Our Connection: Issue 13 2020

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Dear Kingsmead Community,

Thank you to you all for your continued patience, support and generous care as we have navigated an uncertain and rapidly changing few weeks. The unpredictability which inherently exists during a time like this creates great anxiety and discomfort within a structured school environment. We can only do this successfully for our girls, with the support of our parents. I thank you for your beautifully presented video of gratitude for our teachers. It was well received at a time where teachers share your desperate need to seek normality.

I am convinced that Kingsmead’s story will live well into the future as it lived in the past. Kingsmead will continue to evolve and change and serve the community as it has always intended to be. Our teachers have committed to rising to these challenges, they seek the relevant big answers to the big questions and continue moving forward.

Just imagine Miss D.V. Thomson’s foresight when she spoke these words in 1934 and how meaningful they are today:

“ A new school – what is it? It is this that we see before and around us – the bricks and mortar, so well and truly built. It is the girls who will learn; the staff who will teach. Yes, this is the body, the framework; these are the dry bones. But something more is required, something to make these dry bones live. A spirit behind them, a purpose towards which to strive, some breath, a soul and spirit so that Kingsmead may not be just a building, not just an attractive garden, not just a collection of staff and girls going through a daily routine, but that it may have soul, a personality of its own, that it may become a life-giving force, an active power in the land”

We find ourselves in a position where we are unable to enjoy the buildings, the gardens, the luxury of a daily routine, but we are certainly in a position to breathe life into building the Kingsmead Community, which in my opinion has a soul, a life-giving force, an active power in the land. I have faith that we are at the forefront of an educational revolution and we find our place of comfort once again.

God bless you all
Kim Lowman
Head: Junior School

Helping your daughter wear a mask with Play / Sensory Strategies

The article below has been written by our 2 Occupational Therapists (OT’s) at Kingsmead – Tarryn Kulber and Gillian Greyling

As it becomes the new normal to wear masks, some parents may be asking how they will get their children to do this. Some of you may have started this process and are having success. Many of you may have been surprised by how resistant your daughter was to the idea. Those parents who have children with sensory processing or modulation difficulties are dreading the attempt and the process. We therefore need to problem solve as we often do as parents.

As OTs we work with children and families to help bring success in and through occupation and to ensure optimal function in activities of daily living i.e. school, play and sleep. The number one occupation of children is play. This makes play the number one way to assist our children in feeling comfortable wearing masks.

At the moment, all our levels of anxiety and stress have been heightened. Research shows that anxiety causes us to enter a state of hyperarousal where we experience sensation in a bigger way and in some cases can cause a fight and flight response. A sensation that does not typically bother us, now does. This anxiety-sensation relationship makes the touch and pressure of a mask an uncomfortable experience even if your child has not been overly sensitive to touch previously. As OT’s using sensory-based activities, we know that the safe places of play can minimize feelings of anxiety and decrease sensory over responsiveness or sensory overload.

Other strategies that may help include:

Slow and graded introduction to uncomfortable sensation
• The use of proprioceptive input (heavy work and deep pressure)
• Low and slow affect (tone of voice, gestures and actions)
• Be predictable and use lots of repetition – no surprises
Inviting the experience as opposed to asking for participation
Modelling comfort and safety yourself
• Remain calm, comfortable and playful yourself

Try and have fun while we help build comfort and confidence in wearing masks in a safe and playful way!

Tarryn McLaren
Head of Student Affairs

SERVICE

Support our Community Engagement Partners

The Grade 7s have partnered with The Society for Animals in Distress as a Community Engagement partner for 2020.

The Society for Animals in Distress (SAID) is an established non-profit organisation within the animal welfare sector of South Africa. SAID services indigent communities with professional veterinary care and animal care education. Their mission is to empower people and care for animals. SAID is the single largest welfare veterinary care provider in South Africa.

You can support SAID by purchasing these Covid-19 Hygiene products:

SAID also offers a catalogue of goods that include pet products, and their own signature brand coffee, scatter cushions, towels, umbrellas, candles, diffusers, soft toys, ceramics and jewelry. Have a look at the catalogue here

Jenny Venter
Director of Service 

ARTS & MUSIC

Concert in the Lounge

  • As soon as your daughter has a piece ready for performance, record a video in landscape (not portrait) with a good view of your daughter and her instrument and send it via WeTransfer to efourie@kingsmead.co.za
  • Videos received by Tuesdays 18h00 will be included in the week’s concert.
  • The concerts will premiere on YouTube every Thursday at 18h00.
  • Include the programme details (name of the piece, composer, performer’s name, surname and school grade) as well as whether the performance can be part of a public concert in the message when you send the video.

WELL DONE to teacher Nicolie Smuts’ students who put a fantastic concert together last week. We even had a few brothers participating. It was wonderful to hear everyone playing and see how much they have learned.
Some of the participants in last week’s Concert in the Lounge.

 

One of our music teachers, Este Meerkotter, shared her experience of Online Music Teaching since lockdown:
We thought it was “goodbye”… But instead, it was “hello”!
“Bye!” I smile a final smile as I tap “End Meeting”. It’s the end of a long teaching day and my eyes are aching. I close them for a while and think about all the little faces that appear each week in the spare bedroom aka my home music studio.

Just like magic, there they are, and suddenly I’m singing, “Helloooo!” I can’t help but be more delighted than ever to see each student, even on a screen. I brim with pride as she practically masters a piece that seemed impossible to play in January. The time lag of an online lesson, means I can’t be there to help her right away, as I would in person, which means she must do it all by herself. And she does! I hear those glorious words “I practiced…” now more than ever. And the best part? Instead of having to leave immediately to go to my next meeting after our 30 minutes together, I can stay to hear about her weekend, meet her dog, see her art. It’s the same with class music – even the preschoolers love hanging around after music to show me one more unicorn soft toy, or hear just one more friend sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Olivia Turck, one of my flute students, agrees that connecting on Zoom has been uniquely valuable: “If I hadn’t continued with lessons, I would have missed out on catching up, ’cause it feels like we catch up more digitally. Also, I’ve learned way more on lockdown!”

After every choir rehearsal is concluded with mad waving and muted laughter to a Beatles song, I’m sure we all walk away with the same earworm: I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello! Music unites our souls by enabling us to experience a moment, a movement in time together – I never truly appreciated that until our now-moment was broken in two by the time lag of online learning. It isn’t quite the same, but it’s something, and as teachers we’ve been proud to see our girls grow in their musical independence. In a time of so many sad goodbyes, it blesses me each day that so many Kingsmead students and parents instead keep saying, “Hello!”

All the best from the Music Department.

Elsabé Fourie                                                   Mia Loock
Director of Arts & Music                                Head of Junior School Music
efourie@kingsmead.co.za                                    mloock@kingsmead.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS

Gift of Givers – Give their Time to our Grade 7’s

The founder of Gift of the Givers – Dr. I Sooliman took time out of his busy schedule to speak to our Grade 7s during a recent Earth Science Zoom lesson. The context of our lesson was based on our learning intention for Term 2 in Earth Sciences – to create and instill a love for learning/curiosity about Natural Disasters and how we relate to them in different ways – all while having fun learning from home!

The Gift of the Givers foundation provide purely humanitarian and unconditional support to all members both nationally and internationally. The organisation is fully transparent, designed to assist in emergency situations, irrespective of race, religion, colour, class, political affiliation or geographic boundary – in line with the true spirit of Ubuntu. Gift of the Givers are entirely neutral in their approach to those in need, are non-judgemental and have an open-minded approach to every situation.

Dr. Sooliman spoke to the students about his journey and his initiation of the foundation. Which was truly fascinating and left many of us with goose bumps. As Victoria Staples quoted the words of Dr. Sooliman in her reflection: ‘whatever you do, is done through you, not by you – and you have to have compassion’

He reminded our Grade 7s that as a leader of an organisation of this scale, you have to learn to think on your feet and adapt to a situation. This allows our students to connect to the importance of developing the Habit of Mind – Thinking Flexibly.

The work that the Gift of the Givers Foundation do, allowed our students to reflect on one of our Kingsmead values, that we so enthusiastically embrace – Service.

 

A students reflection: This lesson was
very inspirational and it showed me the impact that one person can make! And
how if we all work together we can
achieve greatness.

 

Endangered wildlife and human impact on the environment talk by Richard Mckibbin

On Wednesday 27 May, the Grade 5s had the privilege of having Richard Mckibbin, who runs The LionHeart Experience, join them during their Earth Sciences lesson via Zoom.

Richard spoke to the students on how human activities affect the environment and how these activities may lead to habitat destruction which may cause certain animals and plants to become endangered.

He also shared what role we can play in the conservation of our wildlife. The students learnt a lot and shared with their classmates on Class Discussion on Showbie what they had learnt:

Cheidza Matimba – We need to plant more indigenous plants.

Thandeka Nzimakwe – We must remove exotic plants and plant more indigenous plants. Some exotic birds also have an impact on the environment.

Nina Schoeman – Nature as powerful and strong as it is can be affected by us.

Mihlali Sompeta – The littlest things humans think they are doing are making a huge impact on the environment.

Rafaela Bolttler – We need to sometimes make hard decisions to cut down foreign plants.

Sophia Jansen van Rensburg – There is a lot more habitat loss than I thought.

Jordan Knowles – Alien plants species are endangering our plants that originated from here.

Boipelo Semenya – By killing insects, we are killing the animals’ food which may cause them to die.

Neo Mkwanazi – So many animals are endangered and that when we try to kill the mice and rats in our houses, we kill other animals’ food which kills them.

Brhita Ganda – We can plant plants in our gardens for animals to eat.

 

Grade 5 San Rock Art pieces

 

 

We have also related our maths thinking strategies to our theme  on BFG.

 

Grade 1  Sophie van Blerk explaining how to make a hot dog – which was part of our learning tasks on how to write instructions to make a sandwich.

 

Shane and Liani Van Lith (Diving practice to strengthen core)

 

 

 

 

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