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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 121 - 6th noVember 2020

From the Headmaster:

One of the many benefits of being a parent, particularly as their musical tastes develop with age, is indulging in the art of 'educating' your children in what constitutes songs that they 'need' to listen to.

A journey back from a most welcome break in North Norfolk created the perfect opportunity. With a brief but thoroughly enjoyable stop off at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford (more of which later) one particular song has continued to jingle away this week.

'Got one note to last all week

I'll carry on regardless

The hill to happiness is far too steep

I'll carry on regardless...'

I won't spoil any fun by naming the band (scroll to the vey bottom of this edition for the answer, but let's face it, any video that contains bikes and an elephant can only be good) but it seemed rather appropriate as we not only start the second half term of the academic year but also navigated the latest guidance and documents provided by the DfE regarding the next four weeks.

Before I make the front pages, let me explain. It is, as I know you agree, essential that we continue to provide the calm, happy and nurturing environment that we are well known for. The carefully crafted lessons and opportunities for discovery and excitement will take extra note of the need to ensure all of our children look back in years to come with only happy memories of this time; a sense of happiness and routine (such an underestimated word that fails to do justice to its value) that not only provides for our children but also to you.

Everything from Breakfast Club through to Sports Squad to After School Club will carry on as will everything else in between. It would be wrong to fail to note the collective desire across the school to continue to navigate these coming weeks and months and place our children at the heart of all that we do and every decision we make.

I will write to Messrs Heaton and Rotheray and suggest that perhaps we adapt their song temporarily to 'Carry on (with) regard (to the regulations)...'

Alistair

From the School Office - Michelle Gambi

"A few more layers to be keep the cold out since our return from half term but all the smiles in the morning certainly make up for the cold toes!"

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.

Assembly

Despite not being able to gather at the Church, temporarily, I still look forward to our Thursday morning assemblies. The school year is punctuated and the passing of time marked by annual occasions celebrated on a Thursday morning.

One assembly that has particular emotion attached to it is the Remembrance Day assembly, held each November.

Whilst the main assembly, to which I would very much like to encourage you all to attend through zoom, will be held on Wednesday, 10.45am-11.05am, the assembly yesterday (despite a small technological challenge) hopefully set the scene.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

The responsibility to remember them is ours to assume. The men and women who fought in the Second World War are well into their 94th year or more. Their memories and voices must continue to be heard. Lessons must be learnt and such events never repeated nor forgotten.

Three such voices, at least for me, provide sufficient insight into the horrors of war and the errors of thinking it could never happen again -

It is impossible to fathom how at the age of 17 they 'got on with it.'

We discussed the importance of the poppy and learnt more about the origin -

So, do join us on Wednesday, albeit via zoom. Please find a way of wearing a poppy. Please ensure blazers are suitably adorned on Wednesday, everyone suited and booted.

“When you go home, tell them of us and say,

for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

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

The words ‘perseverance’ and ‘resilience’ frequently come up in conversations when we are discussing the children at Park Hill. These two words express how the journey that our children go on throughout their developmental years is full of challenge and experiences that test their character and understanding of how the world works. To build up resilience against the impact of set backs and showing perseverance in the desire to expand abilities, knowledge and understanding are key life skills. We endeavour to support children to embrace these skills and attributes on their journey through Park Hill.

To further promote the value of these attributes, the start of the Spring Term will see the introduction of two new weekly awards. Mr Stevenson will be on the lookout for times when the children have taken great strides in their academic work or excelled in a piece of work set by their teacher. This can be in any subject area but must show that the child has persevered with their work to create something, which for them, is quite special. The winner of this award will receive the Perseverance Award for Academic Achievement.

To partner the Perseverance Award, I will be awarding the Resilience Award for Courage and Kindness. This will be to recognise the times when a child has either overcome a problem, turned a potentially negative experience to a positive one or showed exceptional kindness to another.

At the end of each month, the effort of the award winners will be celebrated when they will be invited to join Mr Stevenson and myself at break time for hot chocolate and cake, or perhaps in the summer term milkshake and ice cream.

I am sure you will agree that these are qualities that we endeavour to encourage and celebrate for our children. At Park Hill we have many parents who in their own professional and personal lives excel in these areas. We often talk to the children about the tremendous work that many of our parents do to serve our community and would like to take this opportunity to recognise their work and thank them while we celebrate the work of the children. With that in mind, I am delighted to announce that our first award in January will be given out by Mrs Walsh and Mrs Kane, who as Matron and Deputy Director of Nursing at Kingston Hospital who so wonderfully embrace the two philosophies of perseverance and resilience in supporting our community.

I know that many of our parents will be too modest to put themselves forward, but if you know of a member of our school community for whom it would be particularly appropriate for them to hand out an award for perseverance or resilience, please email their name along with a few lines summarising your reason for nominating them to Matthew.Sims@parkhillschool.com

Have a wonderful weekend.

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

Lessons are back in full swing here at Park Hill and I have, I hope you agree, some interesting things to share with you from this week. Please check out Mr Sims’ section for more information on a new award!

We keep very busy at school and the first week is no exception as the children across the school took part in their half termly assessments. This includes writing, maths, reading, spellings, and timestables. These assessments provide teachers with a snapshot of strengths and weaknesses across their class, allowing teachers to provide even more personalised learning for the children.

With a drive on timestables currently, a new app has been added to the children’s iPad devices called Times tables Rockstars. During lockdown, we trialed this and it proved popular...so it’s back! It provides an excellent way for the children to practise their tables, and allows for a little competition. Please do have a look as each child now has their own login details.

As well as this, please check out reading eggs. Again, each child has a login and this website provides a huge amount of content to help with reading, comprehension, and spelling.

By now, I hope that your child has got to grips with our key application, Showbie. It is an application that is so valuable, not only now, but throughout your child’s learning journey. It’s ability to record voice notes, complete homework, check out previous lessons and read feedback, and record work in different ways allows children to show knowledge and understanding without relying only on their ability to write. If anyone is having any issues or wishes to chat about showbie and iPad use, please do drop me an email at philip.stevenson@parkhillschool.com

As always, the teachers have worked incredibly hard to ensure that, even in these times, the children never miss out on experiences. Second Steps, Year 1 and Reception were oddly absent Wednesday and Thursday and were discovered to be in Richmond park. I’m sure that you can appreciate the logistical difficulties this kind of thing presents at the moment, but it is testament to Miss Vari, Mrs Gardner, Miss Finch, and Mrs Gibbons that the children can still get out into nature to experience the beautiful autumn colours .

Speaking of autumn, there have appeared some brilliantly designed scarecrows in the playground, expertly made by Year 2. I’m pleased to say that the birds are keeping their distance and these have made a wonderful addition to our school grounds.

With our new half term now in full swing, we have begun the run to Christmas. As part of this terms work, we would normally have a Christmas performance. Mrs Georgina and Mr Papps have been working hard to find us an alternative way to present this and their solution is quite genius. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised by their innovative solution.

Finally, we finish each week with a STEAM lesson (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). These are based around a topic or a current event. We believe it is important to give the children an opportunity to use their critical thinking, and teamwork, skills to solve problems on a larger scale, or to explore unusual ideas. So far, the children have created board games, been out in the garden, animating, building structures, creating rockets. This Friday, they utilised clay to create poppies, and their skills with an iPad to recreate iconic silhouetted photos.

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

Year 6

A busy but very successful week. English has focused on our new book, Wonder and the emotions that the character goes through within the first 50 pages. The children have considered how the characters will react given what we know about them, acting it out, and then changing the same section in to a playscript, again focusing on the emotions (and therefore stage directions). Particularly impressive was Yash and Luce and their portrayals of Jack Will, as well as Isabel as Julian. In maths, we have looked at converting between fractions and decimals, playing games and solving complicated problems.

In both maths and English, the children have been carrying out their assessments, and creating some really stunning stories about civil wars, and about Park Hill school.

We have also begun our coding topic using a new app, CoSpaces. This allowed the children to create a virtual world, add characters and program them to perform different functions. This week, they kept it simple by creating a small world that you would walk around in and be asked 0 questions to progress. I look forward to seeing what they create next week!

Mr Stevenson

Year 5

Poetry has been the focus for much of our time in Year 5 this week, in particular we have been exploring poems using Kenning and Cinquain structures. The transition from October to December is always a great time for creative work in English, big events in the children’s calendar include Halloween, Bonfire Night and of course Remembrance Day, each of these provide a wide range of stimulus for exploring different types of vocabulary for expressing feelings and emotions.

Our weekly trip to Ditton Fields was a highlight of this week. After receiving a few nervous looks from some of the children while I unpacked a new batch of rugby balls in preparation for the lesson, in true Park Hill style the children spent the next 2 hours with huge smiles and excitement as they enjoyed the different drills and mini-games of tag rugby.

In Humanities, we are in the not quite at the end of World War 2, but in learning about Pearl Harbour and the Battle of Midway, we may not have even started to talk about the end; but perhaps we are at the end of the beginning.

Mr Sims

Year 4

An incredibly busy start to the second half of term began on Monday with a trip to Richmond Park for Adventure School where outdoor problem solving tested pupils ability to solve puzzles, unlock chains and carry buckets 50 metres without laying a finger on it.

