Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 24

This Week

Dear Parents,

A very warm welcome back after what I hope was a tremendous Easter vacation for you, to this, arguably our most jam packed term of the school year!

The renowned American broadcaster and motivational speaker Les Brown is alleged to have once famously said “nobody rises to low expectations”.  Mrs Tinkler spent some time reminding all of us – pupils and adults alike – of this important adage at the beginning of this week. In her letter to you all earlier this week she also highlighted the many and varied events and activities that will be taking place this term, which of course are all in the calendar that you received at the end of last term. I am sure that this year, as has been the case in the past, the boys’ behaviour when they are out and about representing their school will continue to make us very proud of them. If any of you have any questions or observations to make about our planned series of events for this term, do please get in touch sooner rather than later.

I am expecting our assemblies to be particularly reflective this half term as our theme is the word ‘empathy’. Mr Ford kicked off our exploration of the theme this morning with some excellent and amusing anecdotal tales of life behind the usually closed doors chez Ford. With two very young children and the busy professional lives that he and his wife lead, like so many of you, he explained how important it is for him to really enjoy some relaxing family time when it comes, the strong feelings of his spirited two-year-old daughter notwithstanding! Mr Ford recommended to us all – the boys in particular of course – to take some time over the coming weeks to think about our relationships with those around and close to us. He asked us, in effect, to have a go at “reading” how we think others are really feeling, thinking about our behaviour if need be and trying to make the most of the time we all have together.

This notion chimes very closely with all that we hope the boys are developing in their mindfulness lessons here, which take place at various points from Years 4 through to 6. I think it is terribly important for all children to be able to get in touch with their internal emotional states and reflect upon their sense of self, so as to make the right decisions regarding how to behave. Far from the ‘woolly nonsense’ this sort of approach is sometimes criticised as being, I strongly believe that when children know who they are, how they tick and how others do too, they will be far better disposed to get along with each other in a truly positive manner both in and out of the classroom. If this navel gazing is already sounding like ‘rather too much’ for your cynical adult selves to bear, brace yourselves please, as there will be plenty more where this comes from I am afraid as we continue to explore ‘empathy’ this half term!

I have been absolutely bowled over by the boys’ response to ‘The 5 Word House Challenge’, which I set before them at the end of last term to complete over the Easter break. Wow – what a huge array of weird, wonderful, whimsical, wicked, whopping words the boys have managed to listen out for and capture! There will be House prizes to award in assembly on Monday and now of course we want to see them using this sort of exciting vocabulary in their speech and in their creative writing. It has been especially great fun to discover how and where the boys came across the words they submitted as part of this challenge. One boy wrote that he learnt what the word ‘curmudgeonly’ means after his father used it to excuse his own behaviour one morning ‘after he had stayed up late the night before, enjoying himself very loudly with his friends’. Out of the mouths of babes and all that…

I have noticed that parents’ efforts to park some small distance away from school and to walk the last little bit of the journey is continuing. This is great to see; do please keep that up. If you have not already adopted this habit, please do consider giving it a try.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

 

Prep News

A group of boys from our Year 5 took a trip to the Tate Britain on Thursday this week as part of their Art Portfolio club with Mrs Howell. They visited the Van Gogh and Britain exhibition and took some time to sketch some of the work themselves.

Today our Year 6 boys got the chance to show our year 3’s the maths board games that they have spent time creating in their lessons:

 

 

Pre-Prep News

A very warm welcome back to school, it has been great catching up with everyone this week and hearing all about exciting holiday exploits – especially visits to far-flung places around the globe!  It is so good to see everyone looking refreshed and batteries recharged for the term ahead.  Speaking of this, hopefully you will have received the beginning of term letter detailing all events for the coming term – please do get in touch with the School Office if you have not received yours.  Likewise, you should have received a copy of the ROAR magazine (brought home by your child) – again if not, then do let us know and we will rectify this as soon as possible.  I fear I must have tempted fate when I mentioned sun cream in my letter … let’s hope we see some sunshine this term!

As promised at the end of last term, we are pleased to inform you that the final amount raised for the charity MIND was £101.90 – a fantastic effort all round and we thank you for your support. We look forward to hearing from School Council in due course, as to whom we shall support this term – one thing for sure, we know that it will be an international charity this time around. The children make all the decisions about the charities we support and we love to hear their interesting ideas for raising money for chosen causes. I have to say ‘pyjama day’ was a huge hit and I definitely wouldn’t mind in the least doing this again next year!

