Never Give Up
"Survival can be summed up in three words - never give up. That's the heart of it really. Just keep trying." - Bear Grylls
During Celebration Assembly on Monday morning, we thought about perseverance and the art of not giving up. In this, our shortest term of the school year, I asked the children to reflect upon the incredible start they have already had and all of the effort that has been put in to their learning and wider curriculum activities. It is so important that they don’t lose sight of what can still be achieved between now and the excitement of the summer holidays.
All of us – as teachers, parents, wider family and friends – have a part to play in helping and enabling our children to develop staying power. Bahram Akradi, the founder and CEO of the US health and fitness company Life Time and author of ‘Experience Life’, writes has written extensively about ‘the courage to never give up’. He explains:
“When I was a kid, I loved solving math problems. In fact, the more difficult they appeared to be, the more compelled I felt to tackle them. After school, I would call my friend Ali to ask him about the day’s homework, and he would report back on what the rest of our brainiac friends were doing. “Don’t even try to solve the last two problems,” he would say. “Nobody has been able to do it.” That, of course, meant I would spend the rest of the night trying to unscramble those two problems. I’d clear off my desk, ignore the rest of the assignment, and go to work, determined to solve the parts that had been deemed unsolvable. Sometimes I found the answer, sometimes I didn’t — but I always made some sort of progress. Those early math problems taught me an important lesson: When things feel impossible and when it seems like you will never find the answer, that is exactly when you have to try even harder to move forward and find a way.”
As educational practitioners we work hard to encourage children with inspiring PYP units, setting high expectations and being some of the children’s greatest cheerleaders and supporters as they travel on their individual learning journeys. However, we must not forget the importance of explicitly modelling and encouraging the children to persevere, to overcome obstacles, set goals and adapt them if needed along the way, and to reassure them that some things take time before success can be achieved.
One of my favourite poems is called ‘Ithaka’ by C.P. Cavafy. I have often turned to verse for inspiration when I have needed to find motivation to continue to complete a course, learn that tricky piece for a clarinet exam, or finally pass my driving test on attempt number three! Cavafy advises the reader to enjoy that journey as they travel to their destination:
I am pleased to report that this week has shown there to be many children eager to keep going with energy and enthusiasm. I have seen some fantastic enthusiasm in Years 5 & 6 with children engaging in an exciting new poetry project led by Mr Lamb, enthusiastic cricketers and athletes heading off to their first fixtures of the season – and in both cases returning victorious – and handed out multiple music certificates to pupils, all of whom have put in many hours of practice and have duly received their reward, not only in paper form, but also the satisfaction of knowing that they are even more accomplished today than they were yesterday. I very much look forward to celebrating the children’s successes this term.
Education for Social Responsibility
It is always hard for Heads to leave their wonderful schools but this week I spent a couple of days attending a worthwhile course in Leamington Spa. One of the speakers, a fellow Head from an independent school in the north of England, talked passionately about Education for Social Responsibility. He had worked with a group of independent school leaders to successfully produce outstanding lessons around topics such as poverty, social economic consumption and climate change. It was incredibly inspiring and is certainly something that I will look to feed into the development of our ‘Ad Vitam’ curriculum in the next academic year.
MARINE BIOLOGY | On Tuesday Year 3 were very lucky to have a visit from Magda Chudzinska, a Marine Biologist from the University of St Andrews.
Magda talked to the children about what a mammal was and introduced it by playing a game with them comparing a shark and a dolphin. Some were amazed that a shark was a fish and that it did not have lungs. The children were very knowledgeable about dolphins.
Magda, being a marine biologist, was very passionate about plastic and how we should try to reuse, reduce and recycle plastics to stop them entering the world of marine mammals. She showed the children examples of the impact of plastics in our oceans, which were quite shocking and made us all think!
Magda talked to the children about how we can reduce the amount of plastic we use, and found that the children are already very eco-friendly here, knowing which things to recycle and what plastics are not good to use.
It was a great way to begin our Unit on Sharing the Planet, leaving the children with lots to think about and with lots more questions to ask.
- Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
Athletics vs Lathallan
ATHLETICS VS LATHALLAN | The U10 and U12 girls’ athletics teams were victorious against Lathallan on Wednesday afternoon. Poppy (Year 5) won the 75m and long jump, Sanna (Year 5) won the 100m and cricket ball, Molly (Year 7) won the 200m and the long jump, Lana (Year 5) won the 300m, and Thea (Year 6) won the javelin. In the relay, the U10s were successful against the visiting team.
Congratulations to our St Leonards girls on a great afternoon of athletics!
We Are The Words
WE ARE THE WORDS | This week marked the beginning of the Year 5 and Year 6 ‘We are the Words’ poetry project, led by Mr Lamb. Each week for six weeks going forward, pupils in Years 5 and 6 will write poems based on different inspiration, including pieces of music, art and childhood memories.
We look forward to hearing more about their verses over the course of this exciting project!