We have been shaping up in Maths as we investigated a range of quadrilaterals and triangles in order to sort them according to their properties using Venn Diagrams and Carroll Diagrams.

A key theme of the lessons has been to expand our vocabulary, and we made great progress in understanding parallel and perpendicular lines.

The P-words where abundant in English too as Personification and Prepositions was called out many times as we focussed on poetic language inspired by the prose of Roger McGough. In fact our vocabulary met with similes and metaphors too as we brought to life inanimate objects from around the school. Next week we intend to animate our classroom through the use of poetic language as we delve further in to creating imagery with words.

It was encouraging this week to see how Year 4 have returned to school in such high spirits and demonstrating excellent progress in their learning. I was very impressed as the class produced a collection of fantastic stories that used powerful descriptions and a range of inviting sentence openers to describe how: ‘The Flying Fish Got it’s Wings; The Tortoise Got it’s Shell and Parrots Got Their Colourful Feathers’.

In relation to Mr Bond’s assembly on Remembrance Day Year 4 have made some rather impressive art using the Poppy flower as their inspiration. We learnt how to create our own poppies for a school display next week and, using a rather complex origami technique, perfected the art of making the flowers that have been used to create digital art with silhouette imagery of soldiers.

A fantastic return to school and the beginning of great momentum for the next five weeks.

Excellent work Year 4. More of the same next week.

Mr Papps

Year 3

Year 3 have settled into this week calmly and got straight to work. Demonstrating superb communication skills in Adventure School completing a number of group and whole class challenges supporting each other which was a joy to see.

In Art we enjoyed making our own poppies and discussing the reason behind wearing them.

Along with our termly assessments we have been working dividing with remainders and linking in division with our times tables. In Humanities this week we looked further into Remembrance day and wrote some beautiful acrostic poems.

Mrs Bond

Year 2

Welcome back after half term. This week the children have been busy creating some beautiful firework pictures, over a city scene with oil pastles. We then wrote some magical firework poems, with a big emphasis on onamatapia words.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mrs Kilb

Year 1

Learning Challenge: Are old toys more magnificent than mine?

Miss Gardner

Reception

Welcome back after half term. This term our topic is ‘Festivals and Celebrations.’ Reception have been busy this week celebrating and continuing a Halloween theme. 🎃 🧪 🧙‍♀️ We designed and carved pumpkins together, handling tools with increasing control. The children practiced some appropriate safety measures and understood the need for safety when managing risk. Following this we used the cauldrons to mix up potions, using vinegar and baking soda observing the chemical change. Everyone was in awe of the bubbly and foamy mess, observing the patterns they saw. They added food colouring, frogs, eyeballs and other items to make it spooky. The children learnt about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. They made firework pictures using chalk and collage materials and together described what they saw using fantastic adjectives: “sparkly, crackle, zoom, bang, dazzling, bold etc.” You may like to check out your child’s work on tapestry.

Next week we will be celebrating Remembrance Day and Diwali 🪔.

Happy weekend!

Mrs Gibbons

Second Steps

Second Steps have had a busy week back after half term. We have been talking about fireworks night and Emilè has been telling us all about Guy Fawlks and how he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and how we remember the day by having fireworks. We then made our own Firework pictures by flicking paint onto the paper. It was very messy but great fun.

We have been looking at our phonics and focusing on the letter ‘S’ using salt trays to trace the letter And supporting it with ‘S’ word toys to reinforce their understanding.

We had a great Show and Tell time. Some of the parents had uploaded some photos of the fun they had during half term. Family Halloween parties and making Amelia Badelia’s Apple pie.

We were able to go to Richmond Park this week. We had so much fun, jumping in muddy puddles, climbing on and jumping off the logs, stomping on the bridge to wake up the troll hiding underneath and running through the leaves. We took half the class this week and hopefully next week we will be able to take the other children.

Miss Finch & Miss Vari

First Steps

First Steps children have been learning about fireworks this week. We talked about how far they could go in the sky, what colour and shape they were. We also focused on what sounds did they make and children made ‘boom, bang, bom’ sounds the describe it.

We put different colour paints in plastic bags and tied them with a string then children had a go to swing them over a paper and we have created our firework display. Well done First Steps.

Breaking ice eggs with hammer was another popular activity in the class where children had chance to create and listen different sounds.

Salt tray with glitter gave children a lovely opportunity to create fireworks as well as improve their fine motor skills. Some children used their fingers some of them used brush and at the end they all created really nice patterns in the tray.

Keep up the hard work First Steps!

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 -

Quiz question: The Beautiful South have only managed one UK number 1 hit single. Which song was it?

Created By
Park Hill
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond