'By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail'
This week began with a look ahead as Mrs Pemberton-Hislop and Mr Durward led a special assembly for our Year 5-7 pupils. They talked about pathways through St Leonards and beyond, and about the learner journey starting with the PYP, moving up to MYP, GCSE and IB Diploma or BTEC with IB courses in the Sixth Form.
Many parents attended, and I do hope that everyone found it useful. As Mrs Pemberton-Hislop emphasised, the children's choices later on in school may seem like a long way off, but instilling in them an early awareness and knowledge of what is to come will hopefully plant a seed that will make choosing easier further down the line. The children were engaged throughout and asked some thoughtful questions. Thank you to our Senior School colleagues for such an informative and thought-provoking talk.
Being well prepared was also in order for all of our pupils in Years 5 and 6, as they packed their bags and set off on two exciting residential experiences. Smiling children laden with rucksacks, sleeping bags and waterproofs arrived early on Wednesday morning bound for PGL Dalguise and Glenlivet respectively.
Adventures are exciting and planning ahead in order to make the most of them is the first step. One boy told me that he had initially wanted to bring only one pair of socks for his class trip, but after thinking about the possibility of stepping into a river, he had quite sensibly decided to take three! Back at Base Camp, it has been quieter around the corridors without the Year 5 and 6 children, and we can’t wait to welcome them back next week, when I am sure we will hear all about the fun they have had!
In school, we have been busy preparing for our Moving Up Morning on Monday. This is a chance for the children to meet their new class teachers, and new classmates, and look ahead in preparation for next year. It is an important day, which will hopefully quell any natural anxieties so that the children can have a restful summer and be exited for their return for the start of Autumn Term.
On the subject of preparing children, I read an interesting article by author Frank Sonnenberg this week. He asks the question: ‘Are we preparing our children for the real world or are we making their lives unrealistically easy?’. He offers 13 guideposts for children to follow through life:
- Be self-reliant. Don’t allow yourself to become overly dependent on others. It can’t be done for you; it must be done by you.
- Own your life. Make sensible choices and accept responsibility for your actions. Your life is determined by the sum of the choices that you make.
- Face the facts. Every day isn’t filled with rainbows. Be prepared to accept the good with the bad — even roses have thorns.
- Establish realistic expectations. You don’t always get what you want; quite often you get what you deserve.
- Get your hands dirty. You’ll start at the bottom and remain there until you demonstrate you can handle more.
- Learn a thing or two. Allow your mentor to guide, but never to perform, an activity for you. This will instil confidence and ensure that learning takes place.
- Take it slow. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Build confidence and momentum through small wins.
- Don't blame - learn. Make mistakes when the consequences are small. That way, you’ll know exactly how to handle things when it matters most.
- Don't baby yourself. Show some grit when you’re confronted by challenges. Determination is habit forming; so is quitting.
- Take one for the team. Work hard. You’re expected to pull your own weight, not to weigh down the team.
- Invest in yourself. Education and experience are precious. Everything you learn makes you more valuable, and the benefits will remain with you through life.
- Accept 'no' as a gift. People who don’t indulge your every whim are teaching you ‘how to fish’. They are giving you the gifts of confidence, strength, and self-reliance.
- Work hard; work smart. Nothing is accomplished without hard work, dedication, and commitment. It takes many years to become an overnight success.
These are all superb ideas for developing readiness for life. The young man choosing to take three pairs of socks on his residential this week has - as advised in point number two - made a good, sensible choice. That said, had he decided on one pair, it could have been a practical chance to learn.
Sometimes you can't be completely prepared as part of the excitement of life is in meeting the new and the unknown, but perhaps these tips will help our children to face those moments with greater clarity and confidence.
Rainbow People Assembly
RAINBOW PEOPLE ASSEMBLY | Year 3 performed their ‘Rainbow People Assembly’ to parents and fellow Junior School pupils on Wednesday morning.
The assembly began with the children looking like small, grey stones, but if you looked closely you could see that they were tiny people. One day a wind blew over the land and it filled the people with life and love. They explored their land and found coloured ribbons. They were excited about these but, suddenly, another wind blew over and this time it made them shiver with cold. It made them realise that the colours made them different and they stopped trusting each other.
Each colour separated, but as they built walls up they realised that alone they did not have the resources to keep themselves warm, fed, sheltered and hydrated. One day, a stranger came to the land and told them all not to be afraid of the colours, to break down the walls and share what they had. They then had enough to eat and drink, keep warm and have shelter.
They began to talk to one another again and soon the feeling of love returned. They realised that the colours were what was separating them, and they wanted to throw them away, but they knew they would miss the richness of the bright colours. So instead, they mixed the colours to make a beautiful rainbow ribbon, they called themselves ‘The Rainbow People’, and, for them, the rainbow became the symbol of peace.
Well done to all the boys and girls in Year 3 for a very special assembly!
Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
Cambo Estate Adventures
CAMBO ESTATE ADVENTURES | Year 2 had a wonderful day at the gardens of Cambo Estate on Wednesday. We explored their herb garden using our senses and picked different varieties of mint, which we then took to the ‘Elf Village’ and made into mint tea over a campfire.
We were then taken plant hunting through the walled garden and glasshouses and visited Cambo’s extensive ‘edible gardens’, where the gardeners helped us to plant some parsley.
Back in the walled garden once more, we learned about the different tools used by the gardening team and planted some pea seeds. Some of these we covered with a plastic bottle greenhouse, and some we left uncovered. We brought them back to school with us and have put them beside the polytunnel so that we can keep an eye on them and see which seeds grow most quickly.
