W/E 25th September 2020

Head of Pre-Prep

Well another week has zoomed by and I can’t believe the leaves are turning yellow and the rain has finally arrived.  What a fantastic extended summer we have had, so I can’t complain!  The children donned their waterproofs this week and the jumping in puddles and floating of leaves began.  With each season comes a new adventure for our little ones who have seen so very few season changes in their lives.  This week I think my highlight has been watching the Year 2 children prepare for the Poetry by Heart competition.  They have been rehearsing and learning their lines tirelessly.  Whoever gets through to the next round, a very big ‘Well Done’ from Mrs McKnight, but a massive congratulations to all the children who have put in so much hard work; I am extremely proud of each and every one of you!

Nursery and Kindergarten

Little Vines have had a full week experiencing the language and culture of Spain!

The children have learnt about the colours in the Spanish flag, used castanets to dance to Flamenco music and the highlight of the week was cooking gazpacho with Chef Bear, which the children said was ‘delicious … deliciosa!’  What a shame we didn’t have the sunshine too!

This week, in the woods the children created their own musical instruments.  They hunted on the ground for sticks and, with adult support, tied them together to make their own woodland chimes.

The letter of the week was ‘s.’  With this in mind we made sandwiches; the children learnt how to spread the butter, jam or honey and cut them into squares and triangles.  The best bit was eating them up!

We send our birthday wishes to Persie who will be 4 on Saturday; have a fun filled day Persie!

Reception 

Mrs McKnight does not have time to sort out her laundry, so the children in Reception have been matching up all the socks whilst unknowingly learning about matching and pairs in their maths lesson.  They have also been sorting out all her buttons, learning about how we can sort things into different types of groupings (categories), and how to sort by shape, size and colour.  In English we have been reading the ‘Mixed-Up Chameleon’ by Eric Carle and thinking about what makes us each special; we had everything from ‘I am very good at jumping in puddles’ to ‘I like my skeleton because it helps me stand up properly!’

Year 1

Year 1 have been exploring self-portraits this week.  They learnt about Guiseppi Arcimboldo, who was a famous Italian artist who made portraits out of food.  The children tried using 3D food to make their own inspired portraits.  In English we have been listening to stories and thinking of who, when, where and what to help us re-tell and remember the story.  We finished the week by using pastels to recreate our portraits.  We made the most of the sunshine at the beginning of the week by finding some new areas to explore; we have some real life Maisie Monkeys in Year 1.

Year 2

Year 2 had an exciting week exploring poetry! We started the topic by sitting outside and using all of our senses to describe Autumn. Chirping birds, crunchy leaves and gooey marshmallows were ideas that came to mind as the children welcomed in the new season. The children really enjoyed choosing poems about ‘Light and Dark’ and participating in the Prep School event of Poetry by Heart. I was really impressed by the effort and enthusiasm of the children as they stood up in front of the Pre-Prep children and judges to recite their poems. Amazing work Year 2! Congratulations for earning a Maisie Monkey certificate for being so brave to try something new!

_______________________________________________

W/E 18th September 2020

Head of Pre-Prep 

This week all the classes have taken advantage of the glorious sunshine and have spent many lessons outside in the school grounds. Our pupils are all starting to settle and are delighted to share with me some of the things they are doing in their classrooms. Year 2 are learning the incredibly important stages of writing, and understanding the value of self-reflection and editing.  Year 1 have been cooking and the smells coming from their classroom of freshly baked cupcakes have been hard to resist; in the time before bubbles I would have had to perform some quality control testing! Reception have started their exciting journey of learning how to write letters, and went on a nature hunt to decorate a card with the initials of their names.  Kindergarten have been busy making herb potions in the gardens and all the Nursery and Kindergarten children built a bug hotel, thanks to Florence, with natural resources they found in the garden. It’s been a hive of activity down in Pre-Prep.

Amanda McKnight

Nursery and Kindergarten

The weather has been so kind to us this week and we made the most of it!

Outside, the children have been dancing to classical music and creating wonderful shapes with ribbons. We have had the bubble machine blowing, which meant we all had to jump and stretch to catch them; and we had our weekly adventure to the woods.

This week’s Woodland Adventure sparked off great creativity. We used sticks to create picture frames and the children used their beady eyes to hunt for lots of natural materials. Their imaginations were just amazing; we had pictures of ‘homes for the woodland creatures’, along with ‘a spider’s web with 100 flies in it!’

On Wednesday we continued our theme of healthy eating with Chef Bear. The children used their brilliant cutting skills and used ‘real knives’ to cut up a selection of fruit and created all sorts of ‘happy faces.’   Of course the best part was eating it all up when we had finished!

Our Pre-Prep Pal of the week has been Billy Bee. We have been so proud of our little ones who are using their ‘kind voices’ to work collaboratively together just like Billy Bee.

We send our Birthday wishes to Margot who will be four on Sunday!

We have been discussing Autumn  and learning the letter ‘A’.  We chose apples to make Autumnal prints. The children chose the colours they had seen on their forest walks and used them to make pictures. Some of the children explored the way the colours mixed together and made an Autumnal brown.

Reception Class

The children loved listening to the book ‘Mouse Paint’ by Ellen Walsh this week. It is the story of three white mice who decide to climb into some paint jars and have some fun while the cat is napping. This book helps the children think about mixing colours, which they have had a great deal of fun doing this week. They also enjoyed ‘reading’ sentences from the book with me. A great foundation step in learning to read is helping the children understand that each set of letters on a page is a word; so when we say each word when we read, we point to the word as reference. When we finished reading the story we spoke about our favourite colours and used Unifix cubes to represent these. We then made a 3D bar chart so the children could identify easily which colour was the most popular.

Before we start learning our numbers we have to spend some time learning to count using one to one correspondence, which is the skill of counting one object as you say one number. For example, if you are counting objects, you point at the first item and say ‘1’, then point to the second and say ‘2’ and so on. This is something you can practise with them at home, counting Lego, buttons, Cheerios – anything works! This sounds simple, but 4 year olds find this pretty tricky as they like to rush. In maths we have also been learning about patterns. The children were delighted when they understood and enjoyed making all sorts of ABAB patterns on the peg boards, Unifix and elephants! We have also played a mice making dice game, where they have to ‘win’ parts of the mice and put them together to make a mouse.

Year 1

Blackberries have been the theme in Year 1 this week.  We started the week by going blackberry picking around the school grounds.  The children became experts when picking the ripest blackberries, whilst keeping safe from the prickles.  Although it was difficult not to eat them all, we managed to save enough to bake delicious blackberry cupcakes.  The children followed instructions very well and the delicious smell of freshly baked cakes filled the air.  We then used vines to create art work surrounding a blackberry cupcake; the children chose colours they could see outside on the vines.

Year 2

Zog, the dragon, sent Year 2 a letter this week and we thought of many interesting questions to ask in order to find out more about him. We concentrated like Ollie Owl and used question marks at the end of our sentences. Will Zog be writing back to the children to answer their little human questions? We continued to learn more about the seven continents through researching them on the ipads and going to the Pre-Prep library to gather useful information. The children huffed and puffed with all their might and blew up their own balloon worlds to make a 3-dimensional globe, carefully plotting the continents in the northern and southern hemispheres. We finished the week with a hunt for things that were living, dead and never alive and we were so proud of how gentle and caring the children were in looking after our new friends.

_______________________________________________

W/E 11th September 2020

Head of Pre-Prep

As I head up and down the corridor in Pre-Prep peeping into the classrooms countless times during a school day,  I feel extremely fortunate to have arrived at a school where the staff are so incredibly professional and thoughtful, and the children an absolute delight. When I walk the Reception children to ‘big school’ school for lunch each day, I am bowled over by all the Prep children I meet – smart and articulate, enthusiastically opening doors, politely greeting me and the younger children with smiles on their faces. My only regret is that my own children are too old to join the Vinehall family and benefit from its education. It is funny when you take on a new job, you are never quite sure what you are signing up for until you arrive and start the job in hand. So far … so very good!

Have a wonderful week ahead and enjoy reading about what a fantastic week has been had by all.

Nursery and Kindergarten

What an amazing start to Little Vines!  It has been so wonderful having our classrooms full of children’s voices and laughter!

The children have settled very well and it is just as though we have never been away! Our little ones always amaze me with how they demonstrate such resilience and adapt to changes, just like our Pre-Prep Pal Terry Tortoise.

This week the children had their first gym lesson with Mrs Towner; WOW, we couldn’t quite believe how well the children joined in with all the fun activities. Mrs Towner said it was as though the children had been at Vinehall for ever!

On Tuesday we went on our Woodland Adventures and explored the “BIG BIG woods”, as one of the children called it. The children were full of curiosity as they explored exciting camps made from wood and we even found lots of enormous holes which apparently the ‘Gruffalo’ lives in!

Long may the happy faces, laughter and fun continue!

We send Birthday wishes to Axel who will be 4 on Saturday, have a super day!

Reception

What a wonderful week we have had in Reception. The children are already walking to the classroom on their own and have mastered their new routines. Washing their hands, popping their water bottles on the table, finding their trays and putting in their book bags – all in a week’s work!  Next week A levels!

Our new children to Vinehall have made some lovely friendships very quickly and our existing pupils have been super little buddies. This week we have been getting to know each other and the new environment in Reception. French was an exciting new adventure and dry land swimming lessons were a vision to behold as the children synchronised their arms and legs on mats in the hall. The children had great fun in their ball skills lesson in this week’s glorious sunshine.  However, I think the crowning glory was when I announced one morning that, as they were now in Reception and incredibly grown up, it was time to do some work – they gasped in delight and then all cheered! Now that’s a great place to start the school year.

Year 1

Year 1 have had a fantastic start to Term! Over the first week the children have been exploring the school grounds and leading Mrs Bennett and Mrs Winn on new adventures. Wstarted our topic by reading ‘Kitchen Disco’ and had our own little disco in the classroom, the children even created their own giant fruit and vegetables to DJ the party. Year 1’s energy and enthusiasm for learning is very apparent and I am looking forward to getting to know them all much better over the year! 

Year 2

Year 2 enjoyed the summer sun and spent some quality time out in the Vinehall woods this week. We thought about what might make a good ‘time capsule’ in which to bury our beginning of Year 2 work. Thank you to Dave (one of our Groundsmen) for coming to the rescue to help Mrs Garwood and Mrs Ruddle dig a hole deep enough to bury our treasure! It will be very interesting when we dig it up on 1st July 2021 to discover how much the children have changed. We talked about the importance of fire safety and all concentrated, like Ollie Owl, to create a spark with our flint and steel. Toasting and eating our piece of bread on the fire was definitely a highlight and enjoyed by us all.

_______________________________________________

W/E 26th June 

In Reception we have enjoyed being outside morning, noon and night! We were delighted to wave to the Year 2 bubble on Monday morning and enjoyed seeing the familiar faces, but we have been really very busy with our dinosaurs again.  This week, we have brought dinosaur faces to life using an app called Morfo.  We made a dinosaur face using materials from the woods and then recorded its ROARRR!  We have also had great fun working like Billy Bee to create a dinosaur world. We needed to think about what Dinosaurs needed to live and the children were very resourceful creating their worlds using materials that they found around them.  Of course, all dinosaur worlds have Volcanoes and all volcanoes erupt. The children mixed baking soda and vinegar and we watched the lava roll down the sides of the jars, catching unsuspecting dinosaurs in its path.  On Thursday the grounds were alive once again with all the Prep School and we enjoyed an ice lolly in the glorious sun followed by our picnic in the grounds. We are very lucky! 

The penultimate week of the term has been particularly adventurous in Year 1! We started the week by hosting our own mini sports day.  All the Year 1s took part and enjoyed the different events. We spent the morning outside and made it into a special occasion as we know how much the children love taking part in Sports day. The children have been learning more about bees and created bee art using paper mosaics and finger painting. We have been discussing famous explorers from across the world and throughout history; the children had a great debate about Christopher Columbus. They then had to think about what they would discover and where they would go if they were explorers.

_______________________________________________

W/E 19th June

We have had another dinotastic week. We have focused on fossils, learning about Mary Anning who found fossils on the beach.  We have made up for the fact that we couldn’t do our seaside trip by making our own salt dough fossils. It was great fun making our own socially distanced dough, which meant we had to measure out the right amounts of flour and salt and water. Quite a challenge!  We have made some lovely fossils. We have also looked at real fossils. We learnt what a Palaeontologist does and then had a chance to be one. We worked like Billy Bee, digging up the bones and then passing them on to be washed and cleaned, before they made it to the lab where our scientists were waiting to piece them together.  We even tried excavating chocolate chips from a cookie with a toothpick. It was tricky!  We have done lots of painting of our dinosaurs and of our daddies, being careful not to mix up the two! As well as this, Mrs Parkin and Mrs Garwood made us sit and complete standard assessments in Maths and English. We have worked jolly hard! 

