Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 25
Mr Salt led us through a fantastic assembly on Wednesday morning this week, on our theme of ‘empathy’. He talked us through the differences between cognitive, emotional and compassionate empathy. He then went on to illustrate the subtle nuances between these three ever so slightly different ways of behaving, with some fascinating and highly relevant examples to bring his ideas to life. One of Mr Salt’s examples included explaining how joint endeavours, such as taking part on a residential school trip, will definitely provide plenty of opportunities for the boys to enjoy not only all sorts of exciting activities together, but to share in the emotional highs and lows of being away from the comforts of home for a short while. We understand ourselves and each other a little more, as a consequence. Mr Salt emphasised how ‘contagious’ positive feelings can be in such circumstances and how ‘infectious’ feeling good about yourself is, especially when friends are together taking part in activities on a school trip that are very different from those that can only occur inside a classroom.
I proceed on the understanding that at our school, largely, I am preaching to the converted whenever I extoll the virtues of residential school trips to parents. I recognise that some boys in some Year groups can feel anxious in advance of going away of course, which can be a source of some worry for mums and dads too. We have two excellent weeks planned for the boys in Years 5 and 6 straight after half term and I hope the boys in those Year groups are already looking forward to going? If you would like a quiet word or two with your son’s form teacher ahead of your boy going away for a week, do please come in and see us.
3L and Mrs Lutz approached our theme somewhat differently this morning. In their excellent assembly they demonstrated all the sorts of practical ways in which we try to give the development of our empathetic skills a nudge in lessons here. Boys in 3L obviously enjoy a good ‘boogie’ too. Their very enthusiastic and un-self-conscious dancing demonstration at the end of their assembly certainly left me feeling very cheerful indeed!
Boys in Year 6, as predicted last week, did us proud yesterday on one of the many planned trips we hope they enjoy this term, as part of their Leavers’ Programme. The boys went up to spend the day at the Globe Theatre. I had reports from the staff at the theatre, the parent helpers on the trip and their teachers accompanying them that they were beautifully, naturally cheerfully and intelligently well behaved all day – all such great news to hear.
Mr Darmon writes about this in his Sports Bulletin (please see, as ever, the separate tab above) but I must make a special mention now of our Year 6 footballers travelling up to St. George’s Park in Burton next week, to play in the ISFA U11 Seven-a-Side Tournament National Finals on Tuesday. This is the first time in our school’s history that any of us here can recall a team making it to this prestigious national Prep schools’ football tournament final, and to say we are incredibly proud of the team representing Hampton Prep is an understatement. We had a rousing ‘three cheers’ for the boys in assembly this morning and I know they will go and play terrifically well.
Have a great weekend,
For many children of all ages, across the country, exam season looms large. Recently the results of a large study (led by Peter Clough who heads the Psychology department at Huddersfield University and which was commissioned by The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference), concluded that children should not stop playing sport in the lead up to exams, as it has no impact on results. Interestingly pupils from Hampton were involved in the study and although aimed at teenagers in senior schools, the specific findings can very much by applied to children of all ages, whether they be embarking on exams or not.
It was concluded that children that take part in sport are happier, psychologically healthier, less anxious, more resilient and more robust. The study found that there was a significant relationship between involvement in sport and mental toughness and a positive association between sport and mental well-being.
This is not a new message from me and I am convinced that those children who regularly take part in competitive sport, are more confident and resilient young people. Regardless of ability and standard at which they play. This in turn, has a positive effect on academic performance and provides children with the experience of how to handle stress in a pressure situation, which is vital as they navigate the rigours of exams. I am therefore, delighted that this study reinforces the message that I have been conveying for many years.
It is understandable that parents are concerned about how children use their free time outside of school, with the pressure on children today to excel at school, in what is a far more competitive industrial world than when I went to school. However, taking part in sport shouldn’t be seen as detracting from time spent studying but rather enhancing it.
It is certainly a significant feature in the lives of boys at Hampton Prep and every single boy in Years 5 and 6 have already played their first cricket fixture of the season. On Monday the whole of Year 5 played against Surbiton with three solid wins and an extremely narrow loss in the fourth. This loss came in the A team game, which as the visiting teacher Mr Blood described, was the highest standard game of school boy cricket he had ever seen. We ended up losing by one wicket on the penultimate ball of the game. Neither team deserved to lose and the game was played in great spirit and it was a superb way to start the season.
On Wednesday all the boys in Year 6 and a handful of Year 5 boys played in a Colts fixture against St. George’s Windsor, with three wins and two losses. Today sees the Year 3s play their first ever cricket match for the school against Claremont Fan Court.
The stakes are pretty high for the U11 boys, as the squad to go on tour to Guernsey will be picked in the next week. All the boys in the year have played a major part in the year groups success and every boy, whether picked or not, should be proud of how they have contributed to this point. No doubt, some will be disappointed next week, but I refer you to my previous comments regarding resilience. It is situations like this, that really help to mould our young boys into well rounded adults, that can cope with success and disappointment in a balanced and healthy manner.
Next week is very busy on the cricket field with all year groups in action, but the big event of the week will be happening on Tuesday. This is when the U11 football squad take part in the ISFA National Finals, which they qualified for in the Autumn term when they won their regional competition. The tournament is taking place at St. George’s Park which is the FA centre of excellence. Therefore, regardless of outcome, it is going to be a really special day for the boys and I hope you will join me in wishing all the boys taking part the best of luck and conveying how proud we are of them to get this far. Good luck lads and I promise not to get too stressed out on the side lines. Have a great weekend.
Head of PE and Games
In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Ben Deedman, Thomas Denbigh and Sebastian Wright (All 3W) For a wonderfully creative and informative poster on the parts of a plant. Well done!
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week Year 3 took part in the LBRuT Safe Walking initiative, learing how to safely navigate roads and pavements in the local area.
On Thursday Year 6 had a Shakespearean day out at the Globe Theatre where they observed sword fighting demonstrations and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a dress rehearsal.
How often have we heard the expressions ‘good manners cost nothing and ‘manners maketh man’? We unpicked these sentiments in an assembly this week, discovering the latter is centuries old and originated in the writings of a man called William Horman. The proverb extolls the virtues of good manners and, of course, politeness and good manners are essential to humanity. It is often used to remind people to be polite.
We looked at different interpretation of this proverb….sometimes it is taken to mean that good manners are what distinguish humans from animals – quite literally, they are what ‘make’ us human. Others interpret good manners as the finishing touches to a human’s personality and behaviour. Habitually acting in a certain way starts to mould and shape our personality. According to this interpretation, good manners are not just ornaments to our lives, but actually shape how we think. Good manners, we discovered, apply to several aspects of human life including how we speak, the words we use, the tone of our voice, our gestures and our actions.
Whatever interpretation we care to take, there can be no doubt good manners are a core part of what it is to be a good human and have the power to make a good person even better. On that note, how lovely it is to see the children in Pre-Prep entering the school building each day with a sunny good morning and proffering a cheery ‘how are you today?’ – it certainly brightens our day!
Alongside this the new theme of the term was revealed, we shall be thinking about the word ‘empathy’ over the course of this half of term. Mr Smith explained its meaning in his assembly yesterday, stressing how important it is to think about and take account of how others might be feeling. We shall, of course, continue to explore empathy from lots of different angles over the next few weeks.
We are delighted to announce the new School Councillors for the term ahead and are really looking forward to hearing more from them in due course. School Councillors will be as follows: Reception: Ronak and Matthew; Year 1: Batu and Thiyaan; and Year 2: Reuben and Arthur. The newly elected councillors had their very first meeting today where they discussed the aims for the term ahead, including selecting a new charity for the term and how the money could be raised. They also chatted about some exciting ideas for Golden Time!
Mr Smith was on hand to distribute a number of awards and certificates in assembly this week. In Reception, Jack received his Learn to Swim Stage 2 certificate and badge.
In Year 1, Aizhou was awarded with a certificate to mark his completion of Part 1 of John Thompson’s piano course. Freddie took part in the London Irish Rugby Mini festival and won all his games, including games played against older children, too! He received a medal and trophy for his endeavours. Arthur H received his Learn to Swim Stage 3 badge and certificate.
In Year 2, Arthur B received a trophy and medal for being the most improved U7 player at Twickenham Rugby Club. In swimming, Harry M gained a certificate and badge for completing Learn to Swim Stage 3.
This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Krrish (Year 2) for his excellent manners – at Hurst Pool, he politely held the door open for a member of the public at swimming.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Thomas (two stars) for always working hard and trying his best.
Year 1: Arjun (two stars) for returning to school after the Easter holidays with a fantastic attitude towards his learning.
Reception: Tommy for good progress with reading and for always demonstrating such enjoyment of books and stories.
A full school week is now well and truly under our belts and we can report that the children have been very busy in the classrooms – here’s what we’ve been up to in class.
Kindergarten have enjoyed our topic on Jack and the Beanstalk. We read many versions of this story and were very excited to learn that some of the stories had characters from other fairy tales. This week we focused on growing, just like the beanstalk. We found out that plants and seeds need water and sun in order to grow. We also found out that there are nutrients in the soil to help plants grown strong. We discussed how we also need nutrients to grown big and strong and these are found in our food, especially our fruit and vegetables at snack time. On Monday, we planted cress seeds; we were looking forward to seeing them grow over the course of the week but unfortunately, they have not grown yet, so we look forward to seeing if they have grown over the long weekend! We also planted beans in a big pot outside and gave them plenty of water. We are hoping that they grow into really tall beanstalks just like in the story, but without the giant!
We were very creative with beans in class. Inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, we used a variety of beans, pipe cleaners and leaves to create natural sculptures. These sculptures were then captured using the digital camera. We also used our fine pincer skills to sort the beans out into their correct dish using the tweezers.
Our topic next week is Road Safety. We plan to make 3D vehicles using junk modelling. If you have any boxes, tubes, egg boxes or anything that we could use to create our masterpieces we would be very grateful.
This week has been a rather mindful week in Reception! We have been using visualisation techniques in order to help us relax and become mindful of our bodies and breathing. A relaxation story about a trip in a hot air balloon inspired some wonderful creative writing about where the boys would journey to in their balloons. We heard of travels to the jungle, the seaside, the pyramids and a deserted island, to name a few destinations. The boys wrote about what they imagined they would see when they arrived, and tried hard to remember finger spaces and full stops.
In class, each child has started a Gratitude Diary, which we will be writing in every week. This week’s entry was to write and draw a picture of an item you love. The children understood the concept of being thankful in a remarkably mature way – and we had a lovely discussion about what we were grateful for in our lives. Many of the boys spoke about being grateful for friends, family and new experiences – it was heart-warming to hear. Our mathematics learning has focused on measuring – we have been using non-standard measures to compare and order objects around the classroom. We have also loved looking at the artwork of Klimt. Inspired by his use of gold, black spirals and colourful flowers we all created our own drawings and collages in his style. All the boys are on countdown for our trip next Friday to Claremont Gardens, and are very excited about the prospect of some Forest School fun!
Year 1 have been enjoying reading and listening to some traditional fairy stories this week. The children have sequenced the events of stories and compared them to each other, noting similarities and differences. Yesterday, the children described three of their chosen characters and used ‘because’ to extend and expand their ideas.
In maths, we have continued our work on number by completing number patterns that jump in steps of 2, 5 and 10, but not just from zero! We have also been recalling our doubles to 20 and using these facts to help us when adding two number together. We explored adding 3 numbers together to get the same total and tried to find as many different ways as possible to do this!
During our humanities lesson this week we revised the four countries that make the United Kingdom and located their capital cities too. We have made ‘Season Wheels’ to show the changes of weather throughout each season and this afternoon we have been busy on the iPads and laptops practising using the mouse and completing various tasks on Purple Mash. Remember, you can access this fantastic tool at home by following the URL code on your child’s log in.
The children filled up their marble jar this week, which meant we could have some extra playtime today which was great fun – well done Year 1!
In Monday’s phonics session in Year 2, we introduced some new words from a scheme called Mrs Wordsmith. Each week, we will have six new words that are designed to encourage the children to use a wider range of vocabulary. We have had great fun trying to use the words hectic, blustery, dazzling, drenched, bland and optimistic in our writing and when speaking this week! In our main English lessons this week, we have been researching sea creatures and writing non-chronological reports on these. Next week, we will be researching and writing reports on rainforest animals.
In maths, we have focused on position and direction, using the words clockwise, anti-clockwise and right-angled turn. In today’s lesson, we had to use these words to give each other directions around a chalk obstacle course in the playground without crashing into anyone or anything.
We have continued learning about the rainforest by finding out where they are located in the world. We also learned about the different layers of a rainforest and have begun to learn about some animals that live in each layer.
On Wednesday, Mr Smith came to visit us. As part of our Life Skills lessons, we have been thinking about people who help us and, as Mr Smith helps us in school, we used this opportunity to ask him about his job, how he came to be Headmaster and life at Prep. We very much enjoyed our chat!
Wishing you all a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend!