Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

This term Cherry’s learning journey is ‘Plants and Growing’, so the children had a go at spotting as many of the spring flowers as they could and recording them in pairs on their ‘plant identification’ along the way to the woods.

They found bluebells, violets, celandines, primroses, wood anemones and many more!

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

In the woods, Cherry class made some beautifully creative flowers of their own, inspired by what they had spotted.

Some had a go at creating ‘Green Man’ faces on trees with some clay they had dug from the ground.

They balanced on the slack line, swung on the hammock and had a good explore in the mud of the stream. And were great at making up their own rhythm patterns with sticks together!

Cherry Class Wakehurst Place

Cherry Class Wakehurst Place

This term Cherry Class’ topic is ‘Glorious Growing’. To immerse ourselves in all things botanical, yesterday we headed off to Wakehurst Place. Since we started this topic (last week!) Cherry Class have been particularly fascinated about seeds. Convenient then, that Wakehurst is home to the Milenium Seed Bank.

On arrival, we were led down through the Gardens to the Mansion House. Once inside, we were shown an image of a birthday party with lots of different food including popcorn, chocolate, cake, juice, and bread. We learnt that without plants we wouldn’t have any of these foods.

The next part of the day was the Amazing Seeds workshop. We got to see the largest seed in the world: the double coconut. It was huge! We compared it with the smallest seed in the world: the seed from an orchid. It was really hard to see. We then had the opportunity to engage with 4 different activities to discover seeds more closely. The children loved the opportunity to use microscopes to get a really close look at a variety of seeds.

“Carrot seeds are really spiky!” Tiago

We then embarked on the Tremendous Trees Trail discovering trees that live in the rainforest, trees as old as Dinosaurs (we learnt diplodocuses ate them!), trees whose seeds need wings to help them disperse and the thickest beech tree we have ever seen.

Once we had eaten lunch and had a well-deserved run and play on the mansion lawns, we had a go at some Ephemeral Art.; using natural objects collected from the ground to create im-ages of plants. The children were fantastic at working together to create some really beautiful pictures.

“I created a sunflower using pink petals.” Elodie

The impact of this trip can be shown through the knowledge gained through direct interaction with seeds and plants. The opportunity to compare a huge variety of seeds has given the children a strong foundation at the start of our learning into how plants grow and develop.

On our return to the classroom, as we continue to grow plants and develop our knowledge of plants, we will look at seeds with a new sense of awe and wonder.

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

Willow class were full of energy, so we started our sessions by playing some games we knew and learning some new ones.

They played a game of ‘Scissors, paper stone’ on the bridge in teams and ‘Giants, Wizards, Elves’ in the bluebells in the woods.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

Willow Class had a challenge to find something in the woods to classify. They talked about different animals, birds, plants and other features and objects they could find in the woodland. Then they went off to collect things which they could classify. They drew and wrote about them as they classified them on the table.

Then it was onto drawing, stream play, and tree climbing and also challenging themselves to walk the slack line without a guide rope.

Many thanks to our fantastic volunteers who support the children so brilliantly in the woods. We couldn’t do it without you!

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

This term our learning journey is ‘Turrets and Tiaras’. The children all had a willow horse or dragon to name and ride on to the woods, as Knights, Kings and Princesses. It was a sunny afternoon and the children started by spotting spring flowers and looking at shadows created by the oak tree along the school drive.

Along the way the children found different parts of their environment to climb and sing ‘I’m the King of the castle….’. The muddy mound, the
bridge, and an overturned bath were all great exploring, sliding and chanting places. The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills,
tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games. Using sticks, charcoal and paper bags, the children had a go at making shields for themselves by designing, then weaving sticks through their paper. Some children extended their ideas by using wood, wire and palm drills to create a shield.

There was some great collaborative tree climbing, balancing on the slack line without a support line, swinging in the hammock and some stream
jumping!

The plants we saw today were bluebells and we heard lots of birds singing and even spotted some fluttering butterflies on the way out of the woods!

Easter Service 2021

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Easter 2020

Easter 2020

This week, we were all able to visit the HOPE lettering in the church yard in our bubbles to hang our prayers of hope on. It was a really special time to discuss what we are hopeful for this year and a lot of the children reflected on the hopes they have for COVID-19 reducing and enabling them to meet with their much missed friends and families. Rev Julie has also left some templates by the lettering so that friends from the congregation and village and also write a prayer to hang up, alongside all the children’s, so the whole community can be involved. This week, we also watched our virtual Easter Service which the whole school joined in with. We hope you enjoy it!

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

As the Spring Equinox has just passed, the children talked about the advent of spring and played some games in our newly planted tree circle; familiarising themselves with the North, South, East and West. They talked about where the sun rose and set.

Then they played a game of ‘Fox and Rabbit’ as a whole class; the fox trying to catch the rabbit, as they darted to safety in their burrows.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

Willow Class reflected on their recent learning about the layers of the rainforests and related their knowledge to the woodland they were in. They looked at forest floor plants; delicate celandines, violets and wavering wood anemones and then they looked up into the lower canopy at the willow tree blossom.

Then it was onto drawing, stream play, and tree climbing and also challenging themselves to walk the slack line without a guide rope.

Some children got out the tools to try to adapt a piece of wood into a tool with a flint ending. They ended up creating a wooden instrument! Others used the chalks they have been engaged in drawing with at school, to draw and create on pieces of wood under the shelter.

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The impact of the Forest School experience can be seen through the skills, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games

The weather has made the meadow walk to the woods too muddy and wet, so we took a different path. The children explained about how the water in the ditches looks orange because of the iron in the stones and rocks in the ground.

“it makes the water orange”

“Look, even the leaves and plants around the water are orange”

They spotted some frogspawn in the ditches of water.

“The eggs turn to tadpole…look, there is lots more over there!”

“I’ve got some at home, but we keep it in a big tank and keep it outside, so the tadpoles don’t die”

The children carefully followed a path through the woods to preserve as many bluebells as necessary.

“They have no flowers, they are just leaves now”

Then they had the chance to follow their own ideas and fascinations, climbing trees, balancing, swinging, investigating the stream and working together collaboratively sharing ideas and taking turns with each other.

This week Cherry Class also brought in their Tudor buildings which they had made at home during Term 3, linked to their topic of the ‘Great Fire of London’

They spent time sharing their knowledge of how the fire started and spread in 1666 in Pudding Lane. Then they used fire strikers to start a small fire, which we put next to the ‘Bakery’ and watched the fire spread as it would have done in London.

It was so BRILLIANT to see their persistence in fore lighting and their joy and enthusiasm at watching their houses burn!

Thanks to the brilliant volunteers who make going to Forest School possible. The children are lucky to have access to the woods to develop their independence, resilience and well-being, along with important immersive curriculum linked experiences.

The Forest School association are calling for all children nationally to have access to nature like we do. “We are calling for a Nature Premium to fund regular nature experiences for every child.”

Have a look at why here: www.naturepremium.org

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

Today the wind blew up a storm, so we stayed in the village croft to avoid any possible falling branches. We have been thinking about SPRING in class and learning songs about SPRING and drawing pictures on the school grounds. So the children set off in search of some more signs of SPRING in the village.

The children explored the old oak tree and used fallen sticks to tap our rhythms and patterns on its trunk.

The IMPACT of Forest School can be seen through the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games, physical challenges, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and the knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons.

The children instantly found a slope and explored many ways of climbing, jumping, scrambling and rolling up and down it, developing their gross motor skills with thorough enjoyment. And them jumping in muddy puddles!

The flowers we identified today were daffodils, celandines, primroses, crocuses, and cherry blossom on the tree.

Some of the trees had little pools of water in them, which the children thought would be great bird baths and bird drinking places.

A massive thanks to our volunteers who supported the children with all of their exploring and learning. We can’t wait until next time!

January Reopening Update

Dear Parents,

As you may have seen in the Government announcement this evening, schools will now be closed immediately until further notice. This means that St Mary’s school will be closed to ALL pupils on Tuesday 5th January.

Online learning (as specified in the letter sent today) will start tomorrow morning.

We will be in contact tomorrow regarding in-school provision for vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers to begin later in the week. In the meantime, please fill out the critical worker google form if it applies to you, by 12noon tomorrow (Tuesday 5th Jan).

Thank you for your ongoing support.

School Nativity 2020

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Lilac Class Forest School

Lilac Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games. #naturepremium

Today was pouring with rain, but having worked so hard during the week, lilac class set off with enthusiasm and positivity into the down pour. Once in the woods, we made a fire to warm ourselves and dry off and to use to make some charcoal.

The hammock was fun! As was the chance to walk the dogs Poppy and Indy to the woods.

The stream was fantastically engaging today, due to the downpour. Despite the cold, Lilac class got stuck in with damming the stream and generally getting fully immersed in water!

The tools the children used today were an axe and mallet, to make kindling for the PTFA Christmas sale, charcoal tins and a fire to make charcoal from fresh cut hazel, penknives and screwdrivers to create and carve elder pens for the PTFA Christmas sale. They have showed not only great confidence in using tools and processes, but fantastic skills development. Really well done to all.

At the end of the afternoon Lilac Class thought of one word each to describe their afternoon in the woods….

“ Wet, muddy, soggy, fun, cold,  elder, pen, axing, stream, water, brilliant, fire”

Generosity

Generosity

This week, Maple Class had a class discussion about how to be generous and created this acrostic poem of all of their ideas during their Spiritual Journal time. They linked this with the national initiatives during Anti-Bullying week Rocco explained that being generous is about sharing ‘as much as you can’ and Jessica described generosity as ‘being really, really kind’.

Nativity 2020

Nativity 2020

It’s So Exciting
I Believe
Good Luck With That!
On A Journey
His Father’s Love
A Starry Night
Shepherds!
Come Together
It’s So Exciting (Reprise)

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge they gain from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants and trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

Having learned about maps and using compasses to determine directions at The Ashdown Forest on the previous day, Willow Class set out with maps of the village and compasses.

At points along the route, the class stopped and checked which orientation they were heading in. They played a game with directions, jumping to turn to face North, South, East and West.

We walked a different direction to the woods, to plant a section of new hedge. The children each planted a blackthorn sapling, and protected it from rabbits and deer grazing with a stick and tree guard.

They learned to identify the blackthorn by its thorns, blueberries in the autumn and white blossom in the spring. They will be back throughout the year and years to check on their success and see the year round cycle of its growth.

Once in the woods, the children set out to explore their individual interests. At the end of the session, they shared what they had enjoyed and engaged in.

“I liked weaving”
“I liked building dens with my friends”
“I made a bag rack from a branch and a root”
“I liked climbing and balancing on the ropes”
“I was unblocking the stream and digging out mud and leaves, it was fun”
“I like using the maps and compass”
“I loved the hedge planting”
“I liked making a clay sculpture of a rabbit”
“I liked reading my book at Forest School”

A massive thanks to the Woodland Trust for the hedge plants and to our brilliant volunteers who support the children to allow them to go to Forest School every week!

Lilac Class Victorian Day

Lilac Class Victorian Day

We had such a fun and interesting day on Thursday, holding our very own version of the Great Exhibition in Lilac Class. The children looked brilliant in their Victorian outfits; we even had a couple of Sherlock Holmes’ thrown into the mix. At home, it’s clear the children have been working so incredibly hard to make their very own models of inventions that were created in the Victorian era. We had everything, from working lightbulbs to zoetropes, wireless energy to Christmas crackers! The children loved hearing about and looking at others’ models. As well as this, we had a go at making jam tarts using a traditional Victorian recipe and wrote a newspaper report all about a day. After a jam-packed day – pardon the pun – we finished off the day eating our baked goods and explored Wonderland with Alice. What a fantastic day had by all!

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

This week Cherry Class all made their own birds. They identified one each from a sheet of British birds and coloured in the feathers and cut them out. Before we left school we looked at a map of Europe and the world to talk about where the birds might fly to when they migrate.

Each child had to find a suitable stick along their journey, to tape to their bird to make it fly along the route.

They listened to birdsong and looked out for birds and nests in trees along the ‘Forest Way’.

They are taking advantage of the ‘Cultural Capital’ of their local environment.

The children identified holly berries, rose hips and sloe berries for their birds to feed on, along with flies and spiders they had spotted in the meadows.

Once we were in the woods, the children were great at tapping sticks in time and following rhythm and movement patterns.

They played a game, listening out for different bird calls and using their bird identification sheets to learn the names of the birds they had made.

The children followed their own ideas and imaginations. There was lots of exploring and finding leaves and sticks. Some children created lovely nests for their birds to rest in after their long flight.

The recent rain has made the woodland stream flow, so the children set about creating bridges of sticks across the water.

There was time to explore and climb and fly their birds in and around the woodland.

The birds even queued for the hammock, where they played games and sang songs as they took turns with swinging, relaxing and pushing.

At the end of the afternoon the children were silent for a woodland whisper, which started as ‘robin’ and ended up completely as ‘robin’! excellent teamwork and listening skills Cherry Class!

The children discussed and reflected on what they had enjoyed about Forest School on their walk up the hill.

“I loved swinging”

“I liked making my bird and making a nest with colourful leaves”

“I liked going on the balancing rope”

Thanks to the brilliant volunteers who make going to Forest School possible. The children are lucky to have access to the woods to develop their independence, resilience and well-being. The Forest School association are calling for all children nationally to have access to nature like we do. We are calling for a Nature Premium to fund regular nature experiences for every child.” Have a look at why here:

#naturepremium

Remembrance 2020

Remembrance 2020

On Wednesday 11th November, the whole school paused to visit the church grave yard and place crosses at a war memorial grave. The children, along with Rev Julie, went with their teachers to have a two-minute silence to  remember those who fought for peace and for the long-lasting peace we are fortunate enough to have in our country. Mr Gray also put a wreath on the memorial in the village with a message which some Year 6s wrote, in memory of the bravery and courage of the soldiers.

We linked Remembrance Day in with our value this term of Generosity and Willow Class thought about this during their Spiritual Journal time in school. They focused on how soldiers in WW1 and 2 showed generosity and bravery by fighting for us to be able to live in peace.

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

We played a game of ‘Sparrow hawk’ on our way to the woods. The children were all small animals that had to freeze to evade being caught by the sparrow hawk. The children enjoyed a bit of Autumn sunshine and faced the sun to ‘recharge’ their batteries.

This week in school we have been thinking about fireworks, so today in the woods the children learned how to stay safe around a fire. They practised moving around the fire by being a ‘green dragon’ safely round the outside of the log circle. They reminded each other by saying ‘red dragon’ if they moved inside the circle.

