The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 21 June 2019

Sporting Spirit

Headmistress's Introduction

Another busy week in the Junior School, with track and field events galore, in addition to our annual sandcastle extravaganza on the East Sands – my, what a lot of incredible creations we had!

In addition to our many events, our focus was on the future this week as the children spent the morning in their new classes on Monday. All seemed to be having a wonderful time – smiling teachers and smiling children which was fantastic to see.

Sports Day on Wednesday was a tremendous success. Well done to all the competitors and the incredibly dedicated PE staff for organising the event, with the support of a number of Senior School students; Frankie, Rachel, Millie, Georgie, Jack and Jemima. The grounds were looking absolutely spectacular, sun shining and pitches perfectly prepared, and our thanks, too, goes to the Grounds Team, under the leadership of our new Head of Grounds, Kevin Smith, for all their hard work in the run up to this week.

Special thanks to all the staff who helped make Sports Day so special.

There is often debate around the importance of competitive sport in a child’s education. On the one hand you have people who feel it is the taking part rather than the competition that is important. On the other hand, you have those who love the excitement of testing themselves against others, pushing themselves to the limits, and believe that healthy competition sets children up for the challenges of life in a positive way as well as teaching focus, resilience and determination. Whichever side of the debate you fall on, I do think that we can all agree on the importance of physical activity and the benefits to children’s wellbeing and concentration.

At the Junior School, a lot of emphasis is placed upon ensuring we provide a full PE curriculum with multiple opportunities for competitive matches for those who wish to take part. It is vital that children develop physical literacy at a young age and get into the habit of making exercise a part of their life. Evidence shows that those who take part in a team sport are far more likely to continue with it in later life, compared with those of us habitually attempting the treadmill at the gym. I strongly suspect the camaraderie of team sports has something to do with it!

I hope the children enjoyed the excitement of Sports Day, which we can see as a celebration of athletic prowess but also as a testament to the importance of exercise in increasing the quality of our lives.

As we look ahead to our final week of Summer Term, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some updates for the coming year. We will be starting back in August with another impressive school roll, as well as two new members of teaching staff.

Mr Simon Lamb, who joined us in January for a set period, will be leaving St Leonards this summer. An extremely talented teacher, writer and performer, Mr Lamb’s legacy piece with us is “We Are The Words”, an expansive literary project with Years 5 and 6 that will culminate in the release of an incredible book of poetry in the new academic year. We wish him every success in sharing his talents, commitment and enthusiasm in pastures new.

Congratulations to Mr Martin Donlon on his new appointment, teaching German in an international school in Dubai. Martin has been a wonderful colleague, fully committed to his subject and the life of the school and will be much missed by students and staff alike.

I would also like to bid a fond farewell to Mrs Marije Sneddon who will be leaving her Year 5C this year. I am only too sure we will be welcoming her back in the very near future and would like to thank her for her time with us.

I will have the opportunity to thank both Simon, Martin, Marije and of course Val at Prizegiving next week, and know you will join me in wishing them all the very best for their next adventures and a well deserved retirement.

In August, we will welcome two new faces; Ms Catherine Brannen as a Year 5 Class Teacher and Mr David McLeish in Year 7. Catherine joins us from SEK International School in Qatar, where she is a PYP specialist, and David comes to us from the Metropolitan School Frankfurt. A qualified PYP and MYP teacher, David also holds the position of IB CAS Coordinator at his current school.

There is lots still to come between now and our Prizegiving next Friday morning, including the End of Term Concert on Monday evening, Year 7 Leavers’ Service and Assembly, and a special end of term assembly for all.

Have a wonderful weekend – we can only hope Wednesday’s Sports Day sun keeps on shining!

Eve Moran

Spotlight On

Sports Day

The sun shone for our super Sports Days.

SPORTS DAY | Wednesday was our Junior School Sports Day, with Year 4-7 spending the morning competing at track and field events. Races were run, cricket balls thrown, jumps jumped, and all in all, a lot of fun had by all.

In the afternoon, it was the Lower School’s turn to take to the field for egg and spoon races, a sack race, and a good deal of running!

Thank you to the St Leonards Parents Association for providing wonderful refreshments in the form of delicious home baking, strawberries and teas. It wouldn’t be Sports Day without a slice of cake enjoyed from the sideline!

More photo highlights will be shared in due course, so watch this space!

Glenlivet Trip

Year 6 camped in the forest at Glenlivet Estate.

GLENLIVET TRIP | For their Year 6 residential, our students wild camped in a forest on the Glenlivet Estate in the Cairngorms. They took part in conservation activities such as tree planting, pruning and path clearance, and learned about the workings of the Estate. They investigated the local wildlife and explored the local environment, as well as enjoying a wide variety of team-building games and activities such as den-building and the obstacle course. Our students also relished the excitement of two campfires, during which they toasted marshmallows, heard stories and sang a song about a moose (sorry for the earworm). This all culminated in group presentations where the children imaginatively shared their learning with their peers and invited guests from the Estate. Despite the atrocious, unrelenting rain, resilience levels were high and grumbles were few. A most successful trip, with many lasting memories being made. Glenlivet? More like GlenLOVEDIT!

Miss Cormack and Mr Lamb, Year 6 Class Teachers

Moving Up Morning

Pupils spent a morning learning the ropes in their new classes.

MOVING UP MORNING | Moving Up Morning on Monday was a super opportunity for pupils to try out a ‘day in the life’ of their new class, spending time with their teachers and meeting new classmates who will be joining st Leonards in August.

The children took part in activities and lessons including Drama, drawing and outdoor team games.

Thank you to all our new students who joined us for Moving Up Morning and we look forward to welcoming everyone into their new year groups after the summer break.

Dundee Day Out

Cheese challenges and more for Year 6 at the Overgate Centre.

DUNDEE DAY OUT | Last week, Year 6 were treated to an excellent day out in Dundee. In the morning, they were given a backstage tour of the Overgate Shopping Centre which was both informative and surprising; they learned about site security, recycling, turnover and tried out their new signing-in system. This was followed by an engaging presentation given by the company Five Guys, including sections on food storage and preparation, their “renowned” cheese race, and even chip-testing.

After this, the students and staff indulged in a wonderful lunch laid on by the restaurant – mmmmm! The students left with branded caps and t-shirts, and, being red, these worked oddly well with their school uniforms!

The afternoon saw them visiting the McManus Art Gallery to view their exhibits and participate in a hands-on print-making workshop, resulting in some lovely work.

All-in-all, a truly memorable day out! A big thank-you to Roy and his mum for organising so much of the event.

Mr Lamb and Miss Cormack, Year 6 Class Teachers

Toys and Games

Year 1 have been using their imaginations when it comes to cardboard boxes!

TOYS AND GAMES | Year 1's Unit of Inquiry on toys and games of the past has really taken shape. Over the past two weeks, the children have experimented with a wide variety of toys and games. They have explored the necessity of rules and clearly understood that wherever there is imagination, there are games.

This was highlighted in a particularly exciting English lesson in which the children were given an array of boxes of different shapes and sizes to play with. We had sunbeds, boats, helmets, motorbikes, bus windows and so much more.

After reading ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy where a young bear turns a box into a rocket and heads off on an adventure to the moon, the children played again. This time, they were tasked with having their own adventures. We had a child flying on an ostrich to Africa, a snow leopard hiding from a predator, a magic bed taking a child to Greece and a seal being chased over the ice by a shark. It was all very lively and exciting. The subsequent written work about their adventures was just wonderful.

Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher

Year 5 at Dalguise

Outdoor activities at PGL Dalguise.

YEAR 5 AT DALGUISE | Year 5 spent a brilliant couple of days at PGL Dalguise, near Dunkeld in Perthshire. Despite the last-minute change of destination, pupils had a fantastic time crawling along obstacle courses, building and sailing rafts, climbing and abseiling, and having a go at archery.

In the evenings, team games were organised by the wonderful PGL team leaders, making this a real trip to remember!

Leavers' Disco

Year 7's disco had a 'Hawaiian Pizza Party' theme.

LEAVERS' DISCO | The Year 7 pupils were treated to a special Leavers’ Disco on Friday evening in St Katharines Hall. Organised by our Sixth Form BTEC Business students, the event had a ‘Hawaiian Pizza Party’ theme, complete with inflatable palm trees, flower garlands and tropical mocktails!

After music, dancing and games, including the very popular ‘sumo suits’, it was time for pizzas and drinks with friends. Outside, we had an obstacle course, which was definitely a hit on a mild June evening.

Thank you to the BTEC students and Mrs Prudencio-Aponte for organising the disco. It was a perfect way to celebrate Year 7’s final couple of weeks in the Junior School, before moving up to Year 8.

Celebration Assembly

Monday morning's medal and award winners.

Monday morning's assembly was packed with reasons to celebrate, thanks to a huge number of medals and prizes awarded for achievements in swimming and gymnastics.

Congratulations to Bella, Paula, Sofia, Cara. Abbie, Eabha, Jennifer, Cameron, and all those who took part in Gymfest!

The following pupils were presented with certificates at Celebration Assembly:

Anona received a Commendation for writing superb instructions on how to make a healthy smoothie.

Emily for always volunteering to help and take on roles of responsibility.

Simon for displaying such dedication towards improving the presentation of his work.

Ethan for great praise from his music teacher because of the progress he has made in his piano playing over the course of this term.

Ollie for showing great citizenship and helping to reunite a member of the public with their cat's missing collar. (Misty was very grateful too!)

Jamie was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for super inquiry work in class.

Khan was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for showing great bravery in getting grommets and adjusting to the loud world again.

A Note from the Lower School

I am not sure how to describe this week.....amazing, diverse, surprising and exhausting are all adjectives that might go some way to describe the week! I am confident that you could all think of your own.

Moving Up Morning on Monday was an exceptionally exciting start to one of the busiest weeks of the year. The primary area of interest for Year 1 moving to Year 2 was the use of a tray at lunchtime, while for Year 2 moving to Year 3, it was the accessibility of juice at lunch. Year 3 moving to Year 4 were most thrilled about snacks taken in the CDR, as opposed to in the classroom, and greater playtime freedom. I doubt they told you much about their teachers, routines or curriculum but there was a definite theme!

Sports Day and the Sandcastle Competition: two much-loved highlights of the year. As ever, the imagination, creativity and engineering involved in the latter drew gasps. From the youngest to the oldest, it is heartwarming to see mixed-age teams working together and all children united with the same focus...to win ice cream vouchers! Such is the number of events as we edge towards the end of term, sandcastle photos to show off some of the creations will follow next week!

The glorious performance from the Lower School was the merest snapshot of some of the aspects of our year. There was no way we could cover everything. What we could see though, loud and clear, is the progress that each and every child has made over the course of the year. I always know this to be the case and yet, I am always staggered when I see it on display. We hope that you have enjoyed this year’s journey and that as we come to the end of this particular chapter you are ready to embrace all that will inevitably follow. As the children intimated, there is still so much more to come.

None of our children’s achievements happen in isolation and, as this is my last Lower School News of the year, I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the support you have given to the children, the staff and the school. It is one of the key factors in making our school so very, very special.

Thank you and have a wonderful holiday when it comes!

Claire Boissiere, Lower School Coordinator

Reasons to be Cheerful

Perhaps somewhat unusually, this week's 'reason to be cheerful' is prep! I know some of the children will be surprised to hear me proclaim this, however I was treated to a spectacular musical performance in Year 1-3 prep this week, as everyone trailed out after our new 'Pied Piper', James. The children formed an impromptu band, which made me smile not just for the music but for the joy of seeing them all playing together across the year groups.

Unlike the Pied Piper of Hamelin, I am pleased to announce that James did not lead the children into a mountain! Well done all - what a wonderful team you are, in work and in play.

Diary Dates & Notices

Junior Art Exhibition

JUNIOR ART EXHIBITION | A reminder that all are warmly invited to join us on Tuesday, 25 June from 5.30pm - 7.30pm for our Junior School Art Exhibition. Refreshments will be served while you browse the show.

Wheelbarrow Request

The St Leonards Polytunnel.

WHEELBARROW REQUEST | If anyone has an old, unwanted wheelbarrow which they would be willing to donate to our polytunnel project, it would be hugely appreciated by all involved. All our planting and growing involves a great deal of carrying to and fro and Miss Fisher will soon have muscles like Popeye if she keeps up all this heavy lifting!

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