We are excited to announce that we will be offering 3 different offerings based at Michael Oak this coming holiday break: our regular holiday club based in aftercare, day trips and a basketball clinic. Details and registration will be sent out by email in the next few days.
As you can see in the photo below, we have managed to acquire a vast collection of clothing, caps, lunch boxes, water bottles and more. Please do come to the foyer (entrance to Big Hall / Tuck Shop) this week to see if any of these items belong to your family. Items not collected will be donated. There are also two pairs of prescription eyeglasses at reception.
Dear Michael Oak Primary School Parents & Guardians,
At this time of the year not only do we celebrate the gift of Spring, but we also celebrate the Festival of Michaelmas. This is an important festival from an anthroposophical standpoint and one which can be understood to speak to people from all religions. St Michael represents the “time spirit” of our age: He who brings an impulse both of the strong and free individual, but also of our relationship to our fellow human beings. In Waldorf schools, this festival often focuses on the inner strength and courage that St Michael portrays - and then encourages children to focus on their own light, inner strength, and courage.
Our classes are encouraged to explore the power of words and how they have the potential to heal or harm, to calm or enflame, to encourage or to dissuade. It is so important to be courageous in our expression, while also using our words with care at all times. This year, our festival will focus on the power of silence. In the silence, we can hear all that is said and unsaid. And rather than reacting with negative words, we can use our courage within, to use silence and love, effectively, when faced with challenging situations.
“It’s important to realise that we can make someone’s day or ruin it, by the mere use of words.” - Tabinda Khubroo
This last verse from Rudolf Steiner's last lecture is also one of inspiration:
Ye, the disciples of Spirit-Knowledge,
Take Michael’s Wisdom-beckoning,
Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds
Into your souls’ aspiring, actively!
With that as an introduction, we warmly invite you to celebrate this special festival with us on the Oval at 10:00 on Friday 23rd September 2022. Please make sure that you are seated quietly by 9:50 at the latest. We will end our Festival with a community dance and would love for you all to join.
Please help us to create a beautiful and enriching festival by refraining from recording it on your phone or camera and instead, totally envelop yourselves in the energy of the moment. Official photographs will be taken for inclusion in the Leaflet. (Remember to bring a hat, as it can get hot in the sun.)
First conceived at the Visioning Day with parents and staff in May 2003, Michael Oak decided to create an opportunity as a school community to consciously mark the crossing of the threshold - from childhood to young adulthood - to take place in their last year at school (Class 10 was the last High School class in those years). A working group of teachers and parents were mandated to develop and coordinate this opportunity and in 2004 the first camp was put in place.
It was agreed that Class 10 would be the ideal time for a camp where the young people could participate in a standstill time, or moratorium period, to reflect on their past, where they’re at now, and how they envisage moving into their future. While it is felt to be important at this stage for the students to participate in separate groups for the young women and men, to reflect on what it is to grow into adulthood, the camps are not about prescribing what kind of adult they might become, nor about reinforcing stereotypes. After the camp there is an opportunity for the students to get together and share their experiences and insights with each other.
The intention is for the school to acknowledge these young people in a special way, and that this process in no way replaces or competes with any other cultural or religious ceremony or ritual to which parents are committed. This wonderful initiative is now an integral part of the Michael Oak curriculum and is run by representatives from the High School Faculty in close collaboration with Michael Oak parents and other community members. The participation of parents and community members as facilitators and supporters is absolutely critical for the success of this process.
“It was truly an honour to be a part of this year’s Roots, Hearts and Wings coming of age camp. While initially apprehensive, the camp was an incredible experience for everyone involved. I saw the people around me blossom, and I got to really appreciate the wonderful people growing up around me. We also had the opportunity to spend time with several amazing women, and each find a possibility and role model for whatever we wished to become in this world. I think every person who attended left somehow more comfortable, confident and authentic in their place in the world. I would wish that every child growing up has the opportunity to experience the growth we did.” - Milene Verwey, Young Women’s Camp
“I must say that this year's Roots, Hearts and Wings camp was an absolutely amazing experience. While it may have been difficult to go along with it at the beginning due to the scarcity of details provided to us, once we just accepted that we were going to be in the dark, information wise, for the duration of the camp it ended up being an amazing opportunity to grow as a class and individuals. I really feel like this camp helped us become closer as a class and helped us find out more about ourselves. It helped everyone become more comfortable and confident in themselves; I think that this camp is an amazing opportunity and that anyone who may feel skeptical about it when they get to it, just try your best to go in with an open mind. If you don’t you will end up disappointed in yourself and since you will eventually become accepting of the camp, why not go in with a good mindset as opposed to having to obtain one halfway through?” - Zachary Weston-Green, Young Men’s Camp
“It was an incredible experience being part of the Roots, Hearts, Wings adventure, with the class 10s, for the first time. It was as though we stepped out of life for a while and had our own time at a different pace in a slightly other world. I am in awe of the young people we went with. They were so ready to meet the challenges and to be pushed out of their comfort zones. I felt honoured to be part of this and to witness such courage and growth in those around me. Respect! It was fun, liberating, bonding and deeply moving. So much gratitude to the amazing facilitators who put in uncountable hours of care and thought into the preparation of this camp. I loved it.” - Helen O’Hagan, Teacher
To paraphrase a famous playwright: “All the world’s a stage, and all the people merely players …a hero’s journey one person in their time plays many parts…. Collectively we call a kingdom for a stage their acts being seven ages so they can play their part infant, [scholar], lover, soldier, [parent], [teacher] and wise elder.”
We would like to celebrate the many hands that made light work of 2022’s Class 9’s Shakespeare play: The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
On behalf of the Class 9 parent body, we would like to express gratitude to the following heroes:
Coordinating the front office, ticket and goodies sales and ensuring eats and drinks for the audience and actors: Neil Major and Suzanne Lemoine
To those who took us into forests, fast cars, and bustling Verona and Milan!
- Set Painting: Fiona Berrisford, Susan Major (Class 9), Zoe Lunau-Johns (Class 9)
- Set Building: Chris Mathimba and Graham Scannell
- Hair, make-up and costume: Tami Randles, Mascha Rutherford and Jan Lloyd Cowley
A special thank you to Jan, who, throughout the week of performances coordinated the daily transformation of our children into lovers, soldiers, dancers, pirates, and bandits.
And now to the Scannell’s, Diane and Graham. The hero’s journey is about the courage to seek the depths, the image of creative rebirth, the eternal cycle of change within us and finally, the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery that the seeker seeks to know. Dianne and Graham, you have held our children as they make their individual and collective journey of the class 9 Shakespeare play. A journey can only be made with the help of experienced travellers/guides. On behalf of class 9, the parent body, we thank you, Dianne (choreographer, director) and Graham (director) for giving our children the chance to experience that “all the world’s a stage”.
Reflections from Parents - 1
As a parent in the class 9 group, I was fascinated to witness the subtle but real transformations that happened in these adolescents during the preparation and the performances of the Shakespeare play. It truly was like an initiation of sorts. And the young people took it very seriously.
Over the two months we watched many of them gain a quiet quality of self-trust that wasn’t there before. Like they can somehow stand taller and more solidly in the world. The gruelling marathon of performances showed us and them a new kind of resilience and responsibility they have. These gifts will always remain with them from this experience and there are no sufficient words for the thank you I feel as a parent. And it was a bonding experience for us as class parents. - Eilat Aviram
Reflections from Parents - 2
What a re-awakening of community spirit and a time of healing and dramatic grandeur at its best. Our fragile, diverse and multi skilled grade 9s have put such passion and courage into their roles in the play. Children who were uncomfortable on a stage expressed new found zeal and talent as they portrayed villains, heroes, clowns and gentle souls .... Confident children were given opportunities to share the spotlight, express their creative insights and be humbled by the grace that comes from group solidarity and the wisdoms bestowed by Diollysus and all the Angels of Drama...The timeless wit of Shakespeare and the skilful guidance of two well-schooled drama teachers made the months leading up to the play as well as the production period a truly exhausting, at times challenging and yet blissful, nourishing and a tremendous tribute to the Depth and Warm, passionate power that is the Performing Arts....Nowhere else can so much be enjoyed in an insightful process of Movement and Spoken Art. Thank you for this most precious gift. - Suzanne De Nobrega-Lemoine
Reflections from Parents - 3
Apart from the obvious benefits of performing in public, something emerged for me that was a bit more unexpected. It was to do with how teenagers typically form groups or cliques. While this is considered normal behaviour, sometimes groups are misunderstood. Shyness is often interpreted as condescending behaviour; aloofness interpreted as passive aggression. There is also the darker side of group dynamics where members gossip about outsiders.
So when I saw my daughter bantering with a boy that I thought she disliked, I asked her about it. She told me that because of the play she now jokes around with most of the others in her class.
It seems that these days “academics skills” are favoured over “social skills” at most schools, so it was lovely to see how the Shakespeare play helped to bridge this gap. - Neil Major
A very big thank you to the parents and staff who participated in the Garden Work Party at the beginning of the month and who helped transform the space outside the library and the edge of our side court! A special thank you to Melisa for your enthusiasm and hard work getting everyone together and to all the parents who generously donated plants, skills and time.
Over the July holidays Kathy created these wonderful little creatures. They embody exactly what I asked for and are made with such love, care, superb stitch-work and imaginative vision. Kathy’s gifts are likewise gently woven around the youngest in our school with similar care and attention to detail. And so, it continues from Kindergarten to High School - Kathy and her fellow colleagues giving with abundant generosity of Spirit. Rain and Water (above)
The Santa Shoebox Project is a wonderful initiative to help children in need experience the spirit of the holiday season. As a donor, you sign up to purchase some small gifts and personal care items for a child of a specific age (2-12), then pack the items in a decorated box and deliver them to school. Since 2006 Santa’s Shoebox has delivered over 1 million shoeboxes! This year Michael Oak has set a goal for our community to contribute 100 shoeboxes by 1 November.
SIGN UP: Step 1: Follow this link and pledge one or more boxes from yourself and/or your family. Step 2: You will receive an email confirming your commitment and we will provide more details. Step 3: Collect your printed box label from Claire at reception. Step 4: Pack your box with the 8 required items: a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a washcloth, sweets, a toy, school supplies, and an article of clothing – all new, unused, and age-appropriate. Step 5: Drop your completed, labeled box at the school reception on or before 1 November 2022.
GET THE KIDS INVOLVED:
This is a wonderful thing to do with your children! If you pick a child of their own age and help them choose gifts and pack a box, this is a lovely reminder that not all children are as fortunate as they may be. Kids also love decorating the boxes with stickers and drawings.
For the last three years Melisa Smuts, mother of Kailash in Class 6 and Imogen in Class 1, has been our very capable Chair of the Kindergarten and Primary School's Links Forum.
Melisa stepped up when the previous chairperson left rather suddenly and she ably took the reins in hand. Melisa is organised and meticulous in her approach. She is committed to the school and to creating good, clear lines of communication between parents and the teaching body. She is inclusive and consultative in her approach and she manages this with a firm, yet very gentle touch.
During the last Links Meeting of Term 3 there was a spontaneous acknowledgment and honouring of the work that she had done for the school, and the parents of the school, for the last three years. Her praise-singing was noteworthy, but it is important for the next Chairperson to keep in mind that there is not only one way to fulfil this role and that everyone brings their own qualities to the table. After the last links meeting Melisa wrote to all the links reassuring them that the Chair portion is not in fact as difficult as it may be perceived. It has times of intensity around the actual meetings and the AGM, but is not demanding throughout the year.
Melisa will continue her involvement with the school as a parent and as an active initiator of the Garden Group. She has brought a wonderful fresh energy into our gardens this year. She has donated many plants out of her own garden and she gives freely of her time and care. She held a clear vision for each bed before we started planting and she was creative in her use of donated plants.
Melisa, we are so grateful for your generosity and your lovely way of working with people.
Warm regards Tine Bohm - on behalf of the Michael Oak Community
The school Fair committee is still looking for prizes. Please take this opportunity to clean out your cupboards, toy boxes and garage. Donate your gently used, non-plastic items. Fill your class box in reception (Primary School) or classroom (High School) and any class that fills its box will be in the running for the monthly prize!
Greetings, my name is Blessing Chatama and I'm in class 12 at Michael Oak. I will be turning 19 in September. I've just moved into Timour Hall Rd in Plumstead. I'm very keen to do some jobs like babysitting, house-sitting and pet walking. I'm a responsible, sporty and energetic person. I can play games for hours. Reference Maurita Weissenberg ph. 0834426967 or email: email@example.com or contact me ph. 0662944484 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When: 3rd + 4th October 9-1 drop off 8:30. Gate 1. Blanket filled with fun art supplies welcomes your children as you drop them off.
What: Day 1 - Make your own forts in groups …Play Camouflage in 2 unique ways, An interactive crystal scavenger hunt as you answer riddles, find hidden nature objects and unravel mystic clues, learn about amazing, mimicry, camouflage and colour in nature as we explore
Day 2 - We will make a clay habitat for a chosen Kirstenbosch animal land air or water, we will explore colour, nests, birds of prey make new friends, play feathery games, enjoy natural beauty. We will spend each day at a secret part of Kirstenbosch near Arboretum which is open yet contained as we will be based in one area, as we take in beauty and have fun in nature.
Who: 6-12 year olds w/shop. Max 12 children. Eco Nature adventurers runs as an extra-mural at St Georges Grammar school and Little Bosch and St Georges Grammar School.
How Much: R510 incl. all materials and entrance fees. Children bring own snacks/water juice
This piece of work was originally developed by acclaimed spiritual therapist Turiya Hanover, who is mentoring Lesley in adapting and delivering it to incorporate her own approach.
LESLEY PALMER is a Drama and Movement Therapist (MA, UK), Family Constellations Therapist (SA) and Play Therapist (PGDip, UK). She is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Lesley’s therapeutic work is with children, adolescents and adults, with a focus on bereavement, challenging transitions, and in the development of capacity for Presence, Resilience and Transformation. Her work integrates Creative Arts Therapy techniques, Constellations, active meditation and Inquiry methods.
Lesley’s approach to group and individual work focuses on creating safe spaces where participants are invited to connect deeply with themselves and others, release what is no longer serving them and experience a deepening capacity to be Present and connected to their essential selves. The work explores ‘Presence in Action’, teaching one to be authentically alive and awake to oneself in every moment. Working with the body is central to the work, and participants learn tools to apply the work into every-day life. For more information visit www.presenceinaction.co.za
FOR MORE INFORMATION or TO BOOK: email@example.com
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