The Foundation children were really fortunate this week to have a visit from Bruno, a beautiful labradoodle, from Pets As Therapy and his owner Julie. We invited Bruno into school to support our topic on animals. The children were able to have some hands on experience with a pet and they were very taken by him. Julie spoke to the children about Bruno and answered all their questions about how to care for him and his likes and dislikes. He loves to eat sausages and he gets them as a treat. We found out that Bruno has two lovely walks a day, both up to an hour. He loves running in dirty puddles and searching in the woods for his ball. He gets so dirty that he needs a shower each morning to wash the mud from his paws and around his beard! We all had a chance to give Bruno a stroke and he was lovely soft. Thank you for coming to visit Bruno.
A small group of pupils from The Grove were invited to the Killer Keys event at Stowe school on Thursday. The day was run by Ben Andrew, the Head of Keyboard studies. The day started with a joint rehearsal with pupils from other schools and some Stowe students. They worked on two pieces that Ben had arranged for piano ensemble. It was an unusual experience hearing 7 pianos being played by 20 pupils at the same time. We were treated to a demonstration of the magnificent pipe organ in the Stowe Chapel by Jonathan Kingston. To get to the organ loft we had to climb the steps going through the instrument, passing some of the nearly 4000 pipes.
After lunch we went to a lunchtime concert in the magnificent state music room. Featuring some of the Stowe musicians playing piano, flute and oboe. Ben then led a masterclass, working through individual pieces with a number of pupils. Emily Garwood played Nocturne in F sharp minor by Fredrik Chopin. This was a truly moving performance in the stunning setting of the State Music room. Gaia Mesonero-Perez played Walt in A by Carl Maria Von Weber. A very confident performance, with great dynamic contrasts. Ben encouraged her to play in a more dance-like manner. This gave the performance a stylistic lift. Damilola Omotosho played Polish Song by Ferdinand Hiller. Ben credited him for preparing the piece well, ready for his forthcoming examination. He worked on projecting the right hand a little more to good effect. The concert for parents included solo performances by some of the students, the ensemble pieces that they worked on during the day, and a very interesting joint improvisation piece that they put together during the day.
A great experience for all involved.
Our Senior Choir felt very excited to be going to Stowe even though unusually they hadn’t had much time to learn the music before going. Instead they, together with the other two choirs that took part, were able to work on the notes during the rehearsals and by the end of the day could confidently sing ‘America’ by Bernstein, ‘Rhythm of Life’ by Coleman as part of a workshop/concert and a three classical choral works that were sung in a simple service of Compline in the Stowe Chapel.
The girls had a wonderful day and were complimented often on the beautiful sound they made as they were asked to sing various parts on their own.
Once again we were looked after so well by the wonderful music department who always seem thrilled to see us and treat us to lots of lunch, tea and snacks! Oh and a stunning concert given by three Stowics; a singer song writer in year 9, a tenor soloist in year 12 and a girl in year 13 who sang a song from a musical. They were outstanding!
I felt very proud of our pupils who seemed to easily cope with the intense rehearsal and who remained so well behaved and full of life throughout this glorious spring day of music making.
On Friday 4th May on a gloriously sunny day the children at The Grove had the opportunity to take part in a non-competitive duathlon hosted by The British Triathlon Trust. Mike Jubb started the day with a whole school assembly and set us the challenge of cycling and running 717 Kilometres as a whole school.
The children in their departments then took it in turns to go over to the field and take part, cycling on static bikes for 1 minute followed by running on a circuit for 1 minute. This went on for 45 minutes!
Other activities were planned at school, the Foundation children made healthy fruit kebabs, and took part in other physical activities outside as well as creating a healthy menu. Pre-Prep designed a sports outfit to wear, talked about healthy teeth, created a new water bottle as well as making a healthy food plate.
In Prep the children took part in various other activities such as food tests, a skills circuit, designing an eat well plate as well as fitness tests.
The children all had a really enjoyable day and managed to beat the 717Km challenge set at the beginning of the day, well done everyone!
Our trip to the ISA music festival was superb. Several independent schools, making up a total of around 200 children, gathered in the Union Chapel, Islington, to undertake a rehearsal and concert comprising of Vivaldi’s Gloria and Quoniam Tu Solus Sanctus, followed by nine songs, set to the poems of Enid Blyton. Both adults and children alike felt privileged to be conducted by the composer himself, Scott Stroman, who’s varied and intricate score had been prepared with children as his intended musicians. The vast choir, the participants of which ranged in age from 7 to 13 years old, was accompanied by a live band. The children were well-engaged from the outset, thanks to Scott’s clarity of explanation, copious offerings of funny moments and opportunities for us to make silly noises!
More important than any recount I could give, is the children’s recollection of the day. They have expressed how wonderful the whole experience was, in the form of ‘thank you’ letters, to Scott and his band.
‘Thank you for helping us to practise our Enid Blyton songs… as well as sharing with us the reason for writing all the songs’
Giovanna Opoku, Yew
‘It was really good to finally meet a real conductor and someone who writes songs. It felt like all of us were one big choir!’
Ewaoluwa Adekanmbi, Yew
‘My favourite song was ‘Bonfire Night’. I liked the way that it was non-stop’
Barnaby Davison, Aspen
‘Thank you Scott, for helping us to sing better. We promise we will use those exercises (pinky promise)!’
Oluwadabira Filani, Aspen
‘I loved all the passion that you taught us how to show when we are singing. It was amazing what we could do with our voices. You’ve taken my singing to the next level. You were very inspiring’
Ifeoluwa Adekanmbi, Aspen
‘I loved how you made everybody laugh and the crazy words too!’
Minnah Elakama, Aspen
‘You not only taught us to sing beautifully but you also showed me that it is not just about how high we sing, but also about the quality when we are singing’
Oyin Omotosho, Yew
‘I thought you and your band were fantastic, brilliant and magical. I was confident in myself and believed in myself and my school choir. I liked working with my school friends, we so wanted to make Mrs Berkin proud’
Toby Coles, Yew
‘My favourite song was ‘Frosty Morning’, it really warms your heart! It made me feel peaceful and happy! I am sure Enid Blyton would be very proud if she could hear us singing, don’t you think? Also, I should probably tell you that you are a great conductor and, most importantly, a funny person! You made us enjoy the festival even more!’
Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio, Yew
So, there we have it, a fantastic day enjoyed by all!
Mrs Hodges and Mrs Ramsay
On Thursday 26th April 2018 we welcomed a member of our Sikh Community who visited us and shared her experience and knowledge of Sikhism.
Larch and Rowan remained engrossed as Tina taught us about her beliefs. We learnt that Sikhism is not just a religion; it is a way of life. Tina shared the message, "Ek Ong Kar," "We are all one," and explained that Sikhs treat others like they would like to be because we all have beating hearts. We have already learnt about Guru Nanak in class, so it was interesting hearing more facts about his teachings. It was very relaxing taking time to listen to peaceful music and relax our minds. One pupil smiled as she explained that she felt like she was floating into Space. Tina brought in lots of beautiful items to share with us and set us challenges to further our learning in our classroom.
Thank you very much to our inspiring speaker!
Acacia and Pine really liked the talk yesterday on Sikhism. They enjoyed refreshing their knowledge from year four when they visited the temple, where they learnt about Sikhs and their way of life. They had the opportunity to ask Tina detailed knowledge and develop their depth of understanding within Religious studies. The students all loved the chance to spend some time meditating and relaxing their minds to consider others in the day ahead and reflect on mistakes so that they can be corrected moving forwards. This visit will help them in their end of unit test in Religious Studies which they really appreciated. They also loved the video on the temples that was shown which gave them a great insight into the daily life of people that follow Sikhism as a religion.
Today, The Grove School welcomed an Islamic Visitor who gave a talk about Islam to Yew and Aspen and Acacia and Pine.
Yew and Aspen were introduced to the concept of Islam with Pilgrimages as a focus. She spoke about the five pillars of Islam, teaching the children the Arabic words for each pillar. The children sat beautifully and were well engaged throughout. There was a Qu’ran ( not sure how to spell this?!), along with prayer beads and prayer mats for the children to look at. The children asked some interesting and probing questions, sparking some super discussion. They were also treated to tasty dates and a very special, personal gift: A copy of their own name, written in Arabic, on gold paper.
Acacia and Pine explored the Holy Book called the Ku'ron and viewed the meaning of some passages linked to forgiveness, bullying and anger. Our children discussed these important topics and explored how the Ku'ron advises Muslim to behave. Through practical tasks involving group work, water and paper everyone gained a deeper understanding of this Holy Book.
