News from our Principal

9th February 2017

Dear Parents

On Friday 10th February our High School participated in the ISA Interschool Athletics.  I realised again how important it is to teach our students discipline and structure.

Our students have made us proud as we won the Spirit cup for our War cry, in addition to overall third place, as well as Junior and Senior Victrix Ludorum in the girl’s section.

We wish to congratulate the following students for their achievements:

Samantha Murphy – Victrix Ludorum Senior girls
Carla Platt – Victrix Ludorum Junior girls

Individual age group winners:

Garth Webb U/13 boys
Carla Platt U/15 girls
Cloe Goldman U/14 girls
Samantha Murphy U/17 girls

It is important that we praise our students with positive affirmation as they most often respond to this better and in return achieve greater results!  We are proud of the impeccable manner in which they behaved as well as participated.  We surely strive to be better each time!

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation” – Nelson Mandela

 


2nd February 2017

A true scholar never stops learning and this week I was privileged enough to learn so much. Whilst dealing with a few situations this week at school, I realised again that some situations need wisdom and in other situations we need knowledge.  As trained teachers we are taught specific subject knowledge and content which we apply in our classes on a daily basis, however, at times no content from a book can cover or solve all situations.

When exploring a book store, looking for guidance, we will often come across titles such as “Manners for Minors”, “Dealing with a Gifted Child” and so many more.  I agree that we can learn through aiding ourselves with tools such as these.  However, from personal experience, I have always found that the best and most rewarding lessons in life are gained through experience, whether it be from my own accord or even others.  I am no expert, I learn something new each day, however, I always embrace guidance from the older generation.  Their wise words are invaluable to me and I have managed to build a strong foundation upon these words.

Lessons I have learned though is that anger often provokes anger, but love covers a multitude of errors.  Our children too often spend their time through technology more than physical activity.  Deep conversations with loved ones are by far more enriching than a television series.  As teachers, we have an opportunity daily to enrich students through our subject knowledge, but most importantly by applying wisdom to the correct situation.

When a child acts out, there is a need.  When he/she is angry there is often a gap that needs filling.  Patience, love and care cannot be taught in a lecture hall.  To recognise an aching little heart requires wisdom and understanding. I had the privilege of spending some time with two wonderful students this week who could not manage the “pressure” of the classroom environment.  In making time to listen to them, I found once again that all children are unique and their needs are different.

I wish to encourage my staff and every parent this week, to acquire an attentive wise heart when it comes to our children.  They need  our care as much as the knowledge we impart through our lesson material.

Wisdom is taking the right knowledge and applying it to the right situation at the right time.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead!


26th January 2017

Dear Parents

Week two at Blouberg International deemed to be very exiting indeed.  We had two very successful parent information evenings held on Tuesday 24th of January for the Foundation Stage and 25th of January for Key stage 1 and 2.  We do appreciate the diligence which you have shown in supporting the staff by attending.

We trust that the video clip of IES which was shown during these meetings gave you thorough insights as to our goals and that it has you as excited about future exchanges between schools, as it has us as a staff.

This week we had the pleasure of Mrs Adele Searle (Head of Mathematics at St John’s in the UK) visit our school.  She spent two days at our sister schools in Houtbay and Helderberg and two days at our school. It is unfortunate that she has to return to the UK or else we would have kept her in sunny Cape Town.  Her current head at St John’s, Mr Mike Burgess has kindly requested that she not be poached by myself as this would mean the loss of his best mathematics teacher!  She is a great asset to the IES group globally and our school greatly benefited from her visit.

Mrs Searle is a wealth of knowledge; both students and staff enjoyed her wisdom and passion alike.  It is the heart of IES for all our schools “to be better”.  The initiative of training and sharing skills amongst our teachers is high on the agenda.  Continuous networking amongst our schools will definitely ensure that we are always thinking ahead and planning accordingly.  As I have mentioned at the information meetings, proper planning prevents poor performance and therefore, we need to raise the bar in terms of continuous communication and transparency.

The great team spirit of sharing between the various IES schools reminded me of the Southern Africa philosophy of “Ubuntu” – humanity or humanity towards others.  The belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.

We are looking forward to our Key stage 2 and High school sports days on Friday, 27th and Saturday, 28th of January and wish every student all the best as they compete in their individual events.