Cricket vs Clifton Hall
CRICKET VS. CLIFTON HALL | The U10 boys' cricket team won their game against Clifton Hall on Wednesday afternoon, with a final score of 263-218. Top batsman was Alastair (Year 5) with 25 runs, and top bowler was Xander (Year 5) with two wickets and only four runs scored against his bowling.
A brilliant result for their first cricket fixture of the year - well done boys!
Plants & Mini-beasts
PLANTS & MINI-BEASTS | The girls and boys in Year 2 have been tuning in to their new Unit of Inquiry on the interrelationship between plants and minibeasts by identifying wildflowers growing within the school grounds.
This week, they also visited the Albany Park Edible Garden at the University of St Andrews, where they were shown how to plant potatoes and beans. They children also learned how to make wildflower seed bombs, thanks to the brilliant student volunteers at the garden.
Back at school, Year 2 have been busy planting seeds in the new Junior School polytunnel, sowing salad and vegetable crops, as well as flowers to attract pollinating insects.
- Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
MYP Community Project Visits
MYP COMMUNITY PROJECT VISITS | Two Year 9 pupils visited Year 3 this week as part of the MYP Community Project. Milli and Harriet spoke to the children about childhood obesity and how this can lead to Type 2 diabetes. They organised an activity in which the boys and girls had to create the perfect healthy meal – Year 3 were very good at this!
Milli and Harriet then advised the children on the importance of exercise and how this can also prevent obesity and diabetes. Exercise, along with a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, rice and dairy helps to keep us fit, although we can enjoy the odd treat like cake and chocolate in moderation!
Next, Year 3 enjoyed a visit from Evie and Sienna (Year 9), who came down to speak about endangered animals. The girls talked about a number of animals including, tigers, orangutans and Ethiopian wolves. The spoke about the reasons these animals were becoming endangered. There are only 14,000 orangutans, 4000 tigers and 500 wolves left in the world. The girls spoke to the children about the Born Free Foundation and how they are trying to help these endangered animals. This project helped Year 3 see how they can produce a similar project for their own talks on endangered animals as part of their Unit Sharing the Planet.
Thank you to the Year 9 girls for joining us!
- Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
Year 4C Data Handling
YEAR 4C DATA HANDLING | This week, Year 4C have been talking about graphs and discussing their different features: axes, axis, titles, scales, colour, spacing and the overall effect of presentation.
First of all, they answered questions from printed tally charts, using the information provided to create matching graphs. It all seemed quite easy...until...the children were tasked with creating their own survey!
In two groups, they gathered data about traffic passing the school gate over a period of 20 minutes on Tuesday, 30 April. Half of the class noted the different types of vehicle which passed, and the other half kept a tally of the colours of the cars they saw.
Back in the classroom, pupils totalled up their tally marks and compared them with the results of others doing the same survey. Everyone was really surprised!
They discovered that there were wide ranges of answers, so it was time to think about using ‘average’ numbers. Once all was agreed, 4C set about planning their graphs, which are now on display on Year 4's Maths Wall.
Everyone was pleased with the results, but now know what to do differently next time. It really isn’t as easy as it looks, after all!
- Mrs McKimmon, Year 4C Class Teacher
The following pupils were presented with ABRSM certificates during Celebration Assembly on Monday morning. Congratulations to all our young musicians on their successes!
Brendan achieved a Merit in Grade 3 Viola and Zachary achieved a Merit in Grade 2 Singing. Zachary also achieved a Distinction in his Grade 1 Theory.
Jennifer passed Grade 2 Flute with Distinction and Grade 1 Piano, also with Distinction. Maya achieved a Merit in Grade 3 Guitar and Grade 3 Flute.
Lana passed Grade 1 Violin.
Rachael achieved Silver level in ballet and was presented with her report on Monday.
Poppy passed Grade 2 Singing with Merit.
Paula achieved a Merit in Grade 1 Descant Recorder.
A Note from the Lower School
After a glorious start to the term weather-wise, meteorological confusion now reigns. All hopes of topping up our tans at East Sands during Beach School are currently dashed but as we know, things can change very rapidly! What with gardening, rounders, running, Beach School and outdoor learning opportunities aplenty, do bear in mind that your son or daughter will still require PE kit in school all week, waterproof footwear, waterproof trousers, coats, jumpers, hats and gloves but also the addition of sun hats and sun cream. Any number of socks is also advantageous, children are strangely drawn to water and mud...! We understand that it is a lot of kit, but we also know that our families appreciate the joys of flexible learning. If a curriculum area lends itself to the outdoors, we love to take advantage wherever we can.
This term may be shorter but, my word, it is jam packed with activities. New Units have been commencing and the children are excitedly consolidating their learning from the year and beginning to look to the future. There are many bug hotels popping up all over the grounds, thanks to Year 2 who are taking the conservation of ladybirds to new heights. It is, without doubt a terrifically exciting term. Look out for permission slips for relevant trips, do come to our assemblies, concerts and so on when you are able.
After an enthralling and very educational assembly on bees this week, Year 1 decided to explore tessellation. We imagined a renegade bee attempting to set up his own hive with some interesting results. The flexibility of our curriculum really does allow us to ‘go with the children’s flow’.