Mrs Kenton & Ms Casiraghi
Upon arrival our students went to the orangery for a brief introduction, then Middle Prep went to the Churchill Spencer Room and Senior Prep went to the Marlborough Room for the start of the Public Speaking Competition.
The competition was fierce. Both groups were up against some ‘seasoned’ speakers at Blenheim, who clearly knew what was expected of them and delivered some excellent speeches, which were delivered with confidence and skill.
Findlay Hovell, Iraa Kulkarni and Chloe Cave were all amazing! After a nervous start, they embraced the challenge and delivered a thought-provoking speech to their audience of boys, girls, teachers and other honoured guests including; Lady Henrietta Churchill and Her Grace The 12th Duchess of Marlborough. Findlay, Iraa and Chloe worked well together, each referring to the next speaker by name. Findlay was a super chairperson who introduced the topic exceptionally well. Iraa and Chloe maintained a magnificent posture and held the room in silence as they delivered their speeches with energy and passion.
Our Middle Prep team had some very pleasing feedback from Her Grace and other VIP guests in the audience. During the interval, Mrs Prigmore-Wells, much to her surprise and delight, returned to find Findlay, Iraa and Chloe in close conversation with Her Grace the 12th Duchess of Marlborough. Her Grace was very interested in the children’s experiences on the podium and was both gracious and kind in her manner with our pupils. Three other members of the adult guests came to our groups to congratulate them on their presentation.
Jumeirah Francis, Oluwadamilola Omotosho and Caitlin Hendry were our ambassadors for the Seniors competition. There were nine teams competing in this age category and the standard was exceptional. After listening to some engaging and rousing oratory from several other schools, our Grove children took to the podium. Dami chaired the speech confidently, adding some effective pauses and emphasis for dramatic effect. Caitlin and Jumeirah, similarly, spoke very clearly and with controlled passion.
The team had to navigate some tough questions from the panel of guests and it was heart-warming to see Caitlin come to the aid of Jumeirah, when she was answering a particularly difficult question. It was a valiant effort and the children conveyed their knowledge and understanding of the topic, ‘in a very cool way’ – according to one previous judge, who spoke to us after the event. We all felt that this was a wonderful experience and it was exciting to see so many young people, able to speak with such authority to a room of perfect strangers.
Following the competition there was a formal photograph taken of each school’s team with members of the Churchill family.
A super experience and a wonderful opportunity to present our amazing children’s speaking skills.
Mrs Prigmore-Wells & Mrs Kenton
Each year the children in Prep are asked to produce a science project on a specific topic. This work is done in addition to their normal classwork and homework. Each time the projects are handed in I am amazed at the wonderful pieces of work that are presented to me and the effort and time that most of the children spend on their work is immediately obvious.
Between October half term and Christmas it was the turn of Pine & Acacia to do their project and the topic was famous scientists and inventors. The children had to have a main focus for their work but would also look at someone from more than 2000 years ago, as well as two other people linked to their chosen person. Whilst some focussed on the more famous scientists or inventors, such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Leonardo da Vinci, others chose less celebrated people such as Maurice Hilleman (worked with vaccines after WWII), Carlo Rovelli (theoretical physicist) and Hedy Lamarr (Hollywood actress who invented remote guidance mechanisms for torpedoes in WWII and who’s work led to Bluetooth technology)!
Their wonderful written projects were accompanied by amazing models and pieces of art work. There were examples of da Vinci’s helical screw (helicopter), hands covered in pox blisters for Edward Jenner’s work against small pox, movie posters for Hedy Lamarr’s films and mobile radiation scanning trucks, used by Marie Curie.
Deciding on winners is always very difficult and I often seek other teacher’s opinions. In the end I was so impressed that I had to have three special mention prizes to recognise the effort that so many children made.
Scientists and inventors chosen: John Dalton, Nikola Tesla, Dian Fossey, Rosalind Franklin, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Edward Jenner, Maurice Hilleman, Hedy Lamarr, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Carlo Rovelli, Stephen Hawking.
Best Written project: Shiv Das
Best model: Emily Garwood
Special mentions: Chloe Cave, Maya Shah, Carolina Diniz Fernandez-Lomana