Something as Simple as Thank You
During a recent assembly, I spoke about the most powerful thing in the world and asked pupils to guess what that thing might be. Peace? Friendship? Knowledge? Imagination? Strength? The answer I was looking for was ‘words’.
Words can be incredibly positive, powerful things. Never underestimate the power of them and choose them carefully.
As I approach the end of my first term at St Leonards, two particularly important words spring to mind, and I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of the parents, children and staff who have helped me to settle in and worked tirelessly to deliver our inspiring curriculum both in and outside the classroom.
Thank you to everyone who contributes on a daily basis towards the wonderful sense of community, who has represented the school on the sports field this term, participated in our many exciting outdoor learning projects, from bees to Bushcraft Club, performed on stage in our concerts and plays, and supported us through events such as last weekend’s superb PA Egg Hunt.
Through all of this, it is clear that ours is a school with an incredible heart, a rich and vibrant curriculum and an impressive range of activities and opportunities on which to build. I hope to see you all on Friday, 26 April at either 9.00am or 5.30pm, when I will be sharing my vision for the next steps in the journey of this very special school.
Our school plays this week have added to a term already brimming with creativity. I was incredibly impressed with all of our ‘players’, who demonstrated their acting prowess in the Year 2 Assembly on Wednesday morning, wherein they acted out the story of Jack and the Beanstalk; the Year 4-6 production of ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ and ‘The Incredible Vanishing’ by Year 7.
Across these performances, we were terrified by a rather scary giant (thank you, Monty!), impressed by some wonderful singing, dancing and acrobatics, and taken down into an underground world, where we encountered some rather amusing goblins and their queen. You never know – we may have the next Laurence Olivier or Judy Dench amongst us – but what is certain is that we have some wonderfully confident and articulate children ready to go out and achieve great things, whether on the stage or off it.
Three cheers to Mrs Stewart and all of the staff, children and Senior School pupils who organised and helped behind the scenes.
I hope you all have a well-deserved break , and look forward to welcoming you back refreshed and raring to go for Summer Term.
Jack and the Beanstalk Assembly
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK ASSEMBLY | Our thanks to the Year 2 boys and girls for delivering a brilliant assembly on Wednesday morning. Having explored stories in the classroom, they gave a dramatic performance of the traditional tale, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.
The narrators spoke clearly and set the scene, before Ramsay came on as Jack, acting out the story alongside Eleanor as Jack’s wife, and with Monty as a convincing giant, shouting out ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’ from atop his stilts!
Well done Year 2!
Year 4 at Falkland Palace
YEAR 4 AT FALKLAND PALACE | Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed an action-packed visit to Falkland Palace this week. From the moment they were greeted at the palace gate by the ladies-in-waiting to their farewells, which came about well after the appointed leaving time, the pupils were fully engaged. A sure sign of a brilliant visit!
This was most relevant to their current Unit of Inquiry about ‘Where We are in Place and Time’, and who better to study than Mary Queen of Scots? We had already visited the home she used when she visited St Andrews, in our very own Queen Mary’s Library, and we have now visited the holiday home she loved so much. Falkland was the place she could go to escape from the (apparently putrid) smells of Edinburgh!
Once in period costume and allocated their various positions within the royal court, the class was led to the chapel where we awaited the arrival of Her Majesty. When the queen had established that we were more conversant in English, she reverted from her almost native French tongue. There was much sharing of information between Queen Mary and the St Leonards group.
Much has changed in the past 550 years, but we did learn that Mary was someone who loved to have a good time. She even dressed as a male and enjoyed life beyond her court without being recognised!
In Lord Darnley’s chamber, there was a very detailed talk about clothing and reasons were given as to why so many gentleman’s garments were styled in certain ways. (The teachers have been asked several times since exactly how to spell the word ‘unhygienic’!)
Year 4 learned about the variety of food eaten by nobles and peasants, including the origins of several words – dessert and tearaway – and the nursery rhyme ‘Four and Twenty Blackbirds’. Potage was not a favourite, and boar and song bird from the banquet table did not appeal much, either.
After kneading their salt dough into unique patterns, the Year 4s were more than ready for their own lunch. This was enjoyed in a solid stone, arched basement room, and the sound of chatter echoing from the walls was enough to rouse any lingering spirits from the past.
A lesson on ‘Jeu de Paume’, or Royal Tennis, soon fired up further interest in the afternoon’s activities, when everyone who wished could have a turn at hitting a very heavy tennis ball with a rather unusually-shaped racquet. Even Mrs Arkwright and Mrs Soutar had a competitive match against one another!
