BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
I was very excited when I got home on Thursday evening to discover Arthur and Patrick had made a den. On our upstairs landing, they had taken all our rugs and blankets, and made their own cave. Arthur was waiting for me as I walked up the steps to our kitchen, took my briefcase from me, and excitedly led me to this den. In he got – beaming from ear to ear – and showed me the toys he had amassed in there, his snacks, and of course how he had managed to wedge himself in to defend himself from having to have his bath. Naturally, I raced straight in to join him, thoughts of my own den in Shropshire at the forefront of mind, as I forgot all about my day and just re-lived my own childhood with my sons.
Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, Mike Fairclough (Head of West Rise Primary School) argues that 'adopting childlike traits can make us better leaders'. In his article, he compares the natural risk-taking attributes that children have, their free-spirited approach to life, and their imagination and creativity, which contributes to their development, both physical and emotional. He points out that, as adults, we lose this 'free-flowing imagination', and that reigniting this could rejuvenate our approach to our lives and work.
I am, of course, not advocating that we drop our children off at school, then leap back in the car and make dens, get our Lego out and invite the household teddy bears to tea. I am, however, promoting this free-spirit, imagination and sense of adventure for children of all ages. There is nothing more delightful than having discussions with the children, who tell me that their weekend will consist of conducting an experiment, going into the woods, activities in their den, building something, or simply ‘pottering at home’. Every time I have this conversation, the child in question lights up, speaks with passion and excitement and I can almost see their imagination running wild as they tell me about it. Compare this to a child who will tell me that they will be playing on their Xbox 2 over the weekend. Whilst I still take a great interest in this, I don’t sense that same energy or excitement from the child. I can’t sense their imagination, their playfulness or sense of adventure. Computer games, television and social media have their place, and indeed they can lead to creativity and imagination, however nothing comes close to the sense of freedom that a child (whether they are 5 or 15) experiences by building dens, playing 40-40, constructing something out of Lego, or simply losing themselves in play.
Do have a look at Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson’s 24 Character Strengths, which form a set of traits that we all have, some greater than others. When I look at the 24 strengths, categorised in 6 themes, I do feel a substantial number are developed through imaginative play and discovery.
Why do I speak of den making? I challenged the children to achieve four things for the Easter holidays:
- Read lots
- Get outside
- Go on adventures and make dens
- Help with the washing up
I finally managed to entice Arthur out of his den last night with the promise that he could have breakfast in there this morning, knowing full well that I would be out of the house by then.
Wishing all St George's families a wonderful Easter break, wherever your adventures (and den building) takes you.
PS I left the children with one final thought after Assembly:
Thoughts become words
Words become actions
Actions become character
Character is everything
As we prepare for our strategic vision for 2025, we hope you will join us for focus group meetings with parents next term, ahead of Monday, 8 July. Further details of these will follow during the first week of term.
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to the following pupils who were presented with Head Master's Commendations during Assembly on Monday:
Zeph K – For outstanding work in Geography: a project on tourism in Windsor
Julian – for working hard to improve his writing demonstrated by the competition of a persuasive leaflet about Roman Baths
Alexander L – for the time and effort put into creative writing
Spirit of St George's Award
The following pupils were presented with the Spirit of St George's Award on Monday, for encapsulating the core values of the school:
Reya M – for using her own experiences to offer supportive and helpful advice to a classmate
Lukas O – for always being kind, considerate and helpful when working with others in a group
Sports Players of the Week
Year 3 &4: Poppy J
Year 5&6: Owen H
Year 7&8: Deva N
Maths Puzzle Winners
1st Place: Zara T
2nd Place: Sophie D
Chamber Choir Concert
On Saturday the Chamber Choir joined with Voci in a concert at the Holy Trinity Garrison Church in Windsor. They performed John Rutter's Mass of the Children and a variety of other choral pieces, some of which were accompanied by one of our Year 8 pupils, James F, who also performed an organ solo.
Sports Report - Week 11
With over 169 whistle blows to signify the start of either Hockey, Netball or Rugby matches and 55 events that have included Skipping, Tennis, Rowing, Fencing, Judo, Cross-country, Aquathlon and Swimming, the sports department would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every pupil that has competed in any sporting event this term, embracing in full the St George’s School Sporting Values.
Congratulations to all pupils that took part in Inter-House Hockey this week. The results are as follows.
Our young fencers did so well at the Fighting Fit for Schools tournament in Islington last Saturday. The art of fencing is a fantastic activity for young people which encourages the traditional values of good behaviour, sportsmanship, respect and good manners. Both our groups that took part did well, but we were thrilled that Alexander L was placed 1st out of nearly 50 children who took part.
