Contributing to networks and working in an interconnected way is a critical aspect of modern life. There is no shortage of evidence to show that building positive relationships with those around us is critical to success in both professional and personal lives. To this end, the focus of Flourish & Fly: Be Networked Week, centred upon strengthening the connections between our younger and older pupils.
Through the launch of a Syd Sister network, all pupils have been assigned either an older or younger Syd Sister with whom they have spent time getting to know this week, collating a fact file about her. As well as providing mentor opportunities for older pupils, it offers younger pupils an insight into life at the top end of the school and the chance to learn about how other pupils overcome challenges and make the most of their time in school.
Thank you to Miss Leighton-Rahman for organising this great initiative.
Pupils across the Prep School enjoyed marking the Chinese New Year with a variety of exciting celebrations and activities. Chinese New Year 2019 animal sign is the Brown Pig. The Chinese calendar combines solar, lunar and 60 Stem-Branch counting systems. The 60 Stem-Branch calendar uses the names of Yin Yang Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) and 12 animals to rank the sequences. Five elements are connected to five colors – White, Black, Green, Red, and Brown. So Chinese use the colour animal name to count the year. The name of 2019 is the Female Earth Pig. Brown is connected to Earth. Therefore, 2019 is also called Brown Earth Pig Year.
Pupils in Year 3 were treated to a fantastic presentation about Chinese New Year from parent, Mrs Yap. It was wonderful to get a first-hand insight into how Chinese New year Celebrations come to long amongst our school community and we are very grateful to Mrs Yap for giving up her time.
Pupils in Reception were particularly enthusiastic about enacting traditional dragon parades and dances. This will set them in good stead for their upcoming trip to Chinatown in Soho!
On Thursday 7 February pupils on our Socrates Programme were treated to a day of discovery with author and lecturer, Christopher Lloyd.
The first session was about developing a lifelong love of learning. Christopher told his own personal story and outlined his theory of learning based on the 5 WOWs which goes into evolutionary biology focusing in particular on the human brain. It focused on the importance of developing an interconnected framework for learning (which is how the brain works), mentioning Socrates in the process!
This was followed by a session taking the pupils on a journey through the history of Absolutely Everything! – one of his fantastic books – demonstrating how you can connect the history of nature and humanity into a single sweeping narrative. He used his new book and a series of everyday objects in a multi-coloured coat of many pockets!
During lunchtime Christopher signed many books for pupils across the school and then the Socrates workshop continued with the final session where the girls divided into teams to make their own timelines and presented them back to each other in groups.
It was an enlightening day and much knowledge was gained, all whilst having fun!
On Tuesday morning our two year 6 classes combined forces to showcase the work they have been doing since the end of the 11+ process at the start of January. Through the lens of 1001 Arabian Nights, the girls retold some of these famous middle Eastern folk tales that were popular during the Islamic Golden Age. What is common throughout all the editions of the 1001 Arabian Nights is the tale of the ruler Shahryar and his wife Scheherazade.
The assembly also included a confident investigation of the arabic number system and the structure and organisation of the ancient city of Baghdad. Well done to everyone who took part!
Eco Week has been a great success and every pupil should be congratulated on her contribution. Our Eco Reps and Eco Queens did a fantastic job of promoting the key messages of each themed day as well as spreading passion and enthusiasm for making small changes that can make a big difference.
Highlights of the week included a thought provoking assembly from the Eco Reps about litter picking and ways to ‘break up’ with plastic as well as daily pop-up information stands about the work of Friends of the Earth, spring bulb and vegetable planting and the unveiling of a new composter in the outdoor classroom.
We were delighted to welcome Mrs Giles, mother of Vivienne in Y2, into school twice this week to talk to us about the ingenious ways food waste can be transformed into different useful products for the home. Did you know potato peel can be repurposed to create building insulation and pineapples to make trainers? Selecting products made in this way allows us to look after the world around us.
On Wednesday our Eco Reps took their learning out into Wells Park. Giving up their time after school, our Reps investigated the flora and fauna of the our local park. This excursion helped our Reps learn more about the plants and wildlife we all have the responsibility for protecting and nurturing.
On Thursday we took our Eco Week messages beyond the school gates and displayed placards and messages outside the school encouraging members of the local community to reduce car pollution in the area around the school.
The end of the week culminated with a lively Campfire Friday in the outdoor classroom. This time was used to reflect on the successes and key messages of the week as well as celebrate everything achieved over the past five days.
A huge thank you goes out to Mr Welsh who has driven the week with relentless passion and enthusiasm, as well as all the parents and friends of the school who supported this week’s activities.
Since returning to school after the Christmas break we have been working on launching coaching conversations as a strategy for empowering pupils to take responsibility for challenging situations in which they may find themselves. Our focus for the term is HAPPINESS and in recent assemblies and circle times we have been exploring the power and responsibility we have all have for our happiness.
We have considered the reality that life is not a constant; we all must deal with highs and lows, bumps in the road and take the rough with the smooth. Coaching conversations help individuals truly understand what the problem they are dealing with is, identify the options available to addressing it, consider the impact of not taking any action and then commit to making a change. These conversations provide space to explore an issue deeply and without judgement from the coach.
Following a staff training focus on coaching and its merits in school, two year 6 pupils, Saskia and Amy, have been trained by Mrs Mitchell Morgan as our first Kid Coaches. Using a bespoke model entitled SPIRE which was devised by Prep School, these pupils are ready to conduct simple coaching conversations with willing peers. On Wednesday Saskia and Amy presented an assembly to the rest of Prep School in which they shared their learning and advocacy for the coaching conversation model. One of the highlights of the assembly was the screening of a video of a coaching conversation they both participated in recently.
Over the coming weeks we will be training up more year 6 Kid Coaches to spread the SPIRE model of coaching conversations around the school with the ultimate aim of establishing a cluster of ‘coaching corners’ in the Prep School playground. We will also share sample coaching conversations in the weekly bulletin alongside some resources for families to use at home if they wish.
Last weekend, nine of our students attended a Model United Nations conference at St Paul’s Boys’ School, beginning Friday afternoon and concluding Sunday.
There were over 200 delegates from schools across London, including Eton, Westminster, Godolphin and Latymer, Merchant Taylor’s and City of London. Five of our delegates represented the Ukraine (Daisy Pope, Nina Mattinson, Kaisha-Wade Speid, Evie Winter and Katie Charlton) and four represented Venezuela (Olympia Agapiou, Eleanor Press, Olivia Snaith and Zehra Sami).
All of our girls gave an excellent account of themselves and did themselves and the school proud. Congratulations, however, must go to Olivia Snaith (year 11), who won an award for most accurate representation of her country, and to Zehra Sami (year 12 ) who won an award for being the best novice speaker in her committee. These awards are a real accolade since out of over 200 delegates, only about 15 are awarded and Sydenham High pupils were awarded two.
Well done to all our delegates who were outstanding ambassadors for the school and who worked so hard for the event. Thank you to Mr Stevens and to Mrs Saunders who gave so generously of their time to support this conference over the weekend.
On Thursday, year 5 enjoyed a fabulously inspiring day at the Design Museum in High Street Kensington.
The visit provided an insight into the skills Britain’s leading designers use to meet the needs of consumers around the world. Pupils participated in a hands-on workshop entitled Stranger by Design, in which they had the opportunity to explore unconventional design that often hides the true meaning of an object’s function.
They also had the chance to look around the museum’s permanent collections to pick up inspiration for the design work they will be doing back at Prep School. Thank you to the parent helpers who volunteered to accompany the trip. We hope you enjoyed the visit as much as the girls.