A Word from Jill Aisher Friday 2nd December 2016

A Word from Mrs Aisher

Having met some delightful prospective families this week, I have been reminded about what a special place we work in. Quite apart from the stunning view, there is an energy in lessons and an engagement from pupils that speaks volumes about the imaginative ways they are being taught.

I enjoyed my time in Nursery recently watching paint mixing and painting with balls rolling on paper in trays…concentration faces galore and miraculously, despite total freedom to explore with the paint, not too much mess!

 

Last Saturday’s P and F Christmas Bazaar was a happy, successful and entertaining occasion. The school was buzzing with excitement and the huge number of former pupils who came back to enjoy a taste of “St Michael’s does Christmas” speaks volumes about the quality of what was on offer. I really wanted to be 10 again because the inflatable bungee run, laser quest and beat the goalie (with speed camera) shoot out area were all very popular, as was the bouncy castle. Of course, when I was 10 none of these things actually existed! Many congratulations to Claire Soper and Sadie West and their amazing team of helpers: Anna Smith, Charlie Parkinson-Bonard, Jules Benjamin, and Tracey Ashton.

 

The chance to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas was afforded this week at the advent chapel service on Tuesday and the beautiful Christingle service with a great deal of impressive pupil participation.

 

Today in Prep we have been bringing a cuddly animal to school and raising money for the RSPCA, chosen by the School Council for our charity day. I was happy that my cuddly puffin from the RSPB arrived in time for the assembly, and that’s a whole other story…

 

The Nursery Nativity showcased a great deal of talent in singing and jigging about and almost achieved uniformity of contributions in the jangly rendition of Jingle Bells. It always warms my heart to see the children embracing the Christmas story in song and action and, although I’m not sure all of the action was in the script, this is one of the many pleasures of being surrounded by young learners and inspiring colleagues.

 

Our cake and carols with Year 2 was a joyful occasion. I often reflect on the very high standards of music-making that children are enabled to enjoy and the chance to sing and play together is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy throughout our lives. From the opening performance of the three part violin ensemble through the impressive recorder group’s offerings to the final moving and in turn hilarious, closing numbers, we had Christmas with attitude!  

I’ve had three gifts sent up from The Hive in the last fortnight as they swing into biscuit baking mode, now that there is a kitchen annexe. Icing and decorating bakes are a great way to relax and unwind in the Hive.

 

I imagine this weekend is the crunch one in your preparations for Christmas. Good luck with that and in your busyness remember that the gift of a child is to be celebrated by enjoying your own children, as we do each day here (enjoy yours that is!). Whatever you are doing this weekend, have fun.

 

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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