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
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.
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.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Grade 7 Career Day