This week we entered the second week of Advent. The second advent Candle is the ‘Bethlehem Candle’ which symbolises faith, reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. It has been wonderful to see the children expressing their faith through art, in so many different ways this week. Last Friday afternoon many of the staff decorated the Hall, ready for the festive period. The crowning glory is a beautiful, real Christmas tree, donated by the Tyas family and delivered by Mr Tyas – thank you!
Catholic Life of The School
Well done to Reception and Year 6 for their incredible Nativity "Busy, busy Bethlehem" on Thursday 13th December. The performance was a mixture of wonderful acting, singing (including solos) and parents from Y6 children. Many thanks to all the parents and families who attended making it the 'busiest' Nativity ever. This was the first time that Year 6 families have also been invited and I know they appreciated the opportunity to see the interaction between the Buddies. A EYFS parent commented how the Y6 children were such wonderful role models for her child and others. The video of the performance is below.
Today, we were delighted and privileged to perform our Nativity to the Dominican Sisters at Rosary Priory in Bushey. This is a long-standing tradition, which brings joy to the sisters and our school community. It was certainly one of the highlights of our year which we will all cherish. The children were thrilled to receive a gift from the sisters – handmade Christmas decorations to hang on their tree. I am sure the children will cherish these truly special mementos of their day. 1 Faustyna started their Advent topic this week. They talked about what waiting means and how we use Advent as a time to wait and prepare for the celebration of Jesus' birth at Christmas. 5 Bosco have also been talking about what ‘waiting hopefully’ means to us and how we are preparing for the birth of Jesus. They learnt about the significance of angel Gabriel and discussed how this links to their decision to make angel Christmas tree decorations for the CCF18.
Teaching, Learning & Curriculum
When sending me their blog ideas, every single teacher mentioned how proud they were of their class’ effort with assessments. The words determination, resilience, perseverance and hard work came up time and time again. So, on behalf of the staff, I would like to say a massive well done to every child! I was also so impressed with the effort and attitude seen throughout the school during Assessment Week. As we tell all the children, it is not about the outcome of the test or how many marks they achieve that counts, the key is knowing that they have worked hard, tried their best and demonstrated their positive learning behaviours – in this they have made us very proud! This week has been ‘Design’ Week across the school, with all classes focusing on designing, creating and evaluating prototypes and amending their ideas based on feedback. Updates from the teachers: 1 Faustyna: We have well and truly started preparing for Christmas Craft Fair in so many ways! We have made our prototypes and evaluated them against current products on the market, and we have been talking about a healthy diet and how we can use this information to persuade people to buy our vegetable soup! Our classroom has also turned into an Elves Workshop during CHIL to create our fantastic products to sell next week. 2 Teresa: We learnt about the journey of the cocoa bean, why we celebrate advent with wreaths and we spent time with our Year 5 buddies. 3 Drexel: The class have investigated the history of Christmas cards this week and also looked at a variety of different existing ones. The children found it fascinating to learn look at the first ever Christmas card and compare it to current ones. They spotted lots of changes! They have used these to help design the Christmas cards we will be selling at CCF18. They are looking great so far! Our RE Art work is on display in the Hall and is very effective. The children were learning about gradation in Art and worked really hard when painting these to create this effect. 4 Orione: In art, we practiced sketching an ellipse to draw a glass of water and then a fruit cake. This will help us next week when we design and make our packaging for our Christmas fruit cakes with a sketch of our delicious fruit cakes. We also learned about the importance of Fairtrade and how it works, especially in relation to sugar as this is a key ingredient for our Christmas fruit cakes. We developed our own design criteria for our Christmas fruit cakes, focusing on what the cakes should look, smell and taste like, with a little tasting session of a pre-made fruit cake to help us. We have been utilising our persuasive techniques to help us sell as many Christmas fruit cakes as possible! We created Christmas-themed jingles, catchy slogans and mini-TV adverts all ready to be shown at the Christmas Craft Fayre! 