From the Head’s Desk

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Grandparents Day 2019

GRANDPARENTS DAY

This morning, at the end of our Grandparents’ Day performance, I thanked them for their valuable contributions and the role they play in our pupils’ lives. We enjoyed a wonderful ‘Grandparents’ Day Concert’ where our youngsters were able to show appreciation for their special people in the form of song, dance, poems, etc. It was fantastic to see such a big turnout today and the same is expected tomorrow.

An amusing anecdote from in my speech this morning was a grandchild’s response to her gran’s answer that she wasn’t sure how old she was: ‘Well, just look in your underwear, Granny, mine says I’m four to six years old.’

MAD-MEDIA AUCTION – THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who supported our MaD-Media Auction last week. The response was so good
we opened the back of the Theatre to accommodate about 70 extra people. My thanks to our
Auctioneer Dorian Larter, the organising committee and other members of staff for your ‘all round’
support of this event.  Both Junior and Senior Choirs, Daniel Baron, as well as the Hilton School of Ballet added to the ‘sparkle’ of the evening. Special thanks to our many sponsors and to those parents who won bids for various items, which ensured about R100 000 was raised during the evening.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

About 20 members of staff attended a highly successful and enjoyable Proudly Primary Conference last weekend. This year Highbury Prep played host and the calibre of the Plenary and Breakaway speakers was of a very high standard. The variety of topics covered was also excellent and I believe much was gained by our staff during the course of the 3 days.

Craig Hoyer also enjoyed the ISASA Sports Conference hosted by Westerford in Cape Town. He was very impressed and upbeat about a number of presentations he attended and will provide some feedback in future Newsletters.

BUILDING & GROUNDS – ROOFING PROJECT

You would have noticed our ‘roofing project’ is now complete – what an improvement this has made
to the aesthetics of the school. The next phase of development is the complete revamp and relocation
of the Media Centre, and preparations for this will commence shortly.

MANAGEMENT STRATEGIC PLANNING WEEKEND

Our Senior Management team were away for a 2 day Strategic Planning session recently. Much in the
way of operation and Strategy was planned and discussed, and I look forward to guiding this school to
even ‘bigger things’ in the next 12 months, as we continue to implement new ideas.

GRADE 6 HIGH SCHOOL TRIPS AND PRESENTATIONS

We continued with our programme of facilitating high school information for the Grade 6s with a presentation from Grace College last week. The question sessions at the end of these visits are just as valuable as the presentations, and it is good to see our pupils’ engagement and eagerness to find out ‘Unlocking potential, self belief and curiosity in life-long learning, through Christian principles.’ Cowan House Independent Co-educational Preparatory School more about each school. One of the questions deemed important was whether girls could play 7s rugby! Their enthusiasm is refreshing. Our Grade 6 boys and girls travel to Michaelhouse and St John’s on Tuesday next week, and then there is a final outing for Kearsney applicants on 10 September.

DSG & ST ANDREW’S COLLEGE MUSIC TOUR PERFORMANCE

It was good to welcome an Eastern Cape touring party to Kwa-Zulu Natal, and our pupils certainly enjoyed seeing their orchestra, and hearing their performance. In some ways, this was also a taste of the music programmes on offer at high schools. The concert featured a variety of ensembles such as a chamber choir, Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble. The jazz numbers were a hit and got a few younger pupils into the swing of things.

Sport

ATHLETICS SEASON

Yesterday’s Inter Prep Athletics at Treverton ushered in a week of activity on the athletics track. Although results are not tallied at the Inter Prep, our athletes performed extremely well. The Pre Primary and U7-U8 Inter House events take place on Wednesday next week, with the U9-U14 competition leading into half term on Thursday next week. Athletics Days are always very festive, and I encourage you to support your sons and daughters at these various events.

CHESS

On Monday afternoon our Junior and Senior Chess teams enjoyed a fixture against TWC. This ended up being a contest between our all-boys team and their all-girls squad with the Juniors losing 14-18 and Seniors winning 20-12. There was much laughter and happy chatter in between matches and the practice of sharing a meal together is always a highlight of these chess evenings.

Chess

From The Music School

Our Head of Music, Elma Dammann, reports that we can expect more individual pupil performances in the Headmaster’s Monday assemblies, and that private music teachers are hard at work preparing for the Eisteddfod. The violin ensemble classes on a Tuesday for Grade 3 pupils are working well, and it is good to see how excited the little ones are learning to play the violin. Grandparents’ Day musical items included performances by all the Grade 1-3 pupils, as well as the Junior and Senior choirs, accompanied by the Grade 7 marimba players. 

The pupils are making excellent progress preparing for our school play, ‘Rock Bottom’, and a sense of anticipation is growing for the play performances in September. 

She would like to encourage Cowan House parents whose children who are not yet taking a musical instrument, to make an appointment with her to discuss the options available. Lessons take place either during school hours, or if preferred, after school.

Boarding News

By Dorian Larter

Boarding has been ‘moving along’ at its usual busy pace, and with half term in our sights, the boys,
girls and staff are ready for a decent rest.  For the last few weeks, the Boarders have enjoyed attending church at the HCF on Sundays. This is the same church they attend for ‘Youth’ on Friday evenings, and this has added a lovely continuity.  I am always so impressed by the generosity of spirit of our Cowan House families; it is nothing for a parent to sweep up our boarders for the weekend and include them as part of their own family. Our boarders also love nothing better than a good birthday party and time to celebrate with friends. This is very special and something we need to foster. There have, however, been a few recent glitches in sign-out, pick-up and drop-off arrangements.  For the safety of our boarders and to prevent their disappointment in not being able to join in outings, we request that you to follow these procedures when including them for birthday parties or
weekends:

  • A boarder may not leave the premises without prior written parental / guardian permission.
  • Boarder parents are required to notify our Housemother, Stephanie Lee (via email or WhatApp) of any off-campus exeats.
  • If a boarder is going out with a host, other than a parent, the details (name and phone number) of the host must be communicated to the Housemother.

In the case of birthday party invitations, please notify Stephanie Lee prior to the party to allow her time to contact boarder parents for consent. She will need the host’s name, contact details, date and time of the party, travel arrangements, pick up and drop off times. This will avoid the terrible disappointment of our boys and girls not being allowed to go out because their parents cannot be reached for spontaneous invites on a Friday or Saturday.  Your assistance in these ‘nuts and bolts’ matters is much appreciated. We wish you an enjoyable half term with your children. Our senior boarders will be returning to a full cultural programme in the build up to the School Play.