Friday, 31 January 2020

Never Give Up

Headmistress's Introduction

‘I want to quit.’

‘I don’t want to do it anymore’.

‘It’s boring’.

We have heard these words time and time again in our capacity as parents and teachers, and they are immensely frustrating. We have watched, helped, encouraged (and in some cases financed) our child’s hobbies – be that a sporting or musical interest – and feel frustrated that whilst they have progressed and improved, they suddenly do not want to pursue it anymore. We know that, in many cases, they will regret giving up said hobby or interest. I speak from personal experience, since I wish that I had not quit the piano after years of practice, grades, and progress when I was sixteen. Often, our children lose interest in a hobby when the going gets tough, when they are struggling to progress at the rate that they once were, or when the hours that they know they need to put in to keep improving seem too daunting. We must encourage our children to keep going, to keep investing, and to keep pushing themselves – because they will learn so much from sticking at their hobby: resilience, perseverance, and grit to name three.

On Wednesday, the children were fortunate enough to hear from Mr Benjamin Ward, the Taekwondo teacher here at St Leonards. He delivered a brilliantly pitched assembly on the history of the sport and his own incredible Taekwondo journey. He explained that he had started Taekwondo as a very ‘active’ four-year-old child, because his parents hoped that it might allow him to burn of some of his energy. A relatable story for many of our parents, I am sure! Benjamin stuck at Taekwondo, and proceeded to progress through the various belts and has now competed for Scotland and Great Britain. It was an inspirational assembly. Benjamin is clearly so passionate about his sport, and has a great desire to teach others. He very much hopes to grow Taekwondo at St Leonards. Afterwards, I asked if he had ever felt like giving up and, if so, what had kept him going. He admitted that there were times when he had felt like stopping Taekwondo, but that his Mum had always encouraged him to keep going for a little bit longer. He would then pass another grading, and that would give him a boost, and spur him on to stick with the sport.

So parents, keep encouraging your children to keep going for a little bit longer with their hobbies and interests. They will learn and grow so much from the challenges of persevering with something that they are finding hard, and will thank you in years to come!

Julianne Pennycook

Celebration Assembly

CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY | This week's assembly was led by Year 7 pupils Gemma, Joe, Emmy, and Luca. They did an excellent job of handing out the Commendations, Spirit of St Leonards, and Pupil of the Week certificates, and spoke with real confidence from the front. Many congratulations to them, and also to the following pupils who were given awards during the Celebration Assembly:

Thea was Pupil of the Week (Year 2) for helping, entirely voluntarily, in the classroom in a very mature manner and setting a great example of good behaviour to the rest of the class.
Abdulla was awarded a Commendation for outstanding instruction writing, using a rubric to assess his own work and then editing it to improve it even more. This was his best written work to date!
Dylan was also awarded a Commendation for outstanding instruction writing, using a rubric to assess his own work and then editing it to improve it even more. Again, this was his best written work to date!
Grace was awarded a Commendation for demonstrating initiative in the new Unit of Inquiry. She produced her own non-fiction book about materials after visiting a local museum, and then shared it with the class.
Nahla was given a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing kindness and consideration to her peers at all times - a great role model for us all.
Riya, Verity, and Lana (not pictured) were given Spirit of St Leonards Awards for performing selfless acts for the benefit of others. Before Christmas, the girls all had long locks but they decided to cut their hair for The Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children and young people with hair loss.

When a child loses their hair to cancer or another condition, The Little Princess Trust is there with a free, real hair wig to help restore their confidence and identity. The charity have promised that they will not stop until the research that they fund ends childhood cancer forever.

Verity lobbied friends and family for support and has now raised over £500 for the charity, in addition to the donation of her hair. The Trust relies solely on the efforts of enthusiastic community fundraisers like Riya, Lana and Verity - please visit www.littleprincesses.org.uk to find out how you could give young people back what cancer takes away.

Sofia was awarded a Commendation for showing increased confidence when writing, and for demonstrating even more independence when sounding out and remembering to use finger spaces.
Teddy was Pupil of the Week (Year 1) for demonstrating kindness, friendliness and generosity of spirit towards a visiting child to the School. He was quick to look after the guest and everything he did made them feel very welcome.

Last but by no means least, Harris was Pupil of the Week (Year 3) for his improved behaviour in class. Congratulations once again to all the pupils who received awards in this week's Celebration Assembly!

CPR Training

The children all worked well with their allocated medical students.
Year 3 learned an essential life skill this week: CPR.

CPR TRAINING | Year 3 had a wonderful session on CPR with Dr Muqit and first year medical students from the University of St Andrews. The children learned how to check if the airway was clear, to call for an ambulance, to check if the casualty was breathing, and then to begin chest compressions. They then learned how to use a defibrillator. It was a hugely interactive afternoon, and the children all worked well with their allocated students.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Good Effort, Girls!

U12 and 10U girls' hockey teams played well against the High School of Dundee on Monday afternoon.

GOOD EFFORT, GIRLS! | On Monday afternoon, the U12 and 10U girls' hockey teams lost out to the High School of Dundee. As ever, the girls tried to best and there were some impressive stick skills on display. Particular mention must go to goal scorers Thea, Emmy and Abby - well done, girls!

Swimming Success

Smiles all round for the St Leonards swimmers!

SWIMMING SUCCESS | Well done to the U9, U11, and U13 swimmers who performed fantastically at the Kilgraston Gala on Tuesday this week. Particular mention must go to Mia, Clara, and Sofia for their performance in the U9 medley and freestyle relays, Jennifer, Rachel, Sanna, and Abby for their performance in the U11 medley and freestyle relays, and Emmy for her performance in the U13 breaststroke race.

Superb Spikeball

Year 5 enjoyed trying a new game last week: Spikeball.

SUPERB SPIKEBALL | Last week, Year 5 tried the American game Spikeball in PE. Spikeball is a game played in two teams of two around a small trampoline-like object and small bouncing ball, and incorporates elements of Volleyball and Four-Square. Each team is allowed up to three touches in order to return the ball into the net, and the rally continues until one team cannot return the ball into the net. Year 5 had lots of fun playing Spikeball, and, as part of their Unit of Inquiry, also used the game to consider how force, friction and gravity applied to the game.

Mobile Planetarium

Year 4 enjoyed learning about planets and constellations from PhD students Oliver and Steph.

MOBILE PLANETARIUM | On Monday, Year 4 enjoyed a visit from the Mobile Planetarium, run by Astronomy PhD students from the University of St Andrews. The Planetarium is an inflatable dome of silver-coloured, plastic-coated fabric and a night sky is projected onto the dome. Inside the Planetarium, the children were able to experience the sun setting, the sun rising, the night sky constellations, and the planets which are visible to us from Earth. Many thanks to Oliver and Steph who led the workshop!

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher

20 Questions

The participants and the researchers in front of the 20 Questions car.

20 QUESTIONS | This week, St Leonards was delighted to welcome Antoine de Fauchécour and Audrey Michenaud-Rague, researchers from the 20 Questions to the World project. A group of pupils from Years 5 to 8 had the exciting opportunity to participate in the project, which is a video cultural exchange between European schoolchildren. The project seeks to open the minds of young people, to develop their curiosity for the world around them, and to foster international mindedness by demonstrating the common opinions and interests of people across Europe. As part of this project, the children were asked questions around the themes of Europe, school, the environment, society, and their personal ambitions.

A selection of the participants in their individual video interviews - there were some fascinating answers!

Below is the full list of questions - why not have a think about the answers that you would give?

Europe: What does Europe mean to you? Do you think you are lucky to live in Europe? Do you think we should all speak the same language in Europe? What could we do to feel more united in Europe? What things represent your country? If you were to leave your country with your family, what would you miss the most? Do you like your country, why/ why not? Which European country would you most like to visit? Draw your country.

School: What is the purpose of school? What is the school of your dreams? What do you think about school uniforms?

Environment: What will we eat in 100 years' time? Have you noticed any effects of climate change in your country? Which law would you invent to protect the planet?

Society: What is the purpose of politics? Do you think boys and girls are equal in your country? What do you think about everyone living on the same amount of money in your country?

Personal questions: What is your greatest dream? Which invention would you like to create?

This is the first time that the project has focused on children and their hopes for the future. The researchers have already interviewed 105 classes in France, and will compare the questionnaire answers from within France to those around Europe. The researchers will be travelling around Europe for the next three months to the countries on the map below.

If you would like to read more about this project, then please do visit their website: https://www.20questionstotheworld.com/about.

Mrs McGregor, Acting PYP Coordinator

Trying Taekwondo

Taekwondo in St Katharines Hall.

TRYING TAEKWONDO | This week, pupils enjoyed a visit from Taekwondo instructor Mr Ward, who runs the Taekwondo after-school club at St Leonards. He delivered an interesting and informative assembly in which he gave a brief history of Taekwondo and told the story of his own involvement with the sport.

Pupils in Years 1-3 trying out various Taekwondo kicks and stretches.

Mr Ward also delivered numerous afternoon workshops for the children to try out Taekwondo in St Katharines Hall. These were very much enjoyed by all who attended. Many thanks to Mr Ward for taking the time out of his busy schedule to spend the day at St Leonards!

Peer Listening Training

What does being a 'good listener' look like?

PEER LISTENING TRAINING | As part of their training, the Peer Listening Team welcomed Bishopshall Housemistress Mrs Murray-Turner to their Wednesday session. Mrs Murray-Turner is a trained counsellor and qualified in Mental Health First Aid. She shared some valuable tips and answered many questions from the team. We are hoping that this is the first of many sessions with Mrs Murray-Turner as the Listening Scheme is put into action in the Junior School. After Half Term, the team will hopefully be fully-qualified and ready to help their peers. We will keep you posted!

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher

Subtraction Stories and Socks

Independent Learning - subtraction in Year 1.

SUBTRACTION STORIES AND SOCKS | It was Beach School this week for Year 1, and I was delighted to miss the gale force winds by going on a reasonably sunny Wednesday. Apparently, perishingly cold conditions truly focus the mind... Year 1 certainly worked fantastically well on their pattern and subtraction challenges! It was a wonderful lesson.

There are four rainbows and two disappear, which means that there are two left.
There are three eggs and two hatch seaweed monsters, which means that there is one left.
This is the giant! He had three cakes and ate two, which means that there is one left.
There were four balloons and two popped, which means that there are two left.
Albert writing his calculations, as well as devising his story.
Year 1 created some beautiful patterns using squares, circles, and lines.

From pants last week to socks this week, Year 1 have fully embraced this Unit of Inquiry. I am asked daily what my various clothes are made of, and I must admit that there is a disturbingly large quantity of the man-made variety. My class and I have concluded that we need to check the materials of garments before we buy! There has been a huge fascination with the natural resources found on earth, and the children have been bringing in books to establish where the resources come from. This led to a vibrant conversation about recycling and the various differences in bin colour, collection days etc. from our different regions. The children are committed to actively recycling at home - so parents, you need to be on your toes! Next week, we intend to use some of our recycling in Art, so the children may bring in a bag of their most inspirational pieces to share.

Simon Sock has been reunited with his partner - hooray! Now they are a pair. I wonder what fun they can have together...
Year 1 created some excellent pieces of art using wool.

This is only the briefest synopsis of our week. The children can sum the week up best themselves....

Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher.

More Mindful Movement

Year 7P have continued with their self-directed yoga class.

MORE MINDFUL MOVEMENT | Year 7P have continued with their study of yoga in PHE as part of their MYP International/Cultural Unit of Inquiry. They are now starting to perfect their extended child's pose, cat pose, downward facing dog, and warrior poses!

Science in Action

SCIENCE IN ACTION | Year 2 made the most of the brief period of sunshine on Friday and went down to the beach to test out our simple machine of the week: the screw. We took a giant screw (used for stopping Mrs Lindsay's dogs from disappearing on the beach) and tested how easy it would be to anchor it into the sand, compared to a normal pole. We discovered that the screw needed force to push it into the sand, but also a rotational movement to get it deeply into the sand. It was much easier to get the screw into the sand, than the cylinder.

Year 2 testing out their simple machine of the week: the screw.

This week, we have also been learning about Archimedes whose most famous machine was the screw pump, used at Edinburgh Airport to drain water away from its low lying airfield. We tested Archimedes' 'Eureka!' moment on the beach. We put heavy stones into a jug of water, collected from the sea and learned that, when the objects sunk, the water rose. When we put a feather and some fishing twine in the water, they floated and the water remained at the same level. There is nothing like science in action....!

Mrs Lindsay, Year 2 Class Teacher

Wishing the following pupils a very...

Happy Birthday to Stellan, Lana, Evie, Riya, Rebecca, Hamish, Angus, and Thea. We hope that you have a great day!