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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 135 - 16th april 2021

From the Headmaster:

The general theme of optimism has kindly been reinforced by the sun that has been a fairly constant companion in our first week back.

How super it is to welcome all of our children back. I did find myself reflecting on 'this time last year' and the start of the summer term 2020; quite a remarkable time, which I appreciate is rather an understatement.

Fast forward twelve months and various incarnations of the restrictions and we are tentatively feeling our way back into some degree of normality, albeit with half a hand temporarily tied behind our back.

So, where am I going with this? Much like many of you, we are navigating the regulations whilst being naturally keen to ensure this term, possibly the busiest of all three, features the wonderful events that we all associate with fair skies and sunny weather. Our desire to do what is right for each individual child is undimmed. Please do not forget that our community is one of the greatest strengths, that sense of belonging and supporting one another. This comes through dialogue and trust. You must not hesitate to contact us if you have a concern, however small you may think it is. Small things have a habit of growing into big things; let's not allow a greater worry evolve when we can deal with it quickly and easily. In my experience, most worries are small and can be resolved rather easily.

There is no small amount of pride that you are all looking forward to the events as much as we are. Being an eternal optimist (apparently we live longer?) I am confident we have a huge amount to look forward to!

Enjoy your weekend, I'm off for my vaccine this evening. What an extraordinary achievement? A vaccine already delivered to so many millions around the world, just what else could be achieved if we all work together....?

Alistair

Assembly

It doesn't happen very often, particularly so given the last twelve months, but we do have a number of children (and teacher) who enjoy the privilege of wearing a slightly different article to their uniform.

As you can see below, the article I am referring to is the school tie and the difference, however subtle it may be, is that the school crest makes an appearance. School colours are awarded for a range of reasons. Many of our children have received the coveted award having competed at a national level for the school, triathlon, rowing, drama, performing arts as well as for winning a whole host of competitions for art, Shakespeare monologues, musical theatre and, in the case of a certain Miss Vari, an act of great compassion within the community.

So it was with a great deal of pride that I awarded Leo with his school colours in recognition of three remarkable achievements. Leo not only successfully managed to undertake the training, he also completed a half marathon to raise funds for Myeloma UK, a cancer arising from plasma cells.

I believe that he has already raised in excess of £1,300 for the charity and would very much welcome more donations. The link to his Just Giving page can be found below -

A remarkable achievement that is perhaps all the more impressive given that his father, who also took part, was challenged to complete the distance dressed as Scooby-Doo. I have permission to share images...

I understand that when energy levels were flagging, Scooby snacks came to the rescue. 'Would you do it for a Scooby snack?'

Year 6

Year 6 have made incredibly good use of the three days they have been back.

Starting in English, the class have now been given their final book of the year, ‘The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day’. After reading the first two chapters, many theories are circulating around the class. ‘Are they in alternate realities, are they clones, is one of them invisible’ are just some of the ideas that the class have come up with.

In maths, both our lessons have been gameified, with bean bags on the playground to make almost unwieldy numbers, before multiplying and dividing them. Then negative number lines drawn on the walls to play our version of tug of war, rolling dice to move up or down the number line.

Podcasting has come again in Science, and we are slowly preparing our next topic of light for publishing, whilst we make quizzes in Geography on the flags of the world, and further finalise our business plans in computing.

Year 5

Year 4

Mr Papps.

Year 3

Year 2

Wow can you believe we are now beginning our summer term. Year 2 have come back with vigour and it has been wonderful to see the children returning with big smiles.

This week we have focused on writing short stories and have been rounding numbers to the nearest 10 in maths.

Next week we look forward to having an eco themed week with earth day on the Thursday. We are also prepped and ready for our inter house spelling competition next week.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Year 1

Reception

Reception have had a great first week back. In Literacy we have been been talking about what we did in our Easter holidays and drew representations of what we did. We then wrote sentences to describe the event using past tense.

In Maths we have been consolidating our understanding of adding and subtracting single digits using part and whole models. We also played Sum Swamp and Bus Stop, where we applied our knowledge and took turns with our peers.

In woodland school we found and discussed textures and patterns in the outdoor environment. Finally in computing we used Google maps to find our houses to develop our understanding of our local area and what we can find on a simple map. We will do more of this next week.

Second Steps

First Steps

Welcome back to all the children in First Steps, they were all very happy to see each other after the Easter holidays! We all shared what we did over our break and welcomed our newest friend Toby. In our short week we still had loads of fun starting with our music session with Miss Georgina and we loved pretending to be animals! We then made bird feeders out of Cheerios for Woodland School and hung them up around the garden on the tree branches for the birds to eat. Lastly we really enjoyed being mini scientists doing a science experiment on how soda and acidic fruits react when mixed together, the children loved seeing the bubbles appear!

As next week is Earth Day we will really appreciate it if you could send in recycled items such as yogurt pots, kitchen rolls, cardboard boxes (nut free please)etc. We will be recycling these items and making them into new things we can play with and we are exited to share our new Eco creations!

Have a sunny weekend!

