Welcome back! I do hope you all had a Happy Easter break and spent quality time together as a family. Welcome to our new pupils, Grace, Freddie and Clara. We hope you will be very happy here. Welcome also to our two new teachers, Sara Lake in Nursery and Rebecca Small as Head of Maths. They both bring a bit of fizz and a lot of experience to the school. Holidays are such a wonderful opportunity for thinking and I’ve been blessed with a lovely two week break away in the Isles of Scilly.
I think there have been a few strands of thought that have dominated my moments watching the sun go down.
Firstly, how blessed we are in our lives in Kent as a community which is prosperous and largely safe because we are able to travel and have a change of scene when for far too many fellow human beings, the need to travel and change is associated with flight and fear and how draining and distressing this must be.
Secondly how much we can learn from taking the time to be outside and to look around us. I enjoyed collecting shells and learning how they grow, seeing a “Common” (aka extremely rare in England) Rock thrush and observing and photographing a Scilly Shrew (Britain’s smallest mammal)
Thirdly how important it is to interact as families, to talk and sing and play games together, to walk and be outside. I find it particularly sad it is to see families in restaurants, all of whom are glued to electronic devices of one sort or another. I would urge all parents to make absolutely sure that as children are pushed around in pushchairs that they look around and observe the interesting sights around, that at meals and at tables in restaurants that you talk and play games and that screen time, which we are learning as a society can be detrimental to mental health and good relationships is kept to a minimum.
The children have been quick to tell me all the wonderful times they had on holiday, whether on the school ski-trip, having time to play and rest, or seeing relatives and friends.
A few of the children achieved some amazing sporting successes over the break; most notable in Prep was Henry Martin who took part in the Challenge Wratislava Fencing tournament in the English team. Henry was part of a 30 strong England Sabre fencing team. He did extremely well, coming 26th out of 130 fencers in the Under 13 category. He was the highest placed England Team Fencer and he still has another year in this category, so this is an exceptional result.
You will find Henry under 27th March, U13 Boys’ Sabre. We are proud and delighted.
Congratulations too to Ishwar Sharma in Year 2, who has been invited to represent Great Britain in the World Games Yoga Championship to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from June 15th to 18th 2017. He will be taking part in the sub junior level section of the yoga championship. Over the holidays Ishwar was awarded ‘ UK Talented Kid Of The Year Award’ by UK Telugu Association. Telugu is a Dravidian language native to India. It stands alongside Hindi, English, and Bengali as one of the few languages with official status in more than one Indian state. This Saturday, Ishwar is taking part in the national yoga championship www.ukysf.co.uk and we wish him well in this. Happily, in Prep on Monday he will be demonstrating some of the yoga that has brought him these triumphs in our assembly.
Ishwar has also been featured in Yoga Magazine OM, one of the leading yoga journals. Read OM’s article here
I hope that those St Michael’s parents attending the special tour and lunch at Sevenoaks school this weekend will enjoy this exclusive event and be impressed by what is on offer at Sevenoaks. We have a brilliant working relationship with the school and for our ablest children it is a great fit.
Using the Adventure Playground
At the end of term there was a second accident, this time by a Pre-Prep child using the monkey bars, which led to a broken arm. Having reviewed this accident formally, we would like to clarify that all users of the Adventure Playground out of hours must be supervised by an adult at all times. Children who have been collected by parents and are waiting for pick-up of Prep pupils are often allowed to play unsupervised by their parents and this must not happen. An adult must be there on the playground area. The monkey bars particularly, have rules for use which are displayed on signs on the bars themselves. Because they are not designed to be used by Pre-Prep children at all as the drop is too great for a small child to land safely, an adult must be underneath the child to catch them if they fall.
Other rules which have been explained to the children are as follows:
Do not use the monkey bars if they are wet
ONE CHILD ON THE BARS AT ANY TIME
Do not hang upside down or pull people off the equipment
Once on the ground, move away from underneath to help others land safely
Make sure you are strong enough to miss a bar if you are challenging yourself
Pre-Prep Children cannot use these bars without an adult ready to catch them
Some schools ban children from the adventure play area out of hours and some fence off the area so that it cannot be accessed. We do not wish to do this but you must help us to enable this to be available for all.