"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
Teamwork is the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. Last weekend I was at Comrie Croft; this was my third visit, and it was certainly no less special than the previous two. I had only one concern about setting off on our Swallows and Amazons adventure, and you would be forgiven for thinking it was the weather. (Last year was cold, and I mean bitter, teeth-chatteringly cold!) This year I came prepared; hot water bottle packed, ski socks and hat, two sleeping bags and I was good to go! No, it was not the weather.
My concern was the children assembling their own tents. The thought of arriving with tired and hungry children, wrestling with poles, ground sheets, ropes and pegs and trying to assemble the tents brought me out into a cold sweat. I begged Mr Barrable for pre-assembled Bell tents but he stood strong and assured me it would be OK.
The reality, of course, was that I really shouldn't have worried. When I pulled into the meadow to join the group, I couldn't believe my eyes. The tents had been assembled with ease, the children had worked wonderfully as a team and were then asking around to check whether anyone else needed help with their tent, before heading off to play together. Never had I felt so relieved.
Throughout the weekend, I continued to be impressed by exemplary manners, offers of help, pupils rushing to be of assistance and displaying great kindness to one another. Even when the bus was delayed it didn’t dampen spirits, and everyone improvised with imaginative games or shared their money to buy a friend a hot chocolate. Most importantly, everyone worked as a team.
I assured the Year 5s at Celebration Assembly on Monday that they will definitely have the opportunity to go to Comrie Croft next year and if last weekend’s example is anything to go by, I look forward to many more trips.
In the Junior School more generally, we are very much one team, together, and I am very grateful for that. Staff often work beyond their hours, come in on their days off and give up their time. Many of the residential trips that take place would not happen without the dedication of our staff to going that extra mile. My thanks to Mr Barrable for organising the trip, Miss Neave, Mr and Mrs Young, Mr and Mrs Sneddon and Mr Pennycook for all their support at Comrie.
I was heartened, too, when I returned from our camp-out, to find that Mrs Beebee and Miss Fisher had spent a day in the Junior School playground at the weekend, digging borders, planting shrubs and, amazingly, putting railways sleepers in place to build raised beds. No one had asked them to do it, they just wanted to. Without the dedication from this amazing team, St Leonards Junior School would not be all that it is - thank you.
Down on the Farm
DOWN ON THE FARM | What a fantastic time Year 2 had last Wednesday! At the outset of our Unit looking into ‘Jobs in our local community’ the children expressed an interest in learning about the work of a farmer. Mr Steven (Thea’s dad) very kindly invited us to his farm to find out more.
There were squeals of excitement as he took us out on a trailer to see the broccoli harvest and then up to the tatty field where he let us pick potatoes. Every child went home that night with a big bag of freshly picked produce.
He also talked to us about the whole process involved in growing and harvesting their crop of oats. We saw the grain store and the amazing grain drying machine in action. We had a hands-on look at tractors, a plough, the seed sowing machine and their impressive combine harvester. Thea and Anona had even baked us some flapjacks using their own oats - they were delicious girls!
What an amazing afternoon we all had! Our grateful thanks go to Mr Steven for taking time out of his busy harvest to give us such a wonderful experience.
Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
PERFECT POSTERS | The girls and boys in Year 3 shared their posters with the class, talking them through fun facts and words about the different countries they had researched. We had a wonderful mix of different nationalities represented, including France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece!
Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
Comrie Croft Weekend
COMRIE CROFT WEEKEND | Another year and another successful Swallows and Amazons weekend at Comrie Croft! For three years now, our Comrie Croft visit has been graced with glorious weather - we couldn’t have been more fortunate to have warm nights and sunny days this late in September.
The Swallows and Amazons weekend is a favourite fixture in the calendar, and it is unique in that it is an opportunity for peers to bond across year groups. Another feature that adds to the appeal is just the sheer simplicity of it - there are activities planned, but also plenty of time for the children to play, explore the woods that flank the meadow where we camp or just to sit in groups around the fire. It is a time where the children are free from digital devices, and they are able to connect and enjoy each other’s company in a way that children often don’t get an opportunity now.
One element that was different from the previous visits was that this time, the children brought their own tents, and organised their own tent groups. This added a level of responsibility as they had to arrive knowing how to set up their tents and work with their little tent team. It was wonderful to see the whole campsite come to life when we arrived. Some tents just popped up and some required good team work. I found this self-reliance enormously satisfying to watch and how the different groups tackled how to set up and arrange their tents. As each tent finished, their inhabitants would disappear off into the woods only to be spotted or heard every now and then from across the burn amongst the bracken and trees. This was camping!
The nights were crystal clear and despite a glow over the hills to the east, the sky above was dark and clear with the Milky Way arching above us. Ursa Major was the one constellation that was most recognisable. Several children, after they had retired to bed lay in their sleeping bags with their heads out the tent just to gaze up at the sky. Such was the sense of wonderment!
