Dear Kingsmead Community,
Preparing our daughters for return
As we grapple with the Minister of Education’s announcement regarding schools reopening, we need to begin thinking about our return. The logistics and operational preparations at school began a while ago and continue until we do finally open. The more important and significant preparation needs to begin at home as you prepare your daughters for school return.
I have no doubt that the students are eager and keen to get back to school, their classes and to see their friends and teachers. For us to adequately prepare our community, perhaps it is important to start the conversations now so that we can filter and manage expectations for our daughters.
School will be a safe place, a place where our students can engage in conversations in person and can begin to understand a different way of learning. It is important to reiterate through conversations with them and within earshot – that they are not in danger. Create context for your daughters as to the logical reasoning behind some of the procedures and changes that might take place at school.
These are some of the practical conversation prompts to begin at home in preparation for our return.
- Social distancing will mean that new games will be discovered at break. It will mean that independent work will be encouraged at a single workspace; collaboration will take place online and not in the classroom. Assemblies, celebrations and gatherings won’t take place for a while and so we will begin to discover new ways to build our sisterhood, our community. Holding hands, four square, hugs and friendship circles at lunch time or any time, will not happen. I have no doubt that the girls will approach play in an innovative new way – this is their area of ‘expertise’.
- Hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette should be practiced regularly to ensure that once we return to school, this is habitual.
- Encourage mask wearing for longer periods of time. Your daughters need to know that they should only touch the strings of the mask and avoid any further touching while wearing it. It is normal for some girls to experience sensory discomfort or increased anxiety when wearing a mask. This will be important to communicate with the teachers before we return so that we can assist in this mediation and support.
- Prepare your girls for the fact that you, the adults, will not be able to come into the school buildings or classes. Elevate their expectations for happy meet and greets by teachers and senior students who will welcome them at the gates and playground as they arrive at staggered times in the morning.
- Prepare your daughters for a screening process which will include temperature checking at the entrances. This process may take a little while but it is to ensure that they are healthy. This should be done at home beforehand too, to avoid any unnecessary fear when arriving to school.
- Discuss what to pack in a school bag. Remind them that no sharing of stationery, resources or lunches can take place. This is a great opportunity to pack special comfort items so that the girls have something wonderful to look forward to during their day. It is also a way to empower choice for your daughters, allowing ownership of this process.
- School uniform will not be compulsory for every day due to the daily washing and sanitizing protocols. Your daughters might enjoy planning a few warm, comfortable outfits that they can wear to school.
- Some of their teachers might change – this is also an important conversation to have. Some lessons will be at school, some online – this is called blended learning.
When children feel safe, secure and prepared, they develop a sense of control and certainty- this makes the learning process more effective. While the school day might be shorter, start and finish at different times and run a little differently, we can continue to focus on the renewed friendships, the opportunity to learn differently and the great relief in beginning to find restored purpose.
We look forward to welcoming our students back to our beautiful school. A detailed document outlining our reintegration dates and plans will be available for parents soon.
Head: Junior School
Finding meaning – “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how” (Nietzsche)
Many of us may be experiencing a degree of burnout – we may be somewhat Zoomed-out and coronavirused-out. We may also be reading-articles-about-happiness-and-finding-meaning-out! So I promise to keep my message short.
Professor Ayla Pines states that “[i]n order to burn out, a person needs to have been on fire at one time”. I think this is an apt description of how many people are starting to feel, having to manage a myriad of challenges without access to some of the coping mechanisms we typically rely on. From the point of view of logotherapy (‘logo’ stemming from the Greek word ‘meaning’), burnout is an affliction generated by loss of existential meaning.
Logotherapy was first developed in the 1940-1950s by Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997), an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, and survivor of a WW2 concentration camp. Frankl explained that it was his persistence in holding onto his self-identified purpose that helped him to survive the horrors of the holocaust. The concept of logotherapy is based on the idea that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find meaning in life; the basic principles of logotherapy being:
- Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones;
- Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life; and
- We have freedom to find meaning in what we do and experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.
Being in the middle of level 4 of lockdown, while trying to visualise the constantly shifting ‘new normal’, it really is up to us as individuals to find meaning and choose how we wish to be. Frankl, in Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote “[E]verything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.
Graber, A.V. (2004). Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy: Method of Choice in Ecumenical Pastoral Psychology (2nd ed.). Wyndham Hall Press.
Riethof,N & Bob, P. (2019). Burnout Syndrome and Logotherapy: Logotherapy as Useful Conceptual Framework for Explanation and Prevention of Burnout. (Accessed online).
Staff Long Service Awards
We would like to congratulate the following Junior School staff for their unwavering commitment to the education of our students and for their collaboration with our team members over a number of years. We are a strong and united community. I am grateful for the teachers and staff members who find possibility and purpose in the past and during the present for the future of our daughters.
Shavaun Hanekom – 5 years
Irma O’Neil – 10 years
Keletso Musola – 10 years
Dianne Reeves – 15 years
Irene Ilsley – 5 years currently (a total of 18 years’ service to Kingsmead!)
The Green Team is encouraging you to Love where you Live. Pick up litter in your neighbourhood when you go for your morning run or walk. Let’s keep our city clean! Remember to adhere to the exercise restrictions of the current lockdown level, wear your mask and use gloves when picking up litter. Share your photos with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dignity Dreams Covid-19 masks
Kingsmead College would like to thank Dignity Dreams for their generous donation of 200 Covid-19 face masks. These masks will be gifted to Isipho Primary School in Soweto.
Dignity Dreams provides reusable and washable sanitary wear and gives unemployed women the opportunity to run their own business by training them to sew its products. During the pandemic, Dignity Dreams also provide face masks.
You can support Dignity Dreams by purchasing a Covid-19 face mask at R35 per mask, or R100 for three masks. Masks are available in turquoise, black or multi-coloured in sizes medium and large (children’s sizes available soon). Email email@example.com to place an order.
Director of Service
ARTS & MUSIC
Online rehearsals are going so well and we just LOVE seeing our musicians smiling on the other side of the screen. If your daughter has not yet joined one of the music groups and would like to have fun with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details so I can add you. Only students 13 years or older may be added to the WhatsApp groups; for younger students, a parent will be added to the group.
The rehearsal schedule is on the app and has been posted to each WhatsApp group as well.
Look at our Senior School Jazz Band having a ‘virtual rehearsal’ on the Kingsmead Arts & Music YouTube channel:
More of these videos will be posted regularly… watch this space!
All the best from the Music Department.
MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS
Grade 0S Afrikaans Distance Learning Moments
Diving Lessons in the Garden
‘A Glimpse at Grade 4 and 5 Learning: How to Learn Well from Wellness Week.
Let’s celebrate your story as a student (your experience of online learning at home during lockdown).
Create a vision board of realistic short and/or long term goals that will help inspire and motivate you in getting better at knowing yourself as an online learner.
Nina Smither – Grade 5
Scarlett Grundlingh – Grade 4
The students were given the opportunity to answer questions related to their learning experience at Kingsmead and what they value/admire about their teacher.
Create a poem or short song on what you miss about your teacher or Kingsmead school.
Neo Mkwanazi- Grade 5
Kristen Benjamin- Grade 4
Grade 3T Distance Learning Moments Term 2
Lucy shared her thoughts about kindness, care and thoughtfulness in her Good Manners
Journal for our Life Skills lesson this week.
Grade 5 Coat of Arms
Covid 19 – Welcome to Lockdown
A Limmerick by Erin Grubb
I really miss hanging out with my friends
It gets so lonely on winter weekends
I’m going mad
The boredom is bad
I do hope that this Lockdown will end!
When Corona Came
By Zahra Laher
I go to the supermarket
Everyone keeps two metres apart
Seeing the shelves empty
Just breaks my heart
I see my family behind a screen
My closest friends I haven’t seen
Prisoner of a plague as I pray and stay
Locked at home on my birthday
The fear and frustration of remaining at home
Like butterflies trapped in a glass dome
Listening to my teachers on Zoom
As I sit alone in my bedroom
Confused as I try to figure out what’s going on
Hoping that none of my loved ones will be gone
Even if I feel lost and like nothing is real
I’d rather stay at home, than make others ill.
A Haiku by Kim Sutherland
Even with distance
We will get through this as one
Stay calm ‘til it’s done
A Glance Back at Wellness Week – Grade 6 & 7
Mrs Tania O’Maker
We commenced this new term with a Wellness Week for the Senior Primary students. Our Grade 6 and Grade 7 students worked through a series of carefully scaffolded activities that explored pertinent skills for life-long learning.
During the Leadership in Lockdown unit, our students’ understanding of leadership was challenged. So often they believe that leadership is something that is only associated with acts of bravery; or changing the world entirely or when one overcomes a difficult feat. Some also believe it is only reserved for the elite few. However, Drew Dudley’s TED Talk titled ‘Leading with Lollipops’ presented a contrasted definition of true leadership – one where each and every one of us is capable of committing acts of everyday leadership!
Our Grade 6 and 7 students are currently completing their 20-Day Lollipop Moment Challenge. This challenge requires them to carry out small acts of everyday leadership, over a 20-day period, with the intention to create an ever-lasting positive impact on the lives of others.
Here are a few photographs of our students armed with their ‘Lollipop Moment Jars’ at the start of their Challenge.
Grade 6 Amy Wilson
Grade 6 Anna Hawes
Grade 6 Hanaan Kana
Grade 6 Jemma Goussard
Grade 6 Karabo Matsoso
Grade 7 Amaani Essack
Grade 7 Anje Prinsloo
Grade 7 Georgia Wall
Grade 7 Lathitha Ngqula
Grade 7 Mahdiyyah Wadee
During the ‘Learning How to Learn Well’ unit, our Grade 6 & 7 students actively explored 3 keys areas, namely:
1. Stress and the effect on our brains with accompanying self-calming strategies
2. Time management, effective organisational skills and overcoming procrastination – now that I work remotely from home what can I do to thrive?
3. Three important study practices to improve your study methods
a. Practising ways to retrieve information from your brain
b. Learning to explain and describe information in as much detail as possible, especially during note-taking
c. Combining words and visuals as a means of strengthening memory
It is often stated that if you truly understand something, you can teach it. By the end of Wellness Week, students had to choose any 2 key areas from the week that they found most beneficial and had to record themselves teaching these skills.
Below is a video recording by Amy Teeling-Smith in Grade 6 of her valued take-aways from the week:
Are you a procrastinator? Then listen to our Grade 7 student Morgan Kholer as she shares her essential tips to avoid procrastination. These helpful tips will definitely get you out of that procrastination-rut!