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Newsletter 5 May 2017

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This Week's Conversation


We warmly welcome back our boys, their families and staff as we commence the Winter term; for me it was once again enormously gratifying to see the enthusiastic way the boys bounded back to their classes to be welcomed by their teachers and classmates. It is our hope that the break was an opportunity to connect as a family and enjoy special times together with alarm-free mornings; It is also our hope that the holiday created the opportunity for your son to discover one of those special books in which he could get ‘lost’ whether reading it himself or being read to. This is the magical state when reading brings glorious pleasure rather than feeling like a chore.

Reading should not end when we close the book, but rather our reading experiences should be extended and made ‘visible’ by taking time to discuss what we have read and share with others what made the book awesome or disappointing.  With this in mind I took time this week to have wonderful conversations with the boys who eagerly spoke about the books they had read. Thank you boys, I loved hearing about your reading experiences. 

So, in keeping with making reading visible, I’d like to share my favourite holiday book with you, and it was not from the New York Times Bestseller list; but rather a Children’s Bestseller. As teachers, we are so often drawn to inspiring children’s literature filled with fantastic illustrations and stories. 

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” is one of those books;  a whimsical tale about a giraffe who attends the annual Jungle Dance, where he is humiliated by all the other animals because of his clumsy dance moves. (You need to see the humorous illustrations of his buckled knees and skinny, tangled legs!) He then meets a cricket who, rather than making fun of him, comforts him instead. The cricket plays the violin allowing Giraffe to discover his own uniqueness and a dance style of his own, which the other animals then envy and applaud. It’s an optimistic story filled with wonderful messages showing that everyone is special in their own way and has unique talents. It reminds us that  sometimes we need encouragement from our friends, and sometimes we need to be like Cricket, and be the one offering encouragement to others. Children can relate to the emotions in the story and learn about kindness, being a good friend, and to think about the feelings of others. They have all experienced wanting to join in with something and discovering that they are not very good at it, and then being humiliated by unkind remarks. Talking about Gerald Giraffe’s feelings builds empathy and teaches children valuable lessons. Our boys need to be reminded that when someone says something unkind to them it does not make it a truth, and we should recognize our differences do not constitute good or bad.

I look forward to reading this story to the boys this term and talking about how they should not be measuring themselves against the standards of others but rather embracing their own uniqueness, and striving for their own ‘best’.  The cricket explained it so well when he said, “We can all dance when we find the music that we love."



The Lord is my Shepherd

Sunday’s readings include one of the first psalms I had to learn during my early years in catechism. It is also one of the psalms that is loved by most and quoted in various contexts. I find myself reciting Psalm 23 when my emotions run over. It comes to me as a comforting reminder that I am never alone because God is my protector. The Good News translation of ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ is written in simple English, giving an emotive description of assurance and comfort. These emotions are ignited in our hearts when examining the text in prayer, meditation and song
David faced death, was grief-stricken and heartbroken, experienced rest and prosperity during his time on earth. His journey reflects many of the hardships that we are faced with in our daily lives.   It may have been the darkest hour of his life when he penned the beautiful words, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Many people have been comforted and strengthened by these same words in times of sorrow, bereavement and heartache. The psalmist expresses his complete dependence on God’s protection and grace. The goodness of God in the promise that He will be with us even in the deepest of darkness is felt through David’s outpouring heart.  We share in this promise and should take solace in the knowledge that God knows us and will never leave us wanting. He provides for our every need and more.  We know that His goodness and love will be with us always. 

In this knowledge let us break out in song and prayer in the words of David’s praise: 

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need. 
 He lets me rest in fields of green grass 
    and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
    as he has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
    I will not be afraid, Lord,
    for you are with me.
Your shepherd's rod and staff protect me.
You prepare a banquet for 
    where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
    and fill my cup to the brim.
 I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.


Last term you received an invitation via email inviting you to join us in celebrating your special day by attending a Mass and tea, to be held in the cricket centre on the 11 May at 8:00. If you haven’t already replied, kindly do so by Monday to facilitate catering arrangements. We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday.


Join us as we celebrate Catholic Schools week together with our fellow Catholic Schools embracing the theme, “Walking forward together”. This incompasses the idea of walking forward in Hope;  with God, our Families, Others and Creation, and acknowledges the academic excellence and faith-filled education that Catholic schools offer.

Founders Day: Whole School Mass followed by inter-house activities.
Please note that school closes at 12:00 and there will be no supervision after 12:30 as staff will be attending a function together with the whole school at the main school campus.
SUNDAY 21 MAY Catholic Schools Sunday: Boys are encouraged to attend Mass at their local parish and wear their Bennies uniform.
MONDAY 22 MAY In keeping with the theme of “Walking Forward Together”, boys will be accompanied on a spiritual walk to understand  the displays and the significance of being part of a Catholic School. Boys will be making personal footprints to celebrate their uniqueness.
TUESDAY 23 MAY Can Collection: Boys are encouraged to contribute to the pyramid of canned food in our foyer. This collection will form part of our Outreach Project and the food will be donated to a worthy cause. Boys may start bringing cans from Monday 22 May.
WEDNESDAY 24 MAY Staff Appreciation Day: On this day we honour our staff and express appreciation for their dedication, hard work and caring. We encourage you to sit together with your son and write a personal note to your son’s teacher/s. Our school is packed with passionate, brilliant teachers. 
THURSDAY 25 MAY Hats off to Catholic Schools:Boys may wear any hat to school.
FRIDAY 26 MAY Assembly on the theme of “Walking forward together” followed by a treat for the boys.



Thank you to each parent who made the time to attend the Parent Feedback sessions at the end of last term. This was a valuable opportunity for you to be updated on your son’s progress. Remember that we are all partners in your son’s learning journey and that continued open communication is key to his success. We continue to develop in our boys a growth mindset by praising his efforts and encourage you to do the same at home. Two formal reports are issued each year. You will be emailed your son’s mid year progress report on 22 June.



On Tuesday 16 May, the Junior Prep Choir will be singing at "Let the Children Sing", a festival for choirs organised by St John's College. A letter with full details will be emailed to all choir parents next week.



The afternoon sport programme will commence on Monday 8 May. The focus of these sessions will be on developing rugby and soccer skills. Your son will participate in the afternoon programme in the same time slot as his cricket time in the first term.


The afternoon programme for the Grade 3 boys also commences on Monday 8 May. The first half of the term the boys will all participate in rugby after which soccer will commence. Although afternoon practices are not compulsory, we encourage each boy to participate so that he can gain from the social and physical benefits of playing a team sport.

Please refer to the Sports Newsletter which appears on our Junior Prep main page website under the under the heading 'Latest News'



We invite you to support the Reach for a Dream Foundation together with thousands of South Africans who will be wearing slippers to work, school and play on Friday 12 May. The organisation makes a huge difference to the countless children who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses.  Reach For A Dream enriches the lives of these children by making their unique dreams come true and as a result, distracting them from the needles, medication and the anxiety associated with a hospital environment. 

Reach for a Dream wristbands can be purchased for R10.00 from your son’s class teacher from Monday, and he may wear the band to school for the entire week. On Friday 12 May all boys (and their teachers) are encouraged to wear slippers or slops to school to show their support, and help bring hope and joy to the children who need so much encouragement to carry on the fight. Today at assembly a presentation was given by the Foundation to help the boys understand how their support will be making a real difference. Please ask your son to tell you more about it.


We are delighted to welcome our newest member of the Bennies family and congratulate Alexis and Dean Du Toit on the birth of their beautiful baby daughter Lily Grace. We thank God for this wonderful Blessing and wish the new family joy and good health.

We welcome Dena Sprules to our Grade 3 Team and wish her a happy and rewarding stay back at Bennies as she teaches the 3K class for Term 2 while Alexis DuToit is on accouchement leave.


As you are aware we are introducing numerous activities to earn house points and build spirit. All boys from Grade R to 3 will need to have a Bennies house-coloured T shirt to wear at Sports Day, and other inter-house events. The T shirts can be ordered from the office, where samples of the various sizes can be tried on. The cost is R100.00 and orders need to be placed by 1 June to  be ready for Sports Day. 

Dates to Diarise

Wednesday 3 May Term 2 Commences
Friday 5 May  1st Friday Mass 

5 May  Reach For A Dream Speaker at assembly
Sunday 7 May Alumni Homecoming Mass 08:30 College Chapel (See details on event poster)
Monday 8 May  Extra Murals Start
Tuesday 9 May  Parent Wellness Evening - Bullying Talk (See details on event poster)
Thursday 11 May Mothers' Day Mass (See details on event poster)
Friday  12 May  Slippers Day - remember to purchase your wrist band
Tuesday 16 May  'Let The Children Sing' Choir Festival
Friday 19 May  Founders Day Mass 
  19 May  School close at 12:00 - No Supervision due to staff function
Friday  19 - 27 May Catholic Schools Week
Sunday  21 May  Catholic Schools Sunday 
Wednesday 24 May Teacher Appreciation Day
Thursday  25 May  Ascension Thursday Mass 
Tuesday  30 May  Grade R visit to HRS 

Please see our Website calendar for future dates.


DINO HATZIDIMOS took part in the 10km USN Mountain Bike Race. He came 5th out of 12 boys in the 7 – 10 age group.


Matthew Mann
3J Tristan England
3K Troy Linaker
3L Ryan Callow


Grade R: Autumn leaf  fun.

    Grade 1: Choosing fun readers for the first time.

Grade 2: Welcome to the Wild West.
 Grade 3: Sharing our holiday news.

Final Word from the Head

Wishing your son a successful term ahead striving to be the best version of himself based on his personal best effort and not measuring himself against the achievements of others. 

Have you noticed our Quick Calendar for easy reference on the JP web page ? 

Twitter handle: @BenniesJP  and visit our Facebook page   



Dante Volo



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