I would like to give a very warm welcome to you – whether you are new to St Catherine’s or returning for another year with us. It is good to be able to return to our school site whilst the country gets back to some semblance of normality and children are able to spend time with friends and teachers as they embark on the new academic year together.
This year, we will be considering an aspect of our school vision each term, starting with ‘Aim high in life… together’. Using the Bible’s account of the calling of the first disciples in Luke chapter 5 verses 1 – 11, we will think about how we can be aspirational in all aspects of life and what that might look like in practical terms.
In addition, the first of our half termly Christian values is Justice – which is compatible with the British value for the term that looks specifically at Democracy and the Rule of Law. Candidates for the school council will go through a democratic election process which enables children to experience first-hand the democratic system in place in our country. As we consider justice, we will take examples from the Bible as well as thinking about contemporary instances where justice, and injustice, are evident – drawing lessons as well as a deeper understanding from them.
For the second half of the term, the Christian value is Trust. There are many examples in the Bible of individuals who have demonstrated trust in God, including those involved in the Bible’s account of the birth of Jesus which will be our focus as we draw closer to Christmas. We will ponder what it means to be trustworthy as well as who we can trust and when it may be wise to be wary!
Please talk with your child about the values for the term and their understanding of what has been shared at school.
Although under current guidance we are unable to welcome families into the school buildings, please do continue to communicate with us via email, letter or phone – we appreciate all communication as it provides a vital link between us in our partnership to support and develop your children’s school experience at St Catherine’s.
Last week, I invited the school choir to take part in a 'virtual sing' and they have been busy videoing themselves singing along to songs. We have combined their efforts with some of the amazing photos sent in of your home learning since lock down began. We hope that the video will help to motivate you in the coming weeks as lock down continues.
If you would like to take part in the next 'virtual sing' then all you have to do is practice at home and ask an adult to help you record yourself singing along to this song. It's a song we love to sing at St Catherine's although please don't clap along, just record your voices and remember to smile! Once you are happy with the recording then your adult can send it to Mrs Catherall (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will send it on to me. (You may need to send it as a link to the file rather than the actual file - both Google Photos and iCloud offer this facility).
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Here are some of the resources/tips and ideas you could try at home...
When reading, children could try to find words that contain the sound they have been learning. Some children could then try to sort words with the same spelling pattern (e.g: play, away / maze, craze / rain, strain) and see if they can determine which spelling would be the 'best bet'. For example, does a spelling pattern appear more often at the end of the word.
Mrs Jaggs' helpful tip; When helping her little one learn their tricky words "I put some on post-it notes and stuck them on the cereal cupboard door. A bit like a secret code he has to say them each morning before he can open the cupboard. I'm going to change them weekly, so he doesn't get bored and we can work our way through them'.
For the first half of the spring term, our Christian value is compassion. We will be looking closely at the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke chapter 10, verses 25 – 37) where Jesus surprised his audience by casting a person largely regarded by them as inferior, as one who exemplified what was right – in contrast to the priest and Levite who ignored the suffering of the injured man. Through considering this story, we will explore how we live our lives and what it means to demonstrate true compassion towards our friends, those in our school community, our town and in the wider world.
This parable also links well with this term’s British value, recognising the importance of ‘Individual Liberty and Mutual Respect’. The importance of accepting one another, acknowledging, recognising and celebrating our differences will be explored. In addition, we will also be reflecting on our responsibility as a school to address issues of bias and racism, demonstrating a respect for all members of our school and the wider community regardless of faith, race or belief.
Hope is the Christian value for the second half of the term. As we approach Easter, we will be thinking about the example of Jacob from the old testament. Using resources from the St Alban’s Diocese Education team, we will join with other church schools in the diocese as we consider their Lent theme of ‘God in this Place’.
If you would like the opportunity to share your faith or culture with the school, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Mrs Wallis to discuss an opportunity for you to do so.