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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 14

This Week

Dear Parents,

Our exploration of the theme we have selected for assemblies this half term – perseverance – continued apace this week. It was fantastic to welcome Mrs Rainey, a Prep parent, to the School on Wednesday morning, and to have her explain how perseverance has been a key quality upon which she has relied, and continues to do so, in order to get the most out of her professional and family life.

Mrs Rainey is an Environmental Advisor for a well-known international energy company. We were utterly fascinated to discover how Mrs Rainey’s time at school shaped her interest in the world around her and inspired her to study and work towards taking on the demanding yet critically important professional role she so clearly enjoys today. Her assembly presentation was enhanced further as she showed us how cutting edge technology, when combined with and driven by a range of human qualities (perseverance included of course!) can be used to great advantage in her pursuit of ensuring our environment is being meaningfully and strategically looked after. Along with recordings of whale song and some scary looking underwater shark videos, it was powerful and exciting stuff – do please ask your boys what they made of it all.

The boys in 5J used their own words of wisdom to inspire us in assembly this morning. They explained what sorts of spurs motivate them and how they are reminded in all sorts of different ways to persevere and not give up. I was glad to hear one of the boys in Year 5 remind us that “tricky times do not last forever” (hard to recall when one finds oneself in the eye of the storm however!)

It was very heart-warming to hear from plenty of boys in assembly this morning how important they consider their relationship with their parents to be, when it comes to feeling inspired to keep going and not give up. I can see that one of the joys of parenting pre-adolescent children includes spending time in their company in uncomplicated ways. I understand it can start to get a little trickier during their teenage years! I was inspired by a story I read just after New Year, which nods towards perseverance as its theme. I thought you might like to read it, if you have not come across it already so the link is here:

Last term, after saying a sad farewell to Mr Kneebone our piano teacher we are very pleased to welcome Ms Louise Forbes and Miss Amy Clayton to our peripatetic music teaching staff. Both teachers began lessons with the boys this week, and both have told me how enthusiastic and polite your boys are. Miss Clayton has a little room in her timetable so if there are any boys who would like to start piano lessons, please do let Miss Bee know directly as soon as possible. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports Bulletin

It has been a wet and frustrating start to the term. Unfortunately for the next week we don’t have access to Carlisle Park or any other local parks as the council has made the decision to close them in order to preserve in light of the heavy rain.

This has obviously had an effect on our fixtures and we have had to cancel all home fixtures this week. However, there is better news for next week as we have secured space at Twickenham RFC, so unless we have more severe weather next week, we should be able to fulfil our scheduled home fixtures.

As I write this, I don’t know if we are going to be able to play our U9 fixture at Bishopsgate this afternoon, as they too have had heavy rain and more is forecast. Hopefully we do and I can tell you about it next week. We also have an U11 fixture scheduled for Saturday morning against Newland House School.

Finally, we have also had to cancel House Cross Country. Due to the busy calendar there is no available space to re-schedule this in the Spring term and so the new date for this event Is Monday 27th April.

I hope to be able to write with more positive news next week.

Have a great weekend.

Pre-Prep News

As mentioned in last week’s bulletin, the theme in our assemblies this half of term is ‘perseverance’, and this week we have been looking at this from a sporting angle.  Mistakes and setbacks inevitably happen in sports (and indeed in life in general too!) but what is so important is how we handle such situations – do we give up, or do we persevere?  We have discussed some amazing examples of perseverance in sport, the Paralympian swimmer Marc Woods, the athlete Derek Redmond and the gymnast Kerri Strug – there are, of course, many more examples we could look to for inspiration but one thing is for sure, all three mentioned, demonstrated remarkable perseverance.

Mr Smith made several awards in assembly yesterday.  Thiyaan (Year 2) received a certificate and his yellow/white stripe belt for having shown the required technical ability and discipline in karate.  Mylo (Year 2) received a trophy for his efforts during rugby training at Chiswick Rugby Football Club and William (Year 2) has been awarded the Judo trophy for his hard work during this week’s training session. Our congratulations to all!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Zac (Reception) for checking his friend was okay following a fall in the playground – Miss Page wrote, ‘it was really lovely to watch him being so kind’.

Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Thiyaan for always working hard during lessons and trying his best.

Year 1: Arthur for always working hard and following the Golden Rules.

Reception: Caleb for his fantastic weekend news in his independent writing.

New School Councillors for the Spring Term were announced and are as follows:

Year 2: Arthur and Aizhou

Year 1: Keyan and Thomas

Reception: Lev and Arjun

We are looking forward to hearing their thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the coming weeks.

Due to recent poor weather conditions, we are unfortunately unable to use Carlisle Park for House Cross Country on Monday.  Once details have been confirmed for the rescheduling, the School Office will be in touch!

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

It has been a very chilly week in Kindergarten as we became explorers of the Artic. We have been looking different animals, such as the Artic Hare, Polar Bears, Artic Wolf, Walrus, Harp Seal, Penguins and the Artic fox who all live there.  We discussed how they keep warm and how some of the land animals are white and camouflage in the snow from their prey! This led to conversations about how we can keep warm in colder weather and the importance of wearing hats to help us keep the heat in our body.

