Head’s Blog 19th January 2018 Friday 19th January 2018

For a week starting with the day that the nation names “Blue Monday” it’s been pretty multicoloured here and pretty multicultural too.

The children enjoyed finishing the week representing a fine array of countries and they have been encouraged to teach others something about the country they have chosen to represent. I loved the “Hello to all the children of the world” song that Pre-Prep children were singing this week, which encourages interest in twelve countries and their languages and it has been mastered with impressive ease.

Year 8 rounded off an interesting week of workshops and visiting speakers with their assembly on sustainability, based on their Common Entrance projects and their residential trip to Bore Place.

I particularly enjoyed the visit from Mike Fawcett on Thursday from the diocese of Rochester, to talk about church based links with other parts of the world, which we are about to embark upon.

His lively presentation of the village we might link with in Tanzania was enjoyed by all and it was lovely that Jake could model for us clothes worn by Masai Warriors, whilst Daniel and Diya sported some fine handmade shirts for girls and boys. I was excited to hold a very valuable Masai spear. Bradley demonstrated with a fine rhythm a beautiful handmade drum, whose skin was held across the baobab fruit body with black thorns.

Organising a themed week is a huge piece of work and I would like particularly to thank Ali Chugg for inspiring and encouraging such full participation from all corners of the school. You may have noticed that we are currently advertising for a new Head of Geography and it is perhaps fitting to acknowledge this week that this is because Ali and her husband will be moving to Burma in the summer where Dan is to become the British ambassador. We congratulate Dan on this appointment and all of us know that this will be a challenging and privileged position, in which they will make a huge difference to a country that does need support and we wish them every success and happiness.

Zerrin Leech and I look forward to meeting any parents interested in finding out more about our decision to open a third Reception class this September. We are excited by the prospect of having classes of 18 coming through Pre-Prep and strengthening the reputation of the school.

Parents have suggested we also hold morning slots for parents to come and find out more and I think this is an excellent suggestion. I will announce the dates next week.

This weekend some of our senior students in Year 6 are being assessed for scholarships into Year 7 here. Since our scholarship programme was introduced in my first year of headship here, we have seen considerable success in our scholarship rates to senior schools and I believe that offering a challenging curriculum for the very top students actually enhances it for every single child.

Visitors always comment on the buzz around the school on a normal day and we all love being a part of that every day.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend I hope the sun shines on you and I look forward to seeing many of you next week. Have a great weekend.

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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