Warm regards Edna


8th December 2016

Encouraging and inspiring parting words from our

Principal Mr Andrew Norris 

Dear Parents

And so, the curtains draw on yet another school year, full of achievements and memories. We offer congratulations to the High School Students who have successfully navigated their way through the challenges of the year-end exams and to the Primary School Students, who worked diligently and energetically to see out the final academic challenges of the year.

We extend our profound appreciation to our teaching staff who have worked tirelessly to bring the year through to a successful close. The many hours of setting and marking exams, writing reports while at the same time maintaining productivity in the classroom make for a very demanding time of the year and well done to all the staff who have managed the ‘juggling’ act.

Our Year 12 Class of 2016 ended their formal school careers during the course of this term. By most accounts the CIE AS-Level examinations were challenging in some respects but generally regarded by our Grade 12s as “fair”.  This is testimony to the relentless effort and thorough preparation by the staff and the students. We would like to wish the Class of 2016 everything of the best as they leave the safety of the school environment and now wait in anticipation for the release of the CIE results on 10 January 2017 which will be followed by the release of the IGCSE results on 17 January.

  • Congratulations to Ms Edna Carolissen on her appointment to Principal (2017) of Blouberg International School. We have had the opportunity to work closely over the course of the fourth term and I am extremely confident that Ms Carolissen will continue to grow Blouberg International, taking it to new heights.

I would like to thank IES and in particular our Chairman Mr Andrew McEwen for the continued support that we receive, without which we would not have the wonderful facilities that we do have.  IES’s goal of providing an all-encompassing international education at an affordable price is what makes Blouberg International a quintessential part of the greater Tableview.

We wish all of our families a blessed Christmas, joyous New Year and safe travels make the most of the time you have with family and loved ones.

In parting I would like to share some words that I try to live by with you.  They allow me to assess where I am in my personal space and make appropriate adjustments.  I hope that it inspires you motivates you:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;

…Forgive them anyway!

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

…Be kind anyway!

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

…Succeed anyway!

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

…Be honest and frank anyway!

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

…Build anyway!

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

…Be happy anyway!

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

…Do good anyway!

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

…Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

…It was never between you and them anyway!

Best Regards

Mr Andrew Norris (Principal)

 


24 November 2016

Dear Parents
As we enter the last week of examinations it is to be expected that some of our scholars begin to tire.  It is important as parents that we help keep our children focused right up until the end of their examinations.  What is important is that they do not give up.  When they are tired, they need to dig deep and find some more energy.  The continued effort will ensure that they stay ahead and get the results they deserve.  I thought I would share this with those that are still in the throes of their examinations in the hope that it would inspire them right up until ‘the end’.

giraffe“Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears.
Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels. When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work. “They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.”

MR ANDREW NORRIS
PRINCIPAL


20 October 2016

This year has seen Blouberg International host three separate productions on our newly acquired stage.

High School Musical – Fame
Key Stage 1 and 2 Play – Tangled and Twisted
Foundation Stage Concert – A Night at the Movies

This is definitely a first for Blouberg International and I would like to commend the students and staff on the many hours put into planning and rehearsing.  More importantly we need to acknowledge their commitment to ensuring that all three productions were of an exceptional high standard.  Education can unintentionally influence against creativity.  The challenge for teachers and parents is therefore to keep that creativity alive.  Providing opportunities to experience new ways of thinking is one answer.  The sharing of perspectives with other cultures, ages, genders, races and faiths leads to greater empathy and respect for difference and diversity.  Thinking outside the box of our own preconceptions or naive first responses is also what gives creative role play its power to liberate the mind.

Still, there is far more that creative role play can do.  At the centre of all performances is communication. Like all the arts, creative role play allows students to communicate with and understand others in new ways.  Perhaps more than any other art form, acting and performing on stage also provides training in the very practical aspects of communication, so necessary in today’s increasingly information-centred world.  Students who have participated in dramatic activities are less likely to have difficulty speaking in public, will be more persuasive in their communications, both written and oral, will be better able to put themselves into others’ shoes and relate to them, and will have a more positive, confident self-image.  Participation in dramatic activities requires self-control and discipline that will serve the student well in all aspects of life.  Students performing on stage will learn to work together, cooperate, find the best way for each member of a group to contribute, and to listen to and accept the viewpoints and contributions of others.

tangled-twisted-1-2

Acting on stage also helps students develop tolerance and empathy.  In order to play a role competently, an actor must be able to fully inhabit another’s soul.  An actor must be able to really understand how the world looks through another person’s eyes.  In today’s increasingly polarized and intolerant culture, the ability to understand others’ motives and choices is critical.  It is therefore imperative that we afford our students the opportunity to step up onto a stage to perform, to see the world through the eyes of someone else and to learn from that experience.


10

We have received the official invitation which you can view by clicking on the following Hyperlink:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BycwvOi0uuVLLXIzcEhwSTNPNW8/view?usp=sharing

All the details, including the terms and conditions of each competition are going to be sent soon however here is a brief description of the festival for you.

  • Each school to send a maximum of 16 participants.  Preferably 8 girls and 8 boys.
  • Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age.
  • Registration takes place from October 2016 to January 2017.
  • The following sporting disciplines will be on offer:
  • 6-a-side Football
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Swimming (Individual and Team)
  • Aquathlon (The sport of aquathlon consists of a continuous, two-stage race involving swimming followed by running.)
  • “The Race”

Due to the fact that there is a limit to the number of students we can send, it is imperative that you let us know via email if your child will be attending next year’s Inter SEK festival.   Please send this email of confirmation including your child’s name, age and Year group to trindade.camara@iesmail.com. The submissions will be on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis so it is important to send this email to avoid disappointment.  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding the Inter SEK 2017.


Sports News

Please click here https://www.facebook.com/IES.Blouberg/ to view our students recent outstanding achievements.

During the school holidays three of our students participated in the Central Disas Tennis Trails and represented our school with pride.

c69d89b0-10c8-4400-9f86-6f1405c4c929Year 5 student Micheal Knowles made it through to the second round in an intensely competitive under-10 age group.

 

Kimsley Gatakata, Year 5, qualified as a reserve for the Zonal Team!  Congratulations to him and Keno Theart also Year 5 who also qualified for the Zonal Team. He will be representing the Central Zone in the Inter Zonal trials which take place on Saturday, 29th October.

dsc_25011We would also like to congratulate Year 5 student, Liam Gardner, for being selected for the District North under-11 Cricket Squad.

It is great to see Blouberg International students achieving higher honors on the sport field.

We would also like to congratulate Year 5 student, Liam Gardner for being selected for the District North U11 Cricket Squad.

It is great to see Blouberg students achieving higher honours on our sport fields.

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


25 August 2016

Last Saturday saw our students travel through to Hout Bay to participate in the annual Inter IES Winter Sports Day.  After a cold and windy start to the day, it turned out to be a lovely day with hardly a breath of wind.  Hout Bay International hosted the event at their beautiful new school grounds and visitors were made to feel very welcome.

The event ran extremely well and chatting to both players and parents, they all enjoyed themselves. Congratulations must go to Mr Ruskovich, Principal of Hout Bay International and his team at Hout Bay for the efficient manner in which the event was run and on behalf of Blouberg International I would like to thank Mr Ruskovich and his staff.

There was some real talent shown on the Netball and Football fields but what really impressed me was the spirit in which all the matches were played.  While there was some serious competitiveness, players never lost sight of the fact that we were all part of the same family, the IES family.  Congratulations to all the teams that participated and well done to the teams that won a trophy at the end of the event.  I have always believed that winning is in participating and so in my eyes everyone who participated on Saturday was a winner.

We look forward to another production this term, this time from our Foundation Phase children.  They have been rehearsing for their concert ‘A Night at the Movies’ which they will be performing on Thursday, 1st and Friday, 2nd of September.  Tickets are on sale on Quicket and it is advisable to buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.


18 August 2016

Last week saw our Junior Hall transformed into a theater with the high school students taking to the stage to perform the musical FAME.  The staff and cast worked extremely hard in the build up to the production, rehearsing over weekends and late into the evenings during the week.  All the hard work certainly paid off and the cast definitely impressed with their acting and singing capabilities.  Speaking to the audience after the performances, it was clear that our first ever high school production was a huge success.

I would like to thank everyone that was involved with the production and for making the event such a memorable one.  While there are many people that helped and we are very grateful, I would like to name a few.

Mr Smal and Ms Ocker were passionate about the production and their belief in the cast.  They worked tirelessly to ensure that the production was of a high standard and were great motivators for the rest of the team involved with the production.  It was wonderful to see their interaction with the cast during rehearsals, bringing the best out in every member of the cast.

The cast must get a mention as well.  They gave up days during the holidays, weekends and evenings to be at rehearsal.  This required massive dedication and commitment and I am extremely proud of what they accomplished with all the hard work.  The students’ talent at Blouberg International School continues to amaze me and I can’t wait for the next high school performance.

We look forward to another production this term, this time from our Foundation Phase students.  They have been rehearsing for their concert, ‘A Night at the Movies’ which they will be performing on Thursday, 1st and Friday, 2nd September.  Tickets will be on sale on Quicket and it is advisable to buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

This Saturday Blouberg International’s Netball and Soccer team’s travel to Hout Bay International to take part in the annual Inter IES Winter Sports Day.  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow IES students on and off the sports fields and there is always good comradery.  I encourage all our students, regardless of whether they are playing or not, and parents to come through to Hout Bay International on Saturday to support our teams and to share in the fun of the day.

     

Please visit our Facebook page to view the FAME album

Click below
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1237512976281165.1073741972.168561683176305&type=3


4 August 2016

Yesterday saw South Africans taking to the polling stations to make their vote and for the first time, Blouberg International was an official voting station.  From as early as 06h30, there was a line of people waiting to vote and for most of the day the line extended from the hall to the carpark.

The IEC members were very complimentary about our facilities and talking to some of the public waiting patiently in the long lines, Blouberg International was a welcome upgrade from the usual marquee that provided no shelter from the elements.  Having so many people walk through our wonderful school was an ideal opportunity to showcase our facilities and listening to the talk our visitors were very impressed with Blouberg International.

  

The excitement in the high school continues to mount as we draw closer to the staging of our first ever high school musical production.  Once again I must commend the staff, students and the parents for their commitment.  I am looking forward to seeing our students perform and know that they will ‘own’ the stage.  Tickets for the shows are fast selling out and I encourage parents, who are planning to attend, to buy their tickets from Quicket as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

I trust that everyone will enjoy their long weekend and if you are travelling, do so safely.


5 May 2016

Metacognition refers to awareness of one’s own knowledge—what one does and doesn’t know—and one’s ability to understand, control, and manipulate one’s cognitive processes.  It includes knowing when and where to use particular strategies for learning and problem solving as well as how and why to use specific strategies. Metacognition is the ability to use prior knowledge to plan a strategy for approaching a learning task, take necessary steps to problem solve, reflect on and evaluate results, and modify one’s approach as needed.Last week I was fortunate to attend the annual Cambridge Schools Conference at St John’s College in Johannesburg with Ms Kiley and Ms Carolissen.  A large number of delegates from all over the world converged on St John’s and it was wonderful to meet and discuss common issues as well as to network.  The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Leading Learning’ and a lot of emphasis was placed on metacognition.  So what is metacognition?5 May 2016

Cognitive strategies are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn (e.g., recalling information from memory, analysing sounds and images, making associations between or comparing/contrasting different pieces of information, and making inferences or interpreting text).  They help an individual achieve a particular goal, such as comprehending text or solving a math problem, and they can be individually identified and measured.  In contrast, metacognitive strategies are used to ensure that a learning goal is being or has been reached.  Examples of metacognitive activities include planning how to approach a learning task, using appropriate skills and strategies to solve a problem, monitoring one’s own comprehension of text, self-assessing and self-correcting in response to the self-assessment, evaluating progress toward the completion of a task, and becoming aware of things that distract us.

Metacognitive knowledge can be divided into three categories:

Person variables:

What one knows about his or her strengths and weaknesses in learning and processing information.

Task variables:

What one knows or can figure out about the nature of a task and the thinking tools that will be required to complete the task—for example, knowledge that it will take more time to read, comprehend, and remember a technical article than it will a similar-length passage from a novel.

Strategy variables:

The strategies a person has “at the ready” to apply in a flexible way to successfully finish a task –  for example, knowing how to use prior knowledge before reading a technical article, using a glossary to look up unfamiliar words, or recognizing that sometimes one has to reread a paragraph several times before it makes sense.

If I look at myself mathematically, these three categories can be easily summed up.  I know that I (person variable) have difficulty with word problems (task variable), so I will answer the computational problems first and save the word problems for last (strategy variable).

Understanding requires both cognitive and metacognitive elements.  Students “construct knowledge” using cognitive strategies, and they guide, regulate, and evaluate their learning using metacognitive strategies.  It is through this “thinking about thinking,” this use of metacognitive strategies, that real learning occurs. As students become more skilled at using metacognitive strategies, they gain confidence and become more independent as students.  Individuals who demonstrate a wide variety of metacognitive skills will generally perform better on exams and complete work more efficiently, they are also the individuals that do well at university.  They use the right tool for the job, and they modify learning strategies as needed, identifying blocks to learning and changing strategies to ensure they achieve their goals.

Cambridge International Examinations encourages students to become more strategic thinkers by helping them focus on the ways they process information. Self-questioning, reflective journal writing, and discussing their thought processes with other students are among the ways that teachers can encourage students to examine and develop their metacognitive processes.

To increase our metacognitive abilities we should:

  1. Develop a plan before approaching a learning task, such as reading for comprehension or solving a math problem.

During the planning phase, students can ask; What am I supposed to learn? What prior knowledge will help me with this task? What should I do first? What should I look for in this reading? How much time do I have to complete this? In what direction do I want my thinking to take me?

  1. Monitor our understanding; use “fix-up” strategies when meaning breaks down.

During the monitoring phase, students can ask; How am I doing? Am I on the right track? How should I proceed? What information is important to remember? Should I move in a different direction? Should I adjust the pace because of the difficulty? What can I do if I do not understand?

  1. Evaluate our thinking after completing the task.

During the evaluation phase, students can ask; How well did I do? What did I learn? Did I get the results I expected? What could I have done differently? Can I apply this way of thinking to other problems or situations? Is there anything I don’t understand—any gaps in my knowledge? Do I need to go back through the task to fill in any gaps in understanding? How might I apply this line of thinking to other problems?

The goal of improving our metacognitive strategies is to help us become comfortable with these strategies so that we employ them automatically to learning tasks, focusing our attention, deriving meaning, and making adjustments if something goes wrong. We do not think about these skills while performing them but, if asked what we are doing, we can usually accurately describe our metacognitive processes.


7 April 2016

Welcome back to the start of the second term.  I trust that our students had a good break and that they have committed to working hard this term and for the rest of the year.  Our children have a lot of expectations placed on them by external factors like school as well by us, as parents.  Sometimes these expectations can be unrealistic causing our children to become despondent and at times give up.  I have always told my children that all I want from them is to ‘give of their best’, to ‘do their best’.  But what is their best?  How do either of us measure what their best is?  As parents all we want is the best for our children, we want them to succeed and so we ‘encourage’ them, we push them to do better.  This got me thinking about how we as parents gauge if they are doing their best.  I know that inevitably after seeing my child’s mark I immediately check the class average.  This is however not a true reflection on the effort that they put into their work, it does not show if they have done their best.  If I have to be honest with my child and myself I would need to know exactly how much work they have put into their studies; what their work ethic was.  A good work ethic is what will hold you in good stead now as well as later on in life.  Your good work ethic tells future employers what they might expect from you on the job.  But did you know it can also set you up for success? A good work ethic can be the determining factor in just how well you’ll do in school – and in life.

Here are five components to a good work ethic and just why they’re so important to you and your future:

Attendance and punctuality:  Whether in school or work, you learn and accomplish most when you show up, on time and prepared.  You can’t learn if you’re not there!  And when you come late, it’s unlikely that you’re really ready to do your best work.  Good attendance and punctuality are two important pieces of a good work ethic – and they’re easily addressed and accomplished.

Goal Setting:  Before you can accomplish your goals, you need to know what they are.  People with good work ethics are goal-oriented and dedicated to achieving the success they envision.  They understand that there are many steps to success and they’re willing to take them all.

Hard work:  At the foundation of a good work ethic is a whole lot of hard work. In school, it may mean staying after for extra help from your teacher or fine-tuning your assignments to reach perfection.  At work, you may want to come in a little early or stay late so you do the best job you can.

Positive Attitude:  Your positive attitude can set you apart from your peers –and it can be infectious, spilling over to other students and making you welcome in any class.  Approaching every task—big and small—with a good attitude shows that you’re a team player dedicated to not just your own success, but also to the success of your class and your school.

Accomplishment: The more you accomplish, the more likely you will be the person chosen for further advancement. Your good work ethic is likely to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded and can serve as a building block to your future success.


With the busy lives we lead, family time often suffers, and if our family is anything to go by, a meal as a family around the dining room table requires considerable planning.  My wife and I value the opportunity to be able to discuss day to day issues with our boys around the table and miss the interaction when we are unable to.  It is such a valuable time to be able to guide and assist the young men we have.  Inevitably the conversation turns toward school and sport and this got me thinking about the external influences that effect my boys.

WHERE HAVE ALL OUR ROLE MODELS GONE?

In society today we struggle to find role models among the ‘icons’ that are foremost in our children’s lives.  Outside of family and school there are some areas that every parent in South Africa should be very worried about.  The advent of reality television and the instant publication via the internet of any and all happenings concerning what passes as a ‘celebrity’ is one of several aspects of our technologically switched on society that should be of great concern to all parents.

Many young teenage girls watching programs such as ‘The Kardashians’ or “The Preachers Daughter’ are in serious danger of thinking not only that these programs are unscripted and represent real life, but also that acting vacuous, trashy, drunk and sometimes even promiscuous to get rich and famous is something to be proud of!  You only have to walk through any shopping mall in Cape Town to see ‘wannabe’ clones of these examples.

Young boys spend hours watching professional wrestling masquerading as a ‘sport’ on television or via the web.  If your children are watching this you need to be aware of what they are being taught.  Carefully choreographed acts of vandalism, violence, revenge and general nastiness where there is no place for sportsmanship, virtues of any kind or even something as simple as friendship.  Boys who watch it will tell you they ‘know it’s not real’ and yet schools constantly see examples of these reprehensible ‘qualities’ creep into the way children who watch these programs behave.

As teachers we spend a lot of time teaching children about virtues such as honesty, respect and self-responsibility, yet there are few examples of these qualities outside of home and school.  We cannot even rely on our elected officials to set examples of some of the most basic virtues.  Watch Parliament for a short time, or listen to our politicians being interviewed and invariably you will see examples of half-truths, disrespect and rudeness.  It is a long time since I saw a politician take responsibility for their own behavior yet we are constantly asking our children to do just that.  Why then do we as a public still elect to high office politicians who have been proven to have deceived us, committed acts that would see many of us end up with a criminal record, blame others, or just plain lied to cover up what they have said or done?

The media doesn’t help either.  It seems the only news they are looking for is sensationalism, and sometimes they have to create that themselves!  The media constantly reports on the negative and is slow to recognize the positive that occur every day in our society.  As a result we often see the people with the highest profiles get coverage rather than the hundreds of people who work very hard every day to help others with little or no reward or recognition.

So take a few minutes at the dining room table to ask your children who their role models are. Ask which celebrities they would most like to be? The answer may come as a shock!

We strive at Blouberg International School to instill in our students the virtues that will stand them in good stead for the future.  We have to work hard given that we are often up against some powerful adversaries in the form of reality TV ‘stars’, internet ‘sensations’, thugs who masquerade as sportsmen and even our own politicians!  All of this reinforces the need for our school to have strong values in everything we do, and ultimately the best role models children can have is their parents and teachers.


Dear Parents

There have been a number of changes at Blouberg International this year including Engage and Quicket.  These have been introduced to improve communication and allow for easy payment of external provider fees.  As with anything new, getting used to new programs can be a little intimidating.  I assure you that the more you use the programs the more confident you will become with them.  As I mentioned at the Parent Teacher meetings, Engage is a wonderful program that allows parents to keep in touch with their children’s work and teachers via the parent portal.  I would encourage all parents to make use of the portal on a daily basis to get used to its functionality.

There are also a number of wonderful and exciting opportunities being offered by our SEK sister schools.  As mentioned in last week’s newsletter SEK Costa Rica is proud to invite students to their Green Week 2016…… (see below)

SEK ‘GREEN WEEK TOUR’ 2016

Host School: SEK Costa Rica International School

Program Coordinators: -Victoria Mata  (victoria.mata@sekcostarica.com)

-Paola Salomón (paola.salomon@sekcostarica.com)

 Dates: April 11th to 15th

Price: -Flight cost: Emirates 41 hour Return Flight  (2 stops) R 19000 ZAR

-Green Week Tour Cost: R 22633 ZAR (Exchange of R 16.4 to the US Dollar)

-Students will also require Pocket Money

Note: Costa Rica does not require a Visa. South African Citizens can enter the country for up to 90 days with just their South African Passport.

