Every Child is an Artist
"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." Mary Lou Cook
Last night, as I sat looking through the Junior School Art Exhibitions I was astounded not only by the quality of work on display, but also by the fact that the exhibitions included artwork created by every single child in Years 3-7. The exhibitions contain a diverse and exciting range of artwork with paintings, prints, sculptures, collages, and drawings on display, created using pencils, pens, paints, and even fruit! There are so many incredible pieces of artwork, but I must admit that I particularly loved Skye Taffs' three-dimensional dolls house. The intricate details of the cardboard house (which include a miniature TV, sofa, light up message board, a rug and even fairy lights) are absolutely stunning. It transported me back to my childhood!
The exhibitions really are a fantastic achievement, and are even more noteworthy because of the difficult and challenging circumstances in which the children have produced the artwork displayed. The pupils have certainly channeled their creative juices and worked hard to hone their artistic skills and talents. A huge congratulations to all the children - you should be very proud of all that you have achieved, and for your hard work and commitment over the past year. I know that in the process of creating this amazing array of artwork there will have been set backs and hurdles to overcome, and points where you will have just wanted to give up. However, as the actress and dancer Mary Lou Cook said: "creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun."
These exhibitions would not have been possible without the dedication and direction of Adele Neave, our Art Teacher here in the Junior School. Adele has worked internationally and travelled extensively, and the children are so fortunate to benefit from her wealth of experience. I would like to thank Adele for inspiring our children, for encouraging them to take risks, and for helping them to have fun whilst creating their exceptional artwork. Finally, I would like to thank her for pulling this exhibition together in what can only be described as adverse circumstances!
If you haven't already managed to do so, please do take some time to peruse the Virtual Art Exhibitions - the links are found further down the newsletter.
CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY | A huge congratulations to the following pupils who received Commendations and Spirit of St Leonards awards in the penultimate Celebration Assembly of the academic year.
LANGUAGE PERFECT | Once again, our pupils rose to the challenge to see how many questions they could answer in a week as part of the Global Language Championships. The championships require pupils to learn vocabulary to score points, work towards awards, and compete for prizes. The pupils competed in 13 different languages with other students from across the globe, and achieved some outstanding individual and collective results. As a school, we moved up the global rankings to 419th (out of 2155 schools). This is an exceptional achievement, especially because St Leonards is a comparatively small school!
Congratulations to all the participants, but a particular mention must go to Shreyas who received a bronze award (2139 questions, placing him in the top 10%), Nihal who received a credit award (844 points, placing him in the top 20%), and Ed who received a credit award (612 points, placing him in the top 20%).
Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting language competitions that will be posted on Managebac!
Virtual Prizegiving Ceremonies
VIRTUAL PRIZEGIVING CEREMONIES | A reminder that you are warmly invited to our series of virtual Junior School Prizegiving ceremonies are happening next week, starting with Years 4-5 on Monday, 22 June at 1.30pm. Earlier this week, all Junior School parents should have received this invitation below which contains the links to the Google Meets. If you did not receive one, please contact Mrs Dewar and she can forward the invite onto you. We hope to see many of you there!
PUPIL SPOTLIGHT | This week, we were pleased to catch up with Conor and Aidan. They have loved being able to go for long walks, bake cakes, and have more time to spend in the garden, but have missed being at school and seeing their friends and teachers each day. We hope that you enjoy listening to their reflections on the highs and lows of lockdown life.
COOKERY CHALLENGES | Year 3 have been busy in the kitchen this week! Mrs Beebee has set them an optional recipe challenge to complete each day - she hopes that this will enable them to try out new flavours and techniques, and allow them to channel their creative juices! The highlights so far have been some lovely rolls baked by Holly, some yummy fruit kebabs made by Rakan and Christina, and a delicious potato salad prepared by Olivia. Adam has also been very busy in his garden tending to his vegetable patch. Well done, Year 3!
Jamie and the Beanstalk
JAMIE AND THE BEANSTALK | This term, Year 2 have loved learning about plants, and also getting outside to grow their own plants. Miss Fisher organised a bean growing competition to see who could grow the tallest beanstalk. We are delighted to announce that the winner is Jamie Sever-Smith, who grew a beanstalk that has already reached the dizzy heights of 39cm! Jamie document the growth of this amazing plant in his bean diary. In second place is Bethany Page who, instead of a bean, grew a pea plant that has reached a very impressive 30cm. Great work, Year 2!
Round of Applause
ROUND OF APPLAUSE | A huge congratulations to all the pupils who have taken part in the Junior School challenges over the past two weeks. We have been so impressed with your individual and collective efforts. The challenges have reminded us that, though we are physically apart, we can remained and connected and engaged - St Leonards really is a very special community.
So what do these challenges involve? For two afternoons each week, we have encouraged the children to take time away from their screens and involve themselves in an open-ended tactile challenge. The teachers have loved seeing emails pop into their inboxes off the back of these challenges with photographs, explanations, and stories of how they tacked the tasks set.
