BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
What is the real purpose of education? Sure, it is important to get as good a grades as you can, learn and make progress in all areas of the curriculum; have exposure to a breadth of opportunities and have fun along the way. However, one word that I think captures the very essence of an outstanding education is: flourishing. Martin Seligman, a leading architect of the positive pyschology movement, measures well-being in five key elements:
1. Positive emotion
This provides a useful base for us to draw out a number of key qualities we would like to see our children develop, including:
Self-esteem; curiosity; hope and optimism; zest; resilience; kindness; empathy and gratitude.
How does school seek to promote these core attributes? Through our curriculum, and approaches to learning and teaching, we encourage curiosity, risk taking and challenge. Our commitment to global links, communication and relationships, we seek to promote compassion and kindness. Self-esteem and the building of confidence lies at the heart of a good pastoral care system, and our commitment to Growth Mindset cuts right across both the curricula and co-curricular side of school life.
James Shone, advocate of developing self-esteem in children (and someone I will talk about a great deal), uses Eric Liddell as an example that "we are all made for a purpose".
Alongside all other strengths, having a true sense of purpose is, I think, a crucial ingredient if our children are to flourish. As young people grow up with more opportunities than ever before in a world that is developing at a pace we couldn't have even imagined as children. This is tremendously exciting for the next generation, but also places enormous pressure on them: pressure to succeed, social and societal pressures, online pressure (and so much has been written about this in the past week in the aftermath of absolute tragedy), and the increased danger of children seeking perfection and losing sight of their own very special qualities.
As we come to the end of children's Mental Health Awareness Week, run by the charity 'Place 2 Be', it seems a pertinent time to remind ourselves that we must help our children to build resilience, and to develop emotional robustness that allows them to deal with the daily challenges and hurdles that life brings. As one of the most inspirational teachers and mental health campaigners, Dick Moore, puts it: "to be able to bend in the wind rather than snap in the hurricane".
I was very taken by a quote from a TED talk, delivered by Laura Schulz, 'the surprising logical minds of babies'. Do watch it, I think it is incredibly relevant as we talk of technological advancement. Her message is that the development of emotional intelligence (EQ) in babies, young children and teenagers is crucially important for them to flourish.
To tie all these strands of developing wellbeing together, we must invest in the emotional literacy of our young children so they have the building blocks to flourish as they enter a world of transformational change. Pressure in the many forms it comes in is not the answer. Ensuring our children grow up with a developed sense of self-belief, happiness and resilience is.
Wishing all St George's families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to:
Harry for displaying an outstanding work ethic in English
Nicholas and Elliot for an outstanding History essay on the causes of the English Civil War
Spirit of St George's Award
Matilda was awarded a Spirit of St George's Award for her impeccable manners, kindness and thoughtfulness towards others.
Sports Players of the Week
Isla was awarded the Years 3 and 4 certificate for her efforts during the Swimming Gala.
The U11B Rugby team were awarded the Years 5 and 6 certificate for their teamwork and progress during the week
Tristan was awarded the Year 7 and 8 certificate for being a positive member of the team.
On Tuesday afternoon eight of our current pupils from Year 2 and 3 joined the choristers to experience the life of a chorister at first hand. Following a practice session with Mr Vivian, Music Director of St George's Chapel, they were given a tour with one of the Chapel stewards. They were joined by the whole choir for a general rehearsal prior to singing Evensong.
The boys came down for supper at school and played in the boarding house while their parents had a Q&A session with key members of staff in the Song School.
Many congratulations to Leo and Keiran for being awarded Chorister of the Week.
On Wednesday parents and teachers were enthralled by a wonderful concert of music in the Lower School Hall. Year 2 and 3 instrumentalists provided an entertaining programme and it was wonderful to see so many children taking part and enjoying the opportunity to perform. Well done to all of them.
The Lower School have had some wonderful trips out of school this week. On Tuesday Year 2 had an excellent day at Winchester Science Centre, where they designed and tested rockets and spent time in the amazing planetarium. On Wednesday Reception learnt about gardening and science in the exciting surroundings of RHS Gardens at Wisley. On Thursday Year 1 visited the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace for a workshop called ‘The Queen’s Big Day’, all about her coronation, the horses and the carriages she travelled in.
Last Friday was a washout when it came to fixtures and unfortunately the weekend tournaments did not fare much better, with the National School Rugby Qualifiers for the Under 9s and Under 11s cancelled due to the snow covered and frozen pitches on Sunday. St George’s returned to action following the snow last week with the girls playing matches on Wednesday against Hall Grove and the boys against Reddam House and St Piran’s.
The Under 10 rugby teams came up against some strong opposition versus St Piran’s, but relished the challenge. It was a fantastic opportunity, particularly for the A team, to understand that through every challenge, learning can thrive. All three teams made good progress despite the results and will be better teams for it in the long run.
The Under 11As and Bs travelled to St Piran’s and performed exceptionally well in both matches. Special mention must be made of the hat trick of hat tricks by Kieran E, Harry E and Henry J. The 2nd XII worked hard on developing their skills at the break down and organisation in defence. Carl A scored an excellent individual try and the boys should all be commended for their resilience throughout the duration of the game.
There was another outstanding display of expansive attacking rugby from the 1st XII versus Reddam House this week. They worked hard to secure the ball at the break down and used the pressure they had built towards the latter stages of the game to allow Johnny W to score the winning try in the last 10 seconds of the match.
In netball this Wednesday the Under 10s played against Hall Grove. It was a slow start for St Georges in the 1st quarter as they had tracked 1-3. However, all the girls worked extremely hard throughout with substitutes at each break, and some girls playing in new positions during the game. The final score ended up with a goal deficit 4-5, but it could have gone either way. St George's player of the match was Willow B. The Under 11s also played Hall Grove away at Lightwater Leisure Centre. This was a much more one-sided affair, with our girls displaying dominance on the court through pleasing teamwork and movement off the ball.
This week a special mention must go to Jamie P who competed in the IAPS Swimming Qualifiers at St Teresa’s, Effingham in the 25m Fly event and winning heat, with an outstanding time of 16.17 seconds.
This week's visitors
On Monday Reception and Year 2 had a wonderful introduction to the Chinese New Year. The classrooms were decorated with colourful Chinese lanterns and displays, and Yulin Zhou and Wenwen Wang came to tell the children all about Chinese New Year traditions.
The final of BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words, the world’s biggest short story writing competition for children, will be broadcast live on Radio 2 on Friday 14 June from Windsor Castle. On Thursday Sophie Jones came down from the Castle Learning Centre to present a very amusing and interactive assembly that got the children thinking about how to plan a story. We will be encouraging every child from Years 3 to 8 to take part.
On Friday we were happy to welcome four Lower Sixth Form girls from Windsor Girls' School to our Assembly. Maddie W and Deva N asked them some questions about life at their senior school, and then the floor was opened to other StG pupils. The girls' answers included some interesting guidelines on what to expect when moving on to a senior school, including extra-curricular activities and leadership.
Success at Pangbourne College
Four of our Year 5 pupils had an excellent morning at the Poetry Performance Day at Pangbourne College, winning the 'Best Use of Voice' prize for their rendition of A Girl Named Jack by Jacqueline Woodson.
This week has included Safer Internet Day. Class Teachers and Form Tutors have been leading discussions with pupils about how to keep safe online. They have thought about safeguarding personal information, the dangers of playing games with strangers via the internet, and asking for and giving consent for images to be shared. There is some very useful information for parents on their website: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers
On Wednesday night, the boarders had a fantastic time learning some basic skills in Stage Fighting and Drama. After a lively warm up, they had a quick lesson on balance, on how to centre their weight before getting started, and on the importance of maintaining the illusion of a great stage fight (without any contact!)
Working with partners, they produced some realistic scenes and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! Our huge thanks to Emma York, aka Mrs Gregory, for running such an exciting and enjoyable workshop!