At 4am on Sunday 1st April 47 Grove children, their families and staff set off for the Grove School Ski trip, this year to Prato Nevoso, Italy. We arrived at the resort in glorious sunshine and everyone was very excited to check into the hotel and collect our ski equipment ready for our first day of skiing.
On Monday morning we headed to the bottom of the slope to meet our ski instructors for the children’s lessons. For many of our skiers this was their first time skiing on a real mountain after lessons at the MK SnoZone and they were excited to get going. A few children were a little nervous being their fist time on the mountain but at the end of their first run Lilian Goodman and Alexander Briscoe could be heard shouting “Wow that was amazing!” and “Again! Again!”. For some of our Group 1 skiers Hector Simms and Jude Cronin-Webb this was their first ever time with skis on. All the children had a great first morning with Alice Alder, Sophie Hartley-Wiley, Jacob Millburn and Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio very enthusiastically telling everyone at lunchtime how they had skied their first ever black run! With the hotel being ski-in-ski-out our top two groups met their instructors at the hotel to ski for the afternoon. Following our first day of skiing we enjoyed an evening of ‘Bum boarding’ which the adults seemed to enjoy as much as the children.
Day two we woke to very cloudy skies and poor visibility but this didn’t put the children off, as they headed out for their 2nd day of skiing. For the afternoon session, the top two groups went to the snow park to attempt some jumps and a box! Our beginners group continued to work on their snowplough at the bottom of the slope where visibility was a little better. In the evening the children chose between swimming and watching a film, with a huge swimming pool all to ourselves the children thoroughly enjoyed racing each other hunting for dive sticks.
On day three, like day two, the skies were very overcast and we even experienced some rain and hail, this didn’t deter the tough Grove school skiers though as they continued to work on their skiing and a little more freestyle in the afternoon. Due to the poor weather we decided to postpone our outdoor activity and enjoy another evening of swimming and a film.
Day four saw the return of the amazing sunshine and it lifted everyone’s spirits following two cloudy days. We saw a lots of parents venture out onto the slopes, many of whom, like the children, were also skiing for the first time whilst some were very experienced skiers and snowboarders. With the much better conditions the children skied a little further away and tried some new slopes. During the afternoon, some of the parents took the opportunity to take their children out skiing themselves and the parents, who had named themselves “Group 4,” were really impressed with how well all their children skied. With the improved weather the children enjoyed an evening of Sno-tubes and inflatables before a well earned supper and an early night ahead of our final day of skiing.
On our final day the instructors arranged a race for the children, and any adults who wanted to join in. The group set off to warm up then skied through the gates to see the layout of the course before heading back up to the top of the slope for the race. With the race taking part on the slope in front of the hotel a small crowd of parents had gathered to watch and cheer on the racers. To show them how it’s done Miss Keates set off first, however as she is a super skier (and ski instructor!) to give the other adults a chance she skied the course on just 1 ski, a very impressive run from Miss Keates! The children then raced with the U6’s, Aron Sonander, Lilian Goodman, Alexander Briscoe, Frederick Lancaster and Timothy Lancaster going first. All skied brilliantly down the course. The U10s race followed with Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio, Ruesha Kaur and Jacob Millburn having their first go at racing followed by our experienced racers Alice Alder and Sophie Hartley-Wiley completing the under 10s race. With all the children successfully down the course the pressure was now on the parents. Mr Briscoe, Mrs Briscoe, Mr Lancaster, Miss Keates and our resort rep Davide all put in good performances but we’d have to wait until the evening for the final results. Just as we thought the race was over the group 1 skiers, Jude Cronin-Webb, Ruaridh McErlean-Watson, Hector Simms and Dylan Sonander, all just 3yrs old, joined the race from half way down the slope and all had a go at the bottom section of the course. A brilliant finish to the race watching them all ski, a huge achievement from our beginner skiers!
Following a final afternoon ski we all met up at the stage for the race results, having already discussed the race at length over lunch everyone was eagerly waiting to find out who had won, and more importantly had the children beaten the adults? The under 6s results came first with 3rd place going to Lilian Goodman, 2nd place to Aron Sonander and 1st place to Timothy Lancaster. In the under 10s Alice Alder was 3rd with Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio in 2nd and Sophie Hartley-Wiley in 1st place. The parents results were revealed last with Miss Keats in 3rd (amazing considering she completed the course on 1 ski), Mr Brisoce came 2nd and Mr Lancaster was in 1st place. The parents were just as pleased with their medals as the children. However, the most important result, Sophie Hartley-Wiley had beaten all the adults, well done Sophie!
We finished the week with a Pizza night at the top of the mountain and a mini disco for the children and adults. What a great way to finish a fabulous week of skiing which was thoroughly enjoyed by all the children, adults and Grove staff. Thank you to all the Grove staff for your hard work and to all the parents who helped make it a very successful week. We look forward to the next Grove School Ski Trip!
We heard it would be blue skies... we wished for blues skies... and that is exactly what we received! What a beautiful day for skiing! The morning involved plenty of coaching techniques for all the groups. A lot of the children took the opportunity to head off in the afternoon with their parents and staff for some free ski time. Sno Tubing and inflatables were the activities for the après ski, which was enjoyed by the children, parents and staff!
The weather didn’t improve from yesterday, and at times we had rain and hail on the slopes, but the children showed how much they had built up their confidence and skiing ability in such adverse weather conditions from yesterday into today! Unfortunatley due to the weather, the planned Aprés Ski has been postponed until tomorrow, so it has been swimming and watching a movie for the children. Well done everyone, I’m hearing It’s blue skies for tomorrow!
Today The Grove faced their toughest test with poor visibility throughout the day and the rain in the afternoon turning the snow to slush, but the children persevered and conquered the extreme weather conditions!
The children, as well as parents and staff, have had a fanstic first day on slopes. The sun was out shining on some brilliant skiing, with special mention to a couple of the children who are doing this for the first time! After our two sessions on the mountains, we had a really fun session of Bum Boarding, where the children enjoyed trying to crash in to the spectating adults! Lets hope the weather is just as good for tomorrows skiing!
Bonjour! We have landed safely in Nice, and have boarded our coach to the resort. Once there, we will be collecting our ski equipment and relaxing this evening, after a long day of travelling.
Walnut and Maple headed excitedly on the coach to Shuttleworth Transport Museum on Wednesday. We had a lovely sunny journey and were then warmly welcomed by the staff and volunteers at the museum. We split into two groups and eagerly headed off to explore what Shuttleworth had to offer. The children were delighted with the sheer size and the number of aeroplanes as we headed into the hangers.
We had a look at the gliders hanging from the ceilings and an ornithopter, which is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings like a bird. We then put on some paper wings, tried to flap them and take off, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful.
We sat on a bench outside hanger 5 enjoying the sunshine, eating our snack and watching aircraft take off and land. It was all very exciting!
After lunch we were treated with a surprise journey. The staff had organised for the children to go on a beautiful Edwardian bus. We all climbed abroad and entertained the driver with a rendition of the Wheels on the Bus!
We saw a wonderful assortment of transportations and the children were thrilled to see such a variety of old vehicles. Shuttleworth were very hospitable and we were lucky to be looked after by such knowledgeable gentlemen.
During the morning session they attended an Internet Safety Workshop in which they increased their understanding of how to use the internet with safety and how to cope if they were ever a victim of cyber bullying. They understood the importance of using sites, when browsing the Internet, which are appropriate to their age due to the content they portray. The role-play activities offered, were well received and it became apparent that all the children developed a deeper understanding of the meaning of the word 'friends' when online. After a short video about the importance of 'privacy settings' on different electronic devices they may use, all children agreed that these needed to be checked regularly to maintain their safety when online. Also personal information should never be shared as their 'friends' are already familiar with it and only a stranger would inquire about it: A password is like a toothbrush...you would not share it with anyone!' Our children learnt to create a password which was, in its simplicity, quite difficult to identify by others, along with exploring how to act when a message, they may receive, would make them worried or confused. It was comforting to see their awareness of the steps to take in order to keep themselves safe in both instances.
Sycamore created an amazing 'rap' which depicted all the learning they enjoyed throughout the day with an effective choice of vocabulary and rhythm to captivate any child, this received the full approval of the Safety Centre Teacher who ran the session.
In the afternoon Sycamore Class ventured around Hazard Alley in small groups and dealt enthusiastically with a wide range of situations such as making a 999 call, due to spotting a fire in their home, or noticing someone having difficulty when in a lake as well as revisiting the Green Cross Code and safety in the car. These instances were very realistic as Hazard Alley represents a small area of a town, with crossing, railway, vehicles and houses. . Our children showed great team ship as they supported each other through these experiences and many a lesson were learnt today.
The trip has fulfilled all expectations and the most rewarding aspect of it was to witness all that our children returned to The Grove being better equipped when using the web and in particular social media.
After a fairly quick minibus ride the children "decamped!" in the Roman part of St Albans! They started with a detailed look at a brilliantly designed and marvelously preserved Roman mosaic with floral pattern designs typical of the Roman "Verulamium" district style (near modern St Albans), and saw the remains of the underfloor heating or hypercaust system as well as visual displays of what it would have looked like in it's heyday, and they made careful notes and drawing for later use in school. This was followed by a guided tour of the nearby Roman theatre excavation with lots of detail added in and a review of the shops (bronzeworkers, wineshop and carpenters) that were adjacent. A careful tour of the Veralmium museum itself yielded lots of interesting information and really caught the children's imagination. This was followed, after lunch, with a very thorough and engaging artifact handling and dressing up session which raised loads of questions in the children's minds and made the accompanying question, answer and analysis work very fruitful with real thinking and cross checking of evidence from the totally engaged pupils! An outstanding trip and series of tours and workshops!
After all the snow melted away Cedar and Birch visited Duxford Imperial War Museum, Cambridge and saw all their previous class learning on WWII come to life.
The morning was spent researching a myriad of wonderful aeroplanes from different eras whilst completing a transport trail activity with great gusto and interest. They were guided around the Air Space Hanger by two very knowledgeable volunteers who answered all their questions with a wealth of information and took very good care of us all. The children experienced what it was like to travel on the Concorde and on a 1950's Jumbo Jet by being able to board these two planes and take a close look at the dial-covered cockpit. Several Rolls Royce engines were displayed to the children's amazement especially because of their size and components.
In the afternoon they visited Hanger number 4 dedicated to the Battle of Britain. They all recognised a Spitfire, a Messerschmidt and an Anderson shelter. They listened with great care to a talk by Mr Michael Hill, who was a 7 year old child during WWII, who now works as a volunteer at Duxford. They were fascinated to hear all his tales of a youth spent managing the implications of the War.
The children and adults thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful opportunity which enriched their understanding of Historical Events.
Yew and Aspen spring term trip was to Cadbury World and the morning finally arrived for the 25 very excited children and 3 members of staff. After a fairly traffic free journey the Cadbury sign was looming large ahead of us and we were all looking forward to our day ahead.
Our morning began with a self-guided tour which led the children through the history of chocolate from the Mayans to the beginnings of the factory built by John and Benjamin Cadbury. The children worked with a partner to find out lots of information which was good fun. We were led through lots of interactive and video areas where the children had opportunities to find out more about how our famous brands of chocolate were made. The final stop of the tour was, perhaps, the most exciting for the children with the tasting room where they all had some chocolate and the opportunity to watch a display of how chocolate used to be made and how it is made today. They were certainly quiet for this part of the day!
We left the tour and went for some lunch where the children had an opportunity to let off some steam in the adventure playground before our last part of the day within the 4D Cinema experience. This was lots of fun for everyone as we entered the world of chocolate! A great day was had by all and for some it was a very quiet journey back to school.
On Tuesday the 30th January, Acacia and Pine went with Mr Pendry and Mr Thorne to Tring Natural History Museum. When we arrived we were treated to a 45 minute interactive lesson on advanced classification where the children really impressed the staff with their knowledge and understanding of the topic. They looked at sorting living organisms into different categories and were given specimens of invertebrates to classify and organise based on their physical features. The children quickly got used to hearing the scientific names for groups such as lepidoptera (as opposed to butterflies).
After their lesson the children went on a tour of the many galleries, seeing and finding many new species that they had not seen or heard of before. Sadly we even found several stuffed examples of now extinct animals such as the quagga from South Africa and the thylacine from Tasmania. After a much needed lunch break the children revisited the galleries with clipboards and paper and sketched some lovely examples of animals that they had not heard of before that day. The children impressed staff with their scientific knowledge and despite the excitement that they obviously felt upon seeing so many wonderful animals on display, they managed to represent the school well.
On the 16th January 2018, with a sun “ au rendez-vous”, Spruce and Juniper went to the Courtauld Gallery in Central London and discovered an amazing collection of French Post- Impressionists Paintings.
On arrival, we were greeted by Annabelle, our very knowledgeable and very pleasant guide.
She led us to admire and study several paintings from Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugin.
The children were very engaged in all the discussions related to the possible meanings and the various new painting techniques. Annabelle also explained to us how depth of field could be created by the contrast of various colours; we debated whether the Lady in the Folie –Bergère Painting had the same or a different reflection in the mirror and its possible significance; we looked at the ‘Joueurs de Cartes’ and learnt about this very popular card game of the time, called ‘la Bataille’.
The children discovered various aspects of Parisian and French modern and social History of that time. They participated in mini-workshops on colour mixing, sketches and cartoons with speech bubbles in French and did translation exercises.
‘Are they all originals’? asked one of the pupils. ‘Of course’, said Annabelle. This collection was only a minute part of what the Gallery had to offer and we saw an auto-portrait of Van Gogh on our way out.
There were follow-up activities at school in the form of a mini-booklet with pairing-up exercises, quiz, questions and answers, colouring a palette, playing the ‘bataille’ card game, and for some, drawing the Portrait of a bird, following the instructions given by the very famous French Jacques Prévert.
This trip enabled the pupils to recognise the links between the different subjects of the curriculum and apply the language in a meaningful context, as well as providing an opportunity to see the ‘real’ paintings.
The art scholars group had a wonderful tour of Ely cathedral looking at various stained glass windows and styles and at the Gothic architecture. Looking carefully at the early Norman round and then early Gothic arches for visual inspiration as well as providing insight into how structures evolved over time. A highlight was the carved wooden Octagon Tower, with exquisite decorated arched rib forms and tracery which the children looked at by lying on their backs and looking straight up! This part of the trip involved careful sketching and notetaking for later use in the silk painting work as well as with a longer term view towards later glass work in school! This was followed by an excellent silk painting workshop, with panels inspired by the visit and the related sketchbook initial studies, all of this took place in a workshop space within the cathedral directly overlooking central part of the Nave. Some very good silk painting was produced and an array of reference sketches were acquired for further development work in the specialist Art scholars club at school.
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)