The term is well and truly under way, and the children are settled and working steadily. Tonight, Friday 19th, is the evening many class teachers have set aside to meet with parents, and these meetings will be followed at 7.30 by the Reception of the Board of Governors for parents, and especially parents new to the school community. Hope to see you there. Hope also to see many parents at the Primary Swimming Carnival on Wednesday 24th! The visit of the “Life Education” van was a great success, with each class visiting for a lesson of their teacher’s choice. We hope to make this an annual event. Two important points:
Please do not drop children off at school before 8.00 a.m. (except it be for a specific Club such as Chess). There is no supervision of children before 8.00 a.m. at school, even if they have a sibling attending an early activity. This is a safety concern.
Uniform: no hat or cap need be worn to and from school when the children are wearing sports uniform, but they are very much required to be worn when the children are in standard uniform.
Many of the Clubs “contracts” have not been returned. If you have any outstanding, please give them to the class teacher as soon as possible. Sophia Wormald, our current Student, is returning to the U.K., and her last day with us will be Tuesday 23rd February. Thank you Sophia for your wonderful contribution!
Walking round the school and looking and listening, it’s quite obvious that the children have settled back into school beautifully and are working hard. Clubs and sporting activities are all under way, and one exciting feature this week is the presence of Healthy Harold in the “Life Education Van”, parked below Chisholm House. Children disappear into it with their teachers throughout the day and come out wiser after discussions on healthy eating, exercise, syringe and medicine safety, the wisdom of following rules and so on.
We have recently installed a very classy sound system in the Maclaren Hall, through the kind efforts of Glen Miller. This system can be used with DVD, CD, USB, Ipad and Iphone, providing sound and projection, and was bought with money from the P&F. This will be of great use for various functions and especially for the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival. Many thanks to the Parents and Friends.
BOARD OF GOVERNORS’ RECEPTION Friday 19th Every year the Members of the Board of Governors hold a Reception at the beginning of the year to welcome the new parents to the School, and also to provide the opportunity for established parents to greet them. It is also an occasion where members of the school community can meet Members of the Board, and also others of the teaching and administrative staff with whom they do not regularly interact. The opportunity is taken for brief addresses from the Chairman of the Board, the Headmaster and Treasurer to introduce themselves, and say a few words about any relevant current situation. A representative of the Parents and Friends also makes a brief presentation. Food and drinks are served by School office bearers, and also sometimes by members of the School Alumni. The reception often follows class meetings with teachers, to make it doubly worth coming! The Reception begins at 7.30 and finishes by about 9.00 p.m.
Our work on Respect will move on to respect for property and place: caring for equipment (personal and school) and our environment.
Great news: we welcome Ms Madalaine Renshaw as the second teacher for our entry level class, Lower First, but only for a month. Ms. Renshaw will be working with Ms Marley over the next four weeks, settling them in and establishing the two classes. Ms Renshaw is herself an ex John Colet Student, and indeed did her Teacher Internship with us and has been a casual supply teacher at JCS in the past few years. She is currently here on a one-month visit from Bordeaux, France, where she is going to live and teach.
We are hoping soon to be in a position to announce details about the teacher who will be taking up this position with Lower First.
Thank you to parents who have returned the Clubs Behaviour Contract. Details of the Clubs are on our website.
Pick Up Zone: Last week we published information from Warringah Council on the roads management aspects of this. Could we also mention the following:
the official time for pick up is 3.10-3.30 p.m.
drivers should not get out of their cars: teachers will load the children
please do not park in this area: it holds up the flow and is subject to a heavy fine if caught
No conversations with teachers please – it also holds up the flow: call another time
Please pass this on to anyone else (e.g. grandparents, au pairs) collecting the children
Another related safety issue: we respectfully ask that you and anyone else delegated to collect the children, use the designated safety crossing, particularly as an example to the children of the correct procedure, and of course for the safety of all.
Practice for the Primary Swimming Carnival has begun – don’t forget to come and cheer on Wednesday 24th February.
How lovely to see the children returning so happily to school on Wednesday – most of them a great deal taller than when they left at the end of Term 4 last year. Also a warm welcome to the many new children at John Colet.
The new Head of School, Mr. Julian Wilcock, made himself known to the students at Assembly on the first morning. The new Head Boy and Head Girl were in place and read the weekly Psalm beautifully, and the recorder children (Year 5 now!) played in their usual melodious fashion during and after the Assembly. It all bodes well for a great year.
Mr. Wilcock has been much in evidence around the School, getting to know the parents and children, and even braved the new Lower First children during their first Recess accompanied by a photographer from the Manly Daily.
Please note that teachers are not in a position to answer emails during the day. Please allow them overnight to deal with matters. If it is something urgent such as a late change in transport home, please speak to the Receptionist and ask her to convey the message to the teacher.
At John Colet we have quite a few before and after school Clubs. (Language-French and Mandarin, Chess, Yoga, Gardening, Chanting, Sailing, Science, Art, Sewing, String Ensemble, Dance). We will be instituting a Club Contract for the children to show you to sign and return. This is a contract with behaviour guidelines. They will be self-explanatory, and will be issued once membership of the Clubs is confirmed. More anon.
Children and Staff are working on Respect, and for the children it is respect towards their teachers. They know the ropes – Mrs. McKendrick asked at Assembly for suggestions as to how that respect could be shown. They came up with
Welcome back to a new year – we have no doubt it is going to be a productive and interesting one.
Over and above all the preparations the teachers have been making over the holiday period, the Staff have been in last week for some training, planning and personal development sessions. There have been some very inspiring conversations by the teachers of ways in which they have found it useful to inculcate the values to the children, to bring them closer to an understanding of who they are and how they can realise their abilities and talents. Child Protection and health and safety have also been addressed, particularly anaphylaxis and asthma, and further training in the use of the iPads.
In recent weeks there has been a continuing interest in John Colet, which has resulted in enquiries, tours of the school, and a number of new enrolments. In recognition of this and in the interests of the children, we have decided to split three classes that were already becoming large, rather than waiting for further enrolments and making changes later in the year. These classes are Lower First, Upper First and Third Class. This is far better for the children, teachers and other aspects of school management.
By-the-way, we have heard from Miss Marie White (former JCS teacher) regarding the overwhelmingly generous donations made by parents to her “Africa Collection”, and a large assortment of school equipment and educational toys is on its way to Africa. Many, many thanks to the generous donors. This term we will be looking at Respect, and of course this impinges on all aspects of our behaviour. Updates on that in the weeks to come!
What an overwhelming and generous response from parents, children and teachers to the Nativity Play charity collection for the Smith Family and the children in East Africa. It took five ladies making several journeys each to carry all the items up to Top House, where they are awaiting collection by Miss White, or delivery to the Smith Family Christmas Collection depot. A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL. Late contributions will be gladly accepted by Mrs. Donald!
Several end-of-year parties were held during the week, not the least was the beautiful luncheon and speeches at the 6th Class Farewell Lunch on Wednesday given by the children of 5th Class and their teachers. Picnic Day was a hot one, but fun was had by all, and the heat alleviated by frequent dips in the water, and the cooling breeze. The behaviour of the children was exemplary. The Ice Cream Van Man had a smile from ear to ear, as there was a steady stream of children eating his ices! We had four Lifesavers and a St. John’s Ambulance person, but no real call was made on them, except for vigilance. A very happy event, well organised by Mrs. Mary Layton.
Friday was “moving day”, not a favourite day with the teachers, when they migrate to their new rooms for 2016.
Reports are well on the way and will be sent out early next week. And then it’s Speech Night and it’s all over for the children for another year! Many thanks to all, and a special cheer for our wonderful teachers. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday.
All children and their families are invited to donate a Christmas gift for those less fortunate than we: these will either go to the Smith Family or to an underprivileged school in Kenya
·The gift can be something second hand in good order;
·It can be something new;
·It should not be wrapped so that the Smith Family helpers can check what age is appropriate. They then wrap them.
·There will be a big treasure chest put outside the Assembly Hall for the presents to be dropped off.
·Late gifts can still be given to Mrs. Donald before end of term.
·This year we are also collecting for very poor children at the school in Africa where Miss White worked last year. They have almost nothing. Puzzles and writing and drawing equipment, games (not run by batteries please – they don’t have such things!); readers and picture books; old coloured pencils with a bit of life left: bring them in – there will be a separate basket for them. Miss White will be arranging for them to be sent to Africa.
The children at John Colet School are constantly reminded about and instructed in the real application of the school values, and this has been very much in evidence in the School this week in a very practical way. 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 Inner Strength, Self Control and Right Action.
This is also what we hope to put across with Remembrance Day – which is not to glorify war, but to honour the courage of those who have gone before to ensure our freedom. It is to promote peace and conflict resolution.
A teacher reported to me that whilst on playground duty in recent weeks, she has seen several incidents where arguments have arisen, have begun to escalate, and where the children themselves have applied principles of conflict resolution, and have been able to resolve the problem in an amicable way, avoiding real conflict.
In fact this week in a Philosophy Class, children from 2nd Class described exactly such a thing. They told how they were helped by some 6th Class children to dissolve a conflict that was escalating and continue their play happily. They showed great satisfaction in having managed this. This is the practical application of the School Value: Courage, - Self control, Inner Strength and Right Action.
Two sounds have predominated around John Colet this week – one the steady pitter-patter of the rain and the other the angelic tones of children preparing their singing for the Speech Night Event. Both very beautiful, although I am sure I echo the teachers’ feelings when I say that a break from the pitter-patter would be welcome! We have all borne it well.
A sound that has been missing is the reverberation of Shakespeare rehearsals – that has all been put to bed after a most wonderful display of acting, courage and co-operation. There are so many related skills to the production of Shakespeare that it is difficult to measure them. Our new Wardrobe Mistress, Ms Roya Azanchi, is now looking forward to the costume “returns”.
It’s in-school Chess time and a record number of children are participating. Our thanks to Mrs. Pietschner, who is tireless in her nurturing of our chess talent.
It was a slightly damp “Mufti Day”, but nonetheless obviously enjoyed by the teachers and children alike. $643.65 has been collected so far for Lifeline from that and also from the Macquarie Market Day. A thank you to those parents and children who contributed, and thank you to 6th class for organising the Market Day.
Just repeating the request from last week for the donation of educational items and other gifts (the usual) to be collected at the Nativity Play. The former items are to go to very underprivileged children in Kenya, and the latter as usual to The Smith Family. Many thanks.
Oh and don't forget it's our school Athletics Carnival this Tuesday, for Infants and Primary students. Please have your children at school by 8am if they are going to the sports venue by bus. The bus departs at 8.05am.
The Annual Shakespeare Festival for the Primary at the Glen Street Theatre has been on – what an outstanding success, how the children rose to the occasion, how beautifully they were presented and trained with the support of Drama Teacher, Class Teachers and parents and helpers! One never quite knows whether to be relieved or sad when it’s over. Thanks are due all round.
At Infants’ Assembly, in the telling of the Legend of Theseus and his preparation to be, and then testing as, a hero, the children have been alerted to the fact that these ancient legends are really lessons for life, and we have discussed how to be a “HERO” in practical terms, and what in fact are the “ monsters” that we as heroes have to overcome. Vivekananda says
“The earth is enjoyed by heroes. Be a hero – always say ‘I have no fear.’
Our third value is Courage – Self Control, Inner Strength and Right Action”: practice of this is really what it is to be a hero!
Last year at the time of the Nativity Play (on this year in the morning of Tuesday 24th November) we collected gifts for the Smith Family – for children whose parents are experiencing hard times. This year we have in mind to collect for a Kenyan school visited last year by Marie White. Anything in the line of educational materials will be welcome – pencils, readers, colouring books, counters, puzzles, educational toys – second hand items will be most welcome. Perhaps you could begin collecting as you throw out things to make way for the Christmas gift harvest at home! Any educational items will be most welcome.
The School was treated to the dress rehearsals of the Primary Shakespeare Festival during the past week, using the small stage in the Hall. There are some real gems in store, plenty of laughs and perhaps even a few tears. The Primary children will be rehearsing at Glen Street Theatre this coming week with the performances on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 28th – 30th October. Hope to see you there.
A successful Working Bee on Sunday – many thanks to the parents and children who helped to clear debris and wood litter before the bushfire season. With the season for bushfires approaching, we will have another Bushfire Drill before the end of term. A large bed outside Top House was cleared at the Working Bee for use by the Gardening Club to grow bush tucker: that was quite a job clearing out the old growth, and we look forward to future harvests of native edibles. It was wonderful to hear that the Kidpreneur initiatives of 6th Class were so enthusiastically supported by the school, and the senior class raised $1,700 through the sales of the small items they made and brought to school for sale. A magnificent effort by the children, parents and teachers.
The Nativity Play on Tuesday 24th November is the occasion where we collect Christmas gifts for the less privileged in our community. Regular-type gifts will go to the Smith Family, but this year we have in mind to collect also for a Kenyan school visited last year by teacher Marie White. Anything in the line of educational materials will be welcome – pencils, readers, colouring books, counters, puzzles, educational toys – second hand items will be most welcome. Perhaps you could begin collecting as you throw out things to make way for the Christmas gift harvest at home! Any educational items will be most welcome.
The final Term of the year began with a very successful Teachers’ Day. We considered the School Vision Mission and Values and discussed the Value for practice this term – which is “Service and Care for All” Practice: Service
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?
These first few weeks we are focusing on the giving of attention, and the encouragement of the children to be attentive and mindful. We agreed that this value was of immense benefit in life, and that a person who can focus on the task in hand is more efficient and effective in whatever they do. Mrs. Tomicki and 4th Class have a Practicum student from Southern Cross University, who will be at John Colet for six weeks- Michael Godfrey. He is a second year Education student, and will be spending a little time with classes other than Fourth.
Week 2 will see the annual visit of members of the John Bell Shakespeare Company, who will come to see snippets of each class’s plays on Tuesday morning. A little bird told me that Gilbert Mane may also be coming: it’s hard to keep him away from Shakespeare, and he has been helping with one of the 6th class plays. The final performances will be in late October.
The School Campus has been remarkably quiet this past week, as it always is when the Primary classes go off on their three-day excursions. By all accounts, a marvellous time was had by all, and the weather was certainly co-operative. No reports of the finding of large and valuable nuggets on the goldfields!
These excursions are a great training ground for the children both educationally and socially, and the teachers are to be thanked for their work.
Thank you for the very positive responses to the new swimming arrangements for the Infants.
This is a reminder to ensure that the children have the correct footwear for swimming on the first Friday back next Term:
·Casual “slip-on” footwear (such as thongs, Crocs, “jelly” sandals – these not to be worn to school). The teachers will issue more detailed reminders in the first week back.
While on the subject of uniform: for Term 4, the first two weeks, the children may come to school in either summer or winter uniform, as dictated by their individual needs and the weather. After that, summer uniform, of course.
Another important item is the morning tea provision sent for the Infants Classes: under the aegis of our healthy eating policy, we would like Infants to bring fresh fruit for morning tea, and some other healthy items, if necessary, such as yoghourt, muesli bars, a small sandwich or cake. Processed and highly salted or sugared foods such as artificially flavoured chips, we would prefer you to avoid.
Mrs. Moor provides a variety of fresh fruits or vegetables for lunch, and as well as the hot food, the children are offered yoghourt and milk, unprocessed cheese and dried fruits. We went to some effort last year to introduce the Health Department’s “Crunch and Sip” programme to encourage children to bring fresh crunchy foods.
In Term 4 the Infants Classes will be going to the Killarney Heights Swim Centre for swimming lessons in preparation for the coming summer.
As we no longer have any male teachers on staff since Mr. Wakeford went to Thailand, we have an issue with the Boys’ Change Room: it is used by the general public, so no female teachers may go in to help the Infants boys change. As a result, we have made a slight adjustment to the swimming arrangements for children in the Infants School.
The Infants children will swim on Friday afternoons in Term 4, commencing Week 1 (9th October).
On Fridays they should come to school in their sports clothes and sport shoes bringing with them a swimming bag containing: (PLEASE, NAME ALL ITEMS CLEARLY). They will change at school:
·Casual “slip-on” footwear (such as thongs, Crocs, “jelly” sandals – these are not to be worn to school)
·Goggles for all and swimming caps for the girls
·Swimming costumes (boys could wear those and bring underwear for after swimming)
·Please ensure that every item is clearly named
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. We hope this will be an easy and efficient way of dealing with this.
Other matters: The School will be very quiet from Wednesday on this week, as the Primary will be away on their annual 3-day excursions to Milson Island and Bathurst. Two gap students will be going to Milson Island to help “the team” – Julia Fuller, who has already been here for many months, and she will be joined by Sophia Wormold, a new gap student from England. Sophia flies in on Tuesday night and has volunteered to go off to Milson Island the next morning. We hope that all involved have a safe and enjoyable time.
Praise and comments have been rolling in this week about the Infants’ Shakespeare Festival and the amazingly high standard of performance, direction and production. Congratulations again to the children for the lines learnt, the qualities displayed and the love and enthusiasm they showed for the performance. Another outstanding feature this year was the universal support of the parents, and this showed itself particularly with the costumes and makeup, which were detailed, colourful and professional. Thanks to all. By-the-way, I couldn’t help noticing the lips of some parents in the audience moving whilst their children were saying lines on stage. Most endearing!
Primary have moved seriously into their rehearsals and we look forward to seeing their performances later in Term 4.
4th Class achieved second place in the Ryde Eisteddfod with their Recorder Consort. They came home with a cup and much praise ringing in their ears. Well done children, and also great work was done by Mrs. Miles and Mrs. Tomicki. We enjoy the fruits of their work at each Monday morning Assembly, when the Consort plays hymns and “marching out” music.
I will be on Long Service Leave for weeks 6 and 7: I am going to a Plato Conference in Delphi, Greece, where we will be studying “The Symposium” along with nearly 100 other students from all over the world.