Commenting on the weekly challenges, Mr Barrable said:
"I applaud each and every child who has taken part in these activities, from growing to building and, of course, eating! I love that the children never limit themselves, that they are creative and persevere. Last Friday, it was great to see some homemade kites flying on the top of Hallow Hill and thrilling to know that at the other end of the kite string was a St Leonards pupil! "
Virtual Sports Day
VIRTUAL SPORTS DAY | The inaugural St Leonards Virtual Sports Day really has been a huge success. Since the last newsletter, we have received a few more entries meaning that, at the time of writing, the total number of videos uploaded is now a staggering 359! Many thanks to all the pupils who took part - it has been fantastic to watch your creative and enthusiastic takes on the classic Sports Day events. This video montage was produced by Elisa - we hope that you enjoy watching her various sporting endeavours!
Cardboard Box Adventures
CARDBOARD BOX ADVENTURES | Year 1 have continued with their Unit of Inquiry into toys this week. They have discovered that as long as children (and adults!) have imaginations, that they can make toys and games out of anything. To investigate this concept further, and inspired by Jill Murphy's fabulous book Whatever Next, Year 1 were tasked to go on an adventure using only a box - or, if they didn't have a box, another inanimate object. Needless to say, their adventures were amazing and eclectic!
TOY TIMELINES | Year 1 have also been making toy timelines, and have discovered that some of their toys are very old indeed... Grace's timeline included her great grandfather's teddy (100+ years old), her grandad's teddy (around 75 years old), her dad's teddy (nearly 40 years old) and her first teddy (nearly 6 years old)!
POLLINATORS PRESENTATIONS | This week, Year 2 have been busy preparing presentations on pollinators as they come to the end of their Unit of Inquiry into the interrelationship between plants and minibeasts. Sadly, there are fewer pollinating insects these days, with many varieties of pollinating insect becoming increasingly scarce or even facing extinction due to many factors including pollution, land use, and climate change. Pollinator-friendly spaces are important for people as well as insects, promoting a sense of wellbeing and helping to clean the air and water of our planet. We can all make a huge difference and boost the number of pollinators in our area by doing a few simple things in our gardens...
Below is some expert advice from some of the keen gardeners in Year 2. Why not give it a read to find out what you can do to make a difference!
MELODIOUS MUSIC | We love that, during lockdown, our pupils have been trying their best to make music using whatever they have at home. Last week, we shared a video of Cara playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' using glass bottles. In the same vein, Sophia has learned to play 'Auld Lang Syne'. We hope that you enjoy listening to her performance below.
EXCELLENT EXHIBITIONS | On Thursday, 18 June we were delighted to launch a series of virtual Art Exhibitions to showcase the fantastic artwork that has been produced by the pupils in Years 3-7 over this past year.
Reflecting on the pupils' achievements, Junior School Art teacher Miss Neave wrote:
"When I was a professional artist, my best paintings were often done during difficult and challenging times. The creative process and expressing my feelings through my art were a kind of therapy, and new ideas used to spring forth during these moments. It seems that the children at St Leonards Junior School have gone through a similar process! This period of lockdown has given the pupils a chance to express themselves in their own distinctive ways. It has been wonderful to see the artistic skills of so many pupils flourish and mature in such a short time. I have loved opening up my emails to discover photographs of incredible new pieces of art. These images have made my day and lightened my spirit, given me hope and brought a smile to my face."
In case you haven't yet managed to look at the fantastic artwork on display, here are a few selected images to whet your appetite!
Finally, please follow the links below to view the exhibitions - we hope that you will enjoy perusing them at your leisure.
Eat Your Veg
EAT YOUR VEG DAY | This week, to mark National Eat Your Own Vegetables Day, the Junior School pupils have been busy harvesting their homegrown produce, writing recipes, and then cooking some delicious dishes ranging from warming soups to refreshing smoothies!
The key worker children also got involved! Led by our gardening guru Miss Fisher, the children harvested all of the produce that was ready to pick in the school vegetable patch. They then wheelbarrowed their haul of potatoes, beetroot, kale, spring onions, lettuce and herbs up to the kitchens, where Mr Tonge and the catering team turned it into a delicious potato and kale soup and a salad with halloumi cheese.
If you're looking for some weekend recipe inspiration, why not watch the video below which XiuRong and Mia produced. They used homegrown pak choi and kale to make a delicious vegetable stir fry!
FANTASTIC FITNESS | At the start of lockdown, Alyssa was challenged by her mum to complete a walk that was far longer than anything she had completed before. The route proposed started at her house in Ayr, then progressed all the way up the Brown Carrick, and back. This is a 15.7 mile round trip with a 300 metre climb! Through her daily lockdown walks, Alyssa has been training for the challenge by gradually increasing her mileage. We are so proud of your commitment, perseverance, and grit - very well done, Alyssa!
SUPERB SANDCASTLES | The annual St Leonards Junior School Sandcastle Competition is always a highpoint of the academic year. The event usually takes place on East Sands, and the children are divided into mixed-age teams. We are always so impressed by the creativity of the sandcastles built, ranging from traditional fortresses to huge ice cream cones complete with shell and stone ‘sprinkles’ and fearsome sand dragons. This year was no exception — although, of course, the competition had to take a slightly different format! Below are a few of our favourite entries.
HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES | Looking for some exciting activities to fill your Summer Holidays. Why not check out the Dundee Spy Academy and the Together/Apart theatre and dance course? Both can be joined from the comfort of your own home.