Dear Kingsmead Community,
The Gift of Hope
‘Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Maya Angelou
This is a good reminder for us all as we begin a new academic semester this week. This has been a challenging term for us as a community. We have met many obstacles, shared stories of frustration and heartache, embraced uncomfortable conversations and made tough decisions.
Let us not forget that there has been light too. Let us not forget that many of our worries are adult worries and should remain adult worries. We have the responsibility as adults to find moments of joy for our daughters, to keep their hearts comforted with hope and possibility. I encourage each family to purposefully share ‘good news’ at the dinner table each night as a way to find light during times of darkness.
I have received many messages of love and support during these trying times. I thank you for this. I also thank you for holding your families together with courage and determination that ‘all shall be well’.
We have made the decision to revert to online learning for the remainder of the term. This equates to 6-8 onsite school days for your daughters. It also equates to a love and care for our community, to comfort in routine and to the possibility of consistent and rigorous learning opportunities online.
I know that this time has been incredibly challenging for some of our families. We are aware of families who have lost their loved ones, those who are grieving and those who are unwell. I thank our community for supporting these individuals during these challenging days. I thank you for sharing love and giving us all a sense of hope and possibility.
In our recent assembly we lit a Candle of Hope for Kingsmead. We refer to three overarching groups of incredible humans in our community; the parents, the students and the staff. These three groups of people were recently represented as three separate candles. As we light these candles separately, we are reminded of the gift that each entity brings to our community. The candles then come together in unison to light the Candle of Hope for Kingsmead as one. This candle will continue to burn a pathway of light all the way back to our school.
Created by Jemima Keizan
Head: Junior School
Denise Griffiths – Our Dance Teacher
Whether your daughter participated in a grade play, end of year Junior Primary concert, special people’s concert, dance assembly, Grade 7 Production, or full-scale ballet production, Denise will have contributed significantly to her performance. More recently, she also created wonderful online movement classes for our younger students. Denise would have been behind your daughter learning her dance with intricately choreographed movements, helped to cue her entrance on and off the stage, created spectacular outfits together with teachers and parents, made the backdrop and supplied props for the stage, amongst countless other things that enable each dancer’s performance to sparkle. Her vast experience, creativity and problem-solving ability have been an enormous support for the Gr 000 – 3 teachers for these events.
Denise has been part of the Kingsmead fabric for 17 years. She taught ballet and then movement as part of the curriculum in the Junior Primary, and trained countless of our students in her dance studio in preparation for the fabulous annual festivals, the Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams and full ballet concerts. Many of your daughters will have rich memories of hours of hard practice at rehearsals, excited energy and nervous anticipation as they applied make-up and scraped unruly hair back into buns or other fanciful hairstyles, while constructing and trying on various amazing costumes. Denise was always incredibly generous in sharing items from her vast costume bank for other drama events. She would also go out of her way to source new items to make your daughter’s stage persona pop.
It has been a privilege to watch many of our students develop their movements over the years from ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ toes to powerfully executed, poised, well-coordinated and timed arabesques, pirouettes and more. It is therefore with a deep sense of loss that we have to bid Denise farewell. Due to the impact of the pandemic, Denise has had close her studio at Kingsmead to relocate to Durban.
Denise, we thank you for your years of contribution to each student’s experience at Kingsmead over these years, for your support for our teachers and for the generous way in which you contributed to our dance and drama offerings. We wish you everything of the very best in your new home and may your new venture be as successful as it was with us.
We invite parents and students to join our Kingsmead community in celebrating Denise’s contribution to our school as part of our end of term assembly.
Head: Academics and Innovation
This week we close with the last of our articles on the effects of ‘blue light’ and your daughter’s learning. We hope that you have found these articles by Dr Ariella Meyerowitz most worthwhile.
Is Your Child Feeling Blue?
The Downside of Blue
In the third article in this series Ariella Meyerowitz, a Johannesburg optometrist who specialises in caring for children, highlights the impact on our children’s sleeping patterns and vision caused by the massive increase in screen time since the inception of the coronavirus
Turning Night into Day
Just when we thought our sleepless nights with our babies were long over, we are now experiencing ‘school-age-child sleepless nights’ – adding to our feelings of being exhausted and overstretched parents.
Day and Night
It has been proven conclusively in many studies that extra blue light, especially at a time when a person wants to go to sleep, retards the sleep process. This makes it more difficult for a person who has been on a screen to fall asleep.
The hormone melatonin is secreted in the body when it is time to go to sleep. This hormone is secreted more and more as there is less and less blue light. So for example, when the sun goes down there is less blue light and our bodies naturally react by secreting melatonin which allows us to fall asleep.
In contrast to this, if a person is on a screen with the excessive blue light coming out of it, the body feels that the sun is still up, and this causes less melatonin to be produced. The result is that it is much more difficult to fall asleep, as there is not enough melatonin in the body to encourage sleep. This can upset the circadian rhythms and that can impact on diverse body systems.
Once again, the solution to this problem is extremely simple.
Make sure that your daughter:
– avoids screen time for at least two hours before sleep at night
– uses blue control glasses
– Has all instruments set to night mode to reduce the blue light.
Increasing the Chances of Becoming Short Sighted
Scientific studies in China and Japan are proving that children who sit in front of, and stare at, screens and are indoors for long periods of time are more prone to becoming short sighted than children who have more outdoor play time. While there might not be a general consensus on how long a play time needs to be, there seems to be a definite link between being inside and on screens and short sightedness.
Short sightedness means that you can see at near, or at short distances, but you cannot see far. This is obviously a way the body has developed to adapt to an environment where you are sitting and looking at something at a close distance all day long, and hardly ever need to look far.
Glasses can assist in this area as well. Computer glasses 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.
What Else Can Blue Light Damage?
There are other issues which have been related to excessive blue light, but these have been very poorly researched and often seem to be more of an exercise in marketing than based in scientific research.
It is possible that an overexposure to the blue light emanating from our modern devices may increase the development of cataracts and macular degeneration but this remains to be scientifically proven. Until then – try to avoid it as much as possible!
Go to www.sunnyroad.co.za for a wider view on this topic
COPYRIGHT 2020 Ariella Meyerowitz – Sunny Road Optometrist
Head of Student Affairs
The Junior School raised R124 420,00 for different causes during the Dance Marathon last term. Thank you to the entire community for their generosity and contributions.
- Grade 7s raised R15 800 for The Society for Animals in Distress;
- Grade 6s raised R13 520 for JAM;
- Grade 5s raised R12 460 for Sunshine Association;
- Grade 4s raised R14 900 for Fight with Insight;
- Grade 3s raised R11 390 for Owl Rescue Centre;
- Grade 2s raised R13 860 for Bunny Hop Haven;
- • Grade 1s raised R18 610 for St Vincent School for the Deaf;
- Grade 0s and Buttercups raised R16 720 for Little Star and Moseka Pre-Primary Schools;
- The Bluebells and Butterflies raised R7 160 towards a Kingsmead Legacy Project.
Isipho Primary School partnership
Fielding Dreams, in partnership with DPA Chem, donated hand sanitiser to each student at Isipho, hand sanitiser for each Isipho classroom and a 20 litre hand sanitiser jerry can for use by the entire Isipho .
The Kingsmead community would like to thank both Fielding Dreams and DPA Chem for this generous donation valued at over R8000. You can support DPA Chem by purchasing sanitising products from them at www.dpachem.com.
Rays of Hope: The heart of Alexandra
A friendly reminder of our winter collection for the #WarmUpAlex initiative in support of Rays of Hope. Donation boxes are placed at the Music Reception.
Director of Service
ARTS & MUSIC
The Music Department firmly believes that MAKING MUSIC SHOULD ALWAYS BE FUN!
Watch this super cool video one of our teachers made of her students having a jol with online music lessons: Click here to watch the video
THANK YOU to our Music parents and students for your continued and enthusiastic involvement in our online Music programme since lockdown. We have LOVED seeing our students every week! We will carry on with the schedule from last term – see below – and would enjoy seeing our students every week for the last month of the term.
We hope to resume our extra-curricular programme, albeit in a slightly different way, from September. We will keep you informed as to what this will look like.
CONCERTS IN THE LOUNGE
Well done to all our courageous performers and thank you to all our parent videographers for their support and encouragement of our online concerts. Keep sending those videos!
We wish you and you families good health in the time ahead and a happy last month of the term.
Kingsmead Women’s 52km Virtual Race to the Union Buildings
To commemorate Women’s Day this year, the Sports department would like to initiate an Inter-house Woman’s Day Virtual Marathon for the month of July. Please see the details below:
- The marathon will commence on 10 July at 06h00 and end on 24 July at 18h00.
- You may run/walk as many times as you please in the allocated time. (Wearing a device throughout the day does not count!)
- Runners, cyclists, pram pushers, and dog walkers are welcome!
- 20 Points will be awarded for each run per day, completed per person, regardless of distance. Distances will be collated and the house that runs the furthest wins.
- Family members are welcome to join but proof of distance and number of family members must be sent with a supporting image.
- Evidence to be submitted daily for collation.
- Use a watch/phone/APP that can measure your distance with the DATE included.
- Only runners in Gauteng will count.
- Please send your supporting pictures to Ms. Muchauraya at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonus points will be awarded as follows:
- War cries – 15 points
- Crazy running outfits – 15 points
- Largest family participation – 30 points
Special achievements will be announced in our extra-curricular assembly at the end of the term.
“Women of South Africa are some of the most powerful people on Earth. Change what you believe is possible for yourself.”
Junior School Head of Sports & Head of Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion
Congratulations…Kingsmead Junior School has a new mascot joining our family!
During week 3 (29 May – 5 June) of the Cybersharp Programme, Senior Primary students took on the role of creative designers and were tasked with designing and creating their very own Digital Citizen mascot to join our Kingsmead Family!
This mascot reminds our Kingsmead Community when and how to practise internet safety, be kind online and how to be an overall good digital citizen. It will feature alongside Kingsley and Inyoni throughout our school.
Students had to consider key elements in their design namely:
- What might the mascot look like?
- What special accessories might the mascot wear/feature?
- What unique skills might the mascot be able to perform?
- A creative mascot name with detailed explanation.
- A meaningful and appropriate quote/mantra that this mascot lives by with detailed explanation
- The creative use of colours (with the inclusion of some of Kingsmead’s colours too)
Click on the link below to view our ‘Brag Video’ of all of the entries. A special thank you to all the students who participated and put in so much effort in compiling their entries!
Congratulations to our Grade 7 student, Thiya Naidoo, for winning the Digital Citizen Mascot Design Challenge!
Chameleon has the ability to change colours. His ability to change into certain colours is directly linked to our Habits of Mind. For example: He may change from red to orange to help remind us to manage our impulsivity, especially when working online. He commonly features the colours green and gold, so he fits perfectly within our Kingsmead environment.
Chameleon also wears a scarf because it represents certainty, relatedness and fairness. What an important element of being an ethical digital citizen!
Chameleon lives by the word ‘Animos’ which means ‘Courage, Brave’ in Latin. Courage Always!
Kingsmead Junior School Library Transforms the Student Reading Experience
No more worries. Just reading.
We are committed to bringing unique learning opportunities to our students and are pleased to introduce a new, free reading service providing digital books through Sora, the student reading app.
Now more than ever, technology has become increasingly valuable in supporting our lifelong learners and readers. Kingsmead Junior School is using technology to expand access to digital reading materials by connecting our students in the Senior Primary with the school’s broad collection of ebooks and audiobooks through the Sora app.
Through Sora, our Senior Primary students have convenient and safe access to a collection of age-appropriate ebooks and audiobook titles which are an extension to our Kingsmead Junior School Library. It’s convenient for students to check out titles at home, on the weekends or during school holidays with no worry about misplacing a book or running up late fees – these digital titles automatically return at the end of the lending period!
Sora, named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019, was designed to transform the modern student reading experience and built by OverDrive Education, a division of OverDrive serving 27,000 K-12 schools worldwide. OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for a growing network of 48,000 libraries – including Kingsmead Junior School Library – and schools in 78 countries.
Sora can help students of all ages read more and improve comprehension. Whether a student’s interest lies in the classics, or the latest popular juvenile or young adult fiction, they can find it all in Sora! The benefits include:
- Enrich vocabulary and improve comprehension and pronunciation
- Introduce students to books at their reading level
- Teach critical listening
- Help busy kids find time to read
- Incentivise reading with fun avatars and achievements
- Allow easy access to public library’s collection, too! (in the Sora menu select: +Add a public library)
- Participate in active screen time by reading in Sora! Research has found that “active” screen time, time spent using the creative side of our brains as opposed to passive, unengaged scrolling or viewing, is beneficial to overall health.
This week we launched the Sora Reading App with our Grades 6 and 7 students with the intention to roll out with the Grades 4 and 5 students before the end of term, before the commencement of the August school holidays!
Some feedback from our students already:
“I love the Sora app already and can’t wait to use it more!” Jessica Linfield, Grade 7
“Mrs O’ Maker, I just finished the book Flunked (the first book in FTRS) and I really need to read the second one! There is such a cliff-hanger!” Milli Seekins, Grade 6
Junior School Media Specialist
Congratulations to Brownyn Leeming on her engagement to Glenn.