Chestnut and Oak children will be taking part in 8billionideas entrepreneurship programme this year that will culminate in a presentation in the summer amongst all the Chatsworth Schools. This year, our focus is the project Green My City.
Thursday 25th January
Junior Citizen Day
Oak children will be spending the morning at Junior Citizen Day: a multi-agency safety event aimed at Year 6 pupils, designed to provide pupils with life skills that will enable them to keep themselves and others safe.
A parental consent form has been sent.
Friday 26th January
Parent Workshop ‘Working with the Nervous System
of your Child’
Join Headteacher, Sarah Thorne, and parent and pyschotherapist, Catherine Counihan, for an expert talk on working with the nervous system of your child. Please see below for more details.
Please book your space here: https://forms.office.com/e/cgQUAS9cDb
Wednesday 31st January
Imbolc Festival – Juniors and Kindergarten
This is a hopeful time of year when we look for signs of new life emerging from the cold, dark winter. Karin Jashapara, our Woodland Craft Teacher, will be leading us through an outdoor festival, sharing the ice sculptures that have been made by the children and looking forward to the spring.
Friday 2nd February
For prospective parents, a chance to drop into The London Acorn School and come and see what education can be like in a primary school setting
Welcome from our Headteacher
Welcome to the start of a busy week, full of indoor and outdoor activities as usual. This reminds me that in the early years of our school, we were lucky to have a visit from Helle Heckman, who developed the remarkable Nokken outdoor kindergarten programme. She delivered a wonderful parent workshop for us, with plenty of tips on how to put natural parenting into action, as part of a world tour to promote her book ‘Five Golden Keys’ . Helle’s keys are sleep, movement, nutrition, rhythm and love.
When it comes to movement, Helle places a deep emphasis on walking, whatever the weather. In Denmark, they have a saying that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. This chimes with our intentions at school, to get the children moving outside as much as possible, onto the park as well as the playground, not only for kindergarten but also for juniors. We stand with Helle’s view that movement is key for children feeling settled, so we seek to facilitate it wherever possible.
Sometimes, especially in winter, we are prevented from walking freely outside with juniors because not all the children have the right equipment in school every day. This week we will be carrying out equipment checks, making sure that every child has waterproof tops and trousers, plus marked wellies that come to the knee. Our parent reps have fed back that you agree with us that junior children should regularly change to waterproofs for muddy breaks, and it is not possible to make a fair request to all until everyone has waterproofs on hand. Please note that we cannot take responsibility for loss or damage to clothing that your child brings to school; to minimise the chances of this, please ensure all items (including boots) are labelled or marked with laundry marker pen and that really special items are kept for weekend wear. This week we will mark any unmarked boots that children recognise, and unclaimed items in the boot room will be discarded.
Best wishes for a great week,
P.S.: If you are feeling sad that you did not get to see Helle’s workshop talk on movement (and the other keys), help is at hand. Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School filmed her workshop, in six videos. All videos, including the one on movement, are available on their youtube channel here: Helle Heckman workshop on movement. Meanwhile, here at Morden Cottage this Friday, we are delighted to host a parent workshop on working with your child’s nervous system with Cath Counihan, who has many years of expertise in this area (see details below). I am sure that Cath too will have lots to say on movement. Her workshop is free and welcome to all.
Announcements, Reminders and Important Information
CHESTNUT/OAK MATERIALS APPEAL:
On Wednesday morning Chestnut and Oak will be working with the 8billionideas Green My City Challenge. Chatsworth Schools have arranged for the 8Billionideas team to come in and deliver our older children a sustainability challenge and this will need items for recycling. If you have any of the following at home please bring them in and pop them in the container outside our entrance door: paper, cardboard, boxes, plastic bottles.
FREE PARENT WORKSHOP: WORKING WITH THE NERVOUS SYSTEM OF YOUR CHILD
Friday 26th January, 11:30am – expert talk from parent and therapist Catherine Counihan
Please book your space here: https://forms.office.com/e/cgQUAS9cDb
After the workshop the participants will:
Understand what the Window of Tolerance is and why it matters
Have an understanding of their children’s (and their own) nervous systems and why this is important in parenting
Understand that connection with themselves is key to their parenting and why this is complex
Understand more about regulation and why this is crucial for being able to make choices (as opposed to habitual stress responses)
Have a basic understanding of Polyvagal Theory and how this is useful and parenting and life
Understand a bit about generational trauma and why self compassion is key to shifting generational patterns
Cath is a trauma therapist specialising in the intersection of our own childhood’s and our parenting with a focus on nervous system healing, anxiety, perfectionism, rage, people pleasing, inner child work, reparenting and other issues related to not getting our needs met in childhood. She is a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist with more than a decade of clinical experience and a previous career in financial services.
