The Voice of st leonards

Friday, 25 September 2020

Asking for Help

"Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new." Barack Obama

As September draws to a close, it has been fantastic to look back on the past month and celebrate our pupils' responsible risk-taking efforts. Every single pupil in Years 1-6 has been a risk-taker over the past month, but there were a handful of pupils whose risk-taking efforts have been truly outstanding - these individuals were recognised through our first set of Learner Profile Attribute certificates.

Risk-taking is closely linked with another Learner Profile attribute: resilience. Each and every one of us will inevitably encounter difficulties, and the key to overcoming these hurdles is to ask for help. If we are able to ask for help and obtain constructive feedback, then we can overcome setbacks, grow as individuals, develop resilience, and bounce forward.

Society has imposed the notion that to ask for assistance, to seek clarification, or to simply request to help is a sign of weakness. Therefore, whilst 'help' is just a simple four letter word, asking for assistance can seem like a monumental mountain to climb. As a result, asking for help should be seen as an act of bravery, and a sign of strength, confidence, and resourcefulness. It is the hallmark of a mature and resilient learner. The process of asking for help teaches us consideration, kindness, and humility - seeking help is therefore an invaluable skill.

Children often equate success with speed: the ability to run the fastest, to be first to complete a worksheet or answer a question, to be first in the line for lunch or a snack - but they are always reluctant to be the first to ask for help. This is because asking for help slows them down. As teachers and parents, we want our children to slow down, to appreciate what they have, and take their time to understand concepts. Education is never 'finished', and so we should encourage our children to take time to enjoy their journey through topics and activities.

At St Leonards, we work hard to create an environment in which pupils feel confident to ask for help - because we know that this will improve their wellbeing, knowledge, mindset, and academic performance. In large part, we achieve this through the small class sizes, and also through close communication with parents which creates a strong family feel and a close community. Strong social networks are a valuable component of building better resilience.

I hope that you enjoy the first autumnal weekend, and look forward to seeing you and your children next week.

Miss Claire Boissiere, Head of Years 1-3


Congratulations to the following pupils who were awarded certificates for their risk taking, their number work, and for demonstrating the Spirit of St Leonards.

Risk Taker Certificates

In Year 1, Ray was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for persevering, being resilient with school, and interacting well in class. He has really started to come out of his shell this week. Well done, Ray!
In Year 2, TJ was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for having the confidence to push himself forward and integrate with his new class - he has settled in really well. Agnes was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for settling into a new school and making new friends.
In Year 3, Bethany was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for taking risks in every lesson, pushing and applying herself, and not giving up.
In Year 4, there were three recipients of the RISK TAKER certificates. Robby, Ann, and Phoebe were all awarded certificates for jumping into a new school with two feet, and not being afraid to try new ways of doing things.
In Year 5, Cara was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for going out of her comfort zone, and jumping off a high wall into the waves whilst with her family in Elie. Florence was also awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for embracing the spirit of being a risk taker while learning outdoors.
In Year 6, Tessneme was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for taking the risk of starting a new school and relocating away from her parents.
In Year 6, Isla was awarded a RISK TAKER certificate for taking a step out of her comfort zone and volunteering to answer in class.

Number Magician

In Year 1, David was awarded a NUMBER MAGICIAN certificate for showing great confidence in the story of ten, both with numicon and mentally.
In Year 2, Albert was awarded a NUMBER MAGICIAN certificate for clever word problem solving in addition and subtraction.
In Year 3, Michelle was awarded a NUMBER MAGICIAN certificate for consistent enthusiasm and application in all number work.

Spirit of St Leonards

Teddy was awarded a SPIRIT OF ST LEONARDS certificate for his quiet, but consistently kind, helpful, and supportive role in the class.

Year 1

Learning Letters

LEARNING LETTERS | Year 1 learned more letters and sounds this week. First up was e-e-e-egg, but the pupils then made elephants because they are more fun! The next letter was 'l-l-l-leaf'. The pupils enjoyed leaf hunting, and then enjoyed leaf rubbing using autumnal colours to make amazing crowns. Year 1 then learned the sound 'sh', and made a flock of sheep! In addition to their letter and sound work, the Year 1 pupils have practised using the numbers one to ten using Numicon.

Year 2

Measurement in Maths

MEASUREMENT IN MATHS | This week, Year 2 has been investigating measure in Maths. The pupils have been learning to use handspans, feet, and rulers to accurately measure length, height, and width. The children particularly enjoyed drawing around each other in the sand, and measuring the length of their outline using handspans... they got a bit sandy, but had great fun!

Colourful Creations

COLOURFUL CREATIONS | The Year 2 pupils have been gathering collections of leaves in different shapes and colours during break times. This inspired an Art project: salt dough leaf prints, which were then decorated with colouring pencils once the dough had been baked hard. The resulting prints are fabulous, and the children look rightly proud of their creations!

Beach Challenges

BEACH CHALLENGES | Year 2 spent an exhilarating morning on the East Sands challenging themselves to do all sorts of exercises, in an effort to be Risk Takers. The children tried to push themselves out of their comfort zone, and tried to do something they wouldn't normally do... such as running a little further or faster, jumping from a high place, or throwing and catching a ball from even further away. The pupils did a great job, and proved that they are well and truly risk takers!

Scottish Scientists

SCOTTISH SCIENTISTS | On Friday, Year 2 made a fascinating trip down to the East Sands to meet the Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute, Professor Vincent Janik, and his colleague, Dr Julie Oswald, who is a Lecturer and Researcher in Marine Biology at the Institute.

The children loved sitting on a sandstone wall outside the Institute. They learned lots about the research being carried out on lots of big ocean mammals, especially finding out how they are coping with the continued threat of plastic. The pupils all came away 'wowed' by their jobs. Professor Janik and Dr Oswald's jobs take them all over the world to research and record their findings on the behaviour on different species of dolphins. What is more, they work in an amazing new building that is clad in glass and rusted metal with views over the sea - it would make everyone jump out of bed in the morning!

By the end of the morning, the pupils returned to school with lots of energetic chatter about what they had learned. It seems that we now have lots of animated new mini marine biologists in our wake! Many thanks to Gerald Prescott for arranging this exciting opportunity with his university colleagues for the children.

Year 3

Sums in the Sand

SUMS IN THE SAND | Year 3 enjoyed consolidating their multiplication work on the East Sands this week. Maths on the beach is so much fun!

Supertato Speech

SUPERTATO SPEECH | The Year 3 pupils have enjoyed creating comic strips for their Supertato crafts, inspired by Sue Hendra's fantastic book. As part of this project, they have been learning how to insert speech marks correctly: open speech marks, say what they are saying, a piece of punctuation, close speech marks, how they say it, who said it, and finally a full stop to finish. The pupils closely followed this structure, and created some fantastic pieces of speech for their comic strips. We particularly loved Harrison's example - "I'm going to rule the supermarket!" shrieked Evil Banana.

Researching Heroes

RESEARCHING HEROES | The Year 3 pupils have been busy researching heroes, and this week their attention has turned to Florence Nightingale using both online and printed resources.

Year 4

Team Building Tuesdays

TEAM BUILDING TUESDAYS | Each Tuesday, the Year 4 classes focus on team building. This week, the pupils went out to the AstroTurf pitch and used their communication and social skills to complete the 'hula challenge' and the human knot challenge. The pupils had great fun working together and helping each other to complete the tasks!

Responsible Risk-takers

RESPONSIBLE RISK-TAKERS | Over the past month, the Year 4 classes have been reading picture books about brave characters who are always willing to take a risk and push themselves further. The pupils have also been busy writing acrostic poems, and taken time to think about how they can be risk-takers in their learning and day-to-day lives.

Thinking Outside the Box

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX | The Year 4 pupils had to think outside the box this week... they were focusing on data gathering in Maths, and wanted to collect some data from Years 5 and 6. Since the pupils were not able to visit the Year 5 and Year 6 classrooms, they decided to develop their technological skills and create a Google Form to gather the necessary data. They now have a great set of data, and are looking forward to learning how to make bar charts. Great work, Year 4!

Year 5

Published Poets

PUBLISHED POETS | Congratulations to Alex and James who received Certificates of Merit for their poems, which they recently submitted to a Young Writers' Competition. Their pieces of creative writing will be included in a Young Writers' Anthology, which will be published in the next few months. We hope that you enjoy reading their poems below.

Caring for the Community

CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY | As part of their Unit of Inquiry, and in conjunction with the annual Harvest Assembly, the Year 5 classes have been researching food banks and investigating the ways in which they can be of service to the community. Last week, the pupils made posters to promote their food drive to Storehouse, and this week they have started to record speeches. The Year 5 pupils would like to thank the school community for their donations to this project - they will go a tremendously long way to helping those families in St Andrews who are in need. Please do keep bringing in your donations to your classrooms to support your House efforts and our local community.

On Monday, 5 October, the Year 5 pupils will host their annual Harvest Assembly alongside Revd Beebee, who is the Minister of a local church.

Year 6

Water Across the World

WATER ACROSS THE WORLD | This week, the Year 6 classes have been busy continuing their inquiry into the inequalities of water access across the world. Using the UNICEF and WaterAid websites, among other sources, the pupils conducted research on the countries which struggle to access clean and safe drinking water. Following their research, the pupils wrote detailed reports and drew comparisons between the countries studied this week and the more 'water rich' countries studied last week. They then presented their reports and comparisons to their peers, and gave each other some very effective and constructive feedback.

On Thursday, the pupils were extremely lucky to hear from Isla's mum, who has valuable knowledge and experience of living and working in Mozambique and Ethiopia, in a virtual meeting. She spoke about her experiences, and also answered a range of questions about the impact of water issues on the communities there. Many thanks to Cate Turton for taking the time to speak to the children.

Other News

Budding Gardeners

BUDDING GARDENERS | A big thank you to the pupils in the Years 4-6 Gardening Club who have worked with enormous energy and enthusiasm over the last few weeks to clear weeds and dig over the vegetable patch by the polytunnel. The pupils have now planted a variety of Spring flowering bulbs and onion sets.

Bushcraft Quiz Question

BUSHCRAFT QUIZ QUESTION | Being able to find your bearings on a cloudy day by using clues from nature is a very useful skill. Can you tell which way is North on this photograph?

Sepsis Awareness Day

SEPSIS AWARENESS DAY | On Friday, a group of Year 12 students coordinated a whole school Sepsis Awareness Day. They recorded a virtual assembly for the Junior pupils, and also encouraged their peers to come to school with stripey socks or purple clothing for a small donation to charity. This was inspired by the nationwide campaign 'Sock It To Sepsis'. The pupils in Years 1-6 raised an impressive £212.31 for the cause. Many thanks to all the pupils who took part.

October Activities

OCTOBER ACTIVITIES | Last week, we advertised three full days of activities, run by The Wild Outdoors Adventure Makers, that will be happening at St Leonards during the October Half Term holidays. There will be lots of exciting activities including beach games, survival skills, golf, and archery. The camps are open to children aged 6-12. Please note, the dates have changed for these activity days - they will now be taking place Tuesday, 20 - Thursday, 22 October 2020.

The Wild Outdoors Adventure Makers will be limiting the number of children per day to ensure that the participants have a safe and positive experience. If, for any reason, the camps are not allowed to go ahead because of changing government restrictions, full refunds will be made. Further details can be found on their website.