Key Events

The school calendar on our website has been updated to include key dates for this term. I am obliged to add that some are subject to the regulations and restrictions being eased, we are so very keen to ensure that these events take place and will do all we can to provide them, whilst staying compliant. One such date that might need to be moved is the proposed parent social currently scheduled for 12th June. It seems that 21st June is the earliest at which 30 or more people can attend an event. Therefore, we would like to propose that the parent social could take place on 26th June following the Sports Day and Prize Giving.

At this stage I would like to draw your attention to the following events -

Tuesday 27th April - Cross Country vs St Nicholas School (Richmond Park, Y3-Y6)

Thursday 29th April - Friday 30th April - Year 2 and Year 3 Camp Out

Wednesday 5th - Friday 7th May - Year 3 and Year 4 Residential

Wednesday 12th - Saturday 14th May - Year 5 and Year 6 Residential

Friday 21st May - Art Exhibition - Whole School Exhibition

Friday 11th May - Inter-House Crystal Maze

Wednesday 16th June - Pupil Reports published

Thursday 17th - Friday 18th - Year 5 and Year 6 Bikepacking Expedition (optional)

Friday 25th June - Kite Festival

Saturday 26th June - Prize Giving, Sports Day - All children to attend

Saturday 26th June - Parent Social 6pm

Thursday 1st July - Inter House Tough Mudder

Friday 2nd July - End of Term Production

Without wishing to dampen any excitement or appetite for any of these events, I do need to reiterate that we will be carefully watching government announcements and continuing to follow the relevant guidance at each event. Sorry!

Illness & Medical

We continue to abide with the DfE Regulations.

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.

Should your child develop symptoms or receive a positive result from a PCR test for Covid-19 you must immediately inform the school office - secretary@parkhillschool.com

This email is monitored during the school day and at set intervals during the weekend. If our line is busy, we have a backup answer service where an operator can take your message and we, as a school, are alerted accordingly.

We receive daily updates to the regulations every 24 hours and this information is reviewed and any alterations to the regulations immediately adopted. We abide by the PHE and DfE advice.

You must never hesitate to seek clarification direct from myself or Nicola to ensure any concern or anxiety is dealt with in the most sensible, efficient and direct manner.

Activities and Clubs

Clubs and After School Activities

The clubs and activities that started back in March will continue through to the half term break as previously advertised. We will then review the activities and pass this information on accordingly. The breakfast club and after school care booking page has been updated for this summer term - After School Care and Breakfast Club

In addition the existing activities, I am delighted to confirm that Miss Georgina will be resuming ballet on the following days -

Wednesday - Second Steps, 12.30pm-1pm; Year 1 - Year 2, 1pm-1.30pm

Thursday - Reception, 1pm-1.30pm

If you would like your child to attend please contact Miss Cooke who will provide you with the information on behalf of Miss Georgina.

I was particularly pleased to hear both drum lessons with Joe and piano and vocal lessons with Jamie taking place at various locations across the site. Should you or your child wish to learn an instrument including trumpet, please contact Miss Cooke.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

It is a topic that is quite rightly occupying a great deal of thought within the education sector, on how best to support our children following the challenging last twelve months and moving forward as restrictions ease.

Whilst we are delighted with the progress each and every one of children made with their learning during these last twelve months, living with the restrictions and uncertainty in many ways has impacted us all.

Subsequent to each return to school following a ‘stay at home’ instruction, we have prioritised opportunities for our children to enjoy social and group activities and supporting them through PSHCE lessons in navigating the return to school.

You will have noted an emphasis on time outside the classroom in the last few weeks of the Spring Term; time at Richmond Park, bushcraft fires and cooking bread.

With the weather now improving and with the accompanying (hopefully) easing of restrictions we will continue with this approach and ensuring our simple approach and philosophy of ‘simply’ being empathetic and nurturing, placing the children’s best interest at the heart of all we do.

We, or more accurately, Mr Sims has essentially transformed our school garden over the last three months and during large parts of his Easter holiday. Seating areas for outdoor classrooms, raised planter beds and the increasing array of herbs, vegetables and flowers is a wonderful sight. It is a sight we are rather keen to share with you. We miss the previously taken for granted chance for you to take your children to the classroom door and have that all important conversation with teachers.

We must abide by the rules, rule of six, social distancing etc for the duration of each easing (hopefully) of the restrictions. However, having reviewed movement around the site and the layout of our buildings we would like to extend the invitation to those of you who drop off your children between 8am and 8.10am and would like to, you are welcome to take your children to the classroom door (Reception, Year 1, Year 2, First & Second Steps) and enjoy the gardens and chance to see far more of the school than we have been permitted to share with you for over a year! I would ask that masks are worn and that you enjoy the chance to walk through the school just like it was before! We will naturally review this each day and communication with you accordingly. We will need to limit the numbers on site during those ten minutes and ask for your patience if required.

Images from the week

Instrumental Lessons

We are still conducting instrumental lessons, please do contact Miss Menon or Nicola who can help. Now, for a clever set up and just how our piano teacher is able to teach, watch this clever video below.

Social Media

#confidentcurioushappy

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

Useful Links -

Created By
Park Hill
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Credits:

Alistair Bond