Happy New Year and welcome back to the new school year even though sadly it is a virtual one at present.
I am sure we were all shocked and disappointed last Monday evening to hear our Prime Minister Mr Johnson talk about the necessity for another full lockdown. Some of your children probably did not hear the news until Tuesday morning when they were hoping to get dressed for school. Staff were disappointed too, having spent Monday preparing for face to face learning but in smaller bubbles.
However, we are where we are for good reasons, and we hope that the lockdown will have the desired effect and reduce the the enormous pressure experienced by our Doctors and Nurses in hospital. The roll out of the vaccine programme also makes us feel more optimistic about the future.
Many schools are experiencing more demand for school places from critical workers; and vulnerable children are also able to attend school. The list of critical workers is quite extensive and we are asked at school to provide the care required for these children. This of course must be frustrating for those families unable to send their children to school. Supporting four or even one child at home all day is very time consuming especially if you are also running your own business or have you own job, as well as your home to attend to. Those children attending school however, are receiving the same on line lessons and work as those at home. The Junior children in school are working independently as the Junior class teacher is often on a live lesson. Teachers are working in their own classroom, with the few children in school from their own year group. This way we hope we are supporting the need to reduce community transmission and keep our children and staff as safe as possible. I have spoken to Public Health this week about our plan, as well as Lincolnshire County Council. At this stage there is no specific government requirement about how we deliver an education to those at home and in school, but this arrangement appears to be working well at our school at present. Of course we have to be prepared to adapt if necessary and we will.
I am very grateful to all the staff who have moved forward in a positive manner. Teaching all day on zoom is not what any of us would choose and not everyone has had experience of "zoom teaching". Staff here are incredibly supportive of one another. They are kind and helpful and diligent. We all have different strengths and we all want the same goal. We are sharing good practice with one another and any positive and constructive feed back.
The reason we asked the children to wear a PE top on zoom is simply to enable them to feel they are going to school and to discourage inappropriate clothing such as pyjamas, dressing gowns or a variety of caps or hats for lessons. If this adds too much pressure on families then clearly it is not the most important requirement. As a staff body, we reflected last Summer after lockdown, on what we may do differently and this was something we all felt may help children feel ready to learn at school, albeit a virtual school.
We of course value feedback and continue to develop our on line learning provision. We are providing a full timetable but accept for some families this may be too much and indeed for many children "zoom fatigue" is apparent by the end of the day. Please use whatever you need or require and please do not ever feel guilty about how you are able to support your children. It is far from ideal or perfect but we are all trying to do the very best we can for everyone. All our children are important to us and if you have concerns about your children please do not hesitate to contact me.
I was hoping for some snow this weekend for the children to enjoy but sadly we have not seen any yet inspite of being promised some earlier in the week!
We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Eva and Fraser who have joined us here at Grantham Prep this term.
I had the opportunity to speak with Eva and Fraser and found out a few interesting facts about them!
Eva has started with us in Year 5
She has lots of hobbies including running and riding her pony. Her pony is called Ebony and she is black with a white star on her forehead! As well as riding and running, Eva loves to read and one of her favourite authors is David Walliams.
Fraser is Eva's brother and he has started in Year 4.
Fraser also has a lot of hobbies including playing tennis and has just recently joined a gymnastics club. He also loves maths and solving puzzles.
When the weather is warmer he enjoys having a barbecue and one of his favourite foods is olives!
It was with great pleasure to hear the news that Grantham table tennis coach Mr John Mapletoft has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to table tennis in The Queen`s New Year`s Honours list.
The children at Grantham Prep School were lucky enough to be coached by Mr John Mapletoft as we welcomed him to our Holiday Camps on several occasions. Mr Mapletoft delivered to the children fun table tennis sessions, accompanied by his great passion and interest in this sport.
Mr John Mapletoft has been involved running many town and county table tennis teams for decades and even though he is retired, he is still active. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Mapletoft had been helping people who suffer from Parkinson`s disease and dementia; by using table tennis to help them with their conditions.
On behalf of Grantham Prep School, we would like to congratulate Mr John Mapletoft for being awarded the British Empire Medal and thank him for all his hard work and dedication he has shown in the Grantham table tennis community.
To finish off the first full day back of Online Learning, Class 6 and I had a go at making some origami butterflies. It was good fun sharing our progress at the end of the day.
Here is the link if you fancy having a go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZdO2e8K29o
Class 3 has hit the ground running for our first week of online teaching. All the children were eager to start this term's lessons and quickly got themselves familiar with the Google classroom setup.
It has been wonderful to see all the children for each live lesson and they have been working incredibly hard. We have begun the first few chapters of our new book for this half term Charlotte's Web and a comprehension to assess our understanding of the text. We have tackled fractions and 3D shapes in Maths and Mr Park has begun their journey of the new topic of Light in Science. I also know that the children really enjoyed their first live music and Spanish lessons this week.
STEAM this week was all about Newton's Wheel. The children had to follow instructions and create their own. They managed to complete this task and had great fun along the way.
Fun during lockdown? Who’d have thought it? We did in Pre-school!
When the frost glistened on the field, the children put on their all in one snowsuits, hats, gloves and wellies and ventured out onto the field accompanied by a wrapped up Mrs Whinney! We found lots of different leaves that had frozen, pine cones tightly closed because of the cold, frozen earth on top of molehills (that will make Mr Jessop happy!) and all our equipment had a covering of white, sparkly frost enabling us to write some letters in it. We brought the leaves inside to watch what happened when they warmed up. Everyone had rosy cheeks when back inside the warmth. A warm hot chocolate would have been perfect to end our lovely morning!
Reception Class and Polar Bears!
At the end of last term all the children in Reception really enjoyed learning about polar bears; what they eat, the colour of their skin, where they live and what is happening to their habitat in the Arctic. They were so engaged reading some different non-fiction books on polar bears and the Arctic. We have just put together a super display for the entrance hall and classroom which we are very proud of.
This week all the Junior children have been issued with their newest physical challenge for January which is a skipping challenge. Dan the Skipping Man ( along with Mr Park ) have set the children 5 skill challenges for this half term. Single bounce, Double bounce, Running on the Spot, Speed bounce and Slalom bouncing are the challenges and there are three levels to each challenge ( Gold, Silver and Bronze ). Parents are very welcome to join in, please be careful of light fittings, chandeliers or best Ming Vases lying around - do not send Mr Park repair bills. Skip responsibly OUTSIDE!!
Please click on the link below to see "Dan the skipping mans" challenge.
The children have been performing a new fitness game where they have to perform shuttle runs and race their opponent to move objects to the RIGHT side of a central line ( approx 6m / 7m long ). Roll the dice, run to the corresponding object, move it to the right then return and roll again. You can steal cones. 1 minute games are best for younger players, 2 minutes for older juniors. Adults can also join in but no cheating!! Can be performed inside or out.