May I start by congratulating all those who have taken part in the Perth Festival over the last two days? To learn a poem or piece, rehearse it and stand up in front of a large audience of other children and parents, takes considerable courage, and I have heard outstanding reports about all those from St Leonards who have taken part in this. It is a tremendous skill and I know they will have all gained a great deal from the experience. I would like to thank Laura Stewart, our inspirational Junior School Drama teacher, for her input and for giving so many of our children a voice. My diary is already blanked out for next year's festival, so Laura and I can attend and join the celebrations.
In amongst “Hammond’s £2b tax raid” and "Gunners thrashed in humiliating Champions' League exit", a headline caught my attention this morning, which read “Why not keep the World Book Day ‘party’ going all year round”? In this article, a Head of a School who enjoyed similar book related jamborees as us last week, seeks to implore children and parents to make a concerted effort to keep our children reading every day of the year. If there was ever a reason to do so, research in 1987 found that just 20 minutes a day of reading meant a child would encounter over 1,800,000 words a year. I have been delighted to see our children continue to read this week, and I awarded a great number of certificates and book tokens to the winners of our various competitions last week.
A BUMPER WEEK FOR ST LEONARDS SPORT
It has been a busy and extremely successful week for our girls and boys on the sporting front.
On Sunday, 9 pupils represented the School at the Scottish Prep schools Cross Country event at Belhaven School. Tom, Magnus, Henry, Luke, Ewen, Paddy and Katie all did extremely well. Special mention goes to Ashton who finished 3rd in the U12 Boys' race; this is a tremendous achievement.
Playing against Lathallan on a very stormy Wednesday afternoon, our U10 mixed hockey players enjoyed a thrilling afternoon battling the wind and rain. The U10 'A' team had a convincing win, with Lucca, Ewen, Luke and Eva scoring two goals each. Meanwhile, the spectators were treated to a nail-biting 'B' team contest, with goals from Cameron, Paddy, Polly and Thomas. The final score was 5-4. Our first mixed hockey fixtures proved to be a huge success, and it was super to have so many pupils involved.
YEAR 7 KNOW THEIR RIGHTS
Human rights, particularly those relating to women and to children, are at the heart of Y7’s current Unit of Inquiry in Language and Literature. As you can imagine, the girls have been especially outraged at some of the examples of gender inequality and discrimination we have read about in our class novel, Parvana’s Journey. This week we were fortunate to have Mrs Mackenzie speak to us about the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the progress of different countries on their journey towards the elimination all forms of discrimination.
Some fascinating questions were posed and addressed. What rights are we entitled to as children, as adults, as elderly people? Which rights are the most urgent? Are all rights equally important? When can our rights be withdrawn?
The questions just kept coming and we are most grateful to Mrs Mackenzie for helping to advance our understanding of these important issues.
DR CROOK VISITS YEAR 2
Year 2 were treated to a fascinating workshop by Dr Tony Crook (George's dad) on Monday. Our 'Unit of Inquiry' is into stories from around the world and he spoke to us about how stories are used by the tribe that he lived with in Papua New Guinea as a means of sharing wisdom. The children had the chance to climb through a door board and examine an impressive array of bows and arrows. Some of these artefacts are now on display in the Year 2 classroom if you would like to see them and learn more.
YEAR 6 ENJOY THEIR COASTAL WALK ON A BEAUTIFUL SPRING DAY
After postponing the Year 6 Coastal Walk due to inclement weather earlier in the term, Year 6 had a beautiful, sunny spring day to explore the East Sands and coastal path as part of our Unit of Inquiry. We were looking for evidence of weathering and erosion and the human measures taken to reduce their effects. We took photographic evidence of weathering and erosion and considered the factors which cause the rocks of the Earth’s crust to change gradually over long periods of time.
MORSE CODE FOR YEAR 3
The Year 3 children continue to investigate different forms of communication. They have created cave paintings, hieroglyphic writing and applying their knowledge of circuit building in order to send messages using Morse Code.
Ms O'BRIEN VISITS YEAR 5
Linked to their Unit of Inquiry, 'How We Express Ourselves, Ms O'Brien gave a presentation to Year 5 which described how different composers and violinists expressed themselves in different ways through their music. She showed Youtube clips of various string quartets to demonstrate how they played their instruments in different ways to create moods and feelings. She demonstrated how different composers created music to document their lives, expressing their experiences, thoughts and emotions. From swinging microphones over amplifiers to create feedback, to making glasses of water 'sing', Ms O'Brien introduced Year 5 to a variety of musical experiences that they shall not forget in a hurry!
YEAR 1 NATURE WALK
On Thursday Year 1 took a nature walk around the beautiful surroundings of the school to see if they could spot any animals and plants, for their 'Unit of Inquiry', Sharing the Planet. They were asked to look for wildlife to find out about the habitats around us and to think about the ways in which animals protect their young in these habitats. They saw plenty of birds, and thought about how the parent birds protected their babies by finding suitable nesting sites. They looked under stones for small insects and talked about how the insects kept safe in these places. When they got back to the classroom, the children made posters to represent the habitats they had seen and used their phonic skills to label the different things within these habitats.