On Sunday 24th March 10 year 8 boys travelled to Sherborne to take part in the annual IAPS Small Schools U13 Sevens Rugby festival at Sherborne School. This was the last rugby event of the boys time at St George’s and they performed with an outstanding level of skill and energy. Congratulations to all 10 boys who took part.
Inter-house Cross Country
Congratulations to all pupils who took part in the Inter-house Cross Country on Thursday raising money for Alzheimer’s Society, with many pupils choosing to run in wacky socks. Special mention must go to Freya W who beat the U13 Girls School record by over 2 minutes - an amazing performance! True 'house spirit' was showed by everyone, and all our pupils contributed to their house with equal measure. It was a tremendous morning, and demonstrated the extraordinary atmosphere that exists here at St George's.
And the medal winners were...
Last Sunday nine of our pupils took part in an Aquathlon at Wycombe Rye Lido. The event was hosted by Evo Tri Club, who run the school Triathlon Club every Tuesday. The children swam in the stunning outdoor pool – heated to a balmy 24 degrees and a challenging 33 metres in length. Once they had completed their swim, they jumped out of the pool and ran to the transition area to put on their training shoes as quickly as possible. From there they ran out on to the Rye and ran as fast as they could for a variety of distances dependent upon their age. Once through the finisher’s funnel, they were rewarded with a medal.
Congratulations to everyone who took part and we are looking forward to our next event which will be an open water swim at Bray lake.
Year 6 Trip to France
Our Year 6 pupils received a very warm welcome at Maison Claire Fontaine on Monday and have thrown themselves into a huge variety of activities during the course of the week: mosaic making, French cookery, archery, circus training and a host of other skills. They even took part in a concert with children from a local school. The enthusiastic French teachers taught vocabulary and phrases that were used in the activities and trips off site, which allowed the children to see the relevance and fun that can be had from learning and using their French.
UKMT Maths Challenge
On Wednesday Year 8 pupils Dylan M-H and Elliot D joined a team including two pupils from Eton College to enter the UKMT Maths Challenge at the West London Free School in Hammersmith. Their team came 5th out of the 24 teams taking part. Well done!
Over the last four weeks the Year 7s have worked tirelessly to build a business from scratch. This has included market research, advertising, presentations, designing and budgeting to mention just a few activities. Once all the calculations had been made, they finished with a profit of £221 of which 25% will be donated to charity.
Assemblies in the Lower School
The children in the two Reception classes have been studying traditional tales this term and their assemblies on Thursday were both based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. They had all worked very hard to learn the words and produced two lovely performances for their parents.
On Friday both Year 1 classes performed The Gingerbread Man for their parents, which was followed by 'Mothers' Day Tea' in their classrooms.
A puzzle to think about over the holidays:
...and here are the solutions to last week's puzzles, and the winners:
It’s been a busy half of term in the boarding house. We have welcomed lots of day children to sample some of the fun; some have been familiar faces, others have been brand new to the school sleepover experience. But all have enjoyed their time, be it mindfully meditating, splashing about in the pool, relaxing over a spa treatment, or handling bugs, (to name but a few of our varied activities). Now the evenings are getting a little lighter and warmer, the boarders are enjoying more time to play outside, and we are all keenly looking forward to next term, and if the weather is kind, enjoying BBQs, water fights or just spending time with friends, all in the fabulous school grounds we are so lucky to use and live in.
The choristers will be returning to school for the Easter stay-on, where they will combine singing services, with some fun activities and trips, as well as eagerly anticipating Matron Katy’s ‘Easter Egg Hunt’. We will have some trip reports and photos for the Trinity term newsletter!
The Chorister of the Week is Sebastien H for his attitude and focus this week.
Special mention must also be made of the thoughtfulness and great kindness shown by Alexios S to an elderly member of the congregation in Chapel on Sunday.
The Year 4 choristers, Ben I, Sam P, Callum B, Barney W and Julian J, performed their first solos in the Chapel during choral Evensong on Thursday. They each sang a verse of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and did a brilliant job.
On Monday someone spotted a swan stranded on the roof of the dining room annexe. Many of us looked on with bated breath as two brave people from Swan Lifeline expertly came to its rescue by climbing up onto the roof and wrapping it gently in a sling. The swan didn't appear to be injured, just a little dehydrated and is probably now enjoying the sunshine on the river once again.
Year 7 Milkshake Rewards
On Thursday the Year 7s were treated to an end-of-term milkshake at Shakeaway in Peascod Street.
Final Assembly Photos
Congratulations to everyone who received an award of any kind in the Final Assembly, held this afternoon.