Head’s Blog 8th February 2019 Friday 8th February 2019

Happy Year of the Pig to all.  It’s been wonderful to share the celebrations and join the party! I’m proud of the rich international dimension that our parents bring.

In another life I once interviewed a lady who had been out of work for a very long time. On asking the question “What is your proudest professional moment?” there was a sharp intake of breath and the lady replied in the most disapproving tone “pride is a sin”.

I recognise that there are generations of people who were taught that but I would not agree that it is appropriate to teach it now. Pride at accomplishment is a great contributor to self-esteem and this week there have been some fantastic opportunities for children to feel proud. For the first two days of the week many children took music exams which they have been preparing for some time. I hope that they and you are proud of these milestones.

On Wednesday evening at the Interhouse Drama Duologue competition, we were given an astonishing array of sophisticated and emotionally mature performances from the Year 3 “Romeo and Juliet” balcony scene to the winning senior entry’s extract from “Blood Brothers”.

Frankly it was an unbelievable privilege to be in the room and the young people who got up and performed demonstrated phenomenal commitment, talent and understanding of what was required that can only be born of inspirational teaching. The winning junior entry, a powerful and word perfect performance of Prospero and Caliban’s exchange at the start of “The Tempest” delivered with thunderous confidence by Year 4’s A McRae and I Sharma was simply jaw-dropping.

So yes I feel pride and I want to tell everybody I meet how proud I was of every single child in that competition. Congratulations to all involved and to Alan Powell for creating the context in which this is “normal”. Our grateful thanks to Kate Weston for coming to judge this exceptional evening’s competition.

Throughout the week pupils have been thinking about the issue of having permission in the context of online and internet safety. The current culture of sharing is one in which modified images are the norm and may create a false sense of what is real and true and where some more unguarded moments may one day come back to haunt people if the sharing is too personal.

Pupils in Pre-Prep and in Prep have been thinking about whether they have permission to share images and information about their friends and in Prep we have watched some videos where children discuss what it feels like to have images of them shared online without their permission.

As parents in this digital age, if we are on social media, we of course have shared images of our children, probably because we are proud of them but sometimes to share their calamities and this week I have learnt a new word which I am happy to appropriate into my repertoire; “Sharenting”.

As is indicated by this word, sharenting involves parenting in a digital manner and sharing images of children regularly. Perhaps we should pause for thought about how we have sought permission to share. Did we ask our children? Do they even know? If they don’t, is this right?

The following video links might help you explore these ideas further and the third link is the one I showed to Prep school, where children are talking about how, on occasions their friends or their parents have embarrassed them with the images they have posted online and the comments these have generated.

https://www.bbc.com/ownit/its-personal/max-and-harvey-social-media-rules

https://www.bbc.com/ownit/its-personal/oti-mabuse-the-trouble-with-sharing

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38841469

Of course with so many families spread across the globe the internet and photo sharing is a wonderful thing but perhaps we do need to come back to the fundamental principle that the person in the photo does have rights over how it is used and we as parents ought to start asking permission before we post.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend enjoy every minute and perhaps consider do I really need to share?

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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