We are at the end of another half term. The staff and children have been well and for this we are so grateful. The teachers have an Inset day today and we are reviewing the teaching and learning thus far. We will let you know about any changes that may occur when we return.
It is the beginning of the Chinese New Year and the story of the Great Race has figured in many lessons this week. We are now entering the Year of the Ox, and we wish prosperity and wellness for all. The characteristics of the Ox (those born in 2009) are calmness and trustworthiness, but sometimes opinionated!
The kindergarten children, both at school and at home, have heard the story of how the Jade Emperor decided on how to start the calendar and name each of the 12 years after an animal.
Some news from the classes:
In Class I, the children have now learnt all the letters of the alphabet, the picture, sound and shape are all part of the journey to be able to write. Now we just need to practice!
Class II has done a Maths block, focusing on place value, timetables and shapes. They are working through the story of the King of Ireland’s Son including the song with many verses. In the meantime, the reading groups are progressing nicely.
Class III started the year with Hebrew stories, which gave them the opportunity to practice their grammar and punctuation skills. This was followed by a Maths block, based on the story of money, from barter, trade and currency and the invisible money of the 21st century. Currently they are working hard on their Shelter models and we are very much looking forward to seeing the results after the break!
Class IV children have enjoyed exploring Fractions with delicious food to aid their understanding and have moved on to shapes, setting the foundation for their future work in Geometry.
Class V are working on the Ancient Civilisation of Mesopotamia, sharing the story of the first novel, Gilgamesh, written in cuneiform on clay tablets. The class have explored the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’ through its architecture, politics, inventions, art, religion and trade.
Class VI has explored the Geography of Europe, through contribution from the different European teachers in the school, as well as through their own projects and cooking.
Class VII are in the midst of a History block, with a focus on the Middle Ages and the spread of Islam.
Class VIII are busy studying Physics, laying the foundations for the next stage in their education.
In some ways this looks like any other year, but the children and teachers (and parents!) should all be praised especially for working together through Google Classroom and over Zoom so well. Together with the subject lessons, there is a lot of work going on with plenty of both on and off-screen assignments. Much effort has been put into finding this balance of connecting over Zoom, but not too much screen time, as it leaves the children lethargic. It is too much being at home for such a long time and too long being away from friends! Now we call on our inner resilience and stamina for what we hope is the last stretch.
We are very aware that the experience of school at home is not the same, and we await the next announcement regarding a wider return to school from the government. This is expected in the first week back, from the 22nd of February. As you know, the date pencilled in for a wider return is Monday 8th of March but a delayed, phased or partial return are all possibilities.
As a result of this we are planning for another two weeks of remote learning after half-term, and we will also prepare for any other possibilities and combinations. It is important that this week off is a break from the screens and the daily school routine.
We miss having ALL the children in school.
Critical workers’ and vulnerable children remain in school, which can be difficult for those at home. This was a decision consciously taken last year at the start of this pandemic. The alternative would have been to let the Local Authority schools look after these children, and we felt it was not right for our school to hand over that responsibility. I have heard about speculations in the community around why certain families are sending their children to school, and though I understand the sense of other children missing out, I would ask you to refrain from this. Reasons are not always widely known and that is how it should be.
Working with the teachers in school, I can assure you all of the care they put into ensuring the children both at home and in school are receiving the best balanced education they can, and we will continue to discuss ways to improve.
I have very much appreciated seeing so many of you on the Friday Family zoom at 2:30 these last couple of weeks. It has been a great way to come together and the plan is to continue. The next one will be Friday 26th February.
We will also be launching a Reading Challenge after the half term break with a specially curated Empathy book list for every age, from Sun children to class VIII. Our own fantastic Diversity and Equality Lead, Stephanie Gill (Chestnut KG teacher) has provided us with this list, which I think all will enjoy.
I wish you all a restful break.
Gong xi Fatt Choy!
Samples of Work from Classes I, II & VI
Class I has finished last letter of the alphabet!
Class II has been birdwatching, reading King of Ireland's Son, learning times tables and of course enjoying the snow!
Class VI has been cooking up some delicious food from the European Geography block and drawing a grid section of a wonderful tree!
Free Online Doll Making Workshop with Mopsa
Mopsa, who belongs to our parent community at St Paul’s Steiner school and many of you have probably met her, is a highly experienced teacher in doll making. She has kindly offered to host a free online workshop for the Parent and Child community while we are all in lockdown. We would like to extend the invitation to all families who are interested.
We will be making a simple, easy to make doll suitable for babies and toddlers. Mariela will introduce the workshop and talk about the importance of dolls and natural materials. Then we will have three evenings of guided hand sewing together on Zoom plus a little homework in between. All levels welcome!
A material pack from manus workshops will cost £11 and will include everything you need. We have several skin, hair and eye colours to choose from. You can get your kit here: manus.work/kits
I hope you are all keeping well in these trying and unprecedented times. There are few important Events this week and this month that I wanted to draw your attention to and provide links for further information.
I also want to give you some resources that may help you to handle s...