From the Junior School head's desk: 13 October 2023


Looking at the calendar since our last newsletter was published, it is tempting just to list the activities and events we have participated in and bask in the glory of what the girls, teachers and parents accomplish at St Mary’s in a fortnight.

A quick overview would have to include a mention of our Grade 0, 2025 information morning (where prospective parents step into

our school through a portal conjured by the words and wishes of our Junior and Senior School girls); World Teachers’ Day (where the PA organises a slap-up tea and a gift to acknowledge the efforts of all the teachers on campus); Senior School prizegiving (where we celebrate the achievements of all the girls but take special pride in the feats of our Junior School girls grown bright and bold); The Ridge choir festival (where the girls sing and move “as if the whole world saw”); the Senior School Confirmation Eucharist (where

we are called to witness a leap of faith): the Grade 2R assembly (where the girls tell us what we never knew); the Grade 0 language evening (where the additional languages speak for themselves); and the rhythmic gym prizegiving (where strength and beauty take to the floor and remind us that they are natural partners).

There are other things as well, more fugitive displays of quiet delight and daring that we miss when we are in a hurry to decide what’s next. One of these happened this week, by chance, in celebration of my birthday. Girls from all the different grades are coaxed and cajoled by their teachers into making cards and recording messages for me (some more willingly than others!) to mark the day; the younger the children are, the more time they spend on the design of the thing, colouring and embellishing their paper creation until it spins merrily away from its original intent. Among all the wishes I received, two concertina hearts crafted by the Grade 2s with their words lightly folded in between the pages took me by surprise – like the good tiger in Elizabeth Bowen’s picture book, they breathed in my ear…

The teachers in the Junior Primary have been working steadily at enriching the girls’ creative writing, giving them more scope to express themselves, and relaxing some of their inhibitions about making spelling and punctuation errors. Like most long-term academic projects, the daily progress the girls make is often stealthy, inconsistent and uncelebrated. That’s why occasions like birthdays are valuable for the rare snapshot they give us of where the girls are with and in language, their level of playfulness with imagery, and their singular voices.

When you read the sample of wishes below, I am sure, like me, you will marvel at their originality:

I hope you have joy spreded on your birthday love from me

Skin like the sun. you blom like a flower. Too strong to be piked.

And you’r always soso joyful

Only you can be you/Maybe your loud and bursing with life or maybe youre quiet and seem kind of shy./Maybe tall and can almost touch the clouds or maybe your short and can dart threw crowds.

Bless your happy life for ever

you should be ho you are. You should gust trie then the sky will lite up with your fire.

In response to this altogether lovely and alive writing, I offer Alice Walker’s incandescent poem “Revolutionary Petunia”:

The Nature of This Flower is to Bloom

Rebellious. Living.

Against the Elemental Crush.

A Song of Color


For Deserving Eyes.

Blooming Gloriously

For its Self.

Go girls; the sky will light up with your fire.

On the topic of girls and going, it is my unhappy task to bid farewell to three of our Senior Primary teachers at the end of the term: Mrs le Sueur, Mrs Montgomery and Mrs Muzzell. We thank them for their dedication to the life of the school, their teaching, and the girls in their care.


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