The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 29 November 2019

Taking the Leap

Headmistress's Introduction

What a funny week this has been. As I write this, I am sitting at home looking after two of my own children who have succumbed to the bug that has been doing the rounds - a scene which I am sure will be familiar to many of you from the past week.

I had much planned for these last seven days. After all, we are now striding to the end of term there are many events planned, as well as deadlines to be met. Alas my best intentions and great expectations were not to be. The priority is that our children are fit and healthy; events can be rescheduled and deadlines moved. There is always another day and I do hope that not too much disappointment has been caused. We want everyone back to full health and ready to enjoy the festivities to come.

In these final two weeks before Christmas, we look forward to welcoming pupils who will be joining us for ‘taster days’ before starting full time in the Junior School in January. All too often, we underestimate how it feels for a child to step into an unfamiliar environment, to fit into a new class, and to be ‘on form’, enjoying themselves to the full in these strange surroundings.

St Leonards, I am proud to say, is a friendly and welcoming school, and I know that our children and staff will do a fabulous job of making them feel at home and support them as they settle in at the start of Spring Term.

Still, it is no easy feat taking that leap beyond your comfort zone, and on Friday last week, I felt just as our new pupils must on day one, or when they visit us for a ‘taster’. I felt anxious. The reason for this was that I was attending a Junior Heads’ Conference in Dunkeld, and whilst I vaguely knew some of my fellow attendees, I was very much the ‘newbie’.

As it happened, there was absolutely no need to feel nervous. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and quickly invitations to visit other Scottish prep schools were issued, exciting initiatives were discussed, and we put our heads together to dream up ideas for collaboration on future projects. What a truly fantastic group of people.

Working as a team at the Junior Heads' Conference.

The most enjoyable aspect was the outdoor education session, which was led by two ex-Marines and the former Junior Head of Lathallan. One of my favourite challenges was having to work in a group of four to put up a tent - sounds easy enough - but with three members blindfolded! We had to communicate with one another in order to compete against the other teams, all the time with the clock ticking away. I absolutely loved it.

By the end of the morning we were all united, we worked as a team and any nerves I had had in the beginning were well and truly gone. I cannot wait to incorporate some of these activities at St Leonards for our own pupils and staff.

My takeaway from this is that, at times, we can all feel a little out of our comfort zone, but if we take that leap and embrace it, we almost always end up having a brilliant time.

Julianne Pennycook

Spotlight On

Festivals of Light

Year 2 have been learning about Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas.

FESTIVALS OF LIGHT | In Year 2, we are learning about some of the Festivals of Light associated with different faiths at this time of year; Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas. On Wednesday, Margi Vilnay joined her daughter Michelle to teach us about Hanukkah.

They told us the story of the Maccabees’ victory over the Syrian army and then showed us how menorah candles are lit to remember the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. We were all treated to a delicious jam doughnut and taught how to play the dreidel game. This led to fierce competition for the chocolate coins that were at stake!

In the afternoon we followed up the morning’s activities by making latkes. For the full recipe, watch the video below - needless to say, we had a lot of fun!

Our thanks go to Margi, Leon and Michelle for taking the time to come in and speak to us, and for the chocolate and doughnuts!

Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher

Buddy Time

Years 4 and 6 enjoyed a cathedral scavenger hunt for St Andrew's Day.

BUDDY TIME | Years 4P and 6P made the most of the wonderful winter sunshine and headed out to the cathedral for Buddy Time. We thought we would celebrate St Andrew's Day by using Buddy Time for a scavenger hunt in the cathedral grounds. The children worked together to locate various buildings and landmarks in order to gain points. Many of the teams gained full points, well done!

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4P Class Teacher

Strathallan Showjumping

Well done to Anna and Emily!

STRATHALLAN SHOWJUMPING | Anna (Year 5) and Emily (Year 7) both competed individually in the 75cm class at the recent Strathallan Showjumping competition and, after watching some seriously fast rounds, they both decided to go for it. Both gave a brilliant performance, but unfortunately each had one pole. A great attempt nonetheless!

A Week in Year 1

Who can you spot in Year 1's baby pictures?

A WEEK IN YEAR 1 | After a beyond bumper week last week, I’d like to say that Year 1 kicked back, relaxed and had a well-earned snooze…but of course they didn’t! We have enjoyed matching baby photos to members of the class and discussing the specific ways in which we have changed. Do you recognise anyone?

Year 1 have been learning about 'changes' all around them.

Following on from last week’s visit to the beach, during which we started to look for things that ‘change’, have also contemplated ecological change and have worked hard on understanding how time changes with specific reference to the years, seasons and days of the week with a bit of help from one ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

Year 1 created drawings for the days of the week.

Year 1 certainly know that there are seven days in the week but I cannot be the only one just now who thinks that the weeks may have become a lot shorter as we hurtle head-first into the festive period. This week has absolutely flown by.

A great deal of independent learning has been going on, too.

Next week is very much about the Nativity and we are all looking forward to showing you the results of our hard work in rehearsals!

Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher and Lower School Coordinator

Year 3 Researchers

Year 3 have been researching the story of Mary Seacole.

YEAR 3 RESEARCHERS | Year 3 have been bringing their Unit to a close by researching Mary Seacole, an incredible woman who went to the Crimean War to care for the wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Although she was there at the same time as Florence Nightingale, Mary had to fund herself as she was of ‘mixed race’, which at the time meant she was not employed by the War Office.

Mary used many herbal remedies to cure the soldiers, which she had learnt from her Jamaican mother. Mary sadly came back from the war a poor woman, not having been supported as Florence was. It took about 100 years before she was fully recognised for her efforts.

The children took the information they had highlighted on Mary and created their own fact file.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Touch of Tartan

Kilts for St Andrew's Day in the Junior School.

TOUCH OF TARTAN | Some of our boys and girls (and staff!) donned kilts and tartan skirts today to mark St Andrew’s Day this week. Everyone looked very smart in the playground at Morning Break.

On Monday morning, Year 3 will host their St Andrew’s Day Assembly in St Katharines Hall, to which all parents and relatives are warmly invited. There might even be the odd touch of tartan on display then, too!

Inspired Knitting

Year 5 have started to knit explorer-inspired hats.

INSPIRED KNITTING | Most of the Year 5s have chosen to have a go at knitting this week, inspired by explorers and the clothes they wore on polar expeditions. We asked Mrs Brannen (our expert knitter) to help us create hats that explorers would wear.

After gathering the wool and needles, she created a pattern and gave us an example hat to work from. We used various colours of soft wool to learn how to cast on. So far Year 5 are loving their new hobby!

It will certainly take perseverance but we are willing to take on the challenge and Mr Barrable is looking forward to wearing his hat on the Discovery Point trip next year!

Thank you to Mrs Brannen for sharing her skills with the class.

Miss Brannen, Year 5 Class Teacher


We wish the following pupils a very...

Happy birthday to Anna. Have a fabulous day!