audience was visibly moved by the beautiful performances of the Class Groups and of the individual finalists.  Much courage was shown by all the children, and the Sanskrit prayers were resoundingly beautiful.  The visitors were visibly moved.

Another outstanding feature of the morning was the behaviour of the children – they were a model audience, managing to restrain conversation for the whole hour, even when the judges were conferring and nothing was happening on the stage.   Grateful thanks must go to the teachers who prepare and train the children for this competition, especially Mrs. Dunstan and Mrs. Childs, whose continuing enthusiasm and encouragement bring about this event.  Well done all, not forgetting the children and their efforts.

On the same day the intrepid 5th Class recorder players, who charm every Monday Assembly with their playing, went off to the Ryde Eisteddfod and came back with a “Highly Commended” Award.  A big thank you to Mrs. Tomicki and Mrs. Miles for this enriching activity from which the whole School benefits.

By-the-by, the School is lucky enough  to be hosting four Practicum students from the Australian Catholic University in the Art Department, to work one day a week for nine weeks with Mrs. Gadsby and Mrs. Allcorn:  and what a privilege is theirs, as we know what kind of an Art programme the teachers in the Art Room offer.  You may well meet the students about the School.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

05
August
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

What a wet week – but the children (and the teachers!)  have coped very well with restricted play areas, changes to sport and all the other implications of many showers of rain during the week.

Unfortunately this also meant that the “Whole School” photos were not able to be taken, since the Garigal Quadrangle was waterlogged, but all the class, family and individual photos were done with efficiency by the team, helped by Mrs. Ladomatos and Mrs Griffiths.    Once a date has been set for the whole school photo shoot, we will let everyone know.

Phtogoraphy for the Prospectus, also postponed, will now take place next week on 10th August.

There will be a number of new faces about the school – we have four Practicum students starting next week for a 9-week stint in the Art Room.  This has arisen because we offer such a unique and fulsome Infants and Primary Art Programme and Art Enrichment.     Ms Aneeka Bartlett – a former Gap Student from England currently visiting Down Under is also going to be spending some time with us this term, especially in the Sanskrit Department.  We are also expecting two general class Practicum students later this term.  The School will be buzzing -we are very fortunate to have so many young people wanting to come and enjoy the “John Colet Experience”.

The Sanskrit Recitation Competition Heats will be held on Tuesday 9th August, run by the House Captains under the supervision of teachers.  The Finals are on Thursday – and this is always an event worth watching.  We have a parent judge and a School of Philosophy judge, and a guest from the Indian High Commission. Parents are most welcome to attend.

Courage is very much to the fore – and in particular the courage to see things through – to persevere, to complete work and projects, to finish the job.  As always, this is something that we can all practise.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

28
July
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

The children are asked to practise the courage to be truthful – this is of course a wonderful training for life, as so often fear of consequences leads us to dissemble where openness and honesty would serve better.  Our value this term – Courage, is the practice  that goes with  “Display self-control, inner strength and right action”, and the first subscript is “Are my words and actions truthful?”

The Teacher’s Day celebration was, as usual beautiful and very moving:  children from the youngest to the oldest read out their considerations about “Who is a Wise Person in my life?”.  Many chose parents or famous people of the past and present.  The words, sentiments and expression were as beautiful as the many flowers that were laid by the children and their teachers in front of a photograph of Their Holinesses Sri Shantananda Saraswati and Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati, from whence has come so much guidance in the principles of education.

Flowers were distributed around the school and many were taken to the Wesley Gardens Nursing Home, nearby.

John Colet had yet another successful debating season and came first in this year’s competition against local schools.

Ms Bower has arrived from England and is settling in this week with Miss Jansen, who will leave on Friday.  Mrs. Tefay is recovering and will return to school at the beginning of Week 4.   Many thanks to Mrs. Garrett who has been able to stand in.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress

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Click here to read some of the student speeches

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

22
July
2016

Stage Coordinators' Comment

A full term coming up with many interesting and exciting events including Book Week, Science Week, the Sanskrit Recitation Competition, Grandparents Day and two “away” excursions for the Primary classes.  There will be plenty of opportunities to practise Courage, which is our School Value for the term.
 
The Primary classes have started their Shakespeare rehearsals and Sanskrit recitations are well under way.  Upper First classes began their before-school Latin sessions on Friday;  we are all looking forward to the Teachers’ Day celebration on Monday.
 
Week 2 marks the departure of Ms Abby Jansen, who has been with one of the Lower First classes this term.  She will be returning to England to work with schools in North London where she worked previously.  She has plans to travel in Europe and later to teach in India.  We thank Ms Jansen for her care of the class and wish her all the best.

On Wednesday of Week 2, Miss Grace Bower will be joining our staff to replace Ms Jansen.  Miss Bower previously worked at John Colet School for a full year in the capacity of a Gap student.  Her own schooling was at one of our associated schools in England:
She says: “I have particularly fond memories of studying and performing Shakespeare from an early age and strongly believe that this has helped mould the outgoing person I am today.”
On returning to England from Australia she completed a teaching degree which included specialising in Philosophy for Children. She has been  teaching in a Church of England school for the past three years, and was particularly pleased to establish a Mindfulness Programme within the school during her time there .

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

24
June
2016

Stage Coordinator Comment

This is the end of a very busy and successful term.  The main message is one of thanks to the teachers, children and parents, all of whom have helped to bring about events such as Open Day, the Inter-Schools Chess Competition, Parent-Teacher meetings and of course the most amazing and marvellous Shakespeare Festival for the Infants.  One never knows whether to be happy or sad that it is over!  Either way, it was a great success, and the culmination of much work.

Enjoy the holidays:  many are travelling, including Miss Cipollone and Mr. Miller, both going to the International Teachers’ Conference run by the Renaissance Schools (of which we are part) in Lucca Italy.  Miss Cipollone has been very generously sponsored by the P&F and Mr. Miller will be attending as a tutor.

Judith Donald
Infants Mistress
Mary McKendrick
Primary Mistress

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

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