There is rather a Literacy focus to this week’s Newsletter. Above you can see that I have unusually chosen a picture of some class work rather than a picture of the children themselves as it just gives you an insight into how we work sometimes. This poem was produced by Year One. The previous day they had been out to the woods to find snowdrops which they then photographed and did observational drawings of. Back in the classroom, the children thought of ways of describing the snowdrops and contributed their ideas, and you can just see these initialled on sheets of paper on either side of the finished poem. These were then put together to produce the poem at the top of the page. The children were then challenged to go through this process on their own and write their own poem and this resulted in some rather lovely pieces of work. Throughout the week there has been a great deal of writing taking place as you would expect but I want to tell you about that which has been happening in the Reception and Nursery classes. We have been thinking about ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ this week, and these little children have written kind letters to a range of people throughout the school as it is important to acknowledge the often unseen work which people do for us. Another example of this have been visits from Mrs Dure-Smith and Mr du Luart who came in to talk to the Early Years children in their native language as a part of International Mother Tongue day. This was very much appreciated by all of us. Thank you! Now, at the latter end of the week we are off to see ‘Room on the Broom’, and the school is full of very excited children all looking forward to going on this adventure together! We will all draw on this for some fantastic learning next week across the curriculum and it will also herald World Book Day which is next Thursday. I better go or I’ll miss the mini bus! It’s all go in Pre-prep!
Rather a transport themed Newsletter today! Year One visited Beaulieu Motor Museum this week. They were so excited about this trip and they loved every second of it. It is so good to be able to see these wonderful vehicles after Mr Edwards and Mr Albury have shown and explained engines to them and told them about the development of cars. It’s just what we say we do – ‘I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.’ Year One also made paper helicopters, when investigating how things move through the air so it was wonderful to have a Chinook visit us today! They were able to go inside it, along with the rest of the school, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This week has also been National Story Telling week and the Reception class produced and directed a play telling the story of Snow White. They designed a stage area, made costumes, posters, tickets and popcorn and cast the characters and rehearsed the story. This was completely their idea and they absolutely loved it and I think that the parents who came to see it just before half term loved it too! Mrs Griffin visited us this week to show us some of the beautiful Kimonos which are worn in Japan. The children in the Nursery and Reception classes were able to try some on and they looked absolutely beautiful. In addition, the Nursery looked at where Japan is, in relation to the UK; tried different Japanese foods; had a go at origami and learned about some Japanese traditions and stories. There’s never a dull moment in Pre-Prep and all the children deserve a well-earned break! Have a good half term.
The above picture is an example of the work which has been undertaken in the Reception class. The children’s imaginations were fired by the visit of the birds of prey last week and they wanted to make their own wings. They were asked to design them before making them. They shaped and decorated them by themselves with only a little help to cut out of the stiff card and attach the ribbons. They have had such fun and every single child has come up with a different design. Year Two have been up to their ears in papier mache this week as they have been making volcanoes and learning about them. They worked in teams, carefully considering the qualities required by a good team player and they are most delighted with their creations. The Nursery have been learning about the letter ‘s’ this week. They’ve had a spaghetti day and have made snakes amongst myriad other things. I have really enjoyed working in the Year One class this week. We have had a great time making hot air balloons and finding out about them. At one point the classroom was a veritable sea of glue and tissue paper, mixed in with a sprinkling of last week’s feathers from when we learned about birds, and I thought that I would never see the classroom carpet again! However, the finished result is very satisfying and they will be displayed alongside some super creative writing. I will be with Year One next week too as I am sad to report that Mrs Well’s lovely mother has died and she is obviously devastated. There will be a funeral next week, after which Mrs Holdom will be back in post and hopefully Mrs Wells will be too. Thank you so much for bearing with us over this difficult time.
I know that I nearly always say it, but it has been such a busy week in Pre-Prep. This week has been Schools Bird Watch. The Reception and Nursery classes have embraced this with huge enthusiasm, making bird cakes and wings and going into the forest to watch the birds using their ‘binoculars’ from the safety of their hide. The children also learned to identify some common British birds and look at their beaks to tell what they preferred to eat, as this all helped when it came to making a tally of the birds when they carried out their observations. It was just wonderful to have Liberty’s Raptor and Reptile Centre visit us on Thursday afternoon with two owls, a Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon. They were so beautiful and I always feel incredibly honoured to be so close to them! Year One joined the EYFS in this experience as it fitted so well with their investigations into flight. You should have seen them running around the grounds earlier this week wearing their Icarus wings. They just loved it!
Year Two have been more grounded – more like underground. When the other classes were looking at the birds they were under their desks doing cave painting. They had great fun learning about the Lascaux caves in particular. Today, they are visiting Salisbury Museum where they will be handling artefacts and learning more about life in the Stone Age.
I wish that I could have gone with them but I have been holding the fort here, standing in for Mrs Wells and Mrs Holdom in Year One. As you may know, Mrs Holdom was originally here last term, covering Mrs Wellman who was on maternity leave. Following this, we were keen not to lose such an excellent and experienced Key Stage One teacher even though she had booked holiday in India. Mrs Wells was seamlessly going to cover this absence. Distressingly, Mrs Wells’ mother has become very ill and understandably she wants to be with her. I have therefore made the decision to teach the Year One class with the able assistance of Mrs Rogers, as this allows continuity for the children and for you. Mrs Humphreys has kindly agreed to cover me in the Reception class in order to provide continuity there! I am still planning the provision for the Reception class with Mrs Humphreys and Mrs Stapley as usual as well as keeping in close contact with Mrs Wells to ensure that I am teaching the Year One class as planned. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation, please do not hesitate to contact me.
My first Newsletter of the term is being written as I look out at an icing sugar dusting of snow over our lovely grounds. It is a beautiful morning and there is a quiet hum of voices coming from the classrooms. It is true to say that what the children would prefer is to be outside and up to their knees in a good foot of snow! Perhaps we can hope for a good snow day at some point this term…
Meanwhile, the children’s learning has been moving on apace. The cold weather is perfect for the Nursery class who have begun the term with a wintery theme. Year Two have been learning about the Super Continent of Pangea and showering Mrs Hansen with so many questions about physical geography and evolution that she is already readjusting her plans. Year Two’s theme this term is ‘Stone Age, Bone Age’ and a very exciting one it promises to be too with trips to Stonehenge and Salisbury Museum planned. Year One are studying ‘The Magic of Movement’, again following the children’s questions. They are currently in the Forest gathering up twigs to make broomsticks – ‘Can they fly?’ Year One, and the rest of the Pre-prep will be going to see ‘Room on the Broom’ at the Nuffield amongst other trips. Please keep an eye on ‘Next Week in Pre-prep’ for forthcoming dates. Next week they will be looking at flight with the Reception class who will be involved in Schools Bird-Watch. As a part of this, on Thursday Liberty’s Reptile and Raptor centre will be bringing in some birds for us to see. As you can tell it is action packed in the Pre-Prep and we’re going to have a great term!
It was fabulous to have such a full and appreciative audience for our Nativity play and we are so delighted that you enjoyed it! Though we have been practising since half term, the Christmas play is always rather an unpredictable event, but all the children, from our youngest three year old to our oldest seven year old really rose to the occasion and I think that they were really rather wonderful.
We have also been very busy in other areas too. Last week, we had the first part of a Moderation Inspection. This is when a member of the Hampshire LEA comes in to visit the Foundation Stage. She was extremely impressed by the provision which we offer our children throughout the Pre-Prep and especially in the Foundation Stage and we passed this part of our inspection with flying colours! So, thank you very much to my ‘very knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated team’!
Welcome back to what I always think of as the busiest half term of the year. Year Two have hit the ground running. Today, they have seen the culmination of their work on the Hindu festival of Divali. They went to a Vedic Temple in Southampton this morning where they were made very welcome and were able to observe a ceremony based around this beautiful festival of light. The Temple was gorgeously decorated with several shrines. The children were invited to join in and were absolutely fascinated by all that they saw and heard. On their return they had their own festival meal in their classroom. Matt White, our chef, had prepared a delicious curry with Naan breads and poppadums for them to eat and Mrs Carver had brought in many little side dishes for them to taste – onion bhajis, vegetable samosas, vegetable pakoras and raita. Then, if they wanted to, some children had Mehndi designs painted onto their feet, with Henna. It has to be said that for some of them this was very exciting and the culmination of a very wonderful day! The Year Two children will be giving a little bit of feedback on their learning at today’s Celebration Assembly, so if you want to know more, you know where to come!
If all this isn’t enough for you, please don’t forget the Pre-Prep Open day tomorrow. We have an autumnal apple theme. You will be free to investigate all of our classrooms and see the fabulous things that support the children’s learning as well as have a go at the many apple activities that we have in store. We look forward to seeing you!