Those of us who were once parents of very small children will doubtless remember the days of urging our offspring to “Share! Share nicely!”, at various points in their upbringing.  COVID restrictions have meant that we have not been able to share our school and learning with groups of parents as often as we would have liked to over the past few months, but as those restrictions have eased, we have been enjoying being able to share our campus once again.

It has been marvellous to be able to invite parents to various events and even more pleasing to have had such a high attendance rate – clearly our parents had missed visiting us as much as we had missed them!

My research on Lag B’Omer found it described as a ‘minor’ holiday, which I felt was a little rude. Our celebrations certainly weren’t minor, as we made the most of the occasion and enjoyed a bonfire outside and various activities with our Year 6 students and their parents. I loved the cupcakes decorated with pretzels and sweets to look like mini bonfires and enjoyed watching the students and their sometimes surprisingly competitive parents getting involved in the Kahoot quiz.

The Year 2 Siddur party was also a great success – the children dressed up in their finery and performed beautifully on stage, singing and dancing their hearts out. Rabbi Dan spoke about how he still uses his first Siddur on a daily basis and brought it in to show us. He and Morah Benn presented a gorgeous Siddur to each Year 2 child, with an individual message written in the front by their parents. Some of the children found it hard to believe that I’d reached my current (ancient) age and only received my first Siddur this year, but it’s true and it’s a particularly special book for me. The transliteration will enable me to follow along with everybody else and help me feel much more included.

We have also held three showcase evenings in the High School over the past three weeks, to provide the opportunity for our Year 5 and 6 students to experience learning in a High School context. The occasions enabled primary students to meet the teachers, see what High School students do and familiarise themselves with the places they will come to love in Year 7. It also gives parents the chance to chat to current High School teachers and ask any burning questions they have about how things may have changed since their days at Carmel School.

The Heads of Learning Area and teachers did a fabulous job of setting up experiences to showcase the different learning areas and what we offer.  Many of our current High School students also volunteered to give up their evening to come in and help the Year 5 and 6 students settle in and enjoy the activities that had been specially prepared for them.

The first showcase evening was devoted to Maths, together with Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA). Students were wowed with a fully functioning drone, made music with different instruments, decorated bags in the Art room and enjoyed puzzling their way through Maths problems. The second evening involved some very popular activities in English and Jewish Studies, with students completing various word puzzles and quests to get stamps on a passport and playing Celebrity Heads.  The final showcase evening saw students participating in a Q&A style question and answer session, with HASS students dressed up as members of the various political parties and clearly enjoying the performance. In the Science lab downstairs, different stations provided the opportunity to measure the voltages produced by different fruits, admire insects under the microscopes and make rainbows from M&Ms, among other experiments.

I felt very proud as our teachers, students and leaders came together to showcase and share just what we offer at Carmel School – a community-based, personalised education delivered by experts in their field to small classes of motivated students, supported by parents.

It’s good to be able to share our wonderful teachers, students, and campus again.

Chag Shavuot sameach.

Julie Harris