Friday 9th February 2018

This short holiday is a great time to pause, reflect, and rest after a busy half term. I hope you have a good rest and some fun with your children. I was delighted last Friday to be at the Year 2 bench ball tournament, which was very well-organised and very well-supported by parents. It was lovely to see the teamwork and a clear understanding of how to win and play well, even if the teamwork consisted of passing from boy to boy or a girl to girl! I was impressed by their throwing and catching skills and by the extent to which they looked for a place to play.

Friday evening’s drama duologue competition was another moment of great pleasure at St Michael’s, as parents gathered to watch and frankly marvel at the achievements of the pairs competing for the winners’ crystal trophy. Again, since last year, the children’s understanding has moved on about polish and preparation. It works well for the juniors to be present at the senior competition and understand how they might still further refine what they do. Judging and deciding the winners was an unenviable task and I would like to congratulate every single pair that participated.  Hats off too, to the pupils who still attended, even though their own partner was unwell and they could not compete. You can read more in Mr Powell’s article later in this newsletter.

Enjoying performance seems to be the theme of the week and we have had many enthusiastic and delighted emails from parents who attended the Year 3&4 O2 trip on Monday night. Mr Wiseman did a good job tweeting photos and film as the day went along and it was interesting to learn from the Czerkawska family that film footage from Monday night, shared on Facebook, even made the TV news in South Africa because one of the songs was about rain in Africa which is currently very much needed

https://m.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/watch-heartrending-moment-thousands-of-uk-kids-sing-for-rain-in-cape-town-20180207

On Wednesday evening, The Ten, our a cappella choir, enjoyed a trip to Cadogan Hall with more than generous staff to pupil ratios, to a concert performed by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers; a veritable baroque feast, which included Vivaldi’s Gloria,  which later on this year we shall be singing in our final end of year concert. Our pupils were the only children at the concert and drew comment from surrounding concertgoers because of their focus and clear enjoyment as well as exemplary behaviour. It was delightful that the conductor came out to meet our party briefly after the concert. You can see photos on my Twitter feed.

This weekend Year 6 will be receiving offers of places from many different schools and parents are free to call me on Monday or Tuesday when I shall be at work and available to talk things through. Our own scholarship results were mailed to families yesterday too and we look forward very much to a vibrant and successful Year 7 and 8 with, we hope,  many of those currently in Year 6 staying on.

It was fun to have lunch with Year 5 on Tuesday and meet parent reps the following morning for coffee. I’m always pleased to talk about life in the school and get feedback from those living it. There is a great deal of positivity amongst them about their experience here and they are challenged to find something that they think should be better. Their candour, however, can help us to tweak small things here and there and clarify expectations when these are not being met, so it’s a vital part of a reflective process of self-evaluation.

Sometimes, when I meet parents, I am told things that are being discussed in the car park that are so far removed from the reality of school that it’s very difficult to understand how these rumours started. If you do hear anything that makes you worried or anxious about St Michael’s, please do come and check out with me whether what you’ve heard is true. Real partnership with parents lies at the heart of everything we do with your children and we listen and we change if people have good ideas that will make the school better.

This week’s fable was that if you want to go to Sevenoaks you have to leave St Michael’s. It is an extraordinary thought that this is a real concern for parents. It is not true. Over the last few years approximately one third of our cohort has left St Michael’s for Sevenoaks over two entry points and we have a very strong links with the school, whose own staff often place their children here. We have a governor from Sevenoaks School at all times on governing body and Sevenoaks School recommends St Michael’s to parents looking for places at schools, which will prepare them well for entry.

Today the school is unusually quiet as you all begin your half term and I and my colleagues set out to visit other schools to exchange ideas and develop our provision. I hope that you have a wonderful break and look forward to seeing you fresh-faced and raring to go on Monday 19th.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

There has been a vibrant atmosphere in the Hive this week, the children have been full of stories about their Christmas break and what wonderful presents they received. It has been lovely to catch up with many familiar faces and delightful to see how fast some children have grown in such a short space of time.

With the cold weather continuing, we are staying cosy inside but that hasn’t stopped us from doing a bit of skipping and limbo in our spacious room. We have enjoyed lots of activities playing with construction toys and our train set, colouring winter pictures, making paper aeroplanes and playing board games and card games. The doll’s house also proved to be very popular!

The children even constructed an indoor tent made up of chairs, a blanket and some cushions which looked awesome. Their inventive imagination is endless!

The younger children are very excited when the older children join us in the evening, beautiful friendships are forming as they play together in all activities.

For cookery we decided some delicious hotdogs would be a warm welcome for the first week back. As always they are a favourite treat and disappear into tummies very quickly, happy faces all around.