The next morning saw the Swallows and Amazons separate into their different activities. The Swallows when bushcrafting and the Amazons explored the trails and the different runs around the Croft. This year, the bushcraft session was held in the woods above the camp in a birch forest. It was an ideal location to scout for edible berries and other plants, make shelters and practise starting fires. A quick lunch and then the groups changed activities. Our last night consisted of a magnificent pasta bolognaise, ‘smores, hot chocolate. After a full day, the camp turned quiet far quicker than it did on the first night!
Sunday morning was a misty and early one as we had to break camp and get ready for our departure. Despite a wee adventure with the coach, the Swallows and Amazons all returned full of stories to tell and washing to be done.
A huge thank you must be said for the teachers and families that made this trip possible and for making it what it so memorable; Mr and Mrs Pennycook, Mr and Mrs Sneddon, Mr and Mrs Young and Miss Neave.
Mr Barrable, Head of Outdoor Learning
Fisheries Museum Fun
FISHERIES MUSEUM FUN | Year 2 had a fun-filled day on Thursday, visiting the Fisheries Museum in Anstruther in the morning and celebrating European Day of Languages in the afternoon.
In our Unit of Inquiry this term, we have been looking at the different jobs that people do in the community and have already been down to talk to fishermen in the harbour at St Andrews to learn about their livelihood in fishing.
Our trip to the Fisheries Museum told us the story of fishing in the local area and the sea through history, as well as how fishing methods have changed through the ages.
Like everything, life goes in full circle and we learned how today of course, in the bid for sustainable fishing we are returning to the method of line fishing, just like all those years ago.
We also heard how the fishermen’s wives carried the fishermen out to their boats, to keep their clothing and boots from getting wet and how hake would be air dried in the rafters of their houses to preserve it.
In the afternoon, we returned to school to don our German colours of red, black and yellow, as we celebrated European Day of Languages. In the Year 2 classroom, we feasted on German salami, bratwurst and pretzels, with German music playing in the background. We made German flags and heard stories from our two German friends, Jonathan and Elin.
Finally, we showed off the posters we had created from around the globe, featuring countries including Croatia, Russia, Denmark, Greece and of course, our chosen country, Germany!
Mrs Lindsay, Year 2 Class Teacher
European Day of Languages
EUROPEAN DAY OF LANGUAGES | Thank you to everyone who took part in our European Day of Languages on Thursday! The Junior School was awash with colour thanks to everyone's country-themed costumes, flags and face paint. The Lower School children took the theme further with their poster display, and what a lot of brilliant creations there were on show in the Year 1-3 classrooms!
A wonderful way to celebrate different cultures and languages across Europe and within the Junior School at St Leonards!
Year 4 Beach School
YEAR 4 BEACH SCHOOL | Year 4 headed down to the beach for their second Beach School session this. We used our Unit of Inquiry, focusing on transport networks, as a stimulus and transformed ourselves into engineers with the task of building a bridge. I was most impressed by the wide variety of styles of bridges created, the attention to design and the determination to complete their bridge that was displayed by all the children. A fantastic start to a Friday!
Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher
Congratulations to all those who received LAMDA awards on Monday, following a series of successful performances at the end of last term in acting and performance!
Thea for her outstanding contributions to the Comrie Croft trip and her kindness shown to others.
Abdulla was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for volunteering to help Miss Fisher with some serious digging and helping out every day while she was working on crafting a flower bed.
Conor for his outstanding contributions to the Comrie Croft trip and his kindness shown to others.
Willow for her outstanding contributions to the Comrie Croft trip and her kindness shown to others.
Nasser for working enthusiastically and conscientiously in lessons.
Francis, as he is always the first to volunteer, regardless of the task. He is a great help every day.
Arabella for writing a wonderful story called 'The Cracked Canoe', and for settling in so brilliantly.
Lottie for her neat and organised approach to all learning and for always being keen to help around the classroom. Well done!
Lana for being an excellent inquirer.
Alexander for being the first to produce a neat and detailed Homework Heroes task, setting a high standard for the rest of the class to follow.
Sanna for her outstanding contributions to the Comrie Croft trip and her kindness shown to others.
Kamilah for her extremely clear and expressive delivery of her spoken contributions to the Year 4 assembly.
Harris for a super PowerPoint on a place of interest - Jannetta's!
Aryaman was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for settling in well to his new class and working hard.
Christina was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for settling in well to her new class and for showing how hard she can work.
Sholto was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for tremendous focus and wonderful sounding out in his news writing this week.
Elin for working hard on her reading and making great progress as a result.
Lower School News
It was certainly European Languages Day that stole the children’s this enthusiasm this week.
That said, Year 2 have had a terrific time building their own model boats, ready to sail the seven seas, as well as visiting the Anstruther Fisheries Museum as they continue to explore the jobs found within our local area.
By comparison, Years 1 and 2 have had a more gentle week. Year 1 have used their status as ‘Italy’ for our Languages Day to explore aspects of Maths, specifically patterns and numbers using pasta. They even created pasta pictures with what remained.
Happy Birthday to Shreyas, Serena and Hayfaa! Have a wonderful day!