Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 19
“The compassionate imagination of childhood begins with
understanding that there are others outside of ourselves.”
Over the half term holiday I enjoyed catching up with some reading about…the importance of reading! I am a great fan of Maryanne Wolf’s work, and her quote above appears towards the end of a review of her latest book on reading and empathy in an American educational journal I subscribe to. I was anxious to discuss its contents with our Head of English Mrs Campbell, as she and I share great admiration for Wolf and her research into reading and dyslexic children especially. I am only part way through Wolf’s latest book, in which she explains (spoiler alert) how reading from screens and devices or from pages in a book actually shapes the way children’s brains develop. This has caused me to reflect upon how we continually seek to nurture our pupils’ non-standardised skills and how important a part reading for prolonged periods of time plays in that. I recommend Wolf’s work to you unreservedly.
I hope you all had a very enjoyable half term last week? It was very good to see the boys back at school on Monday, ready for what has turned out to be a pretty action packed week all told.
Our assembly theme for this half term has changed and we will now be focussing on what the word ‘commitment’ means in all it various forms. Mr Cantelo led us through his personal views on how important it is to be committed to realising your dreams in his assembly on Wednesday. He had invited in a special guest to assist him with that. We all very much enjoyed listening to Sabrina Stocker, a former contestant from the BBC show ‘The Apprentice’ who explained to us how important she felt it was to remain committed to one’s hopes and aspirations in order for them to have a greater chance of success.
After Mr Cantelo’s assembly Miss Stocker held a Q&A session with the boys in Year 6. The boys had previously prepared some terrific questions in relation to making a success of things in life overall really, and of course had a few questions regarding Miss Stocker’s recent success on ‘The Apprentice’ last year. The maturity of the questions asked was very impressive indeed and demonstrated forward thinking and an excellent positive attitude amongst the boys. It was reassuring to hear Miss Stocker reference the same sorts of strategies to meet challenges in appropriate ways as those we are conveying to the boys here on a daily basis.
Our Year 5 boys went on a trip to the Natural History museum on Tuesday. Everyone took part in a workshop on the topic of adaptation and evolution, the highlight of which involved groups of four children apiece looking at fossils of feet/claws, and using these to make predictions about what sort of ground the animals lived on. This is a great introduction to the topic they will focus on this half term in Year 5 science. The boys then had to answer some of Hampton Prep’s own questions focussing on the major evolutionary shifts that the early reptiles probably needed to make in order to survive living on land. All very technical material for Year 5, but the boys handled it very well indeed.
We all enjoyed two out of the ordinary events this week. The House Cross Country finally took place on Wednesday afternoon, as inclement weather and a poor pitch surface in Carlisle Park meant it had been postponed until then. It really could not have been a finer day for a very energetic run around the perimeter of the park, the number of laps varying according to age group. I was, as ever, very impressed with the boys’ dedication.
Our Year 3 musicians were also able to perform in their own special Pupils’ Informal Concert on Thursday morning, as they had been on their residential trip when the re-organised (original) concert took place at the end of last half term. They all played beautifully and with great aplomb!
Exciting news from this afternoon to end with. We hosted the regional heat of the ‘Quiz Club’ general knowledge contest this afternoon, and from all of the teams competing here from a range of Prep schools, one of our teams won! They will head to the semi-finals likely to take place before the end of this term. Well done indeed to Harry Ellis, Alfie Keller, Fred Owen and Raphael Taylor from the winning team.
Have a great weekend,
This week saw the whole of the Prep and Years 1 and 2 from the Pre- Prep take part in our annual House Cross Country competition. The same event last year was conducted in what was most probably minus temperatures, during the Beast from the East. Yesterday I was in shorts and a t-shirt and had to put sun cream on. Needless to say this made for a much more enjoyable affair and it was lovely to see the whole school out on the park and working hard physically for their houses and also working hard to support each other. I know from personal experience that only the lucky few find cross country a really enjoyable experience in the moment. For most of us, its really tough going and something that generally only sparks joy in the aftermath when looking back on the achievement. For this reason, I was delighted to see the effort that the boys put in for the sake of their house mates.
As we always impress upon the boys, every place earns points. Therefore, working hard to chase the boy down in front of you, for that one meagre step up the final standings, could be the difference between winning or losing in the overall standings. This most definitely proved to be the case this year, with only a 4 point range between 3rd and 1st place. In 4th place was Tudor with 120 points. In the 3rd place was York with 131 points. In second place was Lancaster with 133 points and the winning house was Windsor with 135 points.
A special mention must go to four boys in Year 5 who spent a large part of the afternoon doing extra laps as they supported the younger year groups. Marcus Solomon, Joe Perry, Luke Nunn and Omer Olcer all showed tremendous levels of both energy and helpfulness and were particularly useful when guiding the children in Years 1 and 2 around the park. For these young children it was understandably a slightly daunting experience for them and I am sure the presence of our Year 5 boys was one that help put them at ease.
This was all great preparation for 12 boys who have been picked to compete in the Epsom College Prep Schools Cross Country Championship which takes place next Friday. This is a great event with somewhere in the region of 200 boys competing in the Year 5 & 6 race. It is our third year in attendance and each year we travel with high hopes. Last year Jack Price came just outside the top 3, so we are hopeful that this year might see is take a step onto the podium. Good luck to all the boys selected.
Despite all this running around in circles we are still firmly in the midst of the rugby season. On Monday the U10 A & B teams recorded two solid wins against Staines Prep. All the year groups are now firmly on the countdown to the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival. The U8s and U9s compete a week today and the U10s and U11s are the day after on Saturday 9 March. In the mean-time there are a number of fixtures next week for the U10s and U11s against Surbiton and Claremont.
Today sees all of Year 3 turn out against Surbiton with three teams from the U9s playing over at Hinchley Wood. We spent a long time working on alignment on Tuesday in Games and I was really impressed to see my B team boys apply this extremely well in today’s match, as they ran out 10-5 winners. The C team also scored some fabulous tries in a resounding win, however the A team had an off day and went down by three tries against a very big Surbiton side.
There is also another very exciting event taking place next week. Unfortunately, I can’t divulge any more information, as at the moment it is top secret. However, I look forward to telling you all about it next week.
Year 5 ventured into central London on Tuesday to visit the Natural History Museum:
A couple of photos from Mr Cantelo’s assembly this week with his guest Miss Stocker:
A very warm welcome back to school after half term. What glorious weather we have experienced this week, and how wonderful to be outdoors making the most of the sunshine whilst it lasted.
Important road safety messages were reinforced on Tuesday when Reception transformed the playground into a network of roads, complete with signage, lollipop men, crossings and, of course, pedestrians and cars. Getting across vitally important road safety messages remains a priority for us. According to the World Health Organization’s report in December, road traffic injuries remain the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 – 29 years and, furthermore, as stated by the AA, nearly two in three road accidents happen when children are walking or playing and almost two-thirds of child accident victims are boys. How crucial, therefore, that we keep revisiting this topic.
World Book Day (Thursday 7 March) is eagerly anticipated – don’t forget everyone will be coming to school dressed up as a book character on that day! You will find that your child has a World Book Day voucher in their school bag, we hope you have great fun selecting a new book by putting this towards it.
You should have also received a letter about the Travelling Book Fair this week but just in case, please note it will be open from Monday – Wednesday in the week beginning 11 March (please see below for specific timings).
There will be an opportunity for all children in Pre-Prep to visit the Fair during school hours. If you should like your child to buy a book under our guidance, then please send money in by Monday 11 March in a named envelope. Alternatively, you may prefer to visit the fair to guide your child in their selection at the following times.
Monday 11 March – from 8.30am & again 3.30pm
Tuesday 12 March – from 8.30am & again at 3.30pm
Wednesday 13 March – from 8.30am
The Fair will be held at Pre-Prep in the Hall. Books may be paid for either by cash, or a cheque made payable to Hampton School. Please may we have all payments by Wednesday 13 March.
Our new theme was unveiled in assembly yesterday – we will be looking at ‘commitment’ over the course of this half term. We all agreed that great ‘commitment’ was displayed in the House Cross Country races. We were really proud of all the boys – a fine effort from everyone. Certificates went to the following for their performance in their year group races.
Year 1: Jonah Miles, Wilf Nercessian and Edward Wijnand
Year 2: Reuben Nicholson, Ahaan Shankar and Harry Morris
Yesterday, we also congratulated Theo Constanti (Reception) for completing two levels of skiing over half term – Level 1 ‘Snow bears’ and Level 2 ‘Polar bears’ – in the latter, Theo demonstrated that he can now ski backwards!
The Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Thomas Chivers (Year 2) for charming manners and always exhibiting a sunny disposition. Thomas was selected by Miss Johnson.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Krrish Anand for trying really hard to join in with class discussions and for always being so kind and helpful.
Year 1: Emin Onemli for working hard during lesson time to achieve his best. Keep it up!
Reception: Mahir Olcer for fantastic reading progress – well done!
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
Kindergarten have been looking at ‘The Signs of Spring’. We have discussed how animals are beginning to appear from hibernation as the weather gets warmer and that ‘new life’ is beginning to emerge around us. We look forward to noticing chicks, lambs, rabbits and even frogspawn while we are out and about. We were very amazed to discover baby rabbits are called kittens! We noticed the beautiful blossom on the trees and the flowers that are starting to grow in our school garden. Some of the children told us they have noticed the crocuses and daffodils on their journeys to school.
We read ‘The Tiny Seed’ by Eric Carle and talked about the lifecycle of a seed. We all promised to be careful when playing near flowers, to ensure we do not damage them. We planted some bulbs in our flower pot outside the front door. Before the planting, we looked very closely at the white roots and brown bulbs and then placed them in the compost before watering them. We spoke about the importance of food and water for the plants, flowers and ourselves in order for them and us to grow strong and healthy.
We used our observational skills to take a close look at some real daffodils and then paint our own. The children were keen to make sure they had just the right shades of yellow and green to complete their flower masterpieces. We spoke about the different parts of the flower, from the petals to the stigma and stem.
It is not only flowers that are growing but, as a class, we are learning how with age we grow and change. We have each measured ourselves against our height chart in class and we are going to watch and record how much we grow from now until the end of term!
Our role-play area has been transformed into a veterinary surgery. The children have taken a keen interest on checking their pets’ heartbeats with their stethoscopes and giving them medicine when the animals appear poorly. Kindergarten have really shown their caring manners in the surgery as they took great care of the animals.
Our topic next week is Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
We have enjoyed learning all about road safety this week in Reception. The children were so excited to go outside and use the scooters and our special road safety set. They practised safe stopping, scooting fast, slowing down and navigating a tricky obstacle course! We also played at being lollipop people and drivers and made sure our pedestrians carefully crossed the road. In the classroom, we have spoken at length about safe crossing of the road and the children demonstrated good understanding of the need to stop, look, listen and think. We met a very friendly superhero called Super Cat who taught us a fun road safety rap – ask the boys to show you the actions at home! We were so inspired by Super Cat and his ability to swoop in and avert some serious road crossing disasters, that we wrote stories about him. We discussed the way stories are structured – the beginning part of the story to set the scene, the middle part where something exciting happens and the end where all the loose ends are tied up! The boys demonstrated some excellent story writing skills and we can’t wait to write the end of our stories next week.
In mathematics, we have continued our work on ordinal numbers – having races and talking about our position in the race. We have ordered numbers to 20, and continued our work on money. In phonics this week, we have been learning new digraph oi. Next week we are looking forward to celebrating World Book Day on Thursday and a trip to Hampton Library on Friday.
This week Year 1 have written their very own letters to David Walliams during our English lessons. We have been reading his stories during our fruit time since September and the children have absolutely loved them! They asked before half term if they could write to him, asking for more stories about ‘The World’s Worst Children’ to be written. We are really hoping for a reply! Briefly, we looked at David Walliams’ website too, which had some fun facts and activities linking to his books. Feel free to have a look at it at home with your child (https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com). We have also begun our non-fiction topic on machines and have explored lots of different information books.
In maths we have started our new topic, time, and we have been ordering and rehearsing days of the week and months of the year. Today the children blew me away with their knowledge of reading and making o’clock times and we also began talking about half past times! Any practice of this at home would be beneficial.
In science, we are beginning to think about plants. The children identified parts of a flowering plant this week and were able to identify a variety of common garden flowers. Next week we will be planting our own seeds.
Year 2 have come back to School full of beans and ready for the new half term! In English, we have planned our books based on ‘Bob Man on the Moon’ and have now begun writing these ready to read to Kindergarten next Thursday.
In maths, we have learned how to be a bit sneaky when adding and subtracting by using ‘near multiples’ of 10 – those numbers that end in a 9 or a 1. We have also done some work with money, which has included adding up amounts, making amounts in different ways and learning how to give change.
Our new science topic is ‘Forces and Movement’. We learned that forces are pushes and pulls that make objects move. In humanities, we have learned how to write formal letters and questions by writing a letter to the Queen with some questions for her – we hope she replies!
Finally, in life skills, we spoke about what we are good at and what makes everybody unique and special.
Have a wonderful weekend.