Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 26
I have just about recovered from the excitement of coming in not to a school yesterday, but to a circus! We had an adrenalin fuelled, heart stopping, completely over the top start to our day on Thursday as the appropriately named ‘Lucas Jet’ demonstrated all sorts of circus skills to boys in Years 1 – 6. There followed opportunities for all boys in Years 3 – 6 to take part in a series of ‘circus skills’ workshops throughout the course of the day. Riding a unicycle, juggling and clowning around with funny hats are just the sorts of attributes I am convinced the boys will need to equip them for the as yet unimagined demands of mid-21st century adult life!
In assembly on Wednesday this week we had an excellent and very thought provoking presentation from Mrs Joan Hare, representing the Senahasa Trust, a charity the school has been supporting off and on for well over five years now. This charity aims to support children in state schools in Sri Lanka, by providing food, clothing and equipment for children who ordinarily would not have ready access to such basics in life. We had organised for Mrs Hare to come in to speak to us some time ago, but with Sri Lanka being in the headlines recently it was all the more powerful to hear from her this week regarding how much of a difference the charity’s work continues to make in the current climate in Sri Lanka. The boys listened very attentively and, I believe empathetically, which of course all ties in terrifically well with our assembly theme for this half term. It certainly felt to me that the boys were greatly moved by Mrs Hare’s descriptions of children’s lives that are so very different from their own.
Character education is an important part of how we operate here. I most definitely see the development of the pupils’ personal progress sitting alongside the progress they make with the taught curriculum. I slightly hijacked the end of Mrs Hare’s presentation to give a shameless plug in favour of the L.I.O.N. Award, our leadership skills development programme. It may not be possible this term for boys to lead on anything much more that could raise funds for the Senahasa Trust. I did however explain to them all that next year, as they begin the next stage of the L.I.O.N. Award, they would do well to remain mindful of the children we heard about in Sri Lanka, when coming up with any charity initiatives of their own.
At our ‘Parents – SMT Coffee Afternoon’ this week the topic for discussion was ‘making sensible choices’ with the focus on how parents might make decisions regarding next schools. Last night we also very much enjoyed welcoming representatives from ten or so Senior Schools to the James Hall at the Prep, so that parents could come along and find out more about the range of schools we send boys on to from here. It felt to me that there was plenty of very jolly chat going on. In addition to meeting representatives from Senior Schools at events like last night, visiting the individual schools on their Open Days is also a must in my book.
The final part of this equation is of course the discussion and feedback you receive from all of us here, myself included, that I hope will enable all parents to choose next schools for their sons wisely. As per our calendar, on the 24 June we are holding an information evening on this topic for parents of boys who will be in Years 4 and 5 from September 2019. Do please come along if you think this might be useful. Do please also remember that parents are welcome, as ever, to make an appointment at any suitable time to come and speak to me regarding next school choice.
Mr Darmon updates us in detail in his sports bulletin today about the U11 A team’s trials and tribulations at the ISFA Football National Finals that took place on Monday this week. It is fair to say that we played hard against tough competition and most definitely did not disgrace ourselves, far from it in fact, in terms of the efforts I know the boys put in! It was a great occasion overall and having Hampton Prep participate on this national scale is one I am sure we will all remember for a long time to come. My thanks to all those parents who supported their boys and to Mr Darmon and Mr Henderson for rallying the troops up at St. George’s Park on the day.
Have a great weekend,
This week the long awaited U11 National Football Finals finally came around and on Monday night we all made the 3 hour drive to the Midlands and St. George’s Park. We stayed in the hotel on site the night before and Mr Henderson and I were greeted with a bunch of very excited boys as we waited in line to check in. The hotel was a treasure trove of football memorabilia and there were even some famous guests. Unbeknown to us at the time Gareth Southgate was there and some schools had luckily managed to get a photo with him. Combined, it all made for a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipation and the next morning the boys were up and ready to go long before our proposed meet time.
To play at such a tremendous setting was nothing but inspirational but at the same time it was clear the boys were nervous too. So we tried hard to convey the message, that these nerves were good and just what the boys needed if they were to perform at their best.
All the teams at the tournament were going to be good, they had all either won or come runner-up in their regionals and so many teams were on a par. This was evident in our group and particularly in our first game, which we drew 0-0. It took a while for us to find our feet and the nerves certainly were still evident but into the second half we relaxed and although we didn’t get the win it was a solid performance to get us going.
In our second game we lost 2-1, the difference being a tremendous free kick that was literally unstoppable. The next game against Dulwich Prep was a 1-1 draw and our penultimate game in the group against Bishopsgate, was another 0-0 draw. With one game to go we lay 5th in the group, with only the top 3 going through to the knock out stages and the fourth place team competing for 9th-12th places. You can see from the results above that there were fine margins involved. We could quite easily have won all those games and in turn lost them all, but as it was, it was a long shot that our day would progress any further after this final group game.
Sure enough we were not able to get the win but there were numerous boys who near enough crawled off that pitch at the end as they had worked so hard. The team were in no way disgraced and they held their own in every match. I was tremendously proud of their effort and the grit and determination they showed. It is the first time our school has attended the tournament after winning their region and so they must all hold their heads high. I hope it is something they will remember for years to come. I certainly will.
Back on the cricket pitch, all the boys in Year 3 and 4 played against Willington on Tuesday and it was great to hear how the Year 3s in particular have been getting on. Cricket is a funny old sport and really quite difficult to master, but children being children they pick things up pretty quickly and I have been astounding as to how much they have developed in three weeks. The main thing is that they enjoy the game and that certainly seems to be the case. However, there is a definite improvement in their skills and this will only improve further as they become stronger and more confident.
Unfortunately the weather put pay to our scheduled fixtures on Wednesday but today a selection of U8 and U9 boys will play against Twickenham Prep. Next week sees us play St. Benedict’s in the U10s and U9s, Staines Prep in the U8s and Twickenham prep again in the U11s and U10s. The fixtures are coming thick and fast and so I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents for their support and the taxi services they provide. Cricket more than any other takes us outside of normal school hours and so I appreciate the logistical planning that must need to take place on a weekly basis, to ensure your boys are at their various matches, tournaments and training sessions for both club and school. Without you it wouldn’t be possible. I am sure your boys will thank you one day too. Have a great weekend.
In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Vihaan Kukreja (3W) For demonstrating great bravery and resilience after accidentally receiving an injury in school. Daniel O’Sullivan Sanz and Thomas McMonagle (both 5Ca) RE: For an excellent recount of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Harresh Jayanthan and Shay Patel (6C) For an excellent piece of detailed writing on the prediction of how humans will evolve. Christopher Bathurst, Charlie Childs, Daniel Gray and Deven Wadhwani (all 6C) Jason David-West, Thomas Deedman and Tom Keen (all 6J) Magic with Macbeth: in recognition of a cleverly crafted, headline-grabbing newspaper report on the death of King Duncan, and an eye-catching, picture-perfect collage based on that Scottish play. Daniel Mason (6C) Magic with Macbeth: in recognition of a cleverly crafted, headline-grabbing newspaper report on the death of King Duncan, and a thoughtful and carefully researched soliloquy based on that Scottish play. Eric Brock Talman (6J) Magic with Macbeth: in recognition of an eye-catching, picture-perfect collage based on that Scottish play, and for his unwavering enthusiasm throughout our study.
This week at prep we had a visit from the amazing Lucas Jet and his Circus! The boys got to watch a brilliant show performed by Lucas then they were able to put their skills to the test with all sorts of fantastical Circus props!
In perhaps one of the rainiest weeks we have seen so far this year two Pre-Prep trips have taken place, however, we never let a bit rain dampen our spirits! The first, on Wednesday, saw Year 1 travelling to Winchester Science Museum; it was clear the children had a fantastic time as they regaled us with the activities they had enjoyed the most whilst there … not surprisingly, making slime featured highly as well as time spent in the planetarium. The second saw Reception visiting Claremont Gardens to take part in a ‘wild learning’ experience – what an amazing opportunity they had interacting with nature and the sun shone! You will, of course, be able to read more about both visits below but we should like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to all the parent helpers for giving up their precious time to accompany us on our visits – quite simply, we couldn’t do it without your help.
Making the most of the outdoors and nature is something that sadly seems on the decline these days for all sorts of reasons; however, it remains such an important part of development. Movement, especially in free play, is a major contributor to brain growth – in fact, is the pre-cursor to all learning.
Ginny Yurich and Michelle Rupier are massive advocates of utilising nature to support children’s academic learning. In an article by the latter, I was fascinated to read the following, ‘Scientists have now confirmed something that children have always instinctively known; playing in mud is a joyful experience. Recent research has shown that dirt contains microscopic bacteria called Mycobaterium Vaccae which stimulates the immune system and increases levels of serotonin in our brains, an endorphin that soothes, calms, and helps us to relax. Scientists say regular exposure to the bacteria may help to reduce a child’s vulnerability to depression. In short, playing in mud makes you happier!’ What better endorsement for playing outdoors? I should imagine we all have extremely fond memories of time spent digging happily in dirt, creating mud pies and, more generally, just getting messy – mud is a wonderful medium!
Although a shortened week, it has nevertheless been a busy week. Years 1 and 2 were invited to take part in Circus Skills at Prep on Thursday morning. It is safe to say they returned to Pre-Prep full of enthusiasm for juggling, balancing and unicycle riding!
Congratulations to Georgiy (Reception) who received his Learn to Swim Award Level 1 in Thursday’s assembly.
The recipient of the Courtesy Cup and Badge this week was Wilf (Year 1) for his beautiful manners and gentleness towards others.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Ayaan (two stars) for having a wonderfully positive attitude to learning and for joining in much more with discussions – well done!
Year 1: Rishi (two stars) for working really hard in maths – keep it up!
Reception: Alfie (two stars) for demonstrating kind and helpful behaviour to his friends and teachers.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
We have been thinking and talking about road safety this week in Kindergarten. There have been lots of discussions about why we need to stay safe when walking along pavements and when crossing the roads. We read a story about keeping safe with a character called ‘Super Cat’ who helped children and adults remember how to cross roads safely.
Super Cat helped us to remember that we need to ‘STOP’, ‘LOOK’, ‘LISTEN’ and ‘THINK’ before crossing roads and that we need to listen with our eyes and ears when walking across roads. We must also remember to hold onto our adult’s hands at all times and never ever run!
We have had fun making vehicles out of junk modelling resources too. We then had to decide if we needed to join our materials together with tape, split pins, glue or staples, trying and testing to see what worked the best. Once we had constructed our vehicle, we painted them carefully and we are now waiting for them to dry before they go on our road safety display.
There have been lots of circle times and discussions about ‘friendships’ in class. The children have all agreed that ‘sharing is caring’ with our friends and we are all really trying with “you can’t say, you can’t play”. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to what Jack Johnson had to say about sharing:
Our topic next week is Emergency Vehicles and People Who Help Us.
We have been longing for our trip to Claremont Gardens in Reception, and were very excited that ‘the week’ finally arrived but more about that later! Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man has been part of our preparation, we enjoyed reading the story in class, and retelling it – trying to remember in which order the Stick Man’s adventures happened. We made our very own Stick Men using pipe cleaners, lolly sticks and googly eyes, and we then took these stick men for a journey around a map of Claremont Gardens. The children renamed and labelled various parts of their maps – thinking of some excellent creative names including ‘rolling hills’, ‘spooky castle’ and ‘owl island’.
Our mathematics learning has continued to focus on measuring – we have been using unifix cubes and paper clips to measure and compare a variety of classroom objects. We had to record our estimations first, and talked about making a ‘good guess’. It was brilliant to observe the children working together to measure taller items and having some excellent mathematical conversations about which items where ‘shorter’, ‘taller’, ‘tallest’, and by how many cubes.
Now for the trip … it is safe to say we had a ‘wild’ time in the woods at Claremont Gardens. Highlights included sampling marshmallows toasted on an open fire, seeing goslings wandering in the park, making stick men from twigs found in the woods and time spent in the adventure playground. The opportunity allowed us all to feel a close connection to nature and certainly developed our appreciation for the environment as it was a full on sensory experience! The boys were tired but buzzing about their day out and we are sure they will enjoy sharing their exploits with you this weekend. They were all extremely well behaved and made us feel so proud of them.
Year 1 have had a super week! On Wednesday, we went to the Winchester Science Centre and enjoyed exploring lots of different science-based activities they had to offer. We visited the planetarium and were taken into space to look at all the planets in our solar system. We also admired planet earth from space. We have been talking a lot about climate change and ways we can protect our planet. All the children have taken home a stargazing guide for May 2019 so please let us know if you are successful at spotting any of the constellations! Following the planetarium, we took part in a really exciting workshop where we made two different types of slime and were taught about solids, liquids and gases. Today in our English lesson, we wrote recounts of our trip, which will go on display in our classroom, along with some photographs!
In maths, we have been learning about position and direction and making sure we know which way is left and which way is right. We have also been using positional language such as ‘under’, ‘on top of’, ‘next to’ and ‘in front of’.
Yesterday morning we were very lucky because we were invited over to the Prep to watch a circus show. Krishi, Edward and Robert were invited up to take part in a special trick, which was really exciting! When we returned to Pre-Prep we wrote about our favourite part of the show and drew pictures of it. What an exciting week we’ve had!
In maths this week, Year 2 have been revising how to count large groups of objects in 2s and 10s. Some children also learned how to divide and moved onto dividing with remainders. Today, we solved problems using multiplication pyramids.
In English, we have continued learning about non-chronological reports by writing reports about rainforest creatures. We have begun to design our own leaflets about rainforests and look forward to completing these next week.
We learned about the plant and animal life in the canopy layer of the rainforest in our topic lessons and how they are adapted to survive. This linked nicely to learning about different habitats in science this week where we also spoke about how and why animals are adapted to living in specific places.
We are very excited about our trip to the Living Rainforest next week!