"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” Voltaire
The Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire famously said that a man should be judged by his questions rather than his answers. Here at St Leonards, we couldn’t agree more. The questions that the children ask each day, both inside and outside the classroom, are far more important than the answers that they give. From their very first day here at St Leonards, we seek to nurture curiosity within our pupils, to help them develop skills for inquiry and research, and to instill a love of learning that they will carry throughout their time at school, and beyond. Instead of spoon-feeding our pupils or promoting rote learning, we help our pupils to pose questions and then find answers for themselves, which in turn will lead them to question again.
The IB Learner Profile promoted at St Leonards encompasses ten attributes that help individuals and groups to become lifelong learners, as well as responsible members of local, national, and global communities. In the Junior School, the Learner Profile focus for March is for the pupils to be INQUIRERS. This attribute encourages pupils to develop their natural curiosity, to conduct independent research, and then to critically question their findings.
Every day, I am amazed and intrigued by the discoveries and observations of the pupils in the Junior School, whose learning has been guided and nurtured by their teachers. Please do continue to encourage your child(ren) to be INQUIRERS, to share their findings, questions, and answers with their peers and their teachers. This is what creates the stimulating and exciting learning environment here at St Leonards.
CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY | It was a bumper week of certificates, medals and awards this week in the Junior School. Many congratulations to the following pupils whose received a hearty round of applause for their various different achievements. What a fabulous way to start the week!
Pupil of the Week Certificates
John Muir Award
JOHN MUIR AWARD | Year 6 were all presented with their John Muir Award certificates this week. This is the second time that a cohort of St Leonards pupils have completed the Award. The Award is run by the John Muir Trust, which seeks to encourage individuals to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places. The Award is not only open to schools, but also families and businesses. Last year, some St Leonards families decided to complete the Award outside of school! The Award consists of various challenges: discover a wild place, explore its wildness, conserve it, and then share your experiences. The recent trip to Loch Eil allowed the Year 6 pupils to complete several aspects of the Award.
The idea is that each individual chooses a place that they are interested in, either somewhere new, or somewhere they would like to know better. From there, each participant learns more about the area - for example, who uses it and what challenges it faces. The third step requires action in the form of conservation. This is an important level as it really requires the children to ask what they can do, and how their actions can make an impact. This can be done in a variety of ways: litter picking, surveys, sharing information about the area, or actually gettings one's hands dirty by planting trees or maintaining pathways. Lastly, each participant must share what they have done and what they have learned from their experiences
The John Muir Award consists of different Award levels too. The Explorer Award and the Conserver Award are awards that we would like to build towards and offer as the children grow through their time at St Leonards. Many congratulations to the Year 6 pupils for completing the various aspects of the Award!
Mr Barrable, Head of Outdoor Learning
WINTER WALK | Year 6 continued their exploration of natural and man-made structures this week with a short walk along the coastal path. They considered the design of the University of St Andrews' new Scottish Oceans Institute, and looked at the choice of construction materials.
Unfortunately, recent rainfall meant that the condition of the path beyond the Caravan Park was treacherous underfoot, and so they could only view the Maiden Rock (their planned endpoint) from a distance!
On Monday morning, MS specialist nurse, Fiona Sneddon, came from Cameron Hospital, Windygates, to the Junior School Assembly to receive a large cheque on behalf of the MS Trust. The pupils in the Junior School have been busy raising money for the MS Trust throughout this academic year, and have organised a wide range of events to support the cause. The pupils braved the elements back in October on a windy Friday afternoon to complete a Fun Run which raised £1425.60, the Bake Sale raised £119.60, the Christmas Jumper Day £59.00, the Christmas Fair a further £482/50, and the Carol Service £246.83.
Back in October, pupils in 4C each had to guess what the final total might be. Their guesses were very varied, and Fiona herself joined in and tentatively suggested to the children that she would be amazed if they reached a total of £500. The Junior School children really have excelled themselves; at present, the total raised stands at over £2250.00. This is a staggering amount, and there is more money to come in!
Fiona thanked the pupils for their fundraising efforts. She explained that the money would go towards funding courses and training for specialist nurses who provide professional, friendly support to sufferers of this unpredictable and challenging illness, and also to fund further research into the illness.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the parents, friends, and relatives of the pupils for their overwhelming generosity. Even more importantly, I would like to thank the pupils and staff for their support and fundraising efforts over the past six months. I have been so humbled by the Year 4 classes who willingly launched the fundraising project with a poignant assembly at the start of the year to raise awareness of the condition. I would also like to thank the staff and the school community at large who so readily and enthusiastically adopted the MS Trust as the Junior School charity for the year. On behalf of the 130,000+ whose live with MS around the country, a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Mrs McKimmon, Year 4 Class Teacher
BUDDING BALLERINA | Last week, Lucy travelled down to London for the Junior Associates Historical Dance Workshop at The Royal Ballet School, Covent Garden. The Junior Associate programme seeks to nurture, and provide additional training for, talented dancers aged 8-10. The trip to London was a fabulous opportunity for Lucy to receive expert training, and perform alongside other Junior Associates who had travelled to attend the workshop from all over the country - there were just six dancers from Scotland! The workshop focused upon promoting eye contact and the presentation of different styles of dance through performance. Very excitingly, Lucy has been selected to stay on next year as a Mid-Associate (for those aged 11-13) at the Royal Ballet School. We look forward to hearing more about Lucy's dancing endeavours over the coming months.
Drum Roll, Please!
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE! | Each week, at the Celebration Assembly, Mrs Pennycook announces the updated total of the House Points for the term. On Monday, the Mull were in the lead with 13 points, Harris were in second place with 10 points, Skye were in the bronze medal position with 9 points, and Lewis tailed just behind with 8 points. But, did you know that each certificate awarded in the Celebration Assembly is worth 5 House Points? The large number of certificates awarded this week may well have changed the placings... stay tuned for the updated results next week!
The new Prefect and Senior Prefect teams were announced at the beginning of this month, and, following a short handover period, the new office bearers have now assumed their duties proper. A new initiative for this year, to help create a sense of whole-school unity, is that each prefect will be attached to a tutor group from Year 1 up to Year 11. The prefects attached to the Junior School will join the classes on Tuesday mornings.
The Year 3 pupils loved having Helena come and help with their 'soft start' on Tuesday morning. The children enjoyed working with her on Maths games, phonics challenges, board games, and card games. They are already looking forward to having Helena visit again next week!
Plenty of Puppets
PLENTY OF PUPPETS | Year 2 have been making spoon puppets in their Art lessons this week. They used wool and scraps of fabric to create their own individual and characterful puppet, and then had great fun using them in the puppet theatre to tell their own stories.
Year 4P performed a shadow puppet show to Years 1 and 2 this week in St Katharines Hall. This was the culmination of several weeks' work as part of their Unit of Inquiry on Light. Before the half-term holiday, the children worked hard on retelling traditional tales. They chose the tales of the Chinese Zodiac and Jack and the Beanstalk to retell and perform using shadow puppets. The children worked hard to prepare their performances with Mrs Stewart during their Drama lessons. James, Paula and Ishbel were amazing narrators, whilst the rest of the class displayed superb organisational skills as the puppeteers.
The pupils are already looking forward to the Clydebuilt Puppet performance and workshop next week!
PERFECT PANCAKES | Year 2 enjoyed making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. They measured out the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, and milk using electronic scales, whisked the ingredients together, and then even had a go at flipping them as well. After that, they enjoyed eating their delicious creations!
GREEN-FINGERED GARDENERS | There was some beautiful sunshine this week, and so a number of the children spent their lunch break gardening. They weeded the flower border, pruned the palm tree, did some digging in the polytunnel, and started preparing a potato bed. They then indulged in a spot of sunbathing to recover!
COUNTING COINS | This week, Year 3 have been pretending that they are old-fashioned bankers and learned the value of different coins. They have counted money, exchanged money, made money, and used money practically - no contactless payment in the Year 3 classroom!
FRIENDSHIP BENCH | The Peer Listening team met this week for further training, and to hand over the duty lanyards to other team members. A friendship bench was proposed and discussed, and Miss Fisher soon put some of the team to work repainting the Years 1-3 friendship bench. We are hoping to have something similar in place for Years 4-7 by the Summer Term.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINTS | This week, Year 1 have continued with their Inquiry into the story of the Three Little Pigs and building materials by investigating 3D shapes. The Fairyland Police have had a tough time hunting for two potentially destructive criminals (the Big Bad Wolf and, the lesser known but equally threatening, Big Bad Pig) whilst to parchitects have been investigating alternative housing solutions to keep the Fairyland residents safe. There have been some fascinating conversations and the pupils have been learning to examine situations from alternative viewpoints. For example, they have been considering how they could help Pig 3 to build the strongest house possible and questioned whether the Wolf was the 'bad guy' that he seems to be on first reading of the story. Keep up the good work, Year 1!
HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS | This week, Year 4 have been finding out about the key events in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots who is said to have visited St Andrews three times between 1650 and 1565. The room in which the monarch stayed forms part of Queen Mary's Library here at St Leonards, with many of the original features on display! Year 4 were tasked with putting sequence cards in order, and then discussing each life event. After that, they made connections with how we live today. Great work, Year 4!
Sport in the Sunshine
SPORT IN THE SUNSHINE | The boys and girls enjoyed various fixtures in the sunshine this week.