The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 3 November 2017


Boredom inspires brilliance

I do hope your children had moments of boredom during Half Term. I do not say this due to some Scrooge-like desire to dampen what I hope was a wonderful two-week break for you. I say it because boredom is essential and helps develop creativity, discovery and exploration in young people. I am sure you will be slightly surprised that I am writing in support of boredom, not least as I would be horrified if I discovered our boys and girls found themselves bored at school, and of course I wouldn’t dream of adding boredom to the list of opportunities in and out of the classroom to our school prospectus! But, I do think we are in danger of stifling our children’s imagination by not giving them space and time to think for themselves, and to develop their own games and skills, such as skimming, solving a Rubik’s cube, or just taking themselves into a world of imagination.

Lauren Child, author of the ‘Charlie and Lola’ picture books and Children’s Laureate, is a firm believer in making time for children to have idle time. She says ‘children don’t have enough idle time to think on things. There is too much frenzy, too much scheduled activity. Ideas are only formed when you have time to be idle, to think alone and be bored… if you are in a room with nothing you naturally begin to create. You start to have thoughts; one might be brilliant’.

Lauren Child's 'Charlie and Lola'

Jeremy Vine recently gave the same message at the Henley Literature Festival, where he spoke of the importance of boredom in children, recounting a day when he and his brother made a plane out of paper, then tried to escape their Prep School in it!

The joy of self-discovery, fashioning one’s imagination, downtime and play are all a part of healthy growth and development of the imagination. It is this, rather than planning every minute of a child’s time or creating what can be an intimidating bustle of activity, that will develop the core skills – and happiness – that we wish our children to have.

Far from worrying about boredom, let us encourage our children, and at times ourselves, to engage in those activities that haven’t been planned, require any form of structure or have no purpose, but might – quite possibly – lead to something brilliant. Seemingly, pockets of aimless doing, daydreaming and thinking time will fuel creativity.

The famous avant-garde composer John Cage once said: ‘If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it isn’t boring at all’.

Much of Andy Warhol's artwork was designed to demonstrate that anything could be art, even 'boring' household goods.

Next time you hear that all too familiar cry of ‘I’m bored’, don’t rush to the back-up list of clubs, activities, films or excursions just yet, but see where your child’s imagination can take them: you – and they – will see flashes of brilliance.

I must close with a recount of the most wonderful farewell I overheard from a mother as she dropped off her children to school this week: ‘Boys, go and discover’. It reminded me of Nemo’s first day of school (to alleviate Arthur’s boredom, we have resorted to ‘Finding Nemo’), and I thought it was just perfect. If life for our young people is all about discovery – through their directed activities and time for them to explore this themselves – then we are on the right track.

Wishing all St Leonards families a wonderful (and hopefully at times boring) weekend.

William Goldsmith


BACK TO SCHOOL SMILES | It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces around the Junior School on Monday, when we welcomed everyone back after the October Half Term holiday.

The cold weather wasn’t enough to stop the children from making the most of the outdoor play equipment and, wrapped up warm, they were back running around with their friends among the wonderful Autumn leaves! Here's to a successful and enjoyable second half of term!


Congratulations to the following Pupils who were awarded Headmaster's Commendations during Assembly on Friday:

Rachel for writing a most informative and beautifully presented information booklet on the work of the 'Dogs for the Blind'.

Lana for writing a superb account of a recent trip to Philadelphia, focusing on the history of the 'Liberty Bell'.

Shreyas for producing a poster on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America as part of 'Homework Heroes' tasks.

Ting for designing and baking a delicious 'Homework Heroes' task in the form of a lifelike Cadbury's chocolate bar.

Cara for researching and writing a booklet depicting life in the Victorian era.

Meredith for researching and writing a most informative booklet desciribing what life would have been like growing up during World War II.

Angus for designing a Lego model of a bridge and demonstrating how the suspension operates.

Zachary for outstanding work during the first Half of Term on 'Homework Heroes' tasks, all of which have been completed to a very high standard.

Nikolas for showing enormous determination in the swimming pool and demonstrating commitment, a growth mind-set and perseverance.


HISTORY OF HOCKEY | Year 2 have been busy learning about the history of hockey this week. They discovered that hockey is one of the oldest team sports. Miss Carroll, who has represented Scotland at hockey, then wowed everyone with her personal sporting timeline, sharing stories of her achievements and many medals. Thank you Miss Carroll!


BACKSTAGE AT THE BAKERY | Year 4 donned hairnets on Tuesday afternoon for a visit to Fisher & Donaldson’s factory in Cupar. After examining the gigantic larder and freezer, the children had special access to the bakery where they were able to watch a batch of 200 sausage rolls being made.

Then it was time for pies, where the process starts with preparing pastry cases. The children had a chance to ask questions as the cases were filled with a steak pie filling. They counted 72 ‘froggie’ cakes, marvelled at the torten decoration and salivated at the sweet smell coming from the enormous vats of melted chocolate.

A big thank you to Jade and Chris for their extremely engaging factory tour, and for giving each of the children two delicious chocolates to eat on the bus home – yum!

Next stop in two weeks’ time is Pizza Express, where Year 4 will have a chance to go behind the scenes and see how the Italian classics are made.


GO GO JUDO | Wednesday’s Assembly was made extra special thanks to a visit from Jake from Destination Judo. Jake is a blackbelt and told the children about the benefits of judo. He explained how it is the main sport in Japan, with many schools teaching judo every day of the week.

It was also interesting to hear how judo was Scotland’s strongest sport at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Of the 14 Scottish entrants, 13 took home medals, which is a fantastic achievement.

Jake will be running a taster session at the Junior School for any pupils interested in having a go at judo and if the show of hands at Assembly is anything to go by, we think Destination Judo can expect an enthusiastic response!

A big thank you to Jake for taking the time to speak to us this week!


WHO WE ARE | This week, Year 1 have made a great start to their inquiries for their new Unit, 'Who We Are'. They have been finding out the ways in which they can describe and present themselves to others. Using Andy Warhol art as inspiration, the class have created self-portraits to show four faces which are 'All the same but different', to represent the central idea of our new unit. The children spent a lot of time perfecting their paintings, and waited patiently for the paint to dry before adding the colourful features to their art.


SUPER SWIMMERS | Our U11, U13 and U15 swimming teams travelled to Kilgraston in Perthshire for a gala on Thursday, 2 November, coming home with a long list of first place finishes!

Katie MacAulay (Year 7), Milli Arkwright and Issy Williams won their individual events, while the U13 team (Katie MacAulay, Fiona Branch, Milli Arkwright, Issy Williams) won both the Medley and Freestyle relays. A really impressive result – well done to our super swimmers!


PRIZE PUMPKIN | Mia (Year 2) has shown a fantastic talent for gardening, with her first pumpkin ready just in time for Halloween! After planting a seed from Gardening Club back in March, Mia has tended to her plant and is now enjoying the rewards of all her hard work. What an impressive pumpkin!

We wish the following a very....

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday for the week ahead... Scott, Katherine, Lucinda, Brodie.

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