Head’s Blog 3rd November 2017 Friday 3rd November 2017

A warm, or perhaps I should say more accurately a cold welcome back to all of you after the half term break. I for one, after a pleasant trip to sunnier climes was a little bit shocked to be scraping frost off my car on Monday morning! However once at school the smiles of the children and yes the staff too, soon warmed me up and I found my rhythm at work again.

I have very much enjoyed being in lessons this week and have taken pleasure from watching Nursery children combining fine motor skills, learning about the world, and discussing shapes and numbers as they made pipe cleaner birdfeeders with Cheerios for our feathered friends.

In the pool this week there was hot and focused work going on by Year 4 as they perfected their front crawl, in Year 7 I enjoyed a fine French lesson and today was delighted to be in an outstanding lesson with Year 4 focusing on prayer; what it is and what it does.

The quality of thinking and depth of exploration in just a short time moved me and reminded me what a privilege it is to work with the children and the team at St Michael’s

On Thursday we spoke to the Year 6 pupils and to parents both within and beyond the school about the benefits of Year 7 and 8 at St Michael’s. What that will be like in the future will be changing and it’s an exciting thought that offers of senior school places will take place earlier and that Common Entrance, where it is required, will be for setting purposes only.

We hope that Year 6 parents have received the scholarship booklet and will consider their child making an application to win an award and become a senior pupil leading the other pupils at St Michael’s.

It was a great privilege this Wednesday to be at the first performance by the Belgian piano duo B!z’Art, who cast their spell on the audience with a mixture of storytelling, piano playing and slapstick to encourage the children to “get inside” the music.

Perhaps my favourite moment was when Kian joined in, playing a duet for one of the Mother Goose pieces.   I also enjoyed both the piece called “Blind Man’s Buff”, which was played blindfold and “Beauty and the Beast”, when the rather fetching cascade of curls of the blonde, wig-wearing Beauty, was joined by a fearsomely masked Beast as his theme began to play.

Their piano playing was technically and emotionally very fine and the presentation kept the children engaged for almost an hour.

http://www.duobizart.be/CV1_en.htm

In a week in which spiritually we celebrate All Saints and All Souls in chapel, but threw in Halloween and fireworks night as well, the school has responded by focusing in chapel on mastering fear through faith and self-belief, thinking about how the “light inside“ can make you feel good.

I felt happy to receive post cards from Alex and Amy, telling me what they could hear on their holidays and from Arabella and unsigned from Dubai, telling me all about their fun in the sun.

It was good in Pre-Prep to share what I learnt this summer about puffins on the Westman Isles in Iceland with the children and staff.  The puffins end up in the town, confused by the lights and are hunted by torchlight and kept in boxes.  Our pupils could hardly believe their eyes, seeing the children launching rescued puffins into the skies over the sea.

It was lovely to have 3C sharing their good manners assembly this morning.  An effective and touching presentation, which reminded everyone about manners and respect.  As Ishwar said “Good manners can turn into friendship; friendship can turn into love and love can turn into life”.

We are all looking forward to feeling good tonight when we gather together as a community to celebrate fireworks night and I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can to round off the week with a bang!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend stay safe, keep your pets inside, keep children away from fireworks, and have some fun.

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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