BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Arthur chose the Usborne 'Look inside how things work' last night as his bedtime story. For a curious young four year old, my heart sank as I knew this wouldn't be a quick story. His first question, upon looking at a picture of a fair-ground ride, was what the picture of the machinery was. Foolishly, I responded with "A hydraulic ram", without really knowing what this was. Arthur followed this with the predictable "What is that"? His line of questioning didn't relent as we went through the book, time ticking by. Many questions followed: gravity, levers, steam trains, motorcycle pistons, why planes fly, why hovercraft float and don't move, how a loo flushes, how bread becomes toast, back to hydraulics on a crane arm, and how does a police radio work. Eventually, well and truly beaten, Arthur felt his curiosity had been satisfied and I think I came across as pretty ignorant, the only question I really knew the answer to being, "Why do people get arrested by the police".
What is certain is Arthur was not doing anything any child wouldn't do. Between the ages of 2-5, children ask on average 40,000 questions, that is about 25 questions an hour. These are not 'what' or 'where' questions or other mere information requests that we see between the age of 18-30 months, these are 'how' and 'why' questions; a question that elicits an explanation from adults.
In a recent study into a child's curiosity, the following questions were observed by the researchers:
What happens if your eyes turn into flies?
Did you used to be a monkey?
Why can't I run away from my shadow?
If I am made from a bit of Mummy and a bit of Daddy, then where does the bit that's from me come from?
Despite these seemingly silly questions, a hugely complex mental process goes into every question a very young child asks: the child has to realise there are things they don't know; they then have to realise that other people are 'information-bearing agents'.
Every question that a child asks is like a little wager. The child senses the information they can gather from a situation might come in handy one day and every question successfully answered will bring knowledge, and subsequently they will grow their knowledge bank. For us, every question asked is a gamble as to whether we know the answer, whether it will lead to confusion or dead ends.
In his book, 'Curious - the desire to know and why your future depends on it', Ian Leslie suggests the following ways to develop our curiosity:
1. Read widely and follow our interests.
2. Visit a bookshop or library and browse the shelves.
3. Put a lot of ideas and facts into our heads, and don't rely on Google.
In addition to Leslie's book, I recommend the following books:
'Curiosity' by Alberto Manguel
'Big Ideas for Curious Minds'
'Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds' by Ian Wright
One of the great privileges of teaching this age group is that children are so curious they adsorb knowledge like sponges. It is our role to inspire the pupils to maintain their curiosity, and as Leslie stresses:
- Never label something as boring, for doing this will close a door of opportunity.
- Continue to question relentlessly.
- Be as diverse as possible in exploring new genres, listen to TED talks given by a range of people and explore new topics.
Everyone is born curious, and whilst the relentless questioning can be tiring, this exploration that starts at a young age and should continue right into adulthood and beyond ultimately makes us smarter, more creative and more successful. Albert Einstein famously said: "I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious".
I came across this the other day on a fantastic twitter feed called 'universal curious':
Having finally got Arthur to bed, he looked me square in the eye and said: "Can I have a hydraulic rod?"
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to the following pupils who were awarded a Head Master's Commendation during Assembly on Monday:
Noah N-C: for gaining full marks in a Geography test
Carl A: for sustained diligence in Religious Studies
Nate M, Liv D, Bikram H and Matilda W : for outstanding research and presentation in a task to create a poster on The Titanic
Spirit of St George's Award
Tom G: for demonstrating true team work and a kind nature in a recent Year 8 task.
William S and George S: for showing great initiative to support and help a member of staff last week
Willow W: for being thoughtful and kind to a younger child in the Pre-Prep
Sports Players of the Week
Years 3 and 4: Karina K - Teamwork, working really hard this week, achieving many rebounds and interceptions for her team on Friday.
Years 5 and 6: Ella G – Pursuing Excellence, making great progress, listening carefully to the targets she has been set during training and applying them effectively during the match on Wednesday.
Years 7 and 8: Keiran E – Pursuing Excellence, working tirelessly this term to develop as a player. Scoring two of the team’s goals in a 3-1 win against Holme Grange.
Year 3 Life in Ancient Egypt Workshop
As part of their history topic this term, Year 3 travelled back in time to the land of the Pharaohs and experienced what life was like thousands of years ago, where people lived, what they ate, where they worked and the importance of the Egyptian gods in everyday life.
