Humility across the school...
What a wonderful end to our busy half term! The children and staff have fully embraced Spiritual Journaling and have enjoyed spending the time on quiet, personal reflection. This week, the children were asked to represent humility using signs or symbols and think about how it relates to their own lives. They are truly amazing!
Teachers are always grateful for parent support in school, and Year 5 were especially thankful today. Mrs Malinowska, our much loved Midday Supervisor, popped in to support with art lessons this morning, sharing her years of experience as a graphic designer with the children. It was a wonderful support to the teachers and an opportunity for the children to learn from a real expert. If you think you might be able to offer inspiration to your child's class, do get in touch with us!
3, 2, 1... Blast Off!
This morning, I spent some time with our wonderful Nursery children and we went on an adventure all the way to Jupiter! We started in our spaceship (the gazebo) and blasted off into space, looking out for the stars, planets and rocks as we passed by. Once we landed on Jupiter, the children told me we needed to put on our big boots, gloves, large helmet and space suit, and remember to turn our oxygen on! As we stepped out onto the planet (the Nursery playground), moving slow and steady, the children described what they could see. What absolutely wonderful little minds we have at St Joseph's!
Exalting the Humble
The theme of this week's worship (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C) is humility. We had lots of teacher show-off at the beginning of the worship, sharing their remarkable talents from God. However, Miss Green helped us to see that our talents and opportunities aren't to be used at the expense of others. We don't make ourselves big in God's eyes by belittling others. There's a great opportunity for Canterbury House to put this challenge into action by enjoying their mufti day this Thursday without making other houses feel inferior. Do ask your child what they remember for today's worship.
Persisting in 4K
A powerful message from St Kenneth's Class today - the importance of persistence. We explored how different the fable of the hare and the tortoise might have been, if the tortoise hadn't persisted in the race. We examine how St Paul's persistence was at the heart of spreading the Good News, transforming the world and its thinking. We even discovered that JK Rowling's Harry Potter was rejected by publishers six times before it eventually made it to print! - There's a surprise. A fantastic assembly and a compelling message; thank you and well done 4K
Deanery Retreat Day
Today I had the absolute pleasure of attending a deanery retreat day, led by St Polycarp's, with a few of our spiritual councillors. Here's what we got up to:
Today we went on a trip to St Polycarp’s School, where we learnt about unity and how we are all one in God. First, we celebrated Mass at the St Joan of Arc Church in Farnham, and then we got to know children in all of the other deanery schools and made many new friends. After, we listened to Fr Niven Richardson, who explained about unity and taught us about the different types of prayer: verbal, meditative, contemplative. In our next activity, we made posters about Pope Francis’ letter ‘Laudato Si’, meaning ‘Praise be to God’. We thought about ways we can live wisely, think deeply and love generously. We had lots of fun and, most importantly, strengthened our faith. This spiritual day made us feel calm and peaceful. It reminded us that we are all equal and that God loves all of us everywhere and all the time. Written by our Spiritual Councillors.
Vocation and commitment
On Wednesday afternoon, Fr Sebastian visited Year 6 to share his experiences of vocation and how he knew he had a calling from God to join the priesthood. As part of their current RE topic, Year 6 have been focusing on what it means to be committed to something and how this can often be a calling from God. Fr Sebastian used everyday examples to help explain what a vocation is and the importance of his role in carrying out God's mission. He also shared interesting facts about his life before and after he was called, helping to develop the children's understanding in a real life context.
The Power of Perseverance
The theme of our worship this week is the importance of perseverance. What a joy it's been to see children working hard to overcome the challenges in their own lives this week. Here's a lovely moment I came across in the Junior playground: Bella's been trying really hard for days to master the skill of skipping, Mia has kindly offered her some one-to-one tuition and, together, they've persevered to help Bella become a champion skipper! Great work girls - we're all so proud of you!
Today Year 3 visited Butser Ancient Farm, they expected rain but were blessed with sunshine! The children did a range of activities which allowed them to deepen their understanding of what life was like during The Stone Age period. They spent the morning learning how to be an archaeologist by digging in pits and excavating some interesting artefacts. Each group then made clay pots just as our ancestors did straight from the ground! The most popular activity amongst the children was chalk carving as each child was able to carve a picture on a piece of chalk with a sharpened flint just as prehistoric people did. A brilliant day all round!
Never lose heart
What a valuable message in this week's Gospel (29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C). Jesus tells his disciples not to lose heart but to pray continually because God is not like the unjust judge, as our hymn of the week celebrates, "You're the defender of the weak, You comfort those in need." We can be so quick to give up when challenges come our way and we are urging the children this week to consider the need for perseverance. You'll find this target on many of the new Toolbox documents that were shared at parents' evenings recently. We hope the visual example of the card tower (in the assembly slides) will help children remember the importance of not giving up and having the determination to succeed. Why not try building one at home this week as part of your prayer for perseverance?
Sweets and Rocks!
Year 3 have had an amazing morning, learning all about the rock cycle by using... SWEETS!
First, they chopped up the sweets into tiny pieces to represent sediment.
Then, they compacted them together and created sedimentary rock.
By adding heat and pressure, they changed their rock into metamorphic and then they heated it to create lava.
Once the lava was cool, they were left with igneous rock.
What a fun way to explore their learning! Take a look at some of their fabulous work (it smelt amazing!)
The importance of thanksgiving...
Throughout this week, we have been focusing on the theme of 'thanksgiving' and it has been a true delight to witness so many members of our St Joseph's community showing their gratitude to one another. St Wilfrid's class celebrated this theme today, with their class assembly. The story line took us through dramatic performances of everyday scenarios we can be thankful for, before focusing on Jesus' thanksgiving with his disciples. The class gave an inspirational delivery of the importance of showing gratitude to one another using a 'Thanksgiving Chain'. They demonstrated that we can all be part of this 'chain', spreading gratitude throughout our lives. It was a very heartwarming end to our week.
Novena with Newman
In preparation for the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman this Sunday, Junior children have been holding their own Novena with Newman in the Library this week. Inspired by the prayer stations children have encountered with Aseel and the CYF Team at the Catholic Parish of Guildford, and skilfully overseen by Miss Nicholls, children have been reflecting on the life and work of this amazing man. Find out more here: https://www.newmancanonisation.com/novena. My favourite quote of the sessions, from a Year 5 child, "Please Miss Nicholls, can I lead the Rosary today?" - Just beautiful!
Fun and Games!
Take a look at these innovative designs! Children from Years 3 & 4 were busy using our giant jenga in a variety of ways this lunchtime...
On Wednesday afternoon, our dedicated Year 6 football teams played matches against St Thomas of Canterbury. They played with great sportsmanship, commitment and energy and kept their spirits high throughout. Well done boys!
Science is all around us!
Year 6 have been exploring the many species of living things all around us, including microorganisms! They have been busy finding out about fungi, bacteria and viruses and researching which are harmful and which are helpful. They have also been studying the discoveries of Louis Pasteur and the impact of his work on our world today.
Their wealth of understanding is truly incredible; we've got some future Scientists on our hands...
A thankful heart
Our worship this week takes its inspiration from the story of the ten lepers (28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C). Jesus praises the last, and only, leper for being the one to take time to return, say "Thank You" and praise God for the miracle that Jesus worked. In the same way, we are encouraging the children this week to be even more aware and grateful for the amazing world around them: the opportunities they receive, the education they enjoy, the food they devour and the love they experience. Do ask your child tonight what they're thankful for today.
Today, we celebrated Harvest Fast Day with Fr Sebastian, who led us in a reflective Liturgy about how we can serve others by sharing what we have. Fr Sebastian spoke to us about how we are living like Christ every time we help someone else, and that the efforts of the parents, staff and children of St Joseph's this Harvest, was an excellent example. The wonderful children of Year 6 braved the weather and delivered half of the donated goods to residents of our local community. The remaining half will be delivered to our local food bank later this evening. Thank you all for your generosity this Harvest, truly demonstrating our service to others.
What a beautiful end to the week!
An alien invasion!
After the mystery crash landing in the Infant playground on Monday, Year 2 have been busy detectives! They have been exploring who/what may be inside...
Using their imaginations, the children have been creating their very own space creatures!
The mystery continues...
In response to extremely helpful and consistent feedback from parents, we have reviewed our approach to homework and published a new policy: Homework & Parental Engagement Policy 2019. We hope this will help to strike a healthy balance between compulsory and optional homework tasks, giving parents greater flexibility to use weekends in whatever way they see fit. Do have a read and let us know what you think: we're always open to changing our approach.
A Week of Poetry!
Poetry has been EVERYWHERE this week! On Tuesday, we were visited by the very talented Paul Cookson. He delivered captivating (and hilarious) performances of his own poetry and led each key stage in poetry workshops, helping the children to become poets themselves. It is without a doubt that the children were left inspired, enthused and excited about writing! Throughout the week, we have then seen every class across the school produce their own poetry and take part in performing. We've had poems about elephants, vegetables, lions, The Highwayman... The list goes on; it has been a truly spectacular week! Please do ask your child about the powerful poetry they have been involved in this week.
