Last Friday, the Junior School ceremoniously welcomed all our new students to the school with an address from Head of School Mr. Bob Snowden, our Head Boy and Girl (Grade 12 students Jasper Johnston and Sarah Jones) and handing out bandanas to place them into school “houses”.
“All of our students get placed in one of four houses, named after some of our former headmasters – Parkyn, Quainton, Symons and Tolson, says Ms. Nancy Richards, Director of Junior School. “We have bandanas as a way of identifying which house the students are in and to bring those students together. They’ll wear them at sporting events, house lunches, special events and activities as a way to create enthusiasm and inspiration within their house.”
She says the house system at the Junior School is one that promotes inclusiveness, and celebrating all the new faces at the SMUS Junior School (from Kindergarten to Grade 5 and even new staff members) helps build a strong community.
“It punctuates the importance of belonging to a particular group in support of the greater good of the school,” she says. “It is really important for young people to have that special time to learn about their houses and who they’re named after. Being part of something, feeling like you belong to the community immediately when you start at this school is so important. Through our house system, it’s just another vehicle of having a sense of belonging to this incredibly strong and supportive community.”
After receiving their bandanas, the SMUS Review sat down with some of our new students to hear how they’re enjoying their first couple of weeks at SMUS and what they’re looking forward to now that they are a part of our community:
Harper, Grade 1 – It’s been good because I have friends that I already know, and I have new friends. We play outside together, but some are in a different class. My brother used to be in Grade 1 here and I always picked him up, so I know this school pretty well. I know where everything is – not everything – but most everything.
Sophia, Grade 1 – Grade 1 is good because I like music. I had music yesterday. I played a game where you sing this song and the wolf is trying to get you. There were only two classes at my last school, only preschool and Kindergarten – this one has lots more classes.
Everest, Grade 1 – I like art class because I’m really good at art because it’s my favourite thing to do whenever I’m bored. I like to do crafts and sometimes I draw pictures of my favourite stuffie, Lotso, which smells like strawberries. I went to school in Ontario. It didn’t have chapel and we didn’t hang our backpacks in a hallway, and we sat in any random chair. In this school we have a chair that has your name on it. I’m excited about sports and the different classes that I didn’t used to have.
Gabe, Grade 2 – School has been good because I’m trying my hardest. Last year I went to school in London. This school’s different because in London, we didn’t take homework every day. I moved to Victoria maybe three weeks ago. I like that it’s the size of the UK, and it has less people than all of the countries in the UK. I’m excited about having new friends this year!
Fung-Ei, Grade 2 – Grade 2 is nice because we get to do fun stuff I haven’t done before like drawing ourselves and doing homework. I like PE here, it’s really fun and exciting.
Jack, Grade 3 – At my old school we didn’t have PE, sports club or any of that stuff, so that’s why I like it here. I really like the after school activities, like soccer or running club. I’m excited that I get to do lots of stuff that I didn’t get to do at my old school.
Julia, Grade 3 – It’s been really fun. The people in my class, my teacher, all the activities we’re doing are so fun. I really like doing paper plate symphony with Mr. Hawes. I’m excited about getting to know my class a bit better.
Reed, Grade 5 – I’m making friends and I’m finding it fun. My classes are good, I really like gym class. My school last year was all girls, and we kind of had the same kilts there. I’m liking meeting new friends. I’m excited to go to Camp Pringle (on Friday) because at my old school we went to an outdoor place and I liked going there.
Neil, Grade 5 – Grade 5 is good fun because I’m making friends quickly; the children are quite friendly. I was only at my last school for 8 months, and I was in England before that. This will be my fifth school. I think I will stay here a long time. School in England is different because some of the names for classes are different, for instance instead of Social Studies it’s Humanities.
Alex, Grade 5 – Grade 5 has been really good. I’ve made lots of friends already, I’ve even had two playdates with them. There’s lots of things to do, the classes are good, I really like my teacher, I have really good classmates and the work is not too easy, not too challenging. This school is completely different from my last one; it’s a whole different world, but I really like it.