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PARK HILL PREPARATORY SCHOOL THE DEERSTALKER ISSUE 136 - 23rd april 2021

From the Headmaster:

First bake sale since? Well, I am not quite sure, but certainly the most generously and deliciously supplied in my memory. A most generous £232 was raised with your support, Miss Gardner is thinking bat boxes, weather stations and more bug hotels!

A busy day as we hosted the annual ILG Computing Conference. A superb day, sharing and collaborating with colleagues from our 14 sister schools, with every member of the team involved in sharing/showing off what our children can do.

Year 2 and Year 3 Camp out to look forward to next week, I do hope that the weather stays good for us and that everyone is looking forward to it as much as we are. How fortunate we are to be in a position to provide this opportunity.

After a busy week and a day fo talking tech, I shall allow the images to do the talking this week, don't be afraid to ask your children about their shadow photographs and enjoy the sunshine as you create your own.

Alistair

Eco Schools Green Flag Award

After a great deal of perseverance and resilience I am delighted, not just for the children and school, but as much for Miss Gardner who has led a culture shift across the school over the last three years for being awarded the highest Eco-Schools Award of Green Flag. This recognises the full host of environmental and ecological steps we have taken as a school in changing our behaviour with such things as single use plastic and food waste.

Hearty congratulations, a great achievement.

Assembly

A highly competitive but enjoyable inter house spelling bee took us on a journey around the school this week. A whole host of words and sounds that were challenging to pronounce let alone spell!

The results? Hearty congratulations to St George's!

Recorder Club

On Thursday mornings any children who are keen to learn to play the recorder are welcome to join Mr Sims where he will be running a recorder club.

The club will start at 7.45am and run through to 8.15am.

To keep inline with COVID-19 guildlines, we will hold the club in one of our new outdoor learning areas unless the temperature drops to an uncomfortable level then we will move into the large and well ventilated space in the dining hall.

We have a class set of recorders which can be assigned to an individual student for their first few lessons, including the child being able to take the recorder home to practice. After these initial lessons, if the child has enjoyed learning the recorder and wishes to continue then we would appreciate it if they could then purchase their own recorder, Amazon sell these from around £5.00. At the end of each lesson all of the recorders, including those who are owned by the the individual child will be appropriately washed and sterilised and ready for them to take home.

If you have any questions or would like to enquire about a place, please email Mr Sims via - Matthew.Sims@parkhillschool.com

Year 6

This week, Year 6 have been continuing with their work on ‘The infinite lives of Maisie Day’ and are, quite literally, screaming to know what happens next. Weird realities, strange occurrences, and a split narrative have made this book by far the hardest to follow, but all of Year 6 have really engaged with the book.

They are now writing a split narrative story of their own and focusing on the key differences between them; the opposites and parallels they can draw. Planning is well underway.

Maths was the topics of factors, and multiplication, revising these through games and challenges.

A new podcast is also coming in the form of our science topic: light. Scripts written and most recorded, I look forward to introducing it to you next week.

Finally, with so many things going on I was amazed at the preparation made by members of my classes digital leaders for our computing conference today. Some prepared speeches, others diagrams of how things could be completed, and one even created a brilliant depiction of how to use each part of an application. Brilliant work.

Year 5

In mathematics this week, Year 5 children have been extending their knowledge of calculating the probability of different events. This has built on from last week by using more complicated sample spaces along with more variables for the children to factor into their calculations.

We have had great fun in humanities lessons, our studies of the United States of America took us on an exciting Challenge to find the answers to some fun and exciting questions. Following their research, the children are now aspiring to have play dates at Mount Rushmore, future birthday parties are being hosted in the bowling alley of the White House and our next PE lesson will be white water rafting in the Grand Canyon.

Using your knowledge of the USA, which places would you choose as answers to these questions?

Year 4

It was a formal occasion this week as pupils began writing official Royal Court letters on behalf of King Henry VIII, Anne of Cleves and her courtiers relating to the fourth marriage of the King and his German bride. The latter was described as having an equine appearance by her new (brief) husband; how charming?

Of course, the culprit for this event happening was the complimentary painting style of Hans Holbein (the Younger) whose portraits continue to inspire Year 4 as they also created their self-portraits in Tudor attire. The Lapis Lazuli is ready for next week.

Our explorations in Fractions, brought us to a successful discovery of pyramid structures where adding, subtracting and find equivalent fractions led us to the understanding that the denominators should always be the same before you attempt any such problems.

For our Religious Studies we researched the different books that make up the Bible; both Old and New Testaments. My favourite book naturally was Joel, but there are 66 to choose from. We are now attempting to interpret Bible stories into modern contexts.

The week concluded with successful shoe making in STEAM where pupils created fancy boots and sandals using cardboard, paper and an array of types of sticky tapes. We look forward to ‘stepping out’ next week on the right foot...or left.

Mr Papps.

Year 3

Year 3 have been learning how negative numbers work, using the lift analogy and a thermometer.

They manipulated numbers, adding and taking away, learning how to count across zero.

In Art we enjoyed learning how Romans decorated their homes using mosaics and then created our own versions.

Adventure school was much fun as we learnt how to trick our shadows! Can you work out how it was done?

Year 2

This week Year 2 have been exploring the world of renewable energy.

We have looked at solar, wind and tidal power, delving into how energy is made from these and using what natural resources. It has been fascinating to see the children come up with what they think will happen to the way we make our energy in the future and how different cars and buildings might look in many years to come.

In Maths we have been working hard to review time, specifically working on adding and subtracting 5 and 10 minutes from different times.

With this being our first Science lesson of the term we started a new topic on plants, with us next week carrying out our own experiments when planting seeds and also going into detail about different parts of the plant in our upcoming lessons.

Next week we are looking forward to going offsite with Year 1, to do a nature and litter audit along the river side and also our very exciting camp out on Thursday.

Year 1

In Humanities this week we discovered which animals live in the 5 oceans. We rea searched using Kidd,e and compiled our results into an animated image using ChatterPix.

We have had a particularly strong focus on environmental awareness this week writing Earth pledges and looking at our wonderful world from a different perspective.

On Friday we became Soaperheroes learning about microbes, and hand washing as well as how to sanitise properly.

We learnt about plastic pollution and created posters and informational videos to teach others about the plastic issue.

Did you know you could cut down on single use plastic.by changing from teabags to loose tea and not adding cheap plastic toys to party bags.

Reception

Reception have been incredibly busy this week. In Maths we learnt all about how to count in twos using the skip counting technique. The children found counting in pairs difficult but they all managed to master it by the end of the lesson and are now able to identify when we are counting in twos.

We have been exploring recycling this week and we have been working in our whole class floor book to show our ideas on this topic. The children were all incredibly interested in the idea that we need to reuse and recycle to save the animals in the sea from dying. We saved the animals from the rubbish in the water tray and told stories to each other about the animals in danger.

Well done to the whole class during the spelling bee, they got all of reception’s spellings right and even got some bonus points by attempting some of the Year One spellings.

Finally on Friday we reused our old socks to make our own sock animals and many of the children named them, we had everything from “cloudy” to “Godzilla”. There was a lot of imagination as they created their animals.

Second Steps

We have been making the most of the great weather we have had this week and been outdoor learning a lot more than usual.

We have been sorting floating and sinking blocks in the water. Creating cloud dough and feeling the difference in textures from normal play dough.

The children have been learning about St George and the Dragon for St George’s Day and creating their own fire breathing dragons.

For Earth day we sprinkled wild flower seeds in the flower beds around the garden to help feed the butterflies and bumble bees. We will be watering them regularly and checking on their progress.

This term we will be learning all about ourselves. Our feelings and emotions, our bodies, inside and out and self care.

We started this week by talking about different emotions and how it feels if our friends are unkind to us and how we can help our friends if we see they are upset. The children were good at recognising different emotions and offering different ways to make their friends happy. During the week we have seen and heard how nicely the children have been talking to each other, asking for a turn or offering to help their friends.

First Steps

What a busy week we have had in First Steps! We started our week reading the story Little Red Riding Hood. The children loved the story tray and retold the story again and again using the props.

We played sound bingo game in our phonics session which helped children in Spelling Bee competition. The children also enjoyed guessing sound games including animals and environmental sounds!

Our circle table turned into a recycling centre this week and we decorated all the boxes and bottles which they brought in. Some boxes turned into a frame or a toy box, and bottles to vase or piggy banks. The children loved the activity and they developed good understanding of recycling. We discussed how we can save our earth and how recycling helps. The children shared their inspiring ideas while painting our Earth picture.

This week we have been looking at mixing colours one activity the children really enjoyed was using the Sphero balls to mix colours and create new ones. They used an app on the iPad to control and direct the ball enabling it to move around the tray and mix the colours. We used watery paint and pippets in a big tray to watch colours mix too the children all shared and waited for their turn excellently. We all enjoyed getting a bit messy, the children used their fingers and hands to mix 7 colours and make their own pictures.

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 June - 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 may 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
Appreciate

Credits:

Alistair Bond