Dear parents, I hope that all of you had a great Autumn fieldtrip to either Wuxi Zoo, Changzhou Dinosaur Park or Shanghai Disneyland. I can see how excited both our students and teachers are, coming back with stories and impressions from their trips yesterday. From this month, we have opened the bus-waiting room by 103, with air-purifiers, AC, LED and lots of natural light.
As something new, also from this month, our playground now includes a giant "Chalk Wall" which functions as a huge blackboard where children can use chalk to draw, write or leave small messages during outside play. However, it is not just a fun and exciting addition to our outside play area, it is also a very versatile and useful feature for teachers to use when bringing lessons outside on days with good weather. Instead of just staying inside, we welcome teachers to bring reading-line and theme-line lessons outside into the fresh air and enjoy an "Open Air Class". Imagine, instead of recognizing written words on the white-board in the class-room, teachers can get more tactile and creative outside, maybe design a Tarzan track where children have to pick a word from a basket, balance over the ABC pond and run through the tunnels, before they come up to the big blackboard to write the word or sentences with chalk. It gets even more exciting and fun to learn, because the board can also be used as a big interactive target for throwing big wet sponges or suction darts at. For example, your Newton teacher can ask students to identify the correct spelling of a word instead of just pointing, by trying to hit it with a big wet sponge? Splashhh! Fun! We expect that all children and teachers will find a lot of fun use of the "Chalk Wall".
Throughout the months of September/October I met with Hui Xin teachers to do personal reviews and asked everyone a simple question "How do you teach a child to be a good friend?". From the many different answers, most teachers emphasized "playing together" and "sharing activities" as key-elements. Digging deeper, I asked teachers to describe "what kind of friend they want to be?" using no more than 5 key-words. From these talks, I was able to learn about the teachers and summarize 9 basic values of "being a good friend". These values are part of the 2017/2018 mission statement and apply to both how Newton staff and students must conduct themselves.
1) Be polite; Always greet people and return a greeting (say good morning, good afternoon, have a nice day).
2) Show appreciation; Thank and compliment others (Thank you Friday's).
3) Be helpful; Help your friends (includes initiatives on how to help parents, grandparents & teachers)
4) Contribute; Share ideas (each student's ideas are just as important as others)
5) Have integrity; Always tell the truth, stand by your word and know right from wrong.
6) Be committed; Work hard for a cause, cherish nature, protect our environment and love animals.
7) Understand democratic process; decisions made as a group are respected, even if not preferred by you.
8) Show empathy; Have an open mind, it is not about you, it is about your friends, it is about the other ones. There is no need to be number 1 in kindergarten and there is no need to have a singular "best friend". There is a need to try everything and have "many friends", some might misbehave occasionally, but they are still our friends, we can forgive them and we can help.
9) Know how to right a wrong; Don't cry over spilled milk, just clean it up, teach replacement skills (Apology cards)
On behalf of Ms. Marie from the uniform department, I would like to thank families for following the campus dress-code and understanding our commitment to unity and equality. Speaking of uniforms, beginning last week, the Newton staff uniform will include both a purple and blue fleece. As always, should you have any questions relating to every day school life, routines and rules in general please do not hesitate to ask any Newton teacher, wearing either purple or blue fleece zip-ups.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR THE COMING MONTH(S):
- November 1st: Entrance/Attendance without ID-card will not be allowed (prepare early, order more cards if needed).
- November 24th: Christmas Decoration with parents/grandparents.
- November 29th: Christmas class-photos (please let your child wear full uniform and a red/white/green scarf if you have)
We thank families for their participation at this week's Sports Days and congratulate children on their faithful show of sportsmanship! The games are not about winners and losers, but about joining, pushing physical limits just a little and always doing our best!
I wish everyone a wonderful Autumn season!
Anders S Christensen, principal
and the Hui Xin team!