Cheltenham College Leadership Challenge
On Monday, eight pupils from Year 6 - Henry B, Sam B, Willow W, Noor O, Ella G, Ethan F-G, Hari K-J and Amar S - travelled to Cheltenham College to take part in a Leadership Challenge. There were 13 team-building events, such as building the ‘Tower of Hanoi’ out of tyres. Luckily the students had made the puzzle in DT in Year 6, and at the time they took the challenge, they were the fastest so far! Other events included a leader helping a blindfolded team through a maze, watching a clip of ‘You Only Live Twice’ and recalling facts and building the highest tower possible out of Jenga blocks. The pupils had a fantastic experience and really embraced all of the challenges throughout the day, working really well as a team. They came 3rd out of the 12 schools taking part, and Henry B received an individual prize for displaying exceptional team work skills on the day.
Buddhism Assembly and Workshop
On Thursday Kelsang Jindak, a Buddhist nun, came from Reading Buddhist Centre to talk in assembly about the Buddhist faith and introduce the children to some of the Buddhist traditions, including a short meditation. Afterwards she visited the Year 4 classrooms to tell the children in more depth about Buddha and the origins of the Buddhist faith. The children asked lots of questions and were very polite and well behaved. They participated in a 'brain break' with Kelsang, who congratulated the children and the school on embracing MindUP. She commented that the children were an inspiration and that it was "a pleasure to share a moment of peace with them".
Friday Match Reports
The U9 Red football team played Sunningdale Prep on Friday. This was the last match of the season for the team , leaving their best performance to last. They have made wonderful progress this term and as a result, produced some outstanding football against a well-organised opposition. Despite players moving into different positions, their passing and movement of the ball proved far too strong for the opposition. The final score of 8-1 was a great result to finish on. The Under 9 Blue and White teams, unfortunately, had their fixture against St Edward's cancelled. This was a real shame, as the boys have been playing some excellent football in the latter stages of the season.
The U8 sides also played their final game of the football season against Sunningdale Prep. It was a tough, well fought game. Both sides played fantastically well, the passing was very good with some strong tackles going in by both sides. It has been a super season and it was lovely to see how far the boys had progressed from the first training season. Well done all - you have had a great season!
'Walk the Peaks' Challenge - Windsor Defibrillator Project
12 'Young Leaders' from St George’s and 12 pupils from Windsor Girls' School completed the Three Peaks Challenge on Thursday. Against the magnificent backdrop of Windsor Castle, the pupils completed 70,000 metres (43.49 miles) in 45 minutes. Together with Mike Sellis from Lindsor Lions, local PCSO Dave Bullock and Year 4 teacher, Mr Wilson, they hopped, danced and skateboarded the combined distance of the three highest mountains in the world twice over, which is an amazing achievement.
Both schools are raising money to buy two defibrillators for the local community. So far £1000 has been raised, and Windsor Girls are hoping to increase the final total by holding a mufti day this week.
If you would like to lend your support, please visit the crowdfunding site:
McLaren Design Competition
After a visit from Mr Gilbert from McLaren, pupils were invited to take part in a competition to design an eco-car. Prizes were very kindly donated by McLaren. First prize went to Noah N-C and Daniel P; second to Tabitha P, Cedric R, Gabriel R-A and Siena L. Runners up were Alexander L, Reya M and Leo M.
Evening clubs have continued these past two weeks for the boarders, with the new multi -use games area proving very popular under the floodlights. Other clubs have included Creative Digital Design, Knitting, Christmas Crafting and Jamming. There was an Evening Concert on Tuesday which some of the boarders played in or watched, and Wednesday saw the customary outing to Windsor to buy some tuck, followed by a swim or futsal (a small-sided football game played with a special ball to highlight technique) and a film before bedtime. Some of our boarders had the opportunity to make a visitor most welcome on Wednesday night: Lisa Kerr, Principal of Gordonstoun, was given a tour of the facilities before meeting senior members of the St George’s Common Room. We are delighted that she was thrilled by our tour guides who spoke openly and warmly of their boarding.
This week, Year 4 and 5 boarders have been welcomed in to Mr and Mrs Goldsmith’s house for gingerbread decorating. Wednesday’s Dodgeball competition was eagerly contested with one team victorious by 4 games to 3.
And finally, we have had another Secret Boarder week. Our chosen boarder this week was Cedric R who has gained a prize for the entire boarding community for his excellent boarding conduct. Well done, Cedric!
This has been the busiest boarding term yet that we have encountered at St George's: the numbers of boarders continue to swell and some nights have been completely full for certain ages this term. We would strongly urge early booking for Lent Term 2020 boarding to avoid disappointment, whether this is by using the booking form available on the parent portal to book regular nights for one or more nights per week (preferential rates available for early booking), or by getting in touch by email to register interest for a particular individual day or days in the Lent term.
Lions of Windsor Auction
The Lions of Windsor Charity Gala Auction will be held at Runnymede Hotel and Spa, Windsor Road, Egham, on Thursday, 28 November. To book tickets and for further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Lion Team on 07720 880088.