It is the end of the third week of term 3 and all our year groups have been phased in as per our return to school plan. Although all students are not at campus, we are well on our way to running at full capacity again.
There have been quite a few changes this term: from the morning routine and the way classes are conducted, to the collection of students in the afternoon. Despite the changes, disruptions, and uncertainties, we remain positive and in good spirits.
I wish to thank all our parents for adhering to our Covid protocols when dropping and collecting students. Please remember that if you wish to meet with a staff member, you need to book an appointment beforehand and go directly to the front office for the screening process. This is for your own protection as well as the health and safety of our staff.
To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, we conduct risk assessments and screening throughout the day. The questions that arose this week, regarding quarantine procedures and contact with possible cases, led me to address the following in this week’s editorial.
Direct contact and casual contact
The issue of direct contact and casual contact is important to understand. Any direct contact with a positive case will result in such a person being isolated for a period of 14 days and possibly even tested, should he/she experience any symptoms of Covid-19. Direct contact in this case would mean physical contact with a positively tested person or someone sharing an immediate space (within 1,5m without wearing a mask) or shared such a person’s belongings. By merely sharing a classroom or workspace does not constitute direct contact. Such a situation is regarded as casual contact, without any risk as all the necessary health and safety precautions are strictly observed regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks and the washing and sanitizing of hands.
I wish to re-iterate that there is no shame in contracting the virus as it can happen to anyone and no stigmatization will be tolerated at our school. We all need to continue exercising the necessary health and safety measures such as the wearing of masks, proper social distancing, regular sanitizing, and thorough washing of hands. The school is sanitized regularly according to all protocols.
Let us be mindful that we are in this together and it is only through understanding and cooperation that we will endure this time of hardship.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
You may already know that art is a great way to treat anxiety and stress in children. But did you know that it also positively impacts their cognitive and physical development? Especially during strange and uncertain times like the ones we’re going through.
This week our Year 2’s had some fun making their very own little ducklings. We got creative with some paper plates, watercolour paint, googly eyes and some cool feathers! So much fun was had by all, we really relaxed and enjoyed ourselves with some cool music on in the background and some creative juices flowing.
They look super great up on our walls displayed in the classroom!
Year 2 Teacher
Young, intense, fickle love; arranged marriages; civil and parental disobedience; gangster warfare; silly jokes, nasty insults and suicide… these are all themes and issues the Year 7 and 8 students will be exploring in English this term. Sounds like some of the hot topics in the “no-good” music our youth listen to these days. Shocking? Nay, Shakespeare! The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to be specific. Throw in a convoluted love square, a plot to kidnap a kid, some fairies and a magical flower and you have the comedic A Midsummer Night’s Dream too.
Oftentimes Shakespeare’s plays are viewed as stuffy, filled with “fancy” language and are considered unrelatable for modern audiences. When one realises that the language Shakespeare used was true to how everyday man spoke at the time and that he mixed formal and informal diction and structure to represent social status (and thus level of education), with colloquial language, slang and all of the drama that continues to plague mankind to this day, it becomes clear that the only barrier that truly sets Shakespeare’s work apart from us is our translation of Old English. Overcome this and we can appreciate the brilliance of Shakespeare’s plays in our world today and perhaps also develop an understanding of how language evolves.
When questions of modernity come to the fare, I enjoy emphasising that with rhyme, wit and themes that criticise and mimic society and mankind at large, drawing out every manner of emotions in the audience, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays are comparable to modern day “gangster rap”, gut-wrenching love songs or stories and creations of fantastical worlds in which we love to lose ourselves. Let’s not forget the thousands of words and phrases that first appeared in Shakespearean writings and are still made use of today.
Is Shakespeare irrelevant? Never! Shakespeare not only gives us a view into Elizabethan era society but forces into focus how much humanity has progressed in some ways and remained unchanged in others. The human condition seems to be eternal. When I asked students if they would allow their parents to choose their love interests, for example, they were in strong opposition to the idea and would rather choose to respectfully decline or flee – as epitomised in the characters of Juliet and Hermia. They seemed relieved at the fact that the patriarchy of the 16th and 17th century no longer holds as much weight in their world as it still does in many countries across the globe. They were also shocked and amused by how grungy Shakespeare can be in his diction chosen for many a comedic character. They expect that kind of language from their rap musician interests and controversial comedians or a movie their parents might be opposed to them watching. But from “Mr Fancy Pants” himself? Lo, how we misinterpret thee and thou for anything other than a casual ‘you’.
