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Newsletter 29 March 2019
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Dear Parents and Boys

With the release of last week's lengthy communication, I had considered not writing an article for this week's newsletter. Though, upon my return from assembly where yet again I was enthused and inspired by the incredible singing ability of our Prep boys, I decided to write this - a very short and sweet note which speaks to the simplicity of values embodied with the heart/mind/soul/body approach to education at St Benedict's. While sitting down at my desk, having felt markedly 'moved' by the boys' rendition of the hymn, 'Thy Word' in today's assembly, I received a phone call from a nearby Headmistress of one of our neighbouring independent schools. She told me of her experience of one of our Bennies boys. A person close to her had arrived at St Benedict's looking for her son; much to her disappointment he was nowhere to be found. Noticing this, one of our senior boys in the Prep approached her, asking her if all was okay. The person in question responded that she was looking for her son. Upon hearing this, the boy turned to her and said, 'Ma'm, you seem tired. Why don't you have a coffee and I will look for your son; I know who he is and I think I can find him.' A few minutes later, lo and behold, he appeared again but this time with her son nearby.

Though a contemporary world calls for refreshing ideas that are adaptable, fluid and in line with the needs of our boys, there is still a huge place for traditional values displayed through a heartfelt gesture. Kindness and tolerance are at the centre of all of this. To the Bennies boy who did this, I thank you on behalf of us all for a wonderful display of kindness and humility. I was flattered by the phone call I received from the Headmistress. 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Brendan Quinn

CAUTION - CHILDREN PLAYING

An entire generation of children is growing up with smartphones, tablets, and other internet-enabled electronic devices. This has many parents and educators worried. What effect does screen time have on kids’ developing brains?

Screen time is the time you spend watching television or DVDs, using computers, playing video or hand-held computer games, or using tablets or smartphones.
Screen time can be interactive – for example, playing video games, communicating via Skype, or using online tools to draw pictures. Screen time that is not interactive is watching movies, television programmes or Youtube videos sitting still. Doing Maths homework online would be a perfect example of educational screen time. 
Growing data suggests that exposing young children to too much screen time can have negative effects on their development, including issues with memory, attention and language skills. Excessive screen time is linked to poorer progress in communication skills, problem solving and social interactions among young kids over time.

Research results show
MRI scans found significant differences in the brains of some children who reported using smartphones, tablets and video games for more than seven hours a day.
Children who reported more than two hours a day of screen time got lower scores on thinking and language tests.

Other studies have shown that excessive screen time can be harmful to children’s health, such as  increasing obesity and disrupting sleep patterns. It can also affect older children’s development – for example, it can affect their ability to have conversations, maintain eye contact, pay attention in school or read body language. It has been found that teenagers who use electronic media at night are more at risk for sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression. Too much screen time can also result in children missing out on developing a wide range of interests and the friends and learning associated with these interests.

Your child could encounter dangerous material or people on the internet. You can reduce this risk by taking some practical internet safety precautions such as checking the privacy settings on the apps that your child uses. You can also help your child learn how to use the internet safely, responsibly and enjoyably – for example, by talking to your child about not sharing personal details online.

Screen-based media can influence children and their behaviour – for example, children can be influenced by negative behaviour, stereotypical representations of gender, violent imagery or coarse language they see in advertising and other media. You can reduce this risk by helping your child develop media literacy, so that he can understand and question media messages.

Not all screen time, however,  is detrimental, watching with parents or caregivers, for example, can make the experience more engaging and less passive and can even provide opportunities for learning and social development. Families can develop healthy media habits. Parents watching television with their children can point out interesting things and contribute to language skills and learning. 

Child development experts recommend limiting children’s daily screen time. Limits do not mean you should stop your child from watching television or playing video games because he uses screens at school or for homework. This is because real-life interactions with you and others are much better for your child’s wellbeing, learning and development. Screen time limits are about making sure your child enjoys lots of healthy, fun activities – both with and without screens.

Limits mean looking at the time your child spends on screens and making sure it doesn’t get in the way of sleep and activities such as physical play, reading, creative play like drawing and social time with family and friends. 

Mrs F Kapp

SPORT AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Please consult the sports planner for details regarding venues and times

MUSIC DEPARTMENT NEWS

PREP SCHOOL INFORMAL MUSIC CONCERT - Monday 8 April 2019 @ 18:30

This term’s Prep School Informal Music concert will be held in the Recital Room, adjacent to the College Hall on Monday 8 April at 18h30.  Any boy who is taking instrumental lessons, either at St Benedict’s, or with another teacher, is welcome to participate in the concert.  Boys who wish to participate in the concert should write their name on the sign-up list, which is on the noticeboard outside Ms Fouche’s classroom. 
We invite everyone who is interested in hearing the wonderful musical talent in the school to come along to the concert.   
Should you have any queries, please contact me on chalmersj@stbenedicts.co.za

PREP SCHOOL MUSIC PICNIC - Thursday 11 April 2019: 18:00 - 19:30

As per the email that was sent out last week, the Music Department is holding a "Music Picnic" on the grass hockey field, near the Prep School tuckshop on Thursday 11 April from 18:00 - 19:30.  This event will give all classes, from Grade 4 to Grade 7, the opportunity to perform the pieces that they have learnt this term, for their parents, family and friends. You are warmly invited to bring along your picnic baskets, camp chairs and blankets, and join us for a couple of hours of wonderful music.  The Prep school tuck shop will be open for sales of cold drinks, crisps, sweets and chocolates.  No other food will be available.   In the event of inclement weather, the event will be cancelled, and notification will be sent via an alert on the school app by 17:00 on 11 April.  

It is compulsory for all boys to attend, and they may wear civvies.  Register will be taken by staff on arrival, and then the boys will join their families.  Boys whose families are not able to be there will be supervised by staff.  All boys are required to stay for the duration of the event. 
Thank you to those of you who have already responded via the link in last week's email.  

If you have not yet done so, please click on this link: https://goo.gl/forms/2Stkh02Cd0X4BNay1.   Please reply by Friday 5 April
Should you have any queries, please contact Ms Fouche on fouches@stbenedicts.co.za
We look forward to welcoming you on the 11th April.

MERITS OF THE WEEK

B QUINN

HEADMASTER

 
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