Including:1

  • Shuttle to all destinations
  • A specialist in each of the subject fields for every 20 participants
  • 24 hr- in-site paramedic
  • CD picture gallery for every student

 Day 1. Adventure and Leisure

  • Rafting at the Sarapiquí River (categories II & III)
  • Required gear
  • Briefing on safety
  • One specialist for every raft
  • Backup kayak
  • Sailing boat tour on the Sarapiqui River
  • Tour to the Biological Corridor Sarapiqui- Barra de Colorado
  • Safety vest for every student
  • Species of the Rivera Forest watching: monkeys, basilisks, sloths, alligators, etc.
  • Horseback riding at Pozo Azul Ranch
  • Required gear
  • Specialized assistant throughout the riding
  • Lunch at Sarapiquí
  • Night-time walk at the Tirimbina Reserve
  • Tour of the Bats on site (bat-related watchi ng and studies)

2

Lodging at Pozo Azul Hotel

(Tent –Camp System, double room, bathroom, ducha, inside-tent fans)

  • Dinner

3

Day 2. The North Huetar Region

  • Breakfast at Pozo Azul
  • Entrance to Venado Caverns
  • Gear for the walk inside the Caverns (face masks, helmet)
  • Local Tour guide
  • Lunch at San Carlos
  • Visit and leisure time at Baldi Spa
  • Dinner
  • Lodging at La Fortuna de San Carlos ( four-person rooms 

  Day 3.  Arenal Volcano National Park

  • Entrance to the Arenal Volcano Park
  • Guided tour at Las Coladas Trail
  • Watching of Colada Antigua
  • 02 night lodging at El Establo hotel
  • Dinner4
  • Lunch at Monteverde
  • Visit to the Ranarium ( frog exhibit)

Day 4.  Aventura Monteverde

  • Breakfast at the Establo Hotel
  • Canopying
  • Suspension Bridging
  • Visit to the Serpentarium
  • Lunch & Dinner

Day 5.  A Day at the Beach: Manuel Antonio

  • Breakfast at Monteverde
  • Luch at Rancho León Restaurant
  • Admittance to the Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Guided explanation while on tour

Notes:5

  • Visiting students will be hosted by SEK Costa Rica families on both the arriving and the departure weekends.
  • Students must be under the age of 16yrs and 10 months by April 11, 2016 to participate in the Tour.

25 February 2016

Friday the 11th of March is fast approaching and if you have not started working on your go-karts, this weekend is a good time to start.  It is important to give your go-kart a ‘test run’ to make sure that everything is functioning the way that it should and that it is robust enough handle the driving conditions.  The format of the races will run the same as last year with teams having a set time to compete as many laps as possible.  Last year was a tightly fought competition with endurance winning at the end of the day.

The go-kart races will be followed by the Food Fair which continues to grow in popularity.  Last year was a huge success and I encourage all our parents and their friends to join us on the evening of the 11th of March to come and sample the food and enjoy the atmosphere.

Sadly we have been notified that the SEK ‘Green Week’ that was scheduled to be hosted by SEK Costa Rica has been cancelled due to the Costarrican Health Authorities declaring a state of emergency due to the Zika virus in the Pacific zone of Guanacaste.  The virus that has received headline news here in South Africa is expected to spread to other regions and with this in mind we need to keep our sister schools in South America in our thoughts.  The good news is that the Inter SEK will go ahead as planned.  The school is situated in Quito and due to its altitude does not have a tropical climate.  With the low night time temperatures, survival of the mosquitos is untenable and the risk of being bitten is extremely low.

The annual Inter SEK will take place from the 16th to the 20th of May and will be hosted by SEK ECUADOR.  As explained in previous communication, SEK schools take turns in hosting an annual competition.  The competition alternates on a bi-annual basis between sport and culture.  This year SEK Ecuador hosts a cultural competition and we as IES schools in South Africa would like to ‘show case’ the talent that our South African students possess.  We would like to send a combined South African team selected from IES Blouberg, IES Hout Bay and IES Helderberg.  The team will be accompanied by an IES member of staff and all members of the team will be hosted by families of SEK Ecuador which gives the members the opportunity to experience Ecuadorian culture first hand and in a safe environment.  Please visit https://youtu.be/vqtU5Qo3Fgc for a sneak preview of Ecuador and SEK Ecuador students.

 Activities planned for the week include:

CHESS – Maximum length of 40 minutes with regulations stipulated by the International Chess Federation.

 MUSIC BAND – An exciting opportunity to form a band, make musical instruments out of recycled material, produce a song and video the final production for the competition.

BEEBOT – Test your programming skills to get a robot out of various mazes.

