Friday, 17 January 2020

Bouncing Back

Headmistress's Introduction

‘Resilience is not an emotion or talent, but the maturity to face up to defeat, to own it, and to rebound.'

Matthew Syed, Former International Table Tennis Player and Author.

Setbacks. We have all had them. The disappointment, the sadness, the ‘what if…?’. Over time, we develop strategies to cope with the inevitable obstacles and struggles that life throws at us, whether that be readjusting our expectations, taking time to put things into perspective, trying a different approach, or acknowledging that our feelings of hurt and disappointment will fade with time. Learning to ‘bounce back’, to turn adversity into possibility, really is an essential skill, and one which we aim to cultivate in our pupils here at St Leonards.

As a child, my Gran was my hero. She lived with us, and was a huge part of my life. I feel immensely privileged to have had this relationship. My Gran had certainly not had an easy life - she was a single parent of six children, worked two jobs, and experienced many setbacks and disappointments. Despite this, my Gran never dwelt on the hardships that she faced and would often remind us that there is always someone worse off, or experiencing something more difficult or painful. She would often say ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’. In other words, there is no point fretting and agonising to try to make things happen in life, because what will be will be. There were never truer words said. To this day, I still think about this saying when I face disappointments or when something has not gone my way.

This week, Year 6 have been away at the Outdoor Bound Centre, Loch Eil, and enjoyed a jam-packed programme of activities. This adventure will have helped them to learn about leadership, teamwork, resilience, and how to overcome challenges. I am confident that the majority of the pupils will have been challenged and pushed, perhaps time and time again, to their limits. I, for one, cannot wait to hear about their stories of heroism, success, adventure, hardiness, and even setbacks on their return. This trip will have helped them to develop resilience, to muster the maturity to bounce back, and to draw on their core of inner strength and determination. The experiences that they have had at Loch Eil will therefore last them a lifetime.

We will all be knocked by defeats and disappointments, both great and small, each day, week, month, and year. However, we must acknowledge, accept and own the setbacks that we face and bounce back with ever more determination to try again or to move on because, as my Gran wisely said, ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’.

Julianne Pennycook

Spotlight On

Loch Eil Adventures

Year 6 prepare to take a dip in the chilly waters of Loch Eil.

LOCH EIL ADVENTURES | Year 6 have been away on their Adventure Residential in the Highlands this week, and have enjoyed a range of exciting outdoor activities including a dip in the Loch, canoeing, camping and rock climbing. Mr Barrable and Miss Cormack have been on 'digital detox' whilst at the Loch Eil Outward Bound Centre, and, accordingly, photographs from the trip will be included in next week's newsletter. For now, enjoy the sneak preview of their adventures above!

Flight of Fruits

FLIGHT OF FRUITS | Year 7 pupils Skye Taffs, Sofia Kunwar, and Eliza Konig were initially intrigued by the variety of stickers on the fruit in Restaurant 1877 at lunchtime. This then developed into an inquiry about the carbon footprint of fruit. With the help of Catering Manager, Darren Tonge, they were supplied with examples of oranges and grapefruit that are supplied to the restaurant. The girls then plotted the route of each variety onto a map, and therefore were able to establish the distance travelled by each item. The variety which had travelled the furthest was the South African White Grapefruit, whilst the closest fruits were the Italian Blood Orange and Spanish Marmalade Orange. Excellent inquisitive, independent learning, girls!

Mr McLeish, Year 7 Class Teacher

Critical Thinking

Learner Profile Assembly: Thinkers, led by Miss Boissiere

CRITICAL THINKING | Miss Boissiere led the Junior School Learner Profile Assembly on Wednesday this week. Her interactive and interesting assembly focused on the skill of critical thinking, a quality which is espoused by the PYP and more broadly by the International Baccalaureate. She explained that if you justify your reasoning then there are no 'wrong' answers, and encouraged the children to work through their ideas with their peers. To help them understand the difference between thinking and critical thinking, Miss Boissiere posed some questions without 'right' answers to the pupils, and asked them to justify their reasoning. For example, the pupils were asked to find connections between the words owl, tulip, cauliflower, chicken, and mouse. They came up with some brilliant suggestions, including categorising the words into food chains and organising them in alphabetical order!

Port and Starboard

Year 5 very much enjoyed playing Port and Starboard on the Beach!

PORT AND STARBOARD | Last week, Year 5 visited East Sands on Friday afternoon. It was a chilly afternoon, but the children still seemed to enjoy their afternoon on the beach! The children were warmed up with a game of Port and Starboard - you'll have to ask them to explain the rules to you! They thoroughly enjoyed this game, as it stemmed from their second Unit of Inquiry. The children were also given challenges and problems to solve.

Miss Brannen, Year 5C Class Teacher

Homework Heroes

Year 5 celebrated their successes this week with a gallery walk in the classroom.

HOMEWORK HEROES | This week, in 5C, we celebrated our successes with a gallery walk in the classroom. All the students had an opportunity to share their hard work of their Homework Heroes from Unit 1 (Rights and Responsibilities) and Unit 2 (Explorers). Then children's projects were fantastic - they had built boats, created posters, prepared presentations, written biographies, created Christmas cards... the list could go on! It was great to see the pupils congratulate each other on their hard work. Keep up the good work, Year 5!

Miss Brannen, Year 5C Class Teacher

Light Experiments

Year 4 experiment with light in the Physics Department.

