This week it has been wonderful to watch all the students enthusiastically engaging with our Science Week theme of Game Changers and Change Makers. There were a number of projects around the School this week that involved the children applying their problem solving skills to consider ways in which we can more effectively reduce the use of plastic. It was an excellent way to connect the children with some of the larger global issues facing our generation and theirs. It gave them an opportunity to walk the talk and to see that Science and Technology can be used to address these issues in simple but effective ways. We look forward to seeing some of the great ideas in our Science Week competition…….Book Week next week!
This term we are looking at the value of Courage. The infants’ classes have recently started a new initiative on Fridays where they sit in house groups for lunch, so that they mix with children across different grades. This provides a number of different learning opportunities, but we are currently concentrating on courage. Today the children were challenged to have the courage to try new food and to speak to someone that they do not know. They made significant efforts in this direction and were very happy to see stars on their house charts as a result of their efforts. It was delightful to watch them rise to the challenge.
Today I had the chance to observe one of our debating teams in action against Abbotsleigh. Though the children did not win, the outcome was very close. I was struck by a few things. Firstly the clarity and confidence with which our children spoke. Secondly by the respectful way they interacted with each other and thirdly by their level of presence and attention. Being able to speak in front of an audience is a great skill and our curriculum provides this opportunity from Lower 1st. This week I had the great joy of commencing poetry recitation with the Infants children in preparation for their concert at the end of this term.
Next Monday we will be celebrating Teacher’s Day. The idea behind this day is to pay tribute to the great spiritual teachers whose words have guided and continue to guide the development of the values of our School. We also pay respects to the many teachers in our lives that have provided wisdom and fine example. The children have been writing about such teachers and will be presenting their work at our special Assembly on Monday. This is a special event on the school calendar. Parents are invited to attend.
A warm welcome back to parents and students. This term promises to be very full, particularly for Primary students who will be preparing for the Shakespeare Festival. We will have Book Week and Science Week as well as our camps for Primary classes; 3rd and 4th class will go to Milson Island, and 5th and 6th class will be going to Canberra. Towards the end of the term we will have our Annual Sports Carnival. I hope that the long break has given everyone the opportunity to recharge themselves so that they are ready to meet the challenges of the coming term.
We have arrived at the end of what has been a very dynamic term. We started with Open Day and followed on with the Sanskrit Recitation Competition. We also had our Instrumental Evening with a record number of items and finished with the Infants Shakespeare performances which were outstanding. Interwoven amongst these major events, we had our Debating and Chess Competitions our annual John Colet Day Assembly, National Simultaneous Story Time and the PISA interschool sports competition. This is underpinned by our varied curriculum which ranges from the Maths Challenge to Ceramics. It is this wide tapestry across all the learning areas combined with the skill, energy and dedication of our teachers that offers our students a full and enriching education. I would like to wish the whole John Colet community a happy, safe and peaceful holiday.
We are nearly at the end of Term 2 which seems to have gone by in record time. It has been a very full term for the children and teachers alike. Next week we look forward to the infants’ performances for which they have been rehearsing with enthusiasm and focus. It is hard to overestimate the value that the children derive from engaging with the words of Shakespeare. Apart from the obvious benefits of developing confidence, learning to speak with clarity and being exposed to the best of our Western literary tradition, performing Shakespeare gives every child the opportunity to connect with their emotional intelligence.
This coming week our teachers will be meeting to discuss their individual goals relating to the teaching standards outlined by NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority). These goals may include for example, the development of critical thinking skills, visual learning and formative assessment. In addition to these individual goals, the school has an overall goal related to differentiation within the classroom. The aim of differentiation is to help meet the many levels of learning and learning styles in any one classroom. Working on these goals helps to maintain a high standard of teaching practice and to continue to develop new skills. It is inspiring to see the work on these teaching goals manifest in each classroom in so many different ways.
On Thursday of this week, we held our yearly Sanskrit Recitation Competition. This competition represents an enormous amount of work on the part of both the children and our Sanskrit teachers. I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that each year group without exception delivered an outstanding performance. The children were steady, dignified and respectful and articulated their given recitations beautifully. As pointed out by Mrs Dunn, the recitation of these prayers gives rise to consideration and conversation about their deeper meaning and significance. Because Sanskrit has the most comprehensive grammar system its study provides an excellent foundation for the study of any language.
Next Monday we celebrate John Colet Day. Some of our 6th class leaders will address the Assembly on Monday morning to talk about John Colet and the reason that our School was named after him. John Colet was a renaissance man and also a pioneer in education. Five hundred or more years later we seek to follow the same principles of a sound education that embodies excellence. This was certainly reflected in the standard of work so beautifully displayed in all of our classrooms last Sunday and in the children’s presentations of music and Shakespeare.
would like to devote this weekly note to the praise of our teaching staff. In the last four weeks of this term, as a group, they have written reports, prepared for an annual Shakespeare Festival, prepared work and classrooms for Open Day, administered NAPLAN and continued to teach the children with total commitment and devotion. One of the Bahai writings says the following: Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by men and women, is the training and education of children. The hard work of the teachers and the children will be on view this coming Sunday. I hope you will all be able to join our school community to celebrate the fruits of their devoted efforts.
I would like to start this week by commending the children for rising to the challenge of owning up. There have been a number of examples this week where children have shown the courage to be honest when called upon to do so. Not always an easy thing to do. Our teacher on duty at PISA received some wonderful feedback from the umpire of the senior girls Netball team who was struck by their kindness and good sportsmanship. They have moved into a new round of competition this term and these qualities will stand them in good stead. Finally it was great to watch the year 6 Debating Team in action this afternoon. They spoke with clarity, confidence and intelligence. It was a very good start to a new round of debating which sees us facing different schools than we have in the past.
The term has started on a strong and steady note. This term we will be considering the value of Truthfulness and the many facets that this quality entails. In the famous words of the Bard:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
At the beginning of the week the teachers spent a day studying the value of attention in education. We looked at the words of William James a 19th century American philosopher and Simone Weil a 20th century French philosopher who said,
“The development of the faculty of attention forms the real object and almost the sole interest of studies”.
This lies at the heart of our teaching practice. We all look forward to an industrious and stimulating second term.
I would like to join Mr Wilcock in commending the children on their outstanding behaviour at our Anzac Assembly. It was underpinned by the work of all the teachers who have taken time to discuss the history of ANZAC Day in detail over the last week or so. I would also like to acknowledge the beautiful singing from the John Colet Choir and the very moving trumpet playing of the Last Post from guest player Mr Helmers. The event marked a fitting end to a term of hard work and effort.
I would like to take the opportunity to wish everybody a safe and happy holiday period and look forward to seeing everyone return refreshed and ready for Term 2.
We started this week with the annual Easter Assembly. The children spoke beautifully about the Easter Story and its significance; it was very uplifting to hear the many ways Easter is celebrated in different families. In a school that crosses many cultures it was excellent to engage in such an inclusive conversation. This week has brought many delights. The best part of the job is to have children come and show me with pride the work that they are doing, from 6th class presentations about different cities and regions of France to Lower 1st Science experiments on what plants need to survive. The single thread that runs through all this is their love and enthusiasm for learning. All classes have also had the opportunity to visit the Life Education Van this week and participate in an excellent program on different aspects of caring for their physical well-being. I would like to extend best wishes to all for a safe and happy Easter break.