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VP Newsletter 24 July 2020

VP Newsletter 24 July 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 24 July 2020

Message from the office
What a roller coaster ride 2020 has turned out to be. I am at the point when I feel like shouting to the conductor to stop the ride as I’m ready to climb off but there appears to be no conductor and no off switch!

So here we go changing our plans once again. Before I write about what we will be doing I wish to express my views on the closing of schools. These views are purely mine and not necessarily the opinion of everyone or any other entity of VP. I know that there has been much criticism of this call and this seems to come from people who have no connection to schools or what is really happening on a daily basis.

I have always said that we are extremely fortunate to have a safe place to report to, we have running water and ablutions and we have enough staff to clean round the clock. We are certainly more fortunate than many. But we are not immune to the fears that we are experiencing and we sense these fears in each other, our parents and even our pupils. We have already had staff that have had to quarantine or isolate. One of my biggest fears is that we would find ourselves short-staffed if we were open when the infection rate peaked.

The enormous responsibility that lies on our shoulders to keep your girls and each other safe takes an emotional toll on everyone. It’s one thing when parents are not happy because they didn’t like the way we coached the netball or hockey team, but it is a whole other ball game to make decisions during these times which can turn out to be detrimental to our girls and staff. I do believe that the decision to close schools now is in the best interest of all our VP families especially considering the strain that Settler’s Hospital and every medical facility in the Eastern Cape is under.

I do not think it is about the ‘laziness’ of teachers, or not wanting to take responsibility, it is about saving the lives of our children and also those adults who work in our schools. The consequences of being infected can be costly. I have said before that we will do everything in our power to keep our school a safe and happy place but for now I believe the best place for your girls is in the safety of their homes with their families until this peak of the pandemic subsides and I pray God’s hand over all of you during this time.

Our doors will close for two weeks from 27 July to 9 August 2020. (Hostel parents can collect their daughters from 13h00 today until 17h00 on Sunday). Our Grade 7s have been working hard and deserve this time to rest. We request that all other girls use these two weeks to catch up with the work that they may have received and on any outstanding work. They should also read as much as they can. The Grade 7 hostel girls will return to hostel on Monday the 10th August (from 14:00) and the rest of the Grade 7 girls will return to school on Tuesday, 11 August and will follow the times that we are currently using.

Work collection
On Friday, 14 August the
• Pre-primary and Foundation Phase will have a Work Pick-Up at Huntley Street from 12:00-13:30.
• Grade 4 and 5s will have a pick up point for work at 12:00-13:30 also at Huntley Street
• Grade 6s will be handing out work in Beaufort Street between 11:00 and 12:00

A new educational children’s book series by the South African illustrator and cartoonist Nathi Ngubane has been published online for free. The series documents the adventures of Duma, his sister Zinhle and their friends during the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa to give children an insight into how to stay safe while navigating this topsy-turvy world. https://sacoronavirus.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DumaSays.pdf

As the Minister has not yet indicated how she proposes we phase in the rest of the grades again, we may have to change this but we are ready for all hostel girls to return on the 23 August and on the 24th we will welcome back all our Green Group girls from Grade 00 – 6. Please keep watching the news closely for any notification of this but bear in mind that like last time the provincial return of grades may also be different to that which is stipulated in the National Gazette and we will certainly notify you as soon as we have more clarity, or if for some reasons we are unable to receive all other grades on this date.

If anything has been predictable this year it is that everything may change, so if things change between now and then we will certainly keep you informed as often and as timely as possible.

On a positive note I thought I’d add an encouraging message on facing the COVID pandemic. The full article can be found on the following link:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/truth-and-courage/202004/how-do-i-manage-my-fear-in-the-era-covid-19
Clean Up Your Attitude
The power of a positive attitude is immeasurable. Here are some ways to get started.
Practice gratitude. This can be done in a variety of ways—from solo practices (e.g., keeping a gratitude journal) to group activities (e.g., sharing “one thing we are grateful for today” at dinner).
Connect with positivity instead of fear. This might mean connecting with grounded (vs. anxious) people, talking about uplifting (vs. depressing) topics, reading or watching inspiring (vs. demoralizing) news or shows, engaging in supportive (vs. critical) self-talk, or doing something helpful (e.g., delivering groceries to an older neighbor, offering free online services, etc.).
Be compassionate. In times of stress, it’s not uncommon for tempers to run short and snappy reactions to become the default. So be intentional and deliberate in your practice of empathy, patience, and forgiveness for yourself and others.
Stay hopeful. This might be a tall order, but it’s also a game-changer. Take time to deeply and seriously consider the current crisis. Allow yourself a wider lens. Even wider. Think broadly about what is really important to you, what your values are, how you find meaning in life, and what you want to be your most important life lessons. When we are overwhelmed, our perspective can become myopic and our hope wavering. So, look far, search deep, and ground in the power of hope.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives and the world upside-down. When the crisis will end, and what it will leave behind, no one knows for sure. What we do know and what we can control is our ability to reign in our fear. In so doing, we will optimize our ability to tackle this crisis together with calm and clarity.

Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence
Congratulations to Sisonke Magopeni who was the very first recipient of our Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence. She was nominated as it was brought to the teachers attention that she exemplifies someone who stands up for what is right and who will support others when she sees that they aren’t being treated kindly or fairly. It takes a very strong character to do this especially when one is young and friends and popularity are important. She works hard and is a good ambassador for our school and she sets a wonderful example of being a courageous woman. Well done, Sisonke! Mr Webber presented her with her badge in class during our Zoom assembly on Monday.

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy birthday to the girls who celebrated this week! Liyabona Mbutye, Lisakhanya Batala, Aligugu Makeba, Elam Ntlokwana and Charlotte Welgemoed.

Warm regards

Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

Face shields are available for purchase at the office. If you would like your daughter to buy one please send R25 in an envelope with her to her teacher who will then supply her with one.

BUCKET HAT WITH REMOVABLE FACE SHIELD

If you are interested in purchasing a bucket hat with a removable face shield for your daughter, please complete the order slip below and return by no later than Friday, 7 August 2020. The bucket hat will be navy blue in colour and made of a washable fabric. The face shield is made of a soft clear plastic and is attached to the hat by means of Velcro and can be easily removed for wiping and disinfecting. The edging on the face shield is also navy blue.
As the latest government regulation mandate the wearing of masks in all public places hats with shields such as these cannot replace a face mask, however they will provide extra protection and will be suitable for wearing in the classroom, while eating and when playing outside in the sun.
The hat is available in sizes Small (approximate age 2-3); Medium (approx. age 4-7) and Large (approx. age 8-12). Note the children in the photographs are in Grade R and are wearing size medium. Each hat inclusive of one removable face shield costs R120,00. Should you wish to place an order please fill in the form below. Completed order forms are to be returned to your daughter’s class teacher. Payment is to be made via Karri. Please no cash to be sent to school. Orders with payment can only be accepted until Friday, 7 August 2020.

——————————————————————————————————————–
Name of child ________________________________________________
Grade and class ____________________

Number of hats ordered ________________
Size: 2-3 (small) / 4-7 (medium) / 8-12 (large) (circle the appropriate size)

VP Newsletter 17 July 2020

VP Newsletter 17 July 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 17 July 2020

Message from the office
You may be aware that many teacher unions are calling for the closing of schools until the Corona V-19 virus curve has flattened. Their reasons for this call include the concern for the mental health of teachers, the number of teachers and learners who have been affected, and the call by the World Health Organisation to have no school open during the peak of the pandemic and only open until we experience a downward turn of the curve and fewer cases of infections are reported. The unions were meant to meet with the minister of education on Wednesday this week to discuss these concerns but this meeting has been postponed. It has been indicated that the education minister is in the process of consulting regarding this issue and we await the outcome.

We as a school have done everything humanly possible to implement all the safety measures required and it has taken many hours of thought and preparation to make this work. I believe that most other schools have done this too. Our teachers are teaching in the classroom, adapting their teaching methods and planning to make sure that teaching and learning can continue under the new normal. On top of that we are also submitting work (online and workpacks) to those who are still at home, whether it is because the grade has not yet returned or because the children are in quarantine or isolation or because their exemption has been approved. Our staff has been incredibly resilient and open to the many new changes that we have implemented, and they have been willing to step in when we have needed to support or fill in for each other.

We have been very fortunate that, up till now, we have not had any case that has directly impacted the running of our school and we want you to know that we are committed to educating and protecting your daughters. Whatever the outcome of the minister’s decision, we will follow the advice and instructions that we are given and we will continue to strive to work and serve your girls under these challenging times.

Exemplary VP Girl Badge
During the course of the first term we planned to introduce what we named the Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence. Unfortunately we were unable to do so due to the unexpected closure of schools and, on our return we did not expect to be implementing it this year. But our girls are still managing to shine their light even with our shortened days and limited contact. Below is the criteria for this badge and at Monday’s assembly we will present our first badge to the very first recipient:

Duration of keeping the badge: till end of the current year
Grade 1-7
How to nominate: One teacher nominates and then gets approved and discussed at a staff meeting by other staff members.
Criteria:
• Displays qualities of values promoted by VP ie responsibility, respect, resilience, trustworthiness, Compassion and empathy and citizenship
• Displays commitment to school work. (Works to the best of their ability)
• Committed to the extramural programme and displays commitment and perseverance in this area. (under the circumstances prior commitment will be noted)
• Dresses immaculately for all occasions.
How presented:
• At assemblies where girls will be given the special badge. Names will be put into the school newsletter that week.

Assemblies
We have been presenting assemblies via Zoom to the classes. We now repeat the same message every alternate week to accommodate our different groups. Our Grade 7s only have assembly every second week.

Mandela Day
On Thursday and Friday this week our girls had fun on the field and performed the ‘Mandela Jive’. It was so good to be in the sun and have some fun. We will be sharing our messages of thanks to the frontline workers and the video of our jive on our website in due course.

A reminder that we are also collecting donations for the SPCA during this cold winter time. Please send the donations with your daughter to school.

Spray bottles
If you have any empty spray bottles such as the Windolene bottles, please will you consider donating them to the school? They can be dropped off at the school office.

Message for the Intersen Phase
It is hard to believe that we have come to the end of a two-week cycle with the Grade 6 girls joining the Grade 7s. The colours of blue and green have indeed taken on a different meaning. Our Grade 6 (and R) girls were the first group to be introduced to this new way of teaching. The girls are indeed fortunate to be in smaller classes and that contributes to some interesting dynamics in the classes. The Grade 4 and 5 teachers are already preparing for the phasing in of their respective Grades. On the 27 th of July, we will be welcoming our Grade 4s, and the parents will be receiving letters containing valuable information. Please familiarise yourself with the content as this will make the transition from remote learning to school-based learning less stressful.

We have our once a week phase meetings on Tuesdays to monitor various aspects relating to the previous week’s activities in and outside the classroom. We have been looking at documents pertaining to the curriculum and assessment. We received directives on assessment and it is clear that we will engage in more formal assessments in Term 3 and 4. Reports will also only be issued in Term 3 and 4. School-based assessment will play an important role and count 80% towards the final mark at the end of the year. Exams will be replaced by tests. These tests will make up 20% of the final mark. Teachers will also select work from work done in lockdown and during this term and add these to the SBA mark.
It seems that the girls are enjoying their break times on Fergusson Field. Groups are formed on the field with the necessary social distancing adhered to. We have been blessed with some sunny days and the time outside allows the girls to soak up some Vitamin D. The teachers have also resorted to the field for their Phys Ed lessons. Our LSPA lessons are well received and Ms. Knott Craig (dance), Mrs. Jones ( music), and Ms. Featherstone (drama) are presenting the girls with some worthwhile experiences. Mrs. Coetzee is currently assisting in Grade 7 and Ms. Featherstone is adding great value to Grade 6 and 7 Afrikaans. Mr. Greyling has resorted to presenting some of his lessons via Zoom.

Next week we will enter our two-week cycle starting with Day 1. Our blue group will attend school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and our green group on Tuesday and Thursday. Girls are now allowed to take textbooks and workbooks home (no sharing). Please expect more homework activities as from next week- especially on their days when the girls are not at school. Parents are to please monitor these activities at home and to ensure that the girls record their homework. Have a lovely weekend with your families.
Regards
Mr Anthony Greyling- HOD Intersen Phase

FP Phase
On Monday (or Tuesday) we are looking forward to receiving our Grade 3s back. We welcome Ms Davies who has been appointed to take over from Ms Bruns. She has already made valuable contributions during the lockdown and her enthusiasm is evident. We have no doubt that her girls will quickly adapt and settle with their new teacher. Grade 3 hostel girls can arrive on Sunday between 14:00 and 17:00. Please contact Ms Miskin if you need to make alternative arrangements.

Drop and pick up times
It is essential during this pandemic, that your daughter arrives for school and is fetched on time. She needs to arrive at her screening point between 07h15 and 07h45 so that she arrives when the screening stations are open, and we request that your daughter is fetched promptly at the time she is released from school, the last group is released at 13h00. Please ensure that you communicate this with any transport that you organise for your daughter. We request that you also make sure that your daughters cross at the pedestrian crossing. We want our girls to stay safe!

A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.

Happy birthday to the girls who celebrated this week! Ammaraah Begg, Zinako Pikoli, Kayla O’Linsky, Lieschen Butterworth, Malihle Tima, Mika Davies, Limnandi Dyibishe and Akhe Songongo.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

VP Newsletter 10 July 2020

VP Newsletter 10 July 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 10 July 2020

Message from the office
Please see the attached letter for the details of the accelerated return to school of additional grades.

As more and more people get infected or who may find themselves living with someone who is infected with COVID-19, we thought it would be wise to share some guidance with you if you find yourselves somehow impacted by the virus. The following information is taken from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
This gives us all clearer guidelines about what to do when we find ourselves in certain scenarios.

Quarantine If You Might Be Sick. Stay home if you might have been exposed to COVID-19
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
Isolation separates people who are infected with the virus away from people who are not infected.

Who needs to quarantine?
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
This includes people who previously had COVID-19 and people who have taken a serologic (antibody) test and have antibodies to the virus.
What counts as close contact?
● You were within 2 metres of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes
● You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
● You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them)
● You shared eating or drinking utensils
● They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
Steps to take
Stay home and monitor your health
● Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19
● Watch for fever (38 ੦C), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
● If possible, stay away others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

When to start and end quarantine
You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
For all of the following scenarios, even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. See scenarios below to determine when you can end quarantine and be around others.

Scenario 1: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—will not have further close contact
I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbour, or friend).
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.
Date of last close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days= end of quarantine

Scenario 2: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—live with the person but can avoid further close contact
I live with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom. I have had no close contact with the person since they isolated.
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation.
Date person with COVID-19 began home isolation + 14 days = end of quarantine

Scenario 3. Under quarantine and had additional close contact with someone who has COVID-19
I live with someone who has COVID-19 and started my 14-day quarantine period because we had close contact. What if I ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during my quarantine? What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?
Yes. You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.
Date of additional close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days = end of quarantine

Scenario 4: Live with someone who has COVID-19 and cannot avoid continued close contact
I live in a household where I cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19. I am providing direct care to the person who is sick, I don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where I am unable to keep a physical distance of 2m.
You should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.
Date the person with COVID-19 ends home isolation + 14 days = end of quarantine

On your child’s return from isolation or quarantine;
Prior to your daughter’s return to school, we would request that you submit a letter to the school from the doctor or nurse who treated the diagnosed positive person stating when they can return to school, should it be your daughter, or stating when the household contacts can return to school.

If this is not possible, we request that a parent or guardian signs a letter stating that your daughter has not been in contact with anyone who is COVID positive for the last 14 days prior to her return to school and that you understand that a household member with COVID is regarded as positive until 14 days from when they first displayed symptoms.

If in doubt about what to do, please contact your GP or clinic for advice.

A reminder that if your daughter is not well, please do not send her to school. We respectfully request that you inform the school if your daughter has had contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID 19 or if she herself is showing symptoms or tested positive. We need to work together to ensure that we keep our little community safe as best we can.

Thank you for your understanding and for assisting us in our efforts to keep all our girls safe while they are at school and we thank all our parents who have cooperated so positively with us during these uncertain times.

Mandela Day:
In celebration of Mandela Day the girls who are at school will gather on the Fergusson field for 67 seconds of dancing (ensuring social distancing), because what is a celebration without a little dancing? The Intersen Phase girls are requesting donations for the SPCA and our other grades who are at school will be doing thoughtful tasks during class time. The Grade R’s will be making cards for our frontline workers to show our gratitude.

Uniform:
We made the decision to swap days for uniform and sports clothes to give parents the chance to wash clothes in between use. We have realised that this is not working with girls who come on alternate days. We are happy for you to alternate your daughter’s sport and school uniform as they come in during the week (for Grade 1-6). However we request that your daughters do not mix these uniforms and that they still abide by the school uniform rules.

Happy birthday to the teachers and girls who celebrated this week!
Ms Davies, Lunathi Mkosana, Maya Christian, Holly Riddin, Mila McConnachie, Nooran Sha, Makatendeka Chakona, Haidee Thondlana and Buhle Tshiki.

Warm regards

Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

Letter regarding the accelerated return of grades:

                                                                                                       2020-07-10

Dear VP Parents

We will be accelerating the phasing in of certain grades and we can’t wait to have them return. We have put all safety measures in place, have all the necessary PPEs and our screening points are established. We trust that, if you have already received the letter with the plans for the return of your daughter’s grade,  you have read it carefully and know what to expect. Hopefully you have also found the time to watch the video with your daughter, that the teachers have made for the different grades, that will help her to have a visual idea of what to expect on her return.

With all this being said I’d like to ask you to bear the following in mind:

  • As you can appreciate, circumstances may arise that may cause us to delay the dates we propose and we will try our best, if possible, to send timeous notification of the change.
  • We have put all measures in place that will ensure that strict screening practices are in place. This may also mean that we may need to place a teacher in quarantine and/or isolation. If this does happen please bear in mind that:
  1. We will use substitute teachers (teachers who are currently on our staff establishment) if necessary and there may be days where your child may have someone other than her usual class teacher teaching her.
  2. If things become such that we do not have enough staff members for a class, for the safety of your daughters, we may have no other option but to cancel school for as long as necessary for that particular class.
  • Regardless of how well prepared we are, we can’t predict how things will pan out with this pandemic and we may need to alter the dates set if we believe it is not in the interest and safety of your daughters and our staff, for them to return as planned.

Proposed phasing in for the next grades at Victoria Primary School:

 

Date Grade
Week starting Monday, 13 July 2020 1
Week starting Monday, 20 July 2020 3
Week starting Monday, 27 July 2020 00, 2 & 4
Week starting Monday, 3 August 2020 5

A reminder that if you do not wish to send your daughter back to school you have two options:

1) De-register your daughter from Victoria Primary School by sending us written notification of your desire to do so. You will then have to apply for homeschooling through the education department. If you wish for her to return to VP in 2021, you will have to reapply for next year. Although the deadline for applications is closed we will accept late applications for parents who have chosen to de-register although we cannot absolutely guarantee a place next year, we will prioritize such applicants.

2) You can apply from the DoE for a temporary exemption from school attendance. This would entail that you complete the application form and submit it to the school office.  Your daughter would not be marked as absent while she is at home. This would mean that they will remain registered at VP, you would still be liable to pay school fees and your daughter’s current class teachers would make arrangements for work to be sent home, which you would need to submit for assessment, if required, once done. If you choose this option it is important to note that you will be responsible to ensure that your daughter receives her work and completes it while she is at home. The application for this can be found on our website.

To our Grade One hostel parents,  we are so excited to have our Dinkies back! We will be ready for their return on Sunday from 14h00 to 17h00. As you have received short notice, we understand that you may need more time to plan your travels. We will accept them into the hostel during the course of next week. Please be sure to notify Ms Miskin of when we can expect you so that we can be ready to welcome them back.

Please do not hesitate to call the school office or to email us if you have any further queries.

Warm regards,

Michelle Rafferty

Principal

VP Newsletter 3 July 2020

VP Newsletter 3 July 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 3 July 2020

Message from the office
Early this morning I had to change my message for today’s newsletter as news came out that there was a change in the planned phasing in of the next grades.

We have already put many measures in place for our next grades’ return on Monday (or Tuesday) and I know that our teachers were eagerly awaiting their return. During the course of this past week we heard and read media reports regarding resistance to the return of the next grades. These reports came with different viewpoints about who would return. We had to sit tight and await the outcome of the discussions held by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM). Late yesterday afternoon we received, like many of you, the news that they had decided that only Grade R (not Gr 00) and Grade 6 should return on Monday. We have still NOT received any official statement from the Department of Education and we need to take our instruction from them and not from the media. As you can appreciate, this has resulted in confusion and frustration among our staff and indeed within all schools affected. During this pandemic the delayed decision making and tardy relaying of communication to the schools has added to our stress and I am certain that this includes you, the parents. We wish to ask that you are patient with us as we appear to be constantly changing our plans and this in turn means that you have to make changes to the arrangements you have made within your own families.

As we do not wish to send communication out later than today while we await the official notification from the Department, we have decided to make the call that we will only start with Grade 6 and R on Monday. If we hear otherwise later this week, we will introduce the other grades as from Wednesday next week. We apologize to our hostel parents who have made plans to bring their daughters back to the hostel too and I can only imagine the impact this news will have on your plans and the inconvenience it will cause. If we focus on our girls’ safety being our first priority and we approach each day with an open-mind with the willingness to be flexible we will get through these crazy times. Thank you again to our wonderful parent body who have been so understanding and supportive throughout this transition. Please note that Grade 7s continue coming to school daily as they have been for the last three weeks, Grade R & 6 will be attending on alternate days in addition to the Grade 7s.

At our Zoom assembly on Monday we introduced our new value of Empathy and Compassion. To date we have focused on the values of Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience and now on Empathy and Compassion. Imagine if these values were instilled in all of us. We wouldn’t have a world that is so intolerant of others, lacks the ability to feel for others’ plights, does not treat anyone unfairly and unjustly and even unkindly. Values are so important and the earlier we teach them the more engrained these crucial values become.

Here are some tips that may help us to develop empathy and compassion at home:
Taken from an article titled: “For Families: 5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy”
The full article can be found on the following link
https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/resources-for-families/5-tips-cultivating-empathy

1. Empathize with your child and model empathy for others.
Children learn empathy both from watching us and from experiencing our empathy for them. When we empathize with our children they develop trusting, secure attachments with us. Those attachments are key to their wanting to adopt our values and to model our behaviour, and therefore to building their empathy for others.
Empathizing with our children takes many forms, including tuning in to their physical and emotional needs, understanding and respecting their individual personalities, taking a genuine interest in their lives, and guiding them toward activities that reflect an understanding of the kind of people they are and the things they enjoy.
Children also learn empathy by watching those we notice and appreciate. They’ll notice if we treat a server in a restaurant or the street sweeper as if they’re invisible. On the positive side, they’ll notice if we welcome a new family in our child’s school or express concern about another child in our child’s class who is experiencing one challenge or another.
2. Make caring for others a priority and set high ethical expectations.
If children are to value others’ perspectives and show compassion for them, it’s very important that they hear from their parents that caring about others is a top priority, and that it is just as important as their own happiness. Even though most parents say that raising caring children is a top priority, often children aren’t hearing that message.
Keep to a clear message. Consider the daily messages you send to children about the importance of caring. For example, instead of saying “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” you might say “The most important thing is that you’re kind and that you’re happy.”
Help your children understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. It’s vital at times for parents to put children’s concern for others above their happiness, for example, insisting at times that children turn off the TV and help around the house, be polite even when they are in a bad mood, or not dominate the airwaves when they are talking to other children or adults.
3. Provide opportunities for children to practice empathy.
Children are born with the capacity for empathy, but it needs to be nurtured throughout their lives. Learning empathy is in certain respects like learning a language or a sport. It requires practice and guidance. Regularly considering other people’s perspectives and circumstances helps make empathy a natural reflex and, through trial and error, helps children get better at tuning into others’ feelings and perspectives.
Encourage empathy for peers. Ask children about their classmates and other peers. Ask children when they’re in conflict with peers to consider their peers’ perspectives.
Reflect on empathy and caring. Notice with your child when you’re together and someone exhibits strong empathy—or shows a lack of empathy—either in your daily life or in a book or on television. Discuss why acts of empathy are important and why lacking empathy can be harmful.

This week we said farewell to Mr Keeton whose last day of school was on the 30th June. I know that he is so sad not to have had the opportunity to say a proper good-bye to his class as we all expected him to have at least one more term teaching them. We thank him for all that he has done while he was at VP.
We welcomed Mrs Coetzee back from her maternity leave on Wednesday and she is already in full swing preparing for the Grade 5’s return.

Message from Foundation Phase
As our circumstances have changed once again we will, for the time being, revert back to making our digital work plans available as we have been via the school webpage and the D6 Communicator. Our Friday Work Pick Ups will resume as well. It is very important that you use the work plans with the worksheets and activities that you collect in the Work Packs.

We have decided to adjust our planning slightly as we understand that you may also be back at work and therefore we have tried to keep the work that your daughter is expected to do at home simple yet meaningful. As we go forward now, we would really like to encourage you to start returning completed worksheets on Fridays when you collect work for the following week. We are not expecting to see work that she may have done in her workbook, but please do keep the worksheets separate and return them. Don’t forget to write your daughters’ name on them. We will also start sending a story book with the Work Pack. Please take care of these books, they are precious classroom resources. These books will be exchanged on Fridays, only if the previous one is returned.

At this stage, until we hear otherwise our Friday Work Pick Up routine will remain as it has been at the Huntley Street Gate. Thank you to you all for collecting work so diligently. We have decided to change the time from 12:00 to 13:30 in order to accommodate you better. Please note that there will be an EMERGENCY PICK UP on Monday 6/07 to collect work for this week. (Week 1) At the Huntley Street gate between 12:00 and 13:30.
Kind regards
Mrs Orsmond
HOD FP

Music News
In order to maintain social distancing and to ensure that our strict sanitizing protocols are observed, all music lessons will be taught on an individual basis until further notice.

The music teachers have been working on new timetables, which follow the blue/green streaming system that has been put in place for the Foundation Phase and the Intermediate Phase. Each music pupil from Grades 1-6 will now attend one long lesson (as opposed to two short lessons as was previously the case), every two weeks, i.e. one long lesson every five school days. The music teachers will also employ the “flipped classroom” approach to further extend learning during pupils’ “home days”.

Grade 7 pupils are at school every day, so they will attend one long lesson each week, i.e. one lesson every five school days. These measures have been put in place to ensure that lessons are allocated equitably.
We are pleased to inform our parents that we have spaces available for new music pupils who wish to take lessons on the piano and guitar. For further information, please request a music application form from the office.

A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.

Happy birthday to the teacher and girls who celebrated this week! Ms Denston, Linamandla Teyise, Zama Gwarube, Amy-Leigh Jacobs, Luyolise Nakase, Chelsey Knoesel, Kungawo Kate, Shaziah Louts, Katherine Marais, Zimfefe Kopo, Olothando Sityata, Kendra Chrisjan and Nazley Gabriel.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

Grade 7 Career Day

VP Newsletter 26 June 2020

VP Newsletter 26 June 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 26 June 2020

Message from the office
This week we have begun to have firsthand experience of the Corona virus as it begins to affect so many of the VP families within our little Grahamstown community. I am finding the world a much quieter place. Yes, this could be due to the masks but I also sense a mood of shock among many of the staff. We are still recovering from the loss of what we once knew and coming to terms with how things are now. Slowly we are also starting to feel that sense of angst as the virus we have dreaded is now knocking, if not on our own door, but on those of our neighbours. We share news on a daily basis and sympathise and empathise with those who are experiencing what we have perhaps only read about or seen on the news. We worry about our elderly parents and if we may expose them unknowingly and we worry about our precious people who work in our homes who may also be vulnerable. We share news and see those, who you presume are coping, with tears gathering in their eyes. This has made us all fearful but it has also bound us together.

We guard our girls and their safety at school like lions in front of Daniel’s den but we also know that our guardianship is not impenetrable and we are very aware of the intense responsibility that we carry when your girls return to school. We can only try our best. We know that you know that too and we can only promise you that we are trying to act in a way that we see best, checking that our protocols and our actions are compatible and daily seeking advice from medical professionals as we are confronted with each new scenario.

We thank the many parents who send messages of thanks and encouragement and we also thank those who have respected and abided by the strict measures we have put in place. We thank you for your understanding and support.

In our Zoom Assembly on Monday we spoke about being powerful and strong women who can achieve anything when we put our minds (and actions) to it, but we noted that being strong does not equate to being mean to others and lacking in empathy. In fact, it means the opposite. We need to teach our girls that it takes strength to be able to show kindness, to think of others’ feelings and to think beyond oneself. Too many TV shows (especially the reality ones) and movies set an example for our girls that being a strong woman means competing with others at all costs and making sure that you win no matter what, including ridiculing and ostracizing others . We must teach our girls that fellowship, love and compassion are the values that they should aspire to and this is more crucial than ever both during this pandemic and considering the plight and staggering statistics of violence against women.

We cannot tolerate behaviour where people who get affected by Covid-19 are to be stigmatised and ridiculed. We need to realise that none of us are immune and we need to breed a greater sense of empathy and understanding in our girls. I really don’t see how our little town can tolerate such insensitivity and unkindness at this time. Our society and country needs to take a stand against people who display such hatred and ridicule towards any group of people, and I appeal to you to speak to your daughters about the huge impact intolerance of any kind can have.

I’d also like to appeal to you to consider what/who your daughter’s role models are. Is it the latest soapie star or the prejudiced uncle next door? Do you engage in conversations with your daughter that will encourage an understanding and non-judgmental attitude towards things that are different, new or which may even instill fear? Don’t presume that your daughter knows that soapies are badly written scripts and that that is not how real life works. Let’s not create a generation of women whose footprint makes others feel ashamed of who they are and robs them of their courage to put their own unique stamp on the world. Lead, guide and engage to develop strong women whose impact will leave others feeling accepted and loved and empowered to be brave and strong.

Message from the Intersen Phase
Standing at the early morning lines this week waiting for the Grade 7s to arrive a group of girls spontaneously started to sing. How wonderful it has been to have our lovely and excited girls back at school. The school feels alive with vitality and buzzes with hope and the promise of happy times to come. Strict protocol has been put in place, which the girls are slowly getting used to. It is remarkable to see how our girls are taking responsibility for their own “bubble” in class. Spraying their desks with surface spray and sanitising their hands on a regular basis. I must admit that the girls are very aware of their masks and the importance thereof.

Letters were shared with the Grade 6 parents. We hope to welcome our Grade 6s on the 6th and 7th of July respectively. Please make sure that your daughter knows which group she is in ie. either the blue or the green group. I am convinced that the extra-small classes will be a blessing, as it will make it easy to reconnect with our pupils, a handful at a time, ensuring individual attention and the strengthening of bonds. As one can imagine, social distancing is a very foreign concept and the Grade 7s, as well as Grade 6s, will need regular reminders that as much as we are protecting ourselves with these precautions, more importantly, we are protecting others around us. Grade 7s had the opportunity to introduce their careers during our LO lessons. They discovered through this experience that due to so many advances made especially on the technological front the career fields are gradually changing.

The “fun day” was postponed to next week Thursday as we hope to have all our Grade 7’s back at school. The Grade 7 teachers are very busy with the marking of various activities completed during the lockdown. These vary from Peer Pressure posters for LO, English short stories based on the Coronavirus, music instruments with instructions in Afrikaans to various Maths activities. This will be a process and we hope to have most of the activities marked in due course. We have also resorted to Zoom Assemblies on Mondays. Mrs Rafferty has inspired our girls with her very special and insightful messages. We look forward to introducing our next value of COMPASSION AND EMPATHY next week.

A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.

Happy birthday to the teachers and girls who celebrated this week!
Mrs Ryan, Ms Hanslo, Aventandwa Ponoshe, Lithalelanga Tabensky,
Ella Radovic, Tatiana Radovic, Lithalethu Santi, Nakweziphi Mthetho and Amana Dyira.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

VP Newsletter 19 June 2020

VP Newsletter 19 June 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 19 June 2020

Message from the office
On Tuesday 9 June our Grade 7s came back to school. We are most grateful to Bradley Jackson (Mrs Jackson’s son) who made a video to mark this return, you can see the video on our website or follow this link: https://youtu.be/xKdzdX4b-Pk We have now completed two weeks of schooling with minimal mishaps and the procedures that we have put in place for screening and cleaning have worked well.

On the 6 July we will be receiving our Pre Primary, Grade 1-3 and Grade 6 girls back. As you can imagine we have taken great pains to ensure that we are able to do this while keeping all our girls safe. According to the regulations for the phasing-in of the next grades we cannot have more than 50% of our girls at school at once unless under circumstances where we have ample space and rooms to ensure that social distancing can be possible. It has taken a lot of brainstorming and debate. Grade 7s (and matrics) who are exiting their respective phases at the end of the year have to continue to come to school on a daily basis. Please note that the Grade 7s will continue to come to school everyday and follow their timetable as they have been.

Each grade will send a letter to parents today to explain how the respective grades will work and I trust that you will read it carefully. Through this process we have come to realise that we cannot necessarily expect new systems to fit our old way of doing things. We all have to adjust and make new plans to adapt to the new systems. Below I will explain generally how our phasing will work and I request that you read the letter from your grade teachers in conjunction with this, to provide you with a clearer picture of exactly how your daughter will slot into this new system.
Previously in Grade 4-7 we worked on a 10 day cycle. Monday to Friday was Day 1-5 (week 1) and the following week was Day 6-10 (week 2). Once the grades return we will follow the new system as explained below:

Each class will be divided into two groups. Group 1: Blue group and Group 2: Green group. Your daughter will be placed in either the Green or the Blue group. Blue and Green groups will attend school on alternate days. On your daughter’s “home days” she will be given manageable tasks/homework to complete which her teacher would have explained the day before. We will repeat our Week 1 for two weeks and we will then repeat our Week 2 for two weeks. The visual explanation is as follows:

  Week 1 

Day 1-5

Week 2 

Day 1-5

Mon Group 1 Group 2
Tues Group 2 Group 1
Wed Group 1 Group 2
Thurs Group 2 Group 1
Friday Group 1 Group 2
  Week 3 

Day 6-10

Week 4 

Day 6-10

Mon Group 1 Group 2
Tues Group 2 Group 1
Wed Group 1 Group 2
Thurs Group 2 Group 1
Friday Group 1 Group 2

Please also see the grade letter for details on times, entry points and protocols specific to each grade. We know that this is going to also mean some planning and organising from your side but I am sure that you can appreciate that this is a system that will entail us being able to keep your girls safe and at the same time ensure that their schooling continues.

Boarder’s leave out: We will be having a boarders’ Leave Out for the Grade 7s on the weekend of the 3-5 July.

Message from the Intersen Phase: On Tuesday the 16th of June we celebrated Youth Day. In class we took the time to reflect on the struggles of the youth of 1976 and the struggles of our youth today. We focused on how this day marked a turning point in South Africa’s march to democracy. We emphasised the importance of continuing to, not only transform our actions, but also our mindsets. Our Grade 7s utilised this week to catch up on work shared with them during the lockdown. They have received detailed information on the work they had to complete and the way forward. Please encourage them to diarise activities and to meet the necessary deadlines. Some of these activities will be assessed and the marks recorded for promotion purposes.

The Grade 6 teachers are currently preparing for the phasing in of the grade. Please view the two videos uploaded on our website: https://youtu.be/bsX9q2ciZBg The girls need to familiarise themselves with the protocols and procedures in place. These videos depict what the girls can expect when they arrive at school.

We have decided that Friday the 26th of June will be a “fun day” for the Grade 7s. They will come to school dressed up to represent the career they would like to pursue one day. During the day they will then get to introduce themselves to the rest of the grade. We will also use some of our teaching time to engage in a variety of fun activities. The girls will be divided into groups and go to various teachers to either do some craft activities, yoga, songwriting and the list goes on. We hope that this experience will uplift the girls and take their minds off the “unusual” we are encountering every day.

The Grade 4, 5 and 6 teachers will also be handing out workpacks today, to the parents who indicated that they’d prefer this option in the survey. The work coverage from Grade 4-6 will also be available on our school website. The work set will run from Monday 22 June till Friday 3 July.

Happy birthday to all our children who celebrated their birthday this week! Rachel de la Mare, Layola Loliwe, Skyla Davies, Zothando Mzileni, Sibonokuhle Benge, Phoebe Jacobs, Sinesipho Mafani, Zinathi Mabunda and Mairi van Schoor.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

VP Newsletter 12 June 2020

VP Newsletter 12 June 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 12 June 2020

Message from the office
We are delighted to finally have our Grade 7s back and to be teaching in a classroom. We have also re-opened our hostel to our Grade 7 girls.

At the risk of sounding melancholic, I do know that some of our girls are feeling a sense of grief. I know that many were excited to come back to what they remembered, only to discover that some things are the same but so much more is different; the masks, the routine, even the mood seems to have changed. Unlike where usually the teachers have “got this” and can lead the way based on their own life experiences, this is new to all of us and many teachers and staff are also having to find their own way to deal with their fears and trepidations. Just like when grieving a loss, we need to give our girls space to express their fears and to give them time to come to terms with the many changes they have to face. I know that they want their old normal back and it is going to take time to adjust to the new way of life, and that is true for all of us. We need to show each other grace and patience, as we all find our own way of coping and adjusting to so many new things. I would like to thank our parents for their patience and also for their faith in entrusting us with their daughters.

Revised calendar for 2020

We have received our new school calendar for this year which you may view above. Tuesday is a public holiday and school won’t be open but our hostel will remain open for our hostel girls. Monday is a normal school day for our Grade 7s.

I am sure that many of you are anxious about the return of the next few grades and how and when this will happen. We have made a plan that will work for our school and we will share this with you during the course of next week. As mentioned on numerous occasions, your daughters’ safety is our number one priority right now and our plan for our next grades’ return will reflect this.

I would also like to stress once again that if, for whatever reason, you do not wish to send your daughter back to school when her grade returns, you have to apply for exemption from school attendance from the education department and each case will be viewed individually. The application forms can be found on our website.
https://victoriaprimary.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/DoE-Circular-SG-instruction-document-27-May-2020.pdf
Once grades return, our teachers will be teaching in the classrooms and we will no longer be posting work on the website.

Office times: Our office hours are from 08h00 till 14h00. Please ring the bell at the office door and you will be assisted.

Message from Intersen phase:
We are delighted to have our Grade 7s back in class. They adapted well to their new routine and procedures. We can’t emphasise enough that the girls must maintain social distancing at all times, especially when waiting for their transport. This week we focused mainly on work they had to complete in April and May. Some of these activities will be assessed and the marks will be recorded.

This coming week girls in Grade 4-6 have the opportunity to do some catch up work and to mark some of their activities. We have decided that the girls need a break from online teaching. Please allow your daughter the time just to relax and to spend time outdoors. Limit their time on digital devices and encourage them to rather do exercises like practising their hockey and netball skills.

The Grade 4- 6 teachers conducted a survey to determine whether we should resort to online work coverage or the collection of work packs at a designated collection point. We await the results and will notify the outcomes in due course. The Grade 6 teachers are eagerly awaiting the return of the Grade 6’s and are well-prepared for their arrival. They have also received the trimmed curriculum in all the subjects. The Intersen phase teachers request that the girls must please try their best to complete all activities and they wish that you all stay safe.

Foundation Phase: A reminder to parents to please collect your daughter’s work pack at the Huntley Street Gate from 11h00 until 13h00 today and next Friday again.

Happy birthday to all our children who celebrated their birthday this week! Aphiwe Bota, Ada Gontshi, Saskia van Wyk, Ashante Sinyanya, Tamsyn Hutchinson, Limise Mlonzi, Rachel Wilhelmi, Michaela Kretzmann, Catherine Roberts, Bridget Akpeng, Grace Chikafa and Amy Kelly.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Principal

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