Due to the shortened week, we have not had the usual Star and Courtesy awards in our assembly on Thursday, however, we are delighted to announce Captains and Vice Captains for the term ahead and they are as follows:

Red Team: Captain – Eddie and Vice-Captain – Asher

Blue Team: Captain – Harry C and Vice-Captain – Aashish

Green Team: Captain – Daniel and Vice-Captain – Harry B

Yellow Team: Captain – Finn and Vice-Captain – Ayaan

Several other awards and certificates were presented following endeavours during the holidays and in CCAs last term.  Year 2 children received certificates for their performances in the judo CCA:  Toby, Harry C, Alfie, Harry M, Ahaan and Eddie.  Well done, boys!

Congratulations to Arthur (Year 2) who was awarded a certificate to mark his climbing of Mount Snowdon during the Easter holidays – no mean feat as the mountain is 1,085m and this expedition took him a total of 6.5 hours!

We were so pleased to hear that Toby (Year 2) recently received a Blue Peter badge.  Spurred on by the RAF 100 year centenary, he set about a project about four different types of plane, including the Lancaster Bomber. Having concluded his project, he then submitted it to Blue Peter and all his hard work has been rewarded with one of their iconic badges – very well done, what a great effort!

Finally, we were delighted to hear that Keyan (Reception) has completed Level 8 British Gymnastics proficiency and he was awarded with his certificate in assembly, too!

 

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

The children have settled back into the Kindergarten and have shared their holiday snapshot news with their friends and teachers, talking excitedly about all the things that they have been up to – they have been so busy!

In class, we have been reading lots of different versions of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, discussing how the story and characters are always the same, unlike the story of ‘The Gingerbread Man’, that is, apart from the repeated refrain ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’, which varies in each story we have read so far.

We have been continuing and completing patterns involving shape and colour – we have continued patterns on paper and on the Interactive Whiteboard.

Next week, we continue our topic of Jack and the Beanstalk and Growing.

Reception have settled back into school life so well this week. All our boys returned to school happy, refreshed and ready for a new term of learning.  In Literacy, we retold an Oxford Reading Tree story we had read, about a botanist who couldn’t find a particular plant in the rainforest.  We were impressed with the way the boys used capital letters, full stops and worked hard to spell their tricky words.  In mathematics this week, we have immersed ourselves in measuring and weighing.  We have used the balance to compare different objects – estimating first which will be the heaviest. We also weighed a variety of classroom objects using the balance and compare bears; recording and comparing our findings.  It was interesting to see whose estimations were correct.  Everybody was excited to follow our healthy oaty flapjack recipe on Friday – reading the recipe, measuring the ingredients, taking turns to stir, and (the best part) trying the apricots! We have sent home to the recipe with everyone in case you would like to make our flapjack at home. Happy baking!

 

Year 1 have had a busy start to the half term! In English we have written our ‘Easter Holiday News’ and been learning about compound words (foot + ball = football). It sounds like lots of the children got up to some fabulous things in the holidays and it was lovely to hear all about them during their writing task.

In maths, we have been revising how to read and write numbers to 20 and how many tens and ones are in a 2-digit number. The children were able to say things such as “23 is made up of 2 tens and 3 ones. 20 and 3 make 23”. Today the children completed a mental arithmetic activity, which had questions relating to all different areas of maths.

As part of our new topic, ‘We are Britain!’ the children have been thinking about themselves and whom they are. They have painted self-portraits and in computing, they have drawn pictures of themselves and their families.

We are all getting very excited about our trip to Winchester Science Museum on the 8th May. If you would like to help on the trip please email Miss Page before the evening on Monday 29th April.

 

This week in maths Year 2 have been revising how to use a one hundred square to add and subtract. We have also begun to learn how to use blank number lines to partition larger numbers when adding.

In English, we spoke about the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts and how to distinguish between the two. We heard the story of ‘The Lonely Sea Monster’ and used dictionaries to look up the meanings of words that we were unsure of. Today we wrote questions about sea creatures; on Monday, we will be using books to find the answers to these.

This term, Year 2 will be visiting the library at Prep each Wednesday and they were very excited to go for the first time this week! Mrs Gellner-Ward explained how the library was organised and how to take out books. The children were all able to choose a book, which they can either keep for three weeks or bring back next Wednesday and change it for a different one.

The children were enthusiastic to begin learning about the rainforest in topic and all wrote questions that they would like to find out the answers to during the term. They are very excited about our trip on 15th May. If you are able to help on the day, please do email Miss Goscomb.

We wish you a wonderful weekend!