A Coronavirus Conversation
Self-isolation, social distancing, and school closures — the impact the Coronavirus has had on our families, our nation, and our world is surreal. The weeks or months ahead avoiding the company of our friends and extended family, shopping trips, cafes visits, cinema and theatre performances, or dining out will be strange. These are all things we take for granted. Working from home for many will become the norm, families will need to be cared for and key workers from medics and hospital staff to childcare providers and delivery drivers will continue to work tirelessly in the face of the crisis.
Coronavirus is reshaping our daily lives and community spirit has never been so important.
These are worrying and unprecedented times, but my colleagues in the Junior School have been working hard to try and keep some normality for the children and allow them to enjoy the final moments of the Spring Term. Below, you will read about some of the excellent wellbeing initiatives that took place this week including making mindfulness jars, free play on East Sands, and building a bug hotel. Coronavirus will adversely test the mental health of many adults and children. We must therefore be mindful of one another, and try to boost our mental health wherever possible. Technology is a wonderful thing and we can stay connected with friends, near and far, with a smile, a friendly face or a comical emoji. That being said, as you each establish your new routines as families over the coming days and weeks, I would encourage you to incorporate time outside, exercise, and creative endeavours into your days. After all, self-isolation does not preclude time spent in your garden or in open spaces — and we are fortunate to have beautiful countryside, woods, and beaches around us here in St Andrews.
Please do help your child(ren) to keep learning over the coming weeks, both by completing the tasks that will be uploaded by teachers to our virtual platforms and by encouraging more informal learning such as reading stories, discovering exciting creatures and plants outside in your gardens, and imaginative play.
Remote learning will continue next week, so please refer to Managbac for all instructions.
I very much look forward to seeing you and your children when schools reopen again — whenever that may be.
Celebration Assembly Certificates
There was no Celebration Assembly on Monday, and so unfortunately we do not have pictures of the children who received certificates this week. However, we would still like to congratulate the following children:
Lottie received a 'Spirit of St Leonards' award for being caring. She has suggested and implemented several initiatives to make Year 5P's classroom a better place for her peers.
Saydee received a Commendation for exhibiting the Learner Profile attribute 'Thinking'. She has extended her classwork and also done extra work at home.
Xander received a Commendation for showing an excellent attitude towards independent and group research and presentation projects in all of his Unit of Inquiry lessons last week.
Cecilia received a Commendation for her extraordinarily enthusiastic approach to inquiry which drove her to research and present information in great detail and with great confidence.
Julius received a Commendation for demonstrating the Learner Profile attribute 'Knowledgeable' during his presentation on Third World Countries. He shared pictures of his family and himself in some of the developing countries.
Ellie received a Commendation for demonstrating the Learner Profile attribute 'Caring' in the classroom, playground, and around the school. She always looks out for others.
Rodrigo received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for being helpful to Mrs Sneddon last week in his spelling group.
Florence received a Commendation for being an excellent communicator. She has shared her thoughts and ideas effectively, whilst realising the importance of listening.
Teddy was Pupil of the Week (Year 1) for his exemplary behaviour and manner in all lessons. He has demonstrated fantastic focus throughout the week.
Eliza was awarded a Commendation for displaying enthusiasm and amazing progress in reading. Eliza is working so hard. Well done!
Lucy was awarded a Commendation for demonstrating a caring manner, and a willingness to compromise and help others.
Emil was awarded a Commendation for demonstrating a caring manner by helping one of his peers complete a Unit of Inquiry task.
Magnus was Pupil of the Week (Year 2) for his caring attitude towards his classmates, and always doing the 'right' thing. He sets a great example to his peers.
TALENTED MUSICIANS | Many congratulations to the following pupils who recently received their ABRSM certificates. These grades were the result of dedication, perseverance and many hours of practice - certainly an achievement to be applauded!
Sofia - Violin - Grade 2 (Merit)
Riya - Voice - Grade 2 (Pass)
Paula - Recorder - Grade 2 (Distinction)
Rory - Piano - Grade 1 (Pass)
Ben - Voice - Grade 1 (Merit)
Alistair - Viola - Grade 4 (Distinction)
REGULAR RUNNING | Lewis completed his 50th Parkrun last weekend at Craigtoun Park. He has also completed Parkruns at Loch Leven, Dundee, and Gorleston Cliffs, and volunteered at Parkruns several times as a Tail Walker. Well done, Lewis!
Perform in Perth
PERFORM IN PERTH | In last week's newsletter we mentioned that 45 pupils from Years 4-7 had recently performed at the Perform in Perth Festival. All the children who took part worked incredibly hard to prepare their readings and performances, and should be extremely proud of themselves. Below are the certificates from the Festival, including mentions of those who were placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their respective categories.
CREATIVE COSTUMES | Year 5 spent some time selecting and trying on their costumes this week for their upcoming musical production Olivia! (a female version of Oliver!).
The brilliant and innovative show is set in Victorian times, and traces the steps of Olivia from a downtrodden orphan to star of the stage. On her journey to the bright lights of London, she is befriended by Eliza Doolittle (from My Fair Lady) and, after a series of adventures, she becomes a singer in a new Gilbert and Sullivan Show. The boys, however, will not be overlooked in the production - with some fabulous male characters including George Bernard Shaw, Ebenezer Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes, and Doctor Watson.
Amidst the mayhem and uncertainty of the current times, rehearsals for Olivia continued this week and it really is set to be a fantastic production. The show must go on!
PERFECT PLAYTIMES | The Lower School pupils have been making the most of the beautiful sunshine this week. In their playtimes, they have made dens, enjoyed the outdoor playground, and created their own stories and plays. Despite the chaos and uncertainty across the world at the moment, there have been much-needed moments of peace and normality here at St Leonards.
JUNK INSTRUMENTS | As part of their Unit of Inquiry How the World Works, Year 3 has been looking at forms of communication. This week, they made their own musical instruments out of 'junk' materials including juice bottles, Pringles packets, and loo rolls. There was quite an orchestra with maracas, guitars and recorders! It was a creative and fun afternoon, and the finished instruments looked and sounded fantastic. Well done, Year 3!
MINDFULNESS JARS | Year 5C have been creating their very own mindfulness jars. They were asked to bring an old jar into school, which they then filled with warm water and added clear glue. So satisfying! Each pupil then selected three colours of glitter, and the colours signified different feelings and emotions. When the jar is shaken, all the emotions are mixed together - and the class spoke about how this is sometimes how we feel. Miss Brannen then encouraged the children, as the glitter settled, to rest their mind and solely focus on the jars. The children absolutely loved this project. With the uncertain and ever-changing circumstances that we are facing as a nation at the moment, why not try creating your own?
TASTY TREATS | The staff from Restaurant 1877 came down to the Junior School to deliver vanilla ice creams in cones (and other free from alternatives) to the children. The children very much enjoyed their tasty treats!
AWESOME ANIMALS | Year 1 have loved the second week of their Unit of Inquiry on animals. With facts and questions aplenty, the children have been learning how to use non-fiction books to find answers. The class have discovered lots of differences between fiction and non-fiction books including contents pages, indexes, glossaries, labels and captions. They have also discussed the differences between illustrations and photographs.
In addition, Year 1 created imaginative animal-themed sand art on the beach this week, with the help of the Year 6 pupils. It was an excellent afternoon, and wonderful to see the two year groups working together so well.
Finally, Year 1 were delighted to welcome Sophie Clarke (Year 9) to speak to them about lions this week. Sophie shared lots of interesting and detailed facts about lions and their habitats with Year 1, kindly read them a story, and even helped them to make lion masks. The lion masks were a roaring success! Many thanks to Sophie for taking the time to come down to the Junior School.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED | For those of you who read last week's newsletter, you may remember that both Year 5 classes were working as a team to remove a large log from the sand. This week, the pupils returned to East Sands to complete this task. You will be pleased to hear that they managed to remove the log from the sand. The pupils displayed excellent teamwork skills and creative thinking in the process. Well done, Year 5!
COLLABORATIVE CREATIVITY | On Thursday afternoon, Years 3 and 4 headed to the beach for the last hour of the school day. The children had a fantastic time working together to make sandcastles, moats, sea turtles, volcanoes and generally just enjoying each other's company.
Year 2 also enjoyed some time playing on East Sands this week. The children played on their imaginary pirate ship.
The pupils in Years 2-4 seemed blissfully unaware of the chaos around them whilst on the beach - it really was wonderful to see them enjoying themselves as they would on any other trip to East Sands. Please do help your children to continue to enjoy the beautiful beaches, woods, and countryside that we have around us here in St Andrews over the coming weeks. Time spent outside having fun and being creative is so good for our mental wellbeing.
EVASION GAMES | Years 4 and 5 had a fabulous time playing evasion games on the beach this week. The sun was shining, and spirits were high!