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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 123 - 20th noVember 2020

From the Headmaster:

"If you want to view paradise, Simply look around and view it, Anything you want to, do it., Want to change the world? There's nothing to it..."

Or how about?

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Either way, I think it fair to say that all of us who joined the assembly this week, were brought back down to earth from varying degrees of height with a bump.

At no point have I ever failed to be surprised nor fail to marvel at the extraordinary clarity of thought and coherence that children can articulate their opinions with breathtaking timing. I do fear that 'adults' (I will let you know when I think I become one) perhaps need reminding of what is important and what is, frankly, not worth worrying about.

This current chapter in history will be poured over in years to come, inquisitions no doubt held and fingers pointed.

I wonder whether ones first memory of a global or notable event coincides with an appreciation of your own time in history. The Space Shuttle explosion viewed through John Craven's Newsround in 1986 (yes, that old) that glorious moment in 1982 so firmly imprinted on that warm night in May, the double doors leading from living room to garden wide open and my fathers smile. Waking up on a coach load of children travelling back from the South of France having enjoyed a summer school water-sports holiday to the news from Paris of a car crash. Watching from my PE Office in Bahrain at events unfolding in New York and having an uneasy feeling that life would never quite be the same. Something about the juxtaposition of Middle Eastern blue sky, school swimming lesson in full flow and then awfulness playing out on a small screen. Pick axes atop the Berlin Wall, no more walls, please. Most peculiar of all was being in the centre of a news event. The aircraft thundering overhead also being observed on the box in the corner of the living room, live on Sky News.

I normally include a separate section on the assembly. This week will be an exception. Whilst we started with a pop quiz (see below) we then explored with parents, teachers and children alike how change can be good, and that we can learn and grow from change.

I have always enjoyed the outdoors, but these last few months have made me develop a greater appreciation; look up at the trees, the sky, the movement. Miss Frost quite rightly said she has developed a fuller appreciation of the corner of South West London we call home, the river, the Park, the green spaces. Mr Papps was perhaps speaking metaphorically about his sock drawer, the philosopher of the staff room. Symmetry, balance.

What came across loud, very loud and clear was that the children, our children are enjoying seeing more of us. The arduous commute, the early mornings, the habitual fatigue. Yes, this is a challenging time, but out of adversity? Niamh, her voice I think catching us all out (I am sufficiently skilled now to both talk and catch fleeting expressions on the faces in the land of zoom) and humbling our self enforced distractions and worries. Let's not go back to those days. Our children are enjoying having more time with us and having more time with and for one another. That's all they want. Let's be honest, isn't it what we always want more of with those that we can't be with?

Perhaps this change is the opportunity to recalibrate and the chance to stop and look around.

Enjoy your weekend. Take care and take your time.

Alistair

From the School Office - Michelle Gambi

We have a request for help from our finance team based up in Stanmore. The Finance team have asked that when making a payment of any kind (Fee’s, after school club etc) can you please make sure to specify your bill payer ref number on each payment along with your child's name.

If you are unsure what your payer reference is please contact me directly. We do have a number of payments that we are struggling to allocate.

Term Dates

As a reminder, term dates can be uploaded to your device from the school calendar page of our website. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, the key dates for Christmas are as follows -

Last day of term - Friday 11th December, 12.30pm (for both nursery and school) for staff training.

Nursery closed - 6pm Wednesday 23rd December.

Whole school, including nursery - start of term 8am, Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Lost Property

We do our very best to return items, do please ensure that al belongings are labelled.

Punctuality

The start of the school day is crucial.

It sets the tone for the day and teachers view the start of the lesson as critical in ensuring learning objectives are achieved and realised. Arriving late to school is incredibly disruptive for all. I appreciate that buses and trains and traffic all play their part but we do need your help in ensuring the children gain the most from their school day and that they arrive by 8.30am. Late children must be signed in through the school office.

With all of our children throughout the school having made a terrific start to the school year, the gate will now close promptly at 8.30am.

Illness & Medical

We continue to abide with the DfE Regulations.

Pupils, staff and other adults must not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days.

We ensure that anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home.

These are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We would like to remind you that if your child is absent from school due to sickness (vomiting, diarrhoea) they must be clear for at least 48 hours prior to returning to school. You must inform the school office directly on 020 8546 5496 if your child will be absent that day.

Mr Sims - Welfare and Compliance

Maybe it is the cold wind fizzing across the playground during break duties, or the Black Friday banners across social media and most websites at the moment, but it is beginning to feel as through Christmas is on its way. The prop making for the new look Park Hill Christmas Production is certainly bringing on the festive spirit.

The speculation in the media regarding what the next phase of lockdown will bring our way makes for interesting reading. Predictions vary, some are based on knowledge of science while some remain guided on what will remain palatable to the voting public. It makes me wonder what the impact will be on which habits and behaviours our children take forward in their lives. In the Park Hill community, our families come from a wonderful range of backgrounds all of whom bring different approaches to the festive season, complete with differing secular and sacred routines. The lockdowns aimed to contain and minimise transitions of COVID-19 have hit all celebrations across the globe with EID, Diwali and Ramadan among others each coming earlier in the calendar. When we think back to our own earliest childhood memories, most of us will be able to recall snippets of events from times when we were aged 5 through to early teenage years and then more solid memories from there onwards. I often wonder how this ‘new normal’ will impact on the memories of our children as they work through these formative years of their lives. These changes are not limited to festive celebrations. In the academic year of 2019/20 at Park Hill there were children’s birthday parties at riding stables, paintball venues, bowling alleys and parties at peoples houses with open invites to friends and friends of friends. It is quite plausible to think that the children who are at the age to attend Park Hill will never again be celebrating their childhood birthdays in this manner again, it addition to this, is quite a sobering thought to think they may never again get to blow out the candles on a birthday cake or certainly for the next few years be able to have those wonderful family gatherings where the extended family all come together. While nobody would willingly opt to have to create a ‘new normal’, but I also remember the what most children crave is time and new experiences with their close family, I think that regardless of whatever the lock down brings us, we can hopefully deliver on these aspects to some degree.

To help us get through to the festive break, Mr Bond has kindly equipped us all with a new Park Hill jacket. While most of the children seem oblivious to the temperature drop and would happily run around the playground in a short sleeved shirt and shorts, please can the children start to bring their warm school jackets each day and be prepared for the colder weather.

Health, Safety and Medicines at School

Please note the following important points regarding the administration of medicines at school.

Further to recent recommendations and legislation we are no longer allowed to dispense any medicines to the children, with the exception of school provided Calpol, Waspeze and sun lotion and then only when you have signed the medical form agreeing to this procedure.

If your child is taking prescribed antibiotics or other drugs you are advised to adjust the timing to avoid school hours. You may wish to discuss this with your doctor at the time of prescription.

• Asthma: Children who take medication for asthma must have two named inhalers at school. One to be kept in the first aid kit in the classroom the other in the School Office. Please label clearly with your child’s name and hand personally to Miss Gambi.

• Epipens: Please provide two epipens for use in school when necessary; labelled clearly with your child’s name.

• Cough sweets (or any other sweets) are NOT allowed in school as they pose a potential choking hazard.

• Children with a temperature or diarrhoea and/or vomiting within the last day must be kept at home until clear of all symptoms for a minimum of 48 hours.

• Head lice - please remember to check your child's hair regularly.

• Contagious diseases: Please inform the school office immediately if your child has been diagnosed with any contagious disease eg: chicken pox, measles etc

• It is imperative that you inform the school, in writing (a quick note will suffice), of any medication your child has received, since midnight, before coming to school.

Thank you for your co-operation. We know you will appreciate that these procedures are for the benefit and safety of all your children.

Uniform

The full uniform list can be found here.

Mr Stevenson - Teaching and Learning

The big thing in school this week has been undoubtedly the various competitions going on around the school on times tables rockstars. I am happy to report that the winner in the Year 6 vs Year 5 competition (which was incredibly hard fought and involved some serious input from a lot of children), was won by Year 6 with an average score of 6,270 and a class total of 81,515 correct answers, with Year 5 having an average score of 3,176, and a class total of 31,764. Quite an achievement and if those numbers seem big, even I was astounded with the amount the classes got involved in this.

Our top 10 performers were (at the time of writing):

Gabriel - 25,929

Yash - 25,322

Sarah - 10,050

Jess - 9,235

Luce - 8,644

Leo - 5,874

Elena - 4,939

Rachel - 3,456

Ela - 2,662

Dominic - 1,910

Well done to both classes for taking part. Year 4 and 3 are currently competing and I look forward to reporting their results next week. Every class form Year 1 up is currently active on this app and completing times tables.

Our Little Adventurers have been ‘adventuring’ once again this week...

Year 6

Wonder is over. After 3 weeks, the Year 6’s have made their way through the entire book, analysing characters, plot points, settings, and have written stories from different perspectives, stories after certain events, and created a story based in the same setting. It's been a whirlwind, but what the Year 6’s have created is excellent. This week, we teamed up with Year 3 for some up-levelling, writing a story together and then challenging ourselves to edit vocabulary, change key plot points, characters, and then continue the stories. Some changed vocabulary to move the story darker, some made it happier, some continued what was originally created with new additions - a really interesting story writing session.

Maths has been all about scales and weight. The children have been looking at different weights and creating scales that best fit the weight, whether it be in kg or g. Quizzes, games, and challenges drove the class and we even had a hunt around the room for hidden weights for our scales. Of course, we have also rapidly improved our times tables through our game, TTRS. A friendly competition took place between year 6 and 5, and this has driven the children to work even harder - the improvement in times tables has been brilliant.

Nebula’s formed the core of our lesson in science, where we developed animations of how nebula’s form stars. It all starts with that one lucky collision…

Mr Stevenson

Year 5

This week the children have been focussing their efforts to improve their rapid recall of timestables, the thought of taking on and becoming victorious over the Year 6 class has driven motivation on this topic to new levels. At last count, it looks as though the Year 5 children may need to accept second place this time, but regardless of the positioning on the podium the speed and accuracy of the recall of the timestables facts has developed immensely. When tackling our regular timestable tests, 6 of the children achieved a personal best. In other areas of maths, we have explored the different types of averages and multiplying decimal numbers.

In English lessons, the children have been investigating the topic of recounts. These take many forms including audio stories, diary entries and newspaper reports. The children were inspired by Orson Welles’s adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel War of the Worlds in which Welles caused panic amongst the listeners of his show leaving them believing that the alien attack in the story was happening for real.

Mr Sims

Year 4

Another creative and productive week in Year Four has seen our Badgers continue to be productive across all areas of the curriculum.

Our week began with reading on the US elections in First News. Despite the uncertainty of election results by some individuals, it was certain that Year Four responded to compression questions on the text with excellent answers. Reading text informed our other English and Humanities task as we analysed and wrote our own questions about the process of Mummification. From our understanding of the text, we discovered that it would take a lot of guts to work in the mummification business in Ancient Egypt. With this new found knowledge of ancient burial rituals, children set about making their own instructions that will enlighten people on how to prepare a body for their journey to the Kingdom of Osiris.

Symmetry and perimeter informed our learning in Maths this week. Using mirrors and folding a range of shapes, year 4 set about discovering how many lines of symmetry there were on a selection of quadrilaterals and polygons. On squared paper, pupils enjoyed creating their own patterns too, on to which others could complete the symmetrical image.

Continuing with shape, Year Four explored the perimeter of rectilinear shapes, in some cases using the existing measurements of sides to calculate those missing values.

Still with Maths, but addressing our Egyptian topic too, children drew out their own equilateral and isosceles triangles in order to cut out four triangles of each to produce cardboard pyramids. Having attached them to firm bases, on Friday morning we set about applying mod roc bandages as we create our Giza inspired landscapes. Next week paint to be applied.

Following on the artistic theme, our Art lessons continue to look at light and dark, but this time with colour! Bananas and apples were placed in front of pupils and we were impressed with the results of effective shadowing accompanied by light and dark greens and yellows, plus not forgetting to mention the added brown spots.

A wonderful week of creative work again. Thank you Year Four.

Mr Papps

Year 3

Another productive week for Year 3. In Mathematics we have been converting fractions to decimals, with a particular focus on tenths, leading into adding decimals.

In English we have enjoyed sharing our creative planning ideas with Year 6 to start our story and then up-levelling the shared piece and continuing the story. Year 3 particularly enjoyed sharing some sophisticated vocabulary and trying to match the Year 6 vocabulary even thinking about personification!

In art we have started to build the scene for our Christmas production, building a beanstalk and setting Cinderella’s backdrop to decorate our room. Children are thinking about their characters and beginning to prepare their costumes.

Science was a practical exciting lesson on the digestive system...this included tights, orange juice and food!

Well done, Year 3!

Mrs Bond

Year 2

What a wonderfully creative week Year 2 have had. In Maths we have been looking at halving and have done some great work on halving shapes and large numbers. Next week we are going to be looking at more complex fractions.

