27 January 2017


Spread a little kindness.

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” (Dalai Lama XIV). Kindness goes right to the core of the Dalai Lama’s fundamental belief in humanity and his optimism for the future. In ‘The Book of Joy’, a recent publication which chronicles a week long dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Both inspirational men talk at length of how witnessing kindness around them helped them endure more than fifty years of exile and crushing violence and oppression.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and The Dalai Lama are icons that personify kindness

Today, unexpected acts of kindness on a truly sensational or global scale are so rare they easily go viral on the internet and make headlines, rather than go unnoticed as part and parcel of daily life. There are many extraordinary acts of compassion, kindness and courage by people towards others which really restore our faith in humankind. However, it is the ordinary opportunities to reach out to others which are as important. As Desmond Tutu puts it “The modern world is suspicious of compassion because we have accepted the belief that nature is red in tooth and claw and that we are fundamentally competing against everyone and everything”. This goes completely at odds with how we have been wired as Human Beings. Studies have shown that babies as young as 6 months old gravitate towards toys that reflect helping. Rather like engaging in strenuous exercise, when we help others, endorphins (happy hormones) are released into our brain. In addition kindness has a ripple effect. Being around kind people in turns encourages us to replicate this kindness. Even mice have an inner kindness. A study showed that “when two mice are together, if one is injured, the other will lick it” (Dalai Lama, 2016).

Kindness runs right through us all. As major global events, politicians and world leaders, international complexities and the constant threat of instability looms over us, one can’t help but feel something as simple as spreading a little kindness might go a long way.

Instead of re-telling a story of kindness gone viral, turned into a blockbuster movie or viewed 60 million times on Youtube, there are two glorious tales of kindness brought into the classroom of just about every 5-10 year old.

Who can forget the story of the ‘Mouse and the Lion’, by Aesop. A small mouse is caught by a lion, and instead of being eaten he is let go. Later on, the mouse comes across the lion trapped in a giant and strong net. With her teeth the mouse chews through the net and frees the lion, who earlier had saved her life. A small act of kindness which cost neither the lion or the mouse anything, but reaped enormous reward. This is where the quote “no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” comes from.

To a modern day author, Julia Donaldson, writer of some of Arthur’s favorite books such as ‘Stick Man’, ‘The Snail and the Whale', ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’. Adored by many, including our Year 1s, she has written some superb tales. One stands out in particular to me. ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ re-tells the story of a giant who visits a clothing shop to buy a completely new wardrobe for himself, only to shed each item one by one to animals he passes who are in great need. Eventually finding he is left with no clothes, he rushes back to the shop to discover his old clothes in a bag outside waiting to be thrown out. Filled with joy he puts his old, tatty clothes back on, to find a note from all the animals he has helped, thanking the ‘kindest giant in town’.

Spread a little kindness

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week at St Leonards. Inspired by Place2Be, a leading children’s mental health charity, our focus in the Junior School will be kindness. For this generosity of spirit towards others, compassion and thoughtfulness not only creates a happy community, but in turn helps build resilience, grit and growth mindset, three strong preventative measures against mental health.

As well as leading two assemblies on the theme of kindness (I will pass on what I say in next week’s newsletter), our theme will simply be spread a little kindness, and I challenge us all to:

Children: Commit one small act of random kindness each day. Without making a fuss of this, and staying anonymous notice the impact of this act on ourselves.

Parents: Point out kindness to your children whenever you see it (on the news and around you) , comment on when your child commits an act of kindness.

We will have a kindness wall in central atrium by the pupil entrance which I encourage everyone to add to, whether with pictures of people made famous through kindness, our own inspirational figures, acts of kindness closer to home or indeed how we can all show kindness.

Spread a little kindness

As I write this, preparations are well underway for our PA Ceilidh, and I wish everyone involved a wonderful evening. I absolutely loved my first Burns Day in Scotland on Wednesday, and bravo to all those who turned out in their kilts. I do hope none of the children were put off their Haggis in the evening following our Assembly.

I wish all St Leonards families a relaxing and happy weekend.

William Goldsmith

Mr G being told what Haggis consists of


What a wonderful sight greeted me on Wednesday morning as many boys and girls came to school wearing their family tartan. On this morning my idyllic Scottish existence was completed - views over the harbour, a sharp frost, stunning sun rise over the North Sea and kilts advancing towards me! All I needed was a Piper standing next to me.

During assembly, we learned about some of the family tartan on display, and I was able to give a little background to how I became the proud owner of a kilt, given to me by Catherine a few years ago. I learned what Haggis consisted of (I was fairly surprised!), and we listened to some brave volunteers read out Robbie Burns' Address to the Haggis.

Year 4 were asked what they took away from our Burns assembly:

I was asked what was in my sporran, I carry water! Joe

We wore kilts, tartan ties and tartan trousers – Charlie

There was a man who wrote so many poems in his life, Robert (Rabbie) Burns. - Maya and Alanya

Some children were wearing their family tartan and they told us about it. – Rachel

On Burns Night some of us had haggis, I didn’t! – Logan

Mr Goldsmith’s kilt isn’t his family tartan, his wife bought it for him – Rachel

We sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – Maya

I am on the look out for a Junior School pupils to join me outside school each morning to pipe or drum the children in, I couldn't imagine a more inspirational start to the day.


As part of their investigation into electrical safety the Year 3’s have been learning about how electricity works by constructing simple circuits. They have been experimenting with bulbs, buzzers and switches and represented their findings to share with the class.

Watch out for the Year 3 signs around the school warning you of any hazards!

The Year 3 children are quickly becoming experts on safety within our environment and how this encourages us to live in harmony.


Year 2 have been busy exploring simple machines. This week they were given the challenge of making a moving car. We can report fantastic work has been made by our budding engineers. Do check our their Burns Display and 2D monsters display outside the Year 2 classroom
A close fought game against Riley House for our girls on Wednesday


Our warmest congratulations go to Evie, featured below in the British Dressage Magazine. Evie competed at the BYRDS Scotland Championship Show as the youngest competitor, riding the youngest pony at the show. Well done, Evie!


Year 5 handed in their first round efforts of their Homework Heroes for the Unit ‘Diverse Scotland’ on Thursday of this week. The tasks ranged from collages of Scottish symbols, to writing a biography of a famous Scot, to researching famous Scottish recipes and much, much more. Mr McDonald was so impressed that he made a wall display of the tremendous efforts from Year 5 pupils. Trouble is, he ran out of wall space for all the tasks that were handed in! Well done Year 5 and keep it up!


As part of their Unit in Individuals and Societies on Globalisation, Year 7 have begun planning their own towns. Each town has to provide opportunities for its young people to flourish.


Year 1 have been applying what they learnt about scientists on their trip to Dundee Science Centre last week. They have been investigating what happens when liquids cool and solid objects warm up. They had lots of fun melting chocolate and cooling jelly to see what happened, and even managed to have a tasty treat at the end of their investigation! They also observed what happens to ice over time by building walls for Humpty Dumpty made out of ice cubes.

Year 3s art work

One cannot help but be inspired by the artwork produced by all year groups which is on display around the school. The latest display comes from Year 3, who have produced the most stunning pieces inspired by Gustav Klimt's 'Silver Birch'. Well done to Year 3; these really are stunning pieces of work.

An overview of Art this term:

Year 3 – Using paintings of Silver Birch trees by the artist Gustav Klimt as inspiration, the children have drawn tree trunks and branches using sharpie pens, then watercolour paint to add little brush marks of colour. They made a spectacular Silver Birch wood!

Year 4 – The children have been making large scale Junk food (chips, pizza, burgers etc.) in papier mache, to make the food look plasticky and horrid. Using sculptures of giant burgers and chips by the artist Claes Oldenberg, who used plastic material to give the same plastic effect.

Year 5 – Looking at Scottish Landscape artists, particularly Joan Eardley and Jimmy Robertson. The children have experimented with a new technique of painting with a palette knife, to add texture and marks.

Year 6 – Still life painting

Year 7 – Poverty and wealth drawings using expressive marks and shading, using Kathe Kollwitz and Edvard Munch as inspiration.

Many Happy Returns to...

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday for the week ahead: Eliza, Ruben, Logan, Amol, Lexie, Lana and Evie


Please click on the link below to access:

- Next week's menus

- Next week's Music Lesson timetable

- Diary Dates


We would be most grateful if Parents could check their son / daughter's Dover Jackets, as Erin (Year 3) is missing hers. We are also missing:

Rachel's jumper

Alyssa's Sports Top.

Alanya's blazer, PE tracksuit top,2 jumpers.

All are named.

We strongly recommend all items are named, especially if they are from the 2nd hand shop, as often the previous owner's name tape is on the garment making it hard to identify the owner.

We have enjoyed glorious mornings this week, and how wonderful it is now as the mornings get lighter for the start of school! Well done to everyone for getting through January in such good heart.


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