Same but Different
We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a different journey.’ Unknown Author
The past month, without doubt, has been an unprecedented and challenging time for each one of us. We now experience social distancing, are restricted to just one outing per day, and must only make essential trips to the supermarket. Whilst we have been physically separated, there has certainly been a wonderful sense of unity here at St Leonards — our community has pulled together to ensure that school will continue, albeit in a virtual manner, and also to care for boarders who cannot return home and the children of key workers. We have also experienced this sense of togetherness and unity as a nation each Thursday evening, as we join together to applaud the key workers who are working tirelessly to fight the coronavirus pandemic, each and every day.
Whilst we have all been sailing through the same storm, our journeys and experiences through these unchartered waters are not identical. There will be individuals who have felt lonely, stressed, and overwhelmed, those who have been directly affected by the coronavirus, those who have lost loved ones, and those who may be enjoying the slower pace of life and the time that they have gained to pursue new hobbies and spend with family. Our emotions and feelings may even have evolved and changed over the days and weeks that have passed. Please be kind to yourself, and to others that you speak to and interact with, remembering that each one of us is experiencing this storm differently. In particular, do not feel pressured by the perfect pictures of harmonious homeschool life that you see on social media… you simply did not see the carnage that took place before or after! The reality of juggling work, homeschooling, and the uncertainty surrounding the current times (not to mention the constant snacks that we have to give our children!) is tough. Take each day as it comes, and be encouraged that each day is one step closer to a new ‘normal’.
I have been so impressed this week at how quickly our children have jumped into their new learning environments, and also taken on the ownership of their learning by looking up their own timetables and organising their work. I have particularly loved listening to the Year 1 pupils engaging with lessons and turning their microphones on and off when they want to speak! The fabulous work that is going on at home has been demonstrated by the large number of commendation nominations from staff that have hit my inbox this week — keep up the great work!
I have appreciated receiving lots of constructive comments from parents about St Leonards Connected thus far, and to hear their suggestions for improvements and changes. Please do keep in touch with your feedback on our virtual learning provision, and also please share pictures and stories of what you have been up to. I really would love to see what the children have been up to in their classes, as well as developing new skills or simply reconnecting with some old hobbies.
Some virtual learning housekeeping: we kindly ask that parents do not stay for the duration of their child’s lesson. Once your child has successfully accessed the Meet, please can you step back from the screen to enable us to foster independence and to ensure that the other children are not distracted. In addition, please can we request that children join the Meet at the scheduled time and no more than a few minutes in advance. The teacher will always be the last one to leave, so if your child has any questions then they are able to ask these at the end of the Meet.
Take care and stay safe.
WELCOME BACK | We hope that you have had a good first week back at school, and are enjoying school via St Leonards Connected. In case you missed it, here is Mrs Pennycook's Beginning of Term Assembly. As normal, she will be leading a Celebration Assembly each Monday morning with Commendations, Spirit of St Leonards Certificates, and a reflection to focus your minds for the week. The virtual assemblies can be accessed via ManageBac.
Key Worker Care
KEY WORKER CARE | St Leonards was delighted to provide care for the children of key workers over the Easter holidays. The children played lots of different games outside including dodgeball, line tig and some very competitive rounds of Hide and Seek. The lovely weather also enabled the children to enjoy lots of outdoor pursuits - some particular highlights were picnics and Easter Egg hunts in the playground, walks on the beach, and sandcastle competitions. Ruben and Stellan even managed to save a mackerel that was stranded on the beach!
Their days also included some quieter pursuits such as story time, chatting, building Lego models, playing Snakes and Ladders, and lots of arts and crafts projects. On the last day of the holidays, the children enjoyed making egg box monsters and egg box ladybirds.
"I have been really impressed at how well cared for and entertained the boys have been over the Easter holidays at school. The boys have enjoyed going and haven’t seen it as a negative that they have had to continue going to school through the holidays due to their grandparents not being able to travel to look after them during the pandemic. The teachers have provided fun and stimulating activities for the children and I’d like to thank them for all their hard work."
Many thanks to Ms Hill, Mr Olliver, Mr Strong, Mr Parsons, and Mr MacGregor who willingly gave up their time to care for the children over the holidays.
Pupil Spotlight: the Pennycook children
PUPIL SPOTLIGHT | In our weekly newsletters, we have decided to introduce a new section entitled 'Pupil Spotlight' to hear from some of the children and their experiences of virtual learning. To kick us off, the Pennycook children have shared some reflections on their week and have given us a brief insight into their new daily routines.
Would you like to feature in the new section of the Junior School newsletter entitled 'Pupil Spotlight'? If so, we would love to hear how your week has been, your reflections on working from home, your favourite activity from the week, what you are missing most about school, and finally any additional messages that you would like to share with friends, peers, and teachers alike. If you are interested, please do contact Mrs Dewar via email. Your submission could either be in a written format with photographs, or alternatively you could share your reflections in a pre-recorded video.
Teacher Spotlight: Miss Boissiere
TEACHER SPOTLIGHT | Each week, we will be interviewing one of the Junior School teachers to hear about their experiences of lockdown, their tips for home working, and their favourite activities to help them relax and unwind.
MISS BOISSIERE REFLECTS ON LOCKDOWN LIFE
I am delighted to have the spotlight shone on me this week as we introduce a new feature for the Junior School Newsletter. I have decided to sum up my lockdown life so far with a series of photographic snapshots.
Chaotic is how I would describe life just now. Tiring, challenging but also in a strange way, deeply rewarding. I am so inspired and impressed by the way in which all our children have risen to this extraordinary challenge and I, for one, am relishing a truly novel experience. I am not sure that I have ever worked with such consistent intensity, but am hopeful that as this continues, and then concludes, I will have modelled how to rise to a challenge, embrace change and embody adaptability. I very much look forward to seeing you all when we return to school at some point, yet to be decided, over the coming months.
St Leonards Snippets
ST LEONARDS SNIPPETS | This is another new section in our newsletter. We would love to hear about the varied projects that our pupils have been occupied with over the course of the week, both those set by class teachers and those which pupils have decided to embark upon themselves. Please do send in pictures (with a short blurb) of your literary, artistic, sporting, construction, culinary, or conservation projects to Mrs Dewar.
Charlie (Year 6) and his brother enjoyed creating a waterpark experience in their back garden, using their swings and a water sprinkler! What a great idea!
Superb Sports Skills
SUPERB SPORTS SKILLS | Thank you to everyone who submitted videos for the trick shot/skills challenge in the final week of the holiday. There were some hugely impressive skills demonstrated and imaginative trick shots amongst the entries, and we are delighted to announce that the Junior School winner was Ben B (Year 7) who kicked a rugby ball into a moving bin!
Money and Minibeasts
MONEY AND MINIBEASTS | This week, Year 2 have been learning about money in Maths, and so Miss Fisher tasked them with setting up a shop of their choice. They then had to work to add up different amounts and select the coins that they would use to make these totals. There were a variety of different goods for sale, ranging from teddy bears to cereals, and cars to chocolate bars.
This week, Year 2 started a new Unit of Inquiry which explores the relationship between plants and minibeasts. The pupils have enjoyed being green fingered, and have planted some seeds in a variety of different containers.