Note from the Headmistress
Friday 29th November 2019
Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. – Theophrastus.
It’s a funny thing, time. It can go quickly or slowly, depending on what you’re doing. Days can feel like seconds, minutes like hours, months like years or years like weeks. If we think about how measuring the passage of time has changed, perhaps we can consider how we value our time. Ancient cultures measured the passing of time by watching the sun travel across the sky or by using a sundial in its simplest form, the shadow stick. Nowadays, we have watches that we can wear on our wrists and sophisticated clocks on our smartphones. We have clocks that can tell us the time down to a hundredth of a second, dividing time into the smallest possible moments.
Time is something that is constant and ever-changing. For millions of years, as the sun has risen and set on the earth, time has marched on relentlessly. It will continue to do so long after our civilization has fallen, as it did with the Minoan, Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires. Time waits for no one.
At Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, there is an amazing clock. The clock’s face is a stainless steel disc coated in 24-carat gold, and it has a diameter of about 1.5 metres. Instead of hands or numbers, it displays the time by opening individual slits in the clock face, which are arranged in three concentric rings that display hours, minutes and seconds.
On the clock sits a terrifying sculpture of a metal insect similar to a grasshopper or locust. It is this that makes the ticking sound to mark the time passing. The clock’s inventor, John C. Taylor, calls this beast the Chronophage, which means ‘time eater’, and said, ‘Basically I view time as not on your side. He’ll eat up every minute of your life.’ The insect’s mouth moves, so it looks like it is eating up the seconds as they pass, and occasionally it blinks in what could be satisfaction. The constant motion of the Chronophage produces an eerie grinding sound, and the hour is marked by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin in the back of the clock.
Below the clock is an inscription from the Bible (1 John 2.17): ‘mundus transit et concupiscentia eius’, which translates as ‘the world and its desire are passing away’. In fact, the clock is only completely accurate every five minutes. For the rest of the time, the pendulum may seem to catch, and the lights behind the slits may get behind or race to get ahead. The clock’s erratic motion reflects life’s irregularity and the Chronophage helps to remind us of the inevitable passing of time.
Try to imagine an enormous timeline. You might like to start from zero, which is the Big Bang and stretch it out as far as you can go. You might want to add particular dates to make it easier. For example, the pyramids started being built around 2600 BC, the Buddha was alive in the sixth century BC, Jesus was crucified around 30 AD, the battle of Hastings took place in 1066, the second millennium was marked in 2000 and today it is November 2019.
Time is precious and important; all the seconds and minutes are precious and should not be wasted. Time is not on your side, and eventually, you will run out of it. We should make the most of the time that we have. I encouraged the children to think about this last week in preparation for the exeat weekend and important it is to make the most of the time we have with our friends and family.
As I said last week, the term is moving very fast and now that the exams are over for this term, the children are very much focussed on preparations for Christmas. We have a busy couple of weeks approaching and I look forward to welcoming and meeting as many families as possible before we break from the Christmas break.
All pupils worked really hard this week and I’m sure they are all looking forward to the weekend now that the exams are over!
Notices and dates for your diary
- Senior Girls Hockey v Royal School Cavan Tuesday 3rd December, Away 1pm
- Lower V Play Friday 6th December 2.00pm for a 2.30pm start Please RSVP
- Public Speaking Competitions Sunday 8th December 7pm
- Senior Boys Rugby v St. Gerard’s Postponed until next term
- Senior Boys Rugby v St. Conleth’s Tuesday 3rd December, Home 2.15pm
- Senior Girls Hockey v St. Gerard’s Tuesday 10th December, Home 2.15pm
- Christmas Dinner for all pupils in II to VI Form Thursday 12th December 6.00pm
- Carol Service Friday 13th December 11.00am
- End of Term II to VI Form Friday 13th December 12.00noon
- Christmas Celebration for Junior Infants to 1st Form Thursday 19th December Lunchtime
- End of Term Junior Infants to 1st Form Friday 20th December 12.00noon
- For further information on upcoming parent teacher meetings, matches etc please check this link to our website calendar on a regular basis https://www.headfort.com/calendar/
Where older and younger children are paired and given the opportunity to read and be read to, listening to the reading of a higher-level reader.
Reading with someone else encourages the children to try reading material that is above their usual reading level, while also building oral skills.
Reading buddies also provide an ideal opportunity for the children to form friendships.
Having friends helps children feel happy, confident, and connected, but children are not born with this knowledge and ability. They need to be provided with opportunities to learn how friendships are built and how to build them. In fact, building relationships with others is equally as important as academic attainment. Through their friendships, children learn about leading and following, arguing and making up, sharing and feeling empathy. Children’s play also allows them test and practice the rules of relationships and friendships in a safe environment.
Aistear is the key learning and teaching tool used to implement the primary school curriculum in the infant classes.
Congratulations to Mrs Denise Svensson and Mrs Olivia Carry on graduating with an honours degree in Early Childhood Studies.