27th November 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
This week in Pre-Prep, the children enjoyed listening to a lovely Thanksgiving assembly from Mrs Garwood, live-streamed into their classrooms. Then all the children talked about things for which they were grateful during circle time. From family to friends, curries and naan bread to Major Croft; we had it all!
I am very thankful for the excellent staff I have here in Pre-Prep. Watching the teachers and teaching assistants shepherding fluffy white sheep, bejewelled wise men, angelic angels and camels to and from the hall is a joy to behold. Listening to all the Christmas songs that the wonderful Mrs Fulford has been teaching the children spilling from the Pre-Prep hall has also blown away the COVID cloud, and the magic of Christmas has most certainly arrived at Vinehall.
On Monday, all the children will be coming home with a Christmas advent chain they have made in school. Each night before they go to sleep, they will tear off one link of their paper chain and when only the star is left – one more sleep and it will be Christmas day!
Nursery and Kindergarten
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The countdown has begun! I know what you are thinking, it’s still November, but let’s embrace this festive time and spend as much time as we can celebrating with a festive cheer or two; the children are certainly very excited! The classrooms are full of glitter and sparkle as we begin to decorate and create Christmas crafts.
This week we began recording our virtual Nativity. This is a first for us and what fun we have had even without an audience! The children have enjoyed dressing up, singing and learning their lines and we are nearly there! We cannot wait to share this with you at the end of the term.
We were very excited as we have been having ‘cinema afternoons’. Oh yes, it all happens at Little Vines! We were treated to a few stories on the ‘Big Screen’ read by some of our parents. It was such a surprise and we even had popcorn to nibble on! Thank you parents!
We have two birthdays to celebrate over the weekend. Jesse will be four on Saturday 28th November and Xander will also be four on Sunday 29th November; we wish you both a very Happy Day!
Reception have completed their set 1 in RWI phonics! They have learnt all the sounds and the letter formation for all the letters in the alphabet and some diagraphs. This means they are now writing! Nearly all the children are blending these sounds together and now the reading and writing learning journey truly begins! This week we have been talking about hibernation and reading the story ‘The Bear Snores On’ by Karma Wilson; a sweet rhyming story of a hibernating bear whose lair fills up with other animals as he sleeps. He wakes up to find them having party and is bit distraught until a mouse invites him to join the fun. We were learning about the difference between the terms ‘Nocturnal’ and ‘Hibernation’ – some children decided they would rather be like an owl and sleep in the day so they could eat at night, and others wanted to be like bear and have a big long sleep.
A huge round of applause to Year 1 this week; they have been writing and filming their fantastic shadow puppet shows! Over the last couple of weeks the children have been adapting the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ to perform it as a shadow puppet play. They used expression and movement to bring their characters to life and have created interesting and exciting stories. We shared our stories with the rest of Pre-Prep and Year 3 and we have received shining reviews! For homework the children created their own shadow puppets and used them through creative play to explore the shadows the would create.
At the beginning of the week I gave the children the choice of what they would like to do with the overgrown chrysanthemums on our vegetable patch and they chose to create bunches made up of flowers and foliage to take home. This week we read ‘Orion and the Dark’ by Emma Yarlett to start off our next project; we started by drawing our own versions of the Dark who would help us explore the universe and face our fears.
It was another busy week for Year 2 as they continued their nativity play practices in preparation for our recording next week! In between all the hustle and bustle, the children proudly completed the editing process producing a final book about their ‘Magical school class trip.’ Some of the children even read their stories on a live Teams chat to the Year 3 children when the two classes got together ‘virtually.’ The children went ‘live’ on Teams for a special assembly to the rest of the Pre-Prep learning all about ‘Thanksgiving’ and how to be thankful for all that they have in their lives. The week wouldn’t be complete without a messy science experiment testing to see how polar animals keep warm in freezing temperatures. There were certainly a few buttered bodies to be giggled at!
20th November 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
Terry the Tortoise has been our star Pre-Prep pal this week as we have all talked about the strategies we need to solve problems. In Pre-Prep, our children’s problem can feel unsurmountable because our little ones do not yet have the tools at hand to solve them. Each day in every class across the school, teachers find opportunities in which to help children develop strategies to tackle all sorts of problems; friendship, mind-set, an academic challenge, self-care and, the most tricky of them all, the emotional facet.
Our objective in Pre-Prep is to evolve the children’s creative thinking, so they develop the ability to look at a problem in many different ways. This might involve seeing a different way to do something, generating new ideas, or using materials in unique ways. Basic to being a creative thinker is a willingness to take risks, to experiment, and even to make mistakes. We also want to develop their Critical Thinking, so they can start to break down a problem or an idea into parts and analyse these parts. In EYFS this may be in sorting, classifying, and comparing similarities and differences of objects. In Years 1 and 2 this may be posing a question to the children; for example, how can we keep ice from melting inside the classroom when we don’t have a fridge?
As the children’s teachers there are times we can model how to do things; but many times the best way to teach is to take a step back and watch their independent problem-solving. Keep in mind that children’s problem-solving does not always look like a thinking activity. In fact, it can look like an argument, an experiment, or an unusual and messy way to use materials. As one child said to me, ‘Problems do not get solved without thinking hard Mrs McKnight – and I mean really hard!’
Nursery and Kindergarten
10.9.8.7.22.214.171.124.2.1 BLAST OFF! Our very own Vinehall rocket was launched. What fun we have had creating our rocket; the children helped to assemble and paint it and then we had a vote to decide on a name. The majority went for ‘Rainbow Rocket,’ which was a suggestion from one of the Nursery children. This rocket took us to many planets and beyond; the children’s minds are just so creative. Did you know, we flew to Ice Planet, Rainbow Planet, Gym Planet and Bedtime Planet, to name but a few.
Our younger Little Vines have been learning all about colours and have really enjoyed reading lots of stories about Elmer The Elephant. This led on to getting really sticky as they created some very colourful Elmer elephants.
We have all been trying new things just like Maisie Monkey, from tasting different fruits and vegetables to ‘performing’ in front of our friends when we practise our Nativity. What a big step for some of our children who are just beginning to find their self-confidence. We are very proud of them all!
Kindergarten have been learning all about the sound P, learning to write it by following the Pirate’s plait and going around his face. We used potatoes and paint to print the letter P. Well done Kindergarten.
Though we are still in November, we are already in Nazareth! This week in Reception one day we have been dancing as angels and the next as line-dancing Town Folk … shh I have said too much already!
Mastering numbers up to five and introducing some addition this week was very exciting for the children. One morning when we were talking about an addition equation in circle time, one child declared ‘Wow, this is real maths!’ and all the children cheered and felt very grown up!
All the children have been full of energy this week. We have continued to explore light and shadow. The children worked in groups to write their scripts for our adapted version of ‘The Three Little Pigs’; we then created shadow puppets to act out the story. We will be sharing our shadow puppet show with you all next week. We looked at Thomas Edison and how he helped develop the light bulb we know today.
We also discussed John Logie Baird who invented the world’s first known working television system; he resided in Bexhill. In Science we investigated materials to find the type of paper we could use for our shadow puppets. The children learnt some new and interesting vocabulary to describe the different materials, such as opaque. Mrs Bennett showed Year 1 ‘Asterix and Obelix’, which is one of her favourite French cartoons; we watched it first in French and then in English. During Anti-Bullying week, Jigsaw Jack helped us to explore the word ‘bullying’ and what we could do if it ever happened to us, or we saw it happening to someone else. The children enjoyed wearing odd socks to show that we are all different!
Sir Ernest Shackleton made a special visit to Year 2 this week as the children continued their learning journey into the polar regions. The children listened intently to the story of Shackleton’s extraordinary journey as he and his crew ventured into the depths of the South Pole. They decided that he needed to be added to the list of famous people that we have been studying this year. In Art, the children looked at ‘regular and irregular’ shapes, completing their collage mosaic of icebergs. We are beginning to get the classroom ready for a ‘cosy winter’ and snuggled up by the fire with our favourite Julia Donaldson book, thinking about it deeply and writing a book review expressing our opinions. We finished the week with ‘odd sock day’, thinking about the special gifts we have and how they make us unique individuals. We have to be proud of these gifts.
13th November 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
This week has been yet another busy week in the classrooms, fields and gardens of Pre-Prep.
Following our Monday morning assembly about Remembrance Day, the children across Pre-Prep all made beautiful poppies and spoke about grandparents and great grandparents who had fought in the war. It is amazing how our little ones can comprehend just enough to know Remembrance Day as a sombre day but no more; it is important we share but equally important we remember how much their little minds can process.
This week we have also been learning about Diwali, a religious festival originating in India. People often think of Diwali as a Hindu festival, but this week we were learning that Sikhs and Jains also celebrate it. The children listened to traditional stories and music, made Rangolis and heard all about how fireworks, lights and wonderful food make Diwali a fun family celebration.
As if this week had not been busy enough, we also wanted to support Children in Need. So, staff and children arrived at school today with their donations and wearing PJs, spots and smiles! The Year 2s thought it would be a good idea to come in PJs every day!
Nursery and Kindergarten
This week our Little Vines learnt all about the artist Andy Goldsworthy who is famous for his land art. We created a twig tower and the children worked together just like Billy Bee.
There was a real buzz in the classroom as the Little Vines Post office was created. The children have been writing letters to their friends and family, learning their addresses and operating the till and scales. It is so wonderful seeing the children so involved and ‘writing.’ We are preparing ourselves for the Christmas rush, which will mean all hands on deck!
Our youngest members have been exploring colours and the texture of red spaghetti. We baked a rainbow cake with Chef Bear and enjoyed eating it whilst listening to ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow.’ Some of the children joined in with the song which was just delightful!
This week in Reception we have been busy and productive! We have been learning more about nocturnal animals and have set up a ‘bat cave’; this is really a science and writing centre in the corner of the classroom, in which children can study animals and look at non-fiction books, play with a small world nocturnal tray with badgers and foxes and, most importantly, play with torches! In maths, we have been looking at one more and one less than a given number up to 5 and then up to 10 for some children. In the craft centre, the children enjoyed making an owl and creating their own illustration just like in the Owl Babies book.
Year 1 started the week by exploring Diwali as part of our ‘Light in the Dark’ topic. We watched the story of Rama and Sita and the children discussed why they thought it was named the Festival of Light. We then created lanterns depicting the story of Rama and Sita. The children noticed beautiful Rangoli patterns that were on the walls and floor in the story and asked to create one, so we used Hama beads to create a symmetrical Rangoli pattern. The children used brilliant patterns and colours to create their own designs.
We finished the week by exploring shadows; we used our hands and various objects to see what the shadow would look like and we experimented with how to make the shadow different sizes. In our English project this term, we are writing our own shadow puppet show based on ‘The Three Little Pigs’. The children adapted the story by creating their own good and bad characters, and then designed houses based on the animals’ environments.
It was ‘Lights , Camera, Action’ for Year 2 this week as we began preparations for our Nativity. We were lucky that Mrs Alderson visited to help us learn some new dance moves to get us into the swing of things. We tried on our costumes to ensure that we are fit for our parts. We are so proud of the children for their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn their lines and actions!
The children learnt all about the reasons for celebrating Remembrance Day and bravely shared stories of people they knew who were involved in wars. They participated maturely in the two minutes of silence on the edge of the swimming pool. We didn’t let a little rain stop us from planting our autumn bulbs in our Year 2 garden and we look forward to the spring and can picture how beautiful it will be. The children have been thinking about the importance of helping, not just people that we know but people in our world that are in need of support as they celebrated BBC Children in Need day dressed in their onesies. Well done Year 2 for another hard-working week.
6th November 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
Arriving back at Vinehall after half term to see all the beautiful autumn colours was a wonderful way to be welcomed back to school. The children were looking rested and full of beans – just how we like them! New topics were introduced in the classrooms and, as we could not enjoy the FOV’s wonderful Vinehall Fireworks display this year, the children enjoyed using their art and craft skills to bring fireworks alive in their classrooms!
Lockdown has begun and I know this will have a knock-on effect; children will not be able to have playdates out of school, or attend parties, see grandparents for a while or get out and about. However, they can come to school! We are so delighted that we can continue to provide a sociable and exciting learning environment in these times. So, we have been putting our thinking caps on to think of as many fun activities as possible in the run up to Christmas. A letter will be sent to you today with further details highlighting some of the things we will be getting up to here in the Pre-Prep this half term.
Nursery and Kindergarten
We were welcomed back to Little Vines with a BANG as we celebrated Bonfire week!
The children have created some colourful rockets and had a wonderful time with paint brushes splatting paint onto the big screens. I think there was more paint on the children than the screens and there was so much laughter! We created fruit rocket kebabs and had to count backwards from 10 before the launch and blast off into their tummies!
We all created singing props to help us sing ‘Five Fat Sausages’, as lots of us eat sausages on Bonfire Night! The children demonstrated fantastic cutting skills and concentrated well, ending in us all having a sing along and a special treat of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Our Woodland Adventures took us off to collect the autumn leaves which are just so beautiful. The children then used their brilliant fine motor skills to create the longest leaf snake you have ever seen – watch out for it, it may be slithering around the Vinehall grounds each day!
As the children ran into the classroom on Monday morning, they looked so happy and confident arriving at school. They have settled back into the routine seamlessly. This week we have been celebrating! We have been learning about Diwali, the Hindu celebration, which happens next week, and we have been creating amazing fireworks in the classroom in lieu of the usual wonderful Friends Of Vinehall display.
Year 1 have had a fantastic week back at school! To start off our Learning Journey we explored different light sources and the difference between natural and human-made sources. We then learnt about the Gunpowder Plot; the children watched a cartoon that showed us the story and they were keen to sing the ‘Bonfire Boys’ rhyme. The children then used chalk to draw their own fireworks above the Houses of Parliament.
On Thursday we went for a walk and found the fallen tree that Mrs Wolford had told us about; the children affectionately named it the dragon tree, as they thought it looked like they were riding a dragon when sitting on the main branch.
It was lovely to be back together in Year 2 after our half term holiday. The children were eager to share their half term adventures and settled back into their school routines ready to learn!
Even though it was disappointing to learn that our first trip to Temper Temper Chocolate had to be cancelled due to the new government guidelines, the children remained positive and brainstormed other things we could do instead. The most popular ones being: dressing up like chocolate bars, art projects using liquid chocolate and performing a play all about … chocolate! We were very lucky to be invited for a ‘secret adventure’ in the Melon Garden, where we enjoyed a hot chocolate and brownie while thinking about how the cocoa bean travelled so far and how it became the chocolate that we were enjoying. Our adventure wouldn’t be complete without a chocolate coin treasure hunt on a beautiful Autumn day! Thank you Mrs Powis for our magical adventure!
16th October 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
What a fabulous first half of term! The children in Pre-Prep have been incredibly busy learning and having some serious fun whilst doing so! In Year 2 they have been researching all about the rainforest and I have been delighted by the 3D sculpture displaying all the layers of the rainforest that they have all been working on in their classroom. In Year 1 ‘food glorious food’ has been the focus, with Kitchen Disco being the inspiration for this term’s topic – culminating in a groovy disco yesterday! In Reception they have been looking at colour and seasons, with scarecrow making being a highlight. In Kindergarten and Nursery, seasons and harvest have driven the curriculum; but I think my lasting memory will be the smell of chocolate bread wafting from their classroom down the corridors! The Halloween celebration today was the icing on the cake, with all the children wearing all sorts of incredible costumes and, most importantly, smiles from one ear to the other!
Nursery and Kindergarten
What a wonderful week we have had celebrating Harvest time. The children have been singing our Harvest song about the ‘Big, Red, Combine Harvester’ every day in the class and on our way over to lunch as they marched along.
We painted pictures of the combine harvesters and the children were able to recall the sequence of events that occurs on the farms, from ‘chop, chop, chop of the blades to ‘rotating round and round’ just like a windmill!
This week, the aroma in the classroom was just so delightful as the children used a different method to bake chocolate bread – they programmed a bread maker! They were all very patient as the process took one hour!
As Halloween celebrations approach we all joined in with activities, including scooping out the flesh of the pumpkins, carving faces and toasting the seeds. We even made pumpkin muffins which tasted AMAZING, though I say so myself! The children and staff looked fantastic and had gone to so much effort to dress up and celebrate.
This week in Reception we have had a fun time out and about making patterns in maths. The children were very excited to make all sorts of different repeating patterns out of the things they found on their autumn nature treasure hunt. In English we have written about our favourite leaf that we found and made a leaf man or animal inspired by the book ‘Leaf Man’ by Lois Ehlert. To continue strengthening our fingers to help our letter formation writing, children enjoyed weaving a spider web this week and were cutting out autumn leaves to pin to their autumn poem.
Year 1 have had such a fantastic week! There were so many memorable moments, and I could not think of a better way to finish off the first half of term. On Wednesday the children were encouraged to explore on our walk down the gully; it was lovely to see them jump, climb and laugh as we discovered new areas along the route. We then spent the afternoon dancing to complete our Kitchen Disco topic; we saw some brilliant dance moves from all the children. The children were all very excited to have a Halloween experience at school this year, so we decided scary pumpkins would be a great way to decorate the Year 1 windows! It was a spooky scene in Year 1 with the children in costumes; quite frightening really!
Well done to all the children in Year 2 for expressing why they wanted to be a part of the Vinehall School Committees in order to make our school a wonderful place to be.
The children have cast their vote and we have accepted the following children onto each committee:
School Council: Alice, Indira and Esme
Food Committee: Be, Lyla, Harry
Charity Committee: Betsy and Alexandra
Eco Committee: George, Arthur, Teddy, Lucas, Rex
Year 2 have all enjoyed some well-earned celebrations this week to bring the first half of our autumn term to a close. We celebrated ‘No Pens Day’ by having an adventure down to our school gully, soaking up and taking in all the wonderful smells that autumn brings to us.
We had an afternoon of rainforest experiments trying to find out what makes leaves green and how rain is produced in the clouds. Spooky costumes, carved pumpkins, games and music brought much excitement to our end of the half term festivities!
9th October 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
Harvest festival was one of my favourite times at school. I remember collecting a small cardboard basket from the village green grocers and spending the next few days decorating it with crepe paper. Once my masterpiece was complete, I would then fill it will fruit and vegetables. All the girls from my prep school would then carry their baskets proudly into church and the altar would be filled with hundreds of colourful baskets, which were taken to families in the area that we supported.
In Pre-Prep to celebrate the arrival of harvest, we have been filling the music lessons with harvest songs. In our classrooms at Mindfulness Monday assembly this week we were learning about gratitude and for who and what in our lives we are grateful. You will be pleased to hear mummies and daddies were high on the list! As we are unable to share a harvest festival celebration with parents this year, we will be recording the songs and sending them to you to enjoy with your child at home at the end of this half term!
Nursery and Kindergarten
The weather was perfect for flying our kites this week; the wind howled and the children took flight with their colourful creations.
We read the story of ‘The Little Red Hen’ and then we decided that we wouldn’t behave like the animals in the story who didn’t want to help the hen, we would be just like Billy Bee and work together to bake some bread. The children mixed and kneaded the dough and of course the best part was eating it!
Our Woodland Adventures this week led to some children showing great resilience when climbing trees. They didn’t give up and were just like Terry Tortoise – trying and trying until they had achieved what they wanted to do, demonstrating amazing strong physical strength. Well done!
Over the past few weeks, I have observed lots of the children displaying such nurturing behaviour; we are so very proud of all the children who are always looking out for each other, using kind hands and kind words. This is what makes our Vinehall community!
Reception pupils have been busy this week making scarecrows and solving all the characters’ problems in the book, ‘The Scarecrow’s Hat.’ Great teamwork produced some incredible creations and the children very much enjoyed naming their new ‘classmates.’ Role-play helped comprehension as well as language skills as they each stated the problem their character had, and then the children found a solution to all their problems with help from the story.
The children had a fantastic start to the week by creating kites and flying them outside; all enjoyed themselves and it was lovely to see the joy on their faces as the wind lifted their kites. In English this week we have been reading ‘Handa’s Surprise’ by Eileen Browne. The children started by pairing the animal with the fruit they stole. The children then wrote sentences to recall the sequence. This week the children enjoyed playing chess during free choice; although it was tricky we had some fantastic teachers in the other children. We went looking for the corn field on Wednesday to discuss the Harvest Festival, as we have been learning harvest songs in music and discussing why it is celebrated. Building Year 1’s secret Tepee finished the week off; all the children helped to put up the posts and then the cover. A collection of sticks and blocks were added to makes seats and a ‘fire’.
Well done to our Poetry by Heart Competition winners: Harry, Arthur, Rex, Teddy and Alice! Thank you for representing Year 2 in the Final competition! The weather didn’t stop the children from having amazing outdoor adventures in Year 2 this week and a lot of lasting memories were made enjoying the wet, gooey mud that autumn often brings to us. The children all worked together to create a superb 3-dimensional box model of the layers of the rainforest. They enjoyed researching and sketching rainforest animals that lived in their specific layer. We began the exciting process of learning all about the British Value of democracy. We discussed the committee jobs that we will be a part of, in representing the Pre-Prep in making Vinehall the best it can be. There is a photo of Mrs Alderson visiting Year 2 for their weekly drama lesson, currently acting out the Great Fire of London.
2nd October 2020
Head of Pre-Prep
Earlier this week, as I walked along the corridor heading from my office to my Reception classroom, I suddenly realised that I was not wearing my face shield but my glasses! I have quickly become conditioned to looking through a transparent ‘window’ and ran back to my office to don the correct piece of Perspex headgear! This led me to think about the perspectives of the Pre-Prep children and how quickly they have adapted to seeing their teachers wearing funny things on their faces. It is incredible how resilient our little ones have become during this last year. Resilience is a skill we help our children to build. It gives them the confidence to solve problems, overcome challenges, never give up and pick themselves up from failure and emerge stronger, braver and more optimistic than ever. The Vinehall community are doing an incredible job of teaching their children resilience as they adapt to change with complete ease. To that end, I am giving our Pre-Prep pal Terry the Tortoise the hero of this year award, as he has been instrumental in helping us all.
Nursery and Kindergarten
Vinehall is the best place to be at any time of the year but especially in the autumn, as the school grounds are just so beautiful and filled with colour.
This week our woodland adventures took us to the big old oak tree where the children discovered acorns, pine cones and lots of fallen leaves. They used the leaves to create their own autumn trees and were so creative, not only with their pictures but also through their amazing descriptive language – ”Crunchy leaves”, “Look the tree is so tall, it goes up, up, up” and “Look the squirrels eat these acorns.” So much learning and development occurring whilst embracing the wonderful environment on our doorstep!
We made healthy fruit smoothies with Chef Bear and the children were just like Terry Tortoise, trying new fruits and experiencing different tastes and textures when the fruit was blended together.
To celebrate Vinehall’s first Rainbow Day, a tribute to the incredible key workers, the children have been creating colourful kites to fly in the autumn winds. Be sure to look out for these flying around the school grounds!
This week we celebrated Ted, Oliver and Flynn’s 4th birthdays.
This week we have been reading and thinking about the story of the Little Red Hen, which focuses on a hen who finds some wheat and wants to make some delicious bread. The Reception children enjoyed retelling the story using story stones and loved visiting Mrs Powis’ chickens here at school. However, the highlight was following a recipe, making bread rolls, and then of course eating them!
Year 1 made the most of the beautiful autumn leaves by creating nature crowns. They heard a story about a little girl who cared for the plants and wildlife in the woods; the animals were so grateful they made her a crown to say thank you. The children made their own crowns while they thought of ways they could look after the woodland. Mrs Bennett took the children on a trip around the world in Geography by exploring traditional foods from different countries. Year 1 are lucky enough to include children with family origins from many different countries, so it was lovely to discuss their various culinary experiences. The children were exploring colour in art and discovering which colours we could mix to make others; by the end the paper looked like a galaxy filled with swirling solar-systems.
Year 2 managed to escape the stormy weather this week and catch some autumn sunshine. The children took a journey around the school grounds pretending to be naturalists like Charles Darwin curiously searching for the different types of trees, leaves and seeds that are found in our Vinehall habitat. They looked carefully with magnifying glasses to make observations before using charcoal to sketch out and label their findings. Friday brought the fun of hat and kite making, as we celebrated and thanked the NHS for all that they do to help everyone during the Coronavirus pandemic.
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!
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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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. We started 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 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.