We hope you are all well and keeping safe. School feels a bit like an oasis in a world of change ! That oasis doesn't happen by accident and a big 'thank you' must go to all of the staff for their flexibility, dedication, professionalism and energy, everyday has immense challenges but we overcome them together and the children and you probably don't even notice (well hopefully not). Staff are supervising children almost the entire day (we can't share duties) so lunch/refreshments are often on the 'hoof' as we balance breaktimes/lunchtimes/learning etc. No-one moans or complains and everybody deals with it admirably, energy levels for all are running low and we look forward to half term.
Life is not 'normal' at the moment - changing books, managing everyday and ensuring the children are still learning is a massive challenge. Thank you for your patience and understanding with all of these aspects of school.
It does make the need for independence really important especially after half term, if we need children to get waterproofs on and off for breaktimes/lunchtimes (we don't want to spend our day getting wellies and waterproofs on and off but to make breaktimes/lunchtimes work the children will need them in wet weather). That independence starts with the small things - carry your own book bag to school, be responsible for your lunchbox and coat, helping out with things and raising their awareness (at home that might be a responsibility that is small but significant).
1. Staff illness -
Staff are human beings and get illnesses like everyone else (tummy bugs this week), especially when they are tired. Our normal practice is for me to 'double up' with another class or cover it or we use other staff members (we don't often use supply as we want children to have consistency and familiarity). At the moment we cannot 'mix' staff or children too much so we have to manage the classes carefully and we have to make the 'best of it' - we don't inform you if classes have other adults as they will be school staff anyway.
2. NSPCC -
Every two years the NSPCC come and work with all of the children focussing on safety. Under the current climate they cannot work directly with school but have an on-line resource hosted by Ant and Dec !
During the week of November 9th every class will engage with an age appropriate presentation about safety and well being, they will then have follow up work with their teachers. We also raise money for the NSPCC so we will invite you to make a donation for this worthwhile charity (we won't hold a sponsored event but the children will be undertaking some challenges at forest school).
3. Forest school/using the outdoors -
Leaf challenge - at school lots of children have been involved in a 100 leaf challenge. Find 100 leaves that are on the floor (different types, shapes and colours) then use them to create a piece of artwork based on colour, shape and using space (it is not a picture). The attached picture gives inspiration from a professional artist.
Parachute - a 'massive thank you' to our very kind parent who assisted by putting our parachute up at forest school. Not just a Sunday afternoon but an evening doing it for us. You know who you are and we are really thankful.
Comet's Meadow - we have had lots of offers of help from labour to groundworks. Keep the offers coming as we will take all the details then engage all the help when we have the materials etc. We need help applying for grants, securing donations and seeing if we can get a polytunnel/raised beds (or the wood) and soil. Any assistance would be greatly received - please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @MadleyPrimarySch - this is the most 'up to date' and fastest way to see what we are doing. Have a look at some of the forest school experiences children have had recently.
4. Break and lunchtimes =
'Mud and knees' - there is no reason why children should be coming out of school covered in mud. They are told very clearly to stay on their feet and not to dive on the floor. We are doing a daily knee check and we expect children who use the field to behave properly (the very occasional 'accidental fall over' is expected. We only put waterproofs on when the weather is wet or we would spend our day putting them on and off !
We don't buy into the 'boys will be boys' thinking as all children have the same expected of them and there is no 'slack' in our high expectations.
Children should only have plain studs in their ears and no other jewellery. They may wear a watch but if it gets lost or broken then it is the responsibility of the child/parent. Very rarely do things get 'stolen' but it is often the first excuse for losing something, I wouldn't let them wear a watch as we have plenty of clocks around school to tell the time.
We don't allow any make up or nail varnish.
Have a good rest of the week