The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 28 February 2020


Headmistress's Introduction

"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.

Julianne Pennycook

Celebration Assembly

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

This week, there were three Pupils of the Week in Year 1. Many congratulations to Eliza for her consistent hard work, concentration and focus throughout the week; Serena for her terrific creativity when working with 'socks'; and Mairi for her wonderful rhyming work!
Matilda was awarded a Pupil of the Week (Year 3) certificate for her continued hard work, concentration and focus.


Alex was awarded a Commendation for displaying and sharing excellent knowledge about the Tudor period during Year 4C's tuning-in sessions.
James was awarded a Commendation for focus and diligence when writing a letter to his favourite author.
Monty was awarded a Commendation for showing kindness and for looking after a taster pupil.
Marko was awarded a Commendation for his consistent hard work.
Cara and Isabella were awarded Commendations for enthusiasm and resilience in wet and muddy running club sessions.
Sofia was awarded a commendation for being so eager to represent the school at the Kilgraston Swimming Gala.
Alfie was awarded a Commendation for showing a hard working attitude in Unit of Inquiry lessons.
Isaac was awarded a Commendation for an enthusiastic attitude towards learning in Maths and for taking this forward into his learning for the Unit of Inquiry.
Harry was awarded a Commendation for showing enthusiasm in Year 5's new Unit of Inquiry. He was involved with the provocation, which was a game of Monopoly!
Kamila was awarded a Commendation for excellent work in swimming. Keep up the good work!
Nahla and Euan were awarded Commendations for showing excellent inquiry skills and perseverance in a demanding problem-solving challenge.
Rowan was also awarded a Commendation for showing excellent inquiry skills and perseverance in a demanding problem-solving challenge.
Conor was awarded a Commendation for excellent effort in his Homework Heroes.
Archie was also awarded a Commendation for excellent effort in his Homework Heroes.
Lucy was also awarded a Commendation for excellent effort in her Homework Heroes.
The fourth, and final, Commendation for excellent effort in Homework Heroes was awarded to Harry.
Last, but by no means least, Ruben was awarded a Commendation for creating an intricate and detailed Lego model of a sweet shop, complete with a working light.

Pen Licences

Six pupils in Year 5 were awarded their Pen Licences this week. The Licences recognise the beautiful handwriting that each of these pupils has worked hard to perfect, and will allow them to complete their school work in pen rather than pencil. Many congratulations to Ethan, Jonny, Anona, Katherine, Charlotte and Rebecca!

Sporting Achievements

Eabha, Cara, Rachel, and Paula were presented with their medals from a recent Gymnastics competition. The girls performed fabulously, with a first place and four second places between them!
Lana recently was placed 3rd in a trampolining competition, and has qualified for the next round. Good luck, Lana!

John Muir Award

The John Muir Award focuses on the outdoors and it requires each participant to complete four challenges: discover a wild place, explore its wildness, conserve it, and then share your experiences.

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 made the most of the glorious sunshine on Thursday by going for a short walk along the coastal path.

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.

As they continued their walk, they also looked for signs of erosion and deposition of the materials from the harbour to the cliffs by Kinkell Braes.

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!

Fabulous Fundraising

Year 4 pupils with Mrs McKimmon and Fiona Sneddon, a representative from the MS Trust.

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

Lucy had a fabulous time at the Junior Associates Historical Dance Workshop at The Royal Ballet School, Covent Garden.

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!

At the start of this week, Mull were leading the House Point competition with 13 points.

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!

Prefect Time

The Senior Prefect and Prefect Teams, 2020-21.

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.

Year 3 enjoyed their 'soft start' on Tuesday morning.

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 2 made some fantastic spoon puppets this week - they used wool to make their hair and felt to make their clothes!

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.

Year 4P performed a fabulous puppet show this week in St Katharines Hall.

The pupils are already looking forward to the Clydebuilt Puppet performance and workshop next week!

Perfect Pancakes

Year 2 pupils measured the ingredients for their pancakes using scales and measuring spoons.

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

The children have made the most of the beautiful sunshine this week!

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

Year 3 have been busy counting different coins this week.

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 have been busy again this week!

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

Year 1 have been investigating 3D shapes this week.

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

Year 4 have been learning about Mary, Queen of Scots this week.

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.

The U10 boys' football team lost out to Clifton Hall 6-1. Many congratulations to Kabir who scored for St Leonards.
The girls played Riley House at hockey this week. The U12 team lost out 2-5, with Rachel and Thea scoring for the St Leonards side. The U11s won 4-0 with Sanna scoring in the first 30 seconds and Willow scoring a hat trick. Congratulations to all who played!
The U12 boys lost 6-1 to Riley House. The boys demonstrated great resilience - having conceded five goals in the first few minutes of the game, they then only let one more goal in for the remainder of the match. Well done boys!

Easter Entertainment

EASTER ENTERTAINMENT | Are you looking for ways to entertain your children over the Easter Holidays? Wild Outdoors are running activity camps at St Leonards between Tuesday, 14 April and Thursday, 16 April 2020 from 9am - 5pm (with flexible drop off and pick up from 8am - 6pm). There will be a range of excellent activities including archery, beach games, frisbee, golf, nature crafts, and survival skills. Lunch and snacks will be provided. To book your place, please visit www.thewildoutdoors.org.

Spring is Coming!

Since there are no birthdays this week in the Junior School, we thought we would finish the newsletter with a beautiful picture of crocuses emerging at St Leonards. Spring is on its way!