Considering topics of woe and misfortune, murder and the use of mind-altering magic as well as lingo one’s grandmother would threaten with soap, perhaps we should take Shakespeare out of the curriculum? How dare we putrefy young minds with 400-year-old madness? Surely however, if art imitates life, everything portrayed in Shakespearean plays is out there anyway and we cannot shelter our youth from what is thrown at them during a news report, in the lyrics of popular songs and a favoured game, television show or film? Indeed, man has not progressed far beyond many of these scourges since the bubonic plague hit London in the 15-1600’s. Shakespeare is thus certainly still relevant. Why else do we learn about history? Why else to we try to change governmental policies that seem to have been implemented in the stone ages and fight for our ever-changing human rights? Why do we learn to communicate with all manner of man, to explore and to grow in knowledge towards changed minds and hearts? In my opinion, what we can learn about ourselves from the works of a long-dead playwright, is far more beneficial than the darkness of humanity he reveals is scarring.
I asked my students about their opinions of Shakespeare this week and whether or not they think it should be kept in the yearly curriculum. There was definitely some strong opposition, with Year 8 students describing Shakespeare as dramatic, tedious, but entertaining, and acknowledgement that when one doesn’t understand the original text it is like reading Arabic. However, one student in Year 7B stated, with a chorus of agreement from his classmates, “I thought it was going to be boring, but now I am entertained,” and another chimed in, “The more I read, the more I want to read.” A few in 7A are intrigued and feel that Romeo and Juliet contains some of the best pick-up lines they have heard and are keeping note so that they might use them in future. Some of the Year 9 students who have studied a few of Shakespeare’s plays describe Shakespeare’s work as hallucinogenic, dark, tragic and, “Hectic! PG!”
Whatever one’s personal opinion on the matter of Shakespeare in the curriculum, along with his “low-down”, dark talk and tales, Shakespeare offers us gripping storylines, undeniably beautiful poetry, truer words than anyone else knows how to express, laughs and advice we would do well to heed.
“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder
Which, as they kiss, consume.”
“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.”
Warnings by Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet
“Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.”
Juliet to Romeo – hints at the fickle nature of a young man’s love, epitomised by Romeo’s instantaneous switch from obsession over Roseline to Juliet.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet, pondering the relevance of Romeo’s surname and standing as a Montague, her family’s (the Capulets’) sworn enemy.
“O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!
Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical, dove feather raven, wolvish-ravening lamb! Despised substance of devinest show, just opposite to what thou justly seemest – A dammed saint, an honourable villain!”
Juliet describing Romeo after she finds out he has killed her cousin in a murderous, vengeful rage. A commentary on how appearances and behaviour can stand in contrast to one another and how despair can lead one to act out of character. This also displays Shakespeare’s love of oxymorons – contrast through contradiction.
A few special quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
“And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”
A few great TEDx talks for those who love Shakespeare but not Hip Hop or visa-versa:
- Shakespeare was the First Gangster Hip-Hop Artist by Doug Rappaport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIojIWLnMiU
- ·Hip-Hop & Shakespeare? by Akala at TEDxAldeburgh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSbtkLA3GrY
High School English Teacher
It has been quite a wonderful return of the Year 5’s this week. There was a little bit of nerves and worry, however it was quickly eclipsed by the excitement of seeing friends and teachers again.
Our first day back saw us going through our Covid-19 classroom rules and getting to listen to everyone share their experiences of Lockdown. Our online students then joined us and it was wonderful to see them all. We spent some time chatting and catching up.
Work continued full steam ahead and we got stuck into making Probability Spinners for our mathematics class. Both students, in class and online enthusiastically enjoyed this task.
Break times required a little creativity and fun social distancing games of “123 block”, handstand competitions, and even a little exercise.
We are exceptionally proud of our students, the ones returning and the ones online. Each of them have shown great tenacity and determination. It has not been easy to adjust and make changes to something they have known to be the normal, however their willingness to learn, stands stronger than any virus or pandemic state we may be facing.
To Quote Dr Seuss, “And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind, some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat, I’m already you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
Year 5 Teacher
This week our theme was countries around the world. We enjoyed leaning about the following countries:
South Africa– After locating South Africa on the map, the students learned that Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and that Cape Town is known as the Mother City as it was the first western settlement established in our country. There are 11 official languages in South Africa, but English, Xhosa and Afrikaans are widely used. We also know that South Africans eat a wide variety of foods similar to most western countries. Some traditional foods are biltong, rusks, potjiekos, braai, samp and beans, melktert and bobotie. The South African flag represents the coming together of our Rainbow Nation in the new democratic South Africa. The students loved decorating the South African flag.
China- The students discovered that China is the fourth largest country and that the capital city of China is Beijing. The national flag consists of a red background and five golden-yellow stars. The Chinese are known for eating a wide variety of foods. The staple foods however, are rice and noodles accompanied by vegetable or stir fried meats. The Lantern Festival is a fun festival where people flock to the streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching Lion or Dragon dancing and lighting up fireworks. The students made a dragon during art and craft time.
Australia- We did Aboriginal Art while we learned more about Australia. Australia is the only country that is also a continent. It is also one of the driest places on earth. It is a multicultural country and they have cuisine from all over the world including Greek, Middle-Eastern and Asian food as well as good English fish and chips.
Russia- We made a Russian cityscape collage during art and craft time. We learned that Russia is the world’s largest city. Russians enjoy eating caviar or fish eggs, served on little pancakes called ‘blini’ topped with sour cream. Borscht, a hearty soup made from beetroot is also very popular during the cold winter.
We enjoyed learning about these countries and we will discover more about France, England, Spain and America next week.
Martie van Dyk
We are in the final stage of phasing in students and look forward to welcoming back nursery, year 5 and year 6 students on Monday, 27 July 2020.
It is such a joy to hear the voices of children in the school building again. We are very aware of the necessity in ensuring protocols are strictly adhered to and wish to ensure you that students are in good spirits and taken care of at school.
The obvious joy the students feel being back at school far outweighs all the new responsibilities that comes with it. We are teachers by heart and having children in our classes is what makes the job worthwhile.
Further to the announcement our President, Cyril Ramaphosa made last night, I wish to confirm that we will remain open even if public schools are closed. No mention was made about independent schools and unless we receive a mandate, we will continue to be at your service both at school as well as online.
We are dealing with new mandates and changes continually and our staff are required to adapt daily. As parents, I am sure you are experiencing a similar rollercoaster of emotions. Given how surreal and scary these circumstances are, we need to ask ourselves continuously how we are coping. Our emotional wellbeing is crucial in making our children feel safe. This is important for you as a parent, for our educators and our children. In such difficult times, we must remember to cut ourselves a little slack. Nobody is perfect and we can all only do our best.
As the weekend is ahead of us, I wish to remind you to take care of yourselves, your emotions, your health, and most of all your family bond.
Cambridge Art and Design is not just one subject; it is many subjects. The syllabus covers a wide range of artistic activity divided into broad areas of study: Painting & related media, Non-traditional media, Mixed media, 3-D Painting, New Media, Printmaking, Three-dimensional studies, Photography and digital media, Graphic communication and Textile or Fashion Design and Craft design.
What is non-traditional media?
Non-traditional media include a wide range of modern materials that are used together or combined with traditional materials. They include collage, textiles, and waste materials. Collage artists often collect magazine photographs and coloured papers which enables them to choose a range of shapes and colours for their work.
Combining painting with 3-D objects has been popular since Cubism. Picasso and Braque added small pieces of card, wood, and metal to their canvas. By painting this assemblage, the viewer must try and work out what is real and what is painted, and what is 2-D and what is 3-D.
Three-dimensional (3-D) studies include a large variety of materials and approaches for creating art. These studies involve working in 3-D forms with one or more materials rather than on a flat, 2-D surface. This means you need to be particularly aware of space, volume, and form. 3-D studies can include: sculpture, ceramics, theatre and set design, environmental and architectural design, product design and craft design.
