Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 4

This Week

Pineapples, poetry partying and pretty soaked Year 4 boys – just a standard week at school… we are sure you will agree!  Before we get to all that, technology and its place in teaching and learning has been a topic regularly discussed and debated here at school, and of course in wider educational circles.  Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, no one can argue that technology is here to stay, and evolving rapidly.  As such, it is a discussion that needs to be had in all sorts of circles, and we know that this is happening in many homes and not just in educational environments.

Recently, we made significant changes to our curriculum here, more specifically to what we refer to as our Schemes of Work.  The aim here was to increase our STEM provision (the notion of combining the theories and practice of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to prepare our children for a world that seems to have technology more than ever at its heart.  It’s early in the term, but already the boys in Year 3 have found their way around the DT room and the tools they will need to create models.  A ruler is their main tool at the moment as they learn the importance of accurate measuring through the creation of mazes. Year 5 are applying their knowledge of forces from Science and observing how architects deal with compression and tension in structures. They will then build their own truss bridges, which will be tested for strength. Year 6 are learning to deal with a different set of forces, those involved in flight. There will be a lot of trial and error experimentation as they create the perfect glider.  The increase in STEM provision can also be seen outside of the curriculum and in our CCA programme: boys this term are being encouraged to think and work like engineers in the CREST Award and they are learning coding skills in Coding Club.  Some of our mathematicians will soon been taking part in a maths quiz hosted by Hampton School, which this year will include an online element.  Very recently staff listened to an information session via Skype during a staff meeting; another feather in the cap of technology perhaps?!

Great excitement awaits us next week in the form of our inaugural ‘Africa Day’.  Both Pre-Prep and Prep children will be immersed in some of the cultures, art, music, languages and history of the great continent.  Pupils are encouraged to wear anything related to the continent but it must be appropriate, relevant and practical enough for a games session. If you can’t find anything sufficient then your child’s games kit/tracksuit will be fine.

You may remember that we had a videographer in school last term to put together a short marketing video for the Pre-Prep & Prep.  All the children seemed to enjoy the experience fully and we hope you, and they, like the finished film which will shortly be posted on the Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep website.

The video is also sitting on the School’s new YouTube channel along with our 2019 Prep Proms film and you can take a look at them here:   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA7vv0fD2LbsYeysVGXvgDw

In other news, Oscar Bayliss passionately presented to us an assembly on climate change, inspired by Greta Thunberg.  Year 4 set off full of spirit for their residential trip with The Bushcraft Company; spirit matched by Miss Wakeling, Mr Cantelo, Mrs Gellner-Ward and Miss Ireland!  We look forward to hearing how they got on next week.  Monday saw the annual Poetry Party in full swing; some excellent examples of imagery created by son and parent in a short space of time in each of the themed workshops.  We were lucky enough to hear some more poetry in assembly on Wednesday after Mr Darmon treated us all to a thought-provoking and humorous assembly around our theme of Diversity.  Armed with a variety of fruit, he explained that diversity means everyone is different and regardless of personality we all have the ability to help people grow.  He referred to a pineapple: spikey on the outside and not very attractive; he explained that we have all met someone like that but when you get to know them better they can be your best friend.  Next, a lemon: he explained how great it looks on the outside, but delve a bit deeper… sour!  However, squeeze it over a cake and it is great.  The nectarine: ‘looks great but it is just a peach!!’ Mr Darmon went on to explain that the confused nectarine is spending a lot of time and energy trying to be something it is not.  The banana: looks weird, it is a bit spotty, but tastes okay. Moreover, in a fruit bowl it ripens all the other fruit.  An important message for the boys to take away and a closing one we are sure that they will remember – ‘Be the banana!’

Have a terrific weekend.

Mr Ford and Mrs Tinkler

(in the absence of Mr Smith who is attending IAPS Head’s Conference in London)

Prep News

The week began with our annual Poetry Party on Monday with a good turn out across all year groups!

We have really missed Year 4 in school over the past couple of days, although we’re not sure if they have missed us too much us as they have had such an amazing time on their residential! Here are a few snaps from their Bushcraft adventure:

And from the look of it maybe a nice long soak in the bathtub is in order tonight!

 

4Pre-Prep News

‘Open Homework’ will soon be upon us – do look out for my letter revealing this year’s word!  For information, we hold an ‘Open Homework’ week each year when all pupils in school (Kindergarten – Year 6) are given the freedom to explore an open-ended theme encouraging lateral thinking and creativity. During the week, no other academic homework is set, that is, other than reading and learning spellings, which we do expect your child to continue next week.

The children have a week to create anything they like associated with the given word. Whatever approach the children take, they should learn something new.  They might write a poem, a story or character sketch.  They may wish to do a geographical, historical or scientific study.  They may make a toy, game or some form of 3D montage.  They may like to prepare some food, produce a piece of art or design something on the computer.  The different approaches are endless and quite simply there is no right or wrong way to go about ‘Open Homework’, it provides the children with the opportunity to be creative in an area of learning they particularly enjoy.

The last four years have seen the themes ‘7’, ‘round’, ‘red’ and ‘joy’ and, quite honestly, the interpretations have been simply amazing.  It goes without saying, I am already hugely excited to see what Monday 7th October brings when all the projects will be brought in to school for us to share.

We are very grateful to Mrs Timba who has taken up the reins coordinating Pre-Prep’s involvement in the School Council this year.  School Council is a forum to encourage the children to contribute ideas and suggestions about school life – essentially a vehicle for pupils to voice their ideas, opinions and recommendations to enhance school life and indeed the wider community by supporting their chosen charities. To this end, two children from each class from Reception upwards are elected by their peers to sit on the council for the term.

We are delighted to announce the School Councillors at Pre-Prep for the Autumn Term:  Reception:  Ayansh and Miles, Year 1:  Ronak and Sam, and Year 2: Jonny and William.

Seeing things from other people’s perspective is sometimes hard to do and, there can be no denying, is a pretty tall order for the very young!  That said, we have been exploring this in our discussions on diversity.  This has led us to believe that ‘putting ourselves in other people’s shoes’ requires us to take time to get to know others really well before we can even begin to imagine how they might be feeling.  Looking at the world from our own perspective is so limiting but, on the other hand, if we see things through another person’s eyes, it can be so powerful, enlightening and makes for a far more harmonious life.

A bonanza of certificates and awards for pupils in Year 1 this week….our congratulations to Aubin for his medal for completing the Richmond Run 2019, Arith for achieving Stage 2 in swimming, Keyan BAGA stage 7 for gymnastics and Arthur for completing the Surrey Hills Challenge.  What an active bunch – very well done to you all!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Thomas (Year 1) for his beautiful manners in the lunch hall. He always eats all his lunch and remembers to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Wilf for always trying his best during our learning activities.  Keep it up!

Year 1: Tommy for excellent phonics work and trying extremely hard.

Reception: Jazz for demonstrating kind and helpful behaviour to his friends and teachers.

 

Here’s the weekly round up of what we’ve been busy with in class…

Kindergarten have been looking at the signs of Autumn and have discovered that the leaves are turning red, yellow and then brown before falling from the trees. We also looked at the life cycle of an acorn, following how it grows into a big strong oak tree. Using the leaves that we brought in to school, we made leaf collage people that are now on display in our classroom. There have been lots of great discussions about animals in Autumn, including dormice, bumblebees and hedgehogs, all of whom are getting ready to have a very long sleep until it becomes warmer once again. We read a story about a hedgehog who was so good at sharing; he let the other animals from the forest share his hedge to hibernate in.

We have been working very hard at sharing with our friends and now have a class dinosaur called ‘Shareodactyl’ who has been reminding us of how to share with others. He has told us that he wants to see us sharing toys, ideas and tidying up with our friends and teachers. Naturally, we are very excited to find out which dinosaur will be visiting next week!

We continue to learn the Golden Rules, focusing on ‘Do Listen to People’ – we are trying very hard at “listening first time” to our friends and teachers.

We have enjoyed playing number games on the interactive whiteboard. Our favourite has been giving teddy the correct number of cakes.  It was really funny, as when he was fed the right quantity, as he made a very loud ‘yummy’ sound!

Our topic next week is Harvest.

This week in Reception we have been learning about our bodies. We have talked about what different parts of our body can do and have written about our favourite ways to exercise. We have made skeletons using different pasta shapes and used our ICT skills to take photographs of our friends’ work using the digital camera. We also enjoyed cutting out paper skeletons, which we made movable by using split pin joints.  In mathematics, we have been ordering numbers, and looking for one more and one less. We enjoyed helping the mischievous monkey at the zoo by adding one more animal into their cages on the interactive white board. In our phonics sessions, we have continued developing our blending skills, as well as learning the correct formation of letters c, k, e and h. We enjoyed forming these in salt using our fingers and paintbrushes.  We also played a fun interactive whiteboard game listening out for initial sounds in words – I Spy is a great way to continue developing this skill at home.

Next week, we’ll be moving on to the topic Fruit and Vegetables.

During English lessons this week, Year 1 have enjoyed reading the story of Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present and used it to write about an exciting imaginary home. Later in the week, they wrote an extra long sentence using the refrain from the story.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed an Autumn Walk in Carlisle Park, collecting lots of autumnal woodland treasures for a display in our classroom.  We listened carefully to an autumn story whilst sitting under a tree – thankfully the rain did not stop our outing!

In maths, we have been working on our addition and subtraction skills and knowing our doubles up to 10. Next week, Year 1 are looking at worded problems involving addition and subtraction.

Year 1 enjoyed using Purple Mash during our ICT lesson this week. They have learnt how to log in, change their ‘Avatar’ and use the search bar to look up different items. In science, we learnt all about the winter months, thinking about which kind of clothes we wear, ‘evergreen’ trees and that the nights become longer. We drew a picture of ‘A Winter Scene’.

Year 2 have been revising the ‘long i’ sound, practising all the different ways we can write this sound (ie, igh, i-e and y). They have completed a range of activities including matching words and pictures, adding sound buttons and sorting real and fake words. They also revisited writing questions and using question marks during their grammar and punctuation lesson this week. Yesterday, the children used their plans to write up their own version of ‘If I Ran the Circus!’ and they have produced some excellent work! We ‘read’ the picture book ‘Clown’ by Quentin Blake and talked through what was happening in the story. They loved comparing the predictions they made at home to what really happened! Today, they summarised the story and wrote it in their own words. Next week, we  continue to use the book as a stimulus for writing. The boys will be adding speech and thought bubbles as well as writing a character description about the clown, using adjectives describe and specify.

During maths we have continued to focus on 2D shapes, consolidating our knowledge of their properties (name, sides and corners). The children sorted a range of 2D shapes into different groups, made them with lolly sticks and had their first go at drawing some of them, using a ruler. Next week, we will be securing our knowledge of number bonds within 20, recalling the addition and subtraction facts for numbers from 0-20.

In other subjects, the children have enjoyed finding examples of different forces in actions around the school, comparing circuses from the past and present and discussing the story of Noah from the Bible. In art they focused on Matisse and his technique ‘painting with scissors’ and in computing they inserted ‘selfies’ and turned themselves into clowns!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster