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James Allen’s Prep School Update 2014

James Allen’s Prep School is a small girls’ prep school, located in Dulwich, London. We are in a very ‘leafy’ area of London, and have access to local parks. Our own grounds are quite extensive, and we are lucky to have our own pond, gardens, playing fields and even a small copse (where our very own woodpecker lives!). The girls have their own school garden.

At JAPS we are all very keen on ‘The 3 C’s’ ; Care, courtesy and consideration, and we like to extend this principle in our attitude to the community, the environment and the world.

Eco / Environmental

The School Garden

The girls have their own school garden. There are two gardening clubs a week, and they learn how to grow their own vegetables, as well as how to weed and water!

Eco committee

  • The school has been awarded The Eco School Green Flag. We encourage the girls to be eco-friendly in their treatment of the school and their outside environment.
  • We have competitions for posters, to remind ourselves to switch off taps and lights as we leave the room. Eco monitors collect the recycling each week. We have just bought a composter so that we can compost apple cores and banana skins, which can then be used on the school garden.
  • We have encouraged the girls to bring in water bottles, so that they do not have to use the paper cups which are provided.
  • Eco assemblies remind us about rubbish and all sorts of ‘eco-issues’.
  • We take part in ‘Walk to school week’ each year, and we encourage children to think of eco-friendly ways to get to school – eg car sharing!

Eco Club

This is a newly established club. So far we have been on nature walks, had a scavenger hunt, pond ‘dipped’, put together some ‘leaf art’, and designed and built a shelter for a mouse!

‘Bushcraft’ Survival Camping trip

In September, the girls in Year 5 go for a 2 night / 3 day camping trip, in to the Cornbury Park estate forest, in Oxfordshire. Although the main reason for the trip is ‘teambuilding’, it is also a chance for our ‘city girls’ to get close to nature, and experience the wonders of living in the forest, away from the rest of mankind ! The girls can really feel at one with nature; listening to the owls at night, and the dawn chorus in the morning. I feel that the girls can really develop a love and respect for nature on this trip.

Looking after our local community

  1. We have established a link with the Fred Francis day care home, which is in Dulwich. Many of the residents have althzeimers. The girls visit the home at various times of the year.
  • At harvest festival, they take the food gifts to the people, and sing for them.
  • At Christmas, the girls sing Christmas carols.
  • After their school play, (in Easter )the Year 4 girls will visit them and sing some of their songs ( and maybe dance!) from the plays.
  • In the summer, Year 6 girls make 4 visits to ‘entertain them’ with songs from their show, and playing their own instruments to them.

Each of these visits involves the girls talking to the residents, which can be difficult for them, given that some of the residents are suffering from dementia. The girls are told how to talk to the people, and given ideas of how they can start and develop a conversation.

  1. Last year, we collected food for the Peckham food bank. All the girls bought in 2 items of food, and the organisers of the bank talked to the girls about where the food goes to , and who needs the food.
  1. The girls at JAPS have a very important money box – in the shape of a meercat! After tuck shop, the girls can donate any small change to the meercat (who will move his head in thanks!). The money has been use to ‘rent a room’ for a month at London’s Centre point – a charity which provides rooms for young homeless people.

Looking after people further afield

Each year, a ‘Head of Charity’ is picked, and we decide which charities to support each year.

We raise money mainly through cake sales. Last year we compiled a recipe book, and the profit from that has gone to one of the charities. We have also had ‘mufti days’ and even a staff bake off!

Charities which we have supported have included Unicef (Pakistan flood appeal, and Syrian Appeal), Jeans for Genes, Operation Agri, An Indian orphanage (where we bought playground equipment). We try to support charities which the girls can connect with eg The Indian orphanage was put forward by our Head of Charity 2013, as it was from there that her little sister had been adopted. This year’s charity is ‘Imagine for Margo’, a charity which researches child cancer.

Every Christmas, we put together ‘Love in a Boxes’ – shoes boxes, beautifully wrapped and full of goodies for children in Eastern Europe. Last year we sent 122 boxes, and the pile for 2014 is looking as though it may be even more !

Rise Africa / Bright Stars Nursery, Tanzania

One of the sisters of our pupils’, on leaving, set up a nursery school for orphans in Tanzania, Africa, in memory of her Grandfather. We have been supporting her for 5 years.

  • JAPS girls and staff have raised money to sponsor some of the children throughout their schooling.
  • One of our girls organised a disco for her friends. This raised enough money to build a kitchen for the nursery.
  • Another of our girls organised an ‘unwanted Christmas present’ raffle ! This raised enough money to build most of a dining room !
  • We filled old pencil cases with pens and crayons –and sent a huge parcel for the nursery ! We received lovely photos of the children thrilled with their new pencil cases!
  • The Founder of Bright Stars, frequently pops in to school to give us updates ; showing us photos of the school, and the children we are sponsoring. This keeps the enthusiasm for the project going.

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A note from myself, Head of Charity at JAPS.

I am immensely proud of the girls at JAPS for all their enthusiasm and support for the charity work we do. They are always so keen to raise money, and come up with fabulous ideas as to how we can raise even more ! Frequently, the girls ask if they can have a little stall in the playground to support extra charities – and there are times when I have to sadly say ‘no’, as if it were up to them, we would be having charity events every day of the week ! My proudest moments however, are when we take the girls to the Fred Francis centre; they are so kind and considerate to the old people there, and easily engage in conversation with even the most difficult of the residents. The residents adore their visits, and often our girls are hugged at the end! I try to install in the girls, that giving up a little of their time means so much to these lonely people. And I am always delighted when the girls report back that they feel they too have benefitted from the visits- with a sense of well-being, and a happy feeling that they have given the people at the centre a lovely morning.





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