I have just returned from a wonderfully informative conference in Budapest. It is always encouraging when principals from different corners of the world come together as it’s an opportunity to learn from each other’s different experiences.
I have also recently had a visit from Cambridge Regional Director, Juan Visser, on Wednesday the 16th of October. I am happy to report that as a Cambridge Registered Centre we are looking forward to continued support from Cambridge; their guidance with regards to university entrance, subject choice and compliance is invaluable.
Cambridge Primary has traditionally focused on Mathematics, Science and English as Core Subject Areas. However, effective from September 2019, the curriculum will be broadened. It is important that students are able to identify their favorite subjects early in their academic career and are encouraged to pursue the areas in which their natural talents lie. In order to accommodate the differing strengths and interests of the students, Cambridge has broadened its curriculum with the addition of Art and Design, Digital Literacy, Music and Physical Education. Their aim is to develop the all-important “soft skills” of teamwork, responsibility, leadership and resilience. Cambridge is constantly developing and revising its programs in order to offer the best possible education for the learners.
“In a fast-moving world, education needs to evolve.”- Dr. Judith Roberts
The focus of the curriculum for the various subjects are as follows:
- Digital Literacy aims to develop learners understanding of the digital world and celebrates the opportunities that technology offers. The aim is to increase the confidence in students while using technology.
- Physical Education focuses on developing movement skills.
- Music allows the learners to explore the subject as performers, composers and listeners.
- Art and Design encourages learners to express themselves as they experience and reflect on art.
We are incredibly excited about the broadened scope of the curriculum as we are now able to offer the above subjects to the standard which Cambridge requires.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
The definition of appreciation- the thoughts of a teacher.
It’s the little things.
As clichéd as it might sound, I truly feel that it is the small moments of triumph, the quiet moments we keep to ourselves when an involuntary smile breaks across our face and a lightness, a sense of joyous freedom descends; these are the moments we return for.
Humans need to feel valued, is this not a universal truth? Most of us want our value vocalized, trumpeted, for us to feel secure.
I am coming to realize that teachers are a little different in this respect.
The importance of teachers is undisputed and good teachers are invaluable. I think we know our value and it’s not just about our students reaching a predefined academic standard. We applaud the A’s and encourage the C’s and, naturally, seeing a student or a class improve over time gives us pleasure; it’s the pleasure of knowing that we are fulfilling our purpose, our requirements. Where I believe the true joy in teaching lies is in the little moments, insignificant perhaps in the grand scheme of academic terms and mark sheets, but nourishing to the soul of a teacher.
The simple phrase “thank you, ma’am” has a healing quality which can transform bitterness into relief, it can coax a reluctant smile from even the most recalcitrant of jawlines. A scribbled note in the corner of the board, a ‘U rock!’ Or perhaps a ‘stay awesome!’- it doesn’t secure an A, but it sure secures a smile.
We enjoyed a visit from Andrew Blackie (Commercial Director) and Louise Mayor (Head of Marketing) of Sparx this week. The Sparx Programme will be introduced to our School next year. More information will be sent to parents shortly.
Wishing you a restful weekend.
Welcome back to the final term of 2019! The teachers enjoyed a short break but are ready and eager to run the last leg of the race before the end of the academic year.
REFLECTING AND GROWING
The importance of self-reflection is one of the best life lessons I have learnt. The end of a task, the end of a season or a term at school is an opportunity for self-reflection.
What have I done well? What can I do better? What areas are in need of change?
Reflecting gives us the opportunity to positively critique our decisions and behavior in order to improve.
Nothing can ever be perfect and change is as good as a holiday.
Reflecting on one’s performance and asking ourselves the difficult question of where we need to improve leads to growth and only good can come from acceptance of what needs to be changed or improved.
We are busy with the installation of much needed air conditioning systems in the junior school. I am certain that both the staff and students are looking forward to the cooling effect!
This term key stage 2 and the high school will begin athletics practice. The homeroom teachers will discuss the sports uniforms with students and how best they can wear their uniforms during these crucial practice sessions.
On Tuesday, the 8th of October, the high school will have an information evening for all Year 6 parents regarding the transition into high school. We look forward to an enjoyable and informative session.
At Blouberg International, the safety and well-being of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. We wish to reiterate that no parent or visitor may go directly to a teacher’s classroom. All visitors to the school must report directly to reception and the relevant teacher will be informed of your presence. Any items you wish delivered to your child during the course of the school day must be handed in at reception and the child’s teacher will be notified of the item at reception. We are tightening security around the entrance of the school grounds and we will close the security doors to the building in the morning, during break times and after school.
Please also note that all cars entering the school grounds must carry the official school sticker to prevent unknown vehicles entering the premises. We have our students’ best interests at heart and therefore we will be enforcing these rules strictly.
I wish every teacher, student and parent a successful fourth term with regards to all aspects of school life.
This week, as I was marking the year 12 examination papers, I was filled with pride when assessing the quality of the work produced. I taught this particular group when they were in year 7 and I remember, even back then, how much they enjoyed hearing real-life examples of the business world and its application in the curriculum. Marking their papers and seeing how far they have come gave me such a sense of accomplishment.
This experience reminded me of the dedicated staff I am surrounded by and of our shared love of teaching. The job of a teacher is not an easy one and sometimes the challenges we face seem insurmountable. We take decisions based on what is best for the collective and what will be of benefit to the students in the long-run. We have all been guilty, I believe, of being too focused on what is important to us in our private sphere of influence, rather than focusing on the bigger picture.
I wish to thank all the staff at Blouberg International for the dedication and determination they show on a daily basis. It is not always easy, but when students come and share their excitement with you or hug you from pure joy, that is what makes the job easier every day.
I had a chat with one of our year 12 students who I met years ago at a previous school. She was only in year 4 then and soon relocated to the Blouberg area. Years later when I started teaching at Blouberg International, we were reunited at our old campus. We often joke about how I followed her and about how her family left for Abu Dhabi but returned once more to Blouberg (This time she followed me!). I feel such joy when she relates her memories of us at our old campus and now at the current one. It is wonderful to see what a special young lady she has become and it is these bonds we form, which make our years of teaching worthwhile. I truly have a grateful heart.
Let us remember the good and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. When one looks for the good in others, we are sure to find it. The opposite of this is unfortunately true as well.
To all the teachers: may you come to school every day to make a difference.
This morning, I had the privilege of enjoying breakfast with the cast of our musical and the teachers who worked relentlessly to make the show the success it was. Thank you to all the cast members for working so hard at rehearsals and to all the parents who supported their children.
Have a wonderful weekend.
We have had an immensely busy term thus far and this got me thinking the other day about goals.
We navigate through our lives running from one task to the next, sometimes missing beautiful moments along the way. It feels like we barely blink and our children are walking, going to school, graduating, getting married and suddenly it is time to retire.
Perhaps it would be good practice for us to sit down and take stock of where we have been, where we are now and where we want to go. This is a wonderful exercise to teach our children as they work towards their goal of graduation. However, the ultimate goal of graduation must also be met with balance.
Teaching our children to enjoy the journey will ultimately help them achieve success. It is all too easy to lose sight of your goals when you are overwhelmed and stressed. Taking the time to allow yourself to breathe and enjoy the moment will help you re-evaluate yourself and your goals. This introspection will lead to healthier, happier and more successful individuals entering the adult world with confidence.
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer
As we are nearing the end of the third term, I would like to remind parents to start purchasing the correct uniform for the summer months. It is very important that the students wear the correct uniform and that we, as parents and teachers, encourage them in this endeavor. In doing so, we instill a sense of pride in the students with the end goal that wearing the correct uniform is not a chore, but a matter of honour. I therefore urge parents to prepare now for the change in uniform next term.
Last night was the opening night of our high school’s musical production ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Although a successful opening night, it was disappointing to see the lack of support for our students and for the burgeoning cultural program at our school. The students and teachers have worked incredibly hard to put this performance together and last night was an awe inspiring showcase of their talent. I encourage all our students and parents to purchase tickets for the last two performances as we owe it to the students to support their efforts and to support the growth of arts and culture within our school community.
This has been an exciting week as we celebrated Book Week in our junior school.
We had a visit from South African author Lori-Ann Preston who addressed our Key Stage 2 students. She is a seasoned South African educator with more than twenty years of experience. She has a Bachelor of Education Honours Degree through the University of South Africa.
Lori-Ann won the Golden Baobab Prize in 2016 for her Early Chapter book ‘The Ama-zings!’, a fast-moving, fun-filled adventure story, and received the New Writer of the Year award in 2016 from the South African Writer’s Circle.
She just launched another book called “Thabo, the Space Dude“ which promises to be an interesting and compelling read to our children.
Our choir participated in the West Coast Song Festival last night and the organisation of the event at Woodbridge Primary was exceptional. Thank you to all the parents who came to support our choir.
On Friday we will have our Storybook Dress-up Day and we are looking forward to our students creative costume ideas. This promises to be a fun-filled day at school, signaling the end of another successful Book Week.
Next week we have the opening of our high school’s 2019 musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors. It has been was such a pleasure to see how actively this was promoted by our students this morning as they sang and danced in the car park, inviting parents to come and see the production. They have all worked tremendously hard over the past months to ensure we have a potentially award winning show.
I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead.
At Blouberg International we are privileged to have teachers who have a vested interest in our school and the community. Our teachers do not focus solely on the classes they teach, but have innovative ideas about improving our school. They are passionate about seeing their students, and our larger school community, grow and develop. Their ideas and plans are always welcomed by management as it is indicative of their commitment to our school.
I have decided to introduce a Leadership Panel where, once a month, key stakeholders will brainstorm a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis) for the school. It is through this collaborative process that we intend to identify the changes that need to take place on a regular basis to avoid stagnation.
I am happy to announce that the second jungle gym for our Key Stage 1 and 2 students is almost complete. I know they are awaiting it eagerly and I am sure it will bring them a lot of enjoyment.
This week we received letters of motivation from our Year 11 students in which they declared their interest in serving on the Student Representative Council (SRC) in 2020. Our students’ passion for their school was evident in these letters and we are looking forward to the finalisation of the voting process.
With only a few weeks left before our Year 10 and 12 students begin their final examinations, emotions are running high and we are doing our utmost to support their academic and emotional needs during this challenging time.
Please remember that we have another exciting Interactive Curriculum Morning happening this Saturday, 17th August. I hope many of our parents will attend, as I am certain it will be another successful and informative morning.
Next week we celebrate Book Week, as well as offer support to the students involved in the West Coast Song Festival.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
“Happiness is a choice, why are you not choosing it?”
I was reminded again this week that we are in control of how we respond to negative situations and people. We all have days where we are in high spirits and other days that are low. How we deal with those days is up to us! Happiness is a choice!
As we celebrate National Woman’s day tomorrow, let us choose to celebrate; be joyful and be the reason others smile! Let it be your intention to make someone’s day!
In South Africa, we celebrate Women’s Day on the 9th of August as this day marks the anniversary of the Women’s March of 1956 to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest of the pass laws.
Today we celebrate women for more than just the march in 1956. We celebrate them for their individuality and life-giving role. Women are integral in teaching our girls about their unique role in life! Let us celebrate our grandmothers, mothers and daughters to be more!
A reminder that we will have another fun interactive morning on the 17th of August 2019. Please come and join our staff as we learn more about what is happening in our class rooms.
Enjoy the long weekend ahead and stay warm and dry.
“Communication works for those who works at it.”- John Powell
I was reminded this week about the importance of good communication, as well as how effective open lines of communication can be. As management we communicate on a daily basis with staff, students and parents and therefore what we say and how we say it is important. As a school community our goals should be to raise each other up and not break down. The words we speak have the ability to create or to destroy. This is a valuable lesson to teach our children and to take cognizance of as adults.
When we communicate we should ask ourselves the following questions:
– What are your key reasons for communicating with your audience?
– What is your key message?
– Are your reasons for communicating helping you lead change or lead learning in your school?
– How do you ensure your key messages are communicated clearly and consistently?
– Does the way you communicate help build relationships of trust and respect?
– How do your communication strategies change over time? Are there two or three aspects of communication that you should emphasise during the next year?
– When did you last review your strategies? What feedback do you have or need?
(credit: TKI communities)
Our Parents Association is a pillar of support at Blouberg International. Since its inception, the management team has seen great improvement in effective communication between parents and the school. I encourage you to continue the positive feedback as we rely on your support to build our school.
It is with sadness that we bid farewell to Ms Bridget Neal and her daughter Charlotte as they set off on their new adventures in Thailand. We welcome Mrs Ria Du Plessis who has joined our team as of the 1st of August. Mrs Du Plessis just returned from Bahrain and we are looking forward to the new ideas she has to share with us.
Have a wonderful weekend.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Key Stage 2 assembly this morning and felt inspired by the message Ms. Kiley presented to the students about talents.
As much as academics is an important part of any school, I was reminded by Ms. Kiley’s message that each and every student has other talents too. These are the areas of interest that come naturally to a person, whether it be a love of music or the performing arts.
These are also the areas in which we should offer additional encouragement, so that our students are not lost under the load of factual information they are plied with on a daily basis. Children need to play in the sand, climb trees and explore outside, rather than relying on technology for entertainment.
Here are five reasons why outside play is fundamental to the growth of our children:
- Sunshine: Vitamin D is essential for the development of the immune system.
- Exercise: Children are so happy when they are outside running and kicking balls. It gives them renewed energy and focus.
- Risks: Often times we as parents are too anxious and we want our children to be safe. Keeping them away from risky situations may dampen their bravery and confidence. Yes, they might get hurt, but the lessons we learn from failure are as important as the lessons we learn from success.
- Socialization. Children need to learn how to work together. They need to learn to make friends, how to share and cooperate and how to treat other people. If they only interact in very structured settings, such as school or sports teams, they won’t — they can’t — learn everything they need to know.
- Appreciation of nature. So much of our world is changing, and not for the better. If a child grows up never walking in the woods, digging in soil, seeing animals in their habitat, climbing a mountain, playing in a stream, or staring at the endless horizon of an ocean, they may never really understand what there is to be lost. The future of our planet depends on our children; they need to learn to appreciate it.
(Dr Clair McCarthy, Faculty Editor Harvard Health)
A reminder that school photographs will take place on Monday the 29th and Tuesday the 30th of July. A letter has been sent out on Engage.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead.