Dear Kingsmead Community,
Lockdown lessons we continue to learn.
It is approximately 7 months since our ‘normality’ was placed inside out. I often wonder about the lessons we have learnt through this time; the lessons we will take forward with us as we begin to recover and restore our daily lives one day at a time. Even the possible threat of a new surge in infections is an opportunity to examine our practices and be prepared within our communities. I remind myself every day that decisions need to be taken with deliberate thought before returning to the same busy schedules, events, celebrations and processes that were held before. Surely this is the time for us to press refresh or restart and ask about the relevance, meaning and impact of our daily calendar entries before merely placing them back in, as they were before. Our intention is always good; it’s the impact of our intentions which need some rethinking.
My reflections are summarised below. They may be completely different to yours or perhaps you are able to resonate with these too. I truly believe that this is a good time for us to raise this conversation at our dinner tables before we move quickly into the rush of the term ahead. How we move forward is our choice.
- Our health should be our first priority.
- Time with family and friends is critical to our social and psychological well-being.
- There is little room for judgement. Each person experiences crisis differently. Forgiveness, compassion and listening with empathy are powerful ways to connect and build relationships.
- Micro-conversations; discussions in passageways; over coffee and in the playground are imperative in decision-making and leadership. Ongoing planned agendas and online calls are challenging and can lead to miscommunication and frustration.
- Mistakes are inevitable. This is new to us all. It is how we respond to the mistakes and perceived failure that counts.
- Gratitude is good for everyone. Finding time to thank those who serve and who make a positive difference is important. Finding time to give is also just as important.
- Slow down. The more we add to our schedules, the more we forget the importance of reflection, conversation and the need to be still. We need less ‘stuff’ in our lives.
- Building community is central to sustainability. I firmly believe that we have found moments of success in rising to the 2020 challenges because of the community which surrounds us and lifts us each and every day. Although we were apart for so long, it never felt that we were alone.
I am currently listening to the joyful, curious voices of our children outside my office window. Let us remember to be in the moment, make peace with the present and hold each precious minute together as tightly as possible. The greatest lesson we have learnt is that we are resilient, courageous and can move forward when we have community support. Thank you for your trust, your compassion and your courage, always.
Head: Junior School
Kingsmead Junior School Book Week, 14- 18 September
“The world belongs to us because we read”
On Friday 11 September, I launched an inspiring Book Week Assembly message. Having been recently inspired by a TED Talk (Jan, 2016) delivered by children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin, I reminded students about the importance of ‘seeing’ their books as both windows to the world and more importantly also as mirrors reflecting their own lives and the multicultural lives that matter enough to be read about.
During this Ted Talk, Grace shares a vivid account of her childhood and highlights the importance of multicultural literature on personal identity, motivation and the potential implications on students’ academic achievement and success in school. She almost implores parents to carefully review the bookshelves in their own homes, especially the bookshelves belonging to their children.
If you would like to view the full Ted Talk click on the following link:
In addition, a new educational series titled ‘Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices’ premiered on Netflix on 1 September. The series is hosted by author Marley Dias and it features black celebrities and artists reading children’s books centred around themes of identity, empathy, equality, justice, self-love and anti-racism. These stories are the stimuli for meaningful conversations with your children. Among the celebrities involved is author Lupita Nyong’o reading her own story Sulwe. You may in fact recognise this popular story being sold in local bookstores around South Africa.
Our Book Week promises to be packed full of literacy fun and hopes to raise our students’ motivation to read and to be read to. Here are some details about this upcoming week:
Online Hooked on Books Shows (Pre-school, JP and SP)
No Book Week is complete without a Hooked on Books Show.
Due to our current lockdown restrictions, the Hooked on Books cast had to carefully consider recording their live shows for distribution to schools or sadly face the grim reality of closing down. Fortunately, with the financial backing of Exclusive Books, our Hooked on Books shows will still remain a highlight in our annual Book Week calendar. A special thank you to Kingsmead for purchasing these online shows for our students, at no extra cost to our parents. The shows will be broadcast in your daughter’s classrooms during this week.
For any parents wishing to purchase any of the Hooked on Books titles , please visit http://www.hookedonbooks.org.za/ and hit the ‘BUY BOOKS’ button. This will direct you through to the Exclusive Books website and all the titles are available there at a 10% discount.
Literacy Conversations Around Dinner
Let’s create stories – Traditionally the JP students and their parents/guardians would gather together for a reading breakfast picnic in the Junior School gardens. Unfortunately, because we can’t gather together right now, I encourage all of our families to carry out this fun activity around the dinner table during one evening this week.
The activity involves using the 7 story-telling prompts at your dinner table. Simply print off the PDF document below and cut along the lines to create your very own story-telling coasters. Place the coasters under the glasses at your dinner table. The instructions are listed on the download too and they are very easy to follow. We would love to hear about the stories you create as a family or perhaps see a photo or two of your families engaging in this activity around the dinner table. Please forward any photographs or messages to firstname.lastname@example.org
Varied literacy activities and features around campus
There has been a range of fun activities planned during your daughter’s school day spanning over this week. These activities range from creating ‘booky-bunting’; seeing how one fairs in a Book Lovers’Quiz; taking story walks along the garden paths; being inspired by the Public Reading Bingo Board and the launch of this year’s Book Week Photo Challenge.
Additional literacy activities linked to popular books and authors have also been shared in the LEAD classes on Showbie for those students from Grade 4-7. We do hope your daughter is remembering to bring her book to school each day for our spontaneous D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) sessions. She definitely needs to be caught reading as small prizes are up for grabs!
I look forward to sharing all the photos in next week’s newsletter of all these special activities on campus.
Character Dress-up Day on Friday, 18 September
Please allow your daughter to dress up as her FAVOURITE BOOK CHARACTER on Friday! We encourage families to be resourceful and to use the items in their homes to create these fun outfits. Please avoid the unnecessary hiring of costumes.
Your daughter is required to still wear her mask on this day and adhere strictly to all Covid-19 protocols in place on campus. Please remember that no student is permitted to change on the school premises. Please ensure that the character costume that your daughter wears on Friday is comfortable enough for her to wear for the full duration of the day. Your daughter will not be permitted to remove or store her large costume accessories.
BOOK DRIVE COLLECTION commences on Friday 18 September:
Since we are also celebrating the importance of recycling this week, what better time than now to clear out your old and gently read books.
Please allow your daughter to bring along at least ONE gently read book to donate to our Book Drive Collection. Book drop-off zones will be communicated via the App. The Book Drive Collection will continue in the lead up to Goodwill Week in October.
ARTS & MUSIC
The ARTS & MUSIC Department is ALIVE & KICKING
It is wonderful to have more of our students in the Music Department! Please take note of the following regarding Individual Music lessons:
- Applications are open for all instruments and voice lessons. Please go to the Arts & Music folder on the App and click on Music Applications to apply for music lessons.
- Piano, strings and drum kit lessons may take place at school. However, it is up to each music teacher to decide when they return to teach on campus.
- Before and after school, students must wait in the foyer on the blue chairs before their lesson.
- Students must make sure to go through the screening process in the foyer before their lesson and be signed in by their teacher.
- Parent must please collect students immediately after their lesson.
- No lessons are permitted before 06h45 or after 18h00.
- Music theory classes will remain online for the rest of the year – please communicate with your daughter’s theory teacher to arrange a short individual lesson at a reduced price.
- Orchestra, Ensembles and Choirs are not allowed on campus yet.
- We are SO excited to have Marimba sessions nearly every afternoon. Please see the extra-curricular schedule on the App for the grade-specific sessions and sign-up using the link on the alert.
Grade 6 & 7 Marimbas this week.
We are thrilled to announce that the JOZI Youth Dance Company has joined the Arts & Music department at Kingsmead. From next year they will run our dance studio every afternoon and offer (RAD) Ballet, Modern and Traditional African Dance. We look forward to having this exceptional team of diverse dancers at Kingsmead!
The term ahead:
The Arts & Music dates planner is available on the App in the Arts & Music folder. Please note that the dates are subject to change and details of all the events will be shared closer to the time. The term calendar includes our own Music Eisteddfod, internal practical and theory examinations and music concerts. Due to popular demand, we will have a few more ‘Concerts in the Lounge’ over the next month.
Should you have any questions or queries about Arts & Music at Kingsmead please do not hesitate to contact us.
Arrival and Departure Gates: Senior Primary
Please note that the Grade 4 and 5 students should be dropped and collected at the Tottenham Avenue entrance, while Grade 6 and 7 students should be dropped and collected at the Cecil Avenue entrance. In the case of siblings, parents may select one gate. We are trying to ensure a distribution of traffic to manage possible congestion at the screening areas in the morning. Your assistance is appreciated in this regard.
Please note that Friday 25 September, following the public holiday, Thursday 24 September, Heritage Day, is a school holiday.
Please be aware that as our teachers have returned onsite, we urge you, where possible, to contact staff on the office number for the school: 011 731 7400. As our teachers are back in the classroom, we also ask that you understand that while all emails will be attended to as soon as possible, we request a 72 hour turn-around time in this regard. If urgent, please phone the office line at the school.
Please can the Grade 000,00,0 and 1 parents who are collecting their children from Aftercare phone the relevant teachers when they arrive.
Your child will be brought out to you. Please do not come into Mornington but wait at the gate. We are trying to contain any contamination and keep our girls safe.
Contact details: Mornington: 011 731 7350 Sherpa Kids: Charme: 0825645651 or Angie Hartzer: 082 442 7177.
This year our Goodwill celebrations are extended to an entire week! There are many ways in which you can get involved in giving back to your community and more details will be published and communicated within the upcoming weeks.
The first opportunity is to participate in the Courage Virtual Arts Exhibition by painting and donating a canvas in support of Courage Child Portection.
Please visit the following link http://www.showofcourage.com/ for details on how to enter, where the virtual exhibition will be, some inspiration from previous years and how to purchase the artwork.
Anyone is invited to participate or to support this initiative by purchasing an artwork. For every artwork sold, one Courage Child Protection kit will be donated.
MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS
SELF Extension activity: Outdoor Education. The students were tasked with writing a poem about protecting the Cape Ash tree, which is the national tree of the year.
By Eloise Gilchrist
By Priyanka Geness
By Banothile Makhunga
By Zia Dasoo