A Merry Christmas to All
BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Advent in any school is a very special time, and this has certainly been the case over the past two weeks at St Leonards. The Carol Service in Holy Trinity Church was a wonderful way to finish the term. It allowed us to capture the qualities of every child, whether it be the year group carols, readings, prayers or solos, and made for a most uplifting occasion involving the entire community. Our Lower School Nativity Play, ‘Census Sums’, also involved every child in Years 1-3 performing an ambitious script with gusto, enthusiasm and sheer delight. This production was a real lesson to us never to dumb down our ambitions for what children can achieve; their talent and confidence on stage was extraordinary, as was their support and compassion towards one another. Our inaugural Christmas Tree festival and annual Christmas Fair saw children, parents, families and visiting stall-holders come together to put on an imaginative event. I must be honest in that I was sceptical about the idea of hosting a Christmas Fair with stalls run by children, but for the second year running I have been proved wrong as the stalls once again showed a real entrepreneurial spirit from our boys and girls, and were all - without exception - thoroughly impressive.
Other whole school events during the final week of term included a trip to the pantomime in Dunfermline, where I was telephoned by the theatre later in the afternoon to pass on how immaculately behaved our pupils were; and our Christmas Feast on Tuesday, attended by all children and staff as a formal meal. On the penultimate day of term, we celebrated the successes of every child in our ‘Celebration Assembly’, and as every child looked me in the eye (bribery through chocolate coins helped slightly) to and shook me enthusiastically by the hand as they received their prize, I had the great privilege of reflecting on their individual triumphs of the term, even those who might have waded through challenges and mishaps along the way.
Over this past fortnight we have had the honour of seeing the excitement that Christmas brings to our children. That is somewhat reinvigorating, however surrounding oneself with children who - en masse - contribute to these events that require teamwork, focus, patience and self-control, also allows us to see this time of year with a fresh new perspective. As individuals, every child has been on a journey this term which has seen some sail through with relative ease, whilst others have chartered choppy waters. Seeing the children all together in many contexts during the final week of term reminds us that they all arrive at the same destination, in one piece and stronger for the experiences and learning pathways of the last 16 weeks. What binds the children together are a few core traits: good manners; confidence without verging on arrogance; adaptability and resourcefulness; good humour; determination; and kindness and thought towards others.
Now we are into the first week of the holidays, I hope your children have a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas break. As ever, I strongly urge them all to read lots; engage in discussion on far-reaching topics to expand their curiosity and love of wonder; collect artefacts, interesting articles, magazine cuttings, letters or anything that might inspire them; and get outside and explore. In line with my recent blog on ‘the art of tinkering’, we will be introducing the Genius Hour instead of the Friday afternoon Golden Time next term, whereby the children will spend the final lesson of the week answering their own questions, developing a concept, inventing, creating new ideas etc. Perhaps you can encourage them to have a ‘Genius Hour’ or two this holiday.
This clip from America gives a brief explanation to Genius Hour”
I hope to have the children queueing up on the first day of term to show me what they have discovered over the next three weeks, for I can assure you it is from these interactions with the children on a daily basis that I get my inspiration.
Catherine and I would like to thank St Leonards families for your kind greetings and all your support this term. We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2018.
CENSUS SUMS | The boys and girls in Years 1-3 put on three super performances of this year’s Junior School Nativity Play, Census Sums – one for their friends in Years 4-7, one for parents and relatives and on Monday they wowed nearly 100 children from local nurseries in and around St Andrews.
Complete with colourful costumes, catchy songs and a spectacular sparkling set, the cast told the story of the very first Christmas, taking into account the important role of the census takers.
With kings, shepherds, angels, camels and enough cooks to spoil the broth (or rather figgy cake!), this year’s show was certainly a success!
Well done to the cast and a big thank you to Mrs Stewart, Mr Shiells, all the Years 1-3 teachers and teaching assistants, and to the Sixth Form students who played in the band and managed the technical aspects of the show, including the brilliant stage lighting!
CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY
School uniform was replaced by bright and sparkly Christmas jumpers on Monday to raise money for Scottish Air Ambulance. Thank you to everyone who made a donation on the day, raising a total of £106 for the charity!
The following pupils received certificates at Celebration Assemblies last week:
James for writing a beautifully written and illustrated Christmas story.
Anna for creating a magnificent poster following a recent trip to London.
Jonny for writing a hugely interesting comic strip, with a wonderful storyline and compelling pictures.
Riya for creating a superb and most informative poster on Hinduism, as part of the 'Homework Heroes' tasks.
Erin for writing a beautifully presented and details diary from a recent trip to Balmoral.
Brodie for working very hard at a recent 'Homework Heroes' task, writing a news piece about playing outside her house.
Meredith for writing and typing out an imaginative and creative Christmas story.
Finn was awarded an 'Artist of the Month' certificate for an outstanding and expressive piece.
Brendan received an 'Artist of the Month' award for an outstanding and expressive piece.
Ewen picked up two awards this week - one for 'Artist of the Month' and the second was a 'Spirit of St Leonards Award' for showing politeness around the school.
Cameron was named 'Artist of the Month' for an outstanding and expressive piece.
Year 1 Pupil of the Week went to Holly for working extremely hard to meet her targets this term.
Year 2 Pupil of the Week was Katya for showing real bravery and courage in the Nativity Play and giving an outstanding performance.
Oscar was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for his super work in Maths.
Emily for lending another pupil something Christmassy for the festive hockey.
Jennifer for helping another pupil with her Unit of Inquiry reading and craft activities.
Eliza for helping another pupil with her Unit of Inquiry reading and craft activities.
Kyle for helping another pupil with Maths work, showing real patience and kindness.
Kabir for creating the most beautiful painting of the St Leonards arch in St Andrews, based on the school Christmas card.
Bronze Stars for 50 House Points were awarded to Anona, Grace and Jonny (Year 3), and Alyssa, James, Madison, Cameron and Shelagh (Year 4).
Silver Stars for 100 House Points were awarded to Alastair (Year 4) and Elisenda and Eva (Year 7).
The Autumn Term ended on a high note with a wonderful Celebration Assembly on Thursday. Every pupil in the Junior School received a certificate for an outstanding achievement and everyone's strengths were highlighted, recognised and applauded. Silent Night sung in the dark with just glow sticks and the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree made for a really magical moment. A lovely way to round off the term!
CHRISTMAS LUNCH | Lunchtime on Tuesday was extra special with crackers, hats and turkey with all the trimmings! Even dessert was a treat with a choice between ice cream stars and homemade Christmas pudding. Everyone tucked into a real festive feast. Thanks to the catering staff for putting on such a great spread!
CAROL SERVICE | The pews were packed for the St Leonards Junior School Carol Service on Friday morning as everyone gathered to celebrate the Christmas message. Well done to all who read, sang and took part in what was a truly magical service to wrap up a busy Autumn Term!