Acting Head’s Blog 9th October 2020 Friday 9th October 2020

 

This week we held our first Open Morning of the year via Zoom. It was a wonderful occasion where we shared pupils’ views and some superb musical performances. As expected, the pupils stole the show; their speeches and performances sparkled with confidence, care and passion for life at St Michael’s. I think my favourite Open Morning moment came from Nik in Year 2 when asked why parents should send their children to St Michael’s: without hesitation, he replied: “Why not?!”. Thank you to everyone involved in this event.

The performances and speeches from Open Morning are being shared on social media currently, and I encourage you to have a look at recent content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which give you an insight into what the children are doing each day. Whilst we are not able to invite you in to see school life in person, we hope that this content enables you to see what the children are experiencing at school.

My job at Open Morning was to summarise St Michael’s in under ten minutes. As you can imagine, this was a huge challenge! However, I do love a good challenge, and the children will be able to tell you that it’s good for the brain. In response to my challenge, I focused on the core reason why our teachers teach: to prepare our children for life. One of the only certainties about the future is that it will be different from what we know now. With technology growing at an incredible speed, our children need to be prepared for things that we have not yet experienced and find hard to imagine. So, how do you prepare a child for the unknown?

We prepare our children by having a significant focus on their skills as people. They learn about the importance and value of kindness, of being helpful and how to think creatively and solve problems by working collaboratively with others. The children also learn to be grateful for the incredible opportunities that they have access to each day and that embracing curiosity and wonder is exciting and will add passion and joy to the everyday. These are the skills that will help them to deal with the challenges and set back backs that they will undoubtedly face as they grow.

In a future of increased technology that will do many jobs for us, what will set the children from St Michael’s apart is their ability to communicate, to connect and to care. The world needs more people like the wonderful children that race into our buildings each day, and we are all excited to see what they will go on to achieve.

 

I know that for many of our Year 6 pupils taking the Kent 11+ test next week, anticipation may be growing in their minds. It is important for them all to remember they are and have been, working really hard and that they need to keep a balance between study and rest. The children are well prepared, can only do their best on the day itself and, unfortunately, worrying about what’s to come will not help them. I recommend some important ‘down time’ this weekend, with plenty of fresh air and racing about as well as perhaps snuggling into a cosy corner and finishing their current book.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support. I wish you a happy and restful weekend.

 

Mary Bridges

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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