Dear Kingsmead Junior School Community,
“Community in Unity”
At the start of this term, I had the privilege of addressing two large groups of parents (Junior Primary and Senior Primary) at the early parent information evenings. If you can recall, I spoke largely about happiness and walking the winding path of curiosity. At this point, I joked about the very busy school calendar and how we were possibly looking at various communication channels which would give more parents access – like podcasts. The final words of my speech highlighted three goals for the year ahead:
Communicate with clarity
Communicate with creativity
Communicate with compassion
Never did I think at the time that these goals would be actioned so quickly and with such necessity. Our focus on happiness and cultivating curiosity do not change, our communication goals remain the same. This is what makes Kingsmead special. The school does not exist because of the buildings, facilities and the beautiful gardens – it exists because of the people within the community. We see hope, we see possibility. We will continue to rise above our challenges – always with the students at the centre of our purpose. In fact, we have streamed assemblies, developed online meeting platforms and launched our first podcasts.
Our language has completely transformed in two weeks. We now meet virtually using Zoom and Teams as though this was the norm. I have always said to our brilliant management and teaching team that I would “go to war with them”. Well, here we are. I salute our staff for their incredible tenacity and flexibility. We have been known to embrace challenges. It is easy when we keep our students at the centre of our shared purpose.
Thank you to our parents for helping us mobilise the distance learning programme. Our objective was to maintain momentum, alleviate anxiety and remain focused on hope for these final three weeks of term. Your partnership in education is what makes our community as strong as it is. Thank you to Rizwana Bawa, Janet Kohler, the entire PTA Exco and class representatives. You have actioned our communication goals and maintained our relationship between parents and teachers by building bridges as opposed to walls.
The Council has worked and met behind the scenes to ensure that the running of the school is maintained as smoothly as possible and we thank them for their continued involvement and interest in our school.
To those who have fallen ill or hold loved ones closely in fear of falling ill, we pray every day for your strength and resilience. Thank you for keeping contact. This connection means the world to us. We really miss our girls. We long to open our classes, welcome them in an assembly and really miss planning exciting, meaningful calendar opportunities for them.
We hope that our doors will reopen physically on 5 May as planned. However, if this is not our reality, we will persist in creating meaningful online opportunities for the students. Our team are already deep in the planning phase. Our teachers are working harder than ever before to ensure that Kingsmead continues to deliver an education that resonates with what we believe is relevant and in line with our high academic expectations. As a thinking, feeling school, our focus has never been, and never will be, to create lessons that replicate lecturing, worksheets or ‘keeping the girls busy’. Our focus is on using this opportunity we have before us to focus on the following:
- Delivering innovative lessons that foster digital literacies, developing ethical, digital citizenship
- Building a ‘new’ sense of community
- Building an online SEL (Social, Emotional, Learning) curriculum
- Continuing to develop critical, creative skills
- Providing continuous, formative assessment with opportunities for meaningful, individual feedback responses
- Elevating the creation of information as opposed to consumption of information
- Fostering age appropriate skills regarding independence and self-motivation
- Alleviating parental and student anxiety by creating a framework for weekly online tuition
- Providing opportunities for teacher-student engagement, individual differentiation and student support and extension
- Focusing on diverse options for our students to lead a balanced lifestyle with opportunities for sporting, cultural, art, service, spirituality and extension, in addition to our basic academic offering
- Prioritising a focus on our values and ethos as a Kingsmead community and upholding these as our foundational structure
- Remaining mindful of the current economic climate and cognisant of our use of resources
Our final community event before school closure this term was our Senior Primary Choir performance at St Mary’s Singing Sistas. Our choir sang a creative rendition of “Into the Unknown”. And so, with that send off, we go off into the unknown with the strength of our community, our offering, our daughters.
To close with the wise words from D.V. Thompson in 1950:
“The danger in days like these, is that we feel we are too small and insignificant to do anything. But, though this is a dangerous and often a very dark and depressing age in which to live, it is also a very challenging age- for there are big things to be done by those who have the courage to do them.
Remember there is a challenge in you to think, to work, to fight for all that is beautiful and good and true whenever you see these things overshadowed in a world which is at present shaken, depressed and lost”
Today, we are proud to say we have all lived ‘Courage Always’. Look to the light, for there is hope.
At this time away from each other, I send my sincere wishes for our families celebrating Easter, Ramadan and Passover this month.
Take care and enjoy a restful holiday season.
Head: Kingsmead Junior School
We have launched a series of Kingsmead Podcasts, which are now available on our APP. Please click on the link, Kingsmead Podcasts, where it will direct you to the current episodes.
There are 5 short episodes available, which consider our current Covid-19 pandemic and the situation of lockdown from the perspective of the Kingsmead values and includes the writings of our founder D.V. Thompson, whose writings never fail to hold significance and wisdom.
Dr Marisa Di Terlizzi
Deputy Head: Head of Senior Primary
Kingsmead Junior School has partnered with CyberSharp (www.cybersharp.co.za), a company committed to building an empowered and knowledgeable digital community, through education and awareness related to online behaviour. Online Safety is an integral part of our curriculum as well as now, more than ever, the importance of being a responsible online citizen. The purpose of this programme is to equip our students and families with the skills needed to effectively navigate the online world.
Our students are facing a myriad of cyber-related issues, such as:
• Inappropriate exposure
• Cyber bullying and harassment
• Safe browsing
• Digital privacy and security
• Safe online communication
• Managing screen time
Through this online programme we aim to equip our students to thrive in an online world, improve social media behaviour, act savvy and smart online and to stay safe and informed in the digital world. The programme will commence in Term 2. Communication and specific details with regards to sign-up and login will be communicated in due course.
Junior School Head of IT
Earth Day is recognised annually on 22 April. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognised as the planet’s largest civic event. The theme for Earth Day 2020 is Climate Action, a day for all citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.
While we are living through extraordinary times, the result has been a chance for our earth to heal.
These satellite images of China show reduced levels of airborne Nitrogen Dioxide.
So while we are all home and cannot be part of park or river clean ups, here are some easy tips on how to make a difference.
1. Teleconference instead of traveling – we are all becoming experts at this.
2. Recycle paper, plastic and glass. If you have not yet become a faithful recycler, now is the time to start.
3. Set your printer to print two-sided.
4. Grow your own. It is a great time to begin your very own veggie patch and compost kitchen waste, turning waste into fertilizer.
5. Pull out invasive plants that are in your garden and when possible, replace them with indigenous plants.
6. Turn off AND unplug electronic devices when you are not using them.
7. Turn lights off when you leave a room.
On 22 April, should you wish to see it, there will be a pre-recorded screening on the Earth Day website for children to watch. Click the link below, then click on Cape Town on the map.
Grade 6 Teacher, Mathematics Teacher
Thank you so much to our amazing community who continue to live out the value of service even in these challenging times. Here are some ideas of activities that can be done at home throughout the holidays, should you wish to participate. All items that have been made will be distributed to our partner organisations upon our return to school.
You can make flash cards using times tables, vocabulary for a theme, body parts, the weather – anything that you think other children would benefit by learning.
There are many children who do not have their own soft toys, so these knitted toys go a long way to make someone smile.
These colourful and creative mobiles will bring so much joy to a precious baby and will help the babies learn how to track with their eyes.
Letter Writing Campaign
This involves writing a letter to one of the residents at Park Care who are currently unable to have any visitors or to the incredibly selfless care workers who are looking after the residents there. If you would like more details, please join the Service@Home group on the link below:
May you all have a blessed, safe and happy holiday.
Junior School Head of Service
ARTS & MUSIC
Music has the power to lift our spirits and gives us courage to face the obstacles in our way. Enjoy the beautiful video our Glee group put together, making music even while apart. We will continue to make music wherever we are! #kanyekanye #together The Kingsmead Glee singing ‘For Good’ on YouTube
We have missed our daily interactions and the sounds of people making music around us and have realised just how important community is. Thank you for carrying on making music at home. It has been wonderful to see the photos and videos of our students having online lessons and playing or singing the choir, orchestra or ensemble pieces at home. We hope you will find moments in every day to dance, listen to and make music, read, paint, draw, write, take photos; notice the beauty in the world and express yourself in a creative way.
In the words of one of our school hymns the Benediction:
May the Lord bless and keep you,
May His face shine upon you,
May his faithfulness comfort you by night,
To the end of the earth and the end of your life,
May the Lord be your refuge and your light.
From all of us in the Music Department, we wish you a time of peace, hope and happiness ahead and hope to see you soon.
Elsabé Fourie Mia Loock
Director of Arts & Music Head of Junior School Music
Facebook Frame: Our Community in Unity
Morgan Kohler, one of our Grade 7 students, suggested the concept of “Community in Unity” as a way to bring our Kingsmead family together during this time of social distancing and lockdown. To show your support for the Kingsmead community, please add our Facebook Frame to your profile picture.
To do so, simply click on edit profile picture, add frame and choose “Kingsmead Our Community in Unity”. Let’s continue to stand together even in this time when we are apart.
Dr Marisa Di Terlizzi
Deputy Head: Head of Senior Primary