As we leave January behind us and move closer to February half term, I am sure we are all enjoying the extra daylight and early signs of Spring. I very much enjoyed a walk in Belton House grounds last weekend to see a carpet of beautiful snowdrops and my daughter tells me that the daffodils are already out in the Olympic Park in London. These are uplifting signs, after such a challenging Winter.
However, we still have a few more weeks to go until the restrictions ease and our children can all return to school. I am aware that some of the children are becoming tired and weary; as I am sure you are too. Teachers would notice this in school as we approach a half-term break or the end of term holidays. It is not surprising. This term, in fact, this year we have all expected so much of our very young children. This is the third national lockdown in one year when children have been unable to socialise with their friends and extended family and we have expected five weeks of continuous learning, sometimes in isolation through our dark Winter months. We should all be incredibly proud of the way our children have adjusted and the effort they have made to do their best.
It is more important now that we try to keep their spirits up, than worry too much about some work not completed; provided they are having a routine and completing some work everyday. The prolonged lockdown is having an effect on their mental health and we need to get a perspective on what is really important. If you decide that one day you need to abandon Google Classroom and enjoy a family walk or some time cooking together then please just email your class teacher, as many of you have already been doing and return the next lesson or next day.
As parents, we always worry about whether our children are falling behind, but we know that the children at Grantham Prep. have many advantages. As long as the children keep reading, writing and practise their number skills, we will be able to fill any gaps. I have no doubt that the children will catch up quickly. You have supported your children so well throughout this exhausting period and we are very grateful for all you have done. Those of you working full time from your laptop, on top of managing your homes have achieved something extraordinary. You should never feel guilty about any days that you have not spent the time you would like with your children. You have an impossible task. If you ever feel school work is becoming too demanding and you do not know which part is more important, always remember that reading with your child/children is never time wasted, something that is relaxing and gives pleasure to all those involved.
Teachers are exhausted too. All families have different needs and it is so difficult to provide exactly what is needed by each family each day. Every day is different. The teachers have also worked so hard through this lockdown from their computers in their classrooms, preparing, marking, supervising and delivering lessons. Teaching by zoom is not what any of us were trained to do but we have had to adapt, as you have. Please continue to give constructive feedback, but also appreciate the difficult task they have. I know how much an appreciative email means to my colleagues and we are very grateful for all those we have received.
At this stage we all need to be kind to ourselves and one another. Half-term is coming and I hope that this will enable us all, children, parents and teachers to enjoy more hours away from the screen.
We are all very much looking forward to the children returning to school soon after half-term. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns about your children and particularly any mental health concerns you may have. It has been a very challenging year for so many children.
Inspired by Jo Jingles, Francee sets up camp at home. Cooking sausages on the camp fire for her hungry teddys!
Emily and Tillie made a volcano along with chief scientist - Dad. The girls were so excited to see their creation actually erupt! Well done to the Scientific Team involved in the making of this fun!
Sophia's close encounters!
Sophia had a lovely encounter with a deer whilst going for a walk at Belton House.
Sophia was amazed to see such a vivid rainbow as the morning sun shone through her fish tank. Being so bright, she really must be close to the gold!
Blue Peter Badge Winner
Well done to Benjamin who is now the proud owner of a Blue Peter Badge! Benjamin was awarded the badge after he sent in a drawing of the Blue Peter presenters dressed up as Christmas trees! Congratulations Benjamin.
During the Autumn Term, children from class 1 through to class 6 worked on their Football skills as part of their PE activities. Individual and cooperative skills were developed and a competition was created by the Grantham and District Sports Partnership. Teams consisting of the top 5 highest scorers in each age group were entered and I am very happy to announce that Grantham Prep U7 Boys, U7 Girls, U9 Boys, U9 Girls and U11 Girls teams were winners overall and the U11 Boys team was Runner Up. Over 22 schools took part throughout the District which made for a great fun competition.
Throughout Lockdown 3, the children were set a challenge by the PE Department to try and skip every day and aim to achieve personal targets in 5 different styles of jumping. Single bounce, Double bounce, Slalom bounce, Running on the Spot and Speed bouncing were the challenges and a range of times from 20 seconds through to 90 seconds were the time constraints. The fitness benefits from skipping are incredible and without a lot of either expense in time or money needed. It has been really cheering to see how adaptable some children have been converting kitchens, playrooms and patio squares into fitness studios. This particular challenge has been picked up by some international spies and we could soon be launching the challenge onto a more global platform. Unfortunately for the PE staff it will probably be by zoom call rather than a personal visit to each interested country!!
The children have been watching a short movie clip depicting some Football Mascots entertaining the fans with their own personal signature move to help celebrate an exciting or pleasing event. We have been entertained with some clever moves sent in by the children this week. Keep them coming, they help to brighten up a lonely day in front of the screen.
Class Three have been studying light this term culminating in a couple of home projects to tackle. Moving shadows (without moving the object) and Periscopes were the two challenges to test the resourcefulness of home schooling. Well done to Henry and Hugo for showing clever uses for a Rubik cube and Colgate box, in their shadow videos and to Elliot, Rafferty and Benjamin for their spying techniques with their periscopes created in the home lab and transported to school.
It has been another busy week in Pre-school! This week, as part of our topic work, we have been looking at and discussing the planet Jupiter. Did you know it is the fastest spinning planet in our solar system and that it is MASSIVE? It is so big that more than 1,300 Earths would fit into it!
The children made their own collage of the planet Jupiter. This was huge fun as it involved squeezing paint bottles of various colours onto a piece of paper. Then, Mrs Whinney laid a piece of cling film over the top and asked the children, (although they didn’t need asking twice!) to tap/bash on the top so the paint mixed into each other and spread over the whole of the paper. The results, once the cling film was carefully peeled back were fantastic as you can see from the photos!
Our Space display board, in our role play area is looking really good. We will continue with this topic after the half term break and will be looking at the remaining planets, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
In Reception it has been yet another lively week for the children with lots of great learning both at home and in school. We started off the week with one of our favourite rhyming books ‘Superworm’. The children had to write some sentences about the different things that the superhero worm turned in to which helped him save the day!
The children also learned about the different religious festivals around the world. They were set the challenge of designing their own celebration card. Well done, there were some very creative efforts.
The children also finished some work about how to look after their pets which was completed after watching the fabulous Blue Cross Assembly called What Pets' Need. They also took a photo of their cute pets.
In Maths they have also been doing lots of work on addition and subtraction. Their focus was looking at counting on and counting back using a number line. Some of the children made their own number track to help them work out the answers by being passengers getting on and off a bus. It was great to see them working out the calculations independently.
In PE Mr Park set the Reception children some dancing challenges. They had lots of fun following the actions to a mascot dance. In school they dressed up as superheroes to complete the energetic challenge! It was so lovely to watch their enthusiasm whilst engaged in the dance!
Well done everyone, once again I am very proud of all the fabulous learning that you are doing at both school and home.
Another week of Lockdown Learning complete and the children in Class One have been just as enthusiastic as ever! The topics covered have been wide ranging - including PSHE; things that make me happy, Science; my five senses, News; The sad news about Captain Sir Tom Moore, Numeracy; adding two digit numbers to a single digit, games and interactive challenges, Literacy; comprehension and phonics - with Sophia becoming this week's Phonics Champion and more lovely artwork inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. Next week, Class One will be welcoming Laura James the children's author to our Wednesday Zoom meeting to talk about her work and ideas. Everyone is thinking of questions to put to her. Great work, as always Year One. Mrs Bell
Currently the children in Class Two are learning about our beloved Queen Elizabeth 2nd, her reign and The Commonwealth. As a child living in the United Kingdom it is imperative that they understand a little bit about the Queen and the amazing impact she has on our country, and indeed, the World! Firstly, the children have been studying her early life and when she came to power. Next, they have been finding out about what 'The Commonwealth' is and the different countries that are part of it.
The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
If anyone has been watching The Crown on Netflix, then you will certainly feel like an expert!
During the Maths lessons we have been looking at money. Adding money, giving change and solving real life problems. We also investigated the area and perimeter of objects, measuring some rather complex shapes.
We have continued our focus on the wonderful book Charlotte's Web in English. This week having a closer look at some of the characters in the book and exploring their relationship with each other. Templeton is one of our favourites as he has many positive and negative sides to his character. Our comprehension this week was the opening extract of The Hodgeheg by Dick King - Smith. A funny story about a hedgehog called Max who tries to find safe ways to cross the road. This led to a discussion about how as humans we could perhaps try and make hedgehogs lives a little easier.
In ICT we have been coding using block coding on Discovery Education. The children created their own space mazes. Programming a UFO to react only if certain conditions are met as it moves. Eva's video demonstrates this brilliantly.
Our PSHE was all about positive thinking. We discussed how positive thoughts and trying to see the best in a situation is called having a positive attitude. It can help to make you a happier person and plays an important part in improving your mental health. We then designed some positive thoughts caps.
History was all about the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses and discussing which one we are going to dress up as for our first History lesson after half term. (No prizes for guessing which one I will be!)
Finally our Geography topic about where we live has inspired many of the children to create Powerpoints and Google slides about the countries that make up the UK and some of the important features. We have enjoyed sharing each other's work during our storytime at the end of the day.
Well done everyone.
Pupils in Class 4 have been working on an 'Iron Man / Woman model-making challenge, inspired by their recent book study - 'The Iron Man', by Ted Hughes.
The Iron Man was a terrifying giant in the story, who turned from a metal eating menace, into a hero by saving the earth.
We held a 'show and tell' session in their STEAM lesson, where pupils explained how they made their models, what they used, and the concepts behind their designs.
I was extremely impressed by the ingenuity, resourcefulness and skill in creating these amazing models using materials found at home. Who knew that empty bottles, tin foil, yoghurt pots and (of course!) toilet rolls could be made to look so stylish?
We even had glowing eyes, hearts, hair, battery packs, a fire-ravaged model, and melted ears (some part of the story, some pupils' own ideas!)
Very well done, and thank you parents, for having dining rooms / kitchens and work surfaces taken over temporarily whilst students worked on these! (I'll set a miniature project next time!)
This week class 5 have been asked each morning to take 5 minutes to have a go at some different physical challenges. Starting the day not only having to do something physical but which also requires them to stimulate their brain is a great way to help set up for the day. Hopefully, you can see from some of the children’s efforts they have certainly mastered some of the skills. Remember if it does not challenge you then it does not change you!
Class 6 have been busy reading 'Holes' by Louis Sachar - it is a favourite of ours.
We have been looking at specific characters and also how the author describes the setting of Green Lake. The book,very cleverly, uses the passing of time, in this case 110 years, to show how a once thriving Texan town has changed beyond recognition to a dried up lake bed and a camp for "naughty boys".
We are working on improving our comprehension answers by embedding quotes from the text to support our answers.
In PSHE on Wednesday, we have also taken some time out. It is Children's Mental Health Week and it is crucial to 'express ourselves' by being creative, playing or listening to music or doing some skipping. Taking some time for ourselves, away from the screens, seems even more important to me at the moment.
STEAM is becoming our highlight of the week. This week we have had a LEGO building challenge - of course other brick based toys are available!
The children had to imagine that they had been hired by a large theme park to design a new ride. Their model would help them to pitch their ideas to the Board, who would then decide if their idea would be built. They had to think firmly outside of the lego box, including household objects to help demonstrate their creations. They were all at a massive advantage, after all I only had a small pot of bricks and windows - nothing round to help make things turn or roll. Being creative was definitely part of the challenge. I think we had quite a lot of fun doing this.