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                                          Friday 27-11-09         
     Newsletter no. 13                                                        01483-750409

Dear Parents,
By the time this newsletter enters your inbox the first individual parents evenings in this academic
year will have taken place. For many parents it was different to previous experiences. The ISL Surrey
parents had their first talks under the new organisation and personally, it was a new experience for
me to park my car in a parent spot and walk up the school stairs to sit with my daughter’s teacher in
this school building.

I hope all parent-teachers conferences have been useful and all of us will enter the next term well
informed and ready to cooperatively support our children in their next steps. Please do not hesitate
to contact your child’s teacher if you feel the need to discuss matters throughout the term. We
strongly believe that an ‘open door’ policy is essential for an effective partnership and appointments
can be made at anytime during the year.

On Friday morning it became clear that Rommel (messy) Piet had paid a visit to all classes with very
messy consequences. Furniture upside down, black handprints, paper everywhere and much more.
It was an exciting start of the morning and the children were very surprised to see the classes in such
a state. Undoubtedly a strange tradition for many but all together good fun!

Warm regards, Marco Damhuis

From Dick Hooijberg, our former Deputy Head
 By means of this letter I would like to thank everybody who has shown such warmth towards us at
the passing of my wife. We have received so many cards that we are not able to thank everyone in
person. It was good to know that so many were thinking of us. Warm regards, Dick Hooijberg.

"Langs deze weg wil ik graag iedereen bedanken die mij en mijn kinderen zo'n warm hart toedragen
naar aanleiding van het overlijden van mijn vrouw Piep. Ik kreeg zoveel kaarten dat het voor mij niet
mogelijk is om iedereen persoonlijk daarvoor te bedanken. Het was fijn om te weten dat zo velen
aan ons hebben gedacht. Veel groeten, Dick Hooijberg."

Musicians needed for PWAS farewell festivities.
As part of the ‘PWAS farewell’ activities we are getting together a live music band to play some
famous (at least for the Dutch) Dutch songs during the party night. We currently already have some
singers, a drum player and someone for the keyboards but we are still looking for more talent.

If you can play an instrument (or would like to sing) and would like to join us on stage for a special
groovy night, please contact Marco Damhuis.

ISL Surrey opening tree planting.
On Thursday the 10th of December we will be planting a tree in commemoration of the opening of
the ISL in Surrey. At 12 A.M. Amin Makarem, Managing Director, will be officially cutting the ribbon
and he will be joined by our children who will each let a balloon fly in memory of this event. As
parents you are welcome to join us for this event which will take in school car park. Hope to see you

On Friday the 29th of January the official ‘grand’ opening will take place. Preparations for this event
are well on their way and more information will follow soon. Initially it might be useful to know that
children will be involved and that all parents will receive an invitation in the next week.

Swimming (reminder)
Yolande de Witte has said that she will be willing to speak to parents at the end of school on
Tuesdays to answer/listen to parents’ queries about swimming. We are fortunate to have Yolande
who is Dutch and a swimming teacher, to understand all sides of swimming issues.

Swine Flu
Two pumps with anti bacterial hand gel have been hung in the hall, available for all to use as regular
washing of hands can prevent (to a certain) extent the spreading of the flu. All classes have been
provided with extra hand gels.

Kitchen request!
1 member of staff and 2-3 parents - For help in the school kitchen.
Clearing up / washing up / making inventory / Labeling
Pls confirm to -
Many thanks! Anmarie

Management information evening ISL Surrey
The first term in ISL Surrey’s first year of existence is drawing to a close and the school’s directors
and management would like to share with parents all the positive developments that have taken
place over the last months and our ambitious plans for the short, middle and long term future. We
would like to invite all parents for this ‘Progress and Plans’ evening on Thursday 14-01-2010 at
19.30.More information will follow nearer to this date.

This week’s rule
The rule until Christmas is:
‘Walk, do not run in the school’.

Coming up in the next 30 days:
Fri.     27-11    - All classes will have been messed up by ‘Sinterklaas’ his helpers (‘Black Petes’)
                  and shoes will be filled with sweets. Children cannot immediately enter their
Fri.     04-12    - ‘Sinterklaas’ to visit our school.
Mon.     07-12    - Winter Holiday Creative afternoon for the children
Wed.     09-12    - Extra Parent Association (PA) meeting 09:00.
Tue.     15-12    - Children‘s Christmas dinner (17:00). No lessons after 12:30.
Wed.     16-12    - Last day of term. No enhanced Mother Tongue lessons for MP1 after school.
Thu.     17-12    - First day of the Winter Break.
Mon.     04-01    - Start of Spring Term: all children back at school

At the back of this letter:
- Sinterklaas; some background info from

                       Sinterklaas; some background info from

                       Sinterklaas (also called Sint-Nicolaas or De
                       Goedheiligman in Dutch and Saint Nicolas in French)
                       is a traditional Winter holiday figure in the Netherlands,
                       Aruba, Netherlands Antilles and Belgium, celebrated
                       every year on Saint Nicholas' eve (December 5) or, in
                       Belgium, on the morning of December 6. The feast
                       celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint
                       of, among other things, children.

It is also celebrated in parts of France (North, Alsace, Lorraine), as well as in
Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Croatia,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and in the town of Trieste and
in Eastern Friuli in Italy. Additionally, many Roman Catholics of Alsatian and
Lotharingian descent in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, celebrate "Saint Nicholas Day" on
the morning of December 6. The traditions differ from country to country, even
between Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas' Eve (December 5) is the chief occasion for
gift-giving. The evening is called "sinterklaasavond" or "pakjesavond" ("presents
evening"). In the Netherlands, children receive their presents on this evening
whereas in Belgium, children put their shoe in front of the fireplace on the
evening of December 5, then go to bed, and find the presents around the shoes
on the morning of the 6th.

Sinterklaas is the basis for the North American figure of Santa Claus. It is often
claimed that during the American War of Independence the inhabitants of New
York City, a former Dutch colonial town (New Amsterdam) which had been
swapped by the Dutch for other territories, reinvented their Sinterklaas tradition,
as Saint Nicholas was a symbol of the city's non-English past. The name Santa
Claus supposedly derived from older Dutch Sinte Klaas. However, the Saint
Nicholas Society was not founded until 1835, almost half a century after the end
of the American War of Independence. A study of the "children's books,
periodicals and journals" of New Amsterdam by Charles Jones revealed no
references to Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas. However, not all scholars agree with
Jones's findings, which he reiterated in a booklength study in 1978; Howard G.
Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition
of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York existed in the early settlement of the
Hudson Valley, although he agrees that "there can be no question that by the
time the revival of St. Nicholas came with Washington Irving, the traditional New
Netherlands observance had completely disappeared." The Saint Nicholas
Society of New York still has a feast on December 6 to this day.


Sinterklaas has a long red cape, wears a white bishop's dress and red mitre
(bishop's hat), and holds a crosier, a long gold coloured staff with a fancy curled
top. He carries a big book that tells whether each individual child has been good
or naughty in the past year. He traditionally rides a white horse.

Zwarte Piet

                     "Zwarte Piet," Sinterklaas' helping hand Black Pete, has his
                     origin in the bishop's legendary past. Three small Moorish
                     boys were sentenced to death for a crime they did not
                     commit. The bishop intervened and they were saved. To
                     show their gratitude, the boys stayed with Sinterklaas to
                     help him, tumbling and jumping on rooftops on Sinterklaas
                     night to deliver presents. Their black skin may refer either to
                     their Moorish background, or to the job of chimneysweep, an
                     option is corroborated by their clothes, reminiscent of an
                     Italian chimneysweep's costume and Pete's rooftop
                     occupation. Another background story for Pete is that he is
the devil who was enslaved by Sinterklaas. Nowadays, children in the
Netherlands are told that the Pieten work for Sinterklaas voluntarily and that
there is a special school in Spain where they learn their trade.

Sinterklaas originally had only one Zwarte Piet. The concept of multiple Pieten
was introduced by the Canadians when they helped organise the first post-WWII
Sinterklaas celebration. Most traditional Sinterklaas songs still mention only one
Zwarte Piet.

Sinterklaas and his Black Petes usually carry a bag, which contains candy for
nice children and a "roe," a bunch of willow branches used to spank naughty
children; in actuality a chimneysweep's broom. Some of the older Sinterklaas
songs make mention of naughty children being put in the bag and being taken
back to Spain. The Zwarte Pieten toss candy around, a tradition supposedly
originating in Sint Nicolaas' story of saving three young girls from prostitution by
tossing golden coins through their window at night to pay their father's debts.

Sinterklaas traditionally arrives each year in mid-November (usually on a
Saturday) by steamboat from Spain (even though the bishop was originally from
Asia Minor). Some suggest that gifts associated with the holy man such as
Mandarin oranges led to the misconception that he must have been from Spain.
He is then paraded through the streets, welcomed by cheering and singing
children.] This event is broadcasted live on national television in the Netherlands
and Belgium. His Zwarte Piet assistants throw candy and small, round, ginger
bread-like cookies, either "kruidnoten" or "pepernoten," into the crowd. The
children welcome him by singing traditional Sinterklaas songs. Sinterklaas also
visits schools, hospitals and shopping centers. After this arrival all towns with a
dock have their own "intocht van Sinterklaas" (arrival of Sinterklaas). Local
arrivals usually take place on Sunday, the day after he arrives in the Netherlands
or Belgium. In places a boat cannot reach, Sinterklaas arrives by train, bus,
horse, or even carriage.


Traditionally, in the weeks between his arrival and December 5, before going to
bed, children put their shoes next to the fireplace chimney of the coal fired stove
or fireplace, or, in modern times, next to the central heating or at the front door.
The shoe is to have a carrot or some hay in it and a bowl of water "for
Sinterklaas' horse," and the children sing a Sinterklaas song; the next day they
will find some candy or a small present in their shoes. When a house has no

chimney, Sinterklaas or Black Pete is said to enter using his special key that fits
on every door in the Netherlands.

Typical Sinterklaas candy traditionally includes: mandarin oranges, pepernoten,
letter-shaped pastry filled with almond paste or chocolate letter (the first letter
of the child's name made out of chocolate), speculaas (sometimes filled with
almond paste), chocolate coins and marzipan figures. Newer candy includes
kruidnoten (a type of shortcrust biscuit or gingerbread-biscuits) and a figurine of
Sinterklaas made out of chocolate and wrapped in painted aluminum foil.

Children are told that Black Pete enters the house through the chimney, which
also explains his black face and hands, and will leave a bundle of sticks ("roe")
or a small bag of salt in the shoe instead of candy if the child has been bad. If
they have been really bad, Black Pete may take them back to Spain in his sack,
a tradition now frowned upon under the influence of modern child psychology.

Traditionally Saint Nicholas brings his gifts at night, and many Belgian and Dutch
children still find their presents on the morning of December 6. Later in The
Netherlands adults started to give each other presents on the evening of the
5th; then older children were included, and today many young children also get
their presents on Saint Nicholas' eve.

Poems can still accompany bigger gifts as well, though instead of being brought
by Sinterklaas, people will draw names for an event comparable to Secret Santa.
Gifts are to be creatively disguised (for which the Dutch use the French word
"surprise"), and are usually accompanied by a humorous poem which often
teases the recipient for well-known bad habits or other character deficiencies.


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