Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 26
It has been a busy and exciting week for pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 as they have all respectively enjoyed their own excursions off site to places of educational interest. Year 2 had a taste of the tropics during their visit to the Living Rainforest in the wilds of Berkshire, Year 3 developed their artistic and cultural awareness as a result of their visit to the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London and not too many Year 4 boys fell in to the water during their visit to the Thames Explorer site in Chiswick. Colleagues spend a great deal of time ensuring that all the arrangements for these trips mean they can run smoothly, as well as thinking carefully about the ways visits such as these reinforce what we are covering in lessons.
What impresses me the most is to hear how the pupils themselves have enjoyed these sorts of trips and this week has been no exception. Yesterday a number of our Year 3 boys were excited to explain to me their burgeoning understanding of the similarities and differences that exist between people, as a result of their visit to the Guildhall. They had noticed that even though paintings they had seen featured people in them from hundreds of years ago, some of them “…still had faces that looked just like ours!”
Mindfulness lessons have been taking place in the Prep this year, as part of our Life Skills curriculum. Two colleagues from Hampton School, Mr Nicholson and Mrs Field, have been teaching the lessons to boys in Years 4, 5 and 6 and I was able to chat to them both as they concluded a sequence of lessons for the Year 5 boys yesterday. Both colleagues have been universally impressed with the boys’ approach to the material covered in the lessons. They feel the boys are genuinely keen to absorb and then use the mindfulness techniques that have been explained to them. Mr Nicholson reported to me that boys in Year 5 tell him how mindfulness has helped them to re-organise their thoughts and feelings when they find themselves in what they perceive to be stressful situations – however large or small. It seems one boy might have summed up the impact of the mindfulness programme best by explaining to Mr Nicholson that “the lessons have left me feeling happier”. This is evidence enough for me of their success so far; it is very important to me that we have this opportunity here to draw upon the principles and techniques from the mindfulness arena to cultivate our pupils’ overall social and emotional growth.
All sorts of endeavours we engage in here help our pupils to develop a sense of themselves. The novel ‘Wonder’ – along with the wider meaning and implications of the word itself – remains as our assembly theme this half term. Mr Wilson selected one of the central ideas of the novel as the basis for his assembly in the Prep on Wednesday. By encouraging us all to really carefully scrutinise the motivations of the various characters in the novel, Mr Wilson highlighted just how important it is to maintain an open mind when we are meeting new people for the first time. He also explained how, in his opinion, it is very important to keep one’s mind open about people as relationships with them develop over time, and hopefully they become our friends.
His message was very powerful, hence me wishing to note it here. It would be helpful to us at school if parents of pupils in the Prep could talk to their children about this concept at home at some stage too; I expect this is exactly the sort of discussion topic that is covered at home from time to time anyway, but as it has featured here this week I thought it would be useful for you all to know. In my opinion, the vicissitudes of life never really leave us, therefore all we can do to prepare children for them ought to be a critically important part of what we are trying to achieve here at school.
Have a great weekend,
The weather has not been our friend this week and so I am afraid I do not have much to report, as all matches this week ended up being cancelled.
However, last Friday we did have U8 and U9 fixtures against St. George’s Windsor. It was the first game of the season for these chaps and for most of the boys it was the beginning of their cricketing career. I made a point of talking to all the boys in year 3 before and after the game and laboured this fact. For many of us staff, cricket is a massively important part of our lives and I can certainly remember my first game. So I wanted the boys to take a little time to reflect on this, because for some of them it will also become as important as it is to some of us.
The results did not exactly go our way with the both the A and B team losing. However, the C team did win and a number of boys played extremely well, showing that they were more than capable with the bat.
This leads me onto another important matter. When we started this term and we split the boys up into what we believed were the appropriate ability groups, we also told the boys that there was every chance these groups and teams could change. If you wanted it, then work hard, show us in games and in matches what you are capable of and you will be rewarded. After last week’s games, changes took place across all three teams with a number of boys in the C team moving up to the B team and possibly further over the next few weeks.
We as games staff are constantly in dialogue with each other with regards to the performance of the boys. If ever we feel a boy deserves to move up a team or conversely does not deserve their place in the team, this will be fed back to the team manager and changes made accordingly. If changes do not happen from one week to the next it’s because we don’t feel it appropriate but rest assured these conversations are constantly happening and we spend an awful lot of time deliberating as to the selection of each team.
The U9s also played St. George’s, with the A team losing and the B and C team winning. The A team may have lost but one boy took great pleasure in telling me that he had bowled out the Queen’s grandson…….so every cloud.
Next week, weather permitting, is very busy. We have fixtures on every single day and also the exciting visit of Derek Randall the former England Test cricketer who will be coming in to coach the Year 4 boys on Tuesday.
I look forward to telling you all about it next week. Have a great weekend!
Head of PE and Games
In our assemblies this week we have focused our attention on Albert Einstein. We discovered the man who profoundly changed physics and ideas about space and time started his fascination early on in his childhood. Two ‘wonders’ deeply affected his path in life – the first was when he encountered a compass at the age of five and then later at twelve when he received a geometry book. We discussed how very important it is to follow one’s interests in life, as what starts off as a mere ‘wonder’ has endless possibilities.
Congratulations to the following children, as you will see there was quite a focus on sporting activities this week at Monday’s assembly!
Alfie Keller (Year 2) was awarded the U6 All-round cricket award from his club, East Molesey.
Archie Duggan (Year 2) was awarded a trophy for his excellent rugby season with London Irish.
Ollie Nicholls (Year 2) gained two ‘Go Ape’ certificates for successfully getting to the top of the tree! Sam Corkery (Year 2) achieved the Parents’ Player trophy and also gained a medal for taking part in a tournament for his football club.
Bertie Bishop (Year 2) was congratulated for this two ‘Learn to Learn’ certificates.
Mr Smith will be at our assembly on Monday (22 May), so please do continue to send in certificates and awards, we love hearing about the wide range of activities the children are involved in out of school.
Unfortunately, due to Open Morning we have not had our usual Friday assembly – please be assured ‘Stars of the Week’ and will be distributed on Monday.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
This week in Kindergarten we have focused our learning on the story of Oliver’s Vegetables. The children have talked about how some vegetables grow below the ground and some grow above. We were delighted with the wide variety of vegetable contributions on Wednesday, many thanks. The children used their cutting skills to prepare the vegetables for our soup. Our role play has become a Greengrocer’s shop and the children have been busy weighing, buying and selling a colourful array of fruit and vegetables. This has inspired plans for a local walk next week to buy our own fruit for smoothie making.
It has been a ‘space-tacular’ week in Reception this week and we have enjoyed looking and learning all about rockets and robots. We found out how robots are used in space and in everyday life and discovered that “they don’t all need a controller”, “they can help people” and “they can do whatever you tell them, you just need to put the instructions in the computer first”. We have also been delighted with the children’s homemade robots that have joined us this week and there has been a lot of rocket and robot designing and making in class too. We were mesmerised at the drawing robot in action that Harry Morris brought in for Show and Tell.
In maths we have been ‘counting on’ when adding and using bigger numbers, using the 100 square to help us. We have also been counting in 5s and 10s. Doubling was introduced this week and we used ladybirds and butterflies to help us understand this concept.
Our topic next week is bears!
This week Year 1 began a new topic in English; writing about superheroes! We were very excited to think about and describe our favourite superhero and will move on to designing our own superhero next week.
In maths, we consolidated reading and writing numbers 1-20 using letters and learnt how to split 2-digit numbers into tens and ones, thinking about the value of the digits. At the end of the week we consolidated doubling numbers up to 20.
We have continued with our ‘Seasonal Changes’ topic in science. On Friday we described the weather in summer – we’re not sure the weather this week has been a very good example!
Year 2 have had a busy week! In English we have been researching, planning and writing our own non-chronological reports on rainforest creatures.
In maths, we have been solving problems involving temperature, mass and length.
In life skills, we thought about the people who work at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep and chose a member of staff to write questions to about their job. We have enjoyed receiving and reading the responses.
The highlight of our week was our trip! On Wednesday (possibly the wettest day of the year), we headed down to the Living Rainforest. We were able to explore the rainforest and see lots of animals including toucans, monkeys, lizards, snakes, scorpions, sting rays, tortoises, turtles, water monitors and butterflies that liked the adults’ fluorescent tabards. Unfortunately, the sloth evaded us this time. After lunch, we had a workshop all about how plants and animals have adapted to the rainforest. Our guides were really knowledgeable and told us lots of interesting information. We would like to thank Mrs Bishop, Mrs Boxall, Professor McHardy and Mrs Tang for coming along and helping us out for the day, as well as putting up with our singing on the bus!
Have a super weekend!