Twelve of our Prep students were invited to attend a lunchtime concert given by the Open University choir on Thursday this week.
The programme included a specially commissioned piece to commemorate Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday – A New Kind of Urban. The composer, Liz Lane, and the lyricist, Judi Moore were at the concert along with Mayor of Milton Keynes.
There were also some much older pieces in the programme, including a piece by Monteverdi who would be celebrating his 450th birthday this year.
The children enjoyed the concert and wanted to share their thoughts:
‘It was a privilege to go to the Open University because the music was inspiring.’ (Maya)
‘The brass was very good and had loud and soft parts.’ (Rohit)
‘The Open University made a brass ensemble and a choir to celebrate 50 years of Milton Keynes, it was very good.’ (Henry)
‘I found it really interesting to listen to a piece about where I live.’ (Damilola)
‘I really enjoyed the older piece by Monteverdi.’ (Alexander)
‘The brass instruments were awesome’ (Emily)
‘I liked the world premiere of ‘A New Kind of Urban’ because the music took you on a journey through MK.’ (Emily)
‘I loved the brass section and the choir, don’t forget the organ!’ (Carolina)
‘My favourite parts were the trombones and the drums.’ (Ryan)
The Palace was very grand, we split into two groups, with Middle Prep in one and Senior Prep in another. My group (Middle Prep), learned about public speaking and about Sir Winston Churchill.
In public speaking we learned:
- Facial expressions
- How to captivate your audience
- Look at all the people not just one person because the other people will get bored
- Do not bore the audience!
The tour of the palace:
- We saw the room where Churchill was born on 30th November 1874.
- He died on 24th January 1965 in Kensington, London.
- We saw the room where they would have Christmas dinner and other dinners
- We saw the green drawing room which was very green and beautiful. There are a lot of gigantic paintings in the room.
- We went into the Long library where there was a statue of Queen Anne.
Then we had lunch in the Indian room. The walls were painted with pictures of Indians dressed in old fashioned clothes.
We also visited the Secret Garden which was amazing, there were lots of plants and there was a gazebo where it was very dark. There were a lot of small ponds and streams and a lot of ways round to get to the gazebo. There was a bridge and a pond going into a stream under the bridge.
By Jaina Kavia
(Sycamore Class - Age 9)
Acacia and Pine had a good trip to Cambridge's Fitzwilliam gallery to see an exhibition by the French Impressionist artist Degas. The children carried out a series of drawing and creative imaging exercises with string in the exhibition area. This was followed by a monotype drawing workshop using the same process as Degas with the specialist museum staff, which really caught the children's interest and imagination. After lunch the children carried on to sketch the middle eastern and traditional English ceramics ware ready for later work next year.
Sycamore had an exciting visit to "The Higgins" museum and gallery in Bedford, looking at lino-print work by Edward Bawden, (one of Englands top artists of the pre and post second world war period), where some excellent research sketching took was done by the children. This was followed by a very good print workshop in a studio at the gallery with some variations on block printing and layered printing methods resulting in striking prints from the children.
The children arrived at school bright and early last Thursday and we made our way over to Oxford. In the Pitt Rivers Museum, the children were able to explore the anthropological artefacts and saw some interesting items ranging from Ancient Egyptian mummies to shrunken heads and model boats. After lunch, we attended a workshop in the Natural History Museum. In a room surrounded by incredible fossils and preserved creatures from the natural world, the children learned about how different aspects of dinosaur fossils reveal how they lived. The workshop was very engaging and really emphasised how important it is to ask questions and use all five senses, to be a successful scientist. The children enjoyed handling delicate and fascinating fossils and were even invited to have a sniff of some fossilised poo! The children benefitted from the interactive nature of the workshop and saw some amazing exhibits, on the trip. All in all, a successful day out.
This term Cedar and Birch classes travelled back in time by visiting a very special home in Stratford Upon Avon: Williams Shakespeare's birthplace. As part of their Famous People topic, the children attended a varied workshop in which they experienced first hand what William's life would have been like. They created a beautifully crafted version of a horn book which Shakespeare would have used to learn Latin in school. They practised Elizabethan handwriting by using ink made with egg and used a quill to create their own names in the style of Queen Elizabeth's I signature. You could not hear a pin drop such was the level of concentration! They explored the social class divide of the era by sorting objects used by the poor and rich. Finally they all dressed up in the characters of Shakespeare's plays and fantastic looking donkeys were galloping around the large room alongside Cleopatra and Macbeth. The children thoroughly enjoyed the first hand historical experience these activities provided.
