Friday, 10 January 2020

New Year, New You

Headmistress's Introduction

This week, we welcomed pupils and staff back for the beginning of what is set to be a busy and exciting Spring Term in the Junior School and, as we celebrate the start of 2020, we have already set to work thinking about resolutions we can set ourselves for the next 12 months. Setting our sights on a specific goal for the year, or even the month or week ahead, can be at once fun, challenging, thrilling (especially in the case of Mr Barrable, whose New Year’s Resolution is to undertake a long-distance rowing challenge from Gibraltar), and even life-changing.

At our Start of Term Assembly on Wednesday, I shared my own aims with the children, who were able to guess by way of looking at some of the thoughtful presents I had received for Christmas from my family, what I, myself, hope to achieve:

1. Gain my first handicap in golf and play the Old Course by the summer.

2. Read a minimum of one book a month.

3. Restrict my screen time - so many of us are guilty of spending hours in front of computers, tablets and smartphones these days.

The children, in turn, shared some of their own New Year’s resolutions, whether that’s going vegetarian for January, making improvements in cricket, taking up ice climbing, or participating in parkrun as a family on a Saturday morning. It has been wonderful to hear so many varied ambitions from our children and I look forward to following their progress in the weeks and months to come.

We have some whole school goals for the term, too. Following exciting changes to our approach to Maths during the Autumn Term, staff will be working to continue to embed this in class, and our attention will now turn to the behaviour policy in the Junior School, which has been under review. The PSHE programme, too, will be reviewed and aligned, and we will ensure parents are kept up to date with developments in this area.

On Wednesday, new pupils were given a warm welcome and their House badges at the Start of Term Assembly.

In the spirit of new starts, this week we have welcomed a number of new pupils to St Leonards, as well as Mrs Teresa Fynn who comes back from a period of maternity leave, and her husband, Mr Andrew Fynn, joins us, too, teaching French in the Junior School and German in the Senior School. Andrew, who is also an SQA examiner, comes to St Leonards from Kilgraston, where he was Head of Modern Languages, and is looking forward to working with Madame Germanino to develop language learning in the Junior School.

With these goals in mind, whether personal or school-wide, I am confident that there will be great things to come in 2020. In the meantime, I wish all our boys and girls, and staff and parents too, the best of luck in pursuing and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.

Julianne Pennycook

Spotlight On

Back to School Smiles

Smiles all round at the Junior School on the first day of the Spring Term.

BACK TO SCHOOL SMILES | There were smiles all round at the Junior School as pupils and staff returned from the Christmas holidays. There is lots to look forward to in the coming weeks, both inside and outside the classroom: new Units of Inquiry, sports matches, a residential trip for Year 6 to Loch Eil, informal concerts... and the list could go on! The teachers are looking forward to sharing their class highlights in the weekly newsletter as the term progresses.

Mindful Movement

Year 7P practised a variety of yoga poses in their PHE lesson this week.

MINDFUL MOVEMENT | This week, Year 7P had their first yoga lesson in PHE as part of their MYP International/Cultural Unit of Inquiry. They practised a variety of poses including the extended child's pose, the cat pose, and downward facing dog with the help of an online tutorial. Studies suggest that mindful movement such as yoga can enhance working memory and attention spans - let's hope that Year 7 enjoy these benefits in the coming weeks!

Lower School Learning

Lower School pupils enjoying their morning snacks. On Tuesday, it was chicken soup and a selection of fresh fruit.

LOWER SCHOOL LEARNING | A very Happy New Year from the Lower School Team! This week, we were delighted to welcome the pupils back to school - especially the new children who have all settled in fantastically.

I was certain that I detected a real spring in the step of more than one parent on Tuesday morning as the children were dropped off, but perhaps I imagined that...

The Spring Term is one of joy, optimism and new beginnings. The children have all embarked on their new Units of Inquiry with great enthusiasm. The Lower School has been a hive of activity with Year 1 looking for different materials within the School and the surrounding area, Year 2 pulling toy pigs and pushing bikes in the playground, and Year 3 beginning to seek out hazards within their environment (in a good way, I hasten to add!). You can read more about these new Units of Inquiry below.

Reflections from Year 1's first week back.

We look forward to welcoming many parents into the Junior School over the course of this term to share their stories, skills, experience, and expertise. There are also lots of exciting excursions planned.

Beach School commences next week, and we are braced and ready. Please do ensure that your child has appropriate outdoor kit: waterproof trousers are essential, as are lots of pairs of socks, wellies, hats and gloves. All of this kit can be kept in school for the duration of the term. There is nothing worse than feeling cold and soggy on the beach!

Claire Boissiere, Lower School Coordinator

Multiple Machines

Year 2 are now trained in the safe use of hammers, drills, screws, and hacksaws - thank you Mr McKenzie!

MULTIPLE MACHINES | Year 2 have started investigating their new Unit of Inquiry on Simple Machines this week. We have been exploring the idea of learning about tools through play. With the help of Graham McKenzie from the Estates Department, the class are now trained in the safe use of hammers, drills, screws, and hacksaws. The children have ambitious plans for things that they would now like to build.

In addition, the children have been learning how to use a sewing machine under the guidance of Mrs Dunsmuir who taught Games and Drama in the Senior School for many years before her retirement last year. So far, Elin has designed a wonderfully stylish dress, and Bethany has made a teddy bear.

Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher

Measuring Madness

More than, less than, or about a metre?

MEASURING MADNESS | Year 3 have started the new term by measuring the classroom and lots of other objects around the classroom. They have been looking at metre measurement - is this object more than, less than or about a metre? Mrs Souter (pictured) was very obliging when they needed to find the height of their teacher!

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher


We wish the following pupils a very...

Happy Birthday to Rakan, Angus, Ramsay, Lucy, and Alastair. Have a wonderful day!