The tools the children learned to use today were fire strikers. They practised trying to make sparks, to then start a fire.

They learned fire needs a spark, fuel and air, so blew on the small fires they had made to get them going.

There was time to perfect swinging and pushing our friends. They explored their own interests in the woods, exploring the site and finding a swing to practise their independence at using it

The equipment we used today was the handwashing equipment. Maple were impressed that some of it was made by their Buddies in Lilac class. The children all washed their hands after being in the stream, before we left the woods.

It was great to see how the children had developed their photography skills and photographed each other on the class ipad playing and exploring in the woods. They also showed fantastic interest in their Autumn environment and curiosity and teamwork in the woods.

A massive thanks to our volunteers who supported the children with all of their exploring and learning. We can’t wait until next time!

Starfish Malawi

Starfish Malawi

On Wednesday, we had a very special assembly with Chris Knott, the founder of our link charity Starfish Malawi. He showed us loads of brilliant pictures of children in Malawi, including those from our partner school in Kajendere. He updated us on how Malawi have been coping during these particularly tricky times and reminded us the importance of our continuing work with the charity and loving one’s neighbour. The children asked some brilliant questions and enjoyed seeing what the classrooms look like in Malawi!

Global Handwash Day

Global Handwash Day

On Thursday, each class paused to celebrate Global Handwashing Day, which is now perhaps more prevalent than ever! We linked up with Starfish Malawi to explore how important it is that all people across the world have access to clean water and sanitation. We learnt how 1 in 3 people in Malawi don’t have access to clean water (that’s 5.8 million people!) and so Starfish Malawi have been providing wash stands, which include clean water and soap, that operate by putting your foot onto a pedal. Some of Lilac Class were so inspired by this that they actually had a go at making their own washstand at Forest School!

Lilac Class Forest School

Lilac Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games. #naturepremium

Today was Global hand wash day and Lilac Class watched a video on about how a young boy in Kenya had designed and built a handwashing system: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-52898797. This inspired them to create their own in the woods.

They collected a milk bottle from school to use and were amazing in their wood collecting and resourcing, problem solving, construction, knot tying, sawing and completion of a functioning handwashing system in the woods. It won some of them a ‘Head teacher’s Award’!

Others worked out how to tie up a hammock and tighten the slack line and had a great time swinging and balancing with each other.

Inspired by many of the fallen leaves, some children designed their own picture frames. Some other children used clay to sculpt with and decorate trees. When they ran out of clay, they went off in search of more, by digging it out of the floor and mixing it with water.

Lilac Class shared some of the reasons they are grateful for Forest School

“I like being in nature”

“Having the freedom to explore the woods with my friends”

“I like it that you are learning, but you don’t feel like you are learning”

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

Then it was onto creating, making, building and exploring with their friends. The children’s confidence in their own ideas has grown and they all independently set about choosing activities independently.

Some learned to use palm drills to drill holes in conkers and to thread and tie knots with string. Some sculpted some brilliant creations with clay. There was excellent team work with transporting logs and branches to develop their dens and there was swinging and climbing.

The children learned that fungi can be extremely poisonous, but also vital to the health of the woodland. They identified fungi and learned to recognise a fly aragic, which stood out boldly against the woodland floor.

It is National Forest School Day on 9th October, so the children reflected on; Why am I grateful for Forest School?

 

 

Cherry Class Trip to Pooh Corner

Cherry Class Trip to Pooh Corner

To build upon our learning for our topic, ‘Toys’, Cherry Class visited Pooh Corner on Wednesday morning. The children had the opportunity to learn about some of the world’s most famous characters and all of the different toys that have been created thanks to A.A Milne’s creations over the last 95 years! We even got the chance to cuddle a Pooh Bear that was as old as the very first cuddly toy.

Amelia said: ‘We learnt how old Winnie-the-Pooh is and I loved getting to hold all of the toys – even the really old ones!’
Teagan said: ‘We talked about all of the different Winnie-the-Pooh toys. I never knew there were so many!’

IMPACT & KNOWLEDGE GAINED: Visiting Pooh Corner allowed the children to learn about their topic right on their doorstep; engaging with their community and building upon cultural capital. They learned how toys have developed over time and can now compare a part of history with what they know today.

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

This week, the plants we saw were oak trees and we spent a long time comparing the sizes, widths and lengths of the acorns we found.

The children had been on a trip to Pooh Corner shop the day before. So they talked about the characters in the story along the way to the woods.
They are taking advantage of the ‘Cultural Capital’ of our local environment.

They played a game of ‘Sparrowhawk’, where they first pretended to be small wild creatures (some pretended to be Kanga and Roo!). Then had to be as still as could be, so the ‘Sparrowhawk’ couldn’t spot them. Some children were excellent at this!

The children recreated some of the illustrations from ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ by climbing on the gate like Pooh and Piglet.

Once we were in the woods, the children were great at tapping sticks in time and following rhythm and movement patterns.

Their creative sides emerged during their free exploration time. Some children showed how their tool confidence and skill had developed. They used palm drills independently to make holes on the giant marrows: “These are going to be a bug hotel, the holes are where the bugs go in”

Inspired by Pooh and Piglet’s house for Eeyore, the children used the saw horse as a frame and created a fantastic mixed media shelter, using logs, sticks and straw.

There was time to explore where the rain drained to as it fell from the shelter and how to scoop it up and pour it away.

Then there was time for the children to follow their own ideas and imaginations – lots of climbing and sense of challenge and achievement from the children. Some of them shared how proud they felt of themselves at the end of the session, when they reflected on what they have done at Forest School and how it made them feel.
The children were silent for a woodland whisper, which started as ‘Autumn Time’ and ended up completely as ‘water’! We learned how words can be changed as they are passed along! We will keep practising next time!

Thanks to the brilliant volunteers who make going to Forest School possible. The children are lucky to have access to the woods. The Forest School association are calling for all children nationally to have access to nature like we do. “We are calling for a Nature Premium to fund regular nature experiences for every child.” Have a look at why here: www.naturepremium.org

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

We all learned how to climb a stile safely. We looked closely at acorns, blackthorn and the falling leaves. We talked about how to be safe and that we shouldn’t ever put anything we pick in our mouths, because it might make us ill, or poison us.

The children learned that the ‘Wellingtonia’ Tree showed us the way to go. They learned that they could identify it by looking at the skyline and finding the triangle shaped tree.

The children have started learning the skills involved in independently climbing the stiles on the way to the woods.

The children learned how to think of their safety and that of others when we were on the old railway line. We met Benny and Miss Hare on their lunchtime walk and talked about how we mustn’t approach dogs we don’t know. We met a man who was out looking for his missing dog. The amazing Miss Bews managed to find the dog and re-unite it with its owner- what a winner!

The children learned to shout ‘Pedal Power’ to others to warn each other of oncoming cyclists, so they can be safely to the side as the cyclists pass.

The puddles were fun!

At the bridge the children threw leaves over the edge and watched them float down.

The equipment we used today was the handwashing canister. We learned to wash our hands in the woods ready for a snack after our long walk!

The children explored their own interests in the woods, exploring the site and finding a swing to practise their independence at using it.

They also showed how they are learning to work together to take it in turns to have a go in the hammock.

It was great to see the perseverance of the children getting themselves ready, walking all the way to the woods with such enthusiasm and interest in their Autumn environment and their curiosity and teamwork in the woods.

A massive thanks to our volunteers who supported the children with all of their exploring and learning. We can’t wait until next time!

Government abandons plans to reopen primary schools to all pupils in England before the summer holidays.

Dear Parents/Carers,

Gavin Williamson has abandoned government plans to reopen primary schools to all pupils in England before the summer holidays.

Instead, the education secretary said schools will be asked to take in whatever children they can while sticking to the rules on maximum class sizes of 15 pupils and social distancing.

I will be working with the leadership team and Governors to look at best and fairest way of organising the remaining weeks of this year for our pupils, whilst still keeping everyone safe.

We will research any new guidance, adapt our action plans/risk assessments and will be in contact with our plans as soon as possible.

We would all like to thank you for your continuous support and patience.

James Procter

New AMAZE Support for Parents

Amaze has a brand new section on our website all about Coronavirus and children and young people with SEND in Sussex.

The Amaze SENDIASS team worked closely with the local authorities in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove to get accurate information about the way services are running during the pandemic and give advice about some of the complex questions and decisions that parents and carers may need to face. The sections include education, health and wellbeing, social care and safety, money and essentials and getting support from Amaze. We’ve also got a section just for young people that focuses on their needs and worries.

The new SEND Coronavirus advice section is here: amazesussex.org.uk/coronavirus-advice

Safe Reopening Arrangements

Dear Parents and Carers,

We hope you are all well. Thank you for your patience & understanding whilst we have been working on the arrangements for how we will potentially reopen the school.

Please refer to this letter detailing the measures being taken at St Mary the Virgin to ensure, ​as much as possible, a safe reopening could occur from June 1st 2020, provided the government confirm their 5 tests have been met.

We appreciate that this letter contains a great deal of information, but please do read it all carefully so that you are aware of the measures being taken in school to keep pupils, parents, staff and the wider community safe.

The detail in this letter is applicable for the first phase of the reopening, only. Subsequent information about any changes that we need to make following further government guidance will be sent out in the same format, with changes clearly highlighted. You will see the letter is called ‘Version 1’ and any subsequent letters will be numbered so it is clear for you to see changes or updates. Click here for the full action plan and risk assessments.

Also available is a guide for children aimed at preparing them for the changes they will see in school, allowing them to be part of the risk assessment for opening and ensuring they are clear on boundaries before they come into school. If you are choosing to send your children to school, please share this with them to help them understand what school will be like. In addition, there are a number of stories and animations that are great for helping children to understand the pandemic which you may find useful to share:

Also see the Chartwells lunch menu that will be on offer during this initial phase.

We would ask that you email the school office by Monday 25th May to let us know if you are planning to send your child to school in the week beginning 1st June so that we can prepare for numbers and registers.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions or concerns about the potential reopening of the school and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We hope you have a lovely half term,

Mr Procter and Miss Hare

Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day

Thank you for your donations; the school has raised £78.00

Lilac Class had fun creating funny monsters then all voted on their favourites.

Cherry Class had a fun Red Nose Day quiz about all things red.

Maple Class played a tricky word phonics game by bouncing and catching a balloon with our tricky words on.

Willow Class held a joke-a-thon, voting on whether the jokes were ‘snore-worthy’ or whether the comedian should perform an encore!

School Reopening Update

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you and all your families are keeping well and staying safe during these challenging times.

The Government have said that schools may reopen as early as the 1st June to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children if we are able to do so.

I just wanted to reassure you that although we all want your children back in school as soon as possible, we only want this if it is safe for your children, your families and our staff. Yesterday we received more guidance from the government and we are in the process of planning how we can open safely to those year groups in the coming weeks.

I also wanted to let you know that when we do open to those year groups, it will be up to you to decide whether you wish to send your children in or not. You know your family situation best and if you decide to keep your children at home, we will support that decision. We will keep you updated with all our preparations for making sure the school is as safe as possible so that you can make an informed decision.

We would all like to thank you for your continuous support in helping your children to learn from home. I hope you all continue to remain safe and well and we look forward to welcoming you all back when it is safe to do so.

Yours sincerely,

James Procter

Possible Reopening in June

Dear Parents/Carers,

I am sure many of you will have seen or heard the Prime Minister’s message to the nation yesterday, encouraging people to return to essential work if they are not able to work from home.

In the same speech, Boris Johnson suggested that primary schools could potentially reopen to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday 1st June, after the half term break.

We will need more detail from the government about how it plans for schools to operate during any phased return and we plan to communicate this to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

James Procter

Children with Speech & Language Needs

Dear Parents of children with speech and language needs,

To support your children’s speech, language and communication needs, Speech Link and Language LInk have fast tracked the launch of their new Parent Portal to help with this. The site will be live from Friday 20th March and will provide parents with FREE speech and language advice, resources and activities.

Parents can be reassured that the support for their children, who have SLCN, doesn’t have to stop once their school closes.

The site can be found at https://speechandlanguage.info/parents

Education for Children of Key Workers

Dear Parents/Carers,

We have now received further guidance from the government around which children will still have education provided for them.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

The first question that must be considered when making a decision about where your child should be as of Monday 23rd March

is outlined by the government. They are recommending that:

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should beWe ask that you consider this carefully so that no child, adult or family is put at risk.

The list of ‘Key Workers’, as defined by the government, is as follows:

Health and social care: This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare: This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services: This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government: This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods: This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security: This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport: This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services: This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

We appreciate that this is a concerning and rapidly changing landscape and so will aim to keep you as updated with school arrangements as we can. Please inform your child’s school office if you are not receiving emails. Updates will also be posted on all schools’ websites.

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals (not including the Key Stage 1 provision), please contact your school to indicate whether you would like this service to continue throughout this closure period. We are liaising with Chartwells (our catering provider) about their plans to be able to provide food packages which can be delivered to you.

The arrangements for Chiddingly and East Hoathly are: If your child currently attends one of these schools and you require provision for them, these children will all be based at Chiddingly School. Please ensure they arrive at school for 8:50am and are picked up no later than 3:15pm. There will be a catering team on site if your child requires a hot meal and you should inform staff as soon as possible if this is the case. School uniform is optional during this closure period.

The arrangements for St Mary the Virgin are: From Monday 23rd March – Friday 27th March, the children who require provision should attend the school from 8:50am and should be picked up no later than 3:15pm. Please note, there will be no catering team on site so your child will need a packed lunch. The continunation of this arrangement very much depends on the advice we receive from Local Authority. The likelihood is that, over the coming weeks, children from smaller local schools will be asked to attend another larger school in the locality and we will keep you as up to date as we can with details of this. School uniform is optional during this closure period.

We would ask that you continue to refer to the government’s advice that children should be at home where it is at all possible, and that you regularly review your situation regarding your child(ren).

Staff across the Federation are working extremely hard to ensure that we play our part in fighting COVID-19 and it is a difficult time for all. Thank you for your continued support, understanding and patience at this time.

 Stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you all back to school soon.

School to Close after 20th March

We are writing to inform you that we have been instructed to close the school due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the majority of pupils. The school will be closed at the end of Friday 20th March and most pupils should not attend school until further notice. We will let you know when the school is fully reopen via a message through ParentMail and on the school websites.

The pupils who the government have said could attend school are listed here:

  • Children of ‘Key Workers’ who need to be at work to support the country’s fight to tackle the Coronavirus – please note we are awaiting a full list from the Government but this is the information we have so far:
    • NHS staff
    • Police officers
    • Supermarket delivery drivers
  • Vulnerable children – please note we are awaiting a full list from the Government but this is the information we have so far:
    • Those with Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP)
    • Those who have a Social Worker

If you, or your child, are in one of the listed categories, please could you inform us as soon as possible and by 9am on Friday 20th March whether you will be sending your child into school so we can plan ahead for this.

Please refer to the letter sent out on Wednesday 18th March regarding pupils’ activities and work set over the closure period.

Staff emails have been set up specifically for the closure so that you and children can contact staff during this time. Staff will be accessing their emails during school hours. These email accounts will be deleted when the school reopens. The staff email addresses for the closure period are as follows:

Maple Miss Munn, Mrs Boldero and Miss Bews smv-maple@pioneerfederation.co.uk
Cherry Mrs Norris and Miss Jane smv-cherry@pioneerfederation.co.uk
Willow Miss Hare, Miss Frankel and Mrs Neville smv-willow@pioneerfederation.co.uk
Lilac Miss Banks and Mrs T smv-lilac@pioneerfederation.co.uk
Inclusion Manager Mrs Leahy sleahy@pioneerfederation.co.uk  
Thrive Mrs T smv-thrive@pioneerfederation.co.uk

Wellbeing and Support

Safeguarding continues to be a priority, especially when the school is not open to pupils. If you have any worries related to welfare or safeguarding issues, please contact us using the email addresses above.

There are a number of organsiations that can support families in a variety of ways:

We appreciate that a closure is going to have an impact on you and your family and it’s a far from an ideal scenario. We will keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops. Please continue to check the Coronavirus tabs on each website. If you want to get in touch to share any concerns, please don’t hesitate to do so via the Office email, as usual.

Please use NHS 111 online if you or your child feels unwell and you want to know what to do next.  For government updates: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you all back to school soon.

Possible School Closure

Dear Parents/Carers,

If we need to close the school due to the Coronavirus, we would like to provide clarity now about how we plan to support pupils in their education during the closure period.

Your child’s learning is important to us, so, during the closure, we’ll continue to support pupils as follows:

  • You will find work set for them on the class pages on the school websites. See specific details below for each class.
  • There will be staff emails set up specifically for the closure so that you and children can contact teachers during this time. These email addresses will be sent out soon. Staff will be accessing their emails during school hours. These email accounts will be deleted after the closure. If we don’t hear back from you, we will assume that you are giving your consent for email correspondence during the closure period.
  • Leahy & Mrs. Levey (the Federation Inclusion Managers/SENDCOs) will also be available to contact through their emails: sleahy@pioneerfederation.co.uk & senco@easthoathly.e-sussex.sch.uk
  • Each child will receive an exercise book to be used to record work in.

Nursery

There will be a weekly updates for activity ideas and websites on the Nursery website.

Reception

  • Each week, the Reception teams will upload a weekly planner of activities to the website for you to complete with your child. This planner will be updated on a Friday for the following week. We have suggested a timetable with daily activities, however these can be carried out in any order and whenever you have time to complete them.
  • We have tried to include activities using resources that you are likely to have at home. We will also supply each child with a small home learning kit to support these. There are a range of activities to include daily household resources and clips of short learning, and all of these activities are designed to be short and manageable.
  • Please use your home learning book to record any written tasks. We look forward to seeing these as soon as we can. Feel free to email us photos or messages to the class email address and we will respond between 8.40-3.15, Monday to Friday. It would be great to receive a weekly update from the children so we can share their home experiences!

Year 1-2

There will be weekly PDF files to cover learning in Maths and English which will be put on the class pages on the website. From these, daily tasks will be set which will be linked to Purple Mash or work to be completed in their exercise books. The tasks will be across the both Year 1 and 2 grouped in challenges from cool to spicy for the children to access.

There will be ‘2Do’ challenges on Purple Mash and a home learning task sheet which will cover other subjects.

Year 1: Phonics tasks will be sent home alongside the sound mat and common exception words which the children are working on daily. You will find these in their exercise books and they will also be on the website. Please have a go at a section a day and practice reading and spelling a few common exception words each day.

Year 2: SATs question sheets will be sent home in their exercise books which help the children to revise all the learning they have covered so far and keep their new knowledge fresh in their heads. The children can do 10 mins a day on these sheets; please remember the children can use objects to count and draw their learning if they are stuck. They will also have a common exception word sheet for them to continue spelling and reading the words.

Year 3-4

  • A document with suggested activities for curriculum areas will be uploaded to the class page on the school website. Children should choose 2 activities for each area of the curriculum to complete at home over a three week period. These can be brought back into school (once the school reopens) for sharing with their teachers and other children.
  • Maths will continue to be set through MyMaths with a task being uploaded daily. There are also plenty of ‘lessons’ that can be accessed for assistance if the children are finding a task difficult to complete at home. Children should continue to practise times tables regularly (at least 3x weekly) and the times table challenge that the children use in class will be uploaded to the class page on the website.
  • For the first two days of a school closure, Literacy will be set through ‘2Dos’ on PurpleMash and extension tasks will be uploaded onto the class pages. After this, a weekly powerpoint will be uploaded detailing grammar and a writing task to be completed over a week. All Literacy work completed should be put into the exercise book that we have sent home with the children, or they can be emailed into the class teacher for some feedback.
  • Spellings patterns that would be the whole class focus are already on the website for the rest of Term 4 and children should continue to learn their weekly spellings. There are a variety of resources on PurpleMash under English – Spelling Resources and these are then listed by year group.

 Year 5-6

  • A suggested daily timetable will be provided on the website class page.
  • A document with suggested activities for curriculum areas will be uploaded to the class page on the school website. Children should choose 2 activities for each area of the curriculum to complete at home over a three-week period. These can be brought back into school once the school reopens for sharing with their teachers and other children.
  • Maths will be set via MyMaths the expectation is to do a daily lesson and the task and aim to achieve a green percentage score before moving on. Pupils should also complete arithmetic practise on MyMaths – this is on the home screen.
  • Literacy will be set via a weekly PowerPoint uploaded to the website class page detailing a writing task to be completed over a week. All Literacy work completed should be put into the exercise book that we have sent home with the children. There is also a separate grammar & punctuation PowerPoint on the website class page, of which children should use to complete one of the activities a day.
  • Daily reading tasks will be based on ‘The Explorer’ – on the website class page you can find PDF of each chapter and accompanying questions.
  • Pupils should also continue working their way through the Year 5&6 statutory spelling list – recognising patterns, understanding definitions and using them within a context.
  • Pupils can also use the back of the exercise book provided to keep a journal, giving them the opportunity to share how they are feeling, how they are keeping healthy, what you have achieved each day, what are you grateful for, what problems have you solved today etc.
  • Year 6 – continue working through their CGP books regularly and you can also find a link to previous SATs papers and answers on the website class page.

If you need reminding about the logins for any of the programmes mentioned, please see your child’s Class Teacher as soon as possible.

The links below also have a range of free resources:

We appreciate that a closure will have an impact on you and your family and it’s a far from an ideal scenario. We will keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops. Please continue to check the Coronavirus tabs on each website. If you want to get in touch to share any concerns, please don’t hesitate to do so via the Office email, as usual.

Please use NHS 111 online if you or your child feels unwell and you want to know what to do next.  For government updates: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

James Procter
Executive Headteacher

After School Club Forest School

After School Club Forest School

With a couple of brilliant small people, we set off after a busy day at school to tackle the muddy path to the woods. We muddied our boots along the way and had great fun wading in puddles to clean them. The rain came and went again as our hoods went up and down.

The willow was everywhere and we chatted about cats fur trees, catty willow, catty puss tails and calling the trees Ruby and Brian... because they might have other names and if they didn’t, then we should help them choose them!

I finally found the elusive hazel flower. A tiny delight, which is tricky to spot, but I felt like a winner when I found a glimpse of ruby red on the tips of the buds.

Having arrived in the woods and demolishing a packet of biscuits, the children set about drilling homes in name disks with brilliant independence. They then created whatever they wanted and threaded them into necklaces. (We've hidden them in a sneaky place for when we return next week.)

Then it was all about the stream...crossing it, testing it's depth, squelching sticks, and generally having a jolly good poke around in the mud.

Thanks for a lovely time. I can’t wait until next week!

check out what the children have been up to on the blog on the website: https://www.sawpitwoods.co.uk/blog

Wildlife explorers

Wildlife explorers

Wildlife Explorers put on a play in assembly this week: to show how Fairtrade helps cocoa farmers and the rainforest. They have learned that Fairtrade cocoa farmers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price. On top of the minimum price, farmer organisations also receive a Fairtrade Premium , which helps to provide toilets, clean water and schools for their communities. Fairtrade farmers support the surrounding rainforest, plants and animals, which means nature helps healthy cocoa trees to grow.

Music Assembly

Music Assembly

We were fortunate to have two visitors, Nicoline and Roseanna, treat us to some wonderful live Harp and Violin playing on Thursday!

They taught us loads about the instruments, the type of music they play and they played loads of fun games with us that had us thinking about tempo, rhythm and beats of the music. Thanks Nicoline and Roseanna for an inspiring assembly!

Sport Relief

Sport Relief

Over the last week, we have been completing challenges to raise money for Sports Relief. On Tuesday, we did a hole school 10 minute challenge and on Wednesday we held a four square tournament! Thursday consisted of a skipping tournament and finally, on Friday, we did a hula hoop tournament. Hope, Emilia and Bethan also held a Jumble sale that included toys, clothes and baked goods. The total raised so far is £75 – well done everyone! (Reported by Emilia, Year 5)

Maple Class Film Show

Maple Class Film Show

Over the past few weeks Miss Boswell has supported Maple Class with filming familiar stories. They have all dressed up, acted in, narrated and filmed their stories in small groups. These included ‘Cinderella’, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The class invited their parents in and made popcorn for the film show. What a brilliant bit of work Maple Class, the films were wonderful!

World Book Day

World Book Day

For World Book Day, as well as having the opportunity to dress as their favourite character from a book, each class contributed to a whole school story. The teachers brought in an object that needed to be included and the classes wrote a paragraph each. Starting in Maple, the story progressed through Cherry to Willow, giving Lilac the exciting task of bringing the story to its conclusion.

Can you work out the items each class had to include?

Once upon a time there was a friendly rainbow bear called David. He lived in an oak tree in the Ashdown Forest. The tree had a little door so that the bear could go in and out and was covered in green leaves and orange flowers. One day he was found asleep on the cushions in the library of St Mary’s school. A grey mouse with sparkly green eyes was sleeping in a light pink ballet shoe. It lived in the small ballet shoe in the corner of the library.

The mouse became friends with the bear. They were reading a book about “How to find a magical key” and suddenly a magic key appeared in thin air. They found a small door in one of the bookshelves and unlocked it with the key. They went through it full of wonder and the door closed behind them. They were trapped in a story – Toy Story 4. They met Woody, Jessie and Bo Peep. Woody said “Let’s go on an adventure .” They went to meet Evil Emperor Zurg.

They stepped forward and they were in an enchanted forest with twinkling lights surrounding them. The mouse became frightened and the bear laughed at him and they started arguing. All of a sudden Pikachu runs past them and headed straight towards a glowing light. Zurg slowly emerged and went to attack them all. Within a split second, a lightning bolt flashed and killed Zurg instantly. All the sparkling lights started forming stars and filled a jar. Woody & Bo Peep went over to see the jar. It was a jar of dreams. It was flashing and twinkling. As a team, they made a costume that meant they could enter the jar of dreams. They all held hands and jumped inside. There were four different portals and dreams for them to choose…

They looked at the four portals and decided to put it to a vote. The first portal led to Atlantis, the wondrous underwater city and the second was Badger’s House. The third would take them to Emerald City and the final one was just black, just nothing. For some reason, they decided this portal would be the best one to choose and they dropped in one-by-one. Once everyone had reached the bottom, all they could see was themselves! They looked up, they looked down; to the right, to the left – they couldn’t see anything. The decision was made to head in a straight line. After what felt like forever, the group stumbled upon a vast lake, which had four pairs of wellies lined up beside it. The four of them put on the wellies and were led by the magical boots towards the water. They were starting to panic, but the weird thing was they didn’t sink! They slowly made their way towards the middle of the lake, but unfortunately they didn’t realise they were heading towards a waterfall. They fell and they fell…and landed on a pile of cushions in the library at St Mary’s School.

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The rain fell harder than it has all winter. We decided that we needed to brave it and go and have a look at the effects of the flooding.

The rain had made huge puddles under the railway bridge. The children had a great time splashing in them and discussing their depth.

We took a look at the river Medway. The river had swollen so much that it was only a couple of centimetres under the bridge. Some water had flooded onto the field. The children talked about how the river may rise overnight as it flow down off the fields.

By the time we had returned to the bridge 20 minutes later the water had risen loads!

The children showed the IMPACT of Forest School on their scientific questioning and use of maths language to describe the depth of the water and the length of the puddles.

They also showed the impact of the Art curriculum lessons, by noticing the amazing patterns the flowing water and raindrops made as they fell in puddles.

We returned to school and talked about what we had noticed this week. Then everyone had a go at writing

At Forest School I…..

What an amazing afternoon! Well done Cherry class for a wet weather adventure.

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

This term our topic is ‘Turrets and Tiaras’. We learned about castles in the morning and played with knights and horses. So with handmade willow horses, we mounted our steeds and set off for a gallop to the woods.

This week we learned that all the storms that have been recently made lots of mud and puddles, so we had to choose a different route to the woods (and passed Benny the school dog returning from his lunchtime walk).

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact of the children’s learning about safety was great to see as they walked carefully and sensibly along the pavement down to the access to the old railway line.

Lots of the children spoke about how they used to go to the playschool there before coming to school and explained to others that the Playschool building is in the old Hartfield station. They demonstrated the impact of how much they had developed their understanding of changes over time and their personal connections to the village.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

The children showed the impact of learning about how to stay healthy by stopping at nearly every puddle, so their horses could have a drink.

In one of the ditches along the track we spotted some frogs spawn and talked about how it will develop. The children also noticed catkins on the hazel trees and showed the development of their plant recognition skills by pointing more of them out and gleefully collecting fallen catkins, which they thought looked like caterpillars. We looked out for other signs of spring and spotted some primroses and daffodils.

