Head’s Blog 5th October 2018 Friday 5th October 2018

As our site is tinged with gorgeous autumn colours, it has been the season to celebrate harvest. In Pre-Prep Year 1 confidently led the singing and thinking about the gratitude we owe for the food we eat and it did feature a lot of mice, who were also very pleased about harvest!

At the centre of the Pre-Prep display was perhaps the biggest pumpkin I’ve ever seen, which was generously lent to the school by a friend.

Of course my memories of celebrating harvest and yours too, I imagine, had an abundance of fresh food which we would box up and take to any neighbours we knew who were old enough to perhaps be housebound. It’s a very different affair today and as our produce went off to the Trussell Trust food bank, which we support all year round, the extra food we were able to give helped people in financial difficulties and poverty right on our doorsteps. We recognise of course that there should not be poverty on our doorsteps and I hope that some of the pupils within St Michael’s will one day take on the role of making sure it stops in the future.

There was much rejoicing this morning as we showed round some 50 visitors to the school. I am grateful to all the staff who organised the event so seamlessly and for teachers who prepare children to perform and to share their love of what they do; we were grateful to the members of the P&F and the International Club, who joined us. Hats off to the tremendous team of pupils who spoke from the heart to the parents assembled in the chapel and made a moving contribution to showcasing the spirit of St Michael’s.

On Tuesday Mr Wiseman masterminded class and family group photos and I am extraordinarily grateful to him for his patience with a number of late and special requests, which perhaps exceeded what was reasonable. I look forward to seeing the shots when they arrive.

I was lucky enough to be included on the fantastic trip to Christopher Lloyd’s book launch at the Royal Institution last week. You will find an eloquent write-up by Oscar later in this newsletter. Christopher has worked with St Michael’s for some years now and we were invited to this event. He is the inspiration for our staircase leavers’ timeline and, in partnership with us, he launched and developed his “curiosity curriculum” which is now embedded in schools all over the world.

The weekend tournament that St Michael’s hosted went extremely well, I gather, and congratulations to the winners and to all who took part.

West Kent Mind has been at the school twice this week to deliver an assembly about what anger can feel like and the visual image of the bottle of fizzy drink made a good impression and communicated the message very well according to my lunch companions in Year 3. It’s not long now till the parent training that we are hosting. If you are interested in booking onto the next course (this one is full), please liaise with Lorna Sharp (lorna.sharp@westkentmind.org.uk ).

Next week one of our Year 4 classes is trialling the parent portal and the element that excites me the most is the interactive forms that will replace paper, save time and protect the environment. If an absence is needed, permission is requested, or a response for a concert or rehearsal is required, it will be possible to do this online.

I can’t wait!

Trusting that you have an enjoyable weekend together.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

Prep pupils treated classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances this week in their half termly concert.

Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.

And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances.

Mr Baird added: “For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on the St Michael’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg.

 

 

Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.

Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.

Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.

“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”

Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.

And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.

Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”

For more information about St Michael’s P & F association visit stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/parents-friends

 

Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.

 

The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.

 

 

Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.

 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.

 

“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”

 

 

During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.

 

Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.

 

“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.

 

“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”

 

 

And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.

 

 

Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.

 

“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.

 

“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”

 

 

 

 

Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”

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