Newsletter W/C 19th February 2024
Dear Parents and Carers,
World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March but there's no need to wait until then to enjoy a new book.For those who haven't yet collected a £1 book token for your child please remind us at the door. We love books and reading and we want to support local book retailers - the token allows you to exchange it for one of the World Book Day books or to receive £1 off ANY book over £2.99 in the book shop!
A little reminder - What Happens When a Child is Late or Absent?
Children will undoubtedly have days when illness prevents them from attending and as each child is on an individual learning pathway we are able to ensure the curriculum content is covered on their return. In the Children's House this is usually straightforward as lessons are given individually. However, in Elementary, we typically give a presentation to a small group and then that small group works together to consolidate the learning. If an Elementary child misses a day or two they may have to wait until another group is ready for that presentation or have to be caught up by their peers (depending what is appropriate for that child).
So much for the academics. But what about the social considerations of being late or absent? What about the rest of the community? When the day begins there is a natural and necessary transition which occurs allowing the staff and children to form a cohesive unit ready for working: removal of outdoor clothing, a change of shoes, conversations with friends about a fascinating fact or some gossip from home, greeting each other, unpacking lunchboxes and reorganising bags before making a plan for the day. All the children experience this process together and are ready to work within a few short minutes. A child arriving late misses this essential transition, they are still in their own personal space, excited to interact with friends, to tell them a joke they heard or they may have a head full of music from the car. They are also unsure as to what has happened already, they are disconnected from the swiftly formed group, perhaps self-conscious, unsure how to proceed without the easy shared transition - some have not yet learned the art of slipping in quietly! Either way, the whole class is disrupted. Those who are already settled may become restless and irritated by the interruption, the carefully curated mood of productive excitement can evaporate.
In the Elementary work is group based, so the community is reliant upon all of its members attending and contributing; if a child is absent they not only impact on their own learning journey but also on the learning of their peers - that excitement about a shared piece of research can wane if progress is delayed by absence. Children at this age are developing their social sense, they are practising how to share and about the importance of their contribution to society. By missing just one day of this practice they miss out socially and emotionally. The feeling of having missed out is amplified tenfold at this age - they feel it deeply. This is particularly true of first and last days of term. Could you imagine attending a training course having missed the orientation? How do you feel walking in to a ready-formed dynamic? It can feel intimidating.
Please can we invite you to be mindful of how your child's absence affects not only them but others in the learning community. The term dates are posted well in advance, Elementary doors open at 8:50am and lessons begin at 9:00 and the Children's House opens at 9:00am.
Thank you for all of you who have made it in to talk about your child(ren) it's always such a pleasure to show you what they have been up to. Taking time to connect is so helpful for both sides and it benefits the children enormously as it helps us to understand any issues you might be facing at home. If you have any further questions or queries we are always happy to arrange a phone call, or a meeting in school, if appropriate.
THIS WEEK IN SCHOOL
This week in the Children’s House we enjoyed sharing with you your child(ren)'s progress at the parent meetings and we hope you enjoyed a snapshot of their days with us.
In yoga, the theme was based around The Runaway Pancake, a story about seven hungry children waiting for pancakes for breakfast, one pancake did not want to be eaten and so jumped out of the pan and rolled away.
In ballet, with two children having moved into Elementary and a younger child staying for ballet, Miss Lizi moved the groups around a little. All went well with the children progressing with their skips and gallops.
We have enjoyed reading ‘Too Many Carrots’ by Katy Hudson, a lovely book about sharing.
Our younger children have enjoyed a group with Miss Blanca to find something ’rough’ or something ‘smooth’ within the CH environment. They also enjoyed singing Freres Jacques in English, French and Spanish.
The spinach just ‘keeps on giving’ in the garden. Three children braved the heavy rain to pick it. So in cooking this week we made spinach and banana muffins. We blended organic oats to a flour like consistency, and added mashed bananas, maple syrup, cinnamon, a little oil and milk alternative. Most appeared to be eaten as soon as the children were out of the front door so appeared it was a winning recipe; and such a great way to include healthy spinach in a sweet muffin!
In sports, the children played a new game- the number game. Coach Anthony gave a number and the children had to group themselves in 2, 3 etc. so there was lots of counting.
We had a great start to the new half-term, with two new members of the class joining us; the children have been making adjustments all week to ensure our new friends are feeling welcome and all the class systems have been introduced and changed as necessary. For example, on Tuesday it was the first day we had 13 for lunch and so we discovered we needed an extra table! Then in Yoga we needed to change the layout of our yoga mats to give everyone a comfortable space.
Miss Hayley helped the children share their news from the half term. One child was delighted to share that their highlight from the holiday was that they'd seen a double rainbow - this led to all the children doing Downward Facing Dog to make a rainbow out of their bodies. The children continued their partner work from the last half of term before creating a "friendship soup", thinking about what makes a good friend: kindness, caring, love, gentleness, joy and being helpful.
It has been brought to our attention by the children that the behaviour of some of our community members when waiting at the door in the morning is having a negative impact on the start to the day. We have had numerous discussions in school about the behaviour we expect from one another to create a respectful, harmonious, and peaceful environment. It is worth sharing our Magna Carta here:
Respect body boundaries
Look, listen and learn in lessons, and laugh at lunch!
Make a plan to flood your brain with ideas.
Protect our precious planet
Follow up and finish
Have you filled a bucket with your words and actions?
You'll notice that framing the expectations for how we conduct ourselves are two phrases which relate to behaviour: body boundaries and bucket filling. This treatise has been written by the children for everyone and it is clear that they hold physical and mental peace as fundamentally important. Beyond the classroom we ask that you as parents and carers help maintain these boundaries for the sake of the community.
A quick return to Forest school has brought a wonderful array of work beyond the classroom. Some children were compelled to continue their list of nouns by looking to the outdoors for noun word inspiration. Others created beautiful poetry (which may or may not end up as a Mother's Day present - keep your eyes peeled!). And yet more enjoyed the opportunity to create a creature from found twigs, logs and sticks - all very creative and using drilling and whittling skills.
We have breathed a sigh of relief as we have reached a new "topic" in sports. We have now moved on to handball and the children spent the majority of the lesson learning and practising new skills for bouncing the ball whilst running, passing and moving in space. The concluding match was fun and very exciting and we look forward to the children showing us how their skills develop over the next few weeks before Easter.
Thank you all for making time to attend the meetings with your child. We hope it has given you a little more insight into how they think about their own work. We really enjoyed watching some of the children giving demonstrations and lessons to you!
We hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend.
Friday 2nd February Coffee Morning Supporting a Child's Development of Self-Discipline.
Saturday 3rd February Spring Open Morning for Prospective Parents
Monday 12th - Friday 16th February Half Term
Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th February Parent Meetings
Tuesday 5th March Coffee Morning - Subject TBC
Thursday 28th March - End of Spring Term close at 12.15
Monday 15th April Inset Day
Tuesday 16th April Start of Summer Term
Friday 3rd May Coffee Morning Subject TBC
Monday 6th May Spring Bank Holiday
Saturday 11th May Summer Open Morning for Prospective Parents
Monday 27th - Friday 31st May Half Term
Tuesday 11th June Coffee Morning - Subject TBC
Friday 5th & Saturday 6th July Parent Meetings
Wednesday 10th July Ballet Show
Wednesday 17th July Sports Day and Picnic
Thursday 18th July End of Summer Term close at 12.15