From the Head’s Desk

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I trust you all enjoyed a wonderful ‘half term’ break with you children last weekend, and that much quality and ‘down time’ was enjoyed. The year is flying by as we enter the meeting season period of the school term. Planning and strategizing in our efforts to do things better and smarter will involve a number of important meetings during the next few weeks. These include Marketing, Employment Equity, Academic, Foundation, Property and Maintenance, Finance, and then a full Board meeting towards the end of term. During this time, we will also host our termly Parent / Teacher interviews and enjoy the run of our annual school production, this year entitled ‘Rock Bottom’. Certainly busy, but very rewarding times.

On the staffing front much progress has been made for 2020 and I am now in a position to announce two exciting appointments. Firstly, in the Grade 2 role, we are delighted to announce that Mrs Candice Botha has accepted this position and will commence in January 2020. Candice is a well-known educator and is currently a Head of Department in two areas at Lynford.

In Grade 4, we have secured the services of Travis Brown, a young educator currently at Queen’s College in the Eastern Cape. During his time at Queen’s, Travis has taught Grades 4, 6 and 7, has been a full-time Boarding Master and has coached rugby, cricket and hockey with much success. We are in the process of interviewing for the Grade 6 position and will keep you updated when this process is completed.

Inter House Athletics

We entered half term on the back of Inter House Athletics events for all three phases of the school. The Pre Primary enjoyed a beautiful winter’s morning on Black’s for their 60m dash and One Lap Charge.  The Grade RRRs thoroughly enjoyed dressing their teachers in the class relay, while the Grade RRs focused their attention on the Lego Building Relay. The Grade Rs wiggled and hopped with much excitement as they mastered the sack race; but the highlight was definitely watching their mums and dads in the parents’ races.

The U7 and U8 boys and girls took to the Athletics track after the Pre Primary event. They too ‘gave it their all’ for their 60m and 80m sprints, lap charge and relay races; and the fun of dressing their teachers and ‘hop-hop hopping’ in sack races was repeated, as was the excitement of mums, dads and little brothers and sisters’ races. Thank you for gamely competing in these races and for your enthusiastic support.

Eager in competition both on and off the track, the Mackenzie cheerleaders (Minnie and Mickey Mouse) and the Burchell Smurfs led their respective Houses down to Black’s for the Senior Inter House event. It was a tightly fought contest, but in the end MacKenzie took both the Winning House and Spirit Cups. Point standings were 2406 to 2273. All the boys and girls are to be commended on their enthusiastic and spirited participation. Thanks to Guests of Honour, David and Cathy Crampton, for officiating on the day and for their support for Athletics over the years.

Congratulations to the following age group winners:
U13 Age Group:  Girls – Jessica Crampton / Boys – Tomás Baguley
U12 Age Group: Girls – Senamile Lembethe / Boys – Ewan McAllister
U11 Age Group: Girls – Nina Rautenbach / Boys – Kagiso Magasa
U10 Age Group: Girls – Jo McAllister / Boys – Tristan Dutton
U9 Age Group: Girls – Rebecca Hellberg / Boys – Kuhlekonke Dlamini

A special mention must be made of the following athletes:
Tomás Baguley won all 8 events in the U13 ages group earning 64 points, Jessica Crampton broke the 150m record 21.62 (previous record 21.66) and the 100m record 14.03 (previous record 14.10), and Nina Rautenbach broke the 70m Hurdles record 14.58 (previous record 14.60) and the High Jump record 1.27 (previous record 1.20).

My thanks to the Sports Department staff for all the preparation and arrangements. As always, these events depend on Neil Akal and his grounds staff’s preparation of the track, facilities and set up logistics.

Professional Development

During the half term break, Neil Akal attended a two day Safety Conference in Johannesburg and Jodie Sparrow, the ISASA Nurses Conference. Both returned very upbeat about the various presentations they attended, and more detailed feedback will take place in the coming weeks. On the security front, new Cowan House car stickers have been printed and these have been sent home with the oldest child in each family. Should you require more than one sticker, these are available from Thabile Nxumalo at Reception. The stickers will assist our security guards in monitoring access to the school grounds. Your cooperation in this regard is much appreciated.

