23 Oct
Weekly2 months ago

Weekly Update #9, 26 October 2018

Dates for Your Diary

Upcoming events can be found on the calendar on the website School Life → Calendar but we have outlined upcoming events here for easy reference. For daily updates and news follow the HeadStart Facebook Page

Date Time Event Location
31 October 4:30pm Secondary Halloween Movie Night Secondary Hall
27-28 October 7:55am DofE Bronze Training Group 1 Meet at HeadStart
30 October 8:15am Thai Parents Meeting Secondary Hall
31 October 4:30pm ‘Fright Night’ Secondary movie Secondary Hall
02 November 2:30pm Friday Market Atrium
3-4 November 7:55am DofE Bronze Training Group 2 Meet at HeadStart
03 November All day Thanyapura Open League #1 Thanyapura
5-7 November All day Science Faculty Week In school
06 November 8:15am Thai Parents Meeting Secondary Hall
10-11 November 7:55am DofE G1 Bronze Practice Meet at HeadStart
10-11 November 7:55am DofE Silver Practice Group 1 Meet at HeadStart
13 November 8:15am Thai Parents Meeting Secondary Hall
17 November 9:00am Saturday Thai Culture Club In school
20 November 8:15am Thai Parents Meeting Secondary Hall
23 November All day ‘A Day at the Movies’ dress up for charity In school
1-2 December 7:55am DofE Bronze Practice Group 2 Meet at HeadStart
3-4 December 7:55am DofE Bronze Adventurous Journey G1 Meet at School
05 December All day School closed for HM the King’s Birthday  
7-9 December All day BKK Patana Swim Meet BKK Patana
10-11 December All day Book Fair Primary floor
11 December 6:00pm ‘A Night at the Movies’ CAPA show Sports Hall
13 December 1:00pm Christmas Classroom activities/Christmas Market  
14 December All day Parent/Teacher Conferences (not a school day) Classrooms

A Day at the Movies

In support of the BamBoo School Family we are inviting students and staff to come to school dressed up as their favourite movie character on 23 November in exchange for bringing in an Eco-brick. There will be lots of fun things that the students can look forward to such as a photo booth in the atrium, treasure hunt for movie titles, a catwalk to model your amazing costumes. Students will also have the chance to vote on a teacher with the best costume. It’s going to be lots of fun. Start preparing…it’s sooner than you think!

100th Year Anniversary of WW1

To commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1, we’d like to invite parents to recount any of their family’s war stories from World War 1 and 2. If any parent would like to send in a maximum of 300 words about an ancestor that fought in either of these wars, please email Rich Cramp at [email protected] . Stories will then be printed and displayed in the atrium as part of our Remembrance Day display from November 9th to November 12th.

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Richard Lukats

Head of Secondary
[email protected]

Mr Richard Lukats is the Athletics Director at Headstart International School. Richard has over twenty years’ experience of working in schools both internationally and in the United Kingdom. He has been a senior school administrator (Athletics Director, Principal/Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher/Principal and Assistant Headteacher) for the past 18 years internationally and in the UK. He is a UK qualified teacher (Post Graduate of Education, PGCE) and holds the UK qualification to be a Headteacher (National Professional Qualification for Headship, NPQH). At Headstart International School, Richard is responsible for leading the overall strategic direction, operational effectiveness and administration of the school’s sports and activities programme, alongside managing the PE Department. He is passionate, about the role sport and physical activity plays in the development of young people and he is looking to further developing the already excellent programme that is on offer at Headstart. He is always looking at ways of working with all members of the Headstart Community to further enhance the opportunities for participation in physical activities for everyone.

Teachers INSET/Training Day

On Monday the 22nd October, whilst our students were continuing to enjoy their holidays, HeadStart teachers were all in school involved in a training day. Training (INSET) days are a great opportunity for staff to enhance existing skills or to develop knowledge and expertise in new areas of education, that will have a direct impact on the quality and experience students get here at HSIS. Monday’s INSET saw staff involved in a host of different activities led by outside providers and our own in school experts, including:

  • Non-native English speakers developing writing skills.
  • Fast ForWord
  • Thai etiquette
  • Foundation language
  • Phonics in Primary
  • Third Culture Kids
  • Middle leadership training
  • Collaborative learning
  • Play based learning for Foundation staff
  • IGCSE P.E. practical moderation
  • Positive behaviour management strategies

HeadStart is committed to offering students the best possible education in Phuket and by keeping our teachers well trained and up to date with current educational practices, we ensure our students get the best possible learning experiences on a daily basis.

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Letitia Bekker

Maths Teacher
[email protected]

My name is Letitia and I am from South Africa. I completed my degree in BSc Chemistry and PGCE at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. I have a passion for young people and through teaching I want to make a difference in students’ lives. I firmly believe in student oriented education where learners must be fully involved in their education and I am willing to go the extra mile for each learner. My teaching experience in South Africa included working at IMPAK as a part-time teacher while completing my studies after which I moved, as a full time teacher to Hoërskool Warmbad which is a parallel medium High school teaching Mathematics and Physical Science. Besides teaching I love to travel, scuba dive and to camp. In 2015 my husband and I decided to move to Thailand where I taught Primary Science at an English programme school in Rayong and in January 2016 I joined the Mathematics team at HeadStart International School. I am looking forward to continue working with staff and students from around the world and cannot wait to see what the new academic year holds.


Duke of Edinburgh Update

This announcement is regarding the upcoming Duke of Edinburgh International Award trips that will take place during the course of this term.

The students are to meet at HeadStart at 07:55hrs on Saturday and will be returned to HeadStart at approximately 16:30hrs on Sunday, though the return time is dependent on the time taken to clean and pack things away at the end of the trip. Please be there ready to pick up the students as there will be no teaching staff on site after 16:45hrs.

The kit list and groups have been emailed to all parents separately. Students will also need to bring food as discussed in their cooking groups. All other necessary equipment such as tents, cookers, pans etc. will be provided, as will drinking water. Please note that HeadStart and Topper Sail cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of valuables.

This itinerary is similar for all 3 trips (Training, Practice and Qualifying).

Here are the dates for the trips:

Group 1

  • Training 27/28 October 2018
  • Practice 10/11 November 2018
  • Qualifying 3/4 December 2018

Group 2

  • Training 3/4 November 2018
  • Practice 1/2 December 2018
  • Qualifying 10/11 January 2019

If you have any questions regarding the weekends, please do not hesitate in contacting me at [email protected]

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David Pollicutt

Head of English and Humanities
[email protected]

My name is David and I am new to HeadStart International School in 2018. I am from the UK and grew up in the large port city of Bristol. I studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia, and trained to teach at The Institute of Education in The University of London. I taught in East London for four years, before moving to teach for eight years as Head of English in Viet Nam and China. I am a firm believer in developing students to be natural enquirers, following the Sir Ken Robinson model of best preparing students to use transferable skills for the shifting landscapes of their futures. I seek to encourage an epistemological approach in my lessons, urging students to evaluate the efficacy of the information they consume and the validity of interpretations. I am passionate about literature and will often be chortling at David Lodge’s tragicomedy or swooning at Ian Mcewan’s literary sleight of hand. Outside of the classroom I am a keen student of Philosophy, Politics and Psychology. I am a particular fan of the intellect and charisma exuded by Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and the late and much missed Christopher Hitchens. I have a terminal case of devotion to Tottenham Hotspsur Football Club; it teaches me patience and humility.


Remember to Sleep, and Sleep to Remember

Last week, I wrote a note about the importance of the affective and its relationship to learning in terms of homework.

This week I’d like to discuss the cognitive; there are lots of things I could talk about but I am going to talk about the one I think is most important one big thing to help your children learn. The biggest thing to help your child learn is to get into a very good sleep pattern.

Of course, I appreciate that all parents have been trying to do this since your child was two months old, but sleep patterns change, develops and becomes more challenging in teenage years. It may come as a surprise, but as children go through teenage years, they become nocturnal. This applies to boys particularly; there is actually an evolutionary reason for this: hunting and gathering. Evolutionary biologists have discovered that teenage boys were usually the demographic sent out hunting at night- hardwired developmental traits are not erased in the blink of an evolutionary eye.

So in teenage boys, sleep patterns can switch. This applies less to girls, they are typically more routine. Like with everything, there are exceptions of course. We’ve always know that something special goes on when we sleep. We may know the old adage- ‘early to bed, early to rise’, but actual chemical reactions in the brain and their relation to how they improve learning when asleep have only been identified as recently as 2008 in the Academy of Neuroscience in Chicago.

I know I am an English teacher, but allow me to dabble with a smidge of neuroscience. Bear with me, it’s interesting. Honestly…(!) The scientists in Chicago identified in the brain a chemical called acetycholine. Acetycholine is involved in a process called synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity is the model which challenges the idea that the brain grows in childhood, develops in teenage years and then you’re left with a final model as an adult. Synaptic plasticity indicates that your brain can continue to develop and grow in different ways as an adult; in short, that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Acetycholine is a chemical which is released into the brain which not only enables the brain to develop and make new connections and new pathways between synapses but it is also connected to something called long-term potentiation.

Effectively, long-term potentiation is an increase in your brain muscles. A muscle analogy for long-term potentiation would be that we could learn to create a better tennis stroke perhaps, by practising day in, day out on the court, and certain muscles would grow and develop to allow that to happen. Yet in addition, you need to develop your body so that you can not only learn one new stroke, but 10 new strokes. So, synaptic plasticity , long term potentiation, triggered by acetycholine allows the brain to do this. However, this acetycholine isn’t around in your brain in great quantities, particularly during the day when it’s actually suppressed. It’s suppressed by serotonin and norepinephine- stress chemicals.

These stress chemicals get in the way of learning- but during sleep they are lowered. During the sleeping state, serotonin and norepinephrine levels go down, and acetycholine kicks in. Part of the reasons for these chemicals to be supressed is that when you’re dreaming, if you’re being, say, chased by a bear and serotonin and norepinephrine are flooding your brain, then you would wake up very…overstimulated- in fact, you won’t stay asleep, you would wake up and start running around. So, it has to be supressed and this is the time learning takes place. This is bad news for us teachers- we thought it takes place in the classroom- it actually takes place when your kids are asleep!

To be more precise, it actually takes place during REM sleep- that stage of sleep where you get the rapid eye movement- the dreaming state. I don’t know if you know, but the dreaming part of sleep only kicks in half way through the night. I am sure some of you may have seen the app or even may have it on your phone which tracks your REM sleep. There’s a problem with this though, this valuable stuff called acetycholine is not actually released into the brain until the last stages of REM sleep. So you go in and out of this dreaming state in the last third of your night’s sleep. But it’s only in the last third of that which acetycholine is released.

So what’s the take home from this? Well, it’s no good getting 6 hours sleep. For children of school age, 8 hours sleep is the absolute minimum. Not just for health, but for learning. And typically 8-10 hours as they become older into their teens.

So, to return to my piece two weeks ago, if homework gets in the way of sleep, it gets in the way of learning. So we must not only remember to sleep, we must sleep to remember. If not, any learning done during the day and during homework time is likely to be lost.

Here is a quote from the presentation to the neuroscience conference in Washington in 2009:

‘The absence of chemicals norepenhrine and serotonin, serves a unique function for memory, giving REM sleep a singular role in learning, it is not replicable by more waking practice.’

What that means is if you don’t get that late surge or REM sleep, you can’t make up for it by just doing more practice of the thing you’re working on next day. In practical terms, children don’t always get 9 hours sleep. There are times when they don’t, sometimes for things beyond anyone’s control- does it matter? Can we make up for it? The answer is yes- to a point. It can be made up for; it’s not permanent. But it takes months to make up for several nights of lost sleep.

Remember though, lack of sleep not only damages immediate learning, it also stops that thing called long term potentiation (LPT) which acetycholine also helps with, so that sleep is not only crucial for the learning from the day before, but if it’s missed, you progressively damage the brain’s ability to learn.

In this last section, I would like to brooch some practical aspects then give you a chance to reflect on these. I believe very strongly the best way for parents to help is to pay attention to the emotional aspects of learning and look at where learning happens- both at school and at other times. Homework is about learning. We can work together to make it more conducive to learning taking place, but it does involve attitude, emotion and sleep being central to successful learning. Learning, emotion and sleep are interconnected.

So what can you do to help at home?

1.) Sleep patterns. Routines. Any of you who have that already, a hearty, ‘Well done – congratulations!’ Children taking a bath, drinking milk, reading a bedtime story- all these things which you may well do already can help with this before bed.

2.) No screens in the bedroom. Studies have shown that the effects of an Ipad or computer in 90 minutes to 2 hours before sleep damaged circadian rhythm. This is, apparently, to do with the proximity and intensity of the light source, which convinces the brain that it is daytime and the stimulation of the interaction with the game makes it hard to sleep. The TV is OK- the light is more distant, more passive and does not have the same damaging effect.

3.) The emotional side- stress and learning don’t mix. Be positive. Refer to study at home as learning- not work. Be interested- your level of interest has actually only got to be quite minimal but it must be positive. Sitting over your child and interfering is counter effective- ‘granny cloud’ is a term invented by Sugatra Mitra at Newcastle University. He invented something called self-organised learning environments. He found that if you gave children resources, and then left them alone, they would learn incredibly effectively. Learning was enhanced if they had Skype conversations. He used grannies and grandpas simple to check in with the kids every now and then just to say, ‘gosh…isn’t that interesting etc.’

4) Routines- they don’t have to be fixed. Giving children options is very effective- snack now and work later or vice versa.

5) Environment- a situated environment is best. Learning doesn’t transfer from location to location. Homework done at same place at same time is far better than being done in different places. Try doing something alongside them- your invoices or bills etc.

I hope that this look into the importance of homework and sleep has been of interest to stakeholders here at HeadStart. Later this term, I will write a little more about English, its importance, and how parents can help their children. Please let me know if there is any other topic which you’d like me to share my thoughts on.

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Hayley Milner

English & Drama
[email protected]

I am looking forward to continuing to work with staff and students at HeadStart from around the world with such a diverse range of cultures. My passion lies in drama and the performing arts, so I am extremely excited to be bringing drama into the curriculum at HeadStart. In Australia, I studied a Bachelor of Contemporary Theatre. I then completed my PGCE in Secondary English and Drama. This is now my tenth year teaching and in this time I have been Drama Co-ordinator and Literacy Leader in the Creative Arts. I enjoy writing plays and directing as well as acting as a dramaturg. Some of my highlights throughout my career have been working as an Assistant Director for Queensland Theatre Company; working as a dramaturg for Playwriting Australia’s National Script Workshop, being a guest director for Queensland University of Technology and having my own plays performed in venue’s throughout Queensland, Australia. Over my time teaching, I have developed an interest in student well-being. Last year, I completed a Master’s in Education in School Guidance Counselling and worked over the summer in an Australian school as a school Guidance Officer and Counsellor. Within the classroom, I aim to provide each child with a safe and supportive environment where they can feel comfortable to be themselves and develop social independence and collaboration. I encourage building resilience, courage and curiosity in learning whilst engaging students in a sympathetic, genuine and understanding manner. Outside of school, I enjoy scuba diving and tennis. I am a huge foodie and love to go to the different restaurants around Phuket and duck away for the weekend to Bangkok, Singapore or any other country close by for a dose of theatre, comedy, live music and culinary experiences. I hope to eat my way around the world.


World Scholar’s Cup Update

The World Scholar’s Cup final round at Yale University is one month away. It is now time for seven of our students to put their heads together and study hard for the Tournament of Champions. They will now continue studying the 2018 syllabus ‘An Entangled World’. Here they independently study a variety of art works, music, poetry and short stories linked the the syllabus theme. They also study topics such as the art of diplomacy, the underground economy, and the science of memory. This knowledge is then applied into three debates, one essay, a multiple choice exam and a team bowl.

In Kuala Lumpur the debate included topics such as ‘Diplomacy would best be conducted online’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet would have ended differently if they had used social media’. Pictured here are some photos of our students competing in the main events at the Global Round in Kuala Lumpur. Stay tuned for more updates and to learn about the World Scholar’s Cup.


Student News

Wai Kru Ceremony 2018

This week HeadStart celebrated Wai Kru. When translated, Wai Kru means ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’. The Head Boy and Girl did an excellent job of leading the events as did our Ro Dor military trainees who helped the students to know what steps to take. A group of students sang a cute song to their teachers and 4 students made beautiful well rehearsed speeches in English and Thai expressing appreciation for their teachers. We want to thank all of the students and parents for the beautiful flowers and words of appreciation. The teachers were very impressed by the outpouring of kindness.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. –Brad Henry

The Year 11 students in ‘Thai First Language IGCSE’ class made beautiful flower trays. The students paid attention working in great detail to make their flower presentations to give teachers on Wai Kru Ceremony. By Kru Kan

After receiving a wonderful outpouring of beautiful flowers from Wai Kru, the teachers took the Year 8 ‘Thai as a First Language’ students to bring them to recovering patients at Vachira hospital in Phuket town. The aim was to bring cheer to those suffering from illness and teach our students to empathize with those less fortunate. By Kru Gen

This week EAL students embarked on their Fast ForWard learning journeys which they will continue for the remainder of the academic year. By Mr Michael Opaliski

Students in active learning art hand embroidered designs on to fabric and then used a sewing machine to make a pillow. By Ms Jody Leow

Year 5-6 students designed their own pencil cases and sewed them together using felt in the after school club. By Ms Jody Leow

In Year 4 White, we have been looking at the digestive system. We represented the organs and recreated the journey our food takes through our bodies in a very practical (and very messy!) demonstration. By Ms Jen Rapkins

My Year 10 class completed some beautiful Georgia O’Keeffe artist studies over the half term break! Well done to Nutcha Phaisamran, Taya Chuck and Alicia Bammerlin for outstanding painting skills!

In Biology, year 13 students have been learning the complex process of aerobic and anaerobic respiration. This includes the process of anaerobic alcohol fermentation in yeast and plant cells. As a result the students attended a school trip on Tuesday to the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. Here they took part in a brilliant tour of the rum distillery where they were taught about the use of alcoholic fermentation of yeast in the process of converting sugar cane into different types and qualities of Rum. The students tasted the sugar cane juice and had the opportunity to smell the sugar cane wine produced before distillation. The students found the tour very interesting and useful in seeing how the content learnt in class can be applied to real life practical uses. They also enjoyed the delicious ice cream selection available at the distillery as a treat for all their hard work so far this year. By Ms Ellie Leamon

Children had fun while challenging their minds to build the assigned structure for this week. Mr. Toribio, ASP Lego club

House News

This week, the students took part in a darts competition during their lunch times. The students demonstrated excellent accuracy and precision, with all four houses scoring over 300 points. However, it was the Yellow Cheetahs who managed to achieve the highest combined score of 470 points to be crowned the winners. The current house point totals are shown below:

Halloween Promotions Around the Island

Trick or Treat – Get freaky and scary at Phuket Boat Lagoon’s Let’s Halloween Party

Inviting all kids, aged between 4 years until 12 years, to join us for the “Halloween Party” on Saturday, 27 October 2018 at Boat Point meeting room (at Boat Lagoon Resort). There are many games and activities for all of you!

  • Trick or Treat Bags painting
  • Face mask
  • Ping Pong Pumpkin Game
  • Pumpkin Golf Game
  • Dizzy Mummy Game

Moreover, BEST DRESSED HALLOWEEN COSTUME competition! Halloween Party is conducted over 2 sessions only. 1st session from 3 pm – 5 pm and 2nd session from 6 pm – 8 pm. Kindly register early, as it is limited to 50 persons only per session and it’s FREE! For more information and reservation, please contact Tel. 076-239-888 Ext 318 or Tel. +66971536829 or Email: [email protected]

Halloween Party at Land and House

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