Dear Kingsmead Community,
Finding joy in adversity
Early Monday morning brought squeals of delight and laughter as we experienced a few beautifully formed ‘snow-flakes’ dropping peacefully onto our playgrounds. The children were absolutely delighted and could not contain their wonder and awe as they poured out of the classes to dance and rejoice at the heavens. It was only a few moments before that we were trying to find ways to protect our children from the predicted cold and drop in temperature. Despite the focus on the probable adverse conditions, the overwhelming sense of joy became our reality. Our children are a constant reminder of why it is so important to delight in the spontaneous; respond curiously to the changes in our world; and celebrate what is right in front of us, in the moment. What an exhilarating and glorious way to start the week!
A massive thank you to Mia Loock, the performing arts teachers and the Grade 7 team who have worked with our Grade 7 leaders. The Grade 7 production is an example of courageous action. The students have shown determination and grit and have worked tirelessly together to perform their message of hope and courage. Thank you to all involved.
Thank you to the hockey coaches and teams for the time spent investing in hockey skills during the recent camp. We are really looking forward to the spirit and skills application as we bring our teams out onto the Astro during the coming weeks.
There is still much to look forward to this term, thank you for your positive energy and support. Keep warm!
With Love and Courage Always,
Power of Pause
We live in a fast paced world where this simple word ‘PAUSE’ feels non-existent. Children today, in fact society, are often impulsive, reacting rather than responding. It is this characteristic that can make the our ‘world’ more challenging both for ourselves and those around us. More importantly our focus in this article is directed towards empowering and supporting your daughters.
Whether the issues are around social media, fashion, attitude or behaviour, the way young people react or respond can have a significant influence on families and in schools.
A reaction is usually automatic, instinctive, impulsive and may be irrational, emotional, and immediate, while a response is usually considered and thoughtful, evaluating the situation and remaining calm in delivery. A reaction may be due to frustration, disappointment, or anger, grounded in our survival instincts and fuelled by adrenaline.
Some of the words associated with reacting and responding include:
Automatic / immediate / in the moment / impulsive
Emotions-driven / irrational
Can land aggressively
Impact not considered
Limits of control of the situation
Considered / evaluated / thoughtful
Calm / controlled
Resolves issues / better outcomes
Aware of consequences
Pause before proceeding
Technology has provided us with tools that give us the ability to send messages instantly to anyone in the world. It’s fantastic… or is it? Our comments can be forwarded, screenshot, or shared with many others. You can delete social media comments, but sometimes it is too late. It is important to consider once words are verbally uttered they can’t be taken back. Once you have sent an email, there is no undoing it. A heat-of-the-moment communication/post can lead to significant damage to relationships. The power of the ‘pause’ is so significant in our online lives today, as poor judgement can have long-term impacts.
In our fast paced world, the art of pausing needs to be valued, taught and learned. At Kingsmead we strive to achieve this by explicitly teaching the Habits of Mind and in this case – teaching our students how to manage their impulsivity. In our lives, we have constant notifications, a never-ending supply of information and constant connection. This can often lead to quick comments, a lack of thought in responses and misinterpretation by others.
Young people need to be informed about the power of ‘the pause’. If only they had paused and not said ‘that’ or posted, many of the situations we deal with would not occur, and we could focus on our core business of teaching and learning rather than resolving the fallout of online commentary.
Pause before speaking
In our fast-paced lives, we often rush through conversations, barely listening or connecting with others. As humans, many of us prefer to speak more than listen, yet being a listener when someone is speaking to you is a true indication that you are fully engaged and genuine. One of the most important skills of listening is simply to pause before replying, taking time to comprehend and understand rather than jumping in with the first thing that comes to mind.
Great listeners are masters of the pause and are able to live out the Habit of Mind: Listening with Empathy and Understanding. It enables them to respond thoughtfully rather than saying something that they later regret. By giving our undivided attention and creating moments of shared stillness, we deepen our connections, foster empathy, and strengthen the bonds we have with others.
When you lead a hectic life, your first instinct may be to immediately react to any issue or person that enters your orbit, especially when it’s something you don’t agree with or understand. But being overly reactive can cause you to say and do things in haste that you’ll later regret. Reacting often hurts others and creates consequences we never intended.
Why pause? Pausing enables us to:
- Register and interpret information around us.
- Understand another person’s view or situation.
- Read the room and understand the emotions of others.
- Process our thoughts and gain clarity.
- Craft a thoughtful response.
- Carefully navigate difficult conversations.
We develop confidence in our students to speak up for themselves and to have an opinion, but the need to be reflective and to pause is a skill, an art form that indicates great strength of character. In writing, we have punctuation; in speaking, we have the magic pause. Giving our emotions time to settle so that we respond rather than react is part of having emotional intelligence, one of the attributes of developing the Habit of Mind: Managing Impulsivity.
When you pause, not only do you show strength but also compassion, understanding and empathy for those around us. By taking a pause, we regain control and ensure we are not just reacting to stimuli, words said or posted but are attuned to our thoughts while keeping our emotions in check. By responding and not reacting, our relationships with others, both online and in person, are more likely to be positive.
We can all benefit from the power of………… the pause!
Deputy Head: Senior Primary
Success through the eyes of our children
There are many articles and parenting books defining what successful children are and how parents and teachers can “ensure” that children reach this supposed level of success. But do children perceive success the same as adults? This got me thinking, surely to help children succeed, we have to understand their perspective of success.
As adults, we might think that success is when a student achieves an “A” for her assessment. However, the process to attain that “A” could perhaps have been an unpleasant experience. Or could it be that success is feeling good about helping someone in class? Helping others is a valuable social skill showing empathy, a highly prioritised and sought-after leadership skill. Would an adult perceive “being helpful” as a child’s success?
So how do we find out what success is for a child? The best people to ask are children themselves and “How was your day?” is a good question to ask.
The “How was your day?” routine
Make a point of asking your child how their day went, and do this consistently every day. It shows that we are interested in what happens to them, even when they are not physically with us. It makes children, and adults alike, feel special and validated. There are also several prompts one can use to ask a child how their day went without using those exact words each time:
- Did you do anything creative today?
- Why was today a great day?
- What part of today do you wish you could change?
- What is something that you know now that you didn’t know yesterday?
- What was the best part of today?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- What expectation was hard to follow today?
However, it is crucial that when you ask these questions, that you show genuine concern and readiness to listen. This not only shows a child authentic interest and true care for them, but opens the door for valuable conversations. I often ask my children to give me their “highest high and lowest low” of their day. I am often surprised at what they choose to share!
During these conversations, it is crucial to not jump in with our own solutions for them, as difficult as this sometimes is. After listening to a child talk, try to find out more by asking open questions and providing them with opportunity for reflection. Questions like, “why do you think that you didn’t enjoy that activity?”, “what is it about that class that you enjoy so much?”, “what do you think you could do differently?”, “what did you enjoy most?”, “how did that make you feel?”or “what can you do differently tomorrow?” are helpful in prompting further reflection and exploration of their day.
Knowing how a child’s day went, and how they perceive it, can allow us to see what they prioritise, what they enjoy or dislike, and explore why a child does or doesn’t feel “successful” during specific moments of their day. If we truly listen to what our children are telling us, and we engage with conversation about their day, we can not only learn much more about our children than what we thought possible, but we can effectively provide guidance, facilitate self-reflection and encourage a Growth Mindset.
Deputy Head: Academics and Innovation
Arts & Music
📆 Save the Date!
We are excited about the upcoming Grade 1-3 Masicule Sonke Choir Festival, which will be held at Rosebank Union Church on 24 and 25 July. All Grade 2 and 3 parents and guardians are invited to join us at this event as the Grade 2 and Grade 3 Choirs take the stage on Monday 24 July. It is a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate the joy of choir singing in our schools. We look forward to seeing you there.
The Young Artists Exhibition at RMB Latitudes Art Fair is focused on discovering and nurturing the creativity of young artists from Johannesburg schools. The exhibition encourages young artists to explore their creativity and express themselves through art. By fostering a love of art from an early age, the Young Artists Exhibition aims to contribute to the development of a new generation of artists who will go on to make significant contributions to the art world. Vittoria D’Onofrio was selected as one of the winners of this prestigious award. Congratulations, Vittoria!
Congratulations to Aliyah Dada who achieved success at the World Scholars Cup held in Johannesburg. Her team performed exceptionally in various academic events, earning them an invitation to compete in the upcoming Global Round in London. This prestigious competition attracts thousands of students from over 50 countries. We commend Aliyah on this wonderful accomplishment and for her dedication and hard work.
Scarlet Haslam is commended for achieving a High Distinction for the Royal Academy of Dance Intermediate examination at the end of May. We are proud of you, Scarlet!
Director of Arts & Music
Head of Junior School Music
Hockey Camp 2023
The Grade 5, 6, and 7 hockey players attended the Camp Discovery hockey camp from 5-8 July 2023. Hosted by the NWU (Northwest University) coach and players, this camp provided our young athletes with an opportunity to enhance their hockey skills and engage in team-building activities.
The players received personal coaching from NWU hockey players every day, as they were divided into groups to focus on specific skills and drills. The university players imparted their knowledge and expertise, which was evident in our young players’ performance during matches. During their free time, the players were able to relax, visit the tuck shop, and participate in team-building activities, including an exciting game drive through Camp Discovery’s resort.
Our players represented Kingsmead College with impeccable manners and good behaviour throughout the camp, which made us incredibly proud. We extend our gratitude to the coaches who accompanied our players and ensured that they were well taken care of during their time at the camp.
On 9 July 2023, our Grade 4-7 hockey players played a fixture against Roedean. Due to most of the hockey players being away at hockey camp, we combined teams for this fixture. They represented Kingsmead College with great courage and the day was a great success. Thank you to all the players, coaches, and supporters for being there on the day. We look forward to our next fixture.
