Newsletter - 13th October 2017

We welcomed a new member of the team to St John’s this week! Emmanuel Church donated their large model of a Lego man (their latest entry to the scarecrow trail) to us —he now has pride of place in our school library!

Firework Night!

Next Friday (20th October) is our St John’s fireworks event, starting at 6pm on the school playground. Come along with family and friends for hot food, refreshments, raffle, glow in the dark goodies and of course, to see the best firework display in Canterbury!

The events start at 6pm when the riverside gate entrance to the playground will be opened. This will give time for refreshments and to visit the stalls and bouncy castle (weather permitting) before the raffle is drawn at 6.30pm. Everyone will then move over to the school field at 6.40pm where the firework display will begin at 7pm. We expect the display to last approximately 20 minutes and ask that ALL families leave the event from the field—there will be no access back to the school playground at this time.

Tickets will be available at 3pm on the main playground on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays (or every day at the school office) at a cost £6 per adult and £3 per child. Family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) are available for £15.

See you there!

Book Bargains

We will be welcoming the travelling book fair to St John’s on Tuesday 17th October, from 3pm in the school hall.

As always there will be plenty of bargains available with picture books priced at £1 each and all other books for £2, or 3 for £5.

This is a great opportunity for children to buy new books at pocket money prices and for parents to stock up—and maybe even buy some Christmas presents!

Please come along to support the school and to give your child’s reading a boost, with a new book to share!

Parent Representatives

This year we are starting a new scheme of having a parent representative for each class. We want parents to feel part of the St John’s community and we see the parent reps as being a good channel of communication between school and other parents as well as being a group of people that we can call on to help out with school trips and events.

We would like to thank those parents who have already volunteered to be part of this group and ask other parents who feel that they would like to be involved and offer their time and help to us to please speak to their child’s class teacher.

Attendance Award

Congratulations go to Lion, Fox and Meerkat Classes who all managed to achieve an attendance percentage above our school expected standard of 96.86% last week. Their reward for this has been to have a non-school uniform day today.

Could your child’s class be enjoying this treat next time?

Canterbury Festival

Canterbury Festival starts tomorrow (14th October). There are lots of events taking place for children including puppetry, dancing, pottery, drumming, circus training and acrobatics.

The festival continues until 4th November and will have lots to offer during half term week.

For full details of all festival activities visit Canterbury Festival.

School Collection

Please may we remind parents that children need collecting from school promptly at 3pm (or 4pm if they are at a club).

We are aware that traffic in Canterbury can cause problems for parents at school collection time but would ask that you allow extra time for this.

Teachers and other staff often have meetings to go to at the end of the day and are not easily able to look after children at this time.

Thank you for your support.

Scarecrow Trail

St John’s joined in the fun of the annual scarecrow trail in Westgate Gardens last Saturday (7th October). There were over 50 wonderful entries to the competition this year and sadly we didn’t win.

We did have a lot of fun taking part though! Thank you to all the children who made the scarecrows, the families who came to Westgate Gardens on Saturday to support us and to our wonderful volunteers who we celebrated through our scarecrow creations!

Maybe we’ll have better luck next year…

Mobile Phones

As we have more and more year 5 and 6 pupils walking to and from school on their own we understand that parents often want these children to bring a mobile phone to school with them.

This is perfectly acceptable, however, on arrival at school all mobile phones MUST be handed to the class teacher who will keep them in a locked cupboard until the end of the day when they will be given back to the children.

We would also ask that children who do not walk on their own, leave mobile phones at home.

Thank you for your support.

Back to School!

On Wednesday this week we were visited by an ex-pupil of St John’s. Mr Rennells started at St John’s back in 1932 when he was three years old. He rang up and asked if it would be possible for us to show him around the building so that he could see where he had been as a child and to see how the school has changed over the years.

Mrs Garrett met him and showed him around the building. It was an interesting afternoon for both of them as Mr Rennells shared his memories of St John’s and told about life at school before and during the Second World War.

He started at St John’s Infant School at the age of 3, in 1932. The Infant School was in the building that is now our school hall. He was amazed as he looked around the large space that we have now and remembered the classrooms that used to be around the edges and the small hall that was in the middle of the area.

He then went to the Junior School which was in our main building. At that time the girls and boys were kept separately. The girls were downstairs and the boys were upstairs; never seeing each other during the school day. The playground that we use for the Key Stage 1 children and has the Noah’s Ark on it was the girls’ playground and the playground at the other side of the building was just for the boys. This explains why the doors on one side of the building have the word, Girls ,written above them.

He also remembered the old Board School building that is currently a building site. He told Mrs Garrett that the girls had cookery lessons in that building and to the side there was a clinic and dentist that was used by school children from all over Canterbury.

The memories continued as Mr Rennells talked about two woodwork classrooms that used to be where our astroturf cage is, the boys toilet that was in the place of our Art Studio, the cloakroom where our PPA room is, the hall where the library is now, the art room that is now our computer room and the headmaster’s office that was where the upstairs girls toilet are now! He even remembered being given the cane in this room, although he couldn't remember why!

He talked about the games that the children played and remembered conkers and marbles as well as collecting cigarette cards. He told Mrs Garrett that he remembered fires being lit in the classrooms, the Canterbury coat of arms being on the wall in the hall and the school motto—If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

He remembered that there were about 40-50 children in each class and the only time that he was allowed downstairs, into the girls school, was when he was chosen to take part in the nativity play that was being performed there.

He was also surprised to see cars on the staff car park as apparently there were houses there as well as allotments on our Secret Garden site. During the war years these allotments were vital for producing food and the boys spent one afternoon per week working there and growing vegetables. He also talked about being at school during the war and how the children would go to air raid shelters by the river when the siren sounded. He told how they had to sit in rows in the shelter and how they had a near miss one time which cracked the wall of the shelter!

He thoroughly enjoyed visiting his old school and couldn't believe the changes, or the facilities that we have for the children now. He loved our bright, spacious classrooms and thought that the children today are very lucky to have such a lovely school!

Nursery News!

The children in Nursery have been really busy this term. They have been enjoying a wide range of outdoor learning and messy play!

They have been going on ‘welly walks’, feeding the ducks, jumping on mole hills, exploring bugs and minibeasts, collecting blackberries and lots more…

Their time outside helps to foster their natural curiosity, builds fine motor skills, encourages confidence in communicating, builds independence and enables risk taking and experimenting in a safe and fun environment.

This week the children were amazed to discover a magical fairy door whilst they were out walking. It had a little pink fence around it with a toadstall and a sign saying ‘fairies welcome’. They were all very excited about this and can’t wait to discover more clues on their next adventure!

Maybe you could go on a ‘welly walk’ with your child this weekend and explore the great outdoors together!