Grade 3 Outing to Carwin Heights Farm

First up after half term, an excited bus-load of Grade 3 pupils set off on a much anticipated visit to Robin and Di Oldfield’s beautiful dairy farm, Carwin Heights, just beyond Bisley Valley. The full day visit allowed the boys and girls to learn about dairy farming and have first-hand experience of how milk makes it from the cow to the supermarket – udder-to-bottle! The boys and girls were lucky enough to witness a calf being born; an experience not to be forgotten. There was much to be experienced … the taste of fresh milk and the warm, gooey feel of having calves suck their fingers, even arms!  There was enough time to play, have a lovely picnic as well as a ride on the tractor. It certainly was a special day. Thanks to Robin and Di for hosting us.

Pre Primary News

Fort Building & an Up-Side-Down World

There is a saying … if you’ve never built a fort … you never really had a childhood, and there has been great excitement in the Pre Primary with the building of forts. The children were equipped with building materials such as poles, tires, pieces of fabric and they then climbed into all sorts of nooks and crannies building very interesting structures.

In the Grade R Time2Read programme, the children have been learning about the ‘U’ sound and had a fun filled yaD-nwoD-ediS-pU: they came to school dressed upside down and inside out; drew pictures upside down under their tables, and for fun they even got to eat their lunch under the tables.

In the words of the poet, ee cummings, ‘if up’s the word, and a world grows greener … let’s touch the sky: … with a to and a fro … and away we go.’

Grade 6 & 7 Trulife Presentations

We have for a few years enjoyed relevant and punchy Life Skills presentations by Trulife. The company sees live theatre as the best tool for delivering these messages, and the productions are geared to appeal to young people through comedy, contemporary music, dance and media. They are an energetic and passionate team of young actors and actresses, who visit schools around Kwa-Zulu Natal, and their message this week was ‘Copyright’ for the Grade 7s, and ‘Bullying’ for the Grade 6 boys and girls.

Lynette Tiaden provides a synopsis of the Grade 6 show and Sally Evans gives feedback from our Grade 7 boys and girls.

Grade 6: ‘Sadly children all over the world are exposed to various forms of bullying. Bullying is not normal or acceptable behaviour. While everyone has a story and wants to fit in with the ‘cool kids’, we need to stand up for ourselves and others. Our Grade 6s were encouraged to help each other, and not to be bystanders. Bullying needs to be reported. By being responsible and accountable, we can make a difference and be a hero for someone else. Be kind and supportive of each other!’

Grade 7: ‘The message was to “be yourself”’; ‘don’t be a copy of someone else’; ‘you don’t have to follow trends’; ‘stand up to peer pressure’; ‘it’s boring to be the same as everyone else’; ‘stick to your beliefs and be who you are’ and ‘it made me think about who I am’.

Boarding News

From Stephanie Lee

How wonderful it is that boarding has become a bustling hive of activity with many casual boarders enjoying spending time with us this term. As the school play practices intensify, a number of families prefer for their children to stay in the boarding house, rather than travel home late at night.

I am always impressed with how easily the casual boarders integrate and adjust to the ‘routine’ of the boarding houses, and equally enjoy observing how closely knit all the boarders become after only a short time. Mealtimes are energy-filled and lively conversations ensue, providing opportunity for girls and boys of different grades to connect.

Casual Boarding has become a popular option in schools around the world, providing an opportunity to stay overnight at the school should involvement in school activities or family circumstances require this. The Grade 2 girls have been encouraging their friends to stay in Girl’s Boarding simply for the fun of the experience! Casual boarding is a terrific opportunity for day students to enjoy the company of their boarder friends and participate in the full life of the school.

Should you be interested in making use of the boarding facilities at Cowan House, please refer to the Boarding Application Form on the d6 for details.

In many spheres of life, the 3rd Quarter is generally one for both reflection on a year nearing completion and for strategic planning for the next. In both the Northern and Southern hemisphere school cycles, this appropriately coincides with the onset of spring. Although our campus’ beautiful cherry tree spring blossoms are still a little shy in their showing, there is a growing sense of moisture in the air and a new season about to unfold.

Wishing you a good weekend.