Head’s Blog 21st April 2017 Friday 21st April 2017

Welcome back! I do hope you all had a Happy Easter break and spent quality time together as a family.  Welcome to our new pupils, Grace, Freddie and Clara. We hope you will be very happy here. Welcome also to our two new teachers, Sara Lake in Nursery and Rebecca Small as Head of Maths. They both bring a bit of fizz and a lot of experience to the school.  Holidays are such a wonderful opportunity for thinking and I’ve been blessed with a lovely two week break away in the Isles of Scilly.

I think there have been a few strands of thought that have dominated my moments watching the sun go down.

Firstly, how blessed we are in our lives in Kent as a community which is prosperous and largely safe because we are able to travel and have a change of scene when for far too many fellow human beings, the need to travel and change is associated with flight and fear and how draining and distressing this must be.

Secondly how much we can learn from taking the time to be outside and to look around us. I enjoyed collecting shells and learning how they grow, seeing a “Common” (aka extremely rare in England) Rock thrush and observing and photographing a Scilly Shrew (Britain’s smallest mammal)

Thirdly how important it is to interact as families, to talk and sing and play games together, to walk and be outside.  I find it particularly sad it is to see families in restaurants, all of whom are glued to electronic devices of one sort or another. I would urge all parents to make absolutely sure that as children are pushed around in pushchairs that they look around and observe the interesting sights around, that at meals and at tables in restaurants that you talk and play games and that screen time, which we are learning as a society can be detrimental to mental health and good relationships is kept to a minimum.

The children have been quick to tell me all the wonderful times they had on holiday, whether on the school ski-trip, having time to play and rest, or seeing relatives and friends.

A few of the children achieved some amazing sporting successes over the break; most notable in Prep was Henry Martin who took part in the Challenge Wratislava Fencing tournament in the English team.  Henry was part of a 30 strong England Sabre fencing team.  He did extremely well, coming 26th out of 130 fencers in the Under 13 category. He was the highest placed England Team Fencer and he still has another year in this category, so this is an exceptional result.

http://www.challengewratislavia.pl/en/results/current

You will find Henry under 27th March, U13 Boys’ Sabre. We are proud and delighted.

Congratulations too to Ishwar Sharma in Year 2, who has been invited to represent Great Britain in the World Games Yoga Championship to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from June 15th to 18th 2017. He will be taking part in the sub junior level section of the yoga championship. Over the holidays Ishwar was awarded ‘ UK Talented Kid Of The Year Award’ by UK Telugu Association. Telugu is a Dravidian language native to India. It stands alongside Hindi, English, and Bengali as one of the few languages with official status in more than one Indian state. This Saturday, Ishwar is taking part in the national yoga championship www.ukysf.co.uk and we wish him well in this. Happily, in Prep on Monday he will be demonstrating some of the yoga that has brought him these triumphs in our assembly.

Ishwar has also been featured in Yoga Magazine OM, one of the leading yoga journals. Read OM’s article here

I hope that those St Michael’s parents attending the special tour and lunch at Sevenoaks school this weekend will enjoy this exclusive event and be impressed by what is on offer at Sevenoaks. We have a brilliant working relationship with the school and for our ablest children it is a great fit.

Using the Adventure Playground

At the end of term there was a second accident, this time by a Pre-Prep child using the monkey bars, which led to a broken arm. Having reviewed this accident formally, we would like to clarify that all users of the Adventure Playground out of hours must be supervised by an adult at all times. Children who have been collected by parents and are waiting for pick-up of Prep pupils are often allowed to play unsupervised by their parents and this must not happen. An adult must be there on the playground area. The monkey bars particularly, have rules for use which are displayed on signs on the bars themselves. Because they are not designed to be used by Pre-Prep children at all as the drop is too great for a small child to land safely, an adult must be underneath the child to catch them if they fall.

Other rules which have been explained to the children are as follows:

Do not use the monkey bars if they are wet

ONE CHILD ON THE BARS AT ANY TIME

Do not hang upside down or pull people off the equipment

Once on the ground, move away from underneath to help others land safely

Make sure you are strong enough to miss a bar if you are challenging yourself

Pre-Prep Children cannot use these bars without an adult ready to catch them

Some schools ban children from the adventure play area out of hours and some fence off the area so that it cannot be accessed. We do not wish to do this but you must help us to enable this to be available for all.

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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