School News and Head's Blog

327 Blog Posts found - Showing 19-27

  1. First
  2. ..
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. ..
  8. Last
Posted on: 18/03/2022

Baby Mindfulness

This week we have a guest blog from a St. Helen's College parent. "A class for babies where mums get to practise mindfulness and yoga, baby yoga, they meet other mums and then get biscuits baked by the school chef at the end of class? Don’t tell me the biscuits are vegan!”   “Actually, they are!” This is a snippet of a conversation that I had with a mum in the community about the baby mindfulness classes that Mrs. McLaughlin began at St. Helen's College in September 2021. I had my baby, Kaira, at the end of April 2021. We were emerging into a post-lockdown society where Children’s Centres still remained closed. The baby yoga class that I knew and loved had decided not to reopen after coronavirus and there were long waiting lists for music and sensory classes. My son, Karter, was in Mrs. Hussein’s Year 2 class when Kaira was born, and she told me about the plan for the new baby mindfulness classes from September.  I went along not knowing what to expect, but I am so glad that I did. In class, we were always warmly greeted by Mrs. McLaughlin and then asked to pick two cards that we were drawn to and talk about them to the group. Some of the mums had children or nieces and nephews in the school, but others were from the community and not connected with the school. It was a nice mix. We were given essential oil to help with our mindful focus, and then moved to practise a sequence that helped not only to stretch our tired muscles, but also to boost our confidence as new or new-again mummies. The babies seemed to love the baby yoga section of class. There were always giggles and gurgles all around the room as we practised. I learnt a move that calms a distressed baby which I have regularly used since! The divine drop. It’s magic! We were reminded of nursery rhymes that we had forgotten the words to and towards the end of each class, were given an opportunity to listen to a song that Mrs. McLaughlin had chosen to help with our mindful focus on our little babies. We were asked to notice things about them - how their little feet had changed, or their hair, the journey that we had been on with them so far - and to take a glimpse into our futures with them. It was so lovely to stop each week, pause, and take in the precious moments. The class always ended with discussions about anything that was on our minds, and the conversations were guided sensitively by Mrs. McLaughlin. We discussed weaning, nurseries and going back to work, amongst many, many other things.  And then of course the sweet (vegan) treats baked by Soula. Always so delicious! I have now ‘graduated’ from class as Kaira is now a crawler and so doesn’t sit still for more than 5 seconds.  But I am in touch with the other mums and the growing baby mindfulness alumni. I have made some lovely new mummy friends who I keep in touch with and see regularly outside of the class. It has been truly wonderful to have this network to share the things that only mummies of new babies are going through and thinking about. We all agree that the baby mindfulness class is a great class because it is the only one that focusses on both baby and mum.  Thanks to Mrs. McLaughlin and St. Helen's College, I will look back at my early months with Kaira with wonderfully positive memories. And I won’t be the only mummy that feels grateful for the support and mindful time with baby. It is so lovely that St. Helen's College offers this class to new mums both in the community and those already connected to the school.  If you see a group of mums with buggies near the school on a Wednesday morning, you will know where they have been. I hope you will feel happy knowing that they have spent precious mindful time with their small babies, especially as you know so well how quickly the newborn baby time passes by. Pervinder P Mum to Karter (Y3) and Kaira-Lily, 10 month old future St. Helen's College student
Posted on: 11/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 11th March 2022

