Mrs Smith’s Assembly Message

Message from Mrs Smith:

Good morning everybody! 

I hope that you’ve all had a lovely weekend and apologies that this celebration is slightly later than planned. 

Time for a moment of mindfulness, awe and wonder at the start of our assembly today. As we enter this final week of a unique school year, I thought it would be good to immerse ourselves in what could lie ahead as school and home learning are put on hold for a while and we are all given the chance to enjoy Mother Nature at her most beautiful over the summer.

During our last assembly we focused on the themes of our Roots and Shoots Pledges and how these pledges often inspire us to see ourselves as agents of change within our community, the environment or when looking after or protecting animals.

At the end of each school year we also celebrate some of the children that have made a significant difference to their community, animals or the environment in each class through our ‘DASP Citizen’ awards.

DASP Citizens are currently being celebrated in all of our local partnership schools as well as in Damers and this year we have changed the nomination focus slightly to ensure that we hear views from our home learners, from our learners in school, from parents and from school staff. You can see a few examples of nominations below.

It has been wonderful to read all of your nominations and particularly to hear how proud your parents and carers are of the resilience you have all shown during the lockdown period, and how so many of you have used this opportunity to create a positive change within your community or through nature. 

So what do the Damers ‘Agents of Change’ actually do to make a difference? Through our nominations this year, from home and from school, we have heard about children who have been …

  • Writing letters to grandparents and neighbours to cheer them up when they were feeling lonely
  • Working hard to nurture new growing spaces
  • Supporting VE Day celebrations – baking Victoria sponges and scones for the local community
  • Raising money for Dorset Youth Dance by making natural decorative wreaths

  • Helping neighbours with their shopping during lockdown
  • Drawing pictures and notes for the whole street with messages like ‘dance, let’s party’ and ‘scribble, let’s scribble’ with space for people to draw their own pictures 
  • Supporting their friends’ efforts during lockdown. One proud parent told us “He loves looking at his classmates’ blog posts and commenting on how good their work is. He is mindful of the world around him and genuinely cares about his actions and the actions of others and the impact they have on our world.”
  • Using their musical talents to raise money for local charities

  • Helping siblings with their home learning and bravely waving off some who have been able to return to school when they themselves haven’t been able to return just yet
  • Using lockdown as a time to create a positive change “P loves school and the thought of not being able to attend, to play with his friends and see his teachers was really difficult at first. With the help of the weekly assemblies he started to think about the positives of his new situation. He is kind, hard-working and funny, he has not just made the most of a difficult situation but grown as a person. He always thinks of others and can’t wait to see his Damers family again!”
  • Making others smile – one of our friends was overheard in the queue for school the other day talking to his friend about their new haircut “Wow, you look amazing!” 
  • Sharing home grown food with neighbours
  • Inspiring others – one mum described her son during lockdown as ‘inspiring me to be a better person
  • Looking after fledglings and baby rats
  • Impacting the world in ‘small and quiet ways
  • Taking out their neighbours’ bins for them
  • Collecting litter on daily walks
  • Looking after their siblings “At a time when brothers and sisters could be driving each other up the wall they have become firm friends. Even when he hadn’t left the house for six weeks there was never a moan or a word of complaint.”

Choosing eventual winners is always difficult, but more so than ever this year as there were so many amazing stories and I think every one of you deserves your own award.  However, the nominations have all been counted now and I know that you will all join me, as you always do, in congratulating our DASP Citizens 2020!


Miss Baker told me that “Daisy has put a huge amount of effort into her home learning, the celebration assemblies, sending homemade cookies and flowers into the office, swapping books with friends and encouraging them to play number bingo over video call. She is always such a kind and caring friend, encouraging her friends to try their best and always cheering them up. “

Meadow Foundation told me that they had chosen Freddie to be their DASP Citizen because … 

“He is so so kind”

“He does sharing bikes and scooters”

“Freddie is bestest at the hiderer in hide and seek”

“He does a nice drawing all the time for me” 

“Freddie says he loves me”

Skipper Foundation thought that “Lilly is the most kindest” and Mrs Bracey said that she couldn’t agree more. “She has a gentle aura about her and although quiet, is confident and charming. She is thoughtful and kind to her friends, offering a helping hand, whether it’s helping her friends to put on their painting aprons or being a great learning partner. She never leaves anyone behind, always making sure her friends have company and are happy. She is a real treasure and we are lucky to have her.”

Year 1

Grayling 1 told me that Mollie went to meet Greta Thunberg at the protest in Bristol.  They were all so proud of her and it made them think about how no one is too small to make a difference to our planet.

Felix was chosen as Meadow 1’s DASP Citizen because “He is always caring, always kind and is helpful to everyone. Felix is a great friend who is always there if anyone needs company or is feeling upset. He works hard at everything he does, is always up for a challenge and approaches his work and play with enthusiasm and persistence. He is fun to be around and always has a smile on his face.”

Skipper 1 couldn’t wait to tell me about Arlo “We love how Arlo cares for all forms of wildlife – from helping to rescue hedgehogs in the road, planning a beach clean-up with his family, saving snails on the school grounds and looking after any living creature he finds! Arlo is also kind, helpful, happy, fair and cares about everyone around him.

Year 2

Skipper 2 chose Lilliana as their DASP Citizen. Why Lilliana …?

She is always happy and smiles.”

“She makes me feel happy.” 

“She plays with me and it’s always fun.”

“If I need help she always says yes.”

“She notices me.”

“I like her being a ‘mini-maths teacher’.”

“She is my friend.”

“She has lots of good ideas.”

“She shares.”

Kaylen was chosen by Grayling 2 “Based on her quietly understated ethic, wonderfully positive nature and her ability to help other people. She has an amazingly caring nature and we have seen her wonderful calm attributes in class and have heard about even more of the wonderful things she has achieved outside of school too; from helping her brother and friends to her family like her grandads with their Judo club, Kaylen has made a positive impact on her class and the wider community.  We are lucky to have people like Kaylen in our school and local community and we are proud of her achievements. As her family have said ‘Kaylen just wants to improve who she is and be the best she can always be’.

Meadow 2 chose Holly “Holly picks up litter when we are on the playground and likes to help the environment. She has a great love of nature often bringing in things to share with the class that she has noticed on her journey  to school whether that be a beautiful leaf or telling us about the wildlife she has seen, encouraging others to share her enjoyment. Holly is a caring and kind person and a good friend.”

Year 3

Meadow 3 have chosen Emily as their DASP Citizen for 2020. “Emily has shown passion and enthusiasm in our Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Pledges this year. She was a driving force when we designed a litter poster for the NHS. She also took part in the CPRE Green Clean leading the way in helping to make our local area cleaner and litter free with the support of some Thomas Hardye students. She has created some phenomenal geometry from nature and has taken her environmental work into her home growing beans, tomatoes and sunflowers in her garden.  She has also made a  Hedgehog café with food and water. We are all very proud of Emily.”

Skipper 3 chose Joanna as their winner. “Joanna is an excellent member of Skipper 3! She is such a positive influence on the class and her upbeat personality is infectious. Joanna is incredibly supportive with all of her peers but especially her sister who she can cheer up with just a glance.”

Grayling 3 are extremely proud of their winner, Imogen. “She has been chosen because she is always caring and kind to others. She supports her peers in a quiet and thoughtful manner. Imogen works hard and will always find ways of offering her help to her peers and to her teachers in a very low key way. She has welcomed a new member of our class into our school and has worked tirelessly to make him feel a real part of our class and school community. Imogen always looks for the good in people and has a huge heart. This is a well deserved award.”

Year 4

In the words of Skipper 4 “Oliver is an avid Chimpanzee and Monkey fan. He has adopted a chimpanzee, supports the hard work at Monkey World (trying to visit as much as he possibly can) and is possibly Jane Goodall’s biggest fan. With his curious nature he endeavours to learn as much as he can and will often impart his knowledge to us all in Skipper 4, spreading the word of an important cause. Well done Oliver, you’ve inspired us all!”

Melissa was chosen by her friends in Meadow 4 because “she is very kind, a great listener and respects and helps all those around her.”

And finally, Grayling 4 chose Sophie as their DASP Citizen this year. They said that “She is a really good friend towards everyone. She will always help others when they need it and can be trusted. She is thoughtful and kind.”

When we present our awards in school we are usually joined by Mr Foley, Executive Headteacher of the Wessex MAT. I have shared your stories with Mr Foley and although he won’t be able to present the awards to our winners this year, he wanted me to share a little message from him too this week …

Message from Mr Foley:

Congratulations to all the DASP Citizen award winners for 2020. I am sorry I cannot be with you in person this year but I have read through the details of every single winner and I am so inspired by what you have done. You are the ambassadors for Damers First School representing everything that is good in your wonderful community. I am impressed with the range of winners this year:Some of you have represented the school in the climate change debate, some of you have picked litter, some of you have supported wildlife, including rescuing hedgehogs, and some of you have helped your friends and your family to get through a very difficult time in our lives. All of you have been immensely kind – make sure you never lose that important quality.

You are very fortunate to attend Damers and we are very fortunate to have you in the DASP community. I look forward to following your progress as you move through the school system and one day seeing you at Thomas Hardye as leaders and champions for all these good causes.

Have a lovely summer holiday and very well done on all your achievements.

Congratulations to all of our winners. Awards will be available either in school or for collection from school at any time that is convenient for you this week along with a virtual handshake from me. I look forward to congratulating you in person and sharing a heartfelt ‘well done’ from us all.

Enjoy your final week of term everyone and thank you to all for recognising that …

With warm wishes 

Mrs Smith 🦋