With our Growth Mindset philosophy we as teachers need to be very aware if we have a negative attitude towards a child, because this can sadly have an effect on their life. If we believe that they can achieve, they are much closer to being able to realise it themselves, so as teachers and parents we need to be so careful of how we talk to our children and even what we think about them because they can pick up negative things through body language as well as words.
Mr. Crehan and I returned from the conference on the day that we had picked for St. Helen's Day. I think some of the children might think that the day we pick is Saint Helen's birthday, but actually St. Helen's Day is on August 17th and so as only Funtasia are at school on this day, we choose a random day in September/October to celebrate our school and the saint.
We had lovely festivities to celebrate our day. If you came into the playground this morning you will have seen chalked school crests everywhere, from our competition yesterday. The lunch ladies were remarking on the sense of quiet in playtime yesterday, as the children concentrated on the masterpieces. The Year 6 pupils ran a treasure-hunt for the Year 2 and 3s. Our Evans Hall looks beautiful with the bunting made by each child to celebrate our day and I would like to say thank you for their amazing efforts - they all deserved a prize.
In the evening we had our first St. Helen's Day eve and we invited ex-pupils over the age of 18 and ex-teachers. It was a great event and hopefully we will continue to do this each year. What is so lovely, and links with my earlier theme, is that so many of our ex-pupils hold St. Helen's very dear, at whatever time in its history they were pupils. We had someone who had been at St. Helen's from 1962, so she had had Mrs. Hempstead as her headmistress, the one before my mother, Mrs. Evans.
The children yesterday during the afternoon assembly asked questions of our staff who are ex-pupils: Mrs. Rumney, Miss Cooper and Mrs. McGee. They wanted to know about the buildings, whether Cambria and Windsor were the same (yes), what the punishment system was like (did they have red and yellow cards), did they have clubs, what were their favourite school events… The answers were that things had changed, but something essential had stayed the same.
We also had a huge number of ex-staff who attended our evening event. The ex-pupils were finding it very hard to address their past teachers by their first names! It was a great reunion and we would like to hold this event again next year, and those that came this year are promising to look up other friends from their year groups and bring them next year.
We would like to think that the reason that people hold St. Helen's so dear is that we do and have over the past years of St. Helen's seen the potential in children and that with a mixture of fun and hard work, the children feel valued and respected and cared for. Our ethos is 'family', and with the history of the school the children are all part of its history, each taking their place in our St. Helen's story. Next year we'll take our 4 year whole school photo, and this will be seen by countless future generations of St. Helen's pupils, who will look back and laugh at what they looked like as children, as our ex-pupils were doing last night. But also they will feel a pride at being part of a fantastic community who have worked together, and then gone on to their separate schools knowing that they have been believed in and valued, able to show their full potential.
As our school motto says, 'Excellentiam e concordia' or 'Excellence in working together.'
When you believe in someone you profoundly increase their ability to have faith in themselves and achieve. When you love someone you imprint on their heart something so powerful that it changes the trajectory of their life. When you do both, you set into motion, a gift to the world…because those who are believed in and loved understand the beauty of a legacy and the absolute duty of paying it forward.
― Jason Versey, A Walk with Prudence