Year 3 Production On Thursday evening, our Year 3 classes presented their spring production to an enthusiastic audience at The Compass Theatre in Ickenham. Their show was 'Robin Hood and the Sherwood Hoodies' and it was jam-packed with humour as well as some stunning solo and ensemble singing and acting! Every child spoke their lines beautifully, sang with gusto and acted at a very accomplished level. It was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to perform in a theatre and they really rose to the challenge.  Earlier in the day, they had performed their dress rehearsal to an audience of Year 1 and 2 children and staff. The Year 3 children should be very, very proud of themselves - all of the hard work and rehearsal time really did pay off. This was a first class production! General Knowledge Quiz Team On Tuesday, our Quiz Teams took part in the Prep School General Knowledge Quiz Team Challenge. There were, as always, some very challenging questions and this was a super experience for the children who took part. There were 81 teams competing in total. Team 1 came joint 49th. Team members were: Ashvika A (3B) Raiden B (4T) Minaya W (5A) Ryan D (6H) Team 2 came 11th. Team members were: Rohaym U (3MB) Jeena H (4L) Jacob N (5G) Aryan B (6H) Team 2 have qualified for the next round of the competition and we wish them well as they continue their preparations for that. Please do keep encouraging your children's general knowledge by supporting them to read non-fiction as well as fiction books, and to access some of the excellent resources for children's news, such as BBC Newsround and First News. Speech Competition Semi-Finals Many classes from Years 1 to 6 have now completed the semi finals of the Speech Competition, with a few classes to complete their semi finals next week. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Smith have been hugely impressed with the standard of performances so far and would like to congratulate all of the children who have been taking part in the competition. The finals of the Year 1-3 and Year 4-6 competitions will take place on Thursday 24th March and parents of finalists will be invited to attend on that day. We are also very much looking forward to the Nursery and Reception speech recitals. The Reception recitals will take place on Monday 21st March and the Nursery recitals on Tuesday 22nd March. Parents will also be invited to attend these events - information will be sent out via class teachers nearer the time. Robins Class Assembly On Thursday, the children of Robins Nursery class delighted their audience with their spring assembly reminding us all of the beauty of our four seasons. There was wonderful singing and the children wore vibrant costumes. Every child remembered their words and their confidence was a joy to behold. Well done, Robins.       5G Class Assembly On Friday, 5G used their class assembly to tell us all about inspirational people. They shared some beautiful artwork they had done of the people who inspire them and told us why these people are their role models. They also told us stories of people who have made a difference in the world, shared some inspirational quotes and read us some 'soon-to-be-famous' quotes of their own! We enjoyed their confident singing performances too. Well done, 5G! You have given us a lot to think about. Music News School Orchestra If your child (Year 4, 5, or 6) is learning an orchestral instrument outside of school and is interested in joining the school orchestra please email Mrs. Fawbert at cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com.  Woodwind Lessons We are delighted that Mrs. Garnes will be returning to school from her maternity leave after the Easter break, and will be offering lessons on clarinet and saxophone to children in Years 4, 5, and 6. If your child is interested in learning these instruments, please complete the following Google Form to register. Lessons will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and additional students will be added to the waiting list.   Commitment Please can we remind parents that when children join one of our choirs or musical groups, they are committing to represent the school and we expect them to follow through on this commitment for the full academic year(s). Singing and music are good for the soul! Sports News On Thursday our girls' netball team took part in the Reddiford netball tournament and the girls did themselves proud. They played 5 games, winning 4 convincingly and finishing as runners up in the tournament. Well done to all of the players! Plastic Free School St. Helen's College is currently working towards the 'Plastic Free Schools' initiative. Our Eco Team/Eco Warriors have been selected and we have achieved the first objective. https://plasticfreeschools.org.uk/school/st-helens-college/?obj=1 Our next objective is the 'stop litter initiative' which is now in full swing. International Women's Day On Monday in assembly at Upper School, we considered International Women's Day, which always falls on 8th March. We talked about the continuing need to work for equality between men and women, boys and girls in the world. We are proud to be a co-educational school and to offer equality of opportunity for boys and girls here at St. Helen's College, and we hope that you will underline this important message with your children at home. Red Nose Day We would like to remind you that next Friday is Comic Relief/Red Nose Day. We have a slightly altered lunch menu for the day, which you can view here. The children should come to school on this day dressed in red and/or comic relief t-shirts. They are also welcome to wear a red nose on this day if they have purchased one from one of the many retailers. We will be doing several different events on the day including: Upper School - a raffle, sporting quiz and a sporting event. Lower School - a raffle, danceathon and an obstacle course to different landmarks. Ducklings - a raffle, danceathon and stick the 'red nose' on the face. To participate in these events and the tog day we would like to suggest a donation of £5 which your child can either bring with them on the day or you can donate via our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/st-helen-s-college3 In addition we will be selling Comic Relief wristbands for £1 from Monday 14th March on all three sites. Please note the wristbands will be sold on a first come first serve basis until we have sold out. We are sure that you are aware of Tom Daley's 'Hell of Homecoming' Comic Relief challenge that he did recently. With this in mind we would like to set the children a fun sporting challenge which they could get sponsorship for. We would like the children to run, walk, scoot or cycle to a variety of different landmarks and be sponsored to reach them. Please take photos of the different landmarks you visit and upload them for us here before Friday 18th March. Simply click on your child's year group to upload their photographs. You can download a sponsorship form here for the children to print at home and use for this challenge. News from the PA PA Pub Quiz Thank you to all of the parents, staff and friends who attended the PA Quiz on Tuesday night at The White Bear in Ruislip, with nine teams taking part. It was a fun packed event and, after much head scratching and brain wracking, the evening culminated in a tie break situation for first place. After a rather challenging tie break question, Universally Challenged (pictured) emerged as the winning team and each team member was presented with a box of Lindt chocolates. As is traditional, wooden spoons were presented to the team in last place: No Eye Dears. Thank you to everyone who came along to make this a thoroughly enjoyable evening! Second Hand Uniform Sale There will be donation bins for unwanted SHC school uniform outside the three school entrances every day from Monday 14th March to Friday 25th March and the PA will be opening a uniform stall from 12 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Friday 1st April and Tuesday 12th April in the school car park on Parkway. Easter Draw The PA will once again be donating Easter eggs which will be given out via a draw into which every child's name will be entered. The draw will take place in the final week of term. IAPS iArt Competition  After the success of iArt 2021, in which Arya A at St. Helen's College was a winner, IAPS are running the competition again in 2022 and hope to receive more submissions than ever. Shortlisted entrants will receive prizes of vouchers for local independent bookshops.   This year, the competition will have a theme and all submissions must in some way relate to this theme. The theme is my role model.   This theme has been chosen because IAPS is interested to see who inspires pupils, who motivates them, who they admire and who they would like to be like when they grow up. The role models can be anyone: someone personal e.g. a family member, friend, teacher, coach, librarian, a member of the local community; someone “in general” e.g. nurses, doctors, train drivers, farmers; someone public e.g. a famous person, such as a sportsperson, environmentalist, singer While IAPS encourages pupils to attempt a portrait of their role model, pupils – and particularly, younger pupils – should feel free to just paint / draw / create something which reminds them of their role model instead. For example, if a pupil’s role model is David Attenborough, they might choose to paint trees and animals, or if their role model is a parent, they might choose to draw a picture of their house.  Each pupil must write a maximum of 100 words in a sentence or two to accompany their piece of work, saying 'My role model is...because...'. Entries will be judged on a) interpretation of the theme; b) creativity around the theme; c) overall design; d) and that ‘certain something’ that just draws you to the artwork! There is no set format for entries and artwork can be submitted in any medium. Submissions can be paintings, drawings, or models, any size, and use any art supplies.     There are five categories for the iArt competition: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6, Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10.  Each school may enter one piece of art for each category. For example, one piece of artwork representing the Years 5 & 6 category, not one artwork from Year 5 and one from Year 6.   Pupils who would like to enter this competition should submit their pieces of art and accompanying sentences directly to Mrs. Pruce or via their class teacher by 20th April. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Pruce will judge which entries to put forward from St. Helen's College. Good luck everyone and happy creating! School at Work Open Morning Our next 'School at Work' Open Morning for prospective parents will take place on Thursday 28th April. If you have any friends or family with babies or pre-school chidlren who may be interested in visiting St. Helen's College please do share the date with them. Visits on this day are by appointments, which can be booked by telephoning the school office or by emailing Mrs. Smith at susmith@sthelenscollege.com. Easter Holiday Club Bookings will open at 4 p.m. today for our Easter Holiday Club. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your child(ren)'s place(s). Lost Property There is a significant amount of lost property at Upper School. To assist in getting this back to its rightful owners, we will be putting lost property on a table outside the Parkway entrance at morning drop off times next week so that parents may help children identify unnamed items. Please could we also remind parents to name everything that you send into school. Blaze Netball Club If you have a son or daughter in Years 2 - 5 and they would like to develop their netball skills, you might be interested in Blaze Netball Club which runs at Douay Martyrs School on Saturday mornings. Full details are available here. Several St. Helen's College children already attend the club.
Posted on: 11/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 11th February 2022

National Taekwondo Champion! We are delighted to share the news that Aarya D won the gold medal at the UK Taekwondo National Championship last weekend in Bristol. He is now the UK champion in the Heavyweight 140cm – 150cm Category. Well done, Aarya! Wrens Class Assembly On Thursday, Wrens Nursery class delighted us all with a super assembly about winter. Adorned in lovely outfits, they enthusiastically sang each song, showing particular enjoyment for their obvious favourite, 'Put your socks on your ears', a catchy little number that stayed in our heads for the rest of the day! They were also able to demonstrate their confidence and knowledge when speaking in front of their parents. In short, it was a wonderful way to start our day. Great work, Wrens! 4L Class Assembly Today, the children of 4L presented their class assembly, which focussed on the importance of love as the cornerstone of some of the most valuable things in life: caring for others and feeling like you belong. They demonstrated the power of true love using the parable of the prodigal son and a song by The Beatles (can you guess which one?!). Well done, 4L, on a very meaningful and enjoyable assembly. Upcoming Author Visit - Konnie Huq On Thursday 24th February, we are delighted to be welcoming ex Blue Peter presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq to the school.  She will be talking to pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 about her popular book series ‘Cookie’, including a 15 minute Question and Answer session. To pre-order copies of Konnie’s books, ready to be signed and dedicated at school on the day, please click the link below and place your order through Chiltern Bookshops by 5 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd February at the latest:                                                    £6.99 EACH  https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/product-category/konnie-huq-schools-event/ HOW TO ORDER Click the link above Click the book or bundle required Select the name of your child’s school from the drop-down menu Add to Basket View Basket Click collect free from the Chorleywood Bookshop OR Gerrards Cross Bookshop (this will ensure FREE delivery to the school) Proceed to Checkout PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR CHILD’S NAME AND CLASS/FORM IN THE BOX MARKED ‘DETAILS REQUIRED FOR SCHOOL EVENTS’ TO ENSURE THE BOOK CAN BE SIGNED AND DEDICATED BY KONNIE HUQ ON THE DAY  All orders will be delivered free to the school in time for Konnie's visit on February 24th. We are sure that the children will enjoy hearing from Konnie and hope that many of you will choose to buy them some of her books to read. U11 Girls' Football Tournament On Thursday, St. Helen's College entered the Premier League Primary Stars U11 Girls Football Tournament. A mixture of girls from Years 5 and 6 attended and were fantastic throughout the day. Their enthusiasm, teamwork and effort shone brightly and they produced some excellent football. Unfortunately, they lost their first three matches by small margins but they definitely saved their best game for last, winning 5-0. Well done, girls! Thames Valley Cavaliers The Thames Valley Cavaliers offer Saturday morning basketball sessions for children aged 7 - 12 and the first session is free as a taster session. Details can be found here. The club are also running a half term camp next week for children aged 7 - 12. Details can be found here. On Saturday, the Cavaliers are taking on the Essex Rebels in a game that begins at 3 p.m. Once again, they are offering free tickets and free pizza to children from St. Helen's College (Years 3- 6). You can find details of the game here and pizza vouchers here. We hope that many of you will go along to support the team. PA Quiz Night - 7 p.m. Tuesday 8th March Do you fancy a fun packed evening where you can test your grey matter? The St. Helen's College Parents' Association has arranged a quiz night on Tuesday 8th March at The White Bear in Ruislip. Doors will open at 7 p.m. with the quizzing starting at 7.45 p.m. Teams should comprise 4-6 adults and places are limited so get your booking and payment made as soon as you can to avoid disappointment (one team member will need to make a single booking and one payment for their whole team). There will be a prize for each person in the winning team (who will also win the associated bragging rights). Raffle tickets will also be available to buy on the night so, if you don't win the quiz, you might still be able to win a prize. Parents, school staff, friends and relatives are all welcome to put a team together (as long as they're over 18). Watch out for the link to the booking form which will be circulated via your class rep and don't miss out! Royal Academy Young Artists' Show There is still time for budding young artists to enter artwork for the Royal Academy's Young Artists' Show. For a chance to feature in the on-site and online exhibition, pupils aged 4-19 should submit an artwork of any kind by 30 March 2022. Artwork should be submitted directly to the Royal Academy via the link above.  Staff Raise Money For World Cancer Day The St. Helen's College staff have supported World Cancer Day for many years and this year was no exception. We have collectively raised £320 in donations which were made in return for staff room treats on the day. 
Posted on: 4/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 4th March 2022

