Head’s Blog 10th May Friday 10th May 2019

Despite huge quantities of water falling from the skies this week it’s been sunny at St Michael’s at least on the inside.

Madame Poracchia’s excellent French day on Tuesday got us off to a roaring start and there was so much enjoyment and effort in the décor and the catering arrangements as well as a huge number of people having a go at using French in all sorts of different parts of the day. C’était extra! I commend to you the video that was sent to all the staff to challenge the stereotypes that did find expression in some of the outfits that were sported on the day. France isn’t a nation of stripey-topped, beret-wearing, garlic-bedecked men with moustaches on bikes! (heureusement!)

We welcomed a goodly number of adventurous souls on Wednesday to our Open Morning who braved a Hollywood style rainstorm to come and feel the warmth of St Michael’s. I was particularly moved by the children who spoke about what it’s like to be here and as always they are the best part of the day for me.

It is always exciting to meet new children and families eager to join us too and we have much to be grateful for. The new royal baby is one we might not expect as a future pupil and it has been amusing to see reporters scrambling to ask questions around parenting and personality based on just two days in the world as a family.

I share the royal couple’s joy at this new potential bundle of promise, but I also feel that way actually most days, when I witness in classrooms, on the sports field, in concerts or on ski slopes, as shown in this morning’s assembly, any child taking a step towards realising their own potential and promise.

Educating children is a privilege that we all enjoy.

At the end of the week we welcomed the steel pan band from Parkwood Hall cooperative academy, who lifted our spirits, showing off their promise and potential, feeding our dancing souls with their joyful renditions of tunes from TV, films and shows. After the concert, big band members and music scholars elect joined the pupils for a workshop session in which they learnt to have a go. What fun to have a little taste of the Caribbean on a Friday morning.

Next week is an important one for pupils as we take stock of what they can now do independently through exams and tests. I’m a firm believer that really good teaching leads, on the whole, to children being able to do things without too much revision. Of course for some children the thought of the process brings apprehension and for some there will always be challenges that are unique in a test. Testing is one of the ways we measure success and it is equally important to be able to share, help, explain, make someone smile or feel valued as to “learn and churn” facts. So as we enter this week, we do try to keep the whole process in proportion and as low-key as possible for everybody’s sake. Parents can support by keeping to normal routines, making sure children eat well, sleep well and have time to play and rest. Keeping medical appointments to an absolute minimum next week is enormously helpful for the staff who otherwise have to arrange for separate sittings and invigilate these out of the main timetable.

We are all looking forward to the visit of Happy’s circus on Sunday the 19th. The P&F have been working so hard to make it a very special day and I’m delighted to be coming myself. There’s still a week left to buy tickets online. https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/booking/kent/st-michaels-prep-school/family-fun-day/2019-05-19/11:30

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a good one.

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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