From the Head of the Preparatory School

Welcome back!

It has been great to welcome the boys back to school this week! Having spent a couple of weeks onsite working with teachers to get things ready, it has been so refreshing to have the boys’ energy filling the place again. Whilst their absence allows us to work efficiently, it is simply not the same without the boys. The boys have hit the ground running, throwing themselves back into their learning with great enthusiasm, focus and engagement. I trust this is just the beginning as we embark on a year of significant learning and growth for all of our learners.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about our ability to welcome parents back onsite as we would have liked. Nonetheless, it has been lovely to reconnect with parents as we have been able to at the front gate and through other interactions. We look forward to the day when we can return to ‘normal’ with parents being able to engage more naturally with teachers about the boys’ learning.

Professional Development and Learning

Last week, while the boys prepared to come back to school, and parents counted down the hours, the teachers took part in some extremely valuable professional learning. One of the important and often overlooked aspects of school, is the fact that we are all learners, not just the students. Amongst other things, it is the ongoing learning of the teachers that contributes so positively to the students’ learning.

This year our professional development sessions focused on Writing and developing our approach to facilitating flexible, personalised learning. We hope that our work in these areas will further equip teachers to provide appropriate challenge and support for all learners across the curriculum. I look forward to sharing more about these focus areas at next week’s Parent Information Evening and throughout the year.

Llandilo Development and Holiday works

As mentioned in my Welcome Letter, the holidays were particularly busy at the Prep School as work began on the Llandilo Development as well as additional upgrades and tweaks across the campus.

Over the break the builders took advantage of the boys’ absence by completing the significant demolition work on the Llandilo Development. The next few weeks will be focused on finalising the demolition of the interior and beginning to do preparation work on the foundations for the new sections of the building.

In addition, the following works were carried out across the campus:

  • Installation of acoustic treatment in the Kindergarten classrooms.
  • Carpet upgrades in the Somerset and Llandilo buildings including the Library.
  • Installation of new garden beds in the Somerset courtyard to support our growing Paddock to Plate club.

Parent Information Evenings

Next week you are warmly invited to join us for the relevant Parent Information Evenings. These sessions are a great chance for teachers and me to be able to provide information about the year ahead, ranging from whole school matters through to the day-to-day running of each class. Given the current COVID restrictions, these sessions will now take place online through Microsoft Teams meetings. Whilst we acknowledge virtual meetings lose a little of the personal element, we hope the virtual meeting will allow more parents to participate without having to navigate childcare arrangements for siblings.

On Monday I look forward to sending you my annual address that covers a range of matters about School life and the boys’ learning. I will also include a link to each of the Teams meetings so parents can simply tune in at the appropriate time.

The class-based Teams meetings will take place at the following times:

Tuesday 2nd February – Pre-K to Year 2 Parent Information Evening.

6:00pm – Pre-K and Kindergarten

6:45pm – Year 1 and Year 2  

Wednesday 3rd February – Year 3 to Year 6 Parent Information Evening.

6:00pm – Year 3 and Year 4

6:45pm – Year 5 and Year 6

Sport

Yesterday we began the process of selecting our IPSHA inter-school teams for Term 1, with this process set to conclude after next week’s sessions. We aim to publish teams in Week 3 along with the relevant draws so parents can plan for the first week of Sport on Saturday 13th February.

Year 3 boys began the year with a swim assessment with their Sport training set to begin next week before the first Friday afternoon session on Friday 12th February. Throughout the year the Year 3 boys will have the opportunity to participate in each of the main Winter and Summer sports across the year; Football (Term 1), Basketball (Term 2), Cricket (Term 3) and Rugby (Term 4). This programme provides a balance of skill development and ‘game-time’ experience to adequately prepare them for participation in the IPSHA Saturday Sport competition beginning in Year 4. 

Kiss and Ride

The daily dropping off and picking up of boys is an important time of the day to ensure the safety of everyone. It is also a little more challenging at present as we adjust to the new loss of the Kiss and Ride gate, ongoing COVID restrictions and the fact that co-curricular activities haven’t started yet. We are working hard to make these adjustments to ensure we return to the smooth operation of last year. As such, I would value your ongoing support with the following points:

  • Parents are encouraged to use the Kiss and Ride line instead of picking up on foot – whilst the line can be long, we believe that we can significantly speed this up with some adjustments. The boys’ names will now be called at the corner of Llandilo Ave and Kingsland Rd, allowing the boys time to make their way to the car line. Use of the Kiss and Ride line also allows us to better maintain social distancing.
  • Parents of boys in Kindy to Year 2 should not join the Kiss and Ride line or the foot line any earlier than 2:55pm. This will allow our Pre-K families to pick up and leave.
  • Parents of boys in Year 3-6 (or if your eldest son is in these grades) should not join the Kiss and Ride or foot line any earlier than 3:15pm. If parents join either line early they will be asked to leave the line and return at the appropriate time. This allows the lines to be focused on K-2 which is more efficient.
  • All parents should bring the yellow (K-2) or green (3-6) sign with their son’s name and class printed on it. These signs have been sent home.
  • Parents choosing to pick their son up on foot must line up on the eastern side of the Llandilo Gate (heading down towards The Boulevarde). Parents are requested to line up in single file and to maintain social distancing. A teacher will move along the line announcing the boys’ names by reading the name signs. When the boy arrives at the gate his name will be announced on a separate microphone so that parents in the line can hear it. A teacher will bring the boy along the line to meet his parent. As such, parents should remain in the line rather than moving up to the Llandilo gate.
  • In the case of wet weather, please do not adjust your practice from the points above.
  • We request that parents don’t attempt to complete a three-point turn in Llandilo Avenue as this can be dangerous and causes congestion.

Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School

‘You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.’

Psalm 86:5


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