KMC 4A vs Roedean 4A – 0-0 draw
KMC 4B vs Roedean 4B – 2-0 win
KMC 4C vs Roedean 4C – 4-0 win
KMC 4D vs Roedean mixed – 0-0 draw
KMC 4E vs Roedean mixed – 1-0 win
KMC 5B vs Roedean 5A – 0-0 draw
KMC 5C vs Roedean 5B – 3-0 win
Grade 6 and 7 combined teams:
KMC mixed vs Roedean 6A – 0-2 loss
KMC mixed vs Roedean 7A – 0-5 loss
Congratulations to Atheerah Navlakhi for participating in various competitions at the gym works club in Killarney. She recently achieved two bronze medals in the competitions. Well done, Atheerah!
13 July – Grade 3 Hockey fixture vs Roedean/Holy Rosary – Kingsmead
14 July – Grade 4 – 7 Hockey fixture vs St Stithian’s – POSTPONED
15 July – 07h30 – 15h00 U13 Spar Hockey Challenge – Kingsmead
20 July – Grade 3 Hockey fixture vs St Peter’s/Brescia – St Peter’s
21 July – Grade 4 – 7 Hockey fixture vs St Mary’s/St Katherine’s – Grade 4 & 5: Kingsmead, Grade 6 & 7: St Mary’s
Please make sure that your daughter has a gum guard for all hockey practices & physical education hockey lessons.
Match kit: Green sports kit with yellow socks. Please ensure that your daughter has shin pads and a gum guard. Players will not be permitted to play without these items.
A few reminders for parents & guardians:
1. Please send any sports achievements (school & non-school) to Mrs Hanekom.
2. A reminder to please download the Kingsmead App as this will be the direct method of communication to parents on sport fixture days.
3. All team lists will be published on the App by no later than Tuesday for a Thursday fixture and the Wednesday before the Friday/Saturday fixture. Please ensure that you let the coaches know if your daughter is not able to attend a fixture.
Yours in sport
Head of Junior School Sport
We live in a unique and world. A world with many opportunities that take us away from quiet moments. A world with many distractions that lead us away from what is most important. However, we also live in a world that provides us with one of the greatest gifts an individual can possess. These gifts are lined up on shelves, varying in colour, size and font, containing further knowledge just waiting to be scooped up by those who are hungry for it, and the ability to transport the adventurers in us to worlds unknown.
It is true what Rick Holland professed – the world belongs to those who read. Yet, how do we get those who don’t, to try and find the magic inside the pages?
The Semester 1 Media Committee tasked themselves with finding the answer to this complex question. After many conversations and grappling with numerous ideas, the team were ready to present their BIG IDEA to the Junior School, which took place during assembly on 3 July.
Their initial challenge was to encourage Grade 1 to 7 students to visit the library regularly. Why? There are approximately two thousand books to choose from, including many creative and enjoyable novels in different languages. It is a space to meet up with friends to build puzzles and play board games. Most importantly, it offers you the opportunity to escape, just for a little while, into your favourite story with the most memorable characters. To see the Committee’s video clip, click here.
The most excitement erupted with the introduction of “The Reading Challenge”. The rules were simple:
- Visit the library.
- Scan out a book you would like to read.
- Actually read the book (insert many giggles from the students).
- Return the book to the library.
- Collect a token that represents the colour of your school house: Barons, Knights or Thanes.
- Post in it the correct jar to be tallied at the end of the week.
Whilst the excitement was palpable during assembly, especially from our little Grade 1s, the Media Committee were in awe of the follow-up response to this announcement. During the course of the week, the library was filled with students from various grades throughout break times and a love for reading was being shared in conversation. Even our teachers were getting involved in the fun, showcasing their passion for literature.
116 books were read within 5 days!
After completing the tally for the first week of our challenge, Barons read 32 books and Knights managed 42, but it was Thanes who rose to the top of the leader board with 43 books!
This week, the challenge continues. The question on everybody’s mind? Which house will be on the road to reading victory at next week’s assembly?
We look forward to continue seeing a full library, many tokens getting posted, encouragement from friends and the growing excitement for simple, yet world-changing, books.
Grade 5 Co-Ordinator
We hope that you enjoyed the last conversation starter…as we know, one of the signs of a healthy family is open and meaningful conversation/communication. But often finding the time or the points to speak to, don’t always come easily. We thought we would share some prompts to facilitate this process, which are ideal to share around the table, on a trip – anytime, anywhere.
Mandela Day – 18 July 2023
We invite our Kingsmead Community – including all students, teachers, parents, guardians, and alumnae – to join us at this year’s Mandela Day initiative on 18 July and spend 67 minutes creating educational toys for low resourced ECD Centres. All items created will form part of the Clothes to Good 1 – 2 – 3 Educational Toy Kit.
Mandela Day will take place in the Joel Hall. There are slots available every 30 minutes from 08h00 – 14h30. Booking is essential and spaces are limited.
To book a slot: please click here
There is no charge for participation, all we ask is that you bring a tube of Bostick clear all purpose adhesive.
The below is a list of items that will enhance the toys – nothing to purchase, just items that you may have at home – if you have any of the items, please drop them off with Karen Landi or at the Joel Hall on Mandela Day.
Items for collection
- Hair ties
- Scraps of material
- Wrapping paper / colour paper
- Cereal boxes
- Christmas bling – tinsel
- Pipe cleaners
- Any items that can be used to add extra bling and fun