March this year indeed brought with it a slow return to the traditional rhythms of the Kensington school year, as we sent our first trips out since 2019, to the Gredos mountains for Year 8, and to the Doñana National Park for Year 6.
These trips involved great excitement for the children, who were (in the case of Year 6) enjoying their first trip out of school. The children underwent a PCR test before the trip out, and I’m pleased to say everyone was cleared to travel – another good sign. Although the protocols have been relaxed to allow students who are positive but asymptomatic or mildly affected to come into school, we would still ask families to be vigilant and careful: it’s not over till it’s over.
This month we have also welcomed families back to the school theatre for evenings showcasing the work of children from Year 4, 5 and 6 in their Drama classes, an innovation in the school this year: it has filled me with great pride to see the commitment of the children and the quality of their work. The Music department is keeping busy with auditions for the recitals planned next April 28th., and work is underway on ballet festivals, the summer Drama shows and the summer concert, again the first one since 2019. As the days become longer and the weather gets warmer, there is plenty to look forward to in the last three months of the school year.
However, It's difficult to write about hope, the promise of renewal and the end of darker times, while on the other side of Europe, families and children who two months ago were living lives almost exactly like ours are suffering a war.
Kensington School will play its part in helping with the crisis in the Ukraine. I’d like to thank all families and children who participated in some way in the UNICEF walk last Friday 25th. March. Although the weather was threatening throughout the morning, in the end the event ran uninterrupted. Thank you to all the parents who walked with us, as we helped to raise a total of 2859 euros to donate to UNICEF to support humanitarian aid for victims of the war. Funds raised at our Spring Fête, with its new date of Friday May 27th., will be donated to ACNUR to help alleviate the growing refugee crisis. We will also be helping more directly with the education of some Ukrainian children displaced by the crisis, with the support of our AMPA, and will offer them the routine and support that a solid education can give.
The war in Ukraine, which in so many ways seems like it has come from a different century, is a timely reminder of the value of our national and international institutions, and the importance of understanding across frontiers in a globalized and hyperconnected world. At times like this, as at so many other times in the past three years, I’m reminded of the value of schools like ours as meeting-places, where children, families and staff from different countries, different educational cultures and different languages can meet, learn and grow together.