3-D studies can also overlap with other areas of art depending on which materials you work with. For example, a sculpture made of fabric might also be described as textiles.
Theatre design / Set design or Environmental / Architectural design
Theatre and set design involve creating ideas to support performances or productions of drama, dance, or music. This can include design work such as: a stage set or scenery, props or accessories, costumes, masks, and headdresses.
Like other areas of 3-D studies, you can present your work in various formats, including: photographs, digital images, scale drawings and 3-D scale models.
You can choose any aspect of theatre or set design as your focus, which will help to decide the materials and scale of your work. For example, if you enjoy working with fabrics and have an interest in fashion, you can design a costume for a character in a performance. Alternatively, you can make a stage set for a production as a scale model. You may also design the lighting for a stage production and consider what impact this has on the audience.
What is environmental and architectural design?
Environmental and architectural design involves creating ideas on a large scale. It includes designing new buildings, structures, or spaces that people can use. This type of 3-D design is about enhancing the surroundings in which people live and work.
You could design for a domestic, commercial, or retail space, you might also consider designing a garden or landscape. Creating sustainable and environmentally friendly design can also be a consideration.
You can use the following techniques to present your work, or any other technique that you think is useful or relevant: scale models, scale drawings, CAD, and photo montage.
Product design involves inventing new items that are either functional, decorative or both. Most products overlap between the categories. Products are often created in response to a design brief. This means that the design of a product involves solving any problems and requirements that are necessary to fulfill the brief. This process includes selecting the right materials and making sure the product functions properly, as well as looks attractive. It must also include making sure that the product is cost-efficient.
Like other areas of 3-D design, product design can range in scale from small to exceptionally large. You may decide to design a large-scale product such as a piece of furniture, but you do not need to make a full-sized model. You can communicate your designs as a scale model. However, you do need to show your understanding of how the full-size product would be made. This should include any manufacturing processes or specific techniques that are required to make the outcome. You must also use 2-D techniques to record the various stages of your work and ideas.
Craft design covers many types of skillful making by hand. Like most areas of 3-D studies, craft can be either functional or decorative, or both.
Examples of craft design are jewellery, wire and metalwork, paper mâché, mosaic, puppet-making and local craft such as basket weaving.
Jewellery is any sort of design object that can be worn on the body. It is usually fairly small scale but can also be quite large and elaborate. Consequently, jewellery is often linked with fashion design. Examples of jewellery are rings, necklaces or pendants, bracelets or bangles, earrings, and brooches or badges.
Traditional materials for making jewellery include wood, metal, glass, clay, precious stones and natural fibers or products such as shells, seeds, bone, or seedpods.
Modern materials and creative techniques use other materials such as plastic, paper, recycled materials, resin, and fabrics.
The use of digital technology has also enabled some designs to be mass-produced. An example of this is plastic jewellery that has been laser-cut into a pattern so that the same design can be cut out in the same pattern lots of times.
Traditional textiles are made from yarns that are woven, knitted, crocheted, knotted, felted, or fused together. The yarns are placed close together to form a solid fabric, or spaced to form a more open structure. Constructed textiles can be large or small scale, handmade, or mass-produced by machine. They can be two-dimensional, like a carpet, or three-dimensional, like a yurt.
IGSCE/AS & A Level Art and Design Teacher
This term, the Year 6’s started off their English unit with poetry.
At the beginning of each term, I ask the students to brainstorm what they notice and wonder about a topic. As we are still online teaching, I created a Padlet Poetry Wall for the year group. Their first instruction was to post what they knew about the topic, what they want to know and then lastly, wait for their peers to post their responses. They needed to comment on at least 3 of their peer’s posts and provide them with constructive feedback.
The Year 6’s took this Padlet Poetry Wonder Wall and made it their own. Before I knew it quotes, pictures and even some of the student’s own poems were posted on the wall. After week 1 was completed, I had the students reflect on their week of learning and post one thing they had learned and one thing they were still unsure of.
The creativity and uniqueness of the Year 6 students never fails to astound me, and I am very impressed by how quickly they adapt to a new online tool. As we progress with our Poetry Unit, we will keep using our Wonder Wall to showcase our learning journey.
Year 6 Teacher
“Children are made readers in the laps of their parents’’ – Emilie Buchwald
It is so important to encourage a love of reading in your child from a young age. Reading in a wonderful opportunity to bond and build memories as a family together. Research shows that reading to children, even before they can understand words, teaches them to associate books with love and affection. Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency and motivation.
The first words children encounter in their reading are often known as High Frequency Words. Some High Frequency Words can be sounded out, but often they need to be memorised. It can be useful for children to learn phonics rules to help them break down words so that they can make sense of them. Some High Frequency Words can be taught as word families where the rule is the same. For example in the short words ending in ‘o’ such as ‘go’, ‘no’ and ‘so’ the ‘o’ is pronounced as ‘oh’, However in ‘to’ and ‘do’ the ‘o’ sound is pronounced as an ‘oo’ sound. In this example children would learn that short words ending in ‘o’ either sound like ‘oh’ or ‘oo’ at the end of the word. Jolly phonics is really great at helping children be more aware of where they hear the sound in the word. The sound buttons help them see and find beginning middle and end sounds in words with ease. This helps them with both blending sounds to make words and breaking words up into sounds to read them.Once your child has knowledge of phonics skills and has mastered some of their High Frequency Words, they are ready to start reading books with simple sentences. A good knowledge of High Frequency Words will help with good fluency and gaining confidence in reading. As confidence improves it motivates your child to want to read more. It is so important to make your child’s reading homework experience as enjoyable as possible.
Here are some tips for parents:
- Find a quiet area in a relaxed area of the home where there won’t be distractions or interruptions.
- Encourage your child to use their knowledge of their phonics skills and spelling rules to sound out words.
- Be patient and allow your child to get the word wrong. Ask questions such as “Does it make sense?” “Does it sound right” “Does it look right?”rather than giving them the answer or losing patience when they are making the same errors.
- Tell your child to look for clues in the pictures for words they are unsure of.
- Practising learning High Frequency Words in fun ways such as writing them in fun ways or playing games.
Children often learn by imitating those most important in their life. It is vital to model attitudes towards reading in positive ways as motivation plays such an important role in the acquisition of reading skills. If your own experience with learning reading has not been positive, you need to be aware of not carrying that over to your child.
Create opportunities for your child to be aware of reading words in their environment such finding familiar words on signs, grocery products, menus and in magazines, etc. As you use opportunities to encourage reading, the whole world will to open up to your child, allowing them to interact with their world and achieve new goals they have never before imagined.
Reception Year Teacher
Welcome to the 3rd Term of 2020! I salute every one of you for staying strong and keeping faith. It has not been easy planning the re-opening of the school with so much contradictory information, safety precautions and family matters to consider. Planning the way forward has been stressful for us all, particularly for the teachers. They are the unsung heroes. We cannot overlook the fact that they have their health, and that of their family, to consider whilst juggling teaching in the classroom and online.
This is a time for kindness, empathy, and unity. Every precaution is being taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, but this term is unlike any we have experienced before and we therefore ask your patience should changes take place to accommodate changing circumstances or to improve the current systems in place. During this time, we ask for your patience; it is not a time to be critical and judgmental, but rather of encouragement and support.
We are looking forward to welcoming back our next phase of students on Monday, 20th July. Please remember the following:
- High school students are to be dropped of at the gravel parking area and screened at the double doors of the main building. (Should it rain, they may be dropped off at the drop and go area and proceed straight to the reception area for screening.)
- Parents, please do not proceed passed the demarcated area at the drop of and go. We need to be respectful of our own health as well as each other’s.
- When students are collected, teachers will be at the drop and go area to assist students to get into your vehicles to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
To every parent who sent us messages of encouragement and who understands that these are unprecedented times, I thank you for your support.
I am exceptionally proud of the spirit of Ubuntu amongst my staff. These difficult times have proven their endurance, character and most of all, the heart of a true teacher.
May you have a wonderful weekend, remain strong in spirit and physically healthy.