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.
Our Harvest Festival this year was a celebration of wonderful water. Beech and Holly got the whole thing started for us telling everyone their favourite watery things to do and singing their song with wonderful actions to go with it. Next came the Science Bit! Autumn, Harry and Jessica from Cedar and Birch explained how an amazing H2O molecule is made using 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom, how they bond and come apart again to make liquid water and how the water cycle works.
Walnut and Maple sang us a very charming song about three little clouds. The clouds rained on the dry ground and the sun shone and three very colourful flowers grew. Well done Walnut and Maple!
Barnaby and Ellie read us their own evocative poems ‘Peaceful Stream’ and ‘The Brook’. These two poems were chosen from the many that the children had written in creative writing lessons. We thought you might like to read them again, so here they are!
Peaceful Stream, by Barnaby Davison
One Autumn afternoon
A little stream wandered across a Maldive Island
Drifting over the soft sands
It is not deep, it is shallow
And a vivid blue like azure.
Winding its way past palm trees
Sometimes feeling the gentle plop of a leaf
On its back
The Brook, by Ellie Ying-Clifton
Do you have a tale to tell?
As you chatter and laugh – guffaw and jump,
Through my Autumn-time garden.
As you babble, as you blow,
Smell the fresh breeze blow you along.
You’re fresh and ripe like a golden-apple tree.
Feel your ripples splashing my grass in the breeze.
But soon, it will be Winter – what will your tale be then?
Your eyes closed tight, dancing to your Winter song.
And the September raindrops drop straight on your palm,
Refreshing, cooling. You gather strength to move on…
And you wind past the flower bed, camping my boat.
Sing me the story of a brook…
‘Riversong’ was a triumph! The Prep children sang their song cycle with great expression, attention to detail and commitment. Working hard in their music lessons really paid off and after a couple of focussed rehearsals altogether they once again showed how they can work as one to make a wonderful sound that filled the church.
The song ‘Waterfall’ was a particular favourite with a soaring theme and two parts that sound magnificent when sung together.
The percussionists of Acacia and Pine showed that they could be sensitive, listen and play to enhance the effect of the water ‘crashing bashing down through the craggy rocks’ and add sparkle to the ‘lazy river’ that jazzily made its way to the sea. Hana and Emily played their string parts beautifully, warming the sound.
The percussion ‘on the seashore’ with it’s exciting chant ‘I can see the sea, I can see the sea, I CAN SEA THE SEA!’ brought the river to it’s end and as it flowed out into the sea Findlay, Elijah and Ryan’s dramatic rap took us to the finale.
The whole school thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic song ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ which in fact is known throughout the Grove as ‘Mark the Shark’ (for obvious reasons). Larch and Rowan had made some fabulous sea creatures which danced in the waves with colourful splashes and smiley faces!
Our last song was AMAZING!
What more can I say!
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.
On Tuesday 6th June, Larch and Rowan visited the Linford Lakes Nature Reserve. It was very peaceful! All around us was Cow Parsley, busy bees, vibrant flowers, still lakes and no cars, trains or loud noises. When we arrived, we were introduced to our knowledgeable tour guides. Our first activity was pond dipping. We waved nets in the water and collected lots of wiggly, floating, swimming creatures. Some of our favourite finds were a dragonfly nymph, Ramshorn snails, Lesser Water Boatman and snail eggs. Inside in the laboratory, we used microscopes and species guides to identify the insects. In the afternoon, we ventured on a bird and bug hunt. We learnt about natural and man-made habitats and were excited to discover rabbit holes and deer clearings. Up high in a tree, we saw an enormous Heron’s nest. An interesting fact was that female ducks are brown so that they are camouflaged and not seen by hungry foxes who may want duck eggs for dinner. The Year Ones greatly impressed our tour guides with their existing wealth of knowledge about plants and animals and made us feel very proud! What an exciting day being nature explorers!
Larch and Rowan had a super visit to Milton Keynes Museum. We went to the Museum to support the work that we have been doing in History- Houses and Victorians. Guided by members of staff from The Grove and MK Museum, Larch and Rowan explored a Victorian classroom, a Victorian street, rooms in a Victorian house and Victorian toys.
The children thoroughly enjoyed the Victorian classroom. Our guide from the museum took on the role of a Victorian teacher and the children a Victorian class. The children were required to sit in silence and only speak when spoken to, recite a verse from the chalk board and write sums on a slate board.
We were very proud of the children, as usual, as they represented the school extremely well and were polite and well-behaved for the duration. What a lovely day!
On Thursday 2nd March a very excited Cedar and Birch set off on the M1 to visit the town of Windsor with its iconic castle. We arrived in good time and went into the education centre. After snack we headed up the road and into the walls of the castle. Our first stop was to see Queen Mary’s dolls house! It was amazing, the doll’s house was built over 100 years ago although it was not built as a toy but was made for people to admire. It even had electric lighting, running hot and cold water, flushing lavatories and a garage full of smart cars!
After looking at this we went further into the state apartments to the Grand Reception Room where we had a workshop with Simone all about the Queen and Windsor. Simone told us lots of interesting facts about our Queen and Kings and Queens in the past. She had lots of props with her and we saw an orb, the sword and the coronation crown. After the wonderful workshop we all got to dress up our Knights of the Garter, we then proceeded into the Garter Room where we had a ceremony and we were all knighted!
After lunch we headed back up into the castle walls and went into St Georges Chapel. The chapel which is over 500 years old was built by Edward IV. The chapel is the home to the Knights of the Garter, here we saw all of their flags hanging over the quire.
After visiting this amazing chapel we headed back towards the education centre. We managed to walk past some of the Queen’s guards who were marching to their posts, they looked very smart and very serious!
We headed back to school after a fabulous day taking with us memories of what a stunning castle our Queen is lucky enough to call her home.