Be a Rainbow
“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Maya Angelou
As I write, we are approaching the end of Mental Health Awareness Week which is organised each year by the Mental Health Awareness Foundation to raise awareness of mental health and drive change towards a mentally healthy society. This year, the theme was kindness. Kindness is so powerful — it has the ability to help and cheer up others, and also boost our own mental wellbeing. Over the past few weeks, our community, town, nation, and world have pulled together in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen many examples of kind and selfless actions — be that Captain Tom’s inspirational efforts to raise money for the NHS, individuals shopping for their elderly neighbours, or groups of volunteers sewing scrubs for frontline key workers.
Here at St Leonards, we see acts of kindness each and every day in our community, and the physical separation that we are currently experiencing has not put a stop to these kind thoughts, words, and actions. I know that many acts of kindness amongst pupils, parents, and staff at St Leonards go unnoticed. A huge thank you to each and every one of you who has taken a moment to be kind — it is these acts of kindness that make St Leonards such a happy place to live, work and learn. However, there were two collective acts of kindness this week that I would like to mention, both made me immensely proud and thankful to be part of the St Leonards community.
First, on Wednesday, the teachers were touched to receive a flurry of thoughtful emails, heartfelt messages, beautiful cards, and videos of other lovely creative gestures from the pupils as part of National Thank a Teacher Day. Thank you, boys and girls, for taking the time to be in contact with your teachers — these words and actions brought a smile to so many faces.
Secondly, at the virtual Informal Concert, there were so many kind words and messages of support shared in the chat section of the Google Meet as pupils watched their peers perform. This atmosphere of positivity amongst the audience and the supportive attitude of the pupils for their peers was fantastic to see.
The American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said “try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” The past nine weeks of lockdown have certainly been difficult, and many of us will have felt anxious, sad, or down during this period. However, the acts of kindness that are displayed each and every day in our community help us to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud, to spread hope and joy in times of hardship. Let’s keep cheering each other up, spurring one another on, and caring for each other — after all, that is why St Leonards is such a special community.
I wish you all a restful and relaxing half term holiday, with plenty of time outside and away from your screens.
CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY | As usual, there have been so many achievements, successes, and acts of kindness to celebrate this week. Mrs Pennycook presented lots of Commendations and Spirit of St Leonards certificates in her Celebration Assembly this week - you can see the recipients with their awards below.
TEACHER SPOTLIGHT | This week, we were delighted to catch up with Mrs Beebee. She spoke about her new lockdown routine, her love of gardening and walking, her new bicycle, and even how her beloved spaniel, Bruar, has been finding lockdown! We hope that you enjoy reading her reflections below.
So, how does a day in the life of Mrs Beebee go? Well, for a start, in my house we do not get up as early as we used to before lockdown began. I used to rise at 6 am and, by 7am, I would be in school preparing for the day and Mr Beebee and Bruar would be out for a walk. These days, I get up around 7am, eat some breakfast, and then head to my classroom which is set up in our dining room at present. This is where I deliver my live lessons, and sometimes I also pre-record lessons in here for Year 3. After the first set of lessons for the day, I upload recordings for those pupils who cannot access the live lessons. Then, it is time for a snack - always between 10.20 and 10.45. I like my routines!
After some more study time, planning lessons for the coming week, or checking the work that children have sent me, it is time to have a break from the screen and a walk with Bruar before lunch. Mr Beebee and I have had two spaniels since we were married, first Connor and now Bruar. We love walking our dogs - the walks are a fabulous opportunity to have time away from screens, telephones, and the TV and instead enjoy each other's company, chat, laugh, and soak up the beautiful scenery around where we live.
In the afternoon, I might have another live lesson or a chat with some of the children in my class. It has been lovely to see what they have been up to during the morning - the like to show me and others in the group what they have been doing, and it is also nice to have a little catch up. For the rest of the afternoon, I usually continue working on recording lessons, preparing for reports, and planning for the coming week.
After tea, we like to spend time in our garden. Mr Beebee and I have been working hard in it since we moved into our house three years ago. It is so therapeutic to spend time in the garden watering new plants, tending my borders and tubs, weeding and tidying. Without the garden and the beautiful walks on our doorstep, I think both Mr Beebee and I would have found lockdown a lot more difficult.
