Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 12
The Reverend Ben Lovell, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Hampton and Governor of the Hampton Trust, led our assembly on Monday morning to talk about his personal understanding of what ‘philosophy’ means to him. Mr Lovell asked us all to consider – and then asked some – to explain to him what we thought he might have hidden underneath an upturned bowl, which he held aloft upon a notebook for us all to see. Mr Lovell was very impressed with the clarity of the boys’ philosophical thinking, as they answered his questions regarding what they might be able or perhaps unable to believe, depending upon whether they could see the physical embodiment of various items or not. Mr Lovell concluded his address by alighting upon notions of love, joy and peace and explained to us all how important these notions are. It was a powerful message and of course all the more relevant as we enter the season of goodwill and find ourselves reflecting upon our own good fortune.
Over coffee after his assembly, Mr Lovell and I discussed some matters of faith including the true meaning of Christmas from our respective angles. It was interesting for me to listen to Mr Lovell explain how important he believes the ceremonies are that bring light and love into our lives, when all around us life can seem rather dark and burdensome. I shall be aiming to draw our assembly theme on ‘philosophy’ to a close next week with my interpretation of the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s work on existentialism – if anyone had a fondness for the dark and burdensome, it was certainly Sartre. I very much enjoyed learning about Sartre when I was at university so the chance to revisit his work and try to unpack his views for the benefit of the 8 – 11 year olds in our care is just the sort of challenge I have been waiting for, at this busy time of year! Despite finding Sartre’s philosophies interesting, I do not find them particularly appealing. I am aiming to highlight how grateful I hope we can all be for everything we will enjoy over the festive season. I have a long plane journey ahead of me at the start of the holidays, as I return to NZ to see family and friends there for Christmas, so I shall be thinking very carefully indeed about how lucky I am to be able to do that, at least.
Mrs Tinkler wrote to you all this week to cover in a little more detail events happening here before the end of term. The choir in particular have been very busy; they have already visited two care homes, Marling Court Care Home in Hampton and Cloisters Care Home in Hounslow where the residents were delighted to listen to the boys singing carols and afterwards spending time talking with them. Cloisters Care Home made a point of getting in touch with us here at school after the choir’s visit to say how happy their residents had been to meet the boys and listen to them singing about the joy of Christmas; they hope that we can make this a regular event. On Thursday evening the choir sang in the Bentall Centre and today in the Terminal 3 Arrivals Hall at Heathrow Airport, raising money for our chosen charity for this term Family Action. Our boys were impeccably well behaved on both occasions I am delighted to say, and put smiles on the faces of either those busy with their Christmas shopping or those arriving after long flights of their own.
This half term Year 4 were completing the Community Service section of their L.I.O.N. Award. As a year group, they took part in the Family Action Toy Appeal for 2018. The charity works with a whole host of agencies from across London to provide Christmas presents for vulnerable and disadvantaged children who otherwise may not receive a gift at all this Christmas. The charity paired us with two agencies, Wandsworth New Point who work with new parents who have mental health issues and Wandsworth Young Carers who provide respite for children who are taking on the primary care role in the family home. The Year 4 boys were all assigned a particular age and gender to buy for and were given two weeks to raise the £15 limit for their present and purchase something appropriate. Once all in school, the boys wrapped their present and attached a homemade Christmas card. This week we personally delivered the presents to the agencies and the boys who accompanied me took great delight in explaining what they had bought and how they had raised the money. Both agencies were thrilled that we had been happy to support them in this way.
On Wednesday this week, four of our most adept Year 6 Mathematicians took part in the regional finals of the National Young Mathematicians Award at Explore Learning. The award involves a challenge that tests their ability to think mathematically, systematically and as a team. They are brilliant challenges and Mr Hole assures me that something similar will be appearing in January as the basis for a Year 5 Book-Free-Friday activity. It was also clear to Mr Hole, as he listened to the pupils talking about their efforts on the way back to school, that they had tried very hard indeed. We shall look forward to hearing if they make it to the national finals in Cambridge next term.
Have a great weekend,
Unfortunately, our U8 fixture scheduled for today against Weston Green has had to be cancelled due to some staffing issues with the opposition school. Therefore, we can officially say the rugby season has begun, with all year groups as of today, fully into rugby training. Years 4, 5 and 6 have been training all week and the year 3s start today. There has already been some impressive attitudes and application on display. I for one am buoyed and enthused by the new season and I can’t wait to properly get stuck into things when we return in January.
We pride ourselves here at Hampton Prep in dedicating a significant proportion of the timetable to sport and physical activity. As teachers we are well aware of the tremendous benefits that being physically active has on a child’s ability to learn as well as the more obvious health benefits. However, not only does being physically active allow the children in our care to learn better but it also has huge social and in turn mental health benefits.
With this in mind I was shocked to read in an article yesterday that just 1.2 million children (17.5% of the total) are meeting the recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week.
Having been a PE practitioner for 15 years I have seen a steady decline in physical activity levels in children across the key stages and a worrying increase in obesity. Nowadays children spend more than 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, but it still surprised me to read that the number reaching the recommended level is so low.
We have a responsibility as adults, whether it be at home or here in school, to make the children in our care understand the need to exercise but also to find ways to make it fun and engaging. Not every boy, as I know all too well, is going to love team sports or in fact any established sport. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t fall in love with being active, we just need to find what it is that lights the flame. This is less difficult when children are young, but as children turn into adolescents and are less likely to run everywhere, it’s imperative that this flame has already been lit.
Research shows that pupils who are physically fit, recall nearly twice the amount of information than pupils who have poor physical fitness. Being physically fit builds confidence and social skills, improves sleep and quite simply makes you feel good through the release of endorphins. The very same endorphins that are released when you eat chocolate.
Add in the obvious health benefits of stronger bones, joints and muscles, maintaining a healthy body weight and healthy heart and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases, then this goal of 60 minutes a day has to be seen as one of the most important things in any child’s development. Just as important as going to school every day. If I child wasn’t being sent to school, there would be obvious ramifications but there are no such ramifications in relation to physical activity.
A few years ago I attended a course that was ran by an American lady who was asked to become the Principal at a high school that was ranked the lowest in the district, in pretty much every category going. Academic achievement, attendance, you name it they were at the bottom. On her first day she walked out of school to go home to find all the wheels on her car had gone.
She had a PE background and so the first thing she did was declare that the first hour of every day be dedicated to some kind of physical/leisure activity that everyone, ALL staff included had to take part in. There were all manner of things taking place, from basketball to fishing, something for everyone. The second hour was devoted to breakfast and then some reading, which again everyone took part in. That is all she did and by the end of the year they sat second in the district table overall, with the best attendance out of everyone.
A raised heart rate to 170 bpm for between 40-60 minutes, just 3-4 times a week will see a 5-10% improvement in aerobic fitness after about 8 weeks. However, as mentioned earlier this doesn’t have to be sport. Playing, skating, skipping, climbing, riding, scooting, dancing all do the trick. We just need to make sure in the first instance it’s happening, whilst searching for the ‘thing’ that will stick with them for life.
Quite simply Movement is Medicine!
This will be the last bulletin of the term and so I must mention the sad departure of Mr Arnold. Mr Arnold has been a mainstay of the games department ever since he joined the school and he has been of tremendous support and help to me ever since I joined the school. He has a real passion for sport personally and an even greater passion for instilling a love of sport and physical activity in the children he teaches. As in all his lessons, his games lessons are full of fun and enthusiasm and the boys love being taught by him.
Not only is he very good at what he does he is also, quite annoyingly, a really good bloke and the first to offer his help to me when I am sure he has a million other things to be getting on with. We will all really miss him, but especially so here in the games department. I know he is planning on teaching PE to all the children across both of the schools he is going to become Headteacher of. Although those PE lessons will look very different to ours, I also know they are going to be very lucky to have someone like Mr Arnold teaching them. We wish you all the best mate.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas.
In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Danny Prichard (4H) For being consistently polite and demonstrating exemplary manners towards the School Office this term. Daniel Gray (6C) Art: For effort and achievement for his graffiti artwork and Deven Wadhwani (6C) Art: For determination and effort put into exquisite curve stitching. Well done to those boys!
- Don’t forget that there are NO CCAs taking place next week!
This has been a very busy week for our choir with them visiting two care homes, Marling Court Care Home in Hampton and Cloisters Care Home in Hounslow where the residents were delighted to listen to the boys singing carols and afterwards spending time talking with them. Cloisters contacted me after their visit to say how happy their residents had been to meet the boys and listen to them singing about the joy of Christmas and they hope that we can make this a regular event. On Thursday evening the choir sang in the Bentall Centre and today in the Terminal 3 Arrivals Hall at London Heathrow Airport raising money for our chosen charity ‘Family Action’ (amount raised will be made known next week). Our boys were impeccably behaved and brought smiles to the faces of those busy Christmas shopping or arriving after a long flight. Next week, we look forward to continue our tour, singing at LEH and also at ITV studios in London.
Please click here for details of the closing dates for the School Uniform Shop over the Christmas holiday.
This will be the last bulletin of the term and it is safe to say we have had a very busy, productive time here at Pre-Prep. How fitting to finish the term with mention of our Christmas Productions – nothing makes one feel in the mood for Christmas quite like a nativity.
Reception, Years 1 and 2 were superb yesterday, we were so proud of them all for their delightful performance of ‘Once Upon a Christmas Time’ – fabulous singing, dancing and acting from everyone! Events such as these are very much a team effort but, that said, special mention must go to Mrs Baldwin, Miss Horton and Mrs Perkins for masterminding and pulling the production together on our behalf.
Next week, it will be the turn of Kindergarten and we are looking forward to their performance very much indeed. The blue side gate will be open from 11.00am to allow you all to sign in and take you seats with plenty of time before the performance begins at 11.15am.
We have been absolutely thrilled with the response to our Anti-Bullying poster competition. As you will recall, the posters were created with the theme ‘Choose Respect’ in mind. The very high standard made judging tricky to say the least, but the winner and runner up will be announced on the last day of term. We intend to create an eye-catching display with the fantastic posters in readiness for the new term, so we hope you don’t mind us keeping hold of them for the time being.
Next Thursday (13 December) it is our Christmas Merrie, which takes place in the morning. Therefore, the children should come to school dressed in their own clothes as noted before, nothing too special as we will be doing some ‘messy’ craft activities. Games lessons will go ahead in the afternoon with Mr Wales, so please don’t forget PE kits!
Mr Smith awarded a certificate to Aubin Williams (Reception) for achieving the Level 2 Learn to Swim Award and Reuben Nicholson (Year 2) received a Blue Peter Badge for writing a poem entitled, ‘It Came to Me’ – well done, boys!
This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Thomas Double (Reception) who was spotted in the playground earlier in the week, ‘for being so kind to one of his friends in the playground on Monday when they fell over and hurt themselves’.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Eddie White for trying really hard to learn to tell the time to the nearest fifteen minutes.
Year 1: Thiyaan Dissanayake for making good progress with his writing – keep up the great work!
Reception: Jack Morris for his fantastic piece of independent writing about the Story of the Little Christmas Tree.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
There has been an element of excitement in Kindergarten this week with all the talk about the festivities approaching. As a class, we have been opening the door on our electronic phonic calendar and have enjoyed working as a team to solve the puzzle and counting down the days.
We have enjoyed dressing up as elves and ‘creating’ in Santa’s Workshop where we have made lots of toys using the construction materials which we have popped into Santa’s sack ready for delivery!
There has been many art and design opportunities through the week with 2d movable reindeer, 3d angels and wreathes for our Christmas cards.
We have discussed how other countries around the world celebrate Christmas. We discovered that in Australia the weather is very different to here; they have barbecues on the beach. Well-behaved children in France receive gifts from Père Noël and, in Italy, the traditional Christmas cake eaten is called a ‘panettone’, it is a sweet cake filled with candied fruit. Christians in India decorate mango and banana trees with bright and colourful decorations. We were also very surprised to learn that one of our friends received presents in his school shoe before school on Thursday 6 December after a visit from Mikoljai, meaning Santa Claus in Polish!
We continue our Christmas topic next week and look forward to performing our Christmas Play for our families on Wednesday 12 December at 11.15am in Kindergarten. On that note, please may we have all costumes in school on Monday as our dress rehearsal is being filmed on that day!
We are so proud of all the boys in Reception class who sang beautifully in our Christmas
Production. What superstars! A lot of our week was taken up with rehearsing for the play and the
children have really impressed us with their patience and commitment to making our show a success.
We have also enjoyed celebrating the start of advent. Each day we have opened our animal advent
calendar with excitement and begun the countdown to Christmas – 18 days to go! We have also been
completing an advent maths challenge on the interactive whiteboard, to recap our mathematics
learning over the last term. In literacy, we read the story of The Perfect Christmas Tree and talked
about what our perfect trees would look like. The children drew beautiful pictures of their trees using
pencils and gold and silver pens, and wrote about them using at least two adjectives. We also painted
large Christmas trees and adorned them with glitter, pom-poms, jewels and ribbon. They make a fine
display in our classroom which we are sure you will enjoy at our Open Classroom event on Monday.
Have a wonderful weekend.
In Year 1, we have been very busy in the classroom whilst also preparing for our Christmas Show. We made some Christmas biscuits and thought carefully about the written instructions and what to include to make them tasty. We have also been making invitations for a special event taking place next week that we do hope you will come along to.
In maths, we have been learning about the fraction ½ and how to find ½ of a shape, and of a set of objects. We talked a lot about fairness when splitting things into halves and whether or not it would be fair for someone to have more than someone else. Therefore, both halves must be equal.
We have made some beautiful winter pictures today in computing and have written some Christmas and winter themed poems too.
This week in maths, Year 2 have been revising how to tell the time to the nearest quarter of an hour. They then learned how to tell the time to the nearest five minutes; they had to think really carefully about where the hands were pointing to do this and used plastic mechanical clocks to help them.
In English, we begun learning about traditional tales by reading lots of different ones, acting out ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and thinking of excuses for different villains in the tales. We also learned how to use bullet points in lists and enjoyed writing our own lists, including Christmas lists!
In science, we made our own circuits and carried out an investigation to find out which materials made the best electrical conductors. Topic was noisy this week as we learned about music from the past and heard songs from The Beatles, The Jackson5 and Frank Sinatra among others. We had great fun singing ‘Yellow Submarine’!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas break from all in Pre-Prep.
Please click here for details of the closing times for the School Uniform Shop over the Christmas holiday.