GUAPULO MYSTERY – Visit the ancient monastery of Guàpulo disguised as a monk to bypass 40 control points designed to test different skills and knowledge.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Design, manufacture and promote an innovative product at the SEK Ecuador Fair.  Support the product with a good business plan and corporate image and your team might find themselves the winners.

MATHEMATICAL FARM – Test your Mathematical skills without the aid of a calculator to earn animals for your farm.  Conquering the Rubik Cube, Soma Cube and Tangrams will see you successfully equipping your farm.

PHOTOGRAPHY – Submit 5 photographs with freedom of technique, retouch, editing and digital effects, 3 taken prior to the competition and 2 during the competition and submit them for judging.

LIPDUB – Choose a song and create a video with freedom of technique, procedures, touch-ups and digital effects for the song using your friends.

TRIVIA – Using the Trivia Crack App. see how many questions you can answer correctly in an hour, with 3 lives to win the competition.

COHETE – Design a self-propelled rocket that uses a mechanical mechanism to see how high you can you can get it to go!

VIRTUAL REALITY – Identify 5 places, scenes or situations using virtual reality glasses in under 20 minutes.

SEK CRANIUM – Answer general knowledge questions and act out different tasks and activities to work your way to the centre of the game board where the brain is situated.

VIDEO – Design and build a robot using existing components and 3D printed components that will meet a specific target or action.  All work must be videoed to form part of a presentation.

While I have not visited Ecuador, I have been told by my Board and colleagues that the country is absolutely magnificent and more importantly that Ecuadorians are extremely friendly and welcoming.  I encourage all parents of high school students to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to travel to SEK Ecuador and experience the rich culture of Ecuador and meet students from our sister schools.


2015 CIE Results

2015Results_1

2015CIEReulsts_2

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Our Inter-House Athletics meeting this weekend was a great success and it was wonderful to see so much parental support.  While the track was not on par with the ‘tartan’ track at the Parow Athletics field, having the parents so close to the track allowed the parents to be part of the day, creating a much more festive feel.  While the spirit was uplifting, what impressed me even more was the determination of the athletes to succeed.  I watched with admiration as certain athletes pushed themselves to win in record time and with equal admiration as athletes pushed their personal limits to get to the finish line.

I believe that hard work is the key to success. To succeed in life one must endure the challenges life presents and work to overcome these challenges to be the best possible person that one can be. We must not only use hard work to impress those around us but also to achieve goals that we set for ourselves. If we as individuals do not work hard to succeed, then we do not receive the same satisfaction as we would if we put in hour upon hour or even year upon year of work to achieve our goals. I believe for one to be successful, we must be willing to work hard to succeed in all aspect of life.

Hours of hard work and training are the key to success. Chad le Clos, arguably South Africa’s current swimming champion is the personification of hard work. Le Clos started swimming at a very young age. He had to make sacrifices, giving up his other passion of football, to succeed at swimming and to set new world records. This is not just a coincidence but a result of hours of hard work and dedication. Le Clos swims 60 to 65 kilometers every week and this can extend to 85 to 90 kilometers during ‘hard’ training. When all other swimmers are in bed or packing up to go home, Le Clos is still in the pool mastering the art of swimming. This kind of dedication and training is why Chad le Clos is not only a great swimmer but also a record breaker.

I can also testify to the idea of hard work leading to success in my own life. While living in Botswana, I was invited to join the local cricket club.  Having never amounted to much at school, 2nd change bowler and 11th batsman, I joined for the social aspect.  Soon after joining our captain, an ex-Zimbabwean pace bowler, took me aside and commented on how effective my bowling action was and that if I trained I would make a good opening bowler.  With this vote of confidence I decided to work hard at both my bowling and batting, arriving at practice an hour early to work on my bowling and fitness.  During the eight years that I spent in Botswana I worked my way up both the bowling and batting order, opening the bowling and batting number 3 for the club.  In my final year I was selected to represent Botswana at Zone Six.  Hard work, listening to advice and believing I could do it had ‘paid off’.

No doubt, success is the reward for hard work. Every successful person in history has worked hard to gain fame or fortune, however we must, also work hard to be successful in our own eyes. We must learn to work hard to satisfy our conscience whether our goals are representing our National side or being the owner of our own business. No matter what our goals are, we must be willing to sacrifice our time, body, and mind to work as hard as we can to be the best that we can be. I believe with all my heart and through my personal experiences that hard work is the key to success.