Head’s Blog 8th December 2017 Friday 8th December 2017

I am not sure if there is a collective noun for nativity plays but if there isn’t there should be and I think it would be “a delectation of…”

 

Those of you with more than one child at St Michael’s will have experienced a veritable delectation of nativities this week and I did too.

 

The Nursery nativity with its counting songs and simple actions was brilliantly directed by Kâren Stibbons in full puppet master mode and the children were captivated by the opportunity to make the noises of the animals and join in the songs as much as the adults were captivated by their performance.

 

Kindy’s performance of what I call “Round the Back” was also at the front, down the sides and in the middle (!) and they certainly loved their costumes and the fact that mums and dads and grannies and grandads were there to admire their performance.

 

Reception’s wonderful” Christmas Celebration” delighted us with the traditional Nativity story, complemented by songs, sung with enthusiasm and panache, although one young performer was less than impressed that Mrs Leech invited our parents and grandparents to join in at the end!

 

Years 1 & 2 gave an assured performance of “A Midwife Crisis” with a veritable panoply of witty and fast-paced lines that they had mastered and were clearly enjoying in their singing.

With a large number of solo performance opportunities and a great deal of enjoyment therein, the audience caught a sense of fun as well as having admiration for what was achieved.

In all of this lies the dedicated work of Sally Beesley who is phenomenal. Each year group staff team joins me in thanking her for training all the children to sing with pleasure and for our delight.

 

On Wednesday evening when the lights went down for Year 3’s production of “Christmas is Forever”, the dashing Jane Blonde was drafted in to rescue and release Father Christmas from his evil kidnapper. Each class took turns to take the story from start to finish and there was a great deal to be proud of: assured and lively singing, a sense of timing for the jokes, the overcoming of nerves to stand on stage and be heard, and the milking of certain scenes by several children who definitely feel at home on stage and may turn out to make it their future.

 

No one present could fail to be impressed and the energy of everyone was palpable. I congratulate Alan, Gordon, Lauren, Seppie and Anna and all the mums and dads who help with costumes, Mark for help with catering and the drama scholars who helped with the technical aspects.  It was a joyful affair and one of many this week.

 

This morning’s Christmas concert at breakfast time set off the weekend in snazzy Christmas style. The showcase of ensembles, groups and bands which now regularly rehearse and perform is amazing. And the journeys of the performers in those bands is a pleasure to behold. Repertoire chosen is increasingly complex and demanding and the standards achieved are impressively high.

 

One of the joys of this annual event is the relaxed atmosphere created by Mr Baird and his team, which expresses itself visibly in the array of festive adornments sported by each performer. I must confess that I’m guilty of breaking one of the Ten Commandments today as there were some incredible festive sunglasses which I particularly coveted!

 

Alongside the incredible week of nativities of course, we were launched into Christmas at the P&F Christmas Fair which was a happy, successful and exciting occasion for all those present. We are truly grateful to Claire, Sadie, Tracey, Anna, Charlie and Jules for their fantastic work making it happen and to the army of helpers, who came, smiled, decorated, organised, sold, cooked, took money, cleared up and served up Christmas in style.  Thank you from all of us at St Michael’s for another fabulous fair.

 

We do hope to see you at our very special carol service on Wednesday evening at Shoreham church.

 

As we take time to reflect on the central message of the Nativity story we shall also take turns to sing, pray and celebrate together the true meaning of Christmas.

 

I very much look forward to seeing you there.

 

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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