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Friday Flier - 6 November 2015
To All Families at St.Paul's

Saint Martin and the Beggar - El GrecoSt. Martin's Celebration is approaching fast.  Class III has decided in order to honour the gesture St. Martin is most famous for - giving half his cloak to a cold and starving beggar he encountered along a road. We of Class III want to mark this very important impulse by collecting old, unused and outgrown winter coats for donation to a homeless shelter in North London. Now is the opportunity clean out your closet and drop off excess winter coats. We will place a collection box, clearly marked, in reception. We will deliver the coats ourselves on 13th November, a Friday. Thank you parents of St.Paul's.

Martin of Tours was Bishop of Tours, whose shrine in France became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He has become one of the most familiar and recognisable Christian saints. As he was born in what is now Szombathely, Hungary, spent much of his childhood in Pavia, Italy, and lived most of his adult life in France, he is considered a spiritual bridge across Europe.
 
His life was recorded by a contemporary, the hagiographer Sulpicius Severus. Some of the accounts of his travels may have been interpolated into his vita to validate early sites of his cult. He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter. Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army, he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he had adopted and became an early conscientious objector.
 
Thanks,
 
Mrs. Ramelow

Dates for Your Diary
Class V to VIII - Subject Teachers Parents' Evening
Monday 23rd November 3.30pm to 7pm
Please book your slot with each subject teachers on the board next to the office.
 
We look forwards to seeing you then.
 
The Subject Teachers
November
Mon 9  —  Class II Parents’ Evening; 7:00pm
Wed 11 —  Kindergarten Parents’ Evening; 7.30pm 
Thur 12 —  Middle school presentation evening; 7:00pm 
Fri 13 —  Kindergarten lantern walk; late afternoon
Mon 16 — Trustees' Meeting; 18:00 – 20:00
Wed 18  — Class I Parents' Evening; 18:00 – 19:30
 

Please refer to the website before phoning the office for dates.

All dates regarding the school are available at: www.stpaulssteinerschool.org/?page_id=9
November (continued)
Fri 20 — TFL Assembly Classes IV and V; 11:05 – 12:30
Mon 23 — Parents' Evening with Subject Teachers (V, VI, VII, VIII); from 3:30pm
Thur 26 —  AGM; 19:00 – 20:30
Fri 27 —  Wreath Making Session; 08:45 – 10:00 
Fri 27 —  Spiral for Classes - after school; 16:30 – 19:00 
Sun 29 —  Spiral for Kindergarten; see letter for times
Mon 30   the Nave is decorated in preparation for the Advent Fair; 3:30pm

December
Fri 4  evening and Sat 5    Advent Fair
Kindergarten Parents' Evening and Lantern Walk

Kindergarten Parents' Evening (11/11) and Lantern Walk (13/11)
 
Dear Kindergarten Parents,

You are warmly invited to our Parents Evening on Wednesday 11th November at 7.30pm. 

We will be preparing for our Martinmas Festival (Lantern Walk). The Lantern Walk will take place on Friday 13th November.  Please do not share details of the walk with your child.
 
We will meet at 4.45pm at Queens Wood, Highgate. Keep your children with you at all times including during the walk and avoid allowing them to play in the woods before or after the walk.

Walking into the dark woods, guided by our lanterns is a profound experience for young children.  Please support this by refraining from talking and by joining in with the singing.   Switch off mobile phone and no cameras. Also please no dogs, flashing shoes or torch light on the walk, but do please bring tapers and matches, if possible.
The woods can be muddy and cold.  Please ensure you and your child/ren are dressed appropriately. For those of you with little ones, bring a baby carrier rather than buggies.

Health & Safety notice: should your child’s lantern catch fire do not pour water on to it. Water can cause hot wax to splash up and create a larger fire. The lantern should be dropped to the ground and the flame smothered. Teachers also carry fire blankets should they be needed it.

At the end of the Festival please take a treat from one of the baskets and swiftly take your child back home, to enable the children to carry the experience into their sleep.

With Warm Wishes

Elena, Hannah, Sarah and Julia 
Kindergarten Teachers

Kindergarten Advent Spiral

Dear Kindergarten Parents,

Kindergarten Advent Spiral, Sunday 29th November

Advent (from the Latin ‘to come’) is the period of preparation and expectation starting four Sundays before Christmas. The start of Advent in Steiner Schools is marked by the Advent Spiral. Winter festivals of light are common around the world. As the days get shorter we move through a time of darkness towards the longest night at the winter solstice, and when Christmas arrives, a turning point is reached, the light increases, days grow longer and nature reawakens. The advent spiral reflects winter's dark growing to a close and the renewed promise that spring light and life will begin again.

The spiral is held in late afternoon, the Nave will be dark and filled with a mood of wonder and quiet anticipation. Teachers will have laid out a large spiral path of greenery. In the centre of the spiral there is a large candle. The candle will be lit.

Each child in turn, holding a red apple with a small unlit candle inserted into it, slowly walks along the spiral path and lights the candle from the centre light. On the return each child places their candle carefully down along the edges of the spiral path, choosing their own place, lighting the way for the other children.  When all the children have had a turn, the garden path is aglow from all the smaller lights. Some gentle tune might be playing helping to create a special mood. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the gifts and light each child brings and carries carefully out into the world.

