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The Georgian THURSDAY, 12 December 2019

Thursday, 12 December 2019

BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR

Boredom inspires brilliance

I do hope your children will have moments of boredom during the upcoming holiday. I do not say this due to some Scrooge-like desire to dampen what I hope will be a wonderful three-week break for you. I say it because boredom is essential and helps develop creativity, discovery and exploration in young people. I am sure you will be slightly surprised that I am writing in support of boredom, not least as I would be horrified if I discovered our boys and girls found themselves bored at school, and of course I wouldn’t dream of adding boredom to the list of opportunities in and out of the classroom to our school prospectus! But, I do think we are in danger of stifling our children’s imagination by not giving them space and time to think for themselves, and to develop their own games and skills, such as skimming, solving a Rubik’s cube, or just taking themselves into a world of imagination.

Lauren Child, author of the ‘Charlie and Lola’ picture books and Children’s Laureate, is a firm believer in making time for children to have idle time. She says ‘children don’t have enough idle time to think on things. There is too much frenzy, too much scheduled activity. Ideas are only formed when you have time to be idle, to think alone and be bored… if you are in a room with nothing you naturally begin to create. You start to have thoughts; one might be brilliant’.

Jeremy Vine recently gave the same message at the Henley Literature Festival, where he spoke of the importance of boredom in children, recounting a day when he and his brother made a plane out of paper, then tried to escape their Prep School in it!

The joy of self-discovery, fashioning one’s imagination, downtime and play are all a part of healthy growth and development of the imagination. It is this, rather than planning every minute of a child’s time or creating what can be an intimidating bustle of activity, that will develop the core skills – and happiness – that we wish our children to have.

Far from worrying about boredom, let us encourage our children, and at times ourselves, to engage in those activities that haven’t been planned, require any form of structure or have no purpose, but might – quite possibly – lead to something brilliant. Seemingly, pockets of aimless doing, daydreaming and thinking time will fuel creativity.

The famous avant-garde composer John Cage once said: ‘If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it isn’t boring at all’.

Much of Andy Warhol's artwork was designed to demonstrate that anything could be art, even 'boring' household goods.

Next time you hear that all too familiar cry of ‘I’m bored’, don’t rush to the back-up list of clubs, activities, films or excursions just yet, but see where your child’s imagination can take them: you – and they – will see flashes of brilliance.

I must close with a recount of the most wonderful farewell I overheard from a parent as she dropped off her children to school this week: ‘Boys, go and discover’. It reminded me of Nemo’s first day of school, and I thought it was just perfect. If life for our young people is all about discovery – through their directed activities and time for them to explore this themselves – then we are on the right track.

The final fortnight of term have been anything but boring for everyone, and as you scroll down this 'bumper edition', I am sure you will agree that the children have all ended term on a high. Whatever their adventures and triumphs have been, they all deserve a good break and can be proud of their achievements.

Catherine, Arthur and Patrick join me in wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and our best wishes for 2020.

William Goldsmith

Head Master's Commendations

Many congratulations to the following who have been awarded a Head Master's Commendation over the last two weeks:

Beatrice A, Arnav K, Teddy H, James J and Kobe L: with the aid of a thesaurus, re-writing a paragraph from Michael Morpurgo's Kensuke's Kingdom, using brilliant language and focusing on handwriting.

Billy O'B: for showing improvement in geography.

Jay-Veer G: for excellent work in RS.

Raphael K, Amalie W and Joshua I: for writing a superb letter to the Prime Minister about plastic pollution.

Zeph K: for producing an excellent poster, describing a recent weekend visit to Edinburgh.

Week 12 Head Master's Commendations

Radley H: for outstanding work in geography, producing a superb and thoroughly detailed project on the Amazon Rainforest.

Nefeli M: for outstanding work in geography, producing a superb and thoroughly detailed project on the Temperate Rainforest, and for an excellent, detailed history prep.

Adhrit P: for an excellent, detailed history prep.

Week 13 Head Master's Commendations

Spirit of St George's Award

Tom V: for showing great perseverance and resilience this term.

Sports Values Awards

Years 3&4: Siena L for Teamwork. Siena has worked hard this term to be part of the team and is enjoying the opportunity to develop her team skills in both training and matches.

Years 5&6: Lara H for Teamwork. Lara switched teams last minute as someone was away and played a great game as GS, scoring many goals and contributing to attacking play. Liv D for Pursuing Excellence, consistently acting on feedback and having a positive spirit throughout her match, with excellent use of space on court.

Years 7&8: Carl A: for Leadership. Carl has been committed as the team captain for the 2nd IX team, leading by example both through his effort and focus.

Sports Players of Week 12

Years 3&4: Katie K. Pursuing Excellence. Katie has developed her skills on the mid-court and has made some excellent passes.

Years 5&6: Willow W. Leadership. Willow has been really positive, using her knowledge to help players get into position quickly.

Years 7&8: Tommy H, for supporting in the sidelines throughout the whole season, promoting every sporting value.

Sports Players of Week 13

Year 7 Visit to the Science Museum

On Monday the Year 7 pupils went to London to the Science Museum. In the IMAX they enjoyed a film about the Hubble 3D telescope and some amazing photos it had taken: nebulas, stars, planets and even other solar systems. They went on to explore the Wonderlab, where they were able to do hands-on experiments ranging from feeling the speed at which the Earth rotates to exploring friction on slides. After lunch they attended a science show which was full of experiments and loud explosions! It was a real treat for them!

Year 7 Art

This term pupils in Year 7 have been working on an art project on doors. Taking their inspiration from some of the very old and sometimes ancient doors in the School and Castle, they have designed and cut printing plates out of lino to produce attractive, two- and sometimes even three-colour prints. They look fantastic and we can't wait to see them finished.

Chamber Choir Christmas Concert at Swiss Church

The Chamber Choir gave a concert in The Swiss Church in London on Monday in Week 13. Singing a selection of old favourites and new takes on the Christmas repertoire, the children’s performance was absolutely outstanding – not least as they had learned nearly 20 pieces from memory! Several solos, duets and trios all added to a very special evening’s music which left the audience in awe.

Years 1 and 2 Christmas Production

All the children in Years 1 and 2 took part in a very entertaining production which combined singing and dancing with a nativity play entitled Baa..Baa... Bethlehem. The play told the story of one magical night which changed the lives of four young shepherds.

Years 3 - 5 Christmas Production

All the children in Years 3 - 5 performed pieces from A New Nowell to a packed audience of friends and family. A number of solo readers read selections from the Bible and a supporting ensemble of pupils from Years 7 and 8 accompanied each musical piece. It was a wonderful start to the Christmas season at the school.

Year 4 Activities

It's been a packed term for Year 4 pupils. In DT they have been working hard building Roman onagers. The catapult requires several different processes to assemble, and uses reclaimed timber for the (laser cut) wheels and reused milk bottle tops for the holder. Below is a photo of half of 4ER testing their onagers against each other’s!

On Monday the Victoria was set up as a Victorian Invention Museum and Year 4 enjoyed showing the inventions they had made at home to their parents and friends.

On Tuesday they attended a Victorian writing workshop in Windsor Castle and had a privileged viewing of the Christmas decorations and learnt what Christmas might have been like during the Victorian era. Afterwards they read Christmas stories and sang around the magnificent Christmas tree in St George's Hall.

Year 5 Maths Fun

This week Year 5 have made their own multiplication board games to consolidate their times tables and mental arithmetic skills learnt this term. All children went above and beyond with their prep and produced some truly spectacular games. We had a range of traditional board games adapted with new rules, some new inventions that really got the brains working and some times table games against the clock. We spent a lesson in the Victoria on Wednesday playing everyone’s games. It was lovely to see the children playing nicely together and complimenting each other on their fantastic creations. Well done Year 5!

Festivo

Our young choristers have been working hard rehearsing for the Festivo concert which has become a popular annual event heralding Christmas in Windsor. Both performances on Monday and Thursday were sold out.

T-Voices at The Savill Garden

"On Wednesday T Voices went to the Savill Garden. We sang some of our favourite carols. There were quite a lot including 'Away in a Manger' and some of the songs we sang in our school Christmas concert. At the end we had cake! The people there seemed to really enjoy listening to us sing." Joshua I - 4ER

Christmas Lunch

Everyone wore their favourite colourful Christmas jumper for Christmas lunch on Tuesday. Our wonderful kitchen staff served up roast turkey with all the trimmings to the whole school, from the Kindergarten to Year 8, in double quick time - quite a feat! Lots of chocolate log was consumed and a great time was had by all. Out thanks to our amazing Catering Team for all their hard work.

Pre Prep Wall Displays

Here are just some of the wonderful displays that the children in the Pre Prep have produced this term. As well as complementing the Christmas decorations, they have been a great way to showcase the children's achievements and pride in their work.

Games Lessons in the Pre-Prep

Games lessons in the Pre-Prep can be even more fun than usual in the last week of term!

Girls' Games Report

In the last matches of the term, St George’s took on Bishopsgate in some challenging but exciting matches across all year groups. In the U10 matches there was a really tight contest throughout with the score line going back and forward. Some excellent individual contributions from Lily D and Jeevan H and some great accurate shooting from Poppy J. The team work on the court in both games was evident and both teams never gave up throughout the match. The U10A game resulted in a 9-9 draw.

The U11As had a tough start to their matches against a formidable Bishopsgate team who were extremely competitive. However, the girls never gave up and were resilient in their approach and managed some positive moves which led them to score goals. Well done to Summer E who was tenacious in her approach throughout the match. Bishopsgate proved to be determined and clawed the game back as we went into the final quarter. St George’s kept their composure throughout and the game finished with a draw. Well done to Willow W this week who was pivotal in defence and was awarded player of the match for her efforts. Both teams are becoming more spatially aware and there has been an improvement in the teams' decision making.

The U11B team played some excellent netball and showed the sporting values of team work and resilience throughout the afternoon. Every team member worked positively. Bea A stepped in to play centre and played a pivotal roll in the team, making both interceptions and excellent passes up and down the court. Well done to Isabel G who worked exceptionally well to dodge the player who was marking her and score goals.

The U8s and U9s all travelled to Bishopsgate last Friday afternoon for a very wet afternoon of netball! Despite the rain, all the teams remained positive and there were some excellent performances from each one. It is great to see the development and understanding that they have all made in netball since September, they are showing a good understanding of the rules and beginning to play a variety of positions on court. We look forward to seeing their progress next term.

Inter-House Netball

To finish off the Michaelmas the term the Year 5 - 8 girls all played in Inter House Netball at Windsor Leisure Centre. This year we played High 5 netball to allow the girls to get more game play and to accommodate all the Houses. It was a wonderful afternoon of netball and lovely to see the girls playing with girls from across the year groups. Lots of excellent play was seen and lots of very close matches. The final result will be announced on Friday! It was a wonderful way to end the year.

Years 7 and 8 Christmas Dinner

Our lovely Year 7s and Year 8s were very smartly dressed for their formal Christmas Dinner on Wednesday evening. There was much excitement as they assembled in the Victoria for drinks and canapés followed by a three-course meal.

The Christmas at St George’s CD

We are delighted that 'Christmas at St George's has been the Classic FM CD of the week, and received fantastic reviews from The Sunday Times and BBC Music Magazine, to name a few.

We are very excited that the Christmas CD recorded by our Choristers and the Chapel Choir is now on sale and has reached top 20 in the classical charts. The CD is a available to buy from the Chapel shop or direct from Hyperion records

Our Green Credentials

Mrs Chorley advises that, since 1 December, all of the electricity used in Old Bank House and the main school building is from 100% renewable sources.

Duathlon

It was a very cold afternoon in Windsor Great Park on Sunday, but Isla M, Leah H, Raphael K and Owen H joined Evo juniors for a two-hour training session and then completed a Duathlon consisting of a Run, Bike, Run.

It is easy when we are so busy to forget to be mindful but at this time of year it is even more important that we all make time to slow down enough to fully notice the world around us. Please click here for some activities on the school website which you can easily do as a family and which will support the MindUP sensory lessons we will be teaching next term. Many children are using brain breaks at home too, so do encourage them to share this with you.

Taking a Brain Break

Sit down in a comfortable position.

Close your eyes or look down at your palms…to be respectful of others in the room.

Take calm, slow breaths. Gently breathe in and out.

Keep your shoulders relaxed.

When you hear the chime, listen to the sound as long as you can

(hit chime – wait until you cannot hear the chime).

Bring your attention to your breath (pause for 10 seconds).

Feel your tummy rising and falling (pause for 10 seconds).

If your mind wanders, that’s ok, just try to bring your focus back to your breath (pause for 10 seconds).

Feel the air coming into your body and going out again (pause for 10 seconds).

When you hear the chime again, listen as long as you can.

When you can’t hear the sound any longer, slowly, gently open your eyes and look to the front of the room

(hit chime).

Dorm Diaries

Reflecting on the Michaelmas term in boarding, the overall impression has been one of 'busyness': seeing so many children tasting boarding, both new faces and old, using their Free Boarding Pass and continuing to enjoy boarding evenings throughout the term: awe have already had the pleasure of the company of 63 children. We have a mixture of weekly boarders, chorister boarders regular flexi boarders, and ad hoc flexi boarders who all enjoy the various activities we have offered throughout the term, from Quidditch to Treasure Hunts, and Futsal to Water Polo.

Booking for Lent term boarding has been open for two weeks, and beds are filling rapidly. We would urge anyone wishing to book for any nights of the Lent term to do so by emailing allison.onions@stgwindsor.org, or return the booking form available on the Parent Portal, for a regular weekly night. We continue to offer the customary Wednesday evening activities (published in the calendar), and boarders’ evening clubs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

We hope all our boarders and families have a wonderful festive break, and we look forward to more boarding adventures in the New Year!

Christmas stay-on

Whilst everyone is relaxing and enjoying the Christmas break, our Choristers return to school for the ‘stay-on’. As well as singing in the Christmas services in Chapel, there is also time for fun and activities. Photos to follow in the New Year! We wish our Choristers all the very best as they lead our services in Chapel.

Maths Puzzle

More images from the last week of term

Wishing the following a very...

All of these children have their birthdays in the coming weeks: Oliver S, Alexander B, Yatharth S, Jude S, William H, Benjamin W, Harry L, Anna P, Georgina F, Arthur Jack E, Barney H, Charlie W, William F, Leo M, Barney W, Bikram H, Jeevan H, Savanna K, William S, Harry E and Jon Jon M. Happy Birthday to them all.

From all at St George's, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year