Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 2

This Week

Dear Parents,

As many of you already know, we have themes for our assemblies each half term and the theme for this half term is the word ‘diversity’. Over the years, I have always been amazed by the inventive and unique ways in which colleagues and boys choose to interpret the theme, when it is their turn to present an assembly to us all. The last two weeks have been no exception.

Last week Mr Ford introduced the theme with his assembly, reminding us all not to judge a book by its cover. We can all too easily be led astray by first impressions but he explained that spending time getting to know people when they are new additions to our community is very important, which is of course excellent advice at this point in the new school year. All the boys in Years 1 – 6 gathered in the James Hall on Monday for our beginning of year whole school assembly. As part of her address, Mrs Murphy highlighted just how many different languages our families speak at home. This sort of diversity is very enriching and exciting for us as a community. Knowing how it feels to live life – even for a few moments – as others live it so we can better understand each other was the message Mrs Tinkler conveyed on Wednesday morning. Mr Chilcott and Mr Darmon’s feet have just about recovered. Do please check our Twitter feed for a very revealing picture of Mrs Tinkler’s assembly in action!

It was Joe Perry, our Head Boy, and Oscar Cushing, our Deputy Head Boy who moved us in the greatest way however, when they spoke to the whole school about what diversity means to them. It was a most mature and insightful presentation from them both, and for boys just starting in Year 6 it was very impressive. They talked quite openly about the insidious nature of prejudice and explained to all the other boys how, on occasion, some people simply do not like what they do not know. They reminded all the boys at Hampton Prep how important it is to try and communicate with people because of our differences, not in spite of them. I am delighted that, with views such as these, they will be the sorts of role models we can all look up to. As the year rolls on I recommend that you ask your boys about our weekly assemblies, and engage them in discussion at home about what we cover here at school.

Over the summer I came across a research project from the Institute of Education at University College London’s Twitter feed which is seeking to understand what improves language and social outcomes for children in nursery classes. The project references work that has already been carried out by an outfit called The Communication Trust. Much of the advice that emerges from that work is common sense and I am pretty certain that plenty of what is recommended by them does in fact already go on in your family life at home.

Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that effective and positive communication is key to successful relationships – I think so anyway – and that challenging and sophisticated talk at home, in addition to how we seek to improve the boys’ vocabularies at school, is one of the sure fire ways to develop children’s verbal reasoning abilities. It also helps to develop, of course, how they get along with one another and us. The recommendations are here if you are interested:

            https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/media/617945/tct_toptips_pdf.pdf

Tightly gripping their copies of ‘The London Eye Mystery’, Year 5 trooped up to town on Tuesday, to walk in the footsteps of the characters in the book and to experience for themselves the thrilling opening moments of it. How exciting to watch their imaginations running wild as they rode the ‘giant bicycle wheel’ and cruised ‘the great river’ trying to explain the apparently inexplicable puzzle. I know the novel well (it is a gripping read – even for adults!) and to be able to bring it to life in this way, just as the Year 5 boys begin to devour and study it, will have certainly been a terrific experience for them all.

On Thursday Year 6 also headed in to central London to visit Tate Modern. Mrs Howell was delighted to tell me that she thought the boys were without doubt, most probably the best behaved of any trip she has taken there! This made the trip for everyone particularly enjoyable. The boys considered quite a variety of exhibits, enjoying a room that was inspired by the British Library. They were also moved by a video of a thirteen-year-old deaf, mute Syrian boy, who did his best to convey the conditions he had been living in before he moved to Turkey. Hopefully, it all helped the boys to remember just how fortunate they are.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Sports News

This is my first sports bulletin of the year, so a warm welcome back to all of you. There is already plenty to talk about when it comes to sport.

Our fixture schedule kicked off in earnest last weekend, with four teams competing on Saturday across two tournaments. It then continued to gather pace during the week, as all the boys in Year 4 and Year 5 played in fixtures against Willington School.

I wrote to you all last week to explain our new position in relation to refraining from providing coaching and instruction from the side lines when the boys are playing. I am pleased to say this has been met with real positivity from everyone I have spoken to, parents and staff alike.

It has been a struggle for some of us to put this in to practice. However, I hope you can all buy into this approach and in doing so, support the boys to be more independent in their approach to competitive sport and in turn enhance their enjoyment.

