A free Space-themed day packed full of exciting activities for young children took place at Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall recently.
3rd February 2017 — Last Saturday we held our very first space-themed “Out of This World” Fun Day for 2-4 year olds. It was based in the Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep, Hodder House, and packed full of exciting activities.
The children and their parents were treated to space dancing in our very own Dance Academy before choosing between launching paper rockets in the Ambulacrum (Sports Hall) or visiting the fascinating Stonyhurst Observatory. There were also opportunities for tours of all the facilities on offer at Stonyhurst College and Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. The activities concluded with a wonderful singing session led by Mr Mann (Director of Music at SMH) where everyone was encouraged to join in the sing along and followed by a fabulous space picnic lunch.
A huge thank you to all of the Stonyhurst and Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall staff for all of their hard work for making the event such a success! Despite the drizzly Lancashire weather, parents commented on how much their children had enjoyed the day. One parent commented: "Our children have had an amazing day, especially the rocket launches and dancing."
Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall welcomes Holocaust refugee and survivor
Pupils from Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall listened in amazement as Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, one of the 669 children who escaped from Czechoslovakia aboard a Winton train, shared her childhood stories and life growing up in Britain.
2nd February 2017 — Upper Elements pupils were delighted to have a very special visitor, Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, to talk to them on Saturday. Lady Grenfell-Baines was one of the 669 children who escaped from Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of World War II on one of the so-called Winton Trains (organised by Nicholas Winton).
The Upper Elements children were fascinated to hear the first-hand experiences of Lady Grenfell-Baines, then aged 9, and her little sister (aged 3 and a half), not only the train journey, but also their life in Britain after their arrival. The family was extremely lucky to be reunited – their father had escaped earlier (he had been warned to do so) and their mother escaped after them via Norway. Lady Grenfell-Baines told the children about Nicholas Winton and his extraordinary efforts to rescue the children. The children heard the sobering story of the last train which was due to leave with 250 children: the outbreak of war prevented it from leaving and, of those 250 children, only two survived the war.
The children were shown the books which Lady Grenfell-Baines took with her on the train – Czech translations of Robinson Crusoe and The Wind in the Willows which, at the time, Lady Grenfell-Baines had no idea were English stories. She still has the label which she wore on the journey and the list of names of the children travelling. The children were fascinated by a school report from when she was 11 and by watching her knit in the Czech way.
Lady Grenfell-Baines is now very involved with the Holocaust Memorial Trust and works to promote the importance of remembering, not only the Holocaust, but also other acts of genocide. Her visit was a timely reminder that Friday, January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. If you wish to know more, please visit their website at www.hmd.org.uk
Sir Nicholas Winton said, “Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good.”
This is a message central to the Stonyhurst ethos which encourages our pupils to be men and women for others. In a week where the Upper Elements children had also watched an assembly about the plight of the Syrian refugees, Upper Elements pupils were inspired by Lady Grenfell-Baines’ visit to think what they could do to help refugee children in the current crisis.
St Mary's Hall pupil decides to donate her birthday money to CAFOD's World Gifts Scheme
14th December 2016 — Last term Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall welcomed CAFOD Volunteer, Steve Burrows, to the school. Steve led an interactive assembly for the children on the theme of Harvest, during which they learned about Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, and in particular the Altiplano region where more than half of the population live below the poverty line and depend on farming to make a living. The children learned about the difficulties of farming in a harsh environment and how Cafod successfully supports partner organisations in this part of the world, enabling communities to produce nutritious food to sustain their families throughout the year.
Such was the impact this assembly had on one Lower prep pupil, Alicia Burgess, that she donated all of her birthday money to buy a greenhouse and a queen bee through CAFOD’s World Gifts scheme. The scheme enables people to buy gifts that help communities across the world. Motivated to help other children her age, Alicia told her mum about the assembly in school.
Her mum said: “Alicia Mae has just celebrated her 8th Birthday. After telling me all about the assembly at school, she insisted that all her birthday money should be spent on buying a greenhouse and a Happy Queen Bee, which together cost £62, as she felt the children in Bolivia were more deserving. She decided that she could wait for presents until Christmas. I was so very touched by this sentiment.”
CAFOD is celebrating twelve years of World Gifts, which were established to help make a difference to people living in poverty. The scheme has raised over £12 million, enabling thousands of presents to be brought by CAFOD supporters including 103,000 school starter kits, 46,000 goats, 38,000 chickens and 3,000 queen bees. The school has also made a donation.
Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall pupils reflect on this Jubilee Year of Mercy through the means of expressive dance.
21st October 2016 — Last Wednesday, in place of Mass, the Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall pupils gathered to think about this Jubilee Year of Mercy which began on 8th December last year and finishes on 20th November.
Mercy has been described as “forgiveness with kindness”.
We are invited, each one of us, to seek forgiveness from God. In the Mass we use the words “Lord have mercy” and “Christ have mercy”. When we say these words we are asking for healing and forgiveness for anything that separates us from God and from each other.
Led by Mr Garlington’s Figures’ tutor group, we listened to the parable of the forgiving Father (Prodigal Son) and heard, that God is a loving and merciful father, always ready to welcome us back.
This parable was then followed with a dance interpretation of the story. It was performed by a group of pupils who attend lessons with the Dance department under the guidance of Miss Morrison and Miss Southward. They movingly portrayed the recklessness of the Son but also his eventual sorrow and the forgiveness of his Father and the celebration at his homecoming.
Our dancers were Isabella Coughlin (Father), Harry Booth (Prodigal Son) and Eleanor Curtis (the brother). Other parts were played by Niamh McGarvey, Tilly Booth, Apoline Schifflers and Maddie Frank.
As well as a personal invitation to receive and offer forgiveness we have the opportunity to demonstrate mercy though our compassion towards others. Children at SMH had written messages of hope to refugees – these will be distributed via Cafod and the Jesuit Refugee service to refugees in the UK and around the world. Other “works of mercy" include contributions to the Ribble Valley Food bank; produce from our Mission garden at SMH will be given to the Samaritans to be distributed to those in difficult circumstances. Our Macmillan coffee morning at the end of last month raised funds for those with a life limiting-illness to be cared-for in their homes.
A vertebrate from an ichthyosaurus from 200 million years ago, and a prehistoric shark's jawbone are two of the items children were able to see at Stonyhurst this week - some of the oldest artefacts in the school's famous historic Collections.
11th February 2016 — A vertebrate from an ichthyosaurus from 200 million years ago, and a prehistoric shark’s jawbone are two of the items children were able to see at Stonyhurst this week. Lucky pupils in year 4 at Stonyhurst’s prep school St Mary’s Hall went across to the College to see some of the oldest artefacts in the school’s famous historic Collections. The curator, Mrs Jan Graffius, also showed them a flipper from a 17m long plesiosaur from 260 million years ago, an enormous back tooth of a woolly mammoth and a large coprolite – or dinosaur poo!
The trip to see the Collections was part of the children’s topic ‘Footsteps from the Past’. A spokesman for St Mary’s Hall said: “The Stonyhurst Collections are a unique and wonderful resource. Being able to see, and handle, these precious artefacts really brings learning to life, and we are so fortunate to have access to them.”
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Preparatory School for Stonyhurst College, Stonyhurst, Lancashire, BB7 9PU