I hope you have all enjoyed some early Spring sunshine this week after what has been a long, cold and lonely winter for so many.
As we emerge from the gloom and begin to enjoy more freedom as restrictions lift, we must spare a thought for all our friends in IES schools in Europe and around the world. As our restrictions slacken, theirs tighten and our thoughts are with everyone at this time. We are all so grateful to be back in school, enjoying face to face teaching again and hope that as vaccination programmes begin to accelerate in other countries, restrictions will be short lived. The sooner the world is vaccinated, the better for us all.
It is also a reminder that we still need to be cautious in school. I am aware, as I am sure you are that unfortunately several schools in our local area have sent class bubbles home over the last few weeks.
"Hands, face and space" remain very important in our school and we are grateful for all your support on this; reminding the children and maintaining social distancing in the car park. We all want to remain open as long as we can. We will continue to work and play in class bubbles next term, at least until the end of May 2021. All our children have been very understanding about this, and arrangements at school have worked well. We would however like all our children to return to school in full school uniform on Monday 19th April, including blazers and hats. Another step forwards to normality.
Thank you for your support this week with our "Zoom Parents Evenings" which have proved very popular with many.
Clubs will return tomorrow (Friday) and for three days next week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Although we do not usually hold clubs in the last week of term we wanted to support working families and reduce the pressure on creche and the mixing of bubbles next week.
School closes for the Easter holidays 12.30 pm on Thursday 1st April and we will be staggering the departures. Please see the diary below for details.
We are looking forward to our traditional Easter egg hunt and Easter egg drop next week.
2021 has already proven to be a topsy-turvy year so far, with our schools going through transitions of opening, closing and online learning. We more than understand the frustration and challenges this brings for families and teachers.
What has been evident during this pandemic, is how fortunate we are to have been blessed with dedicated staff and students that have been resilient, caring and kept learning happening to the utmost of their abilities and prevailing conditions. Let’s remember this and keep supporting them.
Our staff have been flexible, creative, innovative and dealt fantastically with the challenges thrown at them. Contrary to popular belief, transferring curriculum designed to be taught in the classroom to online teaching is extremely difficult. Planning, preparation and delivery has been taken to new levels and our teachers have shone under very trying conditions, which are often not evident. Let’s not forget this.
Personally, my greatest concern during the pandemic is the emotional well-being of the members of our community; everyone has lost someone or something and these losses are immeasurable. Let’s bear this in mind when we interact with one another.
My thanks to all the teachers for your hard work, the students for your resilience and the parents for your trust. My only request is that everyone continues to show one another support, understanding and empathy in the coming months as we sail through this storm together because we will emerge stronger.
Stay safe and take care.
Chief Academic Director
International Education Systems
It's begun to feel quite Spring like around school this week and we've had some beautifully sunny days. As you can see from the photos, the flowers add a lovely splash of colour to the school porch and under the flag!
Hooray! Spring has finally arrived. It’s lovely to see more colour thanks to the spring flowers seen on grass verges and in gardens. The children in Pre-school have been thinking about Spring and what the season means; new born animals, chicks, lambs and calves to name a few; colourful flowers such as daffodils, crocuses and primroses; warmer days and longer evenings and of course the celebration of Easter.
When Pre-school return after the Easter break, we will be focusing on our new topic which is called ‘Open your eyes’ and a major part of the topic will be based on insects. Insects are vital to our lives. They help our planet by returning vital nutrients to our soil and earth. They also eat decaying organic matter. Without insects the amount of decay and rot around the planet would be terrible! Also, did you know there are some insects that gardeners enjoy ‘hosting’ in their gardens? Well, this is because they are very helpful to the gardener by eating the aphids on many plants, including vegetables, which make them really important for plant and vegetable growth!
So you can see there will be lots to talk and find out about insects when we come back after Easter.
We enjoyed our P.E. lesson this week continuing with target practice. I think there are some potential netballers and sports players amongst our little people. Mr Park is certainly trying to encourage young talent.
The children have also been learning about symmetry, what is symmetrical and what is asymmetrical. We have even gone as far as finding lines of symmetry on different shapes. George worked hard at finding lines of symmetry on his playdough shapes during his morning learning. It’s great to see the children initiate their own learning.
This week in Reception the children have thoroughly enjoyed thinking about spring and learning about all the new life that they have seen around them. They have finished their acrostic poem about Spring, which is now displayed proudly in the classroom. They have been planting some seeds and seeing how they grow. Besides having fun drawing little chicks the children have also become fascinated with the life cycle of the butterfly in our Science lessons this week. The children were painting some of their own butterflies and had to make sure that they were symmetrical. This linked beautifully with our maths learning. The children are very excited as we are going to have some of our own caterpillars in the classroom after the Easter holidays, so we can see the changes that take place on a daily basis!!
As part of our maths learning we are also learning about the importance of money. Quinn has got her own chickens and ducks at home. The chickens and ducks have now started laying eggs and Quinn brings the eggs into school for all the other children to buy! She is filling up her piggy bank nicely. Well done, says Emmeline as she eats one of the gorgeous eggs for her breakfast.
In PE this week the children have had lots of fun with Mr Park. Their warm up was a triathlon; with cycling, swimming and running all within the confines of the Astroturf! The focus of the session was target practice, using different size balls to throw into the net. It is great to see their concentration and competitive spirit with these physical skills developing at such a young age. Well done everyone, once again I am so proud of all the fabulous learning!
In Class One there has been a veritable cornucopia of learning and fun. In Numeracy, the children have been honing their money skills by totalling up coins to make the correct amount 'to buy things.' In Literacy, the children have been really focusing on their phonics and consolidating their knowledge of how important the useful 'building blocks within vocabulary,' namely the links between phonemes and graphemes, can be in supporting them within their spelling and reading tasks. In a 'Dazzling Dictionary Detective Challenge;' involving investigating words with are, air and ea in them, James and Ella were named champions with 35 words found between them.
A week in Year One is never complete without some creative time and this week everyone has been busy trying their hand at sponge painting and stencilling to make beautiful Easter cards. With the sun shining through the classroom windows, it also gave the children the opportunity to make some very colourful suncatchers. A super week's work completed by a super group of children. Well done.
Creative writing is a great method of building confidence: When writing creatively, you’re engaging in an exercise that will allow you to truly develop your own voice and perspective without consequential limitations.
Class Two thoroughly enjoy 'Creative Writing' which they complete on Wednesday. As you can imagine, we have a lot of fun experiencing a 'stimulus' before getting straight to it! This week, the children were watching a video about a man called Ian who flew through the sky using balloons! We were amazed by the story and pleased to hear that he returned to Earth safely. In some of their stories, Ian ended up in some interesting places!
In STEAM, Class 3 was set the challenge of engineering a weak material and making it robust. They were asked to take strips of paper (a weak and floppy material) and transform them into strong triangular building blocks. They then had to use those building blocks to create a paper structure. Good teamwork, communication and sharing of ideas was what was required to succeed at this task.
The children were enthusiastic about the activity and worked well to create some strong creations. They had to ensure that their structure was strong enough to hold 2 chocolate digestive biscuits. The pressure was on, but as you can see by the photographs each team passed the challenge with flying colours. So we then all had a chocolate digestive to celebrate! Well done Class 3.
Pupils have been learning all about the importance of the burial mound at Sutton Hoo, and have written about how a whole ship - 30 metres long was buried along with many valuable grave goods.
We discussed which objects corroded away, and which objects stayed intact over the years.
Pupils have sketched diagrams, and drawn the decorative helmet - thought to be a ceremonial object - showing a bird symbol. Birds were used to represent strength and courage, and were also seen on the shield found in the burial mound.
We also used the term archaeologist in one of our spelling dictations - well done to those that got it right!
Pom Pom Fun!
Class 4 had great fun getting into a tangle making these pom-poms! We hope to incorporate them into a group piece of textile work, using the fantastic knitwear designs from our 'lockdown lessons'.
This week class 5 have been looking at one point perspective drawings. This is a type of drawing created on a 2D plane that then uses one point in the distance from which everything in the drawing is set out. Well done class 5 for your amazing work!
Ever since our return to the classroom on March 8th, we have had little bundles of Christmas reminders all around the room; unopened cards, gifts and brightly coloured crepe paper. I had always promised the children that we would do something when we were back together. Of course, we then very suddenly became overtaken by assessments, report writing and class work. However, last Wednesday, it was decided that we would have Christmas. We played music and pass the parcel; made the decorations that had been planned for the last week of term, though we had sadly gone home in the midst of our Christmas lunch, having to self-isolate; and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in a very unusual mid-March celebration. We handed out the wonderful array of cards from the post box and the presents from the elves that had been left on my desk in my absence.
It was great fun! I'm tempted to move Christmas to March in future years - it's further away from my birthday and Tessa remarked, "it was something new as it's always Christmas on my birthday!" Harry, too, said it was good having it on another day. We have two 25th December birthdays in our class.
I am very proud to announce the appointment of the first two Arts leaders; Tessa and Stanley. They will make the most of next term to talk to other children about our arts provision at Grantham Prep. and take a lead in sharing ideas and shaping the arts for future year groups. Student voice is an essential part of planning and moving forward. We will roll out art leaders to Years 4,5 & 6 in September and, when we can, have termly feedback sessions. We need to constantly evaluate what we offer and what the children would like us to add, resources allowing. We are acutely aware that many of our usual activities could not run, or have had to be in single year groups, however, it is heartening to hear about how many things were possible even in challenging times. The arts underpin many of the skills needed in other, more academic, subjects.
One of the positives to come out of lockdown and online learning was time to chat with some of the children about the books they were reading; and the other things they were doing to exercise and pass the time.
Tessa, in Class 6, was so excited about sharing some of the books that she has enjoyed reading that, on our return to school, she has set up a Year 6 Book club, with Mrs Dickinson's help. We had our first meeting this week and voted on which book to read. They brought lots of excellent suggestions to the meeting, but it was clear that The Hobbit was a favourite.
All Stars( 5 - 8yrs) + Dynamos Cricket Courses(8-11yrs)
Cricket clubs all over the country are advertising their summer programme of courses for children. Barkston and Grantham Cricket Clubs have been in touch with their schedule and are looking to encourage players to get involved. Please use the link below to log into your local cricket club where you will find all the details necessary for registration. Type in your local club details to reveal their schedule.Places are already filling up so don't delay.
Here is the general link for registration:-