So what else have I been up to? Well, I have done a little baking. The only problem with baking is that you have to eat it and, as there are only two of us in the house, lots of baking could result in clothes not fitting... so I am resisting doing too much! Miss Dawson supplied me with lovely strawberry and rhubarb jam and so I decided to make some Belgium Biscuits. The ones at Balgove Larder melt in the mouth - mine were not too bad, but I don't think I will be selling them there! I think I need to work on the thickness of my icing.
Before lockdown, we invested in two new bikes. Mr Beebee had been thinking about this for a while - it is a great way for him to get around the parish for visits and go to meetings in St Andrews without using a car. I also got a new bicycle for my birthday, complete with a basket! I had not been on a bike since I was twelve, and it has taken a while to relearn... I needed stabilisers, knee pads, elbow pads and, of course, a helmet! I use my bicycle to get to school (on dry, sunny days) on the days when I go in to help look after the key workers' children, and also to pop around town.
My final treat is to have a quiet hour relaxing and catching up with the latest goings on in the world of Hello!, often with some chocolate. Since I cannot get to the hairdressers to enjoy my secret pleasure of reading magazines in peace and quiet, I have bought my own copy to enjoy at home!
All in all, Mr Beebee, Bruar and I seem to be coping pretty well with lockdown. We like our routines, and are content now we have our lockdown routine. After lockdown is lifted, I am very much looking forward to being able to head to the Balgove Larder on a Saturday morning for our breakfast date and also to take Bruar to Kinshaldy and other places further afield for a walk. However, I think that we will not quite return to our old routines, but rather will be more aware of the things that we took for granted. For now, I would like to wish you and your families a safe and healthy time. Take care of each other, enjoy creating new memories together, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
MAITLAND MONTAGE | Euan and Rory have been loved their instrumental music lessons recently, and were inspired to create a montage of Uptown Funk together. Why not give this video a listen - it's fabulous!
MAGNIFICENT MAPS | Year 2 have been exploring maps in Maths. They have been using them as a means of showing shape and position, learned to used coordinates to describe the position of various landmarks, and even created some colourful maps themselves. Below are a selection of their hand-drawn maps - can you guess what places they are showing?
INFORMAL CONCERT | On Friday, we were delighted to hold our the inaugural virtual Informal Concert, hosted by Ms Love. It was a truly wonderful showcase of the musical talent of our pupils, as well as their hard work and commitment. The pupils did not seem phased by the unusual set up of the concert, delivering polished performances with poise and confidence!
Some particular highlights were Shreyas' expressive vocal performance of 'Naughty' from Matilda; Alfie and Riya's jazzy piano performances of 'Happy Day' and 'You Have to Shake it'; and Cecilia's pre-recorded duet with Mr Bell of 'Bluebell'. However, we would like to say a huge well done to each and every pupil who performed, be that on the piano, violin, guitar, flute, recorder, or another instrument and also extend our thanks to the instrumental teachers who have continued to deliver virtual one-to-one tuition through lockdown.
The atmosphere of positivity amongst the audience and the supportive attitude of the pupils for their peers was fantastic to see - St Leonards really is such a special community!
QUARANTINE COOKING | There are certainly some budding chefs in our midst here at St Leonards - we have been so impressed by the photographs of delicious dishes and brilliant bakes that have been sent in over the past month. Below are photographs of the fabulous cakes baked by Madison and Rebecca this week.
Foraging for Food
FORAGING FOR FOOD | In addition to baking cakes, some of our pupils have been creating recipes using foraged food. Last week, Miss Fisher challenged the Year 2 pupils to go foraging, find some free food growing in the hedgerows on their next walk, and then to send her a recipe using a foraged ingredient. Did you know that you can eat stinging nettles, wild garlic, dandelions, the inside of bramble shoots and sticky willow, as well as many types of flowers?
Dylan enjoyed foraging for nettles, which he then made into a hearty soup. If you'd like to recreate this delicious dish, you can see his recipe and method below!
Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling - 1 onion chopped - 1 carrot, diced - 1 leek, washed and finely sliced - 1 large floury potato (Maris Piper or similar), sliced, 1 litre vegetable stock - 400g stinging or dead nettles washed, leaves picked - double cream to serve.
Method: Forage for nettles, remove leaves and boil, chop vegetables and sauté, blend nettles and vegetables together, add cream, and enjoy with a crusty slice of bread! Why not give it a go over the half term holidays?
St Leonards Masterchef Challenge
ST LEONARDS MASTERCHEF CHALLENGE | On the topic of culinary creations, the judges were so impressed with the quality of the entries to the inaugural St Leonards Masterchef Challenge. They could easily have awarded prizes for every year group, but decided to instead whittle it down to Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal positions. A hearty round of applause and very well done to the following pupils:
1st place: Sophia Y, for her traditional Spanish cupcakes.
2nd place: Adam G, for his gluten free spider cake.
3rd place: Éabha L, for her Tutti Frutti Pizza.
The judges would also like to mention Holly & Emily A, Albert Z, Thea W, and Anita M who were highly commended. If you won a prize, please do check your email for some details about prizes. Very well done to all our budding chefs who made the inaugural St Leonards Masterchef challenge such a success!
Mrs P where are you?
MRS P, WHERE ARE YOU? | In her Monday morning assembly, Mrs Pennycook filmed herself in five different St Leonards locations, and tasked the pupils with guessing her location. Here are the answers below... drum roll please!
Fun and Games
FUN AND GAMES | Over the course of this half term, Year 1 have enjoyed digging out old games, inventing new ones, and exploring games of the past as part of their Unit of Inquiry which focuses on play. This week, the children have continued to throw themselves into all the activities set by Ms Boissiere with great enthusiasm, and shown themselves to be imaginative and creative learners.
A wide variety of games and toys were created this week. For example, Sholto created a Wild West game. He used a slingshot catapult to knock out several tin cans in his back garden, and even donned a cowboy hat!
Mairi and Serena both made sock puppets this week. Serena named her puppet 'Jaguary' and even took him to the beach for a walk. She is excited to put on some sock puppet shows at home over the coming week.
Ms Boissiere can't wait to see what further discoveries her class make as they play and create over half term. Keep up the good work, Year 1!
Drama at Dunsinane
"Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him." Macbeth 4.1
DRAMA AT DUNSINANE | Year 6 are currently studying Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth in their Drama lessons with Mrs Stewart. This week, Alastair and his family went on a Macbeth-themed walk to Dunsinane Hill where there are remains of a hill fort known as Macbeth's Castle. Alistair even carried a stick from Birnam Wood. What a fabulous way to contextualise the play!
MARVELLOUS MUSIC | This half term, Year 7 have been learning about programme music with a particular focus on rain, storms, and rivers. Programme music is music which tells a story or sets a scene. The pupils have listened to some beautiful pieces by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Smetana, and Chopin, and were then tasked to compose their own music to represent a storm. The music was to be in ternary form, and could use any instruments that they had at home.
Mr Shiells was very impressed by the highly creative submissions, which ranged from electronic soundscapes to live performances involving entire families! Particular mention should go to Shreyas and Ting for their innovative and well-executed compositions, and to Maya for her polished performance. Great work, Year 7 - it looks like we have some budding composers in our midst!
PUPIL SPOTLIGHT | As promised, this week, we are delighted to share two pupil spotlights.
First, we spoke with Thea and Anona about their experiences of lockdown life. In addition to completing their lessons via St Leonards Connected, they have been busy creating some delicious dishes and brilliant bakes in their kitchen including potato-topped pies, oven-baked meatballs, and a double-layered chocolate cake. The girls have also enjoyed spending time outside playing games, swinging on ropes through woodland and across water, planting seeds in recycled containers, and going for walks with their parents. Anona and Thea have also completed various creative projects: painting, drawing, and sculpting to name three. We hope that you enjoy seeing some of their highlights in the photo montage below - there are smiles all round!
We were also pleased to hear from Isobel this week. Her lockdown experience has looked very different from Thea and Anona's! She has been out and about in DC, and created this video inspired by the iconic sitcom Friends to share with the rest of the St Leonards community. We hope that you enjoy watching it!
We love hearing what you have all been up to, and so we will be continuing this Pupil Spotlight section of the newsletter after the half term holidays. We would also love to hear from PARENTS about their top tips for home schooling and play time ideas. If you would like to feature, please do get in touch with Mrs Dewar.
BUSY BEES | This week, Year 2 have been busy bees creating their own bee information posters. This was well-timed, since it was World Bee Day on Wednesday, 20 May! These posters were part of their Unit of Inquiry work on plants on minibeasts. Thea decided to record a video explain different aspects of her poster, why not give this short clip a watch and see if you learn anything new?