The children learned a song and actions about spring.

”Spring is here”, said the bumblebee,

“How do you know?” said the old oak tree,

“Because I saw a daffodil,

Dancing with the fairies on the windy hill”.

At the railway bridge we sat down to have a drink ourselves and we listened to a story. Logan had written a story of ‘The three Billy Goat’s Gruff’ in Cherry class and he narrated the story whilst others acted it out for the class. The bridge was great for the ‘trip-trap’ sounds in the story.

The children found a new bench along the route and talked about who had put it there. They used their reading skills to sound out and blend the letters which were written on the bench. They all agreed that it is really important to take their rubbish home with them.

Once in the woods the children had time for a snack and some more exploring. The impact of the children’s progress in physical challenge. Being independent on the slack line, by just using the rope and ladder to climb. They also explored the fallen oak tree and made up imaginary castle stories about being ‘…the King of the castle…’

The children talked about what they had noticed, learned and enjoyed this week before finding a less muddy route out of the woods and the hill! Thanks to our volunteers for supporting the children and allowing them to directly show the impact of their learning and connection to their local environment at Forest School.

International Day – Australia

International Day – Australia

This week, St Mary’s paused to explore the wonderful continent of Australia! We started the morning by looking at where Australia is situated in the world; its many beautiful landmarks and tourist attractions; some famous faces that we might recognise from the big screen and finally some of its local heroes that have blown people away with their courage and steadfastness towards the bush fires.

We then split into our classes and began carousel of activities throughout the school. In Willow, we were looking at some traditional Australian treats, such as Lamingtons and Fairy bread. The children had a go at decorating biscuits, using fruit, to represent the Australian flag and tasted Vegemite – this definitely had mixed reviews! In Lilac, we were learning all about Saint Mary MacKillop, who was the first Australian saint, and her impact on people’s lives. She is still celebrated in Australia today and she is said to have performed two miracles! As well as this, we tried our hands at Aboriginal Art, using paints. It was really interesting and therapeutic designing and creating patterns! Lastly, we explored some Australian traditions. We started by looking at boomerangs (thank you Rory, Kishi & Kaya for bringing these in to share with us!) and then learnt a traditional Indigenous game called ‘Boogalah’ – this proved to be very popular, if somewhat competitive… We created actions for a song called ‘Kookaburra’ and everyone came together at the end of the day to perform this to parents in an assembly. We had an amazing day – it was so interesting to learn about a different part of the world and share in their culture!

Impact & Knowledge Gained

International Day has allowed pupils to have a broad enhancement of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Each pupil came away from the day having learnt or experienced something new. Days like this allow us as a school to promote equality and diversity and, as a result, pupils understand, appreciate and respect difference in the world and its people, celebrating the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities.

Chestnut Tree House

Chestnut Tree House

It was great to have Georgie from Chestnut Tree House visit us on Tuesday to talk about the amazing work that the charity do for young children and their families. She spoke to us about the fantastic activities and experiences the children have access to - from a sensory room, to a woodland tree walk and even swimming! Another reason Georgie came to visit was to award four girls in Lilac Class - Francesca, Elouise, Daisy and Ashleigh - with a certificate as a way to say thank you for the money they raised for the charity. I know the girls already have some more fundraising ideas up their sleeves, so watch this space!

Lilac Class Forest School

Lilac Class Forest School

After the wet and cold weather we have been so used to, it was gorgeous in the sunshine today.

Miss Banks brought her dog Poppy this week and she enjoyed playing with sticks as much as the children. Many of the class added to their 10 minute school running challenge by running stretches of the railway line on the way to the woods.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through their observations of their environment. This week we walked along a badger path and looked at evidence of them looking for food and at the entrance holes of their sets.

In preparation for their topic next term ‘survival’, the whole class learned some knots. They will hopefully use these skills to make shelters with next term.

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience. Today they learned how to tie a ‘clove hitch’. They had a go at teaching and supporting each other with the steps involved.

They started with making a joined up ‘ee’ digraph out of string. They then put the right loop behind the left loop and put it around the stick they had collected.

The children then learned how to square lash their stick to another one and how to tie it off at the end.

Some children carried on exploring knot tying and practised and developed their new skills.

Some went and explored the fallen tree and decided it would make a great adventure playground, with a trampoline, balance beam and slide. A group of children fetched digging tools and explored what animals they could find below the surface of the woodland floor.

The children played some stealth games which they had learned previously and made up imaginative role play stories. There was time for some more physical challenge with the slack line.

Willow Class Science Afternoon

Willow Class Science Afternoon

On Wednesday 5th February, Willow Class had a really exciting afternoon making torches as a way of applying all the knowledge they have gained this term about electricity. After an initial discussion about whether torches gave renewable or non-renewable energy; a recap on what all the parts in a circuit were called and what conductors and in-sulators are, Willow were joined by Mr Martin-Lawrence who had kindly prepared a lot of resources for them to make the torch making a fairly simple process. We were also joined by 10 other willing parents who helped the children create amazing torches! Once the children had assembled the circuits and screwed all the parts into place, the joy on their faces when they flicked them on was fantastic to see! They then decorated them with their own creative flair and proudly showed them off to one another. What a fantastic afternoon to share in all the learning that the children have done this term and some amazing design work from Willow Class! A huge thank you to all the parents who came in to help – we could not have done it without you! A special thank you to Mr Martin-Lawrence (and Thomas!) who prepared a lot of the parts beforehand and were the resident experts for the afternoon.

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

The children are learning about Maps as part of their Geography curriculum this term. They all had a look at maps of the village before we left. We looked at features of a map, the key, roads, a church, bridges, footpaths, bridleways, rivers and woodlands. The Impact of the knowledge of maps they had was evident on our walk to the woods.

Using a compass and the map, the class worked out our first direction to take was West, under 2 bridges.

We looked at badgers sets along the way and learned how to identify signs that badgers were living in sets below the track we took.

“Where we walked was like walking on the roof of a whole badger city!”

We talked about how to use a compass and magnetism in the centre of the earth. They used their scientific enquiry skills by looking at the ditches and puddles along the old railway line and learned that iron in the soil, colours the water orange.

Once in the woods the children all created their own compass bearing maps out of sticks and other found resources. They worked in pairs or small groups, making their own creative decisions about how to note North, East, South, West and shared their  mnemonics on how to remember it.

Some groups went on to add features to their maps, like trees and the fire circle in the woods.

Willow Class call the bridge we cross “The noisy bridge”, as they can tap and stamp on it to make rhythms. They had a go at learning the song “Three little birds” and tapping sticks along to the rhythm of the song.

After making their own maps, Willow class had all showed the impact of the skills of working with natural resources to create with. They set off into different spaces in the woods. Climbing the fallen tree, the slack line and playing in the dens they have made and making up their own imaginary play stories in groups.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games. This week they played 1,2,3,change tree and had great fun in the process!

We ended the session, by being so quiet we could hear a great tit call and have a go at repeating it’s sound. The children successfully passed a woodland whisper along the whole class line and were great at sharing what they had enjoyed during the session.

“ I loved the game 1,2,3,change tree”.

“I loved playing with my friends in the dens”.

“ I liked the walk and talking to people along the way”.

“ I liked climbing on the fallen Oak tree…it was like my castle!”

“ I loved the slack line, it was more of a challenge to go around and in the trees”.

“ I saw a badgers set, the hole”.

Guide Dog Assembly

Guide Dog Assembly

On Tuesday 28th January, we were visited by Jean and her friend Susannah, both of whom train guide dog puppies until they are around 14 months old. This assembly linked in with our Collective Worship theme of Justice, as we have been learning about those whom Jesus healed from blindness. Susannah brought in her puppy in training, Oscar, who proudly showed off some of the amazing things he already knew. He showed us how to find an empty seat, walk nicely on a lead and sit and wait. Jean and Susannah explained to the children all the different commands they teach the puppies and what happens to them once they leave their homes and go into advanced training. Jean and Susannah also explained to the children how important it is to never disturb a working guide dog (or a puppy in training) when they are out as one of the most important things a dog has to learn is to ignore distractions.

After the assembly, Jean, Susannah and Oscar went up on to the playground to chat to the children and answer some questions. Oscar enjoyed getting some fuss from some of the children!

Thank you, Jean and Susannah, and we look forward to hearing how the puppies get on in their training!

Art Day

Art Day

St Mary’s enjoyed a whole day of art. The children had four different sessions of art teaching them different art skills. They learnt mono-printing, 3-D art and splatter painting, how to draw a portrait of a friend, and watercolours. This was a great opportunity for the children to immerse themselves in one subject for the whole day. A local artist Sue Holpin led the session for portraiture and the parents had the opportunity to buy her art. It was fantastic that the children were able to learn new things from professional artists and express themselves in different ways. Thank you to all the staff who volunteered to lead the sessions; Miss Munn, Mrs Waterman and Mrs Carpenter!

Impact & Knowledge Gained

The impact on the children’s learning was that they consolidated and gained art skills in areas that they had not experimented with before. The day allowed KS1 children to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space and gave our KS2 pupils the opportunity to improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawin g and painting.

Gymnastics Workshops

Gymnastics Workshops

It was great to have Abi and Lydia from Fun Abounds come in and run a gymnastics workshop with each class on Thursday! They taught the children a bit about each of the gymnastics disciplines and taught them some of the stretches and exercises involved with each one. They showed the children some amazing clips of athletes at various Olympics events, which were really inspiring for all to watch. What an fantastic way to get involved with a sport that many maybe haven’t experienced before!

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The day was warmer than we expected, but we set off another way to the woods, because last week it was incredibly muddy.

We looked at a map which showed us what wild animals we might see and at some of the other features of the map.

We talked about animal tracks and the children all had a sheet to help them identify and spot different wild animals’ tracks along our route.

The children used stencils to create the tracks of badgers, deer and foxes.

We took a different route along the ‘badger track’ and found lots of evidence of them digging in the earth for food such as worms and saw lots of holes which were the entrances to the badger sets in the side of the bank.

The children showed the IMPACT of Forest School on their scientific questioning. They learned that iron in the soil and rock turns the water orange. They then asked why some water was orange and some was clear? They then used their knowledge to answer their own questions.

Once in the woods, the children showed the IMPACT of Forest School by exploring the fallen oak tree.

They used their increased confidence in climbing to explore the tree from all sides and enjoyed the view of the woods from a higher viewpoint.

It was brilliant to see just how much learning can come out of a fallen tree and the children’s questions, ideas and imagination.

We played woodland whispers at the end of the session and managed to be silent enough when passing on our whisper to hear the birds singing whilst we listened.

The children shared what they had enjoyed and showed the IMPACT of Forest School in today’s session.

“I liked climbing on the ropes”

“I liked playing shops in the woods”

“I loved exploring the fallen tree”

“I liked talking about iron and elements”

“I liked using the flour to make animal prints”

“I liked EVERYTHING!”

Thanks again for our brilliant volunteers who support, listen, question, engage and encourage the children with all of their Forest School experience.

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

It looked like rain at lunchtime, but as we headed out the wind picked up and blew it all away.

This week we learned that dandelions and daisies sometimes flower in January, even though it is the middle of winter!

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

The children showed the impact of learning to use maths across the curriculum. They counted the amount of fallen trees we had seen. ‘They fell down because of the wind’

We climbed over one, saw a distant birch across the old railway line, saw an oak which had been sawn up ‘I think it was sawed by a chainsaw’ and one on a slant, ‘like a triangle shape’ in the middle of a wood. ‘That makes 4 altogether!’

The impact of the observing and experiencing the environment was evident on the children’s risk taking. They showed great personal challenge skills as they navigated styles and chose a safe path through the mud.

The children talked about how the ground felt underfoot…muddy, slippy, squelchy, soft, squidgy…negotiated who liked getting splashed with mud and who didn’t.

The children recognised that there was a new gate on our journey. They wanted to know what it said, so they showed the impact of their phonic knowledge to blend the sounds and read the sign. ‘f  oo- that is the sound this week t, that is foot’.

Using sticks the children found emerging bluebell, just peeping out under the leaf litter.

They found catkins and thought they looked like caterpillars. They used their observation skills to find as many as possible on the ground.

The impact of the children’s progress in physical challenge. Being independent on the slack line, by just using the rope and ladder to climb.

This week our topic has led us to learn about fire. We discussed fire safety before we left and the children remembered our games of ‘red dragon, green dragon’ to remind themselves how to stay safe around the fire circle.

The children showed their persevering parrot learning powers as they used the flint and steels to start the fire.

The children talked about what they had noticed, learned and enjoyed this week before heading home up a muddy track up the hill! Thanks to our volunteers for supporting the children and allowing them to directly show the impact of their learning and connection to their local environment at Forest School.

Maple and Lilac Class Buddy Time

Maple and Lilac Class Buddy Time

Maple Class have spent a lesson thinking about their new topic ‘Off We Go!’

They discussed what they knew already and what they would like to learn about. Lilac Class took them to the library to find some relevant books. They showed the children how the books were ordered and catalogued. They explained about non- fiction books. The pairs of Buddy’s selected books about transport and read them together. Maple Class brought the books back to the classroom to use throughout the term for their independent learning. It is always brilliant to see the great collaboration, support and sharing of ideas, knowledge and enthusiasm at St Mary’s.

Lilac Class Forest School

Lilac Class Forest School

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

It poured with rain this afternoon, so we started our session inside. The children showed the impact of their learning when they recalled how they had made rosehip syrup during their last session and all had a bit as ‘medicine’, as children would have done during WW2.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through their observations of plants and trees.

Today they all saw how much lichen was growing on the tree at the start of the railway line, showing the purity of the air.

The children were challenged to collect as much water that the rain had deposited on hedgerows and plants along the way to the woods.

They showed how they could utilise their learning powers by showing great perseverance and ingenuity with how and where they collected the water from. This included jumping in puddles and collecting the slashes, to using an upturned umbrella and catching the fallen rain from the tarpaulin over the fire!

There was time to have a hot chocolate in the woods when we arrived- fairly wet, but cheerful.

The children collated all of their caught rainwater into a bucket. It turned out that they had collected a surprising amount. (Although there was rather a lot of ‘puddle water collected’!)

The slack line was moved to a different spot and the children had a go at showing the impact of the development of their risk taking and personal challenge skills. They had to climb around and through trees and were very successful in showing their developed skills.

Well done to the children for braving the wet weather of the British Winter so well and embracing the learning and challenge opportunities of being out in it.