Miss Chambers

Hideouts, houses, pterodactyls and birdwatcher lookouts have been just some of the amazing builds the children have enjoyed creating this week out of large wooden blocks, old scraps of fabric, rugs and cushions; it continues to be the most popular activity. Well done everyone, your imagination knows no bounds and your inventive skills are amazing!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the children have been busy creating beautiful pictures and jewellery for their parents.  We’ve seen coloured beads threaded onto pipe cleaners and elasticated string, love birds made out of paper plates and heart shapes turning into lovely owl, hen and panda pictures.

On Monday we took the opportunity to make our own tasty stuffed peppers by scooping out the seeds and filling them with either chicken rice or vegetable rice – mmmm tasty! Continuing the food theme, the children have enjoyed making and designing their own portraits out of Cheerios, which was great fun!

 

Wishing everyone a happy craft-filled half term.

Mrs N Smith

Recycling has continued this week as we created dogs, hedgehogs, hens, flowers and people from old newspapers. Some of our paperweights have been varnished and are ready to take home. They look superb!

In our wall display, owls made from recycled materials now sit proudly on their newly-painted silhouette tree. Yogurt pots and plastic bottles have been cut to shape and painted using acrylic paints to create some beautiful, brightly coloured 3D flowers and the children have used bark to make some lovely animal pictures. We’ve even painted a bird feeder with real bird seed, to add that realistic touch, and had a go at flower paper plate weaving which is trickier than it looks. Well done to everyone who has contributed to our wall display. It really does look fantastic and is definitely coming to life!

Our whole room is looking like a beautiful, warm spring morning. It is the perfect atmosphere to play and have fun in when you consider the cold and rainy days we have had for such a long time.

On Wednesday we had fun making a savoury, healthy snack. We used bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, blueberries and cheese to create some delicious edible faces. The younger children loved spreading their own butter and adding little segments of cucumber for a mouth or some tomatoes for the eyes. Some of the older children showed off their artistic talents by adding beards and moustaches! Well done everyone they looked amazing and judging by how quickly they were eaten we’re guessing they tasted pretty good too.

Imaginative secret camp building continues to provide lots of fun. The children have passionately created an array of different dens, camps and underground defence systems, some even required secret code names to enter and exit, Shush! Mum’s the word. These were all made using cushions, blankets, mats, chairs, pegs, wool, cardboard, plastic boxes and large wooden building blocks. Some of the other creations included a train station, a farm, a dam, a bowling ball run and a grown up barricade. All ages teamed up to create some splendid designs which everyone enjoyed playing with. Well done to everyone who took part, your ingenuity is amazing!

Mrs Smith and Miss Chambers

We have been busy this week, decorating large stones to make beautiful Snail Paperweights as part of our theme “Nature and Recycling.” The children have been very creative and have added some beautiful detail to their snail images.

They have also enjoyed painting silhouetted birds, rabbits, ducks, a cockerel, a pair of garden shears and a wheelbarrow for our wall display. Tissue paper flowers continue to be designed and tasty vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, lettuces and cauliflowers are also taking shape.

Our wall display has caught the eye of parents and children this week. We have had such lovely comments; the contrast between the silhouettes and the brightly-coloured 3D flowers make you think of warm sunny days, birds chattering and pollen floating like pixie dust. Well done to everyone who has participated in our display this week, it’s looking fabulously serene!

We have also been recycling fruit boxes and cardboard packaging to create canvases for painting large, brightly-coloured birds and some very cute-looking 3D owls. Well done everyone, they’re looking wonderful!

On Wednesday we made some delicious Chocolate Rice Krispie cakes, the children couldn’t wait for them to set in the fridge and we had so many excited faces.

In addition to the usual popular games, this week has brought out our budding engineers with the construction of the marble run and the building of an underground railway, all very impressive!
Among all our craft activities and games this week, we even managed to squeeze in a crisp-tasting completion, which everyone enjoyed!

Mrs Smith and Miss Chambers

 

“Global citizenship is people from all round the world coming together to work on solving world problems.”
Bradley, Year 4

On Friday, a cold and crisp but beautiful morning, Year 3 visited Pre-Prep to take part in a collaborative activity with Years 1 and 2. Using the book, ‘If the World Were A Village’, and 100 children, they represented different world statistics. This visual demonstration helped make these complex ideas a little more accessible.

In a world village of 100 people:
• 61 are from Asia, 13 from Africa, 12 from Europe, 8 from South and Central America, 5 from North America and 1 from Oceania.
• 22 speak a Chines dialect, 9 speak English, 9 speak Hindi, 7 speak Spanish, 4 speak Arabic, 4 speak Bengali, 3 speak Portuguese, 3 speak Russian.
• 50 do not have a reliable food source, 16 are severely undernourished and only 34 always have enough to eat.
• 82 have access to a source of clean water either in their homes or within a short distance. The other 18 do not and must spend a large part of each day simply getting safe water. Most of the work of collecting water is done by women and girls.

You can see more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrcOdLYBIw0

 

 

 

 

See more of our “Dress-Up Friday” in Pre-Prep and Prep in our Dress Up Friday gallery

and

Photos of Years 1, 2 and 3 as they explore the “Global Village” in our gallery here.