A visit to the Royal Apothecary gave us an introduction to the basic understanding of the body back in those times and how many of the remedies were of absolutely no use, as well as certain herbs which are still used and considered of value today.
The final activity was to smell and guess the herbs set out in little dishes, before filling muslin cloths and tying them into bags, making herbal pouches to take home.
All in all, it was a very successful trip!
Mrs McKimmon, Year 4 Class Teacher
The Great St Leonards Egg Hunt
THE GREAT ST LEONARDS EGG HUNT | Sunday was bright and a bit blustery, but still wonderfully spring-like for The Great St Leonards Egg Hunt, which had a record turnout of 122 children. After following clues hidden around the school grounds, the boys and girls each collected a chocolate prize from St Katharines Hall, where the Retreat Café was in full swing, thanks to our very dedicated PA volunteers.
Refreshments were served in the form of hotdogs, home baking and homemade pizza, cooked in Ollerenshaw’s outdoor pizza oven, generously funded by the PA, which has already proved a hit at many Senior School and boarder socials!
Pizzas were cooked to order and delivered by our two dedicated ‘delivery boys’, Will (Year 7) and Struan (Year 8), who spent the three hours of the event running between the boarding house and the Junior School to ensure everyone’s food arrived hot from the oven.
Face painting in the hall was a huge hit, and there were some very creative entries for both the Bonnet Decorating Competition and the Decorated Egg Competition.
Khan (Year 3) was the winner with his dinosaur-themed bonnet, complete with jungle foliage, and Hari (Year 4) and Shreyas (Year 6) were chosen by Miss Moran as joint winners for their football-inspired egg display, which included clues to find hidden characters. Runner up was Serena, Rory and Eliza’s younger sister, who had entered some beautiful jewelled eggs.
The Easter Basket for the raffle was generously donated by one of our parents, Mrs Gautreau, and was won by Michelle (Year 1), who was presented with her prize at Celebration Assembly on Monday.
Thank you to everyone who came along for a fun day out, and to the PA for all their hard work in organising and running the event!
Year 1's Vet Visit
YEAR 1'S VET VISIT | Year 1 were treated to a visit by local vet Karen Whittingham on Tuesday morning to teach us more about the important and varied work of a vet. As we are investigating animals in general, we all agreed that finding out how best to look after them was extremely important.
Karen was kind enough to share her expertise and we even had the chance to examine some of her furry colleagues. Huge thanks to Karen, Fluffy and Whiskers. We are looking forward to making our veterinary role play area just like the real thing!
Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher
The Magic Faraway Tree
THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE | This week Years 4-6 took us on a magical childhood adventure to the lands at the top of the Faraway Tree in their production, written by our very own Director of Drama, Ms McQuade-Powell, and inspired by the novels of Enid Blyton.
We joined Beth, Frannie, Joe and Rick as they set off on wonderful journeys to the Enchanted Forest and up to whichever land was at the top of the tree. There was the Land of Topsy Turvy, where everything was upside-down and the wrong way round; the Land of Spells, home to goblins, Wizard Wily, a witch, an enchanter, a pixie and a singing cat; the Land of Toys, in which Saucepan Man was captured by toy soldiers; the cake-filled Land of Goodies, and the Land of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.
The stage was packed with colour and excitement, with dance, gymnastics, music, and above all, a lot of fun. Well done to our Year 4-6 cast!
The Incredible Vanishing
THE INCREDIBLE VANISHING | Year 7's play had a scarier side to it, with goblins climbing out of a postbox to steal children, and in this case traffic wardens, and take them back to 'Her Marshioness' in the underground sewer.
It wasn't all dark and eerie though, with Tom's flamboyant portrayal of the queen adding a touch of humour to the show, and plenty of comedy lines along the way. There were bubbles, bananas and Tom Jones classics - a unique combination, but one which resulted in a great performance!
Congratulations to the Year 7 cast, and to all involved in putting on the School Hall production!
Golf Programme Minis
GOLF PROGRAMME MINIS | The warmer spring weather has been great for our Junior School golfers, who have been busy practising their putting and honing their technique down at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy.
We now have 80 pupils across the Junior and Senior School enrolled on our leading three-tier Golf Programme, it was brilliant to see some of our youngest members out on a golf course for the first time this week! We even had a hole in one!
VIETNAMESE STORYTELLING | Year 2 enjoyed some traditional Vietnamese storytelling this week, thanks to Max and Milla's mother, Mrs Mery. She brought the stories alive by telling the children about where Vietman is and about the culture.
