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The Georgian Friday, 27 November 2020

BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR

The Art of Tinkering

Her brain is full of ideas, which she turns into extraordinary inventions in a shed at the bottom of her garden

This is what I heard as I went into Arthur's bedroom last night to turn off the Mr Men and Little Miss tapes, which he know falls asleep to. In researching 'Little Miss Inventor', I discovered that it is the latest in the series, published in 2018.

I was absolutely delighted to learn of this new book, not least because of the promotion it gives to STEM subjects for girls and the encouragement to study science and pursue interests in engineering, scientific research and manufacturing, amongst other areas.

I was also heartened to see this book, amongst many others, as encouragement for children to experiment, invest, create, and perhaps more compelling to our children (certainly mine - especially through isolation) - to tinker. I remember as a child, hours spent with my tool box, tinkering with my BMX bike, building a tree house (really not as impressive as I may have made it out to be) and trying to make various structures. I now see this with Patrick who has walked around the house now for a fortnight with a screwdriver and drill (toy)! For me, it didn't lead me to being practical, in fact I am hopeless at any form of DIY. However, it developed my imagination, ability to potter around, experiment, and tinker.

Whilst our DT, Art and Food Technology faculty is immensely strong, it was so sad to see the decline of woodwork, home economics and DT in the 1970s and 1980s. These subjects were not just about learning to be practical, but also developing transferable skills that prompt explorations in learning. This is why I am delighted that subjects like this have a very important position within the PSB certificate, as I feel they add tremendous value to a child's learning profile.

I see the real enjoyment our children have in making things here at St George's. Just this week, many Year 4 children have come bounding into school with their Victorian models out of all sorts of recycled materials. No matter how artistic, dexterous, mathematical or spatial, children love to create things, and it is a real highlight to see the children proudly bring their inventions into school.

Tinkering gives children complete freedom to be creative and autonomous, and I whole heartedly recommend they are given encouragement to do this. Next time you are in the woods as a family, encourage them to gather things to make something back at home - you'll be blown away by their ability to innovate!

I am reminded of the concept of 'Room 13', developed in 1994 at a school in Fort William. The idea was to give over an empty space within the school for children to use as their own project space. The Head Teacher defended this idea by saying "children can do amazing things, beyond the limited beliefs of adults, if they are given the opportunity". Room 13 afforded them just this because the Headteacher allowed pupils to run with their ideas. I am not quite ready for a Room 13 here, but have been wondering how we can further encourage the children here. Mike Fairclough, Head of West Rise Junior School, has the following advice:

Keep a sketchbook and fill it with your ideas, inspirations and aspirations. Cut our images from magazines and images printed from the internet that inspire you. You will begin to start thinking like an artist and begin playing around with ideas that in time will become a reality.

Hurray to Little Miss Inventor who joins a long list of STEM role models for girls and boys.

Wishing all St George's families a happy weekend, wherever your - tinkering - adventures take you.

William

PS Ahead of next week, may I wish you all a very Happy St Andrews Day! I'm saying this now by way of explanation for wearing my kilt on Monday.

GOLDEN TREE AND CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY

Golden Tree

Kindergarten Ladybirds

Josh is such a kind boy and is always keen to help his teachers and friends.

Nathanial spent a long time and a great deal of care building an ambulance out of Lego. Well done.

Kindergarten Bees

Ryan quickly dresses himself for swimming without any help from his teachers. Well done Ryan!

Henrietta thoroughly enjoys her swimming lessons and tries to do her best. This week she blew enormous bubbles!

Reception E

Henry loves whole class story books. The pictures get all his looks. He joins in the rhymes so well, this week has been swell.

Shrita is thoroughly enjoying singing all the songs for our Nativity play. She joins in so well with a clear voice. Well done!

Benjamin has been working so hard at writing words and sentences on his own! Keep up the great work.

Reception P

Arjan made a lovely Christmas Story book. He carefully matched the sentences to the pictures .

Benjamin read the sentences for his Nativity Book, all by himself, and he matched them correctly to the pictures. Well done!

Yatharth is a very kind boy. He looks after his friends, plays nicely and always helps his teachers.

1AG

Amarahni for always working hard in the classroom and giving her very best in everything she does.

Zain for always delivering his line brilliantly in our Christmas show rehearsals.

Neev for producing an excellent map in our Geography lesson

Oscar for producing an excellent map in our Geography lesson

1JH

Zachary for always giving 100% effort in class and for painting a wonderful Nativity King.

Abhay for being able to tell the time to o’clock and half pasts confidently.

Ajai for writing excellent facts about hedgehogs.

2SS

Francisco for working really hard in rehearsals for the Christmas performance.

Harriet for beautifully presented work and super creative writing.

Eddie for excellent Maths work and working really well with a partner during practical maths activities

2GA

Frankie for listening to and following instructions carefully. He has worked hard in lessons this week.

Alex B for using lovely descriptive words in his creative writing.

3CH

Anna For a super attitude to learning and always being willing to help in the classroom.

Aarun for a very positive approach to all aspects of school life.

3ML

Jojo has written an amazing story based on The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. Well done Jojo!

Toby listened well during our RS lesson about Diwali, and made some thoughtful contributions during our class discussion.

Silver Kindness Code Award

Eddie Evans

Prep School Commendations

Gracie M, Harry M, Tom G, Charlie W and William F (5RM): for designing a fantastic Italian themed menu as part of their Geography topic on Italy.

Siena L: for consistently working to a high standard and demonstrating outstanding levels of effort in PE.

Sam P, Reya M, Max A, Tilly W, Harrison B, Nate M, George H, Daniel P, Charlie H, Callum B, Barney W, Loic C: for fantastic Maths work: learning about ratios and proportions and how these can be used in real life.

Bikram and Jeevan H, Sarah Z, Harrison B, Poppy J and Sam M for consistently working hard in their French lessons.

Joanna H, James C and Richard C for participating in French lessons and working on a French language website voluntarily.

Radley H and Nefeli M for producing an excellent poster using the perfect tense in French.

Inara H for working diligently both in lessons and at home for French and Spanish.

Edith R, Sarrinah M B and Eowyn: for impressive work in Geography creating Italian menus.

Miles M: for application to his work, particularly his gothic story.

Tabitha P: for working consistently hard in English.

Alex W: for application to his English work.

Molly J and Herbert W: for great English.

Sophie H and Hugo L: for great work in all areas.

Ezrah H: for excellent Maths this term.

Spirit of St George' Award

Celeste J-H: for always listening to others, waiting to take her turn and displaying excellent manners.

Herbie W: for quiet determination and effort, especially in the boarding community.

News and Views from the School this Week

This week the Ladybird children have been exploring the sense of smell. They passed around smell pots and talked about the different smells, whether they liked them or disliked them and what they reminded them of. The children have loved dressing up as Father Christmas and building in their elf workshop. They’ve also been practising ball skills in PE.

The Bee class children have also been learning about their “senses”. They made binoculars which they used on a walk, listened to the sound of crunchy leaves and used kitchen utensils to make music. They took turns to identify objects when blindfolded.

1AG have painted some beautiful winter sunsets and a super nativity picture.

1JH have been busy getting ready for Christmas putting up decorations in their classroom.

Year 2 had playtime in Home Park today.

Year 3 taking part in the after-school sign language hobby

We are so thrilled for Arthur B in Year 3 who was invited to attend a webinar with Tim Peake. Arthur has been interested in space since he was little and one of his favourite books was Goodnight Spaceman. During the webinar Tim was interviewed and he shared stories and pictures of his time in space. What a wonderful experience, Arthur!

Congratulations also to Xanthippe, also in Year 3, for winning three prizes in a virtual autumn show in the Rainbow, Nature Mandala and Photography categories. Her winning entries are above.

3CH enjoyed their mid-morning fruit snacks. They have been painting their Ancient Egyptian masks with metallic paints and vibrant colours and just needed to add the finishing touches on the face… bold eyebrows and eyeliner. They have also been working in the DT room on their Egyptian toys.

In Maths this week 3ML have been working on symmetry. In Wednesday’s lesson they cut out regular and irregular polygons and folded them to try to find how many (if any) lines of symmetry they had. They discovered that with regular polygons, the number of lines of symmetry is equal to the number of sides of the shape. The children have also been finishing and modelling their Ancient Egyptian death masks and recording their songs for their virtual Christmas concert. Some pupils have finished and brought in their models for the House model ship competition.

During their Maths lesson on Wednesday, Year 4 learnt about the position and direction of compass points. Year 4 were also pleased to receive a letter from a post-doctoral Research Assistant, Dr Sara Rassner from Aberystwyth University. She gave them lots of information about Antarctica in response to the questions they had asked in their letter to the Research Station.

The Year 5 girls made the most of the wonderful space of Home Park playing football last Friday, and this week Year 5 pupils visited the Science Lab to investigate sound.

This week Year 6 have been learning all about Ratios and Proportions, and how we can use ratios in real life. They have been looking at how to scale up ingredients for many recipes using ratios and proportion and were given two recipes, one for cupcakes and one for rice krispy cakes. Both recipes served 6, however the children were required to use their knowledge of ratios and proportions, and had to calculate how much of each ingredient they needed to make and bake 15 cakes! Finally they iced them with the answers to the maths problems they were given to solve.

Year 7 are currently learning about the Civil Rights Movement in RS. It is part of the topic on people who believe God has called them to a particular role in life.

There was lots of fun and excitement at Bingo Night in the Boarding House this week - and it looks as if there were prizes all round!

Visiting Speaker

Our visiting speaker this week was Devon Harris who was raised in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, and yet graduated from Sandhurst and served as an officer in the Jamaica Defence Force. He later became a member of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team and competed in three Olympics. He told STG pupils that whenever circumstances and other people told him something was impossible, he ‘kept on pushing’ at every step of the way.

Wishing the following pupils a very...

Charlie H, Ben I’A, William T, Paul R, Sarah Z, Lara H and Joshua I.