LETTER FROM THE CAMPUS HEAD

Dear St George’s Family

It feels like only yesterday that I was typing the last Newsletter, a fortnight certainly does fly by at St George’s Prep.  I am also sure for many of our families, time does pass probably too quickly for most of us as we chase our tails from meetings, functions, family commitments, lunch, supper, homework (hopefully not too much), bathtime, to bedtime etc.  I have written about this before but time is probably our most precious resource as it certainly is not renewable!

As mentioned in my previous newsletter, I have been fortunate of late to use my time to visit other Prep Schools in our country and to have conversations with their Headmasters in and around the many varied offerings our schools provide.  My first visit was to Dainfern Prep in Johannesburg, where I spent most of the morning with Brendan Quin, their Headmaster and my friend, where much of our conversation was about the Senior Prep Curriculum, assessments and their Education Management Software.  This was then followed by an exceptionally interesting meeting with both their Head of Senior Prep academics and their whole-school IT co-ordinator.  It really was encouraging to see that there are many similarities to our approach in these areas, as well as some marked differences which I will be able to share with both Mr Carter and Miss Greener as the Term progresses. The integration of learning areas, as well as technology, using a thematic approach certainly was our strongest commonality!

My second visit was to another good friend of mine, Jakes Fredericks who is the Headmaster of St Stithian’s Boy’s Preparatory in Johannesburg. We spent the better part of the morning discussing Saint’s journey with transformation and diversity within their own school community and further.  I am hoping to convince Jakes to visit us here at St George’s to share with our staff not only his story, but that of his school’s as well.  The rest of the day was spent walking around the school and observing the various learning spaces and in particular the flexible learning areas in both their Grade 4 and 5 classrooms and the outdoor informal learning spaces they have created. Again, this provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss what has worked, what was challenging, which products fared better than others and to also exchange ideas as to what our journey with the classrooms has been like. After this visit I was extremely fortunate to attend the “Raising Boys and Girls” Conference hosted by St Stithian’s Boys College over the next two days. The theme “To Confidently Engage a Changing World” certainly opened minds and eyes to what sometimes is right in front of us but we do not always see it! To hear speakers like Nene Molefi, the author of “A Journey of Diversity and Inclusion in South Africa”, as well as Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund and author of “The Magna Carta of Exponentiality”, was a real privilege, with many more impressive keynote speakers presenting a myriad of topics.

More recently, after supporting our boys and girls hockey teams at their respective festivals in kwaZulu-Natal, I managed to visit two Prep Schools, namely Cowan House in Hilton and Highbury Boys’ Preparatory in Kloof.  It was wonderful to be re-acquainted with Derek Braans, the new Headmaster of Cowan House, who recently moved there from Kingswood Prep to take up the position.  We spent a large portion of the morning discussing the good old Eastern Cape, as one does, but more importantly the composition of their management team and the various roles and responsibilities assigned to the different positions. We also discussed budgets and general costings and the various break downs of school fees etc. and what seemed to be best practice for this in the stand alone Preparatory context.  We compared pupil numbers, looked at admissions and attrition etc. and noticed very similar movement patterns with families and their pupils.  Derek kindly gave me a tour of their campus and we discussed the use of space, the general flow of the various departments, classroom layouts, aftercare structures and much more.

My final visit was to Highbury Boy’s Prepartory where Roland Lacock, their Headmaster, very kindly cleared his diary for us to spend some time together. To be honest, the first part of our conversation was in and around the challenges Heads have to face in the Independent School market and dare I say it, a comparison of war stories! This thankfully was rather short lived and again I was fortunate to be given a tour of their campus.  With well over 600 boys, this obviously was a different environment to the co-ed school environment but again many similarities.  The structure of their Pre-School, the Learning Support department and the rather innovative approach of bridging boys with barriers to learning back into main-stream education, were two of my biggest take-outs from this visit.  The history and tradition of Highbury was also very evident and their well-maintained and presented “Museum/Archives” centre, was most impressive.

As I reflect back on these visits, I am reminded, firstly of how grateful I am to be the 9th Headmaster of St George’s Preparatory and secondly that all schools, whilst different, are very much the same in their madness.  So, we really need to define each of our schools to best suit the children in our care, and what may work here in Port Elizabeth may be very different to the context of an all boys school in Kloof. Finally, what really “hit home” for me is the power of human connection.  You would have noticed that all these Heads are in fact very good friends of mine and this has happened along the road of our various educational journeys. One I met on the side of a rugby field many years ago, another as a Head of a school when I was a very young and naïve third year teacher on a visit, another was the successor to one of my previous positions and the fourth through combined years of attending conferences and having had many like-minded chats over a meal or a drink.  Here too, I am reminded that whilst on some days the job of Headmaster can be a lonely one, this power of human connectivity allows us never to be alone. I am very grateful to our Board of Governors who allow me the opportunity for such visits and I have no doubt that this will continue to impact on the growth of our very own Prep School here at home!  There really is much that we can be proud of at St George’s Preparatory!

May you all try to find some special time this weekend to just be together!

Kind regards
Alex Hall – Campus Head
Twitter- @AlexHallZA 
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/AlexHallZA
Linkedin – za.linkedin.com/in/alexhallza

STAFF NEWS

It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of Portia Puzi this week.  She joined the Pre-Prep Team in January 2008.  Portia loyally served as a classroom assistant to the Grade 00 classes and will be so fondly remembered by all those children, staff and parents that were fortunate enough to be in her care or presence.  We think of her sister Gloria and cousin Tsepi, who both work at the Pre-Prep, at this tragic time and especially Portia’s two daughters, Usenathi and Sinazo.  The whole St George’s Community will be keeping the family in both our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

A big shout out to Security Team; Melikhaya, Chimba and Olwethu, donning their new jackets. We are so fortunate to have you on our team!

What’s happening first two weeks of Term 3 - (School Events: 20 – 31 August 2018)
Day Team Start Time Opposition Venue Estimated Finish
Monday 20 August Alexander High School Choir Evening 18h00 Our Senior Choir is participating in this event Alexander High School 19h00
Tuesday 21 August Gr 00 Outing to Bee Farm 08h15 12h00
Wed 22 August
Thursday 23 August Junior Prep Grandparents Morning 09h00 Jan Immelman Hall 10h00
Pearson Strings Concert 18h30 Our “strings” pupils are participating in this event Pearson 19h30
Friday 24 August Trinity Music Exams
Merrifield Derby 13h30 NMU Astro 17h00
Grade 5-7 Disco/Social 18h00 Jan Immelman Hall 20h30
Saturday 25 August Merrifield Derby 07h45 SGP Astro & Union fields 13h00
Monday 27 August
Tues 28 August Junior Eskom Science Expo NMU
Wed 29 August Brass & Woodwind Studio Concert 18h00 Music Department 19h00
Thurs 30 August Pre-Prep Grandparents Concert 10h00 Jan Immelman Hall 11h00
Pre-Prep Concert 18h00 Jan Immelman Hall 19h00
Friday 31 August Junior Prep Spring Posies Day
Saturday 1 Sept Senior Prep Production Rehearsals

UPCOMING EVENTS

Brass and Woodwind 2018 Studio Concert

Wednesday 29 August 2018

The Brass and Woodwind 2018 Studio Concert will take place on Wednesday 29 August at 18:00 in the Music Department.  It will feature all the ‘Brass and Woodwind’ pupils from St George’s Prep.

There will be light refreshments after the concert.

Please park near the Music Department along McIntosh Road.

It promises to be an intimate and inspiring evening for all involved.

Please RSVP by Wednesday 22 August to the Head of Music, Mrs du Toit by email music@stgeorges.co.za for catering purposes.

St George’s Preparatory Production – “Into the Woods, Junior”

Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 September 2018

Pupils and staff at St George’s are buzzing with excitement as we prepare for our upcoming production – “Into the Woods Junior”.

The show, consisting of approximately 100 pupils, runs from Wednesday 19 September to Friday 21 September with performances at 11h30 and 18h00 daily in the Jan Immelman Hall.

“Into The Woods Junior” features all of your favourite characters – Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk) and the Witch in this lyrically rich retelling of classic Brothers Grimm fables. The musical centers on a baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse and wind up changed forever.

Tickets are R50 for the morning and evening shows and go on sale on Monday 3 September.

A PEEK AROUND THE SCHOOL

St George’s Prep raising awareness last week for cancer and rare diseases with our Pink Drive.

Well done to all our Preppies who assisted by wrapping trees!

Our talented Guitar & Drums pupils presented a beautiful Studio Concert last week – well done all of you!

In Science Week at the Prep, all Grades conducted and watched a variety of science experiments

The Grade 2’s conducted a rainbow colour changing experiment – They are learning about plants and the capillary action plants use to move liquid to the top of the plant.  They also had great fun making “elephant toothpaste”

The Grade 3’s were mad scientists for the day whilst demonstrating their experiments

The Grade 7’s conducting many experiments

Science Expo 2018 showcasing our budding scientists work!

An exciting, closely contested Inter-House General Knowledge Quiz for our Senior Prep boys and girls – Well Done Francis!

Grade 7’s working with circuits in their Natural Science lesson

We are very excited as we prepare for our upcoming production “Into The Woods Junior” in September.

Our Grade 7’s are busy with set painting and props for the show.

A PEEK AROUND THE PRE-PREP

It was Science Week at the Pre-School & our pre-schoolers were fascinated by all the different science experiments conducted by our Senior Prep science teachers

Taking learning outdoors .. the Grade R’s practising writing numbers in shaving foam and drawing a beautiful tree in the Pre-Prep garden with charcoal