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!


W/E 13th December

The time has flown by in Year 1 this term.  The children have finished this term with great enthusiasm. It has been like Santa’s workshop in our classroom and the children are feeling very festive. We have created cards, calendars, decorations and much more! The children are all ready for a well-earned break and we are looking forward to returning in the New Year with our topic of Pirates … Arghhhh!

All our Reception Superheroes have come to the end of their first term in real Superhero style. The children spent time, designing their wrapping paper and wrapping their donated, pre-loved gifts before we became a living breathing Santa’s sleigh to take them to Mrs Sassone; she will complete our mission of donating them to children who aren’t as lucky as we all are, in Hastings. We have spent time focusing on the importance of giving.  The children have loved giving their friends cards all week and we did our shopping in the Secrets Room (thank you FOV – it was wonderful again this year!) trying to think about what our relations would like rather than buying what we liked!  We have been busy little elves, enjoying our Christmas party in true Elf Style. We have been designing and making gingerbread men, working together just like Billy Bee. All in all it has been a really busy term and the children have done so well settling in to the rigours of a Vinehall Reception Life – we couldn’t be prouder of them all. Happy Christmas!

W/E 6th December

The elf has arrived in Reception! He flies back each day with lists for Santa and reports of good behaviour. We now have a stable complete with life-sized Mary and Joseph, animals and a star on a zip wire. We are waiting for electricity! We have had lots of discussions and ideas from the children about what we should do with our pre-loved presents. They all agreed we need to wrap them, so we have designed wrapping paper and have wrapped them ready to give. We have been busy making cards and gifts for home (shhhh! It’s a secret). Now that the weather has been so cold and beautiful we decided to make pine cone bird feeders and have chosen places to hang them. The Vinehall birds will be very happy. We have started to measure Christmas crackers and elves, comparing lengths. Obviously from looking at our class trees you can tell we have had a lot of interesting ideas from the children. We have put baubles on our trees, but there was a catch. The baubles had letters on them and children had to first make a cvc word. Lots of wonderful sounding out going on. A great week!

The penultimate week of the Christmas term has been full of laughter in Year 1. The children have been exploring the different types of expression and intonation they can use in their voice when speaking. They then chose appropriate voices for their puppet characters; then they performed their shadow puppet shows to the rest of Pre-Prep and they were brilliant. We read ‘Orion and the Dark’ written by Emma Yarlett to explore fears and the children all created their own versions of the dark. The book is in Year 1 if you would like to read it! We finished the week off by exploring day and night and how the sun affects countries across the world. The children had mixed views on the idea of a hot and sunny Christmas.

In STEM club we ventured outside as the sun was setting; we focussed on risk taking and how we can support each other when someone needs our help. The children jumped off logs and rolled down hills, but the main thing they wanted to do was use the torches to find our way back to Pre-Prep. During our time in the woods, we carried on our arch building from last week. The children used natural materials to build an arch and then had to climb through; one of the groups tried to use mud as a form of mortar.

Year 2 have been concentrating on the rainforests this week, amongst other things. The children created fantastic models of the forests which you can see in the corridor display. We watched the 90 second animation ‘There’s  a Rang Tan in My Bedroom’ which the really affected the children and they wanted to take action against use of palm oil, so they have started by writing a letter to Chef Matt to ask if he will make our Vinehall kitchen palm oil-free. We will let you know what he says!


W/E 29th November

It has been all about the play this week in Pre-Prep! We have been rehearsing so hard and the hard work paid off on Wednesday when we had our dress rehearsal which we performed to Nursery and Kindergarten. All went smoothly and so we were ready for our performances for the parent and grandparents. We hope you all enjoyed it as we think our children did absolutely brilliantly!

Reception have been busy exploring the nativity story. We were surprised to realise that there weren’t actual lollipops and teddy bears in the story of Jesus. We have had lots of fun dressing up and acting out the story, using our imaginations. We have also started to think about how we can make our classrooms more festive. We have turned the shed into a stable and the role play castle into an icy home. However, most of our time has been spent getting our costumes and face paint ready for our nativity play which the children are performing to their parents. We were so proud of them on Thursday, speaking with loud voices and even singing solos when they are still only four years old!

Year 1 have had a busy and exciting week. The children have worked hard to write their adapted versions of the Three Little Pigs and turn them into shadow puppet shows. On Thursday, Mrs Bennett brought her flute and fife in and the children had a go at playing. It is still in the classroom for the children to explore.


W/E 22nd November

Another busy week for Reception, full of Superheroes. Evil Pea set us lots of challenges in maths; we had to unlock the padlocks, re-do the candles on the vegetable’s cupcakes, finish off the autumn hunt and make numbers out of Playdough. We made the most of the lovely Autumn weather and walked around the school grounds finding hundreds of brightly coloured mushrooms and toadstools. We have scrubbed some vegetables and chopped them to make delicious vegetable soup. We have been introduced to Bee-bots and programmed simple instructions to make them move. Of course we have been singing and acting in preparation for the Nativity next week.

Year 1 started the week by exploring different objects and materials to see if light could pass through them. To continue our theme of light, we explored the festival of Diwali. The children created rangoli patterns using chalk and beans; they then built their own lanterns to add to the story. In English the children have been creating scripts for the three little pigs and have begun to make their shadow puppets. In science we carried out tests on a range of materials to see if light could be shone through them; we tried to use tricky words, such as transparent, translucent and opaque.

This Tuesday Year 2 went to Temper Temper, chocolate makers in Tonbridge. We had a fantastic day making chocolate treats for our families using milk, dark and white chocolate. We also learnt lots of interesting facts about chocolate, like how cocoa beans grow and that you can get natural ruby coloured chocolate.


W/E 15th November

In Reception we started the week with Poppies and we finished the week with our Guy that we have made for Robertsbridge Bonfire Night this weekend.  We’ve had lots of fun in between with our Supertato stories. We have been setting Evil Pea elaborate traps and have thought of our own Supertato adventure to complete our books. We had to set the scenes and then we used the iPad to zoom in and out and take the picture we wanted to illustrate our book. We then had to plan what the naughty Evil Pea had got up to. He strapped aubergines to whiteboards, trapped peppers in bamboo cages and we even found a sweet potato in some jelly. Supertato to the rescue! We have also been getting crafty with Autumn leaves, using watercolours, looking closely at the beautiful colours. In Maths we are exploring the number 5 inside out; we have been eating biscuits and throwing painted beans. We have been busy practising the songs for our Nativity and are looking forward to getting our costumes next week.

Year 1 started the week by going for an Autumn walk. We explored leaf colour and types. It was such a glorious morning that it became the perfect opportunity for a bit of leaf pile jumping. We took the leaves we collected inside to look at the colour and detail. In art we have been exploring fireworks and have created multi-textured rockets; we also tried different techniques using chalk to draw a firework display. The children have continued to enjoy exploring light and dark and this week our focus was on shadows and how they change size. Odd Socks Day gave the children a fantastic opportunity to talk about what makes them different to other children and there was a great sense of community and kindness throughout Pre-Prep. On Friday we cooked sticky gingerbread bites for these cold Autumn nights and the children explored the spices and tried to determine what they were.

Year 2 have been making movies this week! They made all their own props and used iMovie to make a film of  ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’, a poem by Edward Lear. They worked in small groups and edited their films, recording the poem in different ways.


W/E 8th November

Year 1 have had a fantastic return to school this week. We started the week by learning about trolls. We read ‘Grumbug’ by Adam Stower and created our own trolls; we shared these with Adam when he came to visit us. We also explored the school grounds looking for toadstools which are in abundance at the moment. The children were amazed by the variety of different toadstools that we managed to find. We had a visit from Year 2 on Tuesday; they read their books to us that they made last term based on ‘The Crow’s Tail’; the children all enjoyed hearing Year 2’s stories and finding out how they made their books. To top off Book Week we created cupcakes and thought about what the Grumbug might like to eat based on the cakes from the book.

For Book Week Year 2 enjoyed sharing the stories they wrote last term with children in both Year 1 and Reception. They read confidently, showing the children their illustrations and explaining how they made their books. They also loved meeting the author Adam Stower and asking him questions about his book ‘King Coo’.


W/E 18th October

Who can believe we are already at the end of the first half of this busy term! It has been a jam-packed, fun-filled few weeks and the children have definitely earned their break!

This week in Reception we have enjoyed the rain. Our waterproofs were soaked, our white socks were black, our uniform was muddy and so were our faces! Luckily they have all gone home in a big squelchy bag for half term! We have spent lots of time co-operating with each other, working together like Billy Bee doing junk modelling, playing phonic games and working in the woods with some autumn art. We have been focusing on ‘one more’ in maths. We have been practising to write our names and label our Super Hero Me!

Year 1 have had a fun filled end to the first half term. The children bumped into the Nursery and Kindergarten children in the woods which was a lovely surprise! After recording our green man interviews the children explored the woods with Nursery and Kindergarten. The children have continued to develop their subtraction skills and have been using their understanding to solve number stories. The children were so excited to perform their maraca dance to the rest of Pre-Prep. They were fantastic and had a lot of fun!

Year 2 enjoyed making a fire in the woods, which was quite a feat considering all the rain we have been having! They collected twigs and then we all toasted marshmallows as an end of term treat.


W/E 11th October

This week Pre-Prep have been working like Billy Bee to empty the sand pit ready for fresh sand. The children used gloves and spades to empty the sand into the tractor which they all enjoyed. Many of the children also helped Mrs Winn and Miss Sander with gardening to create an area for trucks and mud construction.

Superworm is in Reception! We read the book and have made potions so that we can help Superworm who has been captured by the Wizard Lizard. We used smelly herbs and spiky plants from the garden to make our potion extra potent. We then all worked together like Billy Bee to make our own Reception Superworm. We made him super long and super strong. We had to work out how to join our worm segments so that he didn’t fall apart. We chose between masking tape, paper fasteners, stapler, needle and thread or rubber bands. We then had to really co-operate to get him back to class in one piece! Mrs Fulford taught us a lovely song about the Harvest and we sang to our Grandparents in the Harvest Festival. We then had a lovely session of ball skills in the sun with all the visitors watching.

Year 1 have been investigating the tale of the Green Man this week. We went down to the woods to listen to the tale and then created our own green man faces on the trees. We used mud, leaves and sticks to create the faces. The children then made ‘wanted’ posters using adjectives to find the green man. In Maths, the children investigated the number 10 and found countless ways to make 10 adding the numbers 2, 3 and 4.

This week in Year 2 we investigated solids, liquids and gases and made a chemical reaction using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to blow a balloon up. In history we read parts of the diary of Samuel Pepys and his account of the Fire of London, all written in code with a quill pen.


W/E 4th October

Year 1 have been travelling to Puerto Rico in their learning journey this week as they chose to explore maracas. This had started as a science lesson investigating noise, but the children soon took the idea and expanded it. They watched a school in Brazil do a maraca dance and asked if we could have a go. In English the children have been creating Acrostic poems in order to enter the young writer poetry competition. On Wednesday the children enjoyed No Pens Day and applied their mental maths skills using addition snakes and ladders, the magic cauldron and dominoes.

Year 2 made bread rolls this week to investigate how yeast makes bread rise. We had to work very hard to knead the bread to make the dough stretchy.  We also had a great time on Wednesday on No Pens Day. We filmed a news report about the Great Fire of London and presented it to Year 1.

In STEM club Year 2 chose to explore the planets this week, with the aim of creating 3D versions of the planets. The children had to discuss how we could make the planets to scale. After watching a video comparing the size of the planets and stars the children were truly amazed by the size of the sun.


W/E 27th September

In Reception it has been another week of work for our Superheroes! All the children have been busy finding out about the people who help us. We have had some lovely ideas about who the children consider their Superheroes to be. We went to visit our very own Super Sister Kate, who told us all about how she looks after the children who feel sick. Quite a few of us felt poorly after that so that we all could go and try the magic biscuits!! We have not let the rain get in the way of our learning – we have spent lots of time doing listening activities and following instructions. We are getting rather good at this now. We have learnt about Harriet the cow who is very tall and tried to hold our pencil correctly all week. We also managed to dig for treasure in the mud on Thursday – sorry about the dirty clothes for the weekend!

Year 1 started their week by exploring food from different countries and we found out that lots of our favourite foods are from all over the world!

The highlight of our week was bug hunting in the little woods. The children used specimen collectors to find bugs whilst keeping them safe. As it had been raining there was a plethora of bugs to find and the children all had lots of fun digging through leaf piles and turning over logs.

To finish the week we made pizza wraps as many of the children were surprised to learn that pizza originates in Italy!

Year 2 have been learning all about the plague of 1665 and we acted in roles to get some historical understanding about what it might have been like to live in London at the time. Great acting skills too!

In STEM Club Year 2 made the most of the windy weather by building kites. The children designed and built their kites using everyday materials. We researched kite shapes and styles to begin with and then the children started building. They took their kites outside and the wind lifted them with ease. Although all of the flags were slightly different shapes and sizes they were all successful apart from a few string detachments!


W/E 20th September

Reception have been enjoying the lovely sunny weather outside. We have loved Woodland Learning this week and have collected lots of natural materials for our classrooms. We have started our phonic lanyards which have caused great excitement, especially as now we can all make a word with our letters. We have been exploring numbers to 10, making towers and playing ‘Beat Me’ with the sand timer. We have generally been total Superheroes!

Year 1 have been engaged and enthusiastic this week with our activities. We worked hard to finish our Kitchen Disco stories and many of you were written into the children’s stories to join in the disco. In Maths we have been exploring number bond diagrams and counting on. In outdoor learning this week the children listened to a story about a little girl who helped the woodland creatures and created a woodland crown based on the story. To finish the week the children used herbs from our garden to infuse their home made Playdough.

We made the most of the sunshine in STEM Club, heading down to the woods. The children were challenged to make a mini den, perfectly formed with a replica fire. The children put the skills they learnt last year about den-building into practice using pyramid and prism based shapes. They used leaves to cover the roofs and the lovely autumnal colours were perfect as flames for the fire.


W/E 13th September

The first full week of Reception has been completed for all our Superheroes. We have had an action-packed week. We did our first French lesson, music, gym and ball skills and not forgetting swimming! We made hedgehogs in the woodland learning area and have looked at our names and how to write them. In number work we sang songs, counted and played lots of games concentrating on numbers to 10.

Year 1 have had a fantastic start to the year and the children have been dancing their way into our topic. We started the week exploring the school grounds: from the pond to finding the best hill down which to roll. Our Kitchen Disco has been in full swing and the children enjoyed creating fruits to be the DJs at their disco. The wonderful vegetable garden has been used lots this week and we have picked a range of vegetables to use in our cooking. We made courgette crisps with vegetable soup!

STEM Club
The children are always excited to come back to STEM club and the Year 2s put their enthusiasm into tower building this week. However, there is always a challenge to be had in STEM, so the children had to build a tower on which they could stand. We discussed the fact that some of the towers were hollow and some were solid and whether or not that made a difference.


W/C 6th September

Pre-Prep has been buzzing with excitement in this short first week back. We have loved hearing all the stories of your summer holidays and watching the children throw themselves enthusiastically into their new class settings. We are so pleased to welcome so many new families and are thrilled to see how well the new children are already settling in. The Michaelmas Term is such an action packed term, full of fun and with so many exciting things to get involved in, and we hope you all enjoy following our news over the coming weeks.