Despite this approach, we are still trying to prepare the boys to progress in their performance and so the results we have produced so far have been pleasing to see. At the Shrewsbury House tournament, the U11 A team went on to win the final in the plate competition and the U10 A team came third in the Hampton School tournament. On Tuesday all four U9 teams won whilst the U10s recorded two wins and two narrow losses on Wednesday.

Today we head to the open air pool for our annual House Swimming competition. I have spent the past few days collating all the information regarding preferred strokes and organising the races accordingly.

The weather is set fine and so I hope you can join us to come and watch what I am sure will be a great afternoon of fun and competition.

I will fill you in next week as to the winning house and any notable performances.

On Saturday the U11s have a tournament at Hall Grove and next week we have fixtures against The Mall, a tournament at TPS and the following Saturday a tournament at King’s House.

I am really excited and enthused to be back at school and to guide the boys on and off the field. I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you in advance for your support, during what will be a very busy but hopefully enjoyable, football term.

Have a great weekend.

Prep News

This week Year 5 set out on an amazing trip which involved taking in a birds eye view of London from the London Eye then on to the Thames for a river cruise all of which links in to their English work on “The London Eye Mystery”!

Year 6 also had a fantastic day viewing artwork at the Tate Modern here are some pictures from their day:

 

 

Pre-Prep News

It feels good to have the first full week of school under our belts! As promised last edition, your child’s timetable will be emailed to you next week.  Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents should have received copies of the Welcome Booklets – please do contact us if you haven’t received yours yet.

Our week kicked off with a beginning of term assembly at Prep where the theme ‘diversity’ was introduced.  We agreed how deadly dull it would be if we all had exactly the same interests and ideas and, furthermore, discovered that amongst the children present in the hall, between them spoke fifteen different languages … how impressive is that?  We are a diverse lot here at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep and, what is more, we firmly believe it makes life all the richer, vibrant and interesting.

A quick reminder that we have our Reading Information Evening next week and I should like to offer my most sincere apologies, as unfortunately, in the beginning of term letter, I made a mistake with the date, the correct one for this event is Thursday 19 September.  Please note the talk takes place at Pre-Prep at 6.30pm. We hope to see you next week!

There were some thought-provoking articles in the Autumn 2019 edition of the ‘attain’ magazine, including one written by Mr Smith.  Of course, it goes without saying, all were fascinating but I was interested to read, ‘Ten golden rules for parents’ and even more delighted to see amongst the list of ‘dos’,  the line ‘do read a bedtime story to your child every night’.  I am a staunch believer that reading stories to children is a so very, very important.  A bedtime story should be a part of daily life – even for children beyond the infant phase.  Reading skills are undeniably critical to a child’s success in school, work and life in general, and it is true to say reading aloud to children plays a vital part in supporting development in this key area.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Sam W (Year 1) for wonderful manners and always asking so politely if he’s unsure.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Freddie for returning back to school with a positive ‘can do’ attitude – well done!

Year 1: Arav for fantastic listening and settling in so nicely.

Reception:  Akhil for working hard and coming in to school each day with a big smile!

 

Mr Smith made a number of presentations in assembly yesterday:

ReceptionRyan for his Learn to Swim Level 3 and 10m Rainbow Distance.

Year 1Tommy for his completion of 11 junior park runs, equating to a half marathon.  Ronak received his 5m Rainbow Distance.  A medal for Aubin for completing the Henley Kids Fun Triathlon and 10m Rainbow Distance.  Arith for achieving a certificate of merit for Solo Introductory Stage 1 LAMDA and Space Challenge medal.

Year 2Aizhou followed all the correct moves in Martial Arts when he was in China this summer and achieved a gold medal!  William received a certificate and medal for completing 25m of backstroke in 1 minute.  Emin played a whole season with Teddington Athletic FC and received a medal for his endeavours.  Very many congratulations to you all!

Additionally, we were super excited to hear all about an interesting project that Arjun (Year 2) worked on during the summer.  His project titled, ‘Lime-Aid Awareness’ was all about spreading awareness about what we should do to save the Environment.

Arjun’s mother reports, “The inspiration of the project came from conversations at the school last term, and few TV shows about the Planet and the environment.  During the warm summer, he set up a small pop-up lemonade stall near our house. He created a poster with small things that we all can do to save the environment. And he spoke to all the children and adults passing by, on the list of things that we all should do, and gave them a free lemonade (lime-aid) or sweets.  He put up this stall for many weekends, and also spoke to many friends over the phone. He has started practising these himself, at home; switching off lights when not required; saving water; putting rubbish in the right bins, etc.” 

We loved hearing about Arjun’s initiative – we are even more thrilled that he intends to continue promoting and supporting his cause through the year.  Naturally, we look forward to doing our bit to support his sterling efforts.

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

This week has been all about learning the routines of Kindergarten – the children each have their own named flower, which they use to self-register each morning by placing their named flower into the ‘register’ flowerpot.

The Golden Rules have been introduced to the class, and these are as follows:  Do Listen, Do Be Kind and Helpful, Do Work Hard, Do Look after Property, Do Be Honest and Do Be GentleSo far we have focused on ‘Do listen’ and ‘Do be kind and helpful’ – in our circle times, we have talked about the need to use kind hands and to listen first time and, amongst these discussions, have discussed the importance of sharing our toys in Kindergarten.

Next week, our ‘Getting to know you’ topic continues and as part of this, the children will be painting their favourite toy; therefore, we would appreciate if they could each bring in a favourite toy to talk about and then paint a picture of.

We have had a very busy week in Reception, our work this week focused on the topic Ourselves; we have finished our painted portraits and enjoyed looking at them in our ‘gallery’, noting similarities and differences. The children listened to the story ‘Gregory and the magic line’ by Dawn Piggot, and the story inspired them to take part in a large collaborative piece of class artwork ‘making marks’ – we took our pens for a journey along the paper, exploring the different lines, letters and shapes we could make.  We decided it is a great feeling working together towards an end goal.

In literacy, we have spoken about the characters in our Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) stories – learning about each one, looking carefully at their names and using our phonics to blend the letters to read the words. We read some big book stories on our interactive whiteboard.  You may like to look at this website at home https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/.

All the boys have a reading book for the weekend, together with a reading diary and two small ziplock bags containing sounds and sight words – please return these every day to school.  Have fun sharing the book together, talking about the illustrations and recognising the names of the different characters within the text.  During our phonics sessions, we have been focusing on the correct cursive formation of the letters /s/, /a/ and /t/, and have been playing some oral blending games.

In mathematics, we have been counting up to 20 and using our hands to practise quickly showing correct amounts of fingers when a number is said out loud. We were also very excited to start our very first dough disco session! During this, each child has a ball of playdough and, whilst listening to some upbeat disco music, we poke, prod, stretch and roll the dough and take our fingers for a dance.  As you can imagine, it’s great fun and such a brilliant way to exercise and strengthen finger muscles.

Year 1 have been weather watchers this week! We set up a weather station for the children to observe and record the weather everyday next week. Let’s hope the results are not TOO wild!

In English, we wrote about our favourite soft toy and read the story ‘Knufffle Bunny’. We talked and wrote about how the character in the book, Trixie, felt about losing her soft toy.  The children have been revisiting number work in maths. We looked at both addition and subtraction this week and have been using a numberline to count.

Year 1 thoroughly enjoyed their first school swimming lesson on Tuesday at Hurst Pool and impressed with how they coped with their independent changing – well done!

This week Year 2 have enjoyed reading ‘If I Ran the Circus’ by Dr Seuss and they particularly liked all the crazy animals he created. The children completed some different rhyming activities which included identifying rhyming words within a short passage as well as recording some of their own real and made up rhyming words. The boys have also been refreshing their knowledge on adjectives. They have practised using them in sentences and have spotted some in sentences already written. Next week, the boys will be writing their own version of ‘If I Ran the Circus’, writing about all the weird and wonderful things you might find there!

In maths we have continued with our topic of number and have been practising how many tens and ones are in a 2 digit number, writing numbers as words and learning that addition can be written in any order (3 + 5 will get you the same answer as 5 + 3). Today Year 2 completed an open-ended investigation which required them to find as many ways as they possible could to make the numbers 9, 12 and 20. They used all 4 operations and we probably have over 50 different ways for each between everyone’s work!

During science, the boys learnt all about the push and pull forces and were able to demonstrate both of these using play dough and objects around the classroom. This afternoon we have been finding out all about the history of the circus and how it began with Mr Philip Astley and his riding school. They made their own mini circus ‘big top’ tents out of paper for our display which look fabulous.

What a very busy week for all!