In English we have been looking at the tale of Interstellar Cinderella an adaptation of the traditional Cinderella tale. The children have created some amazing diary entires and have even given writing a job description a go for hiring a new space mechanic. In Science this week we experimented with circuits, the children were given some equipment and they where challenged to light up a bulb. We had some wonderful critical thinking from this.

During our Adventure school lesson we took a wild walk up to ham gate, looking for leafs and tags and identifying the trees they came from.

Have a great weekend.

Mrs Kilb

Year 1

What a magical week it has been...

For Woodland School this week we went on an adventure to discover if fairies live in Richmond Park.

Amazingly we found lots of clues...and the next day we wrote a recount.

“First we saw tiny footprints.” Arthur

“Secondly we discovered sparkly fairy dust twinkling on the path” James

“Then we found feathers on the ground. Fairy feathers on the ground.” Elin

We continue to practice our phase 5 sounds and have learnt a new song to help remember sounds like ou, a-e and ay.

During lessons the children have been listing and sorting words with the f and ph, w or wh sound. Which is a very tricky task but one which Year 1 attempted with determination.

In Maths we focus on our place value knowledge and have been looking closely at two digit numbers discovering the number of tens and ones within. Then applying our knowledge to sort and identify odd and even numbers.

Miss Gardner

Reception

The children have impressed me with their phonics skills this week. We have looked at the ‘ng’ digraph and children have worked exceptionally hard to think of words with this sound in: shopping, ring, song, strong, string, bang and so on, writing them in their books and recognising the sound in story books. Their spellings will be based on this sound for you to practise over the weekend.

In Maths, the children have learnt how to find the difference between two numbers using terminology of subtraction, minus and take away. They used methods such as a number line and cubes to find the answer - their homework is following the same theme.

Woodland school was fun and exciting hunting for fairies! 🧚‍♀️ We found many clues; fairy dust, teeny foot prints, fairy writing, marks and patterns found on the tree stumps and feathers caught in the berry bush. We heard a scurrying noise in the ferns and thought it could be a fairy village. Next week we plan to build homes for the fairies, we may even make some fairy folk clothes and leave them some magical treats.

Have a lovely weekend.

Happy weekend!

Mrs Gibbons

Second Steps

This week we have begun talking about Christmas and during our Performing Arts session. The children have enjoyed practising Christmas songs with Miss Georgina for their Christmas production.

We have also been revisiting and exploring rhyming sounds which we learnt before the half term. The children have enjoyed playing rhyming games using small 3D objects and rhyming sounds tubs.

We have been working on number-quantity recognition and our counting skills by counting objects around our classroom and playing counting games with beanbags.

This week's Woodland school session was great fun! We stayed on site and collected leaves from our garden. Then we sorted them by colour and counted them using our wooden numicons and number plates.

Have a nice weekend!

Miss Finch & Miss Vari

First Steps

What a fun we had in First Steps this week! The children have been learning about ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ story. We looked at the pictures and counted how many fruits the caterpillar ate each day and on Saturday we thought he ate too much. We talked about how the green leaf helped him to feel better. This idea led us to pick leaves and use hole puncher to make holes on the leaves. Using a new tool made all children very exited. The children tried different ways to use the hole puncher and they were so happy while trying out their ideas.

Making caterpillar using dyed pasta and pipe cleaners was one of the popular activity in the class this week. The children improved their hand eye coordination as well as their counting skills while threading pasta through the pipe cleaners.

The children drew caterpillars by adding circles together. Some children also drew fruits and foods to feed our “Very Hungry Caterpillar’. Well done First Steps, finally our caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly eating all the foods you have drawn for him.

The children have created their own elephant ears and put them on for ‘Listening walk’. We paid attention to sounds around us and found many sounds around our playground such as; wind blowing, bird singing, hammering, children talking etc. Well done for your good listening First Steps!

We also talked about our feelings and discussed what makes us happy or sad. Some children told us what toys or foods made them happy but most popular answer was ‘playing with mum’. Well done to all First Steps’ mum!

Mrs Guniz Mrs Mousi

Images from the Week

Social Media

#confidentcurioushappy

There are also some wonderful images from our Little Adventurers available through their own instagram page -

Useful Links -

Here is the pop quiz again - 10 bands/singers, one theme. Some amazing voices - Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and David Bowie? Brilliant stuff. I also liked the link between the Scorpion and Sam Cooke video.

Now, even if you don't necessarily like Bowie, this short clip is absolutely worth five minutes of your time. Creativity, ingenuity and just really terribly cleverly simple. Have a super weekend.

A

Created By
Park Hill
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond