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The Voice of st leonards

Friday, 4 September 2020

The Spirit of Adventure

As I write, a new school year lies ahead, uncharted and full of promise. The return to school has led to our pupils experiencing a wave of different emotions. On the one hand, the children have felt relief and joy as they have seen their friends again, and settled back into familiar routines after a long break. However, on the other hand, many of the pupils have experienced a slight uneasiness about the changes and challenges that lie ahead. The unknown is always a source of fear, the fear of whether something will be hard and difficult, perhaps even out of our grasp.

This week, Years 1-6 have focused on adventure and togetherness through the activities and classwork that have been part of 'Springboard Week'. The aim of the week was to enable the children to work together in teams, to try new things, and in some cases to push themselves into new experiences and out of their comfort zone. It has been fantastic to see the pupils grow in confidence, and get excited for the adventures that this academic year will bring.

The children have been developing four key skills this week, and these are skills that they will take with them and continue to hone over the weeks and months that lie ahead.

  1. Communication - for any team to succeed and for every team member to be successful in their adventure, communication is essential. Adventurers are given the responsibility to make their own decisions, and it is in these moments that they will learn what works.
  2. Persistence - many of the 'Springboard Week' tasks were longer than our usual lessons or activities. The extended timeframe of the tasks required the pupils to develop patience and persistence.
  3. The ability to have 'Type 2 Fun' - Type 1 Fun is the kind that is immediately enjoyable. Type 2 is the variety that upon reflection was very enjoyable, but in the moment may have felt demanding. The tasks within 'Springboard Week' contained both types of fun.
  4. Positive Thinking - this is perhaps the most challenging lesson to learn, and one that became clear to so many when they finished the Chariots of Fire run. During the run, the pupils made sure that their friends were never alone, and encouraged one another to get across the finish line. Working together as a team, and thinking positively meant that the pupils were able to accomplish more than they ever expected.

Over the coming weeks and months, we look forward to practising our communication skills, digging deep to find perseverance, and employing positive thinking in all situations. However, most of all, the pupils and staff are excited to get to know each other better as we continue to build, strengthen, and grow our very special school community.

Mr Duncan Barrable, Head of Years 4-6

Year 1

Parrots and Pictures

PARROTS AND PICTURES | On Monday, Year 1 enjoyed their first trip to the East Sands. By chance, the pupils saw a man eating his fish and chips with a parrot on his shoulder, and he wasn't a pirate! He kindly told the children that his parrot was called Shortie, and that his pet was able to say 'hello' and 'goodbye'. Shortie was very gentle, and some of the children were even able to hold and stroke him.

After this exciting encounter, the pupils went onto the beach and read Julia Donaldson's lovely story 'A Sharing Shell'. They thought about what being kind and sharing looked like, and then took time to draw pictures and write the letter 'S' in the sand - this was the first letter and sound that they have learned.

On the way back to school, the pupils saw a family who were using bacon in a bag to catch crabs. They enjoyed looking at the crabs that had been caught. All in all, it was a fun and exciting afternoon. Year 1 are looking forward to lots more trips to the beach over the coming year!

Alphabet Adventures

ALPHABET ADVENTURES | The Year 1 pupils have been busy learning their first sounds this week: 'S' and 'A'. They have also been beginning to blend the sounds to make words, for example 'as', 'at', and 'sat'. They have also started to learn their numbers, and enjoyed writing them with chalks in the playground. Practice makes perfect!

Year 2

Blackberries and Beachcombing

BLACKBERRIES AND BEACHCOMBING | Years 2 and 3 enjoyed a joint trip to the East Sands this week to indulge in a spot of beachcombing in the sunshine. They collected shells, pebbles, driftwood, and sea glass to use for various projects back in the classroom.

Year 2 also discovered a bramble patch in the school grounds and ended the day munching happily on blackberries.

Noticing Numbers

NOTICING NUMBERS | Year 2 enjoyed getting out and about in the sunshine to look at numbers in the local environment. They found numbers on car registration plates, boat models, on the cafe price list, on the speed limit sign, in various telephone numbers, on the harbour clock face, on a sign's digital opening times, and on house numbers. Numbers truly are all around us!

Year 3

Embracing Risk-taking

EMBRACING RISK-TAKING | Life is full of risks, and Year 3 is embracing the risks that they are already taking, and can take in the future. They are more than ready to push themselves and take the risks that they need to drive themselves further. Every small step is an accomplishment.

Year 4

Three Digits

THREE DIGITS | This week, the Year 4 classes have been working on place value, and used the outdoor classroom to gather items to represent a three-digit number. The children were then asked to create the largest and smallest numbers with the items that they collected. Great work, Year 4!

Year 5

Number Knowledge

NUMBER KNOWLEDGE | Year 5 have had lots of fun this week, and particularly enjoyed their trip to the beach. As well as exploring the beach, Year 5 practised counting in 25s all the way up to 1000, played number games, and made a huge 'Year 5' using their bodies.

Year 6

Poetry and Paddling

POETRY AND PADDLING | The Year 6 classes have had a jam-packed week. They have been busy writing poems about their dreams, taking part in the 'togetherness' activities, working together to create their classes' Essential Agreements, and spending time with their new subject teachers. In addition, they have taken some time out for fun and games at the beach. On Tuesday, they ventured down to East Sands to take part in beachcombing for treasures, paddle in the sea, and make dens in the dunes.

Chaos Tag

CHAOS TAG | On Wednesday, the Year 6 pupils didn't let the rain dampen their spirits and they enjoyed a large game of 'chaos tag' in one of the newly-installed polytunnels. It has been a great first full week back at school, and the different activities have been a lovely way to get to know each other again.

Other News

Elmer l'éléphant

ELMER L'ÉLÉPHANT | This week, in line with the theme of togetherness, Years 1-6 have been working on a collaborative project based on Elmer l'éléphant. The children have read the story 'Les amis d'Elmer' (Elmer's Friends), and have created their own versions of the story. They have learned the French for all sorts of animals, ranging from flamingos to cheetahs! Each class will be videoing a short piece, and we will then put these together to form our version of the story. It has been great fun working together on this project.

Sorting Hat Assembly

SORTING HAT ASSEMBLY | At the start of each academic year, Year 1 pupils at St Leonards are assigned to one of our four competition Houses: Harris, Mull, Lewis, or Skye. Like in Harry Potter, the children find out their allocated hat in a special Sorting Hat Assembly, complete with a magical hat - as seen in the pictures below. This year, the assembly will take place in Mrs Beebee's classroom and will be streamed via a Google Meet to enable parents to attend, albeit in a virtual manner. Please follow the link included in the weekly mailing to attend.

Chariots of Fire

CHARIOTS OF FIRE | As part of 'Springboard Week', Years 1-6 enjoyed recreating the iconic scene from Chariots of Fire on the East Sands and the West Sands. All you had to do was imagine the Vangelis music playing overhead, whilst the children tore across the beach at top speed. The build up was amazing and the preparation unprecedented, as white T-shirts were donned and warm-up exercises employed. It was a great afternoon.

Years 4-6 also had a wonderful afternoon running along with water line in white t-shirts, humming the Vangelis tune in their heads. Some of the pupils logged a distance of up to 8km! The teachers also joined in, and it was fantastic to welcome a number of parents to watch the event down at the West Sands from a distance.

Many thanks to Miss Carroll, Mr Baxter, Mr Parsons, and Miss Dawson for their enthusiasm and encouragement. We can't wait to repeat the event next year.

After their exhilarating run, the pupils in Years 1-3 enjoyed more team building activities and forging friendships back at school. Springboard Week has been a blast!

Stunning Sandcastles

STUNNING SANDCASTLES | The Years 1-6 Sandcastle Competition on the East Sands marked the end of Springboard Week. Armed with buckets and spades, children teamed up with classmates to build, create and dig castles; volcanoes and dragonlands, galore. This proved a great start to the term in our first full week back and an opportunity to work with a new friend.

Risk Takers

RISK TAKERS | In this week's assembly, Mr Barrable told the pupils about an individual named Kleon Papadimitriou who cycled over 2,000 miles to travel from Aberdeen to Athens in just 48 days. Can you think of any other examples of risk-takers that you know personally, or have read about in the news, during the coronavirus pandemic? Your teachers would love to hear these stories, and any stories of when you have been a responsible risk-taker.

Over the past week, the pupils at St Leonards have all been brave - they have faced the uncertainty and challenges of returning to school with determination, resilience, and courage. The teachers are all so proud of the risk-taking pupils at St Leonards. Each month, we will select an IB Learner Profile attribute to focus on as individuals and as a wider school community. This month, the pupils in Years 1-6 will be developing their risk-taking skills, and learning to face challenges with independence, resilience, and courage. The pupils will be reading books that focus on risk-taking with their class teachers, and reflecting upon the stories and characters that they read with their classes.

At the end of this month, we will be awarding Risk Taker certificates - we can't wait to share fantastic stories of responsible risk-taking with you. Watch this space!

Happy Birthday to Kamilah M, Sophie S, Elin T, and Tom C - we hope that you have a lovely time celebrating with your friends and family!