Some of our toy Artic animals were frozen into ice moulds. We thought of ways to make the ice melt quickly – we held it, placed it near the heater and we sprayed it with water, we then watched and heard the crack as the ice cubes began to melt. We also sprinkled salt on top which helped to melt it faster still. We were surprised at this, discovering it is because the salt lowers the freezing point of the water. Using the magnifying glasses, we were able to keep a super close eye on the changes happening right in front of our eyes! We then had an idea, if we put the water back into the freezer it would turn back into ice.

If the weather turns colder and icy, we are going to look out for the salt gritters on the road helping to make the roads easier to drive on.

In colder countries, houses can be made using snow and ice, and these are called Igloos. We watched a video clip of an Eskimo making an igloo; we were very impressed at the skills and the amount of time that goes into building these.  Sheets of ice were used to make windows and a skylight. We wanted to build our own igloo but sadly there is no snow, so the next best thing was to build our own igloos using sugar cubes! There were many variations and styles in the designs and shapes of the igloos and the children pretended to put in their own ice windows.

We also made 3D snowflakes using lolly sticks and collaged them using cold colours, such as blue and white to hang in our igloo role-play area.

We read the story, Henrietta’s First Winters by Rob Lewis, discussing how some animals, such as mice and hedgehogs need to go to sleep called a hibernation during the colder months and will not wake up until the weather gets warmer in the springtime.

Finally…we have a new dinosaur friend in our class, whose name is Stickosaurus; he is teaching us to ‘keep trying when things are tough’ and that ‘practice makes progress’.

Our topic next week is The Solar System.

In Reception this week, we have been exploring the season Winter. We read a variety of winter themed poems, discussing how the words made us feel.  We became poets ourselves, and wrote and illustrated our own descriptive winter poems – we used adjectives to talk about special times that made us think about winter.  We loved hearing about soft snowflakes, slippery ice skating and sparkly snow. In our phonics sessions, we learnt the new digraph ai and practised forming this in the cursive style.  We have also had a focus on recognising and spelling ‘tricky’ words – these are words which are not phonetically decodable and cannot be sounded out. We also learnt a very catchy song all about the tricky words ‘she’, ‘we’, ‘no’, ‘I’, ‘go’, ‘he’ and ‘the’ … don’t let them trick you!

In mathematics, we have been working on subtraction – we worked practically using Unifix cubes and 10 frames to answer simple take-away problems. We had a go at recording these on whiteboards using number sentences.  We had great fun experimenting with freezing water in the tuff spot. We found many frozen objects in the ice. We have talked about liquids and solids and used describing words to talk about the freezing process.  Next, we made predictions about the best conditions for melting – ask the children our findings!

Our topic next week is Our Five Senses.

Year 1 have enjoyed reading the story, ‘We all went on Safari’. We talked about the African animals we saw in the book and counted the numbers as we went along. The children used the animals from the story to write their own counting books. We wrote sentences practising writing the numbers 1-10 in words and using descriptive language to add more detail about the animals. Next week, in preparation for Chinese New Year, we will be listening to the story, ‘Dragon Dinosaur’.

In maths, we have been learning about repeating patterns. The children have learnt how to recognise a repeating pattern and have created a repeating pattern of their own using shapes. At the end of the week, we investigated the different repeating patterns we could make using two different types of triangles. Next week, we are learning about 3D shapes and their properties.

We continued with our topic, ‘Everyday Materials’ in science, learning this week about properties of materials and how they are important for their uses. Next week, we will be investigating magnets.

Year 2 have continued to enjoy the story ‘The Queen’s Knickers’ and have been busy designing and describing their own pair of special knickers for the Queen. There were some brilliant ideas such as disco knickers, pizza party knickers and even aeroplane knickers! The boys have also been learning how to use apostrophes to show possession and, on Monday, acted as ‘sound detectives’, using library books to search for the /air/ sound. It was harder than they thought it would be but they persevered and in the end, lots were found! Next week, we will be reading ‘Me, The Queen and Christopher’ and the children will be completing a range of activities linking to this text. We will also start planning a piece of writing for the BBC 500 words competition that the boys were eager to enter.

This week in maths, we have been practising adding and subtracting to 100 using the dienes. The children have learnt to represent 10s as drawing sticks ( I ) and representing ones as dots ( . ) and then either counting them all up (adding) or crossing them out (subtraction). Next week, we move onto 3D shape where the boys will be expected to describe the properties of 3D shapes and recognise 2D shapes on the surface of 3D shapes.

Our afternoons have been very busy with lots of activities going on such as… learning about special Jewish symbols and artefacts, finding out where electricity comes from and spotting electrical dangers, creating ‘How to be a good friend’ posters on Word, making King portraits in art and finding out all about Queen Elizabeth II!

Have a super weekend!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster