Thank you to all of the families that came out to support our lower primary students on Wednesday, 29 November for their Splash Gala. The students had a chance to share their skills and strokes in a variety heats. Thank you to our swim team, Ms. Kate, Coach Ian, and Mr. Antonio for working with our students over the past three months during their swimming unit. Below are some highlights from the afternoon.
I am thrilled to announce that we have finally started the construction of Phase 1A of our Campus Improvement Plan. This phase will include the construction of a large multi-purpose hall on the school’s new property behind the Primary School. This hall, which we are calling the Pavilion, will be large enough to accommodate exams, exhibitions, class meetings, workshops, conferences, and more. It also includes a large deck and social area that will overlook four multi-purpose courts. These courts will be large enough for basketball, volleyball, or tennis. The second part of the project will be a renovation to our gym to improve ventilation, renovate some spaces and, most importantly, almost triple the playing space available for Physical Education classes and sporting events. This phase will significantly improve our school programming, provide higher quality facilities, and introduce much more flexibility in scheduling. The pictures show the floor plan and an artist’s rendering of the Pavilion.
This project is the culmination of a four-year process. The adjacent property was purchased during the 2014-15 school year. After a competitive process, Flansburgh Architects from the USA was hired to conduct a campus master site planning exercise. During the 2015-16 school year, teams of their architects made three visits to campus and engaged the board, faculty, staff, parents, and students in a consultative process to envision the AISL of the future. The 2016-17 school year was focused on putting everything in place to realize the first parts of this vision. This meant holding competitive processes to hire a project manager and professional team and then an architect. By the middle of the year, we had appointed African Cityscapes as our project management and professional team. SVA Architects from South Africa, in partnership with Anderson & Anderson Architects from Zambia, were then appointed as the project architects.
The remainder of last year and the first half of this school year have been dedicated to designing Phase 1A. Once the designs were completed we held a competitive process to appoint a builder. From an original pool of eighteen construction companies who were part of the process, the Board appointed Hong Chen Construction Company. We have now turned the site over to them and they are already hard at work. We anticipate construction to finish during our June/July holiday so that we can move into our new facilities before the next school year.
I am pleased to report that Phase 1A of our Campus Improvement Program will be funded entirely through the capital funds that we collect. This includes the one-time admission fee and the annual capital levy and does not come out of tuition payments. These capital funds are collected and earmarked specifically for facility improvements like this.
I anticipate that the construction of the Pavilion and the multipurpose courts will not have a significant impact on our programs since they are on an adjacent property that we do not currently use. The gym renovation will occur in at least two phases. Some of the exterior work on the parking lot side of the gym will start next week and carry on through the December/January holiday. Although the gym will still be usable, there will not be any access from the parking lot side. The second, larger phase of the renovation is currently scheduled to begin sometime in February. The gym will be unavailable for several months as this work is conducted. There will also be times when the Secondary Pool will have to be closed during some of these works. I will keep you posted on the scheduling of that work as we get closer to the time.
Please join me in thanking the Board of Directors, the members of the Board’s Building Committee, and all the faculty, staff, parents, and students who have contributed to this robust process over the last four years. I am thrilled to see all that work come to fruition.
What I’m excited about…
December 4-10 is international Computer Science Education Week - formerly known as Hour of Code Week. The AISL Library & Discovery Center together with the AISL IT Department are pleased to host several fun events during the week- some of which will be during class times, and others which will be available on a drop-by basis:
Please join us for a parent coffee morning focused on the subject of balanced tech use hosted by Tony Potts (Primary Assistant Principal & Technology and Innovation Coach) & Terry Maguire (Secondary Teacher-Librarian) next Tuesday morning. We will view three short video clips followed by informal discussion after each. The topics we will explore include:
- Setting boundaries regarding device use with your child
- Social media etiquette and safety
- Gaming: how much is too much?
There is no single answer to any of these questions, but together we will explore constructive ways to promote open dialogue and boundary setting with your child and family.
This session is geared toward parents of students in Grades 5 and higher.
As part of their current unit of inquiry, our Grade 4 students are busy preparing for the annual holiday sale. On Thursday, 7 December, students in Grades 1-5 will be visiting the sale. If your child is interested in purchasing some of the homemade crafts, food or drink, please send in a small amount of money on that day with your child. The poster below, created by the Grade 4 students, includes the details about the event.
On Tuesday, 5 December, Grades 3-5 will have their end-of-swimming season relay gala. We would love to have our G3-5 families join us at the Primary Pool from 13:00-14:30 to celebrate our students' progress as they demonstrate their strokes in various relays.
Please make sure your child has the following on this date:
* Goggles (optional)
This is a Relay Gala, which means there are no individual races. Students have been assigned groups in which they will participate for the various races. The teams from previous years (Elephants, Lions, Rhinos) will not be used.
Thank you for your continued support in making this sporting event successful and fun.
On Friday, 1 December, we will be hosting the AISL Primary Talent Show in the Performing Arts Center. Ms. Jenn, Ms. Natalie, and Ms. Elisa have been instrumental in organising this wonderful event.
This show is a celebration of our many talents and with almost fifty students performing, it is sure to be an amazing event!
What I’m excited about…
Middle School Coffee House! Kudos to all our middle school poets, performers, and musicians for participating in today’s Middle School Coffee House. The “Coffee House” events provide an open mic and a supportive audience for students to explore their creative sides. Many thanks to Terry Maguire and Chel Illingworth for coordinating this event.
Thanksgiving! I hope that you and your family enjoy our four-day weekend to celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you are American or not, I hope you take a few moments over the weekend (or every day, for that matter) to take stock of all that you have to be thankful for. Better still, take some time to make sure that the special people in your life know that you are grateful that they are there. Happy Thanksgiving!
We are fortunate to have children's author, Erica Perl, coming to our Primary school in February. She has written a range of humorous books, both in picture and chapter book format, that will tickle your child's funny bone. Erica will be working with primary students on a variety of projects that promote writing and creativity during her week long stay here. In preparation for her visit, I am including a book order form so you can purchase her books which she will autograph when she arrives.
If you are interested in purchasing a book, please print and fill out the form and return to the library by December 2. After that date, I will be unable to purchase the books, however if you have your own copy, you are welcome to send that with your child when Erica visits. Please let me know if you have any questions.
The AISL Library will be OPEN on Saturday 25 November for our usual Saturday hours: 9.00 - 14.00.
We will be CLOSED this Thursday 23 November & Friday 24 November.
Come on by and play some board games together as a family, display your Lego creation on the Lego wall, browse our many displays, or flip through a magazine while you drink a cappuccino.
Across the school years both parents and teachers aim to raise self-confident children with a positive sense of themselves. In this respect, recent and interesting findings have been published in the Child Development Journal’s special section. Some of the conclusions have been summarized by the University of Amsterdam, underlining that the support parents give their children (Harris, et al., 2017) and parental warmth perceived by the children (Brummelman, et al. 2015) help to develop high self-esteem, but extremely positive and inflated praise has an adverse effect on children (Brummelman, et al., 2017), especially in those with low self-esteem (Brummelman, et al., 2016, Brummelman, et al., 2017).
Regarding praise, some important elements refer to the how, why and when we praise our kids; as praise comes in different forms and doses (Brummelman, et al., 2016).
Often, we find ourselves desiring to give extremely positive feedback to our children with low self-esteem, but we might rethink it, as it has been studied that this inclination may backfires (Brummelman, et al., 2016). The authors argue, that the inflated evaluation sets a standard which can be perceived as unachievable by children with lower self-esteem, affecting their self-confidence over time as they can be afraid of their future performance. “Children who are praised for doing incredibly well might infer that they should do incredibly well all the time” (Brummelman, et al., 2016, p.113). Meanwhile, for those with higher self-esteem, the lavish praise can develop narcissism (Brummelman, et al. 2015; Brummelman, et al., 2017).
It is pertinent to mention that “when children are praised for their personal qualities, such as their intelligence or worth, they may believe these qualities are something they either have or do not have – a fixed mindset” (Brummelman, et al., 2016, p.112). This fixed mindset can cause avoidance of challenges in children, while having a growth mindset (the belief that cognitive skills can be developed through effort and education) can have a positive influence on motivation and a willingness to take risks (Haimovitz & Dweck, 2017). Overall, showing genuine interest in children’s activities as well as sharing joy with them seem to be a central axis for guiding them towards a healthy self-esteem and feeling appreciated by others (Harris, et al., 2017).
- Maria Albornoz, Secondary School SEN Teacher
During November and December the guiding question in Secondary advisory is:
"How do I impact my community?" Through this question students are asked to explore the concept of community in preparation for our student led initiative, "Buckets of Love". 7A took to our campus to interview various members of our community. Below are the posters they created. These can also be viewed on the bulletin board outside of room C1 in the Middle School. What does community mean to you?
Ron Lieber's The Opposite of Spoiled (2015) lays out clear, easy-to-implement strategies to help parents teach children financial literacy with the goal of helping them become grounded, unmaterialistic, financially saavy adults one day. Lieber, a personal finance columnist for the NYT (Your Money column), shares the best strategies for how to talk with children (of all ages) about money based on the newest research and his interviews with parents of many different financial backgrounds. He promotes the idea of "3 jars" with young children: save, spend, give, and also talks about practical strategies parents can use to combat the relentless drum-beat of materialism (What's the going rate for a lost tooth? What to do about the request from an 8-year-old for an iPhone? Additionally, Lieber offers ways to answer some of the difficult questions children ask about money in a manner that is honest yet appropriate. For Lieber, a spoiled child often has these things in common: few chores or responsibilities, few rules to govern behavior or schedules, parents and others who give excessive time & assistance, and lots of material possessions. The opposite, for Lieber, is a child who is generous, curious, patient, persevering, and financially wise. Whether you have very young children or teens, every family will find some valuable strategies in this well-written, practical read. Check out Lieber's great FB page with printable resources based on the ideas from this book. The book is available in the AISL Library & Discovery center.
Please join us on Tuesday, 27 March at 07:30 in the Protea Conference Room for a very informative PTA Meeting with our new PTA Committee! The highlight of the meeting will be the upcoming World Fest on Friday 20 April. All parents are welcome!
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Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 07:15 - 15:45 / Friday: 07:15 - 14:30