LIGHT EXPERIMENTS | As part of their Unit of Inquiry exploring how light creates shadows and reflections (and helps us to see colours), the boys and girls in Year 4 spent the afternoon in the Physics Department. The children had the opportunity to bend a beam of light, create the colour spectrum using prisms, reflect images, and witness colour mixing to create white light. Many thanks to Mrs Hill and Mr Smith for giving up their time to lead the workshop.

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher

Blustery Battles

U12 girls getting ready to battle Clifton Hall and the high winds on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the poor weather conditions, the U12 boys were excited for their match on Wednesday afternoon!

BLUSTERY BATTLES | The U12 girls' hockey team battled hard against Clifton Hall and the wind on Wednesday afternoon, ultimately losing out 2-3. Congratulations to all the girls who played for their perseverance and stamina in the tricky weather conditions, and particular mention to Thea Wright and Sal Hillman who scored goals for the St Leonards side. The U12 boys' football team also played against Clifton Hall this week and, unfortunately, they also lost the fixture. Congratulations to Lucca Cremonese who scored a goal for the St Leonards side.

Clean Sweep

Evie with her array of medals and trophies from the Pony Club Awards Night

CLEAN SWEEP | Congratulations to Evie Horisk (Year 5) who did exceptionally well at the Pony Club Awards Night last Friday. She won every category for her age (Working Hunter, Show Jumping, Dressage, Tack and Turnout), and was overall champion!

More Machines

MORE MACHINES | This term Year 2 are learning about Simple Machines and the forces that power them. The children were challenged to build the first of our Simple Machines, the Inclined Plane, and to make use of gravity to get a ball to move along it. We discovered that the natural slope of the beach created a gentle inclined plane, but if we built a ramp at the start our ball travelled down with even more force.

Year 2 learning about Inclined Planes on East Sands.

Back in the classroom, we then applied this knowledge to the task of creating giant marble runs using junk modelling materials. We now know that to get our marble running we needed to start our marble runs high in order to create a steep enough gradient.

Magnificent marble runs made by the pupils in Year 2.

Year 2 also went on a harbour walkabout this week, armed with clipboards and tally sheets to see what simple machines we could find. Before we even left the School grounds, Year 2 had spotted Mr McCleish's motorbike - a great example of a wheel and axe. We saw pulley systems to winch the lobster pots up from the fishing boats onto the dock, an inclined plane of a ramp walkway for people to get down to their boats, and plenty of screws to keep the bridge in place. Year 2 quickly realised that simple machines are all around us, that they save us time, and make our lives easier.

Year 2 on their harbour walkabout this week.

The children displayed impressive teamwork throughout these tasks, sharing their ideas and solving problems collaboratively. Fantastic work, Year 2!

Miss Fisher and Mrs Lindsay, Year 2 Class Teachers

School Visitors

SCHOOL VISITORS | Year 3 welcomed two visitors to the Junior School this week as part of their Unit of Inquiry.

Mr Knight using one of St Leonards' new digital screens during his talk.

Their first visitor was Mr Knight, Domestic Bursar at St Leonards, who explained to the children the different jobs that he does around the School. For example, he is responsible for the Health and Safety of all pupils and staff at St Leonards, ensuring that risk assessments are filled out by teachers in advance of school trips and also that visitors to the site have the correct equipment and support. He also spoke to the children about the signage around the school, and the importance and relevance of the different colours. For example, the pupils learned that a yellow sign means 'warning', and a blue sign means 'mandatory, you must do it'. Thank you to Mr Knight for giving such an interesting and informative talk!

The second visitor to the Year 2 classroom this week was Watch Commander Leavey from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), who has been a firefighter for over 20 years. He spoke to the children about the different incidents that the firefighters attend and help with including flooding, traffic accidents, animal rescues, and fires.

Year 3 were engrossed by Watch Manager Leavey!

He also spoke to the boys and girls about the importance of smoke detectors, and asked them to check that they had smoke alarms at home - it is a simple device, but it saves lives. For those without smoke alarms, please contact the fire service and they will happily supply and fit your homes with them.

Mr Leavey spoke to the children about the protective gear that firefighters wear - Mrs Beebee got very hot wearing this heavy kit!

Finally, Mr Leavey explained the different types of fire extinguishers to the children, and how to evacuate their houses and the school. It was a very informative talk, and the children asked lots of inquiring questions.

Did you know that there are different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fire?

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

More Measuring

Year 3 continue their Unit of Inquiry on measurement in the Outdoor Classroom.

MORE MEASURING | Year 3 have been continuing their Unit of Inquiry on measurement this week in the Outdoor Learning Area. They have been measuring in increments of 10 cm, and also using the language of 'more than/less than a metre'. They had lots of fun finding different items to measure, working collaboratively to measure bigger items and inquiring about how to measure different widths, lengths and circumferences.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Lots of Lacrosse

Years 1, 2, 3, 4 learned about ground balls and cradling in their lacrosse sessions.

LOTS OF LACROSSE | Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 all enjoyed some Lacrosse coaching with specialist coach Dave Best this week in PE and Games.

Reflections from Year 1

This week's reflections from Year 1.

Forest Fun

FOREST FUN | Are you looking for childcare or activities for your children over Half Term? Chris Childe is a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and Advanced Earth Education Leader, and is organising a February Woodland Club from Wednesday, 12 February to Friday, 14 February 2020. See the above leaflet for further details.


We wish the following pupils a very...

Wishing Alastair, Will L, Jonny, and Florence a very Happy Birthday. We hope that you have a lovely day!