Friday 30th June 2017 Friday 30th June 2017

We all recognise that the summer term and particularly the end of that, is a very busy time for everyone in schools, whether it is children making preparations for transition, meeting new people and teachers and bidding farewell to their friends, or staff collecting their thoughts and expressing their views on the performance of children in reports. Whether it is parents attending concerts and shows and prize-giving and picnics or whether it’s governors feeling satisfaction at another successful year. Whatever your experience of the end of this academic year at St Michael’s, I hope it has been special. I have the privilege of a front row seat at some of the best shows in town. The nursery singsong on Tuesday was a happy occasion on which children enjoyed in many different ways, not all of them forward facing, the songs they have been taught this year. No-one can have failed to be impressed at the words and actions they have mastered. On Wednesday we were treated to the Pre-Prep performance of “Pirates versus Mermaids”, a feisty and funny show which played to the strengths of so many children and revealed a new dimension to others. With a stylish set created by Mrs Halfacre and amazing costumes supplied by parents, the shimmering mermaids and the fearsome pirates had to come together to solve the problem of Pirate Scarypants’ fear of water. Who better to show them and teach them how to swim then the elegant mermaids?

The children without exception enjoyed their moment. There was some fantastic shimmying from the reception crabs complete with clawed headdresses and from the splendid starfish, the scary sharks and from the huge array of octopi. Hats off (and there were a lot of hats) to Mrs Beesley, Miss Salmon and the staff in the Pre-Prep for an inspired choice and an excellent production.

Today’s Kindergarten concert made those of us who had been at both Nursery and Kindy’s concerts aware of just how much progress is made in those first two years. The children presented songs on the theme of the growth and development of a butterfly, including some impressive scientific words and displayed great rhythmic skills, as well as fine voices and wonderful memories. With words and actions, they entertained us beautifully for half an hour this morning and it was a wonderful end to a happy year in Kindy.

Of course Thursday evening saw us gathered together formally for the Prep school prize-giving. We welcomed former teachers including former headmaster Paul Cox, who saw the first recipient of his newly offered prize for cross country and we celebrated the talents of the many other successful people to be rewarded in public on this occasion. Each year I have a few communications on the subject of how prize-giving fits in with an inclusive agenda. I am absolutely clear about the value of such an event in the calendar of the school. This year we added awards for cross country, global citizenship and separated effort and progress to be two separate prizes for each year.

In the variety of awards made, the whole spectrum of talent is included and those who leave us at the end of Year 6 and Year 8, it is fitting that they receive our good wishes and a small gift.

Fuzz Caan, international Olympic coach was an entertaining and fascinating speaker.  He spoke eloquently of the synergy between his beliefs about the five “P”s: Planning, Preparation, Process, Permission, Passion and our school motto “Perseverance, Wisdom, Gratitude”.  We were delighted that he could join us.

It is always fun to see the film review of the year. This is a relatively new tradition in the school and falls to the gap student to make each year. I think you will agree that this year’s set new standards.

And as I write my final lines this week, Sports Day is playing itself out. At the end of this day new records will have been set and new children will glow with pride.

Last week on our field the happiest night of the year, the 24-hour event campout was attended by so many parents and children and there was a great deal of warmth, both from the weather and from the warm atmosphere of sharing a special evening together. My grateful thanks to Rhys Morgan and Joel Thomas who organised the daytime and Fraser Wiseman and Steve Wade who organised the night time.

For many children and parents this was the absolute highlight of the year.

This is the final newsletter of the school year as next week we break up on Wednesday. During the holidays I will send you an update with the achievements of the children in their final week and the Head’s Review. This is a formal document that summarises all the achievements of the past academic year and gives parents an analysis of the school’s performance and the direction in which we travel. Can I remind you that next week, when there are no clubs, children are collected from three different doors: Year 3 come out of the main front doors, Years 6 and 7 come out of the chapel doors and Years 4, 5 & 8 come out through the white doors. For those of you with children in lots of years you will have to walk up and down the path! We hope you understand that this keeps all the children safe as the whole school is dismissed simultaneously. On the last day of term, we finish before lunch and the school field is hired in the afternoon. We hope that all parents will be able to pick the children up and there is no Hive on the last day. I wish you the happiest of summer holidays and wherever you go, safe travels and a safe return. For those of you leaving St Michael’s as parents, children or staff, thank you for all you have given to the school and come back and see us soon.

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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