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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 89 - 13th sepTember 2019

From the Headmaster:

I did promise myself that this year I would make a concerted effort not to start each edition of the Deerstalker with reference to either the weather (summer seems to be reluctant to give way to autumn this year) and to just how time flies when you are having fun (just where did the last five days go?).

What a treat it was on Tuesday to enjoy not just the tremendous facilities at Kingston Grammar playing fields but also a (Mr) blue sky and a very notable high standard of sport on show. Over seventy children enjoying being physically active with the associated excited words of encouragement and laughter proved to be a perfect start to the week.

It was a similar privilege to visit classrooms this week to see how quickly everyone has settled into their new class routines and the associated desire to share with me what they are exploring in lessons.

Likewise, teacher led clubs commmenced with long enjoyed activities such as art and sport, being joined by new activities such as debating and rowing club joining the ranks.

We dipped our toes into rowing (sorry, I thought I would get in a pun before Mr Papps steals the punlight) last term and competed with honours at our first festival. With the Welsh Schools Indoor Rowing Festival approaching in November we are training hard to ensure success.

We welcome the return of news from the classes this week. Do please read about all that has taken place in each class, so much to celebrate and enjoy. Likewise do please read about the content of the first Head’s coffee morning of the year, a very interesting discussion about school values was had.

I hope you have a good weekend, enjoy the sunshine!

Alistair

PS - Don’t forget the Showbie and Tapestry workshops are next week! Please update your devices to the latest OS in advance.

PPS - A letter regarding the minibus service will be distributed on Monday.

Foxes

Sadly not the Year 1 class but the urban species that is proving to be a particular annoyance at present. Whether it be an overnight raid on our bins or unpleasant mess left around the site we will redouble our efforts to ensure no food is left to attract the animals and also continue to do a sweep of the grounds before and after school to remove the waste but also to collect uniform left overnight. Clothing does seem an attractive proposition to the foxes, with a number of garments now in the washing machine as I type.

Children have been reminded to ensure they do not leave uniform on the playground or on the floor and to leave with the same items that they arrived at school that morning. A sweep of the site is completed before school, during the day as well as at night to check for ‘fox visits’ and to collect uniform that is clearly proving attractive to the neighbourhood foxes. I trust that they will soon leave us alone...

I (we) started something...

There may well be a slight musical theme running through this edition. I have consciously avoided commenting on what the fox said above (Dog goes "woof", Cat goes "meow") and now (house point for spotting The Smiths link in the above title) but I think we have started something judging by the technological adroitness on display this week. There was a hushed silence of appreciation amongst colleagues today in viewing the applications for potential digital leaders. A frankly breath taking standard and quality, utilising the full range of technology and presentation delivery. It will be a very challenging process to select the future leaders.

Class News

Year 6 and Year 5

This week in Year Five and Year Six has been an enjoyable one, not only for the children but also for me as I have had the pleasure of getting to know the children in the class. With a big push on reinforcing the importance of a positive growth mindset and helping the children to understand the responsibility that comes with being the oldest in the school, so far they have thrived in stepping up to their positions as role models for the younger children. There are many natural leaders emerging within the group.

During maths lessons the children have been dissecting and creating their own word based mathematical problems, by breaking down 2 and 3 step maths problems into different stages, the children can approach them in a logical manner. A real highlight of this week has been seeing the children engage with the Warhorse novel by Michael Morpurgo. In particular the children have been rewriting the story from the perspective of a different character.

Year 4

In their first whole week in Year Four, children have swept away the dust of the summer holidays and began to vacuum up important information. They’ve also started the process for designing their own dust jackets to maintain their pristine condition (and their future stories).

In our first tentative steps in to Humanities, English, Art and DT we are focussed on Rainforests and animals in ‘Just So Stories’ which is mostly set in Oriental forests, as Rudyard Kipling may have described. Our descriptive writing involves the use of expanded noun phrases, powerful verbs and the occasional metaphor or simile to inform, excite and entice the reader.

In other areas we have been exercising our inference skills, reversing a famous idiom by: ‘judging a book by it’s cover’. From looking at several covers to ‘Just So Stories’ children have deduced what they believe the stories may be about from looking at the information presented in the pictures and title of the books. We have read through ‘How the Whale Got His Throat’, and will investigate more stories next week, as we seek inspiration for our own animal themed stories.

Our Rainforest adventure in Humanities lessons will take them on many travels around the world, and they have already located the many vast locations across the world; concluding that Jungle is Massive. Further to this we have also started a focus on rainforest climates, that will precipitate more investigation and presentations on the weather.

Some may describe rainforests as the lungs of the earth where a similar theme has continued in Science. Through the bronchial branches, the alveoli sacs and breathing fresh learning in to minds of Year Four, lessons have started to explore the respiratory system with ‘exhale-ent’ results. Mr Stevenson will keep Year 4’s learning on Trach(ea) as they explore oxygen’s journey through the body.

Far away from any dense woodlands or tropical rainforests, Maths lessons have been spent exploring the times tables up to twelve. This will help pupils consolidate their learning of larger multiplication problems and division using inverse operations. Additionally we have been exploring place value and using our knowledge to dissect addition and subtraction problems that will aid their mental arithmetic. We expect to continue our progress next as we explore these themes sum more.

It has been a fantastic start to the year, excellent work, Year 4.

Year 3

A busy and productive first week in Year 3. The children prepared and presented their speeches with confidence for various title roles in school, from digital leader to house captains. Results will be posted soon.

In Mathematics we started the year reinforcing the importance of place value and started our Olympic challenges, answering fifty questions in the shortest time possible which is no mean feat!

In English we have enjoyed expanding our sentences to include more adjectives for effect. Our visual literacy lesson created some superb descriptions for the setting in the forest. The children were using similises and even personification! Here are a few examples.

The brown, mossy tree looked like a ghostly stooped figure swaying in the dark.- Mario

There were thick, tall trees near by the lake and the owls hooted.- Kyal

The glistening lake reflected in the moonlight. - Rosie

The light of the moon was shining down on the eerie lake.- Adrius

Year 2

After welcoming a new member to our classroom (welcome Ralph), we got started straight away with our learning. Adjectives, Nouns, and expanded nouns phrases are where Year 2 began. Through the medium of Rap, we created expanded noun phrases and added them to our radical beat. Taking it further, we broke apart our phrases into nouns and adjectives, and then reformed them to create longer sentences to describe our class pet, Snowy. He definitely approved of some of the descriptions that the Year 2 came up with.

Mathematics has been all about place and value. Splitting apart numbers, adding them together, solving word problems, we’ve had it all this week and the children have worked very hard on every element of place value. One pupil even had the pleasure of listening to my voice for 20 minutes through their headphones as I asked them ever increasingly difficult questions, which they solved. We also had our mystery box science lesson this week and the children used their observational skills to try to figure out what was contained within these boxes. Some very good explanations were given for their ideas. Throughout this whole week, the children have been getting used to the increased use of Showbie, uploading all their work, and using their iPad devices to assist them. Therefore, we have started our first topic in computing of E-safety, learning about personal information and why it should remain just that on the internet - personal.

Year 1

Year 1 have had a fabulous first week reading, writing and learning new routines.

Shockingly, this week a naughty animal came into our classroom and made a big mess. We looked for clues and discovered that it was a tiger! So we wrote rules for anyone who visits our classroom to follow and letters to the tiger to tell him how to behave in future.

In Maths, we focus on counting reliably and looking at number facts - such great investigative work from Year 1.

Reception

Welcome to Reception! Everyone has had great fun getting to know each other. The week has been productive, full of creative tasks including, making mini me’s for our birthday display. In PSCHE, the children listened to the story ‘Rainbow Fish’ and discussed the value of kindness. The children used collage materials to make glittery, shiny fish which you can come and see on our Fundamental British Value display. The children used their talking partners to learn about numbers to 10. They played the missing number line game, identifying the numerals and putting them in the correct order. Next week we are looking forward to learning our new song about our body. Have a great weekend!

Second Steps

Second Steps have participated in lots of different activities during their first full week in school.

They have enjoyed working in groups and whole class activities to help build confidence and to get to know their peers. During one circle time the children loved looking in the mirrors together with a partner to describe each other’s features.

We read a story about the lonely scarecrow and children decided to make friends for the scarecrow using different art materials.

We have been talking about forming new relationships and our feelings/emotions.

Children also loved printing and painting faces using vegetables from our kitchen.

First Steps

We have had a great week in First Steps.

We have welcomed lots of new friends. Hanan, Thomas, Olivia, Jess, May & Artin. They have really got involved and been having lots of fun.

We had our first music lesson with Miss Menon, using the musical instruments we were learning loud and quiet and fast and slow while singing our favourite songs, we had lots of fun.

The children helped to make purple play dough, learning the name of the different ingredients, measuring them and mixing them together, we mixed in the lavender flowers we cut to make the dough smell nice. Then we use the stalks to make flower arrangements.

The children have been using the connecting blocks in the garden. They have been making tall towers, long trains and space rockets then counting them to see how big they are. There have been a few variations of number order but its all good fun.

In woodland school we discovered the different herbs we have round the school. We found rosemary, lavender and mint. We took some cuttings, rubbed them in our hands so we could smell them. We didn’t like the smell of the rosemary very much but we liked the mint. We planted them in First Steps garden so we can have our own herb garden. We also planted our own pots of cress seeds so we can see plants growing from seeds.

The children have been having lots of messy fun in the mud kitchen making mud by mixing soil and water together an sharing it out in pots and bowls and putting them in the oven to make mud pies.

Great work, First Steps.

Calendar and Events

I am pleased to confirm that the key dates and events for the coming academic year are now all uploaded onto the school website and can be accessed here.

We do appreciate that it is not always possible to attend all of the various workshops and events held throughout the year. We are keen that information provided at these events is shared. For each workshop we will be producing tutorials and documents that can be distributed and then provide you with a link to either view (livestream) the workshop or participate in an online Q&A style forum with the teacher leading the session.

I have selected some key dates that I would like to draw your attention to for September–

16th September – Parent Workshop - Introduction to Showbie

17th September – Parent Workshop - Introduction to Tapestry

25th September – Individual Photographs

27th September – Parent Workshop – Reading with your child (1st Steps – Reception)

27th September – Family welcome reception and 70th anniversary celebration

30th September – Parent Workshop - How to help at home and progression through the Early Years (Second Steps)

I may well be the only person not to be aware of a change to the date of the Bank Holiday in May 2020, but please note that the date has been changed to coincide with the anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8th May 2020.

Seventy Years Old!

I do hope that you will be able to join us to celebrate a rather significant milestone in the history of Park Hill. It seems rather apt that we celebrate the return of a Year 6 class to Park Hill in the same year that we turn 70. We have planned a variety of other events throughout the year to mark the milestone including a little time travel back to 1949.

The evening will be a relatively informal and relaxed affair, with familiar faces from the community also invited.

Head’s Assembly

I recall a good piece advice from an experienced Head when I took tentative steps in my first headship in Tripoli: don’t forget to look up.

Well, Mr Alcott, I have taken this very much on board and did just that on Thursday morning. A blue sky and fresh early morning air led me to smile and think about the lyrics from Elbow - “Throw those curtains wide! One day like this a year'd see me right....it’s looking like a beautiful day.”

As an assembly we discussed what else makes us happy, thoughtfulness, kindness, compassion, getting out of bed at the first time of asking etc etc.

We then viewed this video and reflected on how many acts of kindness we saw and just what happens as a result of being kind.

Kindness is infectious, as was quite correctly pointed out, and the challenge was laid for all of us to be extra kind to make that difference.

We do have Harvest Festival approaching in October and we would like to extend this sense of kindness to that assembly and to what I am sure you will agree is an entirely worthy cause in our local community.

The Joel Community Charity is a local charity that provides help and support to those affected by homelessness. They seek to provide additional support and counseling to help restore confidence - ‘Help People to Believe in Themselves.'

Please click on the link below to learn more -

They have provided us with the type of donations they are seeking. We will be joined by their staff at our Harvest Festival who will then, with the help of our children take the donations to the centre and distribute accordingly.

Instant Premium Coffee

Tea bags (PG, Tetley not herbal teas)

Honey, honey, honey! We do not use any refined sugar in our building. We bake with honey, pour on to cereal and use it to sweeten hot beverages.

Squash (no added sugar)

Passata

Tinned Tomatoes

Baked Beans

Tinned Tuna

Tinned vegetables (peas, carrots, sweet corn, kidney beans)

Cereals (non Sugar type like Weetabix and Corn Flakes)

Mini Hand sanitizers (alcohol free only)

Shower gel

Shampoo

Deodorants

Disposable Razors and shaving cream

Toothbrushes and toothpaste (not mouth wash)

Moisturiser – male and female

Sanitary products

Gift cards for supermarkets (topped up with no more than £5 each card)

Gift cards for cafes/coffee shops (topped up with no more than £5 each card) this gives our guests a warm place to sit during the cold winter days

Oyster cards (topped up with no more than £5 each card)

Head’s Coffee Morning

I would like to thank all of you who joined me on Wednesday for my first coffee morning of the year. Topics discussed included the recent updates to safeguarding and child protection in schools (KCSIE 19), our own school process and training of staff and then my role on the LSCB (soon to be KRSCP) review board.

We then moved on to a very enjoyable discussion about our school values, with the discussion revolving around compassion and tradition. It was very encouraging to hear that our determination to be a compassionate and caring school is greatly valued and recognised by you all but also that the word ‘tradition’ is less recognised as it implies ‘stuffiness’ and, I am delighted to confirm, this is something we are apparently not!

These mornings are invaluable as we enjoy an expanded discussion on school life and I get an invaluable opportunity to understand and evaluate what we can do as a school to improve, a restless desire and approach to school improvement.

School Colours

Colours are awarded to children who represent the school at a National or International level. They are also awarded to those who personify in an exemplary fashionable n the school values. Earlier this week, Miss Vari did just this when providing first aid to someone at a bus stop who was suffering with a seizure. She helped the lady into the recovery position and then stayed with her until the paramedics arrived. Such compassion (let alone calm thinking) needs recognition and celebration. On behalf of the school I (it was actually her fellow school colour awardees) was delighted to present Edina with her colours in recognition of her kindness and compassion. Thoroughly deserved.

Social Media

#confidentcurioushappy

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

Communication

With a myriad of possible methods to communicate with everyone, we are acutely aware of demands on family life and long days versus the desire to build and foster the very best relationships with you all. Therefore personal conversations are best wherever possible, with the ‘open door’ philosophy very much embedded in school life. The Deerstalker is published each week and will (from next week) contain details and summaries of the week from each class teacher (including the now infamous Papps penmanship) as well as key dates and additional information for the coming week.

We do keep the website up to date with events as well as the critical Showbie from Year 1 to Year 6 and Tapestry for our Early Years classes.

Both systems, whilst excellent, do require a little explanation if you are unfamiliar with the systems. As such, we are holding two workshops to help with becoming more familiar with the systems - 16th September for Showbie (8.40am-9.30am) and on the 17th September for Tapestry (8.40am-9.30am).

We do also use social media to provide additional stories and events from the week. Twitter and Instagram are regularly updated.

We are keen to operate a proactive approach in order to resolve any queries quickly. Should you ever have any queries or questions please raise them with us immediately so can can resolve them without delay.

Uniform

I was very impressed with just how smart our children looked this morning, in addition to their broad smiles as they entered school. I would like to remind you that girls in Prep School should now be wearing the pink and white striped blouse and that the white blouse is no longer part of our uniform.

Games lessons for children in Reception to Year 6 will start next week at KGS Ditton Field, although the forecast looks to be good, will need maroon football socks and football boots for the term. The full uniform list can be found here.

We do also recognise that the black games shorts can be a little large for children in Reception who are joining us for our regular games lessons at the impressive Kingston Grammar School playing fields. Should you find this to be the case, they are very welcome to wear a plain black pair of shorts until such time they are able to fit the school shorts.

Birthdays & Certificates

Hearty congratulations to all of you celebrating your birthday in the coming week-

Congratulations to our certificate holders this week.

Images from the week

Created By
Park Hill
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond