Dear Kingsmead Community,
A Call to Action
I greet you at a time of great anxiety and concern. These concerns and worries are different for different families and staff. We have now entered a level 4 lockdown amidst a well-established third wave. Many of our families have been significantly affected by the virus with illness and the loss of loved ones. It is at this time, that we need to seek perspective; take a moment to stop and think about what it is that is important right now as a community.
Although many of us are feeling a sense of loss, isolation and fear, we have learnt that, as a community, we are able to overcome much of this and regain our strength when we move forward with hope and grace. Hope provides us with comfort that this too shall pass – we will rise once again. Faith is important as we trust and believe that our loved ones will be okay. Faith gives us a sense of safety. We are, also however called to action. And action takes courage, hope and faith. To do that we need compassion for ourselves and for others; we need to help where we can, when we can; we need to role model for our girls the true meaning of grit and the true importance of maintaining perspective during times of hardship. Let us teach our daughters the power of perspective and prioritisation. We need to prioritise physical, social and emotional safety right now. A happy, healthy child is a child who will gain more from their lessons than an anxious, tired child.
Our parents have shown us the meaning of compassion and gratitude. Thank you for your support and words of encouragement. Thank you for doing everything you can to assist in the teaching and learning process. We realise that this is exceptionally challenging for working families.
Our daughters also have a message to share with you. They are working consistently and are becoming more self-aware. Each class has also decided to share a weekly message of hope and courage with our community. Please see the link below to the message of hope from our Grade 7 class.
Our teachers have the expertise to connect with your daughters where they feel it is developmentally appropriate during a time of crisis. Keep your communication consistent and considered as we partner in the education of your daughters. We are not expecting perfection, we are expecting progress (in whatever way is meaningful for each individual student).
What can you do to help our teachers?
- Encourage a love of learning in your home.
- Avoid sending direct messages to the teachers while they are teaching. They are doing all they can to manage the needs of many students online. Allow them to focus on that.
- Avoid attending the lessons with your daughters – they can do this independently and need to know that you trust them to do so.
- Keep communicating through the advertised communication channels – we can address matters quickly and efficiently when they are directed to the appropriate professionals.
- Set up a physical space for ‘school’ to take place and punctuate the school day with family/ leisure and physical time.
- Expect that teachers will be in contact during working hours so that they can find time for restoration and rest after hours.
- Keep perspective – we have had a solid few months at school, your daughters have learnt so much. Celebrate this and focus on the needs of a primary school child. Spend time playing, reading, cooking, gardening, exercising, sharing stories and just having fun. Never underestimate the gift of time with your daughters. Let us, as teachers, focus on their academics.
“You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take a life of its own” Michelle Obama
Stay safe, compassionate and strong.
Listening to President Ramaphosa addressing the nation on Sunday evening, for many, felt ‘heavy’ – COVID-19 continues to impact on our lives in ways we never thought possible. President Ramaphosa appealed to us as a nation to “… summon our reserves of courage” as we again enter into level 4 lockdown. His appeal caused me to pause and reflect on what courage means for us as the Kingsmead community.
Courage is one of the values of Kingsmead. To quote from our value statement; “The soul of Kingsmead can be summed up in one word: Courage. This comes from the French word for ‘heart’. It means to be brave; to be able to face uncertainty without fear; to act in accordance with one’s beliefs and to have the courage of one’s convictions”. Nelson Mandela said that courage is not the absence of fear, rather the triumph over it; that brave is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Why is courage important and how may we feel more courageous, as well as help our students to feel more courageous? Courage helps us to manage our emotional response to fear and overcome fear, so that is does not immobilise us. Feeling fearful is healthy as it reminds us to push pause and re-evaluate. Courage may be taking risks but with thought; taking the required action in a way that is consistent with our values. Courage may be quiet and thought-filled – Winston Churchill said courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Having courage to again manage level 4 lockdown and online learning, may require mental and emotional stamina. We may feel more courageous by:
- Making friends with challenges
Most of us are afraid of making mistakes and managing disappointments, which may immobilise us or keep us stuck. Rather we need to celebrate the process and opportunity to learn something new about who we are. By embracing challenges and difficult situations it stretches us to try something new in spite of the risks involved.
- Identifying our strengths
Identifying our strengths, talents and resources gives us a sense of control and helps us to live with courage, to feel happier and be more resilient. Knowing what we are good at boosts our confidence, and increases the likelihood of taking risks and being courageous.
- Framing our thoughts
When we face our fears, we will replace our fear-based response with a courageous response. Fear is an opportunity to gain more insight into who we are and the reasons why we are hesitant or reluctant to take risks. Daniel Siegel (author of the Whole-Brain Child) writes about ‘name it to tame it’. Rather than minimising or denying our fears, by acknowledging and naming our fears we pause our negative responses and are closer to being courageous. With an open and positive mindset, we are more likely to notice opportunities which we may have overlooked when viewing life through a ‘fear lens’.
- Spending less time worrying about the ‘what ifs’
We sometimes spend so much energy on ‘what ifs’ that may never happen, that we’re left mentally and emotionally exhausted and paralysed with fear. Rather, we need to compare the two extremes – if I take a risk what is the worst thing that could happen and what will I gain by grabbing hold of this opportunity? By being intentional about the choices we make and risks we take, we build an immunity to allowing our fears to dominate us.
- Practising self-care
The thought of having to adjust yet again and continue managing all that we currently have to manage, can seem exhausting. We may feel too overwhelmed to even think about trying to be more courageous, it may be easier to remain stuck in fear. It is important that we look for ways to take care of ourselves. These may be small gestures or moments, that don’t take up a lot of time or involve additional costs.
By summoning our reserves of courage may we continue to triumph our fears and face uncertainty without fear; to be quiet and listen and follow our hearts. Wishing our Kingsmead community strength and courage as we navigate the next two weeks.
As we head into the second week of online school, it is important to note that the school day continues as per normal. It has been brought to our attention that students are creating subject groups within iMessenger on their devices. These groups are used to grapple and discuss tasks but are not permitted as per our iPad Code of Conduct. The iPad Code of Conduct still applies to our ‘online’ school day. Point 1 of the iPad Code of Conduct states the following:
- No messaging to peers/guardians is permitted during school/office hours (07h00 – 16h00), unless otherwise specified by a staff member.
Thus, there is no need for the girls to make use of iMessenger- MS Teams is the acceptable method of communication. The girls may post questions on this platform or call their teacher during their scheduled lesson on Teams.
Please could you re-iterate this to your daughters and strongly advise that they leave any such groups.
Deputy Head: Senior Primary
The Library Checkout
While browsing at a recent book sale event at our school, I had the privilege of overhearing two moms questioning whether purchasing their child a graphic novel is exposing their child to ‘real’ reading. I say this was a privilege for two reasons. Firstly, without a doubt this is a commonly raised question amongst earnest parents trying to instill good reading habits for their children. Secondly, it was a clear winning topic that I could address in my next insert as part of this Connection.
Let’s shout it from the roof tops …graphic novels are real books too! Below is an informative infographic that lists the main benefits of reading graphic novels.
Source: Andria Amaral “This feels like a good day to repost this…” 14 October 2020 https://twitter.com/andriaamaral/status/1316449008689328128
Source: adapted from @capstonepub, 2021
Graphic novels are becoming the most sought-after books in our library. Here are a few titles filling our bookshelves and they can equally fill your bookshelves at home too!
While we try to expose our children to all genres of reading, remember all reading is good reading!
Mrs Tania O’Maker
Junior School Media Specialist
Congratulations to one of our dancers, Scarlett Haslam, who recently participated in the Dance World Cup 2021. Scarlett and her two fellow dancers were placed 1st in the Ballet Trio sections and will be representing South Africa at the Dance World Cup finals in England. Well done, Scarlett, what a super achievement!
INTER-CLASS MUSIC COMPETITION
The Kingsmead Inter-class Music Competition will continue whether we are online or on campus. Watch this video to find out more: INTERCLASS MUSIC COMPETITION VIDEO.
Online meetings will take place on MS Teams on the Music Class Groups. We hope to see everyone there! 🎶
|13h30 – 14h00
|14h00 – 14h30
|Wednesday 7 July
|Grade 1 -3
|Wednesday 14 July
|Grade 4 & 5
|Wednesday 21 July
|Grade 6 & 7
|Junior & Senior
Magic of Music
Congratulations to Milisuthando Mabusela on receiving her Central Gauteng Provincial Colours in Gymnastics. This is a phenomenal achievement as Milisuthando only started gymnastics 6 weeks prior to the competition. She was also one of only three girls to received a gold medal at the District Competition. Well done, Mili!
Congratulations to Lalu Hu-Grobbelaar for being awarded Central Gauteng AFSA Federation colours for Acrobatic Dance Sport.
She has also been selected to represent Central Gauteng at the Inter Provincial Acrobatics Championship which is being held at Kiepersol Centre in Eldoraign, Centurion this week. We wish her all the best for these championships.