Mrs Bennett’s Bulletin Tuesday 30 January 2024

Posted: 30th January 2024

Good morning, Prep School family,


I hope you are well and looking forward to the end of the longest month of the year! Although January has seemed endless, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few weeks. It has been great getting back into the routine of ‘normal’ school without all of the amazing events that happened throughout the last half term. It has been our pleasure to welcome Miss Smith into the Prep School family and have her on site with us allowing us to get to know her and for her to begin to know us. Weekends, although busy, have been relaxing and I have found time to cook properly (not just the boring carousel of the same meals we had fallen in to the trap of eating), spend some time taming the garden that looked wild and catching up with things that I have been putting off for weeks! I am looking forward to February though and all it brings including the lighter mornings and evenings. I have to say that I am very bored of driving the M42/A42 in the dark.


As you all know, we put a lot of emphasis on reading within the Prep School and our Rocket Readers initiative, encouraging the children to read 5 out of 7 times per week, is very high on our list of priorities. We are always promoting the positives of reading to the children. I would say that the vast majority of the staff across both Prep Schools are avid readers and that it is very rare that I go a few days without having some sort of book discussion with people. The staff have recently set up a book club and book swaps are always taking place in the staffroom. Reading for pleasure is something that we feel very strongly about and developing and maintaining that ethos in school is so important. We love books so much in the Prep School that instead of just celebrating World Book Day, we have a whole week dedicated to this event – more on this to follow nearer the time.


Why I am I telling you this, this week? Well National Story Telling Week runs from Tuesday 30 January until Tuesday 6 February and there is nothing better than sharing a story! I came across an article on the BBC website over the weekend and I thought I would share.


Why stories are important

Learning to read is important, we all know that. Research shows that people without good literacy skills do worse in education and are more likely to be unemployed or even suffer from health and relationship problems.

But there’s evidence to suggest that the benefits of being read to frequently as a child go way beyond just literacy skills. Former CBeebies presenter and dad Alex Winters went on a mission to find out just what’s so important about stories.


How stories shape our world

The stories we hear as children shape our view of the world.

Most small children live their lives in quite a limited environment. Reading stories to children can show them far-flung places, expose them to different cultures, extraordinary people and eye-opening situations to expand and enrich their world.

It can also be a great way of helping them deal with real-life situations that they need help to deal with. Researchers have found that the brain activity that occurs when we read fiction is very similar to experiencing that situation in real-life, so reading about a situation helps children work out how to solve it in reality.


Making children into nicer people?

It gets even more surprising when you look at the effects of reading fiction to children on their social behaviour.

Scientists have found that children who have fiction read to them regularly find it easier to understand other people – they show more empathy and have better developed theory of mind (the ability to understand that other people have different thoughts and feelings to us, which is essential for understanding and predicting other people’s thoughts and behaviour).

Why we need to ask questions

The benefits children get from having stories read to them are hugely increased when parents talk and ask questions about the story as well. Simply asking them if they can remember what happened in the story or checking if they know what some of the more complicated words mean can really extend their understanding and vocabulary. More complex ‘inference’ questions like, ‘Why do you think this character did that?’ helps children to think about and understand other people’s motivations.


Thinking outside the books

If you’re rushing around looking after small children, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read to them every day. Parents also might not feel comfortable reading aloud to their children no matter how much they’d like to, through lack of confidence, or worries about their own literacy skills. Stories don’t have to just live in books though. Traditions of storytelling go back through human existence a long time before books were even invented. Use your imaginations, be creative – after all, that is what we ask the children to do!


“Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.” – Robin Moore.


Just to finish, today is also National Draw and Dinosaur Day and National Croissant Day just in case you need a little pick me up to make your day a little more fun! I think I might draw a Amargasaurus whist eating a croissant with my morning coffee. It’s the small wins! I am also wondering if I can find a book that encompasses both of these things for my KS1 Story Club this morning. . .if not, we are going to make one up together – I have inspired myself to do some group story telling!

Quote of the week: “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness” – Anne Frank


Well-being tasks for this week: These tasks for are for a happier January. The best way to try to handle our difficult emotions and experiences is by focusing on what we can control. This month focus on small steps to try to boost happiness – for ourselves and others around us – to spread kindness and hopefully inspire others to do the same.


Tuesday 30 January – See how many people you can smile at today


Wednesday 31 January – Write down your hopes and plans for the future


Thursday 1 February – Send a message to let someone know you are thinking of them


Friday 2 February – Ask a friend how they have been feeling recently


Saturday 3 February – Do an act of kindness to make life easier for someone


Sunday 4 February – Have a drink with a friend


Monday 5 February – Make time to have a chat with your neighbour


Jokes of the week:


Why do you think penguins swim in salty water?

Because pepper water would make them sneeze!


What song would you sing at a snowman’s party?

Freeze a jolly good fellow!


What do you think the snowman ordered at McDonald’s?



How would two snowmen greet each other?

“Ice to meet you!”


If a penguin steals a baby octopus, what do we call him?

A SQUIDnapper!


Conversation starters:


If you had to leave today and take only one thing, what would it be?

If you could be any age for the rest of your life, what age would it be and why?


5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:

Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?

  1. I am looking forward to going out with my oldest school friends on Saturday.
  2. I am looking forward to (hopefully) visiting Year 4 on their residential.
  3. I am looking forward to babysitting Arthur and Amelie this week.
  4. I am grateful for the glorious day of sunshine we had Saturday.
  5. I am grateful for the kind lady that helped me when I need it in the Co-op last week.

Sleeps til Santa: 329 sleeps. . .


Have an utterly fantastic week,


With much love,


Mrs Bennett

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