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The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 8 February 2019

Taking Pleasure in Performance

Headmistress's Introduction

"If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

How time flies when you’re having fun! I can hardly believe I have already reached the end of my first Half Term at St Leonards. Thank you to all of the children, parents and staff who have made me feel so welcome and settled.

This week, the Junior School has been filled with music. It started with Zachary in Year 7 playing us all in on the saxophone to Celebration Assembly on Monday morning, and ended with the children performing in two outstanding Informal Concerts.

Many took extra opportunities to practise throughout the week and I was delighted to hear some incredible melodies flowing down the stairs of Hepburn House as pupils rehearsed solo and group performances in the music rooms above. Performance, whether solo or ensemble, is such an important part of becoming a musician, and indeed of developing important life skills (confidence; communication; self-presentation; teamwork; time management; self-discipline), and I am extremely proud of every one of our children who has played and practised hard this week.

Year 2 performing at the Informal Concert.

There has been a great deal of research conducted by academics about the importance and effect of music and musical performance on brain development.

A study by scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois found that the brain ‘boost’ given by learning a musical instrument in childhood continues into adult life, whilst a study conducted at the University of Amsterdam proved the benefits of structured music lessons in enhancing children’s cognitive abilities.

Language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning and inhibition, all of which can lead to improved academic performance, were found to be significantly improved by the study and practice of music within the curriculum.

This morning I hear every single pupil in Year 2 stood up on stage in the Auditorium and played the violin. They have been learning for just three weeks, so to take part in their very first concert is an incredible step, and one which I hope will go some way towards developing in them a love of music, as well the confidence, and willingness, to try new things.

We have an incredible 120 budding musicians in the Junior School, and I very much look forward to hearing more from them as they continue to play, learn and develop those key skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

The composer Michael Tippett once said, “music is a performance and needs an audience”. It was wonderful to see so many parents showing their support and appreciation in the Music School Auditorium, and I was immensely proud of the children, who listened politely and applauded every one of their peers. I am sure that our musicians were equally grateful for the support of such a rapt and attentive audience.

Music feeds the soul and the spirit but also the mind, and as we go into Half Term, I hope that lots of you will take some time to make, listen to, and appreciate music.

I look forward to seeing you all after the holidays, refreshed and ready for another exciting term at the Junior School.

Eve Moran, Junior School Headmistress

Spotlight On...

Year 6 Unit of Inquiry

Year 6 have been investigating the effects of erosion this term.

YEAR 6 UNIT OF INQUIRY | Year 6 have had a busy first half of Spring Term investigating how erosion affects the natural world and man-made structures. As part of our Unit of Inquiry, we have been on a coastal walk to the Maiden Rock to look at the effects of erosion on our coastline, and we studied how erosion has affected man-made structures in the area around the school and St Andrews Cathedral.

Science investigations have been carried out to look at the properties of different types of rock. Pupils also carried out research in to areas such as wind and water erosion, glaciers and building materials. Some building plans and models of buildings have been constructed as part of Homework Heroes tasks. One even has a working doorbell!

Miss Cormack, Year 6 Class Teacher

Year 3's SFRS Visit

Year 3 have been learning all about the job of a fire fighter.

YEAR 3'S SFRS VISIT | Watch Manager Mark Leavey from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) came to visit Year 3 on Monday to talk to the boys and girls about being a fire fighter and how to keep safe at home.

Mark has been a fire fighter for over 20 years, and he and his teams attend lots of different situations, not just fires. They deal with chemical incidents, animal rescues, road traffic accidents and even flooding.

Mark told the children that the most important thing he has to do is make sure his crew are safe before they enter a building. His job is to make sure that no-one is in the building first, and then the checks that his crew have all their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on correctly, making sure that no skin is exposed. Each fire fighter has a buddy to make sure that they are fully covered. This is very important as a house on fire can reach over 600°C!

Most importantly, Mark asked the children to check if they all had smoke detectors in their homes. These should be placed in hallways and escape routes in houses. They should be checked weekly that they are still working – ‘Thumbs Up Monday’, he called it, when you press the button to test your alarm.

He also talked to the children about having a Fire Action Plan in place at home in case of a fire. This is a very important plan, and one which all families should discuss together.

Mark explained that he would be very happy to be contacted by any families who do not have smoke detectors in place. The SFRS will come and assess the house and place them where they should be free of charge.

It was a very informative talk and the children asked lots of interesting questions.

As you can see I had the pleasure of wearing the PPE (minus the breathing apparatus), and I can tell you it is very heavy and cumbersome. The men and women of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service must be extremely fit to wear it whilst dealing with fires and other incidents!

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Hockey Highlights

The U10 and U11 girls' hockey teams played Ardvreck at home.

HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS | Well done to the U10 girls’ hockey team who were victorious in their game against Ardvreck yesterday! A hard-fought match with great goals from Eabha, Lucy and Rachel resulting in a 3-2 win for St Leonards. The U11 girls went down narrowly 2-1 to the visiting side, but a good team performance and top goal from Thea.

Year 4-7 Informal Concert

Just some of the highlights from the Year 4-7 Informal Concert.

YEAR 4-7 INFORMAL CONCERT | Thursday morning’s Year 4-7 Informal Concert took us from South America to Egypt, Italy, France, and even Neverland, giving the programme a very international flair.

String Club started off with ‘El Pajaro Carpintero’, we heard ‘Kwanzaa’ from the Guitar Club, and Sam was our first soloist with ‘Egyptian Level’ performed on the piano.

The audience thoroughly enjoyed the series of fantastic solos and duets that followed. Thank you to the following performers, who took to the stage to provide us with a brilliant morning’s entertainment: Tom, Ed, Isha, Polly, Sam. Zachary, XiuRong, Lana, Poppy, Calum, Grace, Maya, Jennifer, Alastair, William, Shreyas, Harry, Luke, Alyssa, Finn, and all the boys and girls who played as part of an ensemble as well.

Building Pulleys in Year 2

Building pulleys as part of Year 2's Unit of Inquiry on Simple Machines.

BUILDING PULLEYS IN YEAR 2 | As we come towards the end of their Unit on Simple Machines, Year 2 have been learning about pulley systems. On Wednesday morning, they began by building simple pulleys, which they then linked to their current work in Maths by measuring out lengths of string and ribbon.

The boys and girls were then treated to a fantastic workshop by Dr Vilnay (Michelle and Jonny’s mum), who is a Doctor of Engineering. She talked to the class about the work of an engineer, and then introduced the story of Archimedes’ Feat.

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician who is credited with improving on the pulley systems already in existence at the time when he lived c.287-212 BC. He added further pulleys to create a compound pulley system that, so the story goes, he demonstrated by moving a fully laden ship singlehandedly across a bay, while remaining seated some distance away.

Year 2 replicated Archimedes’ feat in the classroom using a compound pulley system and a ship built from an upturned desk. Using this system one child could easily pull a cargo of 3 shipmates across the classroom floor!

Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher

Electricity in Year 3

Building circuits in Year 3 this week.

ELECTRICITY IN YEAR 3 | To round off our Unit of Inquiry, Year 3 have been looking at electricity and electrical circuits. The children were testing which items were good for conducting electricity and which items were good for being an insulator.

They discovered that items made of metal made the circuit connect and the bulb light up. Items made of rubber, plastic, glass, wood or cork did not make the bulb light, hence they were good insulators.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Story Writing

Creative writing in progress in Year 4 this week.

STORY WRITING | Year 4 have been working very hard during creative writing lessons this week. They are using storyboards to plan an adventure story. The boys and girls will then proof their work, using a rubric, to ensure they have included all the correct punctuation, paragraphs, spelling and, of course, descriptive language to build images through their words. Keep up the hard work Year 4!

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher

Pool Party

Pool Party this afternoon for Year 3!

POOL PARTY | Year 3 rounded off the first half of Spring Term with a fantastic Pool Party this afternoon. Everyone had loads of fun splashing around with inflatables in the swimming pool to celebrate the start of the holidays!

Year 1-3 Informal Concert

Years 1-3 at the Informal Concert.

YEAR 1-3 INFORMAL CONCERT | Thank you to the Year 2 violinists for starting off our Lower School Informal Concert this morning with a vocal and instrumental performance to the tune of ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’.

The audience enjoyed lots of solo performances, plus a musical trio of Mia, Cara and Katya playing ‘William Tell’ on the violin.

A huge well done to our Year 1-3 soloists, who were: Paula, James, Mia, Cara, Katya, Hayfaa, Olivia, Monty, Holly, Jonathan, Amber, Sofia and Marta.

Year 3 played ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ using xylophone blocks and singing along, and all three year groups came together at the end for ‘Janie Mama’, sung brilliantly as a round!

Learning Outside the Classroom

Despite this being the last week of school, we have had a busy few days with our Outdoor Learning Programme.

Beach School

Fractions on the East Sands.

BEACH SCHOOL | Year 5 Beach School on Monday involved the consolidation of in-class work on fractions. There were several activities and for one for which the children had to divide themselves into a series of different fractions, improper fractions, equivalent fractions and even mixed number fractions. This was an excellent exercise as not only did it involve a tangible link to fractional amounts but it also required a lot of teamwork to make it all work out!

Ad Vitam

Ad Vitam lessons on the beach this week.

AD VITAM | Our weekly Ad Vitam lessons often are concerned with the social and emotional aspects of learning. Preparing children for life is our ethos and our motto, and with that in mind we took to the beach. The pupils completed a series of team-building exercises, where the success of the team required everyone to work together, to listen to one another, and to communicate with their peers in a clear manner.

While the set task was easy, finding a way for their teams to agree on a strategy and then work together to cross a fictitious river was a lot more difficult! It was an enormously satisfying lesson to see it all come together.

Running Club

St Leonards Running Club out on the coastal path.

RUNNING CLUB | Enormous fun was had by our runners this week, who took on the challenge of heading up the coastal path in the rain and mud. Great camaraderie on display, made all the more fun by adding two-way radio skills between the different groups!

St Leonards Polytunnel

Progress made on the polytunnel project!

ST LEONARDS POLYTUNNEL | We are hugely grateful to Mr Penman for his invaluable assistance with the polytunnel project. At the end of last week, a truck load of men, wheelbarrows and soil rolled through the Teinds Gate. By the time they all rolled out, they had put in place two beautifully laid out raised beds, lined with plastic and soil. Not only have that, but we now have a paved and gravelled walkway through the middle!

This means Phase 2 of our project is now complete and is in a very professional state. We couldn’t have got to where we are now without Mr Penman’s help. The next step is covering the ribs with plastic sheeting and we will start growing in early March!

Outdoor Poetry

Year 5's poetry indoors and out!

OUTDOOR POETRY | On Thursday, the Year 5 pupils took on the mindset of an explorer, filled themselves with courage and embarked on a poetry workshop. This workshop took place, outside around the firepit, then moved to the floor of the classroom and then back outside again to finish off the creative process.

The aim of the workshop was to foster an environment of creativity. As Year 5 sat on stumps, in the cold under the great bare chestnut tree, they wrote and they wrote! It was a wonderful lesson that I am sure will stay with them for a long, long time!

Mr Barrable, Year 5 Class Teacher & Head of Outdoor Learning

Re-Wilding Study

One of the areas where pupils will be tracking what grows.

RE-WILDING STUDY | With our beekeeping project underway, one of our tasks is to set about planting flower beds and meadow belts to provide a local and pesticide-free source for our bees as well as other pollinators. In other areas, we are looking at ‘re-wilding’ other areas that have been damaged.

As aconites, snowdrops and bluebells are starting to push through now, one class wanted to conduct a study where they compared and contrasted two areas that had been areas of play previously, but at different times were marked as areas of preservation. In each area a square metre has been marked out and we’ll be tracking what will grow. This will inform our decisions of what we need to plant in different areas of the schools grounds!

A Note from the Lower School

Despite the wet and windy weather today, the children’s smiles fair lit up the Auditorium this morning as they enjoyed singing and playing for us all. Such a treat and an inspiring way to head into the holiday. A huge well done to everyone.

It has been an extremely busy week for visitors to the Lower School, with highlights including Mrs Beebee becoming a firefighter courtesy of our local fire service, Year 2 welcoming Dr Vilnay, who demonstrated and helped the children to make pulleys, and Year 1 becoming mini ambassadors by welcoming some of our soon-to-be Year 1s for our first ‘Stay and Play’ session of the year, designed to make the transition between nursery and St Leonards Junior School as seamless as possible.

The way in which the children interact with any and all visitors to our school is always such a pleasure to see. There is no doubt that there is much to be gained from asking questions and watching others share their expertise, and we are so very grateful to everybody who has given their time to add depth and colour to our children’s discoveries and inquiries.

The Lower School children are really flourishing across all areas of the curriculum. They are happy, focused, engaged and, most importantly, they are having fun. We have a number of Lower School-led assemblies coming up in the near future, which are sure to open all our eyes to the very many talents of our exceptional children.

In the meantime, we all wish you a most restful week off. Have fun wherever you adventures take you be it near or far. We shall see you on our return, Monday, 18 February.

Claire Boissiere, Lower School Coordinator

Spotty Book Nominations

Grace in Year 6 nominated Maya for helping her to prepare for her concert performance. She helped her to prepare and listened to her practice. Grace says that without Maya she may not have had the confidence to perform as well.

Shreyas in Year 6 was nominated by Mr Lamb for sticking up for a close friend in an exceptionally caring, kind and non-aggressive manner. Just wonderful to see!

Birthdays

This week we wish the following pupils a very...

Happy Birthday to Logan, Amol, Evie, Lana, Riya, Hamish, Angus, Thea and Poppy. We hope that you all had some fabulous birthday fun this week!

Celebration Assembly

Magnus for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Tom for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Cameron for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Zachary for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Isha for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Zahara for superb effort in creating a model WW1 trench.

Isobel for the unfailing attention and care she gives to her friends.

Hari for displaying an extensive knowledge of the English language by creating an amazing list of 19 synonyms for 'said' in just five minutes.

Scott was awarded Year 3 Pupil of the Week for good listening when visitors have been in to visit the class. He displayed great participation in learning how to use a defibrillator and in learning CPR.

Jamie was awarded Year 1 Pupil of the Week for hard work in every area of school, particularly when learning about money.

Harrison for developing fluency and confidence in reading.

Annie for making a fantastic model of a car using junk modelling materials.

Clara for writing very detailed instructions on how to make ice cream using an inclined plane.

Holly for making a fantastic model of a car using junk modelling materials.

Kabir for excellent questioning skills and an eagerness to respond to questioning during a workshop held in the Year 4 classroom by a visiting specialist, Professor Eric Priest.

Jimmy for tremendous enthusiasm during a class story-writing session. Jimmy worked effectively with a determination to improve his writing skills.

Reasons to be Cheerful

I know how wonderful the children are in the Junior School but it makes me especially proud to receive compliments about their behaviour and achievements from visitors and from staff in the Senior School.

Mr Martin, who teaches Science in the Senior School, asked for the following message to be sent home to the parents of Daniel A, Charles, Layla, Zahara and Daniel W in Year 7:

Dear Parents,

In Science today your child presented an outstanding project to the rest of the Year 7s. They spoke clearly and concisely, and it is abundantly clear the amount of time and effort they spent on putting their project together. I am immensely proud of how much they have learned and passed on to the rest of their year group.

Well done to all of the children mentioned. I am exceptionally proud of you and pleased to see that you are demonstrating such skill and commitment as you prepare yourselves for life in the Senior School.

Little Shop of Horrors

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS | The Year 11-13 students present...Little Shop of Horrors, this year's fantastic musical performance at the Byre Theatre from 20-22 February 2019. Tickets are available to buy now from the Byre Theatre Box Office - all welcome!

University of St Andrews Charity 5k

UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS CHARITY 5K | Please see above details of a 5k run for charity, which is being organised by the University of St Andrews as part of their RAG (Raising and Giving) Week. The run will take place on Sunday, 24 February with funds being raised for Save the Children. Runners of all ages and abilities are welcome!

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