UPDATE PERSONAL DETAILS
If you have moved house recently, changed your mobile number or email address, it is most important that you let the office know for emergencies and communications. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for any changes. Thank you.
SCHOOL’S GROWING SPACES
We are now sorting out our school allotment grow-spaces for the year ahead. The first challenge will be a clean up of our school allotment grow beds and pathways. If you would like to be involved, have a chat with Bianca Albernaz. She has kindly agreed to consult with the parent community on the most convenient time to get together to do this. All community minded gardeners, from the more experienced to those just starting out will be welcome to join us – watch this space 🙂
JUNIOR SWIMMING DATES FOR SUMMER 2024
We are swimming again this year! To aid childcare arrangements, please find the dates for our Junior 2 week Intensive Swimming Programme: week commencing Monday 13th May and week commencing Monday 20th May (not including Fridays).
UPDATED SPRING TERM CALENDAR 2024:
Please find an updated Spring Calendar attached at the end of this newsletter with extra events included.
BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 2024:
This weekend, take part in the UK’s Big Garden Birdwatch with your children. A great way to slow down, notice and be present in nature: Big Garden Birdwatch (rspb.org.uk)
26th – 28th January – just one hour, and then submit your record of the birds you saw. The site includes lots of good suggestions for attracting and keeping birds happy and healthy in your garden or on windowsills.
Jack frost has visited Morden Hall Park. Everyday during our daily walk, we traced the places where he has been busy sprinkling his silvery powders. We observed the way ducks move their legs under the water, noticed gingko nut shells around the tree, and surprised to see some brave snowdrops and daffodils popping out. Before our morning circle, we have extended warming up session to prepare us for the day. We discussed the importance of drinking water even when we feel not as thirsty in cold weather. We also talked about many different ways that can keep us warm.
Written numbers up to 10 are introduced. We had fun matching the right amounts of beans with the numbers and tried to tell which ones are odd and even numbers. In preparation for the approaching of Candlemas/Imbolc, children decorated candles with colourful beeswax. Older kinde children worked on the sticks for the hobby horse project. Many children can recall part of our story when watching the puppet show and even said the lines for their roles when re-enacting the story! We have seen busy families, shopkeepers, travellers, castle guards…etc. during indoor play time. A day in the kindergarten is never boring!
Junior School News
Willow Class are exploring more of the mathematical kingdom, Mathema. Emperor Equals has taught traders to be fair with his scales, and now Tommy Times is cartwheeling around making more! It is wonderful to see the children taking pride in their maths work as they learn more of the four processes. n English, they are starting to edit their work for the first time and persevere with a piece of writing that takes several days. We look forward to showing you soon!
Birch Class are delving deeper into Scotland: drawing detailed maps and writing adventure stories of mountaineers, as well as learning about the Loch Ness Monster.
Chestnut and Oak Class have been learning about rivers and the water cycle. They have been making simple models of a hillside and valley. In Woodwork, they have started to make bases for their dioramas, which will later be computerised for special effects.
Woodland Craft News
This was an afternoon for re-connecting with much loved spaces. A fresh roof for the favourite den was woven. There was sawing, peeling, binding and tying of sticks to make wands or an ‘anything stick’. Leaves and sticks were thrown in the fast-flowing stream, and other sticks fished out : very inviting for Vidhaan who was welcomed this week. One child liked the success of their den enough to want to build something really big, making me wonder if architectural thinking is facilitated by the tall trees and varied shapes. I suggested we make a big ‘lavvu’ teepee den in readiness for a visiting dragon, to which one promptly rejoined ‘we could make a dragon!’ – twisty plane tree branches are being sourced for this! Also a lovely wind chime appeared and a request for more songs to accompany it.
The child-led planning and learning is going well this term. We started with a game of Coo-whit, as agreed, and that got the children running and hiding in the wintery woods. Then projects began – like weaving a birch-twig cushion, or a string -fish, finger knitting or practising tying a bow – a good first ‘quick release’ knot to learn. A little party sat by the stream, peacefully observing and chatting about nature as they sipped tea. Overall, deeply harmonious yet lively.
Wisely this group had opted for a fire in the Kitchen Garden (allotment) this week, as it was overcast. There, we had a few crafts on offer, and the students took responsibility for the fire space very well, feeding it, and toasting apple and banana pieces dipped in cinnamon sugar. They did a good first run-through of the Brigid story script in preparation for the Imbolc school gathering on 31st February, and had a lot of fun playing their own imaginative games.