Shrike’s Call | February 2018

Welcome to a very busy 2018. A special and very warm welcome to all the new children who have joined Whitestone School this year.  We hope that you will have a happy and long association with the school.  Our enrolment seems to be expanding and a number of classes are full, which is a very encouraging start to the year.

This is a very short term, being only twelve weeks long, and one week consisted of two days!  That alone has brought some challenges where we have had to squeeze our normal traditional first term fixtures in.  Our main events are:  the Inter-House and Inter- Schools’ Cross Country and  the Inter-House and Inter-Schools Athletics meetings which are being held in February and March.  Our 1st Team Cricket Boys also travelled during half-term to take part in the ISASA Cricket Festival in Beaulieu, Gauteng, South Africa.

Of course the weather has contributed to our difficulties. The rain has been most welcome and it has certainly rejuvenated the school grounds which are looking lush and serene. We are always reluctant to complain about the rain, however, it has played havoc with sporting fixtures and the afternoon activities programme.

Whitestone School continues to flourish and develop.  There is certainly a distinct positive atmosphere of excitement, enthusiasm and commitment within the school. The parents, children and staff are all encouraged by this as it creates pride, loyalty and love for our wonderful institution. It is amazing how being positive, seeing, recognising and acknowledging the good in something hugely assists in developing and improving all areas of the school. It encourages everyone to strive to do better in everything.  Working in such an environment, which is above negativity, achieves better results and fosters a desire to constantly improve.

Herewith a brief glance of some of the achievements in Whitestone School over the past six weeks.

ECD A and B
A very warm welcome to our new children in our Pre-Primary.  This year we opened two classes for ECD “A” (children turning 4 this year) and we had two classes for EDC “B” (children turning 5 this year).  They have all settled down very well.  We also opened up the option for after care from Mondays to Thursdays and most of the parents have taken up this option.  Herewith a few pictures of the little ones having fun at school.

Zimbabwe Tennis
Nicole Matukutire (who was in Grade 7 at Whitestone last year) took part in the SOUTHERN AFRICAN ZONAL Under 14 Tennis Championships and won her section. It was held in the Botswana capital from 8th to 17th January. By winning she qualified to represent the region at the Africa Junior Championships in Pretoria in March.  We are all very proud of her.  Well done!

D6
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Grade 7 Outward Bound Camp
This well-organised leadership camp in Chimanimani for our Grade Sevens once again went off very well and a tremendous amount of fun was had by all. Thankfully, there was not too much rain to contend with this year and this allowed the children to squeeze in more activities.  The children did well and came back happy and exhausted.  They started the journey by going to Masvingo, staying at Norma Jeans Camp Site and visiting Great Zimbabwe.  The following day the children and staff left for Chimanimani.  En route, they stopped off to look at Birchenough Bridge.  As you can see from the following pictures, there was lots of bonding and teamwork.

Grade 3K Practical Mathematics
Throwing dice (die) to make a 3 digit number and comparing the values with our partners’ number. The School has a commitment towards creating opportunities for children to experience the practical aspect of learning as much as possible.

Matabeleland Senior Nationals Swimming
Congratulations to the following children who have been selected to take part in the Swimming Senior Nationals to be held in Bulawayo over half-term:  Onyenyechukwu Onovo, Chanté Querl, Kayden Bhana, Vidal Bravo, Darren Ncube, Ruán Nel, Mitchell Stanley, Khaya Vimba and Fanuel Zvenyika.

New Infant Equipment
The Infant Department staff and children are so excited with their new sports equipment. It is at this stage where key sporting skills are taught and learnt. Children are exposed to many core skills including balance, basic ball skills and space awareness. This sets a good foundation for them to build upon when they begin to specialize in various sporting disciplines later on in the Junior School.

Grade 3K Educational Visit to Museum with Mr Sanderson
This lesson was about tools used by hunter-gatherers. We visited the Museum to look at all the tools used by The San people and then Mr. Sanderson followed up with hands on lesson with actual stone tools.   As can be seen, the experience was fun and exciting,  where a great deal was learnt.

Grade 5M Chapel
Once a year, Grades 4 to Grades 7 have a chance of taking the Chapel Service and doing a Chapel Play.  Grade 5M have just had their turn and their theme was “Facts of the Bible”.  Also included are pictures of the class hard at work.

Wild Life Club
A few weeks ago, Mr James Varden and Mr Dean Kendall came to speak to our Wild Life Club members on the topic  of elephants. They brought samples of the skull, elephant teeth and an elephant foot for the children to observe and touch. It is very important for all children to be aware of Zimbabwe’s wonderful wildlife.

Grade 2W Following Instructions to make a Sandwich
Part of the Cambridge Literacy syllabus is for children to learn the skill of writing and giving accurate instructions. Of course teachers find numerous fun ways to teach this as well as trying to make it as practical as possible. It is amazing how much detail needs to be included in the instructions of how to make a cup of tea or a sandwich.

1st Team Cricket Tour to South Africa
Our 1st Team boys and Mr Nel participated in the ISASA Cricket Tour held at Beaulieu School, in Johannesburg over the half-term break. They gained a vast amount of experience playing against boys who were considerably older than them. This can only benefit them in the future. They are a young and developing side who have huge potential. Their grit and determination, along with enthusiasm and desire to succeed, make them an exciting team to watch. They played very well and we are very proud of them.

Grade 5M
Last Friday, Grade 5M held an“A Taste of The Nations” event in their classroom.  It was the conclusion to the children learning to respect and accept one another’s differences including culture and religion. Grade 5M represents a variety of cultures/mixed cultures and people groups hence the fabulous variety of food from Ireland, Greece, Zimbabwe, Caribbean, South Africa, Scandinavia, India and America. The children had a ‘feast’ and were well satisfied.

Cross Country
On Monday, 12th February, 2018, we held our Annual Inter-House Cross Country.  Despite the drizzly weather, the children ran well and each and every one of them gave of their best.  A good afternoon was had by parents, children and staff of Whitestone.  Congratulations to Shashi who came 1st, Shangani 2nd and Tuli 3rd.  Thank you to Mr and Mrs Pettican, who were our Guests of Honour,  for all that they have contributed to the school over the last fourteen years.

The second half of the term is promising to be extremely busy with a vast array of activities scheduled. This includes: sporting trips to Harare, Inter-House athletics, Inter-School athletics, academic work and tests in the classroom, consultation days and the Drakensburg Choir trip.   Our children are blessed with all these wonderful experiences and certainly benefit from them in the future.

T. Harding
HEADMASTER

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