World Kindness Day - Hand and Heart
Behind the Study Door
On Tuesday, many schools celebrated World Kindness Day, with a focus on ‘random acts of kindness’ and recognising kindness through assemblies, class activities and whole-school initiatives. Of course, days like this are so important in developing and celebrating a culture of kindness, although it should not be confined to one ‘theme day’ in the year, instead be deeply embedded as the central feature in every school every day.
As we approach Advent and Christmas (yikes, 38 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes and 3 seconds), we often reflect on the significance of giving and receiving. Giving is of course closely associated with kindness, and indeed our own inner happiness, as it is proven that altruistic behaviour releases endorphins (essentially happiness hormones) into the brain.
To highlight the importance of giving, we must dust off our global location knowledge from Geography lessons and head to the Middle East, and the area either side of the West Bank, and specifically to the River Jordan. The River Jordan is fairly unusual in that it flows into two seas.
The first of these seas is the ‘Sea of Galilee’. The sea is fresh and there are plenty of fish in it. Its banks are green and trees spread their branches over it. The Sea of Galilee is a happy and lively place.
The River Jordan also flows in another sea, but there are no fish here, or trees on the banks. There are no birds singing, and the air above the sea hands very heavy, due to the concentration of salt. Some of you may have been to the Dead Sea and floated on it.
What an amazing difference between the two seas. Why should this be, when they receive the same water from the River Jordan? It is also nothing to do with the soil in which they lie. The difference to two seas is much more simple.
The Sea of Galilee receives water from the River Jordan, but does not keep it. What it receives, it gives, and allows water to flow out, thus keeping the water fresh and allowing life to grow in and around it.
The Dead Sea has no mechanism to allow water out, so it hordes the water as it receives it, and therefore eventually loses its goodness to allow things to grow.
In a nutshell, the Sea of Galilee receives water and lets it out; the Dead Sea receives water but keeps it.
In all walks of life, there are two types of people: those who receive, help and give to others, and those who receive but then keep instead of sharing.
To illustrate this point, we can reflect on the actions of Piotr Malachowski, an athlete (Discus) who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics. In 2016, he was in the news for selling his medal to raise funds for a three year-old boy who needed life-saving treatment. This boy was no relation to him.
This selfless act of kindness and gallantry is one example, and of course there are many perhaps more relevant to us, but with the same effect on someone else. However, this did make me consider a valuable lesson, which we can all share with our children: real wealth is not what you gather, but what you let go. In the case of Piotr Malachowski, his silver medal became gold in this act of kindness.
As another ‘theme day’ comes and goes, and as we – along with so many schools and communities – focus on what is really important in bringing up children, kindness is one of the most rewarding lessons we can teach. It certainly isn’t confined to 13 November each year, rather it is an attitude, skill, value and character trait that brings more happiness than anything else.
Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Dundee Science Centre
DUNDEE SCIENCE CENTRE | Year 1 had an amazing visit to Dundee Science Centre today, where they conducted operations on polyps and implanted pacemakers. They looked at MRI scans, ultrasounds and investigated key hole surgery. After a fantastic workshop learning about our bodies, the children had more time to explore their senses.
A truly wonderful day out, and an amazing way to bring our present Unit of Inquiry, examining the notion 'we are all the same but different', to an end. A great way to finish our week and start the weekend!
Year 2 Family History Museum
YEAR 2 FAMILY HISTORY MUSEUM | On Wednesday afternoon, Year 2 concluded a unit of inquiry into their family histories by setting up a museum to showcase their research. The boys and girls invited family members, friends and other classes to visit their excellent exhibition, and it was a chance for visitors to ask questions about the displays and find out more about Year 2's project.
This was the result of a tremendous amount of work, from deciding which aspects of their family history they were interested in learning about to writing questions and conducing their own research. The children recorded their findings in a variety of ways including posters, books and PowerPoint presentations.
The children brought in artefacts relevant to their family history and wrote captions to go with them, before displaying and presenting their work to a very appreciative audience!
Thank you to everyone who visited Year 2’s museum and who helped to make it such a special afternoon.
U9 Rugby Tournament
U9 RUGBY TOURNAMENT | On Wednesday we were thrilled to welcome teams from Lathallan, Craigclowan, Ardvreck, Fettes, Clifton Hall, Cargilfield and Loretto to St Leonards for our annual U9 Rugby Tournament, an event started by New Park School. Everyone enjoyed a fantastic afternoon of skill, teamwork and friendship.
Congratulations to this year's winning side, Cargilfield, and a huge well done to our boys, who finished fifth out of eight teams in the competition.
Year 3 Hand Washing
HOCKEY V LATHALLAN | Wednesday was a busy afternoon for sports fixtures, with the U10 and U13 girls playing hockey at home against Lathallan. The U10s beat Lathallan 6-0 in a great game, at the end of which Rachel was chosen as 'Player of the Match' after four amazing goals on assists from her team mates. Goals were also scored by Sanna and Jennifer.
In their game, the U13 girls went down 4-2 to the visiting side, but with two great goals from Anna. Isha was voted 'Player of the Match' following some fantastic saves. Unfortunately for the U13s, the defensive team were too strong this time. A special mention goes to Polly, who ran her socks off in midfield!
Well done to all our girls in their respective fixtures.
We have a bumper edition of Celebration Assembly photographs in this week's newsletter. The following pupils received certificates at Assembly on Monday this week, and also last Monday:
Holly for creating a PowerPoint presentation on her family.
Rakan for creating a poster about his grandfather, a teacher in Qatar, ahead of the new Unit of Inquiry.
Thomas for producing a wonderful piece of writing on his grandad, following an interview.
Adam for conducting thorough research on his family tree, followed by extensive interviews, ahead of the new Unit of Inquiry.
Clara for researching her family history during Half Term and bringing in many artefacts.
Ingrid received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for leading by example as House Captain for the Shoebox Appeal.
Zachary for his magnificent effort in arranging a school fundraiser for the Tsunami Appeal, raising over £500.
Roy received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Archie received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Jennifer received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Rachel received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Kyle received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Logan received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Ava received a Headmaster's Commendation for her excellent understanding of 3D shapes and their properties.
Eliza received a Headmaster's Commendation for producing work on Olympian gods and goddesses to a very high standard.
Ruben received a Headmaster's Commendation for creating a very thorough and impressive scrapbook of his Half Term activities, which included a visit to the British Museum in London.
Nikolas for creating a well-designed and informative poster following a trip to Hamburg and Berlin.
Lucy received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing care and kindness to others.
Katya received a Headmaster's Commendation for writing a wonderful Half Term diary in English, summarising her trip to Russia and Germany.
Lana received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing kindness and care towards others.
Rachael received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing kindness and care towards others.
Charlie received a Headmaster's Commendation for an excellent piece of independent problem solving in Maths.
Conor received a Headmaster's Commendation for creating excellent character profiles during guided reading activities.
Mohamed for writing a very detailed report of his Half Term break, covering transport and travel issues in Cairo.
Jasper for his excellent understanding of 3D shapes and their properties.
Freddie for the enthusiasm and accuracy with which he summarised his group's reading book.
Scott was presented with his Bronze level Learn to Swim certificate at Celebration Assembly.
Hari received a Headmaster's Commendation for his detailed and very maturely written book review of his group's current reading book.
Madison received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing care and kindness to others.
Evie received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for undertaking a charity haircut during Half Term.
Eliza, Shreyas, Eabha, Kyle, Harry and Ollie received Spirit of St Leonards Awards for reading during the Act of Remembrance Assembly. Ollie also received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for his enthusiasm and hard work towards the first step of becoming an eco-school.
Alfie, Katie, Harry and Sanna received Spirit of St Leonards Awards for their enthusiasm and hard work towards becoming an eco-school, by assisting with the composting area.
Erin received a Headmaster's Commendation for her excellent independent work on subtraction in Maths.
George for maintaining very high standards in Maths.
Julius for his enthusiasm and commitment towards completing caring tasks for his secret friend.
Aidan for showing super focus during English tasks.
Theo for showing increasing perseverance in areas that he might find challenging.
Ethan for consistently neat presentation across all subject areas, especially in his mental arithmetic.
Kamilah was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for her enthusiasm and determination in Maths.
Saydee for showing excellent progress in all aspects of school life, including organisational skills and number work.
Sophie for her unfailing helpfulness around the classroom, both during lessons and in her own time.
Jonny for his caring attitude and ability to work as a member of a team.
Jonathan was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for development in language and efforts in all areas of school life.
Milla received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Matilda received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Olivia received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Rodrigo received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Eleanor received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Max received a Headmaster's Commendation for excellent research on family history, and depicting this superbly.
Harris was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for excellent focus in all areas of the classroom.
SHOWJUMPING SUCCESS | Congratulations to Anna (Year 7), who competed in the 11 and under category at the Scottish Showjumping Championship last weekend, and won! This is a three-round competition, in which the first two rounds must be jumped clear in order to progress to the 'jump off', with each round increasing in height.
Anna and her pony Fern rode two clear rounds, followed by a brilliant fast jump off, winning the class. A super achievement, and testament to all her hard work, perseverance and resilience!