Year 1 have had a brilliant week exploring Mini-beasts. We started the week by using specimen collectors to discover the bugs we could find around Vinehall.  During our morning walk in the woods, the children decided to make a den that could withstand the approaching storms. In art the children used watercolour as the next medium for our art project; we look forward to sharing these with you next week.

On Thursday Mrs Bennett brought in a wasp nest that was 54cm long and had a bird’s nest in it. We enjoyed taking Jigsaw Jack out to the Oak trees for our PSHE session. The children found this amazing and we learnt about the purpose of wasps and why they are interesting. Outside on the hill, Madame Austen sang French songs to us so we could join in, as Mrs Bennett still needs to practise!

_______________________________________________

W/E 12th June

Reception have had a busy week. We discovered some Dinosaur eggs in the woods last week. Mrs Dino wrote a letter and we wrote back reassuring her that we would look after her eggs. Reception have taken great care of the eggs and we are hoping that they will hatch today! In the meantime we have been swotting up on our dino facts so that we are able to look after the baby dinosaurs when they hatch. Are they carnivores or herbivores? A very important question!

We have spent lots of time outside, discovering the wonderful Vinehall grounds. We took our pastels outside on Wednesday and drew each of our friends looking closely at them.  We are continuing with our number work and playing lots of phonics games outside.

_______________________________________________

W/E 5th June 

Reception have all embraced our new socially distanced way of living. We have found ways to celebrate Rupert and Jonty’s birthdays, singing super loud so that the birthday boys could hear (and that they wouldn’t forget to share the cake!) We have enjoyed being outside in the glorious weather. We spent the first two days catching up with our friends, spending time collecting, sanding, painting and varnishing rainbow sticks, getting used to new lunchtime routines, playing and, of course, washing our hands. We visited Mrs Powis and her chickens and have watched chicks hatching out of their eggs whilst thinking about the life cycle of a chicken. We have now started on our dinosaur topic, brainstorming what we already know (which is quite a lot) and we are looking forward to sharing our adventures next week.  We have also started our ‘Maths No Problem’ books with which we will transition into Year 1 – so we are doing proper work too!

Year 1 have had a wonderful return to school and are in incredibly high spirits.  They have dived back into our activities with great enthusiasm. The children enjoyed taking the gazebo over to the large oak tree and setting up for the morning; the beautiful grounds lend themselves to our outdoor adventure topic and exploring the world of Beatrix Potter.

The children have created their own character in the style of Beatrix Potter for our English project this term. While the children were laying under the tree we heard the story of the woodland princess who helped the woodland creatures and plants, so the animals created her a crown out of natural materials. The children created their own crowns using the natural materials we could find on the floor. We then looked at botanical drawings to create our own from flowers we could find around the school grounds.

The children had fun playing pine cone cricket on the fields and using up some of their unlimited energy!

_______________________________________________

W/E 22nd May

In Reception this week we have seen lots of great frog life cycles. Taking advantage of the glorious weather, some of the children have gone pond dipping. Many have found and seen tadpoles and dragonflies. Others have spotted minibeasts in their gardens. We are starting to see some great information projects coming in.

Some super work on double facts – we have been making paperchains and playing lots of games to help us remember them quickly. The children have been so engaged with their calls and online programme, it really is very easy to forget that they are only 4 or 5 years old. Well done to everyone; Mrs P and Mrs G are very proud of you.

_______________________________________________

W/E 15th May

Reception children have enjoyed finding out more about minibeasts and making beautiful fact mobiles. Some of them are busy setting up tumble traps in their gardens and we are waiting very excitedly to see what falls in. They have been finding out which numbers are friends of 10. We have heard of great family skittle games. We have even managed to hear some of the children read, thanks to Active Learn. We are all learning together!

In English this week, Year 1 have been exploring Animal poetry. They have been creating rhyming pairs using descriptive language.

Throughout our topic work this week we have been discovering more about plants, including using herbs in recipes, looking at plant structure and then making a 3D version. The children then used the growth of a seed to create an expressive dance.

Many of the children have created Big Cat quizzes after learning more about them; do you know how far lions can jump?

_______________________________________________

W/E 8th May

This week, Reception have been estimating.  They have been guessing how much Lego they have and how many drops could fit on a spoon.  The have been starting to count in two’s, hopefully helping with the washing pairing up their socks.  We have shared the book Jasper’s Beanstalk and they have been helping Jasper to plant his bean by writing him some instructions on a Pinwheel. There has been lots of evidence of vegetable soup making and we are hoping to see some sunflowers start to sprout soon, in beautifully decorated pots.  We are so proud of all the children who have been carrying on with their phonic sounds and reading their books. Well done!

________________________________________________________________________________

W/E 13th March

In Reception we have had a crafty week doing lots of secret things for Mother’s Day and Easter preparations. We have had a focus on one less and subtraction vocabulary this week and incorporated lots of fun maths games. The highlight came on Thursday when the Wolf delivered a letter to Mrs Stenton (we were unfortunately not there as we were out on our Woodland Learning session) however, it turns out that the Wolf loved Florence’s currant bun and feels so happy that we made friends with him. We have started reading Jack and the Beanstalk and we are concentrating on structuring sentences with ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ prompts.

Year 1 have been like Terry Tortoise this week with their adaptations of Handa’s Surprise.  All the children took the original stories and used narrative therapy to plan their own versions. The children have thought of original setting and animals to make their story unique. We have continued to explore healthy foods and have designed snack bars that we are going to make next week. Multiplication has been our theme for maths and exploring groups and rows; the children enjoyed using counters to develop understanding.

Year 2 went out to investigate why a huge tree came down in the Vinehall grounds this week. We found out it wasn’t just the wind, but the trunk of the tree was actually rotten.


W/E 6th March

The highlight of the week in Reception was of course World Book Day. The children loved telling their friends who they were and we all enjoyed sharing lots of stories with the class and with the whole of Pre-Prep. A big thank you to all the parents who put such an effort in to creating such imaginative costumes and hairstyles! We spent the start of the week weighing out all the ingredients for some currant buns. All the ingredients balanced one egg so we measured and worked together to mix the ingredients. Today we are searching for Granny in the woods and so we are hoping that the cards and the buns make her feel a lot better. We will look for signs of the wolf but hopefully he will be far away! The Battle Fire Brigade came to Pre Prep at the start of the week and we learnt a lot from Ben the Fireman and his team who let us squirt water from the hose. We sat in the cab of the fire engine. Lots of children were like Cassie Cat and asked curious questions.

Year 1 have had a very busy week and have tried many new things just like Maisie Monkey. We started our new topic book this week which is Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne. The children tried all of the fruit from Handa’s surprise and created adjective bubbles to help us use them when we are describing the fruits, so they had to draw upon all of their senses. Last week they created a snap game using animals and their babies, so this week we went to Nursery and Kindergarten to teach them our games. Thursday was the highlight of the children’s week; we started the day by hearing a story from a shark with gleaming white teeth! We discussed our favourite books and characters and then shared books with the whole of Pre-Prep in the afternoon.


W/E 28th February

Reception came back refreshed after the half term break, which was just as well since we have had a deliciously energetic week!  We started with pancake races in the sports hall, with lots of parents coming to watch, and finished with a Pre-Prep Bake-off.  Mrs Garwood’s class created a magnificent spring sheep, complete with lambs, ably helped by Mrs Fuselgang; and Mrs Parkin’s class had a master class in baking with Mrs Gilsenan, who made chocolate brownies with us, which were as healthy as they could possibly be!  We all enjoyed our cooking, with an added focus on handwashing and hygiene, especially at this time.  We have continued with positional language work in maths and are continuing to gather up our phonic sounds.  The children are making links between the sounds they learn and the letters they write, which is wonderful to see.  We listened to Red Riding Hood in French and during our Understanding the World session we investigated waterproof materials that we could make for Red Riding Hood’s Hood.  More Red Riding Hood fun next week!

Year 1 have had a fantastic week back after half term.  The highlight of the week was sharing our Pre-Prep Bake off with everyone.  The children thoroughly enjoyed finding recipes and voting on the things they would like to make, finally deciding on Moon Cakes and Mini Calzone.  The children have been exploring number word problems in maths which has been quite tricky but they have all acted like Terry Tortoise and continued to try throughout.  Year 1 have begun to explore different farm animals and were able to tell us many things about farms.


W/E 14th February

The highlight of the week in Reception was our Three Billy Goats Gruff performance to Year 6, who are also looking at fairy tales. They came and shared some of their favourite fairy tales with us and it was lovely to see the big children working so supportively with our Reception children. Much of the week was spent preparing for our performance. We all worked like Billy Bee to write the invitation to Year 6 and Heidi and Albert were really brave and stood up and explained to the Year 6s what we were doing. Today we have loved raising money for Charity and wearing our Onesies and PJs. It made sharing stories with Year 6 very cosy. We started to explore positional language in maths and will continue to do so after the half term. We have had a lovely time in ball skills with all the obstacle course set out. With Valentine’s Day and a power cut on Monday, that is all we managed to fit in!

Year 1 have had a fantastic end to our Pirate topic! We have been exploring oceans this week through seascapes and animal research. The children started by using hand painting to create coral, then sponges to paint the sea and finally pastels to create our animals. Year 1 enjoyed visiting Year 3 on Wednesday to play their magnet games. They were all great fun and Year 1 remembered lots of things that the Year 3s had told them. To celebrate the end of our stories we took them down the corridor to share them with Reception; all of the children were extremely proud.


W/E 7th February

This week Reception have had a wonderful drama experience with Mrs Alderson. She gave us a masterclass in Troll behaviour and how to walk and talk like three different Billy Goat Gruff characters. The children really enjoyed it and were very involved. Mrs Parkin and Mrs Garwood learnt something too! We are preparing to share our performances with the Year 6 children who have also been studying Fairytales. Madame Austen came and told us all about her goats in French and we have learnt how goats’ cheese is made and we even tasted some. We are continuing to practise adding two numbers together. We found our “Brave” on Pirate day and enjoyed a wonderful assembly with Captain Payne who asked us all to find the brave in each other. We have had a wonderful week sharing the fantastic Three Little Pigs’ houses. We are thinking of moving in to them as they are all so well built!

Ooh Argh! Year 1 have had such a fantastic week; the highlight of our week was dressing up as pirates and sharing our topic with the rest of Pre-Prep.  The children even wrote letters to the rest of Pre-Prep inviting them to the special day.  Mrs Payne helped the children ‘find their brave’ in assembly and encouraged the children to be like Maisie Monkey!  The children were all extremely excited to start the second book in maths; they have been exploring numbers to 40 and splitting them into tens and ones.  On Friday we found a letter from Captain Jill Sparrow and although she could not make our Pirate Party we sent her lots of photos.

As part of their science topic on forces, Year 2 have been working hard making their own vehicles from wood and card. They investigated different ways to make axles, testing out and evaluating their designs and they also worked with each other, like Billy Bee, to solve problems. They talked to the children in Year 1 about how they constructed their vehicles.


W/E 31st January

Reception completed their first ever school trip this week. We had a wonderful time taking the train to Hastings library, despite the weather. We bought our ticket from Maggie at Robertsbridge, who showed us around the ticket office before we got on the train. At Hastings we walked down to the library, where Elaine met us and read us lots of stories and showed us how to check out our books using the self-service machine. On the way back to school, one of the train drivers told us a little about driving a train. Lots of Cassie Cat questions were asked before arriving back in Robertsbridge. We had a lovely day and the children all behaved impeccably. Thank you to all the helpers and to all those who we met who made our day so great and informative.

We have spent the rest of the week making junk vehicles and writing a Reception retelling of The Three Little Pigs. In maths we are exploring addition by partitioning numbers and we have been introduced to Rupert the Sheep who helps us write short and straight letters. In cooking we have made a vegetable train and then enjoyed the dips with all the fresh vegetables.

Year 1 have taken advantage of the weather this week! We have been waiting to test our recycled pirate boats and finally got the chance to try them out on the pond. The children made predictions on the floating capabilities and what they think might be a problem with their boat. The wind took the children’s boats out to the middle of the pond and they showed great potential; unfortunately the wind was too strong for one which sank. Afterwards we evaluated our ships based on something the children felt went really well and something they could improve. Captain Jill must have sneaked into Pre-Prep this week as she took our letters and replaced them with bits of treasure! Our giant pirates have begun to take shape and will be soon be ready to sail on the pirate boat. On Tuesday we were invited to Year 2 and travelled back to 1854 to a hospital where we met two very famous women: Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale. The Year 2s told us all about the two famous nurses in the Crimean War.

Children in Year 2 were delighted to receive certificates for their stories in the Young Writers’ Competition. They will see their work published in a Young Writers’ Anthology, which will be available in March. Well done Year 2; we are very proud of you.


W/E 24th January

Land ahoy! Our pirate ship set sail through Pre-Prep this week for all to share. The Year 1s have enjoyed explaining the different parts of the ship to the other children.  Year 1 wrote their letters to Captain Jill Sparrow, then hung them above our pirate ship so that Captain Jill could find them.  We have continued to explore Pirate stories by reading ‘Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs’ by Giles Andreae and Russel Ayto. We have begun planning our own pirate adventures to meet some unsavoury characters! We investigated the properties of different materials using our senses; every sense apart from sight. We were blindfolded and had to guess our object and its material using our other senses. A satellite image of the school provided a great opportunity to create our own treasure maps and paths to find the treasure around school.

Some of the Prep School children came to visit us on Thursday to share their love of music with the Pre-Prep. This was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to hear and see different instruments; Zuriel played the ‘cello beautifully;  Mary proudly played her trumpet and the children found the sound of Gryff on the tuba particularly memorable. Pre-Prep are always finding new ways to explore music. Nursery and Kindergarten have been trying out a range of different instruments and enjoyed using the chime bars. They used singing and movement to bring their dragon to life. Chinese New Year continued into Reception, where the children built their own drums to try traditional Chinese drumming.  Year 1 have been playing the ocarinas for the last couple of weeks, which they have really enjoyed, and they were treated to a solo performance from George on his ‘cello. Year 2 have continued to discover how to play a range of instruments, including trying the violin. Individual music lessons have spread throughout Pre-Prep from Reception upwards and we enjoy sharing the musical talent that fills Pre-Prep.


W/E 17th January

Well what a week it has been in Reception. We started the week with a crime scene. Someone had pushed all our Humpties off the wall that we had built!  We all wrote down our ideas of who it may have been and it was wonderful hearing all the children’s theories. This was part of a wider opportunity to share many childhood nursery rhymes and fairy tales. We are working on rhyme and have explored trying to change the Humpty’s rhyme using our own rhyming words. It was very hard. We did finally work out who had pushed Humpty off the wall – it was Mrs Stenton! She had accidentally knocked Humpty whilst getting into the loft with the ladder. So, no crime was committed in the end! We had a great Woodland learning session, where we explored different materials. We worked in groups to wrap up Humpty in protective clothing and throw him off the wall. They all did really well – Humpty only had a very small crack!  In maths, we have been working on mastering our numbers up to ten, ordering and sequencing.  The week ended with a nursery rhyme party in the hall, with lots of games and fabulous fancy dress costumes. The Muffin Man helped us make muffins and we finished our Swedish drinks from last term.

Year 1 have had a busy week.  We have worked like Billy Bee to create our Pirate ship in the corridor outside the Year 1 classroom.  We looked at features of boats and then used our research to create our boat.  The ocean was made by focusing on a tonal pallet and using scrunching and ripping to create texture.  On Thursday we received a postcard form Captain Jill Sparrow and the children decided we needed to write letters back to ask our question; we hung them above our pirate ship in bottles to see if they would be taken.  We finished the week by dyeing our pirate flags in preparation for assembly next week; we used twisting and elastic bands to add different patterns.


W/E 10th January

The Reception children have all settled back into the class routines like they have never been away. We have spent the first three days enjoying nursery rhymes and the benefits that these simple rhymes bring to help with communication and language. We have been looking at money and using coins in our role play areas of the bakery and train station.   We experienced full winter weather during woodland learning, finding it rather hard to look for winter treasures in the wind and the rain, but we enjoyed the puddles and squelchy mud.  We have done lots of gym and ball skills to keep us fit, starting 2020 as we mean to go on!  Today we have been building a wall for Humpty Dumpty to balance our eggs on.  We have had to work like Cassie Cat, experimenting how to make our Humpty balance by attaching legs to it. Let’s hope they don’t all fall down on Monday!

Ooooh Arghhhh! Captain Jill Sparrow visited Year 1 on Wednesday after we found her wandering in the playground, lost and without her ship. The children were keen to find out more about her and had many excellent Cassie Cat questions. Captain Jill read us ‘The Night Pirates’ by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright; the children never thought that adult pirates might be scared of children! The children suggested we make a map for Captain Jill so that she could visit us again. In our French lesson Madame Austin brought the children in a New Year treat; they explored the tradition of the Galette de Rois. Lucas was the lucky one who found the king in his slice, so he got to wear the crown.

Year 2 have been on a Zog hunt out in the woods and, although we didn’t find Zog himself, we found an egg left by Zog’s mum. She left a letter to ask us to look after the egg as it contains Zog’s little sister!