April 14, 2014
The Ficino School Fair last Sunday brought many members of our local community into the school grounds. It was a fun-filled day enjoyed by almost all of our current students, and provided an opportunity for past students to meet and mix with old friends. The school had a homely feel, the feeling of a place “you somehow haven’t to deserve” to quote the American poet Robert Frost. The Fair raised close to $25,000 which is a superb effort by all involved. Half of this amount goes towards the Renaissance Trip which departs in September this year. Thanks to this and all the other fund raising efforts over the last eighteen months, we are close to reaching our target, which will again provide a unique opportunity for our senior students. The fund raising continues tonight with the Opera Evening which has an exciting programme and will see the school hall transformed. I hope to see some of you there. Tickets will be available at the door should you decide to come at the last minute.
The term has been a long one filled with activity and as it draws to a close, we just need to keep an eye on the energy levels of the children. Eleven weeks is a long stretch without a significant break and they are managing well. If they can find some restful activities over the weekend, this will help them enjoy school right up to the end of term with our Easter Service on the last day.
April 7, 2014
We were honoured this week to have a visit from nine principals and senior leaders from one of the largest and most prestigious schools in the world, the Singapore American School, SAS. They educate four thousand students from pre-school age through to 18 years old. The visitors were undertaking a research tour of Australia and New Zealand schools and chose Ficino amongst five or six others because of our special character, particularly mentioning mindfulness, the rich curriculum and the values at the heart of the school community. It was a delight to host such an engaging and open- minded group of educators. When asked what they had discovered on their visits, one of the principals responded that he had found it a truly humbling experience. He said that they consider their school to be a world leading educational institution and that seeing the dedication to principle and hard-working attitude of New Zealand teachers was inspiring. As a gift to thank us for their visit the SAS have donated money on our behalf to a school they support in Cambodia.
The children are looking forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to the School Fair this Sunday. Please bring along family and friends to enjoy a day which brings the school community together in the best possible way.
March 31, 2014
I read a very interesting article in the North Shore Times this week, in which a visiting Japanese teacher described how “the digital age is threatening Kiwi kids’ education”. Her concerns were the inability of children in New Zealand classrooms to sit still and attend, and raised concerns about the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) movement. Interestingly, she explained that although Japan produces many of the world’s electronic devices, technology is kept out of primary school classrooms. Mothers in Japan apparently keep squares of paper for origami in their handbags to entertain children rather than mobile phones or tablets. “At primary school they need motor skills not computer skills” she said. With the rush to get technology into classrooms in the last decade, it is rare to read of the potential pitfalls.
Thank you all for your assistance at Athletics Day which was another great success. Please put the Athletics Awards Assembly in your diaries; it takes place in two weeks’ time on Friday 11th April.
March 21, 2014
Wisdom of a six year old, reported by the School Caretaker
I walked through the junior playground at morning break, and noticed a good amount of the safety bark from the playground area strewn across the path. I set to cleaning it up, when a young girl about six came striding over and started helping. “Did you do this?” I enquired (meaning nothing in particular with the question). “Oh no” she replied emphatically “but I know who did”, and after a short pause added … “Some people just don’t know what they’re doing.” My ears pricked up and I asked “And why don’t they know what they’re doing? “With a grave tone she said “Because they’re dreaming, that’s why. They’re not awake”. “Are YOU awake” I asked. “Oh yes !” came the answer. “And is it good to be awake?” She looked me straight in the eye and said ” It is VERY good”. And she danced away.
This is a good opportunity to remind you of the invitation to attend Dr Craig Hassed’s lecture on Mindfulness tonight or his workshop tomorrow afternoon. See previously sent flyers.
March 21, 2014
After a lengthy break and a few technical issues we are back! Watch out for the first post from the Principal later today.
December 5, 2012
Message from the Principal
On Tuesday this week, Ficino School held its annual Music Competition. With over eighty entries, the school hall was filled with the fruits of months and years of endeavour by the pupils, parents and music teachers. Two external judges, Christine Peak and Joanne Cole kindly volunteered their time to choose the place getters and give meaningful feedback to the players. Music is a core part of the school and when I asked at assembly, who had entered the Music Competition, there was a sea of hands from Year 3 to 8. It is great to see such enthusiasm for performance. The Greek Philosopher Plato stresses the importance of both music and sport for the development of a rounded human being. Therefore it is fitting that on Friday we held our Music and Netball awards assembly. If you wish to hear some of the students who won their section of the competition, they will be performing on Tuesday 4th December at our End of Year Concert following the Nativity Play.
The following day, we joined a number of groups and schools around the world to celebrate an event called Just This Day, which was started by a parent of our sister school St James in London. Her vision was to link the schools and communities around the world together with a specific day dedicated to stillness and silence. At Ficino School, the children all spent a period in silence writing a prayer or poem on peace, stillness or silence. These have been formed into Tibetan style Prayer Flags and are hanging in the covered walkway. Some of the poetry, from the very young through to older students is exquisite. I recommend you take a minute to read a few if you are passing. Here is an example of one.
Everything is Peace
All the world is love
Colonies are in silence
Everyone is still
November 27, 2012
Message from the Principal
This week has been an opportunity for senior students to receive back their exam papers and go through them. This is a very useful process, as many of the students begin to realise how many mistakes could have been avoided with more careful reading. Some students find, that without any more study, but simply by rectifying careless errors, they could have added more than 20% to their grades. This realisation at a young age increases their chances of success as the students look ahead to facing more tests and challenges in the future. Students sat their first Cambridge tests in Maths and some in Science. Although these papers proved challenging, the questions were well structured and often required students to think outside the box. It is pleasing to note that from early analysis of results, it appears that the average performance of every class is higher than the average for all schools participating in the Cambridge Primary Programme.
This week culminated with a celebration of achievements at our Hockey Prize Giving. Coaches and managers spoke enthusiastically about their team’s performance throughout the year, and awards were given to all the Minis for participation, and for highest goal scorers, most improved players, best sportsmanship and most valued players in the older teams. Hockey is our strongest interschool sport with over half the students participating, and we look forward to this continuing to strengthen. The final act in the assembly was to farewell Anand Patel, who over the last five years has given the sport huge momentum. He spoke at the assembly about his love for the school, his enjoyment of running the hockey programme and thanked the parents and students for their commitment. He described how Ficino hockey had almost become a brand in itself, which helps to make the school known and respected for the values it upholds.
FICINO SCHOOL PRINCIPAL