Last Friday, our whole school community went home with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and success. We had completed a full week of teaching and learning, forged and rekindled friendships, settled back into the routines and rhythms of school life, and embraced our 'new normal' here at St Leonards.
This got me thinking about how we measure success, and how this impacts our children's perception of themselves. A wonderfully varied and diverse group of individuals - in appearance, tastes, and hobbies - make up our special school community. As parents and teachers, we see that our children want to be successful, to please others, and to feel the pride associated with success - but how to we measure and perceive success?
After many months away from school, it has been fantastic to see our pupils embracing the Learner Profile attribute of the month: risk-taking. Taking risks, putting yourself into new situations, and 'having a go' all increase our chance of success. If children believe that they are only good at 'this' or 'that', they lose the urge to try for fear of failure. Recognising a failed attempt at something, and building upon it, is a success. Success is not preordained. Success is not cut and dried. Success may not be immediate. Success may come as the result of earlier failures. Your success, my success, the success of our children will all look different, but all successes should all be praised and celebrated.
At St Leonards, we cultivate individuality and strive to make every child appreciate their value and recognise their own successes, as well as those of others. The sense of success, whatever the field, is important and spurs children on to push themselves, experiment with new things, keep on trying, and then achieve even greater things. It is always wonderful to see the children's smiles when their accomplishments are rewarded in class, in assemblies, and in the sporting arena. The impact of praise for a job well done, whether you are a child or an adult, has lasting meaning.
As we settle into this new academic year, we will continue to applaud the successes of each and every child, encourage the children to appreciate that our measures of success are all different, and help each other to learn from any perceived failures. I hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter, which is filled with stories of success.
I hope that you and your families have a lovely weekend.
Miss Claire Boissiere, Head of Years 1-3
Fun in Year 1
FUN IN YEAR 1 | This week, Year 1 went on a walk to find numbers around the school. While on the hunt, the pupils found the new playground games with lots of numbers on them and so they hopped, skipped, walked, jumped, and ran. They have been learning more letters and sounds: d-d-d-dinosaur, and n-n-n-nest. The pupils coloured in some lovely dinosaur pictures, and also created some collage nests.
MAGNIFICENT MEASURING | In their Maths lessons, the Year 2 pupils have been focusing on the language used when making comparisons between height, length, and width. The pupils had great fun taking part in a scavenger hunt, and have developed a really good understanding of measuring vocabulary.
People Who Help Us
PEOPLE WHO HELP US | Year 2 has been busy finding out about the various different jobs undertaken by people within our school community. The children prepared questions that would enable them to learn about the skills and knowledge that Irene, Mrs Dewar, and Miss Boissiere need to do their jobs.
Irene told the pupils about the ways in which her job has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. She gave the children some valuable work experience, and they helped her to sanitise door handles in the corridor and then sweep up the leaves and debris in the playground using brushes!
It became very evident that the pupils think incredibly highly of Mrs Dewar, as many of the questions put to her were about how she helps everyone at St Leonards to feel cared for and happy. The pupils were surprised to learn that Mrs Dewar does not play computer games when she is at her desk! Plans are afoot to set up an office in the Year 2 classroom, so that the pupils can play at being Mrs Dewar!
Finally, Year 2 visited Miss Boissiere in her study this week to find out what it is like to be the Head of Years 1-3. They learned lots of new information about her job, and that sometimes Miss Boissiere is so busy that she has a 'bonkers' day. One of the extra skills she thought she needed, to do her job well, was to be a super-fast runner, in order to stop the school bus if a late child was trying to catch it. Who would have known that running was part of the job description of being a Head of Year...?
PARACHUTE GAMES | The pupils in Year 2 have been practising being 'risk takers'. Having read 'Parachute' by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley and discussed what it is like to be a risk taker, the class played some parachute games including 'Mushroom' and 'Crossing'. The pupils had to challenge themselves and be confident enough to let go of the parachute and run underneath to find space on the other side, whilst everyone was trying to catch each other underneath. Judging by the squeals of laughter and the loudness of everyone taking part, the games were a great success. Luckily, they were playing parachute games on the ground... the Year 2 pupils have yet to be uber risk takers and take to the air!
MATHS MATTERS | Year 3 returned to school ready to embrace the spirit of inquiry. Even in their free time, they have been keen to put into practice their number skills. This week, Jamie experimented with place value - he built his numbers using concrete materials, and then recorded them as digits. Meanwhile, Michelle wanted to test her subtraction facts within 20. Great work, Michelle and Jamie! Maths really is everywhere.
SUPERTATO STORIES | This week, Year 3 has had great fun focusing on the character Supertato. The pupils investigated the character and thought about suitable adjectives for Supertato, made their own potato heroes, played with conventional comic heroes, and wrote their own endings. The boys and girls are now ready to create their own 'Supertato stories'. Many thanks to Ken from Starr Farm for supplying the potatoes which were transformed into heroes!
In addition, the pupils began to look at the qualities that heroes share: bravery, kindness, and a caring nature to name three. Year 3 has already decided that not all superheroes wear capes - the pupils recognised farmers, NHS staff, and sewage treatment workers as examples of heroes who do not wear capes. The pupils are excited to learn more about heroes over the coming weeks!
Out and About
OUT AND ABOUT | This week, the Year 4 classes have been settling into their routines. They have enjoyed taking their learning out and about around the school campus. They learned about place value on the AstroTurf, and walked around the school to notice, observe, and feel what was around them to help them with story ideas ahead of their writers' workshop.
Year 4 has also combined their Unit of Inquiry learning with Mathematics by gathering data about the types of transport that pass our school on a daily basis. They look forward to organising and sharing their findings in graphs and charts next week.
READING ABOUT RISK TAKERS | This week, as part of their Ad Vitam lessons which have been linked with Language & Literature, the Year 5 pupils have been focusing on 'Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah'. In line with the focus on risk takers this month, the pupils looked at the messages in this book and engaged with thinking on big ideas.
Mia said that it "inspired" her, Kamilah realised that he was being brave and trying new things, James enjoyed how Emmanuel learnt to play football, and Alex pointed out that he never gave up. Finally, Hayfaa's favourite part of the story was when Emmanuel rode his bicycle all around Ghana. The pupils really have loved reading and thinking about being risk takers!
POLISHED POETRY | This week, the Year 6 classes have been writing poetry linked to water as part of their Unit of Inquiry. On Wednesday, the pupils headed to the East Sands to create some fantastic shape poems and Haikus. They enjoyed working with the sand to create words and images to represent their poems. Great work, Year 6!
LOVELY LUNCHES | Years 1-3 have been enjoying their new Bento box lunches this week. Each morning, the children pre-order their food from the menu, and then the Restaurant 1877 catering team prepare and deliver their bespoke meals. Many thanks to Darren Tonge and his team for all their hard work - the meals have been going down a treat!