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 .
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.
The School Holidays are upon us, but before that we have the delight of the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival, which is the culmination of much work on the part of the children, teachers and the wonderful parents who have given their support. I know the experience will be rewarding for us all.
The Chess Club has had a very successful term under the care of Mrs. P and parents, and under the direction of the very able chess coaches. Inter-Schools matches have been played throughout the term, and four have been staged at John Colet. Mrs. P has spent some time preparing a very comprehensive Chess Club Protocol and information document for parents, and anyone wishing to receive a copy should contact the Clubs Co-ordinator, Mrs. Donald.
Jump Rope for Heart finishes at the end of term, with much money already in the pipeline. On Thursday afternoon there was a “Jump Off” at school – a celebration of skipping, highlighting for the children the importance of exercise in the care of their own health. We can say unreservedly that the event was enjoyed all round. The final fundraising tally will be published next term.
The practice of the School Value of Truthfulness has been offered to the children in the form of not gossiping or not passing on unsubstantiated comments about people and events. Speak the truth with courage but also with kindness. There have been several instances this week of children owning up to things without hesitation: this is impressive and should always be praised before tackling any necessary “consequences”.
We trust that everyone has come through the “deluge” with minimal effect. By a strange co-incidence the Lower First Philosophy lesson this week was related to the story of Noah’s Ark, so the children were keenly aware of what it meant – “the Heavens opened”!
The wonderful photographs that won the Primary Photography Competition have been transported to the School of Philosophy’s Mahratta, and displayed there, so that a wider audience can enjoy the amazing work of the children.
The School hosted the debating teams and the level of argument was high, although the John Colet team did not win this time; but they put on a good show under the tutelage of Mrs. Jasmine Crewe.
Another exciting event was First Aid training for each of the Primary Classes on Wednesday: much fun, but serious lessons learned.
Thank you to all the parents and children who provided “goodies” for the Flinders Market Day: the money raised is to go to Westmead Children’s Hospital.
The thermometer is rising in the Infants’ Shakespeare Department, and last minute adjustments are being made. Please alert your friends and relatives – bookings will open online but tickets will also be available at the door. We look forward to the usual delightful performances, which will once again be professionally recorded. The Primary children will be watching the Dress Rehearsals on Tuesday morning of Week 9.
Judith Donald Infants Mistress Mary McKendrick Senior Mistress
Thank you to everyone, including the Weather Man, for making the Open Day such a resounding success. Most outstanding was the work in the classrooms and the care and effort put into it by the children and their teachers. The Sixth Class also shone with their imaginative stalls, which provided so much fun for the younger students and raised a considerable amount of money.
Reports have been posted and Parent-Teacher interviews are general to be held in Week 7.
Looming up, of course, is the Shakespeare Festival in the last week of term, and it’s full steam ahead now.
The much-needed rain has had its downside – restrictive use of the grassed area in the playground to save churning it up: so no ballgames and running ‘til further notice. Apologies children!
In working with the value Truthfulness, we are asking the children to become a little more reflective, and when in doubt about an action to ask “What would a wise person do here?” The children need to discuss with their teachers; who is wise and how do we know, and then ask why is it good to follow their example. This is a worthwhile practice for everyone.
There hasn’t been much else to talk or think about this week except Open Day. The campus is slowly being transformed into a show piece, both in the grounds and in the classrooms. Everyone has been working hard to get things up to scratch: the children polishing up their concert performances and bookwork, the teachers have been preparing displays, with enormous help and support from the Art Department who have been performing their usual magic. Michaela Miles and Robyn Tefay have been refining the singing and Mrs Condos, Mrs James and Ms Coubrough (school orqanising committee) can be seen here and there, setting things up in their inimitable, efficient way. Aldo (with the help of parents at the Working Bee last Sunday) has been sprucing up the grounds, and Donna has been cooking for Open Day for weeks now: she has also prepared an amazing array of bottled goods. Please be sure to bring your savings! We hope that many of the John Colet community are quietly baking cakes at home for the amazing Cake Competition. Best of luck! Come along - bring friends and relatives (but no dogs, please). Beware the parking rangers! The School Reports are well on the way to being printed and will be posted out towards the end of next week, in good time for the Parent -Teacher interviews. Lower First children went on their first John Colet excursion with their teachers, aides and several parents. They had a wonderful time at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, encountering a range of animals: it was a very full day. Wishing you all a happy and enjoyable Open Day!
Congratulations to the John Colet 6th Class debaters – they won their first debate of the season against the Alexander School. Congratulations also go to all the children that have been coming to school in full uniform, shipshape and Bristol fashion! It is a constant effort, but a very worthwhile one, reflecting well on the individual, the family and the School.