Then it was back to the Elf Village for a spot of foraging and to cook nettle soup over the camp stove, followed by a game of hide and seek in the long grasses of the prairie garden. Happy days for Year 2!
Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
Techno Challenge 2019
TECHNO CHALLENGE 2019 | STEM subjects were in the spotlight on Wednesday, as St Leonards hosted 12 visiting schools from across Fife and Tayside for the 23rd annual Techno Challenge.
The initiative was started in 1996 by Mrs Ann Massie, former Head of Maths at St Leonards, who created the event to bring teams from local schools together for a day of activities, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects.
The visiting teams toured the St Leonards campus, taking part in a range of challenges including using iPads, toys and craft materials to create animations, building model pirate ships sturdy enough to float and transport ‘treasure’, and designing towers using just coloured plastic balls and glue dots.
The highlight of the day was the Maths Relay. This final challenge saw teams set about solving a series of 30 Maths questions in a race against time, with pairs of pupils scribbling furiously to submit their sums to the invigilator before starting the next task.
With the correct answers counted, the results were in, and Dr Geoffrey Jackson-Hutt, Deputy Head Academic at St Leonards, was delighted to announce this year’s Techno Challenge winners. Lawhead Primary School, St Andrews, claimed the top spot in the ‘large schools category, closely followed by St Leonards Junior School as runner-up.
In the ‘small schools’ category, the winning team was Balmerino Primary School, with Dairsie Primary as runner-up.
All pupils demonstrated fantastic teamwork and problem-solving abilities throughout the different tasks and left with their St Leonards Techno Challenge goodie bags as a memento of the day. Congratulations to the 2019 winners and runners-up, and to all of this year’s participants.
We hope you enjoy browsing the full album of photo highlights from the day!
Year 1 Games
YEAR 1 GAMES | The Year 1 pupils have had a great time this week investigating a variety of games. One line of inquiry had the class exploring games from the past. Year 1 had fun getting stuck into ‘Cat’s Cradle’ and clock patience, as well as a new, fast and furious game, ‘Dobble’.
Year 2's Special Guest
YEAR 2'S SPECIAL GUEST | Neil Birnie (Harris’s dad) visited Year 2 this week to talk to them about his work as a conservationist and the amazing diversity of plants and mini-beasts that we find across our planet. We learned about the tallest and shortest trees, the largest and smallest mini-beasts known to exist and then went on to learn more about Mr Birnie’s favourite insect - the dung beetle!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Birnie for a fascinating talk.
Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
Maths Kitchen Magic
MATHS KITCHEN MAGIC | Year 4P have continued to create culinary delights in response to their new Unit of Inquiry on different forms of energy. They recognised that food gives us energy and, after much debate about what would make a healthy snack to give us energy, we decided to make wraps. The pupils weighed the wraps to established who made the heaviest, the lightest and the average wrap weight. We then used the results to make a bar chart. A busy Friday in the Maths Kitchen!
Mrs Arkwright, Year 4P Class Teacher
JKDA FAREWELL | Next week we say farewell to Lorna, who has been our very dedicated Junior School dance instructor for many years. Lorna, who runs the lessons through Jenny King’s Academy of Dance (JKDA), has been an invaluable resource and is well loved by all our pupils who take classes with her in St Katharines Hall.
We are currently in the process of sourcing a new dance instructor to take over from Lorna and JKDA in the new academic year and will share details of this in due course.
GYMFEST SUCCESSES | The St Leonards Junior School gymnastics team spent a busy weekend taking part in Gymfest, performing lots of different routines to a very high standard. Medals will be presented at our next Celebration Assembly. Well done to all involved!
Year 4C English
YEAR 4C ENGLISH | The Year 4C class had a very successful Friday morning English lesson, with pupils managing to suggest 30 different sets of homophones to write up on their board. Needless to say, Mrs McKimmon was very proud!
Swimming Gala Win
SWIMMING GALA WIN | Congratulations to the U9 and U13 St Leonards swim teams who beat Kilgraston away at a gala this week. The girls were joined by the U11 squad. Anna (Year 4) won the U11 backstroke, Emily (Year 4) won the freestyle, and the U11s won the Medley Relay. Some super performances!
Bioblitz St Andrews
BIOBLITZ ST ANDREWS | Last week, Year 2 enjoyed a fun-packed morning down on the East Sands when they took part in the Bioblitz project, run by the University of St Andrews. We were lucky enough to take part in a scheme to document the amazing biodiversity around the Scottish Oceans Institute.
On a beautiful warm, sunny day, we set off to the beach and spent the morning collecting and identifying various marine organisms in the rock pools, to contribute towards the data count. We were thrilled to find starfish; anemones; flat fish; winkles and crabs, amongst others, which our specialists added to their count.
Next up, we went to search for mini-beasts, caught overnight in pitfall traps around the institute. We were not to be disappointed and counted earwigs; centipedes; spiders and plenty of woodlice among our catch.
As you can imagine, the outing was right up Year 2’s street, fitting exactly with our Unit of Inquiry and although some of us returned a little wet for wear, we all agreed it was a great morning spent.
Mrs Lindsay, Year 2 Class Teacher
A Note from the Lower School
'‘Hectic’: full of incessant or frantic activity'; so, sums up another wonderful Lower School week.
Excitement is high, anticipation of the future is mounting, and completion of present Units is on everyone’s mind. We have certainly been busy but in a good way!
The children are absorbed, determined and continuing to work extremely hard. They are in full swing academically, but they have their eyes on all the many extraneous activities we have awaiting us.
Year 1 were engaged in data handling this week. Using frequency tables and bar graphs that they generated themselves, we wanted to investigate tubes of Smarties. Do Smarties tubes have the same number of different coloured smarties per tube? Seemingly a very pressing issue.