The Georgian Monday 14 October

Monday, 14 October 2019

Behind the Study Door

Let me start by asking you a question. What are some of your happiest memories growing up? This was asked of me last year on the final day of emotional wellbeing training. Of about 40 in the room, the overwhelming majority of us agreed that our happiest memories usually involved the outdoors. By contrast, in his book ‘Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children Nature-Deficit Disorder’, Richard Louv explains that the average American child is said to spend four to seven minutes a day in unstructured play, and over seven hours in front of a screen. Much has been written over the past few years about the advantages of outdoor education programmes in schools, and, as a result of this, initiatives such as ‘Forest School’ have emerged across the sector. Scandinavian countries were the pioneers of outdoor learning, where it has been seen as central to the development of children: physical, emotional and intellectual.

A leading researcher in the field of outdoor learning is Dr Simon Beames, of Edinburgh University. Recently he collaborated with Gordonstoun School (North-East Coast of Scotland) to measure the educational impact of ‘out of classroom experiences’. Thought to be pioneering research in the UK because it measured the long term impact it had on the 1,183 participants, his research showed that 94% of the students said that the out-of-classroom learning experiences had an overwhelmingly positive influence on their personal growth. 74% reported that it had a positive influence on their career path.

In stark contrast to this, the ’Times Educational Supplement’ reported recently that 90% of Primary School Teachers felt that the SATS exams (sat by pupils in Years 2 and 6 in maintained schools) were having a detrimental effect on the children’s emotional wellbeing, whilst 87% were concerned that the tests have harmed children’s engagement and motivation.

Having researched the benefits of outdoor learning extensively as part of a Masters qualification in Education, I could see the enormous benefits for pupils. These include:

  • Bringing learning to life: Outdoor environments provide a real life context for curriculum and learning themes.
  • Developing personal and social skills: Outdoor learning has been shown to help people become independent, improve communication skills, and build self-esteem and confidence.
  • Developing resilience and a sense of self: Spending time outside and in contact with nature helps mental wellbeing and resilience and can have a significant impact on values - the guiding principles that help form our life goals, beliefs, viewpoints and actions.

Learning should be about building memorable experiences for children. These memorable experiences help to shape a love of learning, which in turn strengthens confidence and personal growth. Education should be a fashion of heart and brain, and I believe that taking learning outside, where pupils are connected with their natural surroundings, will allow them to explore their learning deeply. Fundamentally, they will also love the experience, and what is wrong with connecting learning with enjoyment?

This is why one of our goals for St George’s this year is to begin the process of embedding 'Outdoor Learning', or more broadly ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ across the school.

In the book ‘Outside’, the introduction opens with: “There is a huge world waiting for you out there. We hope you have lots of adventures”. Through embedding ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ at St George’s (with a mixture of Forest School, Outdoor Learning, trips and visits, and residentials), we hope our approach will help capture those remarkable and unforgettable learning adventures.

Lord Hastings, former Head of Corporate Citizenship for KPMG International, once said that school was about ‘developing intellectually curious adventurers’. What is better than starting that journey, aged 4, in the woods collecting sticks for the fire pit, then listening to the class novel around it, followed by a scavenge hunt as a stimulus for a piece of independent work.

William Goldsmith

Head Master's Commendations

Many congratulations to the following pupils who were awarded a Head Master's Commendation last week:

Billy O’B: for working and focusing very hard in French lessons so far

James J: for making a great start in French this year, as shown by the progress he has made

Zeph K: for working incredibly hard in French this term

Barnaby W and Charlie H: for excellent work in Music Theory

Gabriel R-A, Bikram H and George H: for excellent French homework, describing where they live and their house

Jon Jon M, Harry E, Max C, Buddy P, Harry W and Daniel W: for achieving a good result in Geography Assessment on Weathering and Erosion

Arnav K: for taking responsibility in his LAMDA lesson this week

Nefeli M, Carys C and William P: for excellent effort applied to all aspects of science work this term

Gracie M: for creating an imaginative poster on space, specifically looking at the solar system

Savannah K: for outstanding maths prep on angles.

Daniyal P: for completing a super project on a trip to Burundi and Rwanda.

Spirit of St George's Award

Milton O'B: for showing great maturity and leadership in Drama Club.

MindUP Thought for the Week

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)

World Space Week

World Space Week, celebrated from 4 - 10 October each year, is the largest space event on Earth. This year the theme was “The Moon: Gateway to the Stars.” Encouraged by Mr Foran's enthusiasm for all things space-related, St George's staff designed a week of lessons and activities with a space theme. On Monday the Kitchen staff provided rocket biscuits at break and decorated the Dining Room with a space theme for lunch.

Also on Monday the Year 5 children researched and completed a tarsia of facts about space, matching up the correct facts and answers.

In their French lesson, 6X1 French played bingo using cards with pictures of the planets in the solar system. They had to identify the planets from questions called out in French.

The children in the Pre-Prep had a fantastic week and really loved learning about space. Year 2 children thought of adjectives and verbs to describe things that might be seen in space and then used these to create poems. Their ideas included a bright shiny moon, a sparkling shooting star, a super big planet Jupiter and an enormous alien dancing on his head! For homework the children copied out their poems and illustrated them. Super work!

Poems by Georgina F, Elizabeth G and Ollie F-H

Year 1 watched videos and read books on space, both fiction and non-fiction. They wrote a list of items to take to the moon and imagined they were on the moon, writing a postcard to their friends and family back home. They built models of rockets from Lego and drew pictures of rockets and planets! In their games lesson they played meteor, paper and scissors whilst jumping from space station to space station.

On Wednesday every one in Years 6, 7 and 8 took part in a Virtual Reality Workshop and became astronauts for the morning. With the aid of the VR headsets provided, they simultaneously blasted off into space, piloting their research vessels around planets and moons. Perhaps this will inspire the next generation of space scientists and astronauts who may one day blast off into space for real!

In the Science Lab, Year 6 investigated what determines the shape and depth of craters on the moon in this simulation. Back in the classroom they re-created the Apollo Mission using a picture storyboard.

In their English lesson, Year 4 watched a short film called La Luna and then wrote their own adventure story based on getting a ladder to the moon.

In their Computing lessons Years 3, 4 and 5 pupils coded their own space-themed computer games. The games below were created by Zaki B, Hugo L, Tom V and Nate M. Mr Goldsmith was very impressed.

Pupils in Year 7 built a moon model, designed a lunar lander and were introduced to real astronaut freeze-dried ice-cream in Food Tech. In the Science Lab Year 8 separated moon dust from rock salt.

Pre-Prep Harvest Festival

On Wednesday morning and again on Wednesday afternoon the Gym was packed with parents enjoying the Pre-Prep Harvest Festival celebration. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils performed with confidence and enthusiasm and sang a range of harvest songs beautifully, including the favourite 'Big Red Combine Harvester'.

Orchestral Fun Day at Downe House

A group of St George’s young musicians joined 300 boys and girls from other prep schools for an unsurpassed day of musical fun at Downe House. This year the theme was ‘A Day at the Movies’. The children spent the day in rehearsals, from full orchestral to large and small instrumental group rehearsals, all with specialist tuition from the Downe House Music staff. The day culminated in a concert to which parents were invited. Afterwards one of our pupils was heard to say, ‘I was a bit nervous at the start of the day that I wouldn’t be able to play everything but now I can play Star Wars, Circle of Life and Frozen – it’s so cool!’

Visiting Speakers

This week our 'Young Leaders' welcomed two visitors, Zak Roby and Nitin Soundararajan, from two of the world's leading AI and Event Management companies. They gave the very inspiring message that through hard work, everyone is capable of achieving anything they want to.

On Friday, Elena Lapetra gave a motivational presentation on girls in business. She talked about her hugely successful career and talked of the importance of never allowing anyone to say 'YOU CAN'T'.

Congratulations to Radley for gaining his RYA competent crew certificate this weekend.

Sports Report

Hockey matches vs Hall Grove

It’s been a tough week of fixtures for the girls who all came up against some strong competition in their matches. All the teams displayed some excellent teamwork and competitive spirit and some great individual successes were observed along the way.

On Wednesday, the U10 girls made an excellent start at Hall Grove, the attack was strong and Evie C made some great saves in goal. There was some great passages of play between Leah H and Tabitha P and excellent tracking back from Lily D and Tilly W.

The U11 matches proved to be a very tight contest and lots of end to end play throughout both matches. St George's displayed continuous strength as a team. Having been 1-0 up for the majority of the game, Hall Grove scored with seconds to go before the final whistle ended in a draw. Well done to Isabel G and Ella G for holding their forward position extremely well throughout the match.

On Friday the U9s faced their toughest competition yet on the largest sized pitch they have played on so far. Despite their teamwork and courageous spirit, the Hall Grove defence proved to be too strong. Some great individual performances again; special mention to Mariella O, Alexandra W and Lara H.

In the U8 matches, there has been some fantastic developments across both teams with players showing great determination and understanding of the game. In the first game, St George's were unlucky to lose by one goal despite winning for the duration of the game. Excellent performance from Karina K and Willow J. In the second game there was some outstanding match play and goals from Ava S and Molly J. Great teamwork resulted in a winning result of 6-4!

Football matches vs Woodcote House School

Today we were at Woodcote School. We went into the match very well prepared after training this week and our tournament last Saturday. It was overcast and after 10 minutes there was an EXTREME downpour of rain. But this didn’t dampen our efforts. At half time we were leading by two goals to nil. In the second half we got more into our stride, and Harry W made a phenomenal save in the top right corner before a really well taken strike from Keiron E which helped us go on to win. The final score today was 6 – 3 to St George’s. (At home we lost 3-2 to them, so that means on aggregate we won 8-5!). Our passing was amazing today and it felt as though we played like Barcelona! Billy O made a phenomenal slide tackle to win us the ball at one point of the game, he was a standout player for the team. (Captain's Report - Tom G)

The 2nd’s played Woodcote on a windy day at Home Park Private. Woodcote started brightly but spurned many chances in front of goal as St George's struggled to get a foot in the game and went in half time lucky to only be one down. With a few changes of position and some fire in their belly, St George's were unlucky to not make it 1-1 with Syun P’s long range effort clawed out of the top corner. St George's pressed on with Syun P and Leo C playing well in midfield and the ball sticking more with Carl A upfront. Unfortunately, Woodcote scored 2 on the counter but the second half performance was very promising! St George's standout players: Syun P and Leo C.

Rain and a negative result did not subdue the enjoyment of the 3rd team at Woodcote House. Milton O was magnificent in goal and indeed was one of our own most dangerous players, starting attacks quickly when he had the ball in hand. Alexios S worked hard, and Jon Jon M showed defensive nous. But our player of the day was Zinédine B, who was energetic, creative and consistently difficult to beat for his opponents. 3-0 defeat.

Football matches vs St Piran’s School

The Colts B, D and Development Blue teams travelled to St Piran’s looking forward to putting into practice both the passing and positional skills they have been working on in training. The Colts B started slowly and conceded three early goals, but after a half time that gave them time to galvanise, they only lost the second half 1-0 to a very strong St Piran’s team. The Colts D enjoyed a thrilling game with chances at both ends of the pitch as both teams looking to play a wide expansive game. The Colts Development Blue played some of their best football at St Piran’s, passing well and displaying a wonderful team attitude, being awarded ‘Team of the Week’ for their efforts.

On Thursday afternoon seven of the senior boys travelled to St Neot’s School for a 6-a-side football tournament. They opened the group stages with a solid 0-0 draw against Leighton Park School, who would go on to win the Cup competition. The team went on to beat Bishopsgate 1-0, with a sublime free kick from Harry E and lose the final group stage match 1-0 to Reddam House. These results placed us into the plate competition, with a semi-final match against Daneshill. St George’s had all the chances, but the opposition caught us on a rare breakaway to score just before half time. The team did everything they could, hitting the bar, hitting the post and having the ball cleared off the line, before Tom G scored with a few seconds of the game left. This sent us into extra time, still we managed to hit every part of the goal apart from the net, resulting in the dreaded penalties! Harry E, Tom G and Tristan UI all scored and with a great save from Harry W, the team were in the final. In the final we faced Bishopsgate once again. Leo C and Billy O worked hard to create chances on the wing, and Seb M continued to marshal the defence brilliantly, but neither side could find a goal in normal or extra time, and once again we faced penalties. This time we were on the cruel end of the penalty shootout, finishing the tournament as plate runners up. This was a superb performance from every player. The whole squad worked hard and played extremely well - well done boys!

Football matches vs St Piran's

U8s: Despite the rather blustery conditions, the U8 Red team played very well against St Piran’s School on Friday afternoon. We started the game very strongly, scoring two excellent goals in the first five minutes. Arthur Jack E and Albie S started very brightly, both scoring goals, which was closely followed by Leonardo DZZ and Joshy G. Herbie W worked very well in defence, breaking up much of the St Piran’s attack and anything that did manage to slip past him was well dealt with by Ben C who played well in goal. An excellent all-round performance. The White team produced their best performance of the year against St Piran’s School. Despite playing into the strong wind, the red team started strongly passing and moving the ball around the pitch with great success, scoring 3 goals. Thomas D captained the team and really led from the front with his performance, scoring a goal and making several tackles, breaking up St Piran’s attacks. James C also performed superbly in midfield, linking up with Kimon L to create a few assists for St George’s. A thoroughly accomplished performance. The Blue team matched last week’s result with a 3 -1 lose. It was a good performance form the team with Hugo L scoring the only goal for the team.

Under 9s: Red had some excellent opportunities and scored three well worked goals. Unfortunately they were unable to prevent St Piran’s from scoring 5 goals. It was a thrilling game that could have gone either way, with special mention to Tom V who was a real handful for the opposition defence. The White team had a very competitive first half but found it hard when against the slope in the second half to link the passes together and relieve pressure from the back. The Blue team enjoyed a high scoring win with goals coming from almost every player in the team.

Maths Puzzle

Solutions to last week's puzzle:

This week's puzzle:

Word of the Week:

Wishing the following pupils a very...

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday for the week ahead: Florence B, Edward E, Ben C, Yana V, Tom A all have birthdays this week.