Head’s Blog 7th December Friday 7th December 2018

It was fantastic to see so many children and their parents supporting the school at the Christmas Bazaar. The school was buzzing and it was great to see the huge effort made in the attire and accessories as so many people ferreted out their Christmas jumpers!

With so many different craft stalls and so many things to entertain children it was difficult for parents to extract their children and go home!

My favourites were the inflatables which had very happy children bouncing, running and jumping in turn.

The secrets room and Santa’s grotto all proved very popular as well as the food store and festive singing and playing in the dining room. Thank you to the enormous team of parents who spent their Saturday setting up, serving cheerfully and dismantling their stalls and especially Jules Benjamin, Jo Pennington Legh, Anna-Marie Mottram, Oliver Schneider and Tracey Ashton who masterminded it all. Congratulations and thank you to all the P & F for a wonderful day.

In the run-up to Christmas we can all share in the most fabulous feast of festive music. I’m interested at how powerfully music can create intense pleasure, joy and a sense of community.

Scientifically of course with the advent of brain scans and imaging we can now see what happens inside people’s brains when they listen to music. Scientists call what happens a deep full brain workout!

Music impacts all four of the brain’s lobes. We appreciate the auditory experience of pitch, volume, harmony and underlay. We enjoyed the interplay between the words and music. Our pleasure centre is stimulated and dopamine is released. Our response to rhythm is different again and it can result in an urge to dance or clap and blood pumped to our muscles. People are connected in their shared experience of performance whether as the audience or as a participant. Music makes a powerful link to memories and a tune can evoke intense feelings associated with a particular time of life.

This complexity and richness of experience lies beneath our constant focus on performance and shared music at St Michael’s and this week we have had every aspect of those emotions a-plenty.

The Kindy nativity showcased a great deal of enjoyment from the participants and some confident and perhaps penetrating singing from some, in strong contrast to timidity in the previous year. For many of us present we rejoiced in that progress!

Our visitor this morning looking round the school might have been forgiven for thinking we are a music specialist establishment, such was the extent of simultaneous rehearsals for Friday’s concert and what an amazing treat that turned out to be. All of the ensembles in the school performed and their Christmas accessories proved a visual reminder of the joy within that was communicated.

One of the unifying experiences of the audience was to feel the privilege of witnessing the extraordinary. The gorgeous duet from “The Marriage of Figaro” was in contrast to the jaunty and jovial “Feliz Navidad” from Treble Trouble, complete with Caribbean percussion and accoutrements and rhythmic and humorous choreography.

The teamwork in the choirs, string and recorder ensembles gave pleasure as well as seeing the impressive progress made by Little Big Band and orchestra. The show choir finale proved an excellent end to a classy music department triumph. Congratulations to all our peris who trained, led and inspired our pupils in these achievements.

The new format Nursery nativity song session was a masterclass in how to lead early years music which children, parents and staff all enjoyed and the Reception and Year 1&2 Nativities with their clever and inclusive scripts, opportunities for solo sensations and memorable lyrics and songs had three cohorts of children jigging irrepressibly with joy for almost a whole hour at a time. Yes, some future stars will say “It started at St Michael’s” and we will be privileged to say “We were there”.

At Wednesday’s Year 2 cakes and carols we enjoyed revisiting some old favourites along with a delicious cup of tea and cake. It was good to see so many children performing in harmony with evident ease on so many instruments.

Thank you to Sally Beesley, Gordon Baird and all the staff for the wonderful week that was.

In the midst of all of this music we were entertained dramatically with a riotous and energetic rendition of “Cinderella” the panto by Year 3. It was fabulous to see so many supporters for this exceptional event. The children have developed their ensemble work, timing, independence and confidence so much and from Year 3 onwards, when the lights go up there is just a prompt if they forget and it’s all down to them. Hats off to every single child involved. We loved to see your inner selves. Congratulations, too, to Mr Powell, his scholars’ team, Mr Baird, and the Year 3 staff for an immensely impressive performance.

 

Jill Aisher

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Congratulations to Year 6 pupil, E Ward, who has been offered a place in the National Children’s Orchestra. Each year the NCO audition throughout the country, looking for talented young musicians who will benefit from working together, performing and creating orchestral music.

A fantastic achievement, well done!

In Assembly on Monday Belinda played ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and Sebastian played ‘Jingle Bells’. Well done to you both.

Wow – what a month. The children have been busy, buzzy little bees, making all sorts of wonderful gifts for the Christmas Bazaar. They had lots of fun making a variety of different wreaths from fabric, straws, and wool (complete with pom-pom snowmen). Cute little robin baubles chirped their way onto the stall as well, together with scarves and hats which were made using a special circular knitting machine. The knitting machine was extremely popular with children and parents alike, so much so that some of our children may be getting them as Christmas presents…

With the proceeds of £352.95 made from the Bazaar, we hope to purchase a new sturdy table tennis table in the New Year. Table tennis has always been a favourite pastime amongst the children at The Hive.

In addition to the things we made for the Christmas Bazaar, we have also been busy painting fun Christmas scenes onto builders’ pallets, creating and drawing colourful designs onto Christmas plates, and making paper plate decorations and foot-printed elves, snowmen, reindeer and Father Christmas pictures.

It was lovely to see so many of you joining in the fun during the many parent evening events that have been held recently. We had an amazing 64 children attend The Hive throughout one evening.

Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the festive season. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mrs Smith and The Hive Team

Following a suggestion from swimming teachers Mrs Dudman and Mrs Carr, St Michael’s Year 7 pupils have just experienced how it feels to swim amongst rubbish. In a bid to promote awareness of the impact of plastic pollution, our beautiful was pool was filled with rubbish. We surrounded swimmers with plastics, papers, tins etc. and the pool surround was used, by way of posters, to illustrate the environmental cost to both animals and people. Christmas is the perfect time for us all to play our part in recycling.

Everyone at St Michael’s cares deeply about the need to improve our care of the environment in the same way as we take care of our pool.

The children were asked to consider doing the following:

• Recycle rubbish particularly plastic where ever you can
• Encourage others to think before disposing of waste
• Reduce our usage of papers, plastic and other waste
• Think about the effect our rubbish has on both animals and the environment

Question we asked ourselves:

What do we think will happen to the world if we don’t change our ways?

Mrs Aisher commented “Environmental awareness is at the heart of nearly everything we do at St Michael’s, from our environmentally-friendly Pre-Prep building to our daily recycling and teaching the children from Nursery how important it is to care for our gardens and wildlife. Many of our Homework Challenge projects have seen a focus on how to care for the environment and I’m delighted with the initiatives shown by both pupils and staff to promote deeper engagement with the need to care for our world. Thank you to Mrs Dudman, Mrs Carr and Mrs Wade for organising this event.”