In the afternoon a tour of Shakespeare's house took place and as our children moved from room to room a general feeling of excitement began to emerge as in the words of one of our children..." I'm walking on the same stone floor as William did!" The house has been restored to its original characteristics and it was an incredible experience to view the authenticity of some of the furniture and objects replicas. The tour naturally took us into the garden where we joined a group of actors and took part in one of the plays they were performing. It truly was an amazing experience and all of our children were part of the cast from being a ferocious lion to representing a wall!
The day came to an end in the late part of an unusually warm afternoon with the children talking about this amazing historical trip all the way back home.
On Tuesday 3rd October, Juniper travelled to London to visit the Natural History Museum. They were accompanied by Mr Pendry and Mrs Howes and had the opportunity to build on information learned in both Science and Geography.
When we arrived we took the opportunity to admire the new display in the main hall of a blue whale skeleton, which has replaced the touring diplodocus that has stood there for so long. We followed this with a visit to the human biology section where the children were able to review topics such as muscles and bones, cells, eyes and how the senses work.
The children then had the opportunity to choose their next two locations and so we went to the earthquakes and volcanoes centre, where they experienced what it was like to be in a supermarket during the Kobe earthquake. We followed this with a visit to the giant sequoia tree on the top floor. Whilst it was only a slice of the giant tree, we were all stunned by the size and age of this colossal plant!
We then enjoyed lunch before visiting the hall of mammals and finally a trip through the dinosaur exhibit, highlighted by a face to face encounter with a full size, animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex.
The children enjoyed the day out and were great ambassadors for the school.
Upon our arrival at the Living Rainforest we were greeted by, very experienced and friendly, staff who escorted us to the glass houses. Inside, we saw a wonderful variety of animals, fishes, reptiles and birds who are native to the worlds’ rainforest areas. The interior space was very warm and was filled with fantastic plants, trees and flowering bushes. Larch and Rowan children were so excited, their cries of delight were lovely to hear; especially when they saw toucans, monkeys, snakes, lizards and lots of other beautiful animals. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and made our visit lively and exciting with all children engaged in their activities. The staff were very impressed with our year one’s knowledge and understanding of rainforest species and praised them on the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the rainforest and its animal and plant species! We all felt that the highlight of the day was when the sloth decided to wake up (they sleep for 18 hours per day!) and head down from their canopy to look at us watching her. The children we amazed at her hanging upside down and look at us with equal curiosity. We all had a super day, it was so interesting to see such a vast assortment of rainforest animals first-hand and to hear the children’s excited talk about their day out.
We have had a brilliant first day in Rome! We arrived a little later than scheduled but it didn’t deter us. After checking in at the hotel our collective excitement gave us the energy we needed to get straight into the warm fresh air. We stepped out of the hotel and immediately begin to soak up the sights in Rome. After a walk to the park we treated the pupils and staff to a train ride, though strictly speaking, train is not an accurate description (see photos below!). We have uploaded a selection of photos from our day below, we are looking forward to tomorrow and will update you throughout our week.
We started our day with a continental breakfast at the hotel. We then walked to ‘Archbasilica of St. John Lateran’, the Lateran Basilica is the cathedral church of Rome and therefore houses the cathedra, or ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Pontiff (Pope). It is the oldest of and has precedence among the four papal major basilicas all of which are in Rome. Because it is the oldest church in the West and houses the cathedra of the Roman Pontiff it has the title of ecumenical mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful. We then walked to the church of the Santissimo nome di Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuit order. Our visit to the Trevi Fountain followed. This was a popular area but not too busy for us to soak up the atmosphere and noise of the fountain. Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. We also visited the Pantheon today, at more than 1,800 years old it is a phenomenal site to see. Our last visit of the day was to Piazza Navona, the children had a great time here to finish the day off. We walked back to the hotel and settled in a local restaurant before heading to bed.
The day began with a walk to Piazza Barberini to see the Triton Fountain. The heraldic symbols of Pope Urban VIII are clearly visible on Bernini’s sculpture. From here we walked to Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the very top of the Spanish Steps (Scalinata). Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe, it connects Piazza Trinita dei Monti with Piazza di Spagna at the base. When we reached the bottom the view back up the steps to the church of Trinita dei Monti was amazing. We paused for smoothies in a small shaded café overlooking Roman ruins before walking on to Barracco Museum where we saw some very old artefacts. We stopped for our lunch in Campo De Fiori before our visit to see La Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth). We managed to pause for gelato overlooking The Colosseum of Rome before our last visit of the day to Basilica San Clemente, photos were limited in here but the ceiling was an incredible sight. We took a refreshing walk back towards our hotel for dinner before bed.
The Colosseum, what a sight! We timed our visit perfectly and were able to gain access without too much of a wait. Outside alone it is an awe inspiring building, inside it is spectacular. We went up to the upper level first to experience the view before working our way down to the lower levels. After we left The Colosseum, we went to see the Arch of Constantine on route to The Forum where we walked through the incredible ruins. The children are now packing their bags and enjoying some downtime at the hotel before their dinner.
Hawthorn and Poplar enjoyed their first trip of the year, to the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames. Learning about our current reading book for the year group, The Wind in the Willows, they were immersed in illustrations and props from the story from the first minute we arrived. They began the day with a smidgeon of acting, pretending to be the proud (and rather loud) Toad of Toad Hall. They were then given a series of tasks to explore: Handling real Victorian artefacts that would have been present in the scenes of the book; deciding which adjectives best described the habitats of the four main characters; discussing and finding examples of the running theme of friendship, in the story and finally, dressing up!
The children walked down to the river and looked at the habitats in which the characters would have dwelled: A meadow for Moley, ‘Cold bath stream’, for the water-vole and Mr Toad and the woodland, for Badger and the dastardly stoats and weasels. They were even introduced to the ‘Willows’ themselves and we all observed a slight wind blowing in them. After lunch, the children were treated to a small gift from the shop and looked around the exhibition area. They were most impressed by the interactive exhibits – especially the scary, wild wood!
All in all, they enjoyed a day of varied activities and learning which kept them well-engaged. Hopefully, this will have enriched their experience of the book and brought it to life, more vividly, in their imaginations.
Walnut & Maple had a wonderful trip to Waddesdon. When we arrived we had a tour of the beautiful gardens and we were lucky enough to be the only visitors so had the whole grounds to ourselves. We had our workshop all about the life cycles of minibeasts and visited the beautiful rose gardens to smell the roses and see which bugs they attracted. We then went to see the amazing birds that live at the manor and we were enthralled by the different types. After lunch we went on an adventure in the woods and followed Alice’s path to the best bug hotel we had ever seen. We had magnifying glasses and looked in all the nooks and crannies to see who was living inside. We then got into groups and designed our own bug habitats. One group added a swimming pool to their bug home with a leaf slide to make sure their residents had lots of fun. In the afternoon we let off some steam in the adventure playground and had a great time on the slides and swings. It was then time to come home. We had a wonderful day exploring the grounds of the manor. I was incredibly proud of how well behaved the children were and said we were a credit to the school.
This term Beech and Holly enjoyed an adventurous trip to Woburn Safari Park. A very shy porcupine and several very hungry otters provided great entertainment and sparked much curiosity in all of our children at the start of the day. It was soon time to meet a few mini beasts in the form of a friendly cockroach, a giant African land snail who seemed a little shy and finally an enormous boa constrictor who looked strangely gentle. The mini beast keeper was most impressed with our children as they could name the parts of an insect.
In the afternoon the children enjoyed a stroll through the Australian enclosure populated by a large colony of wallabies, who appeared very friendly and approached us all with a few effortless hops.
It was soon time for the daily bird show provided by two colourful and graceful macaws from the rainforest, who were very intelligent and performed a 'rubbish race' by collecting small items and placing them in buckets. They were joined by a beautiful white parrot who flew on the restaurant roof and returned after the show had ended!
After a delicious ice cream break, it was time to join a train ride which took us all around the safari park and allowed us to admire beautiful zebras and giraffes.
Finally the minibus safari allowed us all to take a closer look at more wild creatures such as tigers, monkeys and lions. The most entertaining were the black bears, who made us laugh by attempting to climb trees, fall asleep and scratching their backs on the tree trunks.
It was wonderful to see the children's faces when admiring these beautiful creatures and above all the connection they made between the classroom learning and their visit to the Safari Park.