Super Sports Captains!
On Tuesday morning, our super Sports Captains took part in our local Sports Crew training. The session was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to develop their leadership skills, learn about how to plan school competitions/festivals and become equipped with how to be true ambassadors of sport at our school. We are incredibly lucky to have their enthusiasm, passion and expertise!
A very "Happy Birthday" to Selina in Year 5 this week! Like many children, Selina wanted to mark the occasion with a sweet treat. There's nothing children enjoy more at the end of a long day than celebrating with their classmates. However, Selina went the extra mile and prepared fruit skewers for her friends this year; a great way to celebrate! We loved Selina's healthy living choice. Happy birthday Selina!
An honour to serve
The theme of this week's worship is service. We spent some time in assembly this morning exploring what a joy it is to be served by others and, as Jack in 5T taught us, a joy to serve others too. We heard from Mr Cunningham, our new School Business Manager, who has spent most of his life serving our country in the Royal Navy. He taught us that being in a school is much like life on board a ship - every member of the community needs to take care of each other and recognise the honour of service.
An unexpected landing!
You may have seen something strange on the Infant playground this morning... Year 2 have discovered a rocket has crash landed on the St Joseph's site! They have been busy trying to solve the mystery and get to the bottom of what has been going on over the weekend:
Who does the rocket belong to?
How did the rocket get to St Joseph's!?
What could happen next?
Keep checking the Blog this week to find out what they discover...
Advice from 6D...
What a production! This morning, 6D led a memorable worship based on advice. The message started with 6D’s version of Gogglesprogs, before focusing on the best advice of all: Jesus’ example. There was a beautiful poem shared at the end, written by the class themselves (a special mention to Dylan for writing the first verse):
The gentle flame will keep you warm
When you realise you're not alone in the storm,
And when the realisation rings true
That's when God is holding you.
Fighting Fitness Judo!
On Thursday morning, Sam - a Commonwealth Games champion from Fighting Fitness Judo - delivered an exciting assembly! Sam taught us about the importance of respect and self-control through her expertise in Judo. With the help of the talented Joah, they demonstrated throwing and holding techniques, and even taught us some Japanese words.
A little learning hero...
I was lucky enough to get a visit from Diana today. Although she may look like a fully qualified nurse, she is in fact in Year 2! Diana has been learning all about the heroic deeds of Florence Nightingale and her counterparts and has been taking part in Year 2's Florence Day to discover more about what life was like in 1800s. As part of her fascination with the topic, Diana completed this amazing display of Florence Facts at home. I was overwhelmed by the scope and detail in her little display. What a learning hero you are Diana!
Searching for a match!
Year 1 have been digging to discover hidden clues!
In their outside area, the children from Year 1 soon found word and picture cards buried in the soil pit! Before long, they started to spot the clues and realised each word matched with a picture. It was amazing to see how quickly the children discovered this for themselves, and how they were able to use their phonics understanding to recognise the sounds in the words! What a match!
A friendly visitor...
I was visiting our lovely Reception children at lunch time today, only to find they had another friendly visitor: a little, speckled frog. The children were fascinated to look at the frog's scaly skin, beady eyes and long legs whilst Mrs Paul was teaching them about the difference between frogs and toads. What a wonderful visitor!
HCPT Quiz Night
HCPT Group 2 is hosting a fun-filled family Quiz Night and Meal on Saturday 12th October from 6pm at St Joseph's Church hall, GU1 4AZ. Tickets cost £10 per adult, £5 for children under 12 and will include dinner and dessert. There will be special activities for the children. Teams can be between 5-8 people and you can register online at https://tinyurl.com/y483dbq4.
HCPT is a registered charity offering pilgrimage holidays to Lourdes in the south of France, for disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield. We travel in family groups with volunteer helpers and fundraise to ensure there is no cost for the children and young people who come as our guests during the Easter holidays.
A little advice...
The theme of this week's worship is advice, following the parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C). We explored how helpful it is to follow the advice and instructions found in the Bible, in order to live a good and generous life - a life worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. We discussed how important it is to listen to advice, especially if you've only got one chance to get something right (using some balloon modelling as a visual example!) Do ask your child what message they've taken from this morning's worship.
Luna takes bronze!
A fantastic result for Luna (Year 5) in this weekend's South Regional Women's Artistic Level 4 gymnastics competition (the highest level she can enter for her age). Luna competed on 4 pieces; uneven bars, vault, floor and beam. She had a clean competition and was awarded 3rd place bronze medal out of 24 girls on beam. Overall she came 10th which is a great result. Luna dedicates a huge amount to time (19 hours per week!) and energy to pursuing her talent and misses out on many social activities because of it, so it's lovely we can all share in her success. Thanks to Luna's mum and dad for sharing this video with us...
Year 2 have been focusing on Psalm 139 and how we are all created in God's image. The children used the medium of art to express their own ideas about God's creation and to show their own thoughts and ideas from reading the psalm. What a beautiful reflection on our wonderful world!
A New Arrival!
Wonderful news from Mrs Payne for the whole community to celebrate: baby Florence Payne arrived safely into the world at 9:30pm on Saturday 21st September, weighing 9lbs 8oz. Isn't she gorgeous! Congratulations to the Payne family and we look forward to meeting little Florence in the coming weeks.
Trust in 5S
What a beautiful way to end the week, led in worship by 5S on the theme of trust. The children wowed us with the depth and creativity of their responses: singing, dancing and choral reading. It was a joy to be drawn into their message, using the famous story, "Footsteps in the Sand" to explain that we can always trust in God. Thank you 5S for setting the bar so high with the first class assembly of the year!
And the icing on the cake? - The brand new wireless microphones (funded by the PFSA) made every child's voice crystal clear. A huge thanks to the dedicated team who make these improvements to our school possible!
On Tuesday evening Miss Moore, Beverley (Allotment Mentor) and some parents and children from Year 4 attended the Guildford in Bloom Awards Ceremony at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. They were delighted to hear the school allotment had won a GOLD award for the fourth consecutive year! The children were presented with a certificate and a plaque to display at the allotment from the Mayor of Guildford. Thank you to everyone who helped at the allotment during the Summer Term and to the Year 4 children for their enthusiasm and hard work. We hope you all enjoyed the produce!
Thinking about trust...
Some beautiful and thoughtful responses from children this week in their spiritual journals, exploring the Parable of the Dishonest Steward and the theme of trust.
There have been some amazing pieces of writing across the school this week: everything from the story of Zog, to Man on the Moon, to James and the Giant Peach! I was particularly intrigued when I walked in to some classrooms to hear strange descriptions of green things! What creative young minds!
The Parenting Children Course
From the Catholic Parish of Guildford: We are pleased to announce that we are running a Parenting Children Course after half-term, for parents with children aged 0-10. The course is for every type of parenting situation and is based on Christian principles but designed for anyone with or without a church background. The course is taking place in St Joseph's Catholic Church Hall, 7.45pm on Tuesdays for 5 weeks starting on the 5th November. The cost of the course is just £10, which includes your own participant's guide. To find out more and to sign up please visit our webpage: https://www.cpg.church/parents.html
A Question of Trust
In this week's worship, we are pursuing the theme of trust. Thinking about a simplified version of the Parable of the Dishonest Steward (25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C) we are asking children to consider the roles and responsibilities they are trusted with. I put the new House Captains to the test by trusting their faith in me too - do ask your children about the glass of water!
Learning the finer details of English grammar is not always easy, however, Year 6 have been finding different ways to make grammar fun and memorable. Today, the children were making human sentences to experiment with different word classes and vocabulary. They were able to manipulate the words to create grammatically correct sentences and explain each part of speech. The complexity of their discussions was mind-blowing! Do speak with your child to see what they have been learning about in their writing.
Where in the world?
We have an amazing set of explorers in Year 4! In Geography today, the children were focusing on developing their skill of using the index of an atlas to locate countries. They were carefully observing the shapes of continents and the positioning of our oceans to successfully find countries across the globe. It was amazing to hear the rich conversations these children were having as they compared the geography of one country to the next.
Best job in the world!
There are so many wonderful things about working in a school. Today was no exception... I came across this little moment in the Infant playground at lunchtime: Mrs Barrett with her ukulele and her adoring fans! With the sun shining and the children in such high spirits, it just seemed like the perfect moment for an impromptu ukulele singalong. Best job in the world!
From the Crossing Patrol...
As some of you are new to the school and the Zebra Crossing, please can you be aware of the following:
- Children please do not run up to the crossing and lollipop person without your parent. You are not allowed to cross without your parent (unless you have permission to walk home alone).
- Please listen to the lollipop person, they are there to keep you safe.
- Please do not cross the road until the lollipop person says it is safe to cross. Sometimes cars coming the other way do not stop, so we do not want anyone to get hurt. Definitely do not walk out onto the crossing with the lollipop person, just wait on the pavement, until you are called across.
- Parents please finish your conversations away from the Zebra crossing. If you talk by the crossing, cars will stop unnecessarily, which causes confusion.
- Please use the crossing. It might be quicker to cross elsewhere on the Aldershot Road, but near misses have been seen. It also does not set a good example to children, who might decide to follow your lead.
Thank you so much for your cooperation. Our job is to keep you safe!
Welcome Back Meeting
It was a real joy to spend time with so many of you last night, thank you for taking the time to attend and support the school. We are blessed to have you as the parents of our community! For those unable to attend, please find the main presentation slides and an audio file that will guide you through the big messages. For more information about what's going on in the curriculum this year, please visit your child's Google Classroom.
Our Spiritual Journals
Welcome to our Spiritual Journaling! The children have been reflecting on our theme of "Lost & Found" in a variety of ways this week: analysing Scripture, listening to music, looking at pictures and sharing life experiences. It has been truly inspirational to see and hear about each child's take on the Gospel and how they have created something personal to them. Please do ask your child about their Spiritual Journal and what they decided to create.
Lost & Found
In our worship this week we are exploring the theme, "Lost & Found" in preparation for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C). For younger children, retelling the parables of the Lost Sheep and Prodigal Son are important activities as they become familiar with these famous stories and talk about important objects they've lost and found. As children mature, they can discuss the theme of loss in abstract ways too: losing friendship, losing hope etc. Eventually, we want children to recognise that we can also be "lost" in the way we behave - choosing to turn away from God's love - and that Reconciliation is how we find our way back home again. You might enjoy looking through these assembly slides with your child tonight? - Do ask them about poor Miss Green's lost cat!
As part of Year 5 PE this half term, the children are focusing on their rugby skills. To help with this, we are very fortunate to have Leanne from Guildfordians Rugby Club with us. Leanne is a very talented rugby player and even plays internationally to represent England! It was amazing to see how enthusiastic the children were to learn new skills from her and, for many, develop an interest in a new sport! Do ask your children about the sports and activities they are focusing on in PE this week.
Rocks and Fossils
What a wonderful sight! As I walked into Year 3 this afternoon, I entered a real buzz of excitement: the children were busy exploring different types of rocks. Carefully using their observational skills, they had to comment on their appearance, texture and size, whilst also thinking about where they may have seen that type of rock before. I was very impressed by the detailed descriptions the children gave. Enjoy some time this evening, sharing what interesting facts your children have discovered!
A magical day!
Spending time with the children at lunchtime today was truly magical! We've heard so many exciting stories about summer holidays, new uniform, new teachers and reuniting with friends! We were even lucky enough to witness a spectacular magic trick, which we're still left puzzling over. Do ask your child about what magical things they have been doing today!
Such a joy!
We've had a lovely couple of days' INSET but there has definitely been something missing...what a joy to have the children back! Thank you for trusting us with these precious lives. It has been wonderful to have them back in school. The House Points are already flooding in! Do ask you child about their house - here are the names and colours:
- Walsingham (Blue)
- Lindisfarne (Green)
- Iona (Yellow)
- Canterbury (Red)
This Sunday is Education Sunday. Catholics are encouraged to reflect on the Church’s enormous contribution in this country and pray for all those involved in Catholic education.
The Catholic Education Service (CES) is the agency of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales charged with safeguarding and promoting our remarkable network of successful Catholic schools. The CES represents Catholic education to the Government, Ofsted and other national bodies to ensure Catholic schools are empowered to flourish.
The second collection will be for the Catholic Education Service.
From the Catholic Parish of Guildford...
Fearless (Youth Group for children in year 3-6)
The Youth team at the Catholic Parish of Guildford would like to invite all children in years 3-6 to join us at our brand new, super fun youth group, which will be taking place on Mondays, 5.15-7.00pm in St Joseph's Church Hall.
If you would like to find out more about the group please visit our webpage: https://www.cpg.church/youth.html or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We start back on Monday 9th September and we look forward to seeing your child there.
A special place...
Staff have spent some time today reflecting on what makes our school a special place (in the medium of plasticine!) Some beautiful words accompanied their creations: faith, growth, relationships, challenge. What a talented bunch they are! What other messages can you and your children see in these sculptures?
A very warm welcome back from all the staff at St Joseph's. We are so looking forward to seeing you all from Thursday for the start of an exciting new year!