The boys and girls loved seeing all the Vietnamese objects that Mrs Mery brought in, such as Vietnamese vermicelli noodles, hand-painted chopsticks and beautiful photographs of the people, countryside and food.
Year 2 rounded off the session with a treat of chocolate Easter eggs. What an entertaining afternoon!
Year 3 Beach School
YEAR 3 BEACH SCHOOL | What a glorious way to start a Monday morning. Year 3 headed to the East Sands to bring to the end their Unit of Inquiry on How the World Works, looking at two different ways of communication.
Splitting the class into two groups, the first group headed off to create their weekend news in story form, using only drawings as in cave times. We had wonderful drawings of the PA Easter Egg Hunt, a drawing of the RRS Discovery, a football match and even pictures of Xtreme trampolining!
The second group were communicating by semaphore. This, they discovered, was not an easy way to send a message, and you really had to know your letters and placing of flags to send a message quickly. Not only that, the receiver reading the message had to know the letters back to front! We were glad we were not being relied upon to send a distress signal!
Both groups swapped over and had a great time communicating in two very different ways.
- Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
Year 5 Beach School
YEAR 5 BEACH SCHOOL | Year 5 used the beach as their canvas this week, raking the sand to create patterns and intricate designs in the sand. Everyone had a fantastic time, with real creativity and focus on display.
Congratulations to the following pupils, who received certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday morning:
Eabha for continued excellent effort in her study of Mathematics.
Grace received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night, and a Commendation for an extensive and well-written piece of research into cultural life in Afghanistan.
Emily for showing great kindness and care to others at the Friday Film Night.
Ben for applying himself and working hard in Maths.
Lucca for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night.
Charles for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night.
Amol for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night.
Poppy for her hard work in the classroom, and exceeding herself in Maths.
Jimmy and Archie for applying themselves and working hard in Maths.
Calum for excellent effort and resilience when completing a challenging translation task in German.
Daniel received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night and a Commendation for excellent effort and resilience when completing a challenging translation task in German.
Emil for writing an enthusiastic letter to his favourite author, full of great vocabulary.
Harry for writing an enthusiastic letter to his favourite author, full of great vocabulary.
Erin for writing an enthusiastic letter to her favourite author, full of great vocabulary.
Aidan for being kind to someone who was upset and inviting him to join his game.
Alexander for showing great determination in his Maths when finding the new concept tricky.
Mohamed for accepting, with maturity and an open mind, the comments that his peers shared with him during Circle Time. This led to better understanding and a more positive attitude towards play at break times.
Max for creating his own puppet theatre of the Solar System, complete with two astronauts and rocket puppets.
Elin was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for her superb process in reading, which is now being approached with a terrific smile and great determination!
Milla, who through dedication and commitment in practising her reading, has moved up to the next reading level.
Isha for behaving with great maturity at the recent Friday Film Night.
Zahara for a detailed analysis and well-organised piece of research into laws and customs in Afghanistan.
Polly for a thoughtful and well-crafted piece of research into children's rights in Afghanistan.
Anna for excellent effort and resilience when completing a challenging translation task in German.
Lara for her careful attention to her reading and for making lots of new connections in her thinking about words.
Anona for her consistent focus, determination and increasing ability in organising her class and extra-curricular commitments.
Ed for designing and producing a charming unicorn cushion in his weekly Art Activity.
Katherine received a Commendation for her focused, concentrated effort in her division activities.
A Note from the Lower School
Teamwork is something we talk about a great deal at school, and this week I have seen evidence of lots of it.
Year 2 were a glorious example of working as a team with their outstanding assembly on Wednesday. Every child played their part, performed their role and shared their expertise in their own individual way. They smiled throughout, enjoyed the unifying experience of doing something tremendous together and gave us all a very memorable morning.
The power of the team was also experienced first-hand in Year 1, where they were tasked with working in small groups to complete a variety of jigsaw puzzles as they further their inquiries into the amazing lives of animals.
Happy Birthday to Abdulla, Saydee, Alexander, Sophie, Julius, Grace, Katie, Abbie, Tom and Claudia, who will be celebrating their birthdays next week and over the Spring Term holidays.
Reasons to be Cheerful
This week's 'Reason to be Cheerful' has to be the wonderful Egg Hunt, organised by our PA. The café, activities for the children, clues around school and the bonnet and egg competitions were great. The rain held off and everyone who came had a wonderful and, dare I say ‘egg-cellent’ time! Thank you to everyone involved. Our community spirit is a large part of what makes the Junior School so special.