Dear Kingsmead Community,
Our first semester comes to an end this Friday. I still cannot believe the vast changes, challenges and learning discoveries we have made together in a few short months. I am sure that our students, parents and teachers are looking forward to a bit of down time next week. It is essential that this time is used to regenerate the necessary energy required for the remainder of the third term.
My sincere gratitude goes to our parents for your words of encouragement, the gentle way in which you have assisted your daughters in becoming more independent in their learning at home and for your generous support of our school. It is at times like this that I know we will rise stronger when we complete our 2020 academic year. Small gestures of kindness, compassion and sincere suggestions have made a massive difference for both your daughters and our teachers.
During this semester we solidified our safety and security protocols with regard to outings and excursions due to the camp tragedies experienced by neighbouring schools; we have engaged meaningfully in both conversation and action in issues of transformation and diversity. Our community has mobilised deliberate action with regard to gender-based violence and racism; we have leap-frogged our educational offering into a whole new dimension of learning discovery both online and onsite; we have managed extraordinary protocols and procedures to enable the safety of students and staff during a worldwide pandemic.
We have done well. We still have so much work to do. I am confident that we will look back at this time in our history and know that it was a time of revolutionary change in our country and we will be proud and grateful for the part we played.
I invite our community to join together on Friday as we pay tribute to our community at this momentous time in history.
Head: Junior School
It is not unexpected that in a time when online expectations have increased, socialization has become technology-based and curiosity piqued, that our students have turned to the space of social media. We have provided sound opportunities for our students to receive the best and most relevant education on cyber etiquette and digital citizenship as well as the social and emotional upskilling that is imperative at this age. We request your continued support as parents to assist us in ensuring the social safety of your daughters.
It is important to note that most social media platforms (including WhatsApp and Instagram) have an age restriction of 13. If you give your permission for your daughters to use the platform, I implore you to find ways to support and manage her use of the platform. Please may I request that you assist us in the following as a matter of urgency:
- Please can you check who and what your daughter is following on Instagram
- Please ensure that you have some insight into what your daughter is doing online. Either you or a family member should be involved in the support and monitoring of her online posting. While this may seem interfering for a young adolescent, it is important to note that decisions at this age, when posted on social media, have lasting consequences. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is not fully developed (and will not be until the ages of 21-23) and therefore your daughter needs your support in executive decision making.
- Please check her iPad and other devices for the VPN app and remove this.
- Please set up times for her to be on social media and limit this to reasonable hours of the day/week, especially given the new requirements for online learning, which has the implication of additional screen time.
Thank you for your support in this regard and your partnership in ensuring the wellbeing of your daughter and her peers.
Birthday Celebrations and Treats
In line with our infection control procedures, as well as to ensure the inclusion of students who are not able to join us onsite for lessons at this stage, for various reasons, we request that you do not send any birthday treats to school. We are continuing to investigate new and innovative ways to celebrate your daughter’s special day differently. Thank you for your support!
Dr Marisa Di Terlizzi
Deputy Head: Head of Senior Primary
Carrying on from last week, we continue with our three part series on the value of eye sight as well as the cause and effect of technology on our eyes.
Is Your Child Feeling Blue?
In Part 2 of this series Ariella Meyerowitz, an optometrist with a special interest in caring for children, draws attention to the VISUAL side effects on our children resulting from the massive increase in screen time in the time of Coronavirus
Eye Strain – The New Visual Status Quo
The constant need to over focus on a screen is causing eye strain and sore eyes in our children.
In a normal classroom situation, where a child needs to change constantly between focusing near and then at the board, the eyes perform naturally, in the manner in which they are supposed to.
When you focus on a near object, such as a screen, for an extended period of time, the lens inside the eye tends to over focus. When you eventually look at a distance the eye is inclined to remain focused at near, as the lens is now in spasm. This will make objects at a distance temporarily appear blurred.
If the screen is stared at continually, the lens spasm increases and this may cause eye strain and headaches.
Seeing to the Problem
What can be done to ease eye strain and headaches caused by constantly zooming in and over focusing at the screen for long periods at a time?
A simple remedy is to ensure good eye hygiene in the form of the 20-20-20 rule:
- after looking at the screen for 20 minutes
- look up and to a distance of 20 feet (= 6 metres) and
- Count slowly to 20.
This should stop the lens in the eye from going into spasm, and can prevent a lot of eye discomfort. Simply looking away from the screen should release the lens which will reduce discomfort.
Glasses for the computer can also be prescribed, which is a very easy and quick fix. This will prevent the lens inside the eye from having to focus as hard while the task is being performed, thereby decreasing the strain on the eyes.
Masking Reality -The Dry Side of Masks
A frustrating problem being experienced during this period of wearing masks is that many children are complaining about dry eyes. They might say that their eyes feel gritty and as if there is sand in them.
This can be caused by a few issues, two of which are:
- All the extra screen time, where studies show that there is less blinking, causing dry eyes.
- Wearing masks, where the steam released by breathing comes up from beneath the mask and results in dry eyes.
- You can alleviate these symptoms by training your child to make sure to blink more often.
- Natural tears can be bought from any pharmacy, purely to keep the eyes lubricated when they are uncomfortable.
Next week Ariella will address: Day and Night & Short of Sight
Go to www.sunnyroad.co.za for a wider view on this topic
COPYRIGHT 2020 Ariella Meyerowitz – Sunny Road Optometrist
Head of Student Affairs
Just a gentle reminder if you would like to support the #WarmUpAlex campaign the boxes are outside the Music Reception.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Junior School Head of Service
ARTS & MUSIC
The Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music will be hosting a virtual Global High Scorer’s Concert in August this year. We are thrilled that two of our students have been selected to participate in this prestigious event! Andie Stewart, a past pupil, and Rachael Fifield, currently in Grade 7, will, be included in the virtual concert series aimed to unite all ABRSM candidates and the rest of the world through the power of music. Prospective candidates have been selected based on the ABRSM Practical Examination results awarded in 2019. Congratulations Andie and Rachael, we are proud of you! Thank you to Ruth Reinecke, who teaches both of them, for her guidance and encouragement of these two young musicians.
The CONCERTS IN THE LOUNGE have been very popular and it has been so wonderful to see the confident performances of our young musicians, from Grade 1 to 12!
Well done to all our courageous performers and thank you to all our parent videographers for their support and encouragement.
Huge thanks to our music teachers for their commitment to remain present in their students’ lives and continue teaching online.
If you have missed any of our concerts, see the links below. The concerts are posted on YouTube as unlisted videos, so not open to the public:
This week’s concert will be available on Thursday evening 25 June.
All the best from the Music Department.
MAGICAL LEARNING MOMENTS
Breaking the Silence: Building Empathy through Literacy
It is through reading together, regardless of the topic, that key opportunities to have meaningful conversations with your children will arise. Through this connection, you will discover the extent to which your child understands a topic and this will spark a natural way to begin exploring these ideas, sometimes varying in degrees of complexity, together.
A timely and most useful free download titled ‘Raising little Allies-to-be’ (Lucy Song, 2020, KisforKindness.org) is an incomplete guide for parents and caregivers to begin conversations about race, privilege, bias, activism, social justice, diversity and inclusivity. Included in this download is educational printables on themes titled C is for Colour, S is for Skin and A is for Ally, as well as recommended book lists, video resources, colouring-in pages, letter tracing , affirmations and more.
Kick start your family’s conversations by downloading: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:db1fd0ce-b359-430d-9b11-33ebf74e1dd6#pageNum=1
*Please note, recommended book titles are, unfortunately, not hyperlinked as disclosed in the document.
In a recent Motherly.com blog post, Jennifer La Bracio shares her list of 21 children’s books to spark honest and open discussions about race, tolerance and acceptance from a very young age too. (https://www.mother.ly/child/best-childrens-books-about-race-and-tolerance/skin-again-by-bell-hooks-illustrated-by-chris-raschka [retrieved 19 June 2020])
There is no time like the present than for us to help our children grow a deeper understanding of these issues as they grow up.
In our Junior School library, I share the works of author and illustrator Peter Reynolds as often as I can. Some of you might even recall our very first Inyoni Day, a few years back, inspired by his book titled ‘The Dot’, or responding with wonderment and awe to the reading of ‘Sky Colour’. Apart from his fun, sketchy illustrations, these read-aloud stories can spark important conversations even amongst our Senior Primary students. Watch and listen to one of my recent firm favourites – I Am Human: A Book of Empathy written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. https://safeYouTube.net/w/j2jM
Lastly, Amy Codrington, a young South African blogger, shares her working booklist for young adults and adults who want to learn about anti-racism and to challenge ourselves to embody anti-racism.
http://amycodrington.com/2020/06/19/an-anti-racist-reading-list-from-a-recovering-racist/ (retrieved 19 June 2020)
Mrs Tania O’Maker
Junior School Media
Insight to be a Wildlife veterinarian by Dr. Rowan Leeming and Dr. Joel
On Tuesday 9 June, the Grade 5s had the privilege of watching a pre-recorded video with wildlife veterinarian Joel Alves. He spoke about his experiences he has had in the wild as well as some interesting facts about how they treat animals in the bush. Joel Alves is situated in the Lowveld and does a lot of his work in the Kruger National Park. On 18 June, the Grade 5s had the privilege of having Rowan Leeming join them in their LEAD Zoom lesson to talk to them about how to capture a rhino and how to relocate them to keep them safe. He explained the process of how they catch them, treat them, secure them and then transport them to their new homes.
Both veterinarians spoke to the students about how they can impact the change for anti-poaching and what they can do to contribute to help the wildlife we have here in South Africa. The students were absolutely thrilled to share some of their experiences with the veterinarians and also ask them valuable questions regarding the animals they work with.
The Grade 5s then got started on creating their own awareness posters for the animals that are currently endangered in South Africa. Some of the posters have been sent to Saving the Survivors, an organisation that works closely with anti-poaching to protect our rhinos, Save our Ocean and also the Wildlife Act.
Here are some of the posters:
Skyler de Lange:
Sophia Jansen van Rensburg: