I have been so pleased this week to see that groups of parents are gradually being admitted to the school estate once more. Whilst we are limiting numbers at this stage to 20 parents for any single briefing or meeting, the measure marks another step in the normalisation of practice in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the next two months, we will gradually ease restrictions further. As long as the school maintains its excellent health and safety record and there is no influenza outbreak to compound the risk of a second wave of coronavirus, the school will be able to accommodate ever greater numbers of parents at our events.
There is little doubt that we as a community have missed the daily personal interaction with our families and that the coronavirus has created an artificial barrier between us. As a result, parents new to the school have rarely been able to see how the school operates and how their child’s classes are conducted. Longer-standing parents have missed out on the regular opportunities to meet with staff and to catch up with one another through the FOW. Whilst our written communications between school and home have grown over the past nine months, I know how much we all value the connections we make through in-person meetings and discussions. They have been an invaluable part of raising mutual understanding, particularly in terms of communicating the often-complex school practices and curriculum information. Explaining a child’s pathway through learning in each year group is more engaging and accessible to parents if they can physically be in school.
As we open up to more parents, the food committees, Meet the Master sessions, parent briefings and university admissions' sessions are all once again in-person events (although please note that prior registration for attendance is still required at least 24hrs in advance). One of the first events that will see parents here is our annual 'bring your mother to school' day for pupils in year 7 on Thursday 29th. Mums of this year group should register with Ms Shen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they wish to attend. The day will involve shadowing your child in lessons, as well as participating in class, having lunch, doing ASAs and PE and meeting Mrs Popovic and Ms Shen at the end of day. It is a great way to learn more about the education we offer here at Wellington and provides an invaluable insight into the busy nature of a typical day in school for your child.
There will still need to be some events online – most obviously, as a result of the numbers involved, our parents' evenings continue to be on Teams – but the aim in all our communications is to provide parents with more information about the school and its practices. We want to be as open and transparent as possible in sharing details of our programmes of study, pedagogy and expectations of each child, so if you do have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
As I come towards the end of my second week as the head of the Nest, there are many things to think about.
I am busy planning how we can develop our outdoor learning area to make it exciting for the children. I have been thinking about what new stories we can use across the year to introduce new knowledge and skills to the children. I have been planning ahead for so many things! Then I stopped…just for a while. It is very important to plan ahead, to be prepared for the future, to have a 'road map' for the school improvement journey. It is also essential that you stop looking ahead from time to time and look at what is happening now. To reflect on what it is like for the children right now.
It has been a privilege to spend time in the classrooms in the Nest to see what the children have been doing over the last two weeks. There has been a trip to the river and another to the farm. The children are always excited to go on trips, to do something different, to visit somewhere new. It was wonderful to listen to their animated chatter when they returned to school; to hear the buzz in the school from children who were excited to learn.
I have seen the youngest children in the Nest show how independent they can be during meal times. They showed me how involved they were when listening to a new story about vegetables, especially when the actual vegetables were there to touch, see and smell – it is little things like this, that brings learning to life.
Nursery pupils are always active and busy when I pop in. Last week they were enjoying the story of the very hungry caterpillar. They were busy counting the food the caterpillar ate, naming the different foods and being very engaged with the story. It is so important that children are familiar with a set of quality books. By understanding storybook language, we learn so much about how to learn to be a writer.
I have also had a sneak peek at the show that Reception pupils have prepared for you. Let me tell you, you are in for a treat. They have worked hard learning the story in English and Chinese. They have learned songs and dances. I have seen this production grow and develop over the last two weeks. I have also seen the children grow and develop in confidence while rehearsing the show. Even children who have joined us very recently were singing and dancing happily. How wonderful it is to see such confident young children.
Our oldest children in year 1 have shown me how hard they are working learning phonics. I watched as children were learning a new sound. They were so focused on listening and learning. They worked well together in their groups, contributing to the session and making their teacher proud.
So this week the note from the Nest is to let you know that your children are working hard and putting in a lot of effort to succeed. Together we will go on this incredible journey of discovery, children, families and staff, learning new things together.
I really do have the best job in the world!
FROM THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
Digital Parenting Week 2020
Last year's e-learning period that spanned the Lent term was a difficult time for all of us. There was considerable stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 outbreak which presented a significant obstacle to the teaching and learning process. Our teachers' and pupils' desire to continue teaching and learning effectively throughout the e-learning period would not have resulted in such a success without the support of a group of people involved in this process, and a key stakeholder - our pupils' parents. They did a tremendous job of supporting their children throughout e-learning, both by assisting them through the learning process and by supporting them emotionally when the burden of separation from peers, teachers, and friends, as well as increased screen time began taking its toll on our pupils' wellbeing. We would like to offer gratitude to all parents by marking their enormous contribution to the e-teaching and e-learning process through a Digital Parenting Week which will present our pupils with the opportunity to express their appreciation to their parents through assemblies, thank-you cards, and kind words of gratitude.
Happy Digital Parenting Week 2020!
FROM THE PASTORAL AND SAFEGUARDING LEAD
Halloween parade and fancy-dress day
Friday, 30th October
All pupils are welcome to dress up for the whole day in their Halloween costumes.
There will be a Halloween Parade led by the Junior School at 10:35. The Senior School will be joined by Milepost 3 in the Theatre at 1500hrs for the "Halloween's Best Dressed Competition".
Pupils are expected to donate 10RMB to dress up and class teachers and housemasters will collect on the day. Money will be donated to a local charity. Happy Halloween!
A listening walk along the river
0930hrs - 1100hrs, Monday
As part of our phonics learning of environmental sounds, Nursery children will go for a 'listening walk' to a nearby park, across the school along the Haihe River on the 26th October.
The main purpose of this trip is to develop children’s listening skills and their awareness of sounds in the environment. We will encourage the children to listen attentively to the sounds around them and talk about the different sounds they can hear. The children will be helped to make a list of all the sounds they can hear and note them down in their 'Sound Booklet'.
Monday 26 October 2020
Week 10 (B) (Campus)
Junior School: Parent meeting week (to 6th) (RA)
9:30AM - 11:00AM
Nursery Class trip (JB)
Wednesday 28 October 2020
ISCOT Y4-6 Robotics Day
3:05PM - 3:45PM
Junior School assembly (RA) (Theatre)
Thursday 29 October 2020
Year 7: Take your mother to school day (SS)
2:00PM - 3:00PM
Meet the Master: Years 2-6 (ES) (In School)
Friday 30 October 2020
Nest assembly (Theatre)
3:05PM - 3:45PM
Halloween parade and dress up day (TR) (Campus)
Saturday 31 October 2020
Saturday Activity Programme (SAP) (EvK) (Campus)