Join our Headteacher for a Walk and Talk through Morden Hall Park to ask questions, share ideas and find out more about education in Birch Class.
Friday 6th October
Parent Workshop: The Importance of Imaginative and Creative Play
Sarah Thorne will be hosting this workshop in person in our Hall. Minutes will also be taken for any parents wishing to attend but unable to do so.
Welcome from our Headteacher
This week is all about the run up to Friday, the Autumn Equinox, when celebration of group achievements and convivial eating are big ideas.
Faced with the knowledge that summer is now definitely receding, we seek solace in community and feasting. This strength of community, of home families and school class families is what gives us the courage to face the darker days of winter ahead. The uneasy feeling that there may be a monster under the bed tends to be quicker to arrive in darker evenings, for all of us, whatever our ages. That’s why coming together to talk honestly in our communities about the challenges we face and sitting down together to celebrate what we have achieved is so important at this time.
On Friday, we will achieve cooking delicious soup and bread; everyone in our community is welcome to come, bringing their own bowl, to share this from 12.15 that day. As fun as the sharing will be the making, so a big thank you in advance to all children who will be chopping vegetables from Thursday, and to all events committee members and helpers planning to come into school from 11.45 to finish off the soup and coordinate the safe distribution to us all.
Meanwhile, and rightly so, all members of our community – families, teachers and children – will have been discussing how they sit down to eat every day at school, the timing and the routine. Thank you to all parents and carers who filled in our survey from last week. The feedback from our questions on lunch timing was inconclusive. Many teachers feel strongly that lunch should gain a stronger focus as a time to sit together for a minimum of half an hour to eat. We are now looking at small adjustments across the day’s existing timetable to make that possible, and we are planning a trial from next week. We will keep you informed as we would appreciate your feedback regarding any change you see in the use of lunchboxes by children.
Very best wishes,
Announcements, Reminders and Important Information
Updated Autumn Calendar:
Please find our updated Autumn Calendar attached below with slight amendments made, including Chestnut and Oak’s Wimbledon BookFest Trip and Chatsworth’s Football Tournament.
TLAS Postcard Competition:
Do your children love arts and craft? Enjoy painting or drawing at home? Well, we are launching this year’s TLAS Postcard Competition.
We are seeking colourful, original children’s designs of our beautiful school and surroundings to turn into our very own postcards. We’d love to see your creations. Everyone is welcome to enter from Little Acorns, Kindergarten and the Junior School.
Please hand your design into the School Office (A6 size is ideal, but can be scaled down if need be).
The closing date is Friday 20th October. Let’s get creative!
This week, as we celebrate Harvest Time at school, it is easy to believe that there is an abundance of food for everyone. However, we all know that with the cost-of-living crisis, more and more families are using foodbanks in our local area. Therefore, this week, we would like to support The Trussell Trust by collecting food donations from our school community. There will be a collection box outside the school’s front door at drop-off and pick-up times. Please only donate non-perishable goods.
Growing and Outdoor Spaces:
The school has a number of growing spaces that we would like to use for class projects throughout the school, from Kindergarten to our oldest classes Chestnut and Oak. We are also exploring how we can optimise our back garden outdoor space for more play activities.
To make the most of these spaces we will need help from across the community, from weeding parties and woodchip path laying in our Grow Space by the NT overflow carpark, to building items for outdoor play in the back garden.
We are trying to get some community groups together. If you feel that you have anything to contribute (plants/resources/time/expertise) to our Growing and Outdoor Spaces please let Sarah know firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Friday, the children were delighted to start playing recorders and flutes with Merton Music Foundation. For parents of Chestnut and Oak children, here are a few notes from their flute teacher to help with practising at home.
Bokkie Sports Half Term Camp:
It is getting closer to our Harvest Festival. The pumpkin seeds that the now Willow Class children planted in spring have grown very well and produced many fruits. On Friday, Willow children and Kinde children went to the allotment hand in hand to harvest the pumpkins. We were also delighted to welcome Willow Class coming into the Kindergarten rooms to do Rhythmic Maths on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The big ones helped their younger friends learning to count and the little ones shared new songs with Willow Class. They have missed each other and were so happy to share some time together!
As well as preparing for our Harvest Festival, the preparation for our annual Lantern Walk is underway. This week, children oiled their paintings so they can be made into lanterns in the following weeks. We have experienced some really windy days. On these days, we explored the meadow and picked rose hips grown at the edge of the meadow. The dancing leaves and fiery colour of rose hips were telling us, “Autumn is here!”
Junior School News
Last week, not only were Willow Class very excited to harvest their pumpkins that they had planted in Kindergarten in the spring (please see Kindergarten News), but they have also made great strides with their classification of animals in Science, their counting and ordering in Maths, and their handwriting and storytelling in English. It is wonderful to see how well this class is settling into Junior School life.
Birch Class have been hands-on with their learning: from sewing needle cases in Art & Crafts, to learning the recorder in Music, to comparing Nutritional Information tables on crisp packets in Science – it’s been a wide-ranging learning week.
For the last few weeks, Chestnut Class have been finding the key to unlock their poetic creativity. The result is that they have written deeply personal and exquisitely beautiful poems for the Young Writers ‘This Is Me’ Poetry Competition. They look forward to sharing these in person with their families (as opposed to in our public newsletter).
Oak Class have also been creative narratives as they explore the life of Gilliat Hatfield during World War One and how Morden Hall would have been used as a convalescence hospital. This local storytelling seeks to make history resonate with our students rather than just learning a set of dates.
Woodland Craft News
The students did their first leaf rubbings, getting bolder with colours as they progressed. Everyone made something they were happy with. There was more boat building for the stream, and in reflection time we had some great expressions of delight at the wondrous shapes of the tall trees, ‘look at that one – how did it grow like that? We also played coo-whit (a forest school hide and seek game) and this elicited more useful thoughts about safety and care for each other.
The winds were too high for us to be in the woods – but we enjoyed being in the meadow and wood edges, gathering hips and haws as we walked along, nearly 500g towards an autumn preserve. We re-visited the story of The name of the Tree, and played games: played Sleeping Bears and Fire and Ice. Some students also made some woodland jewellery with string and beads.
Chestnut and Oak Class
Sadly we could not even get outside as winds were 40 mph and there was a forecast of heavy rain, while not everyone had their wet weather kit quite ready yet.
Luckily we all enjoyed playing 20 questions, or ‘who am I ?’with fox, badger, grasshopper, lizard, newt, mosquito labels and more. Organising the fauna in groupings, we discussed classifications of fauna and why we classify at all. Everyone made a dragonfly with sycamore seed wings. Later we practised our birdsong recognition, and discussed animal intelligence. We look forward so much to being outdoors on 27th September!
Karin is teaching the children how to identify birdsong. If you would like to extend this into our family time and weekend walks, take a listen to this beginners guide below:
Subject: BBC Radio 3 – Breakfast, Sunday – Martin Handley – Listen and learn: a beginner’s guide to identifying birdsong.