4 Bakhita: As chocolate is our main ingredient in our CCF recipes we learnt about the history of chocolate. We even looked at maps and atlases to identify and spot countries that grow cocoa beans. We really enjoyed our sessions looking at atlases and had a quiz on spot the country. We also researched and fixed prices for our products for the Christmas craft fair products by working out costs and profits – a great example of real-life maths! In RE we considered the gifts we are grateful for and created an artwork on the three wise men and their gifts for Jesus. We learnt about what each one symbolises. 5 Alphonsa: We have been in full CCF mode... creating initial designs for our Christmas biscuits as well as designing appropriate logos for our products. We have also learnt how to use Publisher to create a leaflet with instructions for making our Christmas biscuits. It’s been great fun! 5 Bosco: We have been busy creating prototypes for the CCF and working on our sketching and drawing skills. In art, we have been working collaboratively to create a mosaic showing the three kings on their way to Jesus’ birth. It looks beautiful and all the children worked really hard on it. Miss Hussain also led a really insightful guided reading lesson about the Hajj – we learnt a lot! 6 Lupita: We have continued our Project Scrapbooks for CCF. Some highlights being: 1. Writing persuasive letters to local companies to persuade them to come to the CCF and to come in to the school to lead a session for the children on their specialised area. We have sent letters to technological companies, bakeries, gyms, music/drama companies and many more. We hope to create strong links with our local community through this. 2. We have created artwork based on the poem 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost. We followed instructions to create a snowy woods piece and used a variety of art techniques including 'sgraffito' (scratching the canvas) , splattering and perspective drawing to make the art come to life. Whilst painting we listened to Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons - Winter' and discussed how the music interpreted a wintery scene.
Well done to the children who have been appointed by our Y6 Head and Deputy Head Pupils (Y2 – Olivia, 3 – Lola, 4B – Elsie & Abby, 4O – Kayla, 5B – Luke, 5A TBC). Well done to 5 Bosco who were the IXL champions for this week! A huge well done to our Sustainability Society who were awarded with badges for their contribution to the ‘Switch Off Fortnight’ campaign at school. We are so proud of all your efforts and positive impacts on the school!
Physical & Mental Health & Well-Being
It was the final session of Positive Minds this week. Following on from this, Mrs Phipps and Mrs McCarthy attended a course to assist us further with dealing with physical and mental health at St. Catherine's. Thank you to Watford FC Community for running these vital sessions free of charge. We are also pleased to announce that Harry the Hornet will be making an appearance at school during the final week of term. Year 6 Lupita will be starting lifesaving sessions after Christmas, funded by our Sports Premium. We are also using this additional funding to run 'Top-Up Swimming' for children in years 5 and 6, with the aims of all of our children being able to swim 25 metres in a range of strokes. The 'Daily Mile' is continuing. 3 Drexel have been very determined with their Daily Mile this week. They have been challenging themselves to improve how quickly they do this and are all very enthusiastic and positive when doing it. On Monday 5 Bosco spent some time with their Year 2 buddies. They did the Daily Mile together and then spent some quality with them!
Our Herts Attendance Improvement Officer visited week and was impressed with our attendance of 97.7% - this is a significant improvement since last year. Thank you for all supporting our new policy as this is having a very positive impact on learning. We hope that attednance and punctuality will continue to improve moving forward.
Christmas Craft Fayre selling timetable will be sent out at the start of next week. It is important you look at this to know when your child is selling on the stall. If you cannot make this time, we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements to allow your child to come down when you are able to make it. All orders for our Reception personalised plates are now made and ready and waiting for collection on Thursday. If you are able to attend our Christmas Craft Fayre your child will be brought down to the hall to sell to you. There are no allocated times for Reception. Feel free to come when you can. We will be ready and waiting!
Monday is the PTA Christmas Disco. We look forward to seeing the children in all their festive finery!
Monday 17th December - Christmas Dinner (children can come in own clothes with a Christmas jumper if they would like) Monday 17th December - Christmas Disco Thursday 20th December 8am to 4pm - CCF18 Friday 21st December 11am - Advent Liturgy Friday 21st December 12.30pm - End of term
With love from the family of St. Catherine's, Ms Kane