Congratulations a third time to those children making an effort to try some of the new and delicious foods that Mrs. Moor is introducing to the table. The Live Life Well @ School initiative by the Health Department is fully embraced at John Colet, and lunches are fresh and nutritious. A word about morning tea provision: we would be pleased if parents did not send sweets and chocolates to school: these are contrary to our Healthy Eating Policy – there are plenty of opportunities out of school to eat these “treats”. Crunch and Sip – make it fresh and healthy.
Sanskrit On a recent visit to the Sanskrit Room, the following was spotted on the Notice Board:
“The word “Sanskrit” means “perfectly constructed”. It brings order to the mind and clarifies thinking. It brightens the mind and opens the heart.
The study of Sanskrit is nourishing for mind and spirit as it works from the deepest level of being. It is a spiritual language which has a transforming effect on the whole being.”
Just in case you were wondering …….!
There will be Sanskrit recitation at Open Day and you are encouraged to attend the Sanskrit Recitation Competition on 11th August.
In spite of the beautiful “Indian summer” we are currently experiencing, winter uniform must be worn from Week 3 onwards. This includes blazers to and from school, and of course the new optional waterproof jackets, which need to be ordered through Mrs. Ladomatos, can be worn over the blazer as necessary.
Naplan testing will be on for 3rd and 5th class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Week 3, and we ask that everyone respect this whilst moving about the school.
OPEN DAY: This special school event will be held on Sunday 29th May, and it is an occasion when all children at John Colet are required to be present, being one of the major events of the year, aimed at showcasing the children’s work and performances, and also offering a day of family enjoyment and fun.
The children should arrive, in full school uniform (winter) with blazers, at 9.00. Should they arrive before that time, they should remain in the close care of their parents. The Head of School Welcome and the stage performances begin at 10.00 promptly; classrooms are open and teachers present from 11.00-12.00; children change into their sports clothes and then are free to enjoy the stalls, entertainment and lunch. Open Day finishes at 2.00 p.m.
Garden Whispers: Mrs. Moor was sighted today harvesting herbs from the Garden Club beds for today’s lunch, and last week some of us were lucky enough to take home a bunch of the bitter greens from the Bush Tucker Garden. Thank you Garden Club!
Welcome back to Term 2, which promises to be an eventful term as we pick up the threads of last term’s excellent start to the year. We hope it was a refreshing break: the weather certainly helped. Preparations are well under way for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival under the creative care of Zoe Emanuel our Drama Teacher, and the Infants’ class teachers. The Infants’ Shakespeare Festival will be earlier this year than in previous years - the last week of Term 2 instead of beginning of Term 3.
3rd and 5th class will be joining in the Naplan testing and of course there will be internal testing for the mid-year reports.
The big event this term is the Open Day on Sunday 29th May, the emphasis being on showcasing the children and their work with a concert and the open classrooms. It is also a time when potential families come to have a look at John Colet School in action and also many past children visit their Alma Mater and enjoy the activities on offer.
This term we will focus on truthfulness, which is the second of our values. The questions to be asked about an action are:
Is it true?
Is it kind, pleasant and beneficial?
Is it uplifting?
What would a wise person say or do?
These are the questions we will bring to the notice of the children and apply in different ways during the term, the first being owning up. This of course requires courage. Chess this term includes a series of interschool matches, four of which will be held at John Colet.
UNIFORM: Summer or winter uniform ? – it is optional to wear either for the first two weeks of this term. Week 3: winter uniform. An email has been sent out about an optional waterproof jacket on offer for use in winter.
A wonderful start to the year, with congratulations especially to the new children throughout the school, particularly the Lower First students who have all settled in so well! By next term you will all be “old hands”.
This week was marked by the achievement of the John Colet Chess Club in winning through to the semi-finals of the Northern Beaches Chess Competition, with great work by all team members and a few special successes by Daniel S, Mimi P and Ramakrishna B.
I trust that all parents who brought children to school on Friday were able to pause and enjoy the beautiful ANZAC display prepared by Mrs. McDermott, and the moving array of small, decorated wooden crosses which will be sent to put on the war graves in Europe. These will join the thousands being prepared anonymously by children throughout Australia.
We are currently trying to set up an Introductory Philosophy class for parents of new children at John Colet. This course is put on by the School of Philosophy (free to parents), and will be offered here in Belrose so parents can become acquainted with the approach taken by John Colet to the moral and spiritual education of their children. The course, “Mindful Wisdom”, lasts for just over two hours each week, and is taken by a Tutor from the School of Philosophy. It is likely to be on a Wednesday from 8.45 a.m. to 11.00 (approx.) and further information will be forthcoming early next term. Evening courses are also available, but are not held at John Colet. A visit to the School of Philosophy website will provide more detail.
It is with sadness but very good wishes that we say farewell to Miss Madalaine Renshaw, who stepped in to take one of the Lower First classes when it became obvious that the class needed to split in order to accept more students. Miss Renshaw, herself an ex-John Colet student, stepped into the breach, but now, armed with her Visa, is setting off to France to take up a job teaching there. We thank her and wish her well. Miss Abby Jansen has been understudying her this week and will take over as Class Teacher from next Term. A warm welcome to her.
Walking past Upper First on Thursday, it was very obvious that the children were totally engaged in their Science lesson on Photosynthesis, and they could actually explain what it was about!! This is the feel of the school at the moment with the children working quietly and enthusiastically as we approach the end of a long term. Also on Thursday Fourth class celebrated “Greek Day” as part of their study of Ancient Greece (some photos are below). There was great enthusiasm and excitement all round. The Greek Olympics proved to be such fun with some children winning medals and all of them having a very good time. This was followed by making Greek mosaics, Trojan Horse construction, and culinary feasts such as Greek cookies and dolmades. There was also a tasting table where the children could taste Greek food, but it was received with dubious enthusiasm. A wonderful day was had by all and our thanks goes to all the parents for providing such wonderful costumes and a special thanks to those parents who helped in the class room on the day. The term’s practice of Respect has borne much good fruit, and one is constantly noticing mannerly and respectful behaviour from the children. A visitor to the school commented on this last week when a child entered the room where we were speaking in a very polite and considerate way.
This morning we had our traditional Easter Assembly which is always quite a moving event. The 6th Class House Captains and Head Boy and Girl read the Easter readings from the gospel of St Luke. It’s a wonderful thing to see the confidence of the 6th Class as they read to nearly two hundred of their fellow students. All the children develop in confidence as they progress through the school, and it comes from giving them the opportunity, teaching them well and having trust and faith in them. The children also sing the Easter hymns as part of the Assembly, and being true to their Singing teachers, they sang like angels.
We had a short discussion about the meaning of Easter, the coming of new life, and how it is celebrated in various traditions. During the discussion the children contributed in various ways but the thing that stood out as one or other of the children were speaking was their uprightness, and their willingness to contribute and to listen to each other. This term we are working on respect and the Assembly was such a fine example of Respect in action. As we would expect, disrespect emerges from time to time, but on the whole the children are full of respect.
The children were also asked to consider gratitude over the Easter break, and the many things for which they could be grateful.
Great news on the Chess Club front – a team of more than twenty children went to Mona Vale School for the Northern Beaches Primary Chess Competition: the children have to be congratulated on their wonderful performance: the girls’ team won their competition and the boys came 5th. Mi Mi P won seven games out of seven – a magnificent achievement, and I’m sure that the children both won and lost with good grace. Thanks to Mrs. P for her continuing work with the Chess Club.
Second Class had a wonderful excursion to Narrabeen to study coastal environments – and this was achieved in spite of the rainy weather, and with the help of three parents.
The children were so excited about the Friday Walkathon, unfortunately due to the inclement weather it has meant that this fundraising event has to be postponed. The rescheduled date will be confirmed early next week.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of a new member of staff, Ms. Abby Jansen, who will take over from Ms. Madalaine Renshaw in one of the Lower First classes, alongside Ms Sarah Marley, at the beginning of Term 2. Ms. Jansen lives locally, yet has taught internationally in London previously as well as here in Sydney. She has a keen interest in cultural understanding and world languages, particularly Japanese. Ms. Jansen is also a committed netball devotee. Miss Jansen’s love and enthusiasm for teaching was very evident in her interview, sample lessons and subsequent interaction with the children. We welcome Miss Jansen to the staff.
We continue to practise Respect this week, and in particular to ask ourselves whether our actions unify or divide. Staff and students are both practising this. The children have been asked to look at their relationships with other children in the playground and consider whether their actions divide or unite, and if they divide to restore unity and harmony. For the most part the children play harmoniously and nearly always want to restore the balance if it is lost.
Once again, excellent results in the NAPLAN tests, especially in the Reading. And all are to be congratulated.
Also of interest is a report from Mr. Tim Roslin, our Sports Teacher, who has written this week of the outstanding performances of our teams in the Interschools Sports competition. He points out that most of the schools against which we compete have far greater numbers of children from whom to select their teams – sometimes three times as many. In spite of this, John Colet teams have consistently won their games this year, and more importantly, have enjoyed the competition, and shown great sportsmanship too.
Upper First went on a very successful excursion to Taronga Zoo, and 2nd Class are due to visit the Narrabeen Ocean Environment Study Centre on Wednesday. This is the same day that three John Colet Teams are going into the Northern Beaches Chess Competition at Mona Vale. We wish them luck!
Fifteen children from John Colet 5th and 6th Classes are being introduced to meditation this weekend in a beautiful ceremony at the School of Philosophy’s Sydney heritage-listed headquarters, Mahratta, Warrawee.
Our drama teacher, Zoe Emanuel will begin on the preparations for the Infants Shakespeare Festival 2016, and if you hear loud voices around the school, do not be alarmed – it could be some villainous Shakespearean character venting!
The children are encouraged to register for the Premier’s Reading Challenge. Last year was a great success and we look forward to fuller participation this year.