You are all warmly invited to join us and your children for this very magical Festival. It allows the children to experience stillness and silence, a mood that it is hard to find in city life and in the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. It would be lovely if you can take this mood of mystery and reverence straight home after the Advent Spiral.

On the day Apple Tree and Mulberry Bush will meet at 4pm; Rosebush and Chestnut will meet at 5:15pm. 

We will gather in the Kindergartens room before going in to the Nave. The Children should be dressed warmly and in trousers (no skirts or dresses) and long hair should be tied back.

Once the Advent Spiral has started we cannot admit latecomers therefore please do not ring any door bells. 

During the Spiral kindly refrain from talking and switch off your mobile phones. Please join in the quiet singing.

Hannah, Julia, Elena and Sarah 
Kindergarten Teachers

Initial PTFA meeting
Initial PTFA meeting - Tuesday 20th October, 2015  at 08:40

Background

The initiative to develop a new way of working with parents for the benefit of the School follows other steps taken last year (2014/15): 
  • contracting cleaners for more hours to clean all areas of the School, to replace the daily or weekly cleaning rotas undertaken by parents.  The gesture behind this is a great respect for the very many demands on parents’ time, resources and energy.
  • changes resulting from the appointment of the Principal and the reforming of School management.  These included the decision that non-pedagogical mandates would be held by staff reporting into the School or at Trustee level and that therefore parents would no longer be asked to volunteer to take responsibility for mandate group work. 
  • appreciation from parents of the insights and the wider sharing of perspectives on Steiner Waldorf education given at the ASM, class reps meetings and surgeries etc.
For further background, see the discussion at the AGM in June about the PTFA.

Context of this meeting and resumé of discussions

The intention of the initial meeting was to provide a genuinely open forum for discussion on how to work with this new initiative. What would best enable the parents and the School to work together on specific tasks and to develop a greater mutual understanding of their roles in supporting the education and the children’s journey in it?

Class reps

The very effective work of the existing Class reps group was recognised and appreciated.  Class reps will continue as before, in their existing meeting structure and rhythm.  

It was clarified that the reps should not accept requests to act as a ‘champion of concerns’ on behalf of parents, but should always refer individuals back to the Class or KG teacher, or relevant School department.  This is not to underestimate the practical support and help that reps give, but to ensure that the School is able to fully understand a situation and therefore take any remedial steps that might be necessary.  

The structure of parent orientation sessions for new parents is under discussion.

Coordinators for specific tasks such as advent greenery collection will be sought.

Notices will be circulated via the Class reps group and in the Flier.

Workdays

Parents said they value the opportunity to volunteer for the School at workdays and also enjoy the social aspect of these days.  It is an opportunity for links to be made between parents of different classes and fosters a sense of community.

The end of the School year and beginning of the new School year workdays will continue as before.  These workdays support the classroom moves, the work involved in preparing for building development and maintenance and the preparation of the School at the start of the Michaelmas term.

Other workdays will become more project-focussed and may extend beyond work on the physical fabric of the building to specific fundraising support etc.

Workdays will be announced in the Flier and also communicated via the Reps.
The role of the workday coordinators will be further discussed.

Regular fundraising and community events

Many parents indicated their willingness to get involved in fundraising.  More information was requested on the School’s development plans.

The yearly programme of fundraising events includes the Advent Fair and three jumble sales.  They provide a much-needed source of additional funds and are also a great opportunity for the School to engage with local communities.

The School appreciates these parent-led events and continues to support them.

The Summer Fayre- more focussed as a community event, but aiming to raise some funds to breakeven – is an initiative brought by parents last year (2014/15).  Feedback has been given by the organisers to determine whether it is sustainable.

One-off large-scale fundraising events.  Last year parents raised around £10k for developments to the Nave space to improve its use for plays, assemblies, Class presentations, the festivals, the Spiral and so on.  ‘The Listening Space’ attracted a new audience to the School and was widely praised.  It is felt that one additional event on this scale each year would be manageable in the School calendar, if parents are able to lead and support it.

School update and review on talks/workshops offered to the parents

RM shared a brief overview of the work going on in the School with the teachers. There is increasing work in faculties such as the Middle School, individual and group mentoring and sharing of good practice.  The work is supported by the experience of the older members of staff and the enthusiasm of fresh and courageous teachers. Teachers also attend mainstream trainings such as a recent workshop on digital media.

Communication

The website will soon allow email communication to School departments and teachers.  All emails will be logged on the server.  A protocol is being developed and will be shared in the Flier.  
Links with the local community are being strengthened for instance with the Rosebowl and with the Parish Church of St Jude’s, especially around sharing facilities in order to relieve the pressure on space within the main School building.

There was a review of the very low attendance at two recent talks and a workshop organised for parents. This suggests that the School needs to reconsider its approach and understand the realities of what parents can engage with, to avoid allocating its resources in the wrong direction. Reflection and work on this is ongoing.
Mrs Miller surgery time

Our Principal Mrs Miller’ surgery times are:

  • On Tuesday at 2.45pm
  • On Friday at 8.30am

If you have a concern about any aspect of the School, please speak to the person directly responsible for the subject of your concern. Normally this would be:

  • Concerns about teaching or aspects of the education – your child’s Kindergarten or Class Teacher,
  • Concerns about general administrative aspects of the School – the School Administrator Angelita Ravizzoli,
  • Concerns about general financial aspects of the School – the School Bursar Helen Smither,
  • Concerns about safeguarding – the school designated safeguarding lead Angelita Ravizzoli. The deputy designated safeguarding lead is Elena Oliver Andres.
To make an appointment with a member of staff or Mrs Miller please contact the school office: 020 7226 4454
Gingerbread House Alternative
Dear Parents of St. Paul's,

I think this is a lovely potential replacement or partner for the traditional gingerbread house at Christmas covered with sweets and candy. However, beyond that, it is a great idea for children's sleepovers or parties.  We will be seeing this in the next few weeks in Class 3 as we will be beginning a Shelter and Housing block. Why? It is a demonstration of log cabin building technique in a form that will fascinate and involve the children!

Best wishes from Mrs. Ramelow
 
The connector is probably cream cheese.....
Congratulations!
Well done to Classes III and IV who recently completed their Level 1 Bikeability Training. 
 
Classes V, VII and VIII will complete their Level 2 Training before Christmas.
 
There are 3 bike shops in Islington that now offer 10% discount for any child who takes in their Bikeability badge.  The shops are Finsbury Cycles (N4 3NS), MiCycle (N1 1TP) and The Red Bike Shop (N1 2LJ).  
Application for Leave of Absence in Term Time
It has become apparent that families fill in the form to apply for leave of absence in term time AFTER having made arrangements and booked the holiday. Please note that in this case the time off will be marked as unauthorised on the register.  
 
Parents and carers are strongly urged not to book holidays or take special leave during school term time because your child will miss out on important school work and may not be able to catch up.  This could have serious consequences on progress, attainment and opportunities later in life.

Other pupils’ education could be affected - the time teachers have to help all the children in a class is reduced if they spend time helping your child catch up after a holiday.
 
Educational experiences in school missed as a result of a family holiday cannot be re-captured later. 

There are on average 175 school days in a year – this leaves 177 days for holidays, cultural activities and family time.

If you feel that absence from school in term time is absolutely unavoidable, please complete the leave of absence in term time form before making arrangements and return it to Mrs Revi Miller, Principal.  Please be advised that holidays in term time are not a right and will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.  Each case is considered individually; however, leave will not usually be granted if your child already has low attendance or if the leave coincides with important dates in the school’s calendar.
 
Thank you for your understanding,
 
The School Office
Music coordinator required for the Advent Fayre
We very much hope to find someone in the community to coordinate the music for the fayre.  Belle Benson will be able to help with the details but it includes:
  • speaking to people who know musicians and hopefully enlisting their support,
  • speaking to the school and coordinating time for choirs,
  • asking (via school) whether children would like to perform on the day,
  • coordinating a time-table,
  • organising AV and music for the nave, Rosebush cafe and the main cafes (Kibi in Rosebush can help with AV),
  • finding potential budding DJs or suitable music.
If you or anyone is interested then please let Belle Benson know.  This is a very nice, contained role which has a huge impact on the atmosphere at the Fayre, I hope you can help us find someone!
 
Thanks for your time.
 
Louise Newton
Parents' Choir invitation
The parent's choir invite you to join us to raise our voices in readiness for the Lantern festival. On Monday 9th November  we will be meeting to sing together the Lantern festival songs from 8.30-9am in the parent and child space, which is diagonally opposite the school on Balls Pond Road. All parents and carers welcome to come and learn the songs or refresh our memories from last year so that we can join the singing at Friday's Lantern Walk.

Steph Gill
Community Notices
The 5th Annual Menorah Lighting at Islington Green
 
Date: Sunday, 6 December 2015
Time: 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: Islington Green, Upper St, N1 8DU
 
Chabad Islington is proud to invite you to our fifth annual event to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, with the Menorah Lighting in Islington Green.

We are excited to announce additions to this year’s programme of free activities:
  • Klezmer band
  • Glow-in-the-dark entertainer
  • Storytelling
  • Face painting
  • Latke Tasting Bar
  • Hot cocoa
  • Doughnut making
  • Tea range sponsored by Piacha
Once again, we invite you to participate in our free raffle with exciting prizes from our generous sponsors, which include a surprise from Arsenal in the Community, snow sled and more. To enter the raffle, please visit:
http://www.jewishislington.co.uk/activity/chanukah/ 

This event is free and open to all. Please join and invite friends to our flagship event, celebrating five wonderful years on Upper St, Islington.
In the News

Finnish Kids Don't Learn To Read In Kindergarten. They Turn Out Great Anyway.  (Huffington Post)

Pupils at Greenwich Steiner School on BBC London News (Video - Vimeo)

The Decline of Play and Rise in Children's Mental Disorders (Psychology Today)
Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
Imagine a School Where
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