World Book Day Fun! We had so much fun at all three sites yesterday celebrating World Book Day. At Ducklings the children came dressed in a variety of outfits from Peter Rabbit to The Hungry Caterpillar, while the staff dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. The children created their own bookmark to take home and enjoyed group discussions about their characters and lots of story telling throughout the day.  At Lower School, Year 1's theme of Roald Dahl was thoroughly embraced and even included Miss Trunchbull and the Chokey! The Reception and Nursery theme was Julia Donaldson and everyone looked amazing in their costumes. Kingfishers delighted us with a superb assembly reminding us all of the wonder of books - you can read more about this below. At Upper School, we had a Roald Dahl theme and the children and staff all dressed as Roald Dahl characters. The pupils took part in exciting Roald Dahl themed workshops including potion making, designing a new sweet treat in The Inventing Room, guessing Who Is Coming To Dinner, re-writing Revolting Rhymes, making honeycomb and re-enacting scenes from Roald Dahl's books. You can read some of the Year 5 children's imaginative alternative endings to Roald Dahl's version of The Three Little Pigs here and you can see lots of photographs of children across the school enjoying World Book Day on our Galleries page. Reading is, of course, one of the most important building blocks of an excellent education. Thank you all for supporting our World Book Day celebrations and please do keep encouraging your children to read - and keep reading yourselves! Mathematics Success For the first time at the school, a number of children took part in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Intermediate Mathematical Challenge. This challenge is open to children up to Year 11 (GCSE). Our expectation was that the children would simply enjoy participating. However, two of the children achieved a gold certificate, one a silver and four bronze. Those who achieved gold or silver have been invited to participate in the next round on 17th March.  Well done to everyone who participated and particularly to: Zachariah F Gold Zakariya M Gold Shruthi T Silver Luka K Bronze Eshan N Bronze David W Bronze Aryan B Bronze 5A Class Assembly Today the children of 5A presented their class assembly in which they told us the story of Pandora's Box. Their performance was confident, extremely well delivered and very poignant. In a time of difficulty, the message that there is hope in the world was a welcome one and the children's understanding of this concept was heartwarming. The class sang beautifully and shared some of their work from their Positive Psychology sessions with us too. Congratulations, 5A, you have sent us into the weekend with pride in our hearts and an important message to consider. Owls Class Assembly Our Owls class performed a super assembly on the theme of 'Hot and Cold' this week. The children sang, danced and recited rhymes with enthusiasm and confidence.  They also managed to inspire us all to remember the 3Rs - reuse, reduce, recycle. Well done Owls, you did a great job!     Kingfishers Class Assembly The children of Kingfishers presented their assembly themed around World Book Day on Thursday. They explained the importance - and joy - of reading together, and exhorted us all to turn off our television sets and install bookcases instead! They sang some uplifting songs and recited a lovely poem as a class, which you can read below. Very well done, Kingfishers, on a confident and very enjoyable performance. Open a book and you will find People and places of every kind Open a book and you can be Anything you want to be Open a book and you can share Wondrous words you find in there Open a book and I will too You read to me and I’ll read to you! British Science Week Tomorrow marks the beginning of a ten day celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Parents may wish to look at the British Science Week website or even take a visit to the Science Museum or the local Heath Robinson Museum based in Pinner. Sports News Last Saturday, our A and B teams played at the Ryefield netball tournament.  The girls all played very well. Unfortunately the B team did not progress past the group stages. However, the A team got to the finals where they were beaten by Hermitage who won 4-3.  Natalia C was our A team captain and she collected the trophy for St. Helen's College winning the league.      The U11 girls' football team took part in the Borough Girls' Football Tournament on Wednesday in the pouring rain. The girls really enjoyed competing although unfortunately they did not progress to the next round. Thank you to all of the parents who came and supported the team in such awful conditions. Music News We were delighted to hear from our cello teacher, Mrs. MacLean, that there were some St. Helen's College families amongst the audience at the concert she played last weekend with the Elgar Symphonia of London. This event took place in the beautiful St. Andrew's Church in Holborn, which was designed by Christopher Wren. Grace O'H (Year 4) was even offered the opportunity to conduct the orchestra (which had almost 80 members!) in front of the large audience. National Online Safety Whatsapp Guide National Online Safety have this week shared an excellent guide for parents/carers about Whatsapp. It includes useful advice about how to ensure that your child's Whatsapp use is safe. You can access this here. PA Forum Meeting Thank you to the parents who attended the PA Forum meeting on Wednesday evening with Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Hunt, Mr. McLaughlin and Mrs. Smith. As always, it was an enjoyable and productive meeting in which parents and staff shared ideas for ways in which to enhance the children's education, personal development and daily life. Minutes have been circulated by email to all parents and staff. Ukraine Appeal Thank you so much to all of the families who have made donations of colouring pencils, books, toys and games for refugee families fleeing from the Ukraine war. We have today shipped four large boxes of items to Mr. Harrington's brother who is currently assisting at a hotel in Poland to support refugee families, so these will go straight to the point of need and will really make a difference to children whose lives have been turned upside down.  Thames Cavaliers - Free Tickets & Pizza for Last Home Games Once again, Thames Cavaliers Basketball Club are offering FREE tickets and pizza to St. Helen's College children in Years 3-6 for this weekend's matches on Saturday and Sunday. These will be their last regular season home matches and it is also 'selfie weekend' so pupils will have the chance to take photos with their favourite players after the match as well! Further details about both the Saturday and Sunday games are here and free tickets/pizza vouchers are here. Free Sound Therapy Sessions for Parents Karen Miles, who facilitates NCT classes at St. Helen's College, is training to become a Sound Therapist through the British Academy of Sound Therapy and will be offering free sound therapy classes in The Evans Hall at St. Helen's College as part of her training. She will be using Himalayan singing bowls, crystal bowls and therapeutic percussion. There are many benefits to Sound Therapy: it can provide deep relaxation and relief from stress and anxiety, and relieve muscle tension and pain. You can find full details here. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Karen promptly if you are interested in taking part in these free sessions while she is training. Bikeability (Year 6) If you have a child in Year 6 and they would like to take part in the Bikeability training sessions, please remember that Monday (7th March) is the deadline for signing up for these. An email was sent directly to Year 6 parents earlier this week - please check this for instructions of how to sign up. Perform Drama School Easter Holiday Camp Perform Drama School, who often run excellent workshops at school for St. Helen's College children, will be running an Easter holiday camp in Eastcote themed around The Secret Garden. If you are interested in signing your son or daughter up for this, you can find full details here.
Posted on: 25/02/2022

Weekly News - Friday 25th February 2022

1R Assembly Class 1R presented their class assembly on Thursday morning to staff and parents at the Lower School. They focussed on the St. Helen's College values, particularly friendship, patience, perseverance and kindness. They spoke with clarity and projection, sang with great gusto and even treated us to some wonderful dance moves! Their message was clear: if we are kind to one another, if we are good friends, if we work hard and keep going when things are difficult, then we will find joy in being our best selves. Well done, 1R, this was a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Friday Music Recital We enjoyed another super Friday Music Recital today in the Evans Hall at Upper School, with several children playing instruments in a friendly and informal setting. Thank you to all of the families who attended to support the children, and well done to all of our performers! Konnie Huq Author Visit On Thursday afternoon, children in Years 3 to 5 were treated to a visit from ex-Blue Peter presenter, and popular children's author, Konnie Huq.  Konnie gave an excellent interactive presentation, bringing to life her funny and informative book series 'Cookie'. The books have been inspired by her childhood, her family and her Bangladeshi heritage. The activities included: illustrating characters, a secret code, a live science experiment, learning about the environment and looking at some big words (troglodyte, defenestration and tautology to name a few!). We finished with a Q&A session, with the children asking a range of excellent questions about Konnie's writing process and other avenues of her career in TV and radio, including her time as a presenter on Blue Peter, and a book signing in the Upper School library. It was fantastic to have an author visit in person after more than two years of online visits, and the children were certainly left inspired to read more and maybe even write their own stories. It is not too late to order signed copies (while stocks last) of the following books, as Konnie kindly signed a few extra while she was here. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions under 'How to Order'. The deadline for ordering these is 5 p.m. on Sunday, 27th February.                                                    £6.99 EACH  https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/product-category/konnie-huq-schools-event/ HOW TO ORDER: Click the link above Click the book or bundle required Select the name of your child’s school from the drop-down menu Add to basket View basket Click collect free from the Chorleywood Bookshop OR Gerrards Cross Bookshop (this will ensure FREE delivery to the school) Proceed to Checkout PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR CHILD’S NAME AND CLASS/FORM IN THE BOX MARKED ‘DETAILS REQUIRED FOR SCHOOL EVENTS’  Orders will be delivered free to St. Helen's College next week and given out to the children. Year 2 Trip to Heath Robinson Museum Also on Thursday, our Year 2 classes went on an outing to the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, where they took part in  an art activity called  ‘wet felting’. Year 2 have been studying the topic  materials in science. They looked at the colour wheel   and used coloured wool to make felt. They produced some beautiful and imaginative pieces of work.     Thames Cavaliers v Reading Rockets - Free Entry and Pizza for St. Helen's College children On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Thames Cavaliers will be taking on the Reading Rockets and, once again, they are offering free tickets and a slice of pizza to children in Years 3-6 at St. Helen's College. Details are here and free entry/pizza vouchers can be downloaded here. World Book Day Reminder Next Thursday, 3rd March, is World Book Day. Throughout the school, children should come to school dressed as a favourite book character and they will be taking part in a range of fun activities centred around reading. This year's themes are: Ducklings - free choice of book character or author. Nursery and Reception - A Julia Donaldson character. Years 1 to 6 - A Roald Dahl character. PA Forum Meeting - Wednesday 2nd March The next PA Forum meeting will take place on Wednesday 2nd March. If any parents would like to put forward points for discussion, please send these to your PA class rep over the weekend. Class representatives should collate points and send them to Mrs. Smith by Tuesday 1st March at the latest please. Catering Next Week We will be celebrating Pancake Day at school on Tuesday 1st March and there will be a slight change to the menu so that the children can have pancakes for dessert that day. The new menu is here. We also have a special Roald-Dahl themed menu for World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March. The World Book Day menu is here. Comic Relief St. Helen's College will be supporting the charity Comic Relief on Friday 18th March. The children should come to school on that day dressed in red and/or comic relief t-shirts. They are also welcome to wear a red nose on this day if they have purchased one from one of the many retailers. We will be doing several different events on the day including: Upper School - a raffle, sporting quiz and a sporting event. Lower School - a raffle, danceathon and an obstacle course to different landmarks. Ducklings - a raffle, danceathon and stick the 'red nose' on the face. To participate in these events and the tog day we would like to suggest a donation of £5 which your child can either bring with them on the day or you can donate via our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/st-helen-s-college3 In addition we will be selling Comic Relief wristbands for £1 from Monday 14th March on all three sites. Please note the wristbands will be sold on a first come first serve basis until we have sold out. We are sure that you are aware of Tom Daley's 'Hell of Homecoming' Comic Relief challenge that he did recently. With this in mind we would like to set the children a fun sporting challenge which they could get sponsorship for. We would like the children to run, walk, scoot or cycle to a variety of different landmarks and be sponsored to reach them. Please take photos of the different landmarks you visit and upload them for us here before Friday 18th March. Simply click on your child's year group to upload their photographs. You can download a sponsorship form here for the children to print at home and use for this challenge. Ukraine Some of the children may be asking you questions at home about the situation in Ukraine, as many of them may have been hearing snippets of the news. If you are looking for a child-friendly video to share with your children then please do take a look at the BBC Newsround video below which gives a factual account including some history which you may find useful. It is key that the children are able to share any worries that they may have with adults and that we listen to and support them as appropriate. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/news/watch_newsround The British Red Cross, a humanitarian charity, have launched an emergency appeal to support those affected by the action in the Ukraine. If you would like to make a donation to support the Red Cross in providing food, medicines, shelter and water for refugees and casualties of the war, you can do so via the Red Cross website link here. Our thoughts go out to all families who may know of people who are being affected by what is going on in the Ukraine. 
Posted on: 25/02/2022

Ukraine - Perspective

I am sure that all of us have been affected by the outbreak of the war against Ukraine in some way. The images which we have seen in the media over the past couple of days are distressing and shocking as we see the lives of the Ukrainian people being turned upside down. Their lives bear no resemblance to how they were just a few days ago. I have been heartened but also moved and inspired to read an Edu colleague’s Twitter feed over the past couple of days. I have met Dr. Emma Kell on many occasions at various educational conferences and events. Emma’s Twitter name is @thosethatcan and she describes herself on Twitter with these words:  ‘My mission is to help people be as brilliant as I know they can be, in teaching and beyond. Coach, wellbeing trainer, governor, writer, teacher’.   Emma is a wife and a mum to two wonderful daughters. Her husband is currently working alongside a team of journalists in Kiev. This is from Emma's Twitter feed yesterday, 24th February (I have her permission to share this with you all). Ukraine, my husband and perspective: a thread. Firstly, thank you to all who have reached out. *** is in Kiev and it's a big worry, but they're safe at the moment (see previous tweet). I'm trying to be philosophical and gracious about it (it's his job, it's important, and 1/ he wants to be there). I'm not always successful! The worry and the domestic load are making me grumpy, not helped because I've been hooked to the news for most of the night. BUT... 2/ it probably won't be more than a few days before they're home, in safe warm houses, worrying about petrol prices with the rest of us. Families in Ukraine are not so fortunate. 3/ Before we are in danger of letting compassion fatigue set in, let's save our emotional energies to think of those who live there, with no escape, who are worried for their lives and their futures and take a moment or three 4/ To count all of the things we have to be so very, very grateful for. Let's take a moment to think of those who are likely to be literally putting their own lives on the line and do what we can to challenge misinformation and enact our values. 5/ Today, the kids are very upset because Daddy won't be home tomorrow, as they'd hoped, and airspace is closed so we don't know when he will, but he and the other brave journalists doing essential work will be home and safe soon. Let's focus our energies on those who 6/ aren't so lucky. I will rant and rail at times, and I've had to be flaky and cancel some meetings today, but there's so much to be optimistic about and grateful for. As @AdrianBethune and I often say, perspective is SO important. 7/7 Emma also posted this poem: Chatting to Emma online this morning she wanted to emphasise to me that her daughter’s school has been UTTERLY brilliant. She had a response from her children’s form tutors within 12 minutes of emailing them and they have been sensitive and proactive in supporting her children. This moved Emma. It is so important that any family dealing with difficulty is supported by their school and I hope and trust that here at St. Helen’s College, we are there for families in times of need.  In today’s news blog we share a BBC Newsround link which might help if you would like to talk to your children about the events in Ukraine. We also share a link to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal which will enable them to assist in providing food, medicines, shelter and water for refugees and casualties of the war. Please follow the link if you would like to make a personal donation.  Writing this today and watching the news feeds has certainly put many things into perspective for me.   I wish you all a peaceful weekend and special thoughts go to those who are dealing with difficult times, particularly those affected by the events in Ukraine.  Mrs. Drummond P.S. Since writing this blog this morning I have heard that the team of journalists and Emma's husband are leaving Kiev, heading south to start their journey back to the UK. They have been there for several weeks but have decided that it is now too unstable for them to remain. Wishing them a safe return.
Posted on: 11/02/2022

Behaviour

This week we have a guest blog from our Deputy Head, Mr. McLaughlin. Back in January 2017, we did a whole-school review of our behaviour policies, rewards and sanctions. It is always healthy for schools to review and tweak their practice to get the very best out of their pupils, so we set out with an open mind to any suggestions or feedback from the school community. The general consensus was that behaviour across the school was excellent, but we also wanted a really clear set of simple guidelines for all of our children to follow and an even stronger set of reward systems in place so that we always give our first attention to positive behaviour.  We were visited by Pivotal Education, a company specialising in school behaviour systems and founded by Paul Dix, author of ‘When the Adults Change, Everything Changes.’  We chose Pivotal as we shared the same philosophy that consistent, calm adult behaviour is a pillar on which we can build a nurturing environment for children to flourish. This was already very well established within our school, so we cherry-picked the best parts of their approach and made some small changes to our procedures:  ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’ became a memorable and all-encompassing behaviour motto in our school. All examples of disruptive or negative behaviour seemed to fall into one of the three categories. Are you ready to learn? Are you being respectful to others? Is what you are doing safe? At the Upper School, we switched from yellow and red cards to the reflective breaks system. In this system, children attend a reflective break with an adult when their behaviour has not met our expectations to have a restorative conversation and reflective time. It is an opportunity for the child to reconnect with the adult, discuss why the behaviour was unacceptable, think about who it has affected and consider how it can be avoided or improved in future. At Lower School, we continued with Jenny Mosely's sun and cloud behaviour model. This gives the children instant feedback and opens up discussions about the impact of their behaviour on their learning. We initiated value spotters cards to run alongside our already existing reward systems such as house points, stickers and certificates. The value spotter cards and yellow notes from the golden pillar box are there to bring attention to all the fantastic examples of when the children are living out our school values such as friendliness, self-discipline, forgiveness and gratitude to name just a few. We take many opportunities to celebrate the achievements of the children through regular assemblies, being ‘on star’, class or table of the week and discussing special achievements in assemblies. One of the most powerful messages we can give the children is simply by noticing and reinforcing positive behaviour first and foremost in the classroom and around the school. It takes the whole staff, working together, to achieve the consistency necessary for effective systems. We are so lucky to have such a caring and committed team here, dedicated to this positive approach to behaviour management. Thinking back to my school days, the idea of detention seems rather odd now. Sitting in silence for a set amount of time might be viewed as a serious deterrent, an inconvenience, or a welcome break, depending on the individual, but there is essentially no teaching taking place. The same goes for a current trend in some British secondary schools of having isolation rooms for those exhibiting poor behaviour. The idea is that children may fear the consequences, their parents, their teachers (or all of the above) sufficiently that this will mould them into upstanding members of society… eventually! This stance is of course outdated and we understand so much more now about behaviour, motivation and the key role of relationships in supporting happy, positive young people. We have learned so much in the last twenty or thirty years about how childrens’ brains work. We know how the amygdala operates, how much it regulates our emotions and influences our reactions. We know about the effects of cortisol and adrenaline on emotional responses and we know how adverse childhood experiences can damage childrens’ limbic systems. We know how neural pathways are hardwired in the early stages of childhood, and how we have to work hard to overwrite the harm done by particular types of experiences at that age. ‘Don’t smile until Christmas,’ was an old adage in the world of teaching. The idea was that the class does not have to like you, they just need to do what you say! I have never found this saying to be anything other than complete nonsense. A smile can be so powerful, and anyone who has worked in schools or who has children can see that they absolutely thrive off connection. Pupil-centred approaches are not about being popular or ‘soft.’ We can be strict without being cruel; we can insist on high standards without being aggressive; we can set boundaries without being punitive. It demands professionalism and perseverance, but it is very achievable and our school is a testament to that. We need to remember as educators and parents that all behaviour is a form of communication. If a child’s negative behaviour makes you feel frustrated or upset, it is likely just a mirror of how they are feeling. Restorative conversations, coupled with our general pastoral care, help us to try to get to the bottom of any root causes of poor behaviour and find long-term solutions. These may be emotional or developmental but they will require some intervention and attention. As teachers, we would not allow a child who is struggling with a mathematical concept to flounder in silence or force them to sit staring at the textbook by themselves until they suddenly grasp it. We would sit with them, tackle the problem together and use all of our professional knowledge to find the best way forward. It doesn’t always stick, but the message is clear: we are here to help and to listen and we value your success. The same principle applies to behaviour. By having these conversations, we are telling the child that we care and that we are committed to making things better.  Five years on and the children at St. Helen’s College continue to excel. Feedback from the pupils is that their peers are very friendly, the adults in the school are fair and supportive and that behaviour in the school is still excellent. Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate and review our processes on a regular basis to ensure that all children at St. Helen’s College get the environment and opportunities that they deserve.  I have recently welcomed feedback from our staff and pupils on our school behaviour systems and we have a constant dialogue with our parents. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me: amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com. We must be reflective of what we do to achieve and maintain the highest standards.  Finally, it is important to remember that we are caring for and working with young children who, by and large, have not perfected the ways of behaviour and social etiquette just yet! We all make mistakes from time to time and that is how we learn - be kind to yourself and be kind to them!  Mr. McLaughlin  
Posted on: 4/02/2022

Weekly News - Friday 4th February 2022

Chinese New Year Celebrations Well done to all of the pupils who contributed this week to our Chinese New Year celebrations! In Monday's assembly, Ruby L presented a wonderful video she had made which explained the traditions behind Chinese New Year celebrations. Aman B shared a lovely video of himself and his neighbour performing a piece of Chinese guitar music and 3MB performed a 'Song of the Dragon' for us all too. 4T Class Assembly 4T presented a very meaningful class assembly today all about friendship and friendliness. They told a story about friendliness and did sign language along with a beautiful performance of the song 'You've Got A Friend In Me'. The children all spoke their lines confidently and it was clear to see that they were invested in the meaning of what they were presenting. Very well done, 4T. Travelling Natural History Museum Visits Nursery The Nursery children had the most wonderful dinosaur experience last Friday when they enjoyed a visit from the Travelling Natural History Museum! Dinoman told them all about the different dinosaurs. He shared information about their size and what they ate, explaining the difference between herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. The children were able to touch a real dinosaur claw and a T-Rex tooth as well as touching the dinosaur models and the baby dinosaur.  The boys and girls all enjoyed taking part in a dinosaur dig to find fossils and using dinosaur feet to stomp around! They also learnt about how the dinosaurs became extinct with a meteorite explosion but the crocodiles survived. This was a truly memorable experience which they will be talking about with joy for a very long time. You can see lots more photographs of their day on our Galleries page. Science Quiz Club Luka K, Aryan B, Advik S and Jacob N took part in the semi final of the Science Quiz Club competition today. They were up against strong competition and it was super to see them work so well as a team and enjoy the experience so much. Year 5 and Year 6 Basketball The children in Year 5 and Year 6 were very fortunate today to take part in basketball training sessions with Coach Pete and Coach Juan from the Thames Valley Cavaliers.          Thames Cavaliers Basketball It was super that so many families attended the basketball match last Saturday to support the Thames Cavaliers. The team have offered free tickets and pizza again this weekend for St. Helen's College pupils in Years 3 - 6. The match is on Sunday afternoon this week, with doors opening at 3 p.m. You can find details and pizza vouchers here and here. St. Helen's College children from Year 5 and 6 who are attending the match on Sunday will be taking part in a half time shoot out against another school. Sports Results It was a good week for the St. Helen's College football team this week as they won their mid-week game against Laurel Lane 6-0. Well done to all those who played. Cookery Club The Year 4 children in Cookery Club have had a stupendous time cooking and baking this half term. Their enthusiasm, appreciation and appetite for delicious food were evident! They have made sausage rolls and pizzas, and baked apple crumble cake and brownies. Ms Gilham has enjoyed sharing their love of food.       Online Safety National Online Safety have shared these two excellent guides about Respect on the Internet, one for parents and one for children. We will be discussing these in school with the children after half term, and would like to encourage parents to read them and discuss them at home too. Respect Online - Guide for Parents Respect Online - Guide for Children   Mother/Baby Mindfulness Classes Our next set of Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes will begin on Wednesday 23rd February, the week after half term. These are completely free to parents. They take place on Wednesday mornings at 9.00 a.m. in the Evans Hall at our Upper School site on Long Lane, opposite Lower School. Classes run in half termly blocks. Each class lasts for 45 minutes and is followed by optional tea/coffee/chat. The classes are led by Mrs. McLaughlin, one of our Year 3 teachers, who qualified as a PAUSE Baby Mindfulness practitioner after having her first baby a couple of years ago. They provide a safe space for mums and babies to bond and relax, taking part in Mindfulness exercises and some very gentle yoga, and have proved very popular so far. If you would like to join the set of six classes starting in February, please email susmith@sthelenscollege.com with your baby's name and date of birth and your telephone number. Please do also feel free to share the information about the classes with any other friends or family who might have a baby (birth to crawling - no crawlers allowed!). They don't have to have children at St. Helen's College (or intend to send children here) to come along - the classes are free to anyone. IAPS iArt Competition  After the success of iArt 2021, in which Arya A at St. Helen's College was a winner, IAPS will be running the competition again in 2022 and hopes to receive more submissions than ever. Shortlisted entrants will receive prizes of vouchers for local independent bookshops.   This year, the competition will have a theme and all submissions must in some way relate to this theme. The theme is my role model.   This theme has been chosen because IAPS is interested to see who inspires pupils, who motivates them, who they admire and who they would like to be like when they grow up. The role models can be anyone: someone personal e.g. a family member, friend, teacher, coach, librarian, a member of the local community; someone “in general” e.g. nurses, doctors, train drivers, farmers; someone public e.g. a famous person, such as a sportsperson, environmentalist, singer While IAPS encourages pupils to attempt a portrait of their role model, pupils – and particularly, younger pupils – should feel free to just paint / draw / create something which reminds them of their role model instead. For example, if a pupil’s role model is David Attenborough, they might choose to paint trees and animals, or if their role model is a parent, they might choose to draw a picture of their house.  Each pupil must write a maximum of 100 words in a sentence or two to accompany their piece of work, saying 'My role model is...because...'. Entries will be judged on a) interpretation of the theme; b) creativity around the theme; c) overall design; d) and that ‘certain something’ that just draws you to the artwork! There is no set format for entries and artwork can be submitted in any medium. Submissions can be paintings, drawings, or models, any size, and use any art supplies.     There are five categories for the iArt competition: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6, Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10.  Each school may enter one piece of art for each category. For example, one piece of artwork representing the Years 5 & 6 category, not one artwork from Year 5 and one from Year 6.   The competition opens for entries on Thursday, 6 January. The deadline for submission is noon on Wednesday, 4 May and the shortlist will be announced later that month. Winners will be invited to attend an awards ceremony which will take place towards the end of June.   Pupils who would like to enter this competition should submit their pieces of art and accompanying sentences directly to Mrs. Pruce or via their class teacher. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Pruce will judge which entries to put forward from St. Helen's College. This might be a lovely half term activity for the children. Good luck everyone and happy creating! Dining Room Etiquette We are encouraging parents to support us in helping pupils with their dining room etiquette at lunch times. We have in the past run 'Cutlery Club' but are hoping that you may be able to share your 'eating etiquette' with your children and this video here may be helpful for you. We will be assisting the pupils in the dining room and will discuss knife and fork skills and table etiquette in assemblies over the next few weeks.
Posted on: 4/02/2022

Habits Of Learning

Children in Years 1-6 will soon be receiving their first interim report of this academic year.  Reporting to parents in this manner is only one of the ways in which we communicate your child’s progress to you.  Regular communication between teachers and parents is important thus there should be no surprises in your child’s February report. Several years ago we made changes to our reporting process to capture what we felt as educators was important to report to parents to enable them to support the children’s progress. Ultimately all parents have joined St. Helen’s College to give their child/children the best start in life, investing in their futures, and during your child’s journey with us we aspire to fulfil our school aims, which are: Love of Learning We aim to inspire a lifelong thirst for creative, stimulating and rewarding learning, leading to the full development of every child’s academic potential. Personal Growth We aim to instil core moral values, inspiring virtue, responsibility, resilience, independence, mindful self-awareness and a desire for continuing self-development. Involvement and Challenge We aim to inspire an ongoing desire to develop talents, nurture the widest possible range of interests, and contribute to society as confident, compassionate and responsible citizens and leaders of the future. Fostering good habits of learning is essential to the children’s success. Cultivating these habits has a profound impact on their achievement and their ability to thrive both in and out of the classroom. The Habits of Learning we focus on are: Organisation and readiness Collaboration Initiative and resourcefulness Self-discipline (Years 1, 2 and 3) / Focus on Learning (Years 4, 5 and 6) Independent work  (added from Year 2) All children will develop these habits of learning at different rates. In the reports, we give parents an indicator of where we perceive their development of these habits on a continuum from ‘cause for concern’ to ‘excellent’. What is important is that we understand how to support each child in developing good habits to become a good learner.  Mrs. Hunt’s blog on ‘Sleep’ is critical to your child developing these habits and having good routines both at home and school will help to foster your child’s learning habits.  There is a super article in Nursery World magazine which discusses the value of routines - you can read it here.   Over the past few years as a whole school we have been explicitly engaging the pupils in our ‘meta-learning strategies’ in order to assist in nurturing good habits of learning. We are confident that when our pupils leave us at the end of Year 6 they have a superb understanding of ‘how’ to be a good learner and it is always so rewarding when we have feedback from our senior schools on how well our pupils settle and what they achieve in their new schools. We urge parents to discuss the habits of learning with your children and to help them to develop these habits even when they are at home. This could be as simple as packing their own bags (organisation), attempting their homework without adult support/input (but please do take an interest without doing it for them) or encouraging them to ask questions about their learning and the world around them.  Learning is a lifelong activity and if the children can see that adults are lifelong learners too, then this will motivate them to become curious and independent and to aspire to greater things.  So maybe as adults too we should review our own habits of learning. Give yourself time to reflect on you as a learner, what habits do you still need to cultivate and improve upon?   Do not worry though - we will not be asking you to give yourself an interim report!  We hope that you will find your child's report useful and informative and a springboard for conversations with your child about how they learn. Mrs. Drummond

327 Blog Posts found - Showing 19-27

  1. First
  2. ..
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. ..
  8. Last