Mardi etait vraiment bien! (Apologies for the poor french!)
The children looked brilliant in their red, white and blue for our Bastille Day celebrations. We looked at the Eiffel Tower and recreated it with art straws. Some children decided to add some colouring in the background. They have made their way home now, and I'm sure you will agree that they have made some really effective pieces of art!
Year 2 were very lucky to be in the woods today - it was cool and calm. Field Maple group enjoyed meeting trees and making tree spirits. They then had time to play freely. A lot of time was spent beside or in the stream. Our little group of archaeologists had to think carefully about safety as the children began bringing back some quite interesting bits of metalwork which they had found in the stream, but Tawny Owl became concerned about sharp edges and rust, so the children sensibly changed their play to ensure everyone was safe.
Willow group also enjoyed the stream but went on a BIG adventure to the other end of the wood; following the route of the stream. Again, the children came across some potentially dangerous metalwork, but they had a wonderful time leading their own learning, and arrived back in Stump Central very hot and grubby, but happy and safe. It was wonderful to feel that our children are resilient and confident enough to take themselves on such an adventure and remember how to keep themselves and others safe.
Children in both groups also spent time in the tool area learning about safe use of scout knives. It was lovely to see the children so focussed on their learning - and listening well to the instructions.
Henry 1 needs to be mentioned particularly today as when tidying up, we were missing a couple of soft toys, but he made a concerted effort to find them, with success. Well done, and thank you Henry!
Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed a day in our Outdoor Classroom at school today.
We began each session with a time of silence. Birch Group then spent some time discussing the things which they had really appreciated since getting up. Some children found this really difficult, but with encouragement everyone ended up thinking of something – these ranged from seeing some amazing wildlife at home, or on the way to school, being woken early by birdsong after a good night’s sleep, making a quiche before school, having breakfast, and being alive! There were others, of course.
Both groups then became very quickly engaged in the activities Tawny Owl had planned. They made natural inks from Lime leaves, King Alfred’s Cakes, and Cornflowers. The mortar and pestle we used was generously given to us by our link school in Malawi - Lungamadzi. It was a very special moment.
The results were very interesting as the colours did not behave in the way most people were expecting. Some children used herb potions to add to the inks to make them smell lovely. While this was going on, other children used Elder wood to make charcoal pencils; we agreed they were not as easy as we had though they might be either.
After this activity we then went to the pond where the children had great fun pond dipping, and searching for minibeasts around the pond area. They found some amazing creatures - beetles, worms, centipedes, water louse, diving beetles, newts, dragonfly nymphs (and a case from a newly metamorphosed dragonfly), water boatmen, and pond skaters. A great collection.
The final activity was using the charcoal pencils and inks to draw pictures of what they saw.
There are lots of pictures today, so these are just a few. Please look at the year 4 gallery to see all of them.
Year one enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in the woods today. Both groups created tree spirits in celebration of International Mud Day. They selected a tree, found out which species it was, and a little information about that tree before creating their tree spirit. I think you will agree, the children were very creative, using lots of different natural materials they found in the woods. They chose from Oak, Ash, Chestnut, Horse Chestnut, Lime or Field Maple.
They also had fun hunting for beetles, centipedes, worms and slugs. We discussed the difference between slugs and snails as several children were unsure. You can see from the pictures where most of the bugs were found!
Some children also found a very active toad, which we watched for a while.
A great day, and beuatifully cool under the trees.
We had a fabulous day at Trosley Country Park today. Travelling up in the minibus and 3 cars, we arrived slightly late, but soon settled into our activities. Gemma from Outdoor Studios reminded the children about the Ash Tree; following up on the information they were given on Monday.
They began by using charcoal to do some observational drawings of the Ash trees surrounding the outdoor classroom area. Then off we went on a short walk to another part of the wood. On the way we took a short break at the climbing bars. At the next stopping point we observed lots of fallen trees, blown over by the wind; some of these were Ash. Amazingly, in spite of the damage many of them were still growing. The children found flint and chalk. The chalk they used to draw the root of the trees, along with some charcoal. Mrs Stanford had a little 'woodland envy' as this area was a wonderful space for children to play and learn.
We returned to the centre to prepare for lunch - a thorough hand wash.
After lunch, another time to play - lots of millipedes kept the children entertained for quite a while. Then we had time to create sun pictures and bark rubbings of ash trees. The children had lots to do, and the time rushed by, so it was soon time to leave for the return journey.
Thanks should be extended to Mrs Ridout, Mrs David and Mrs Newton who very kindly gave up time in their busy lives to transport the children. Thank you ladies!
We were blessed with amazing weather, and everyone agreed it was a great day. Certainly a great venue to visit if you haven't been there. We would recommend it.
Have a look at the amazing photos taken by Mrs Newton (and a few not so good ones taken by Mrs Stanford). Most are in the year 5 gallery.
Today Ms Lane received notification of the outcome of our Artsmark application.
"Thank you for your submissions to Artsmark.
Your Statement of Commitment and Case Study have been reviewed by our assessment panel and we are delighted to inform you that Goudhurst and Kilndown Church of England Primary School has been awarded an Artsmark Gold Award. Congratulations!
The panel has made the following comment about your submissions:
The panel was delighted that Artsmark is ‘held accountable’ for such positive change in your school! Your commitment to the arts as a vehicle for learning, well-being, confidence and sheer pleasure is evident. You have further enhanced your focus on pupil voice and choice through the implementation of Arts Awards, your Arts Council and Arts Festival; you have extended your range of offer and have engaged parents and the wider community. The testaments provided with regard to children’s self-awareness and self-confidence are moving and powerful. Going forward, you will wish to continue to develop partnerships with outside organisations and should use this and other means to share your example and advocate for the arts, using your pupils as ambassadors.
Congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award!
As a Gold Artsmark school Arts Council England celebrates your commitment to arts and cultural education at a leadership level and the opportunities embedded across your provision. Your children and young people have equal opportunity to plan, experience, participate in, and evaluate a diverse range of high-quality arts and cultural activities and you recognise the importance of development opportunities delivered by specialists for your staff in these areas. You engage with a range of arts and cultural organisations and can evidence the positive impact of these partnerships. Your children and young people have an opportunity to further develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of arts and culture and you are working to share the expertise you have established.
Once again, congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award.
With warm wishes,
Arts Council England
I think you will agree this is an amazing achievement and demonstartes our commitment to providing all children here at Goudhurst & Kilndown a rich curriculum that places equal importance on providing high quality teaching and learning of the 'Arts' as it does on high attainment in Reading, Writing, Maths and Science.
We have also been awarded a Music Mark from the Royal College of Music and we are a Trinity College accredited Arts Award Centre.http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=64
Both Y1 groups spent a few minutes at the start of the day today identifying and collecting Elder flowers, The children looked at the tree, smelled the flowers, and collected some in a bag to take to the woods, We learned about why plants have flowers and that if we leave some on the tree, they will be fertilised by insects, and then berries will form in the autumn.
Alder group then carried these flowers to the woods to add to the ones Tawny Owl had collected in the woods earlier (which involved much stumbling around and falling over and being stung by the nettles)!
We soon got on with the task of boiling a large kettle of water and taking the flowers off the stalks. Tyler and Harry were particularly good at this, although Miles was the most entertaining! All the children had a go at this task.
While this was going on, some of the group had a go at using a very sharp knife to cut up the lemons. All this was put together in a large pan, with the water and sugar and put over the fire to brew! The children had decided they felt like they were making potions and there was talk of wizards in the woods!
Tommy thought he had seen a bear after spotting bare claw marks on one of the trees – this prompted a great game involving lots of howling wolves.
While we were waiting for the Elderflower Cordial to brew, we played a game of ‘What am I – Nature’. The children chose a card out of a basket and on the card was the name of a woodland plant or animal, and the children either had to give clues, or do an impression! We didn’t have time to do them all, but we had: a primrose, fox, honeysuckle, nettle, hazel, and bramble.
Most of the children tasted the Elderflower Cordial – most deciding they liked it, but some found it rather too sweet. We discussed making it again with less sugar. We will see what the other Forest School Groups think later in the week.
Rabbit visited us later in the morning to share in Silent Spot.
Tyler explained to Hornbeam group how the Elderflower had been made, and then the children enjoyed playing hard in the woods. There was lots of playing in trees, a walking stick game (which evolved into) a ‘comic game’, where the children slid down a piece of timber with a piece of stick which they hoped would break so they fell on the ground for the others to laugh at! The children also enjoyed playing in one of the hammocks again today.
Everyone agreed that a happy time was had by everyone.
Yesterday afternoon, the children created an art gallery! Using sticks and whatever else they could find outside, they created some pictures of outdoor scenes, houses and animals. Have a look at the photos below.
Rabbit joined the children in the woods today. She had a lovely time. Indeed Rabbit commented, “ It was wonderful to watch and listen to the children immersed in their activities. There was so much learning taking place without the children even realising it.”
The children enjoyed helping with topping up the woodshed. Look at the dragonfly they found!
Tawny Owl was lucky to be attending a Forest School Conference in West Sussex. She also learned much, and has returned with more ideas for our Forest School. She also made a platter/basket which she plans to try doing with the older children and adults.
What a very busy day today!
Larch group began by gathering timber for cutting and splitting to put in the woodshed. They worked incredibly hard to find appropriate wood - even pushing down a couple of small dead but standing trees! Not only that but then gathering a team of people to carry it back to the Forest School area for cutting.
They then willingly cut the timber and split it. Meanwhile another group were emptying the woodshed so that it could be sorted and restacked.
Everyone worked incredibly hard.
When they weren't helping with this task, they played in the hammocks, or built amazing shelters, climbed trees, or sat and did some weaving. Tawny Owl had bought a couple of Bushcraft magazines and a story 'Weslandia' (which she read to Larch group), which some of the children had a look at.
Birch group did not need to gather timber, but still enjoyed working hard to help prepare it for the woodshed.
This group enjoyed the hammocks, as well as composing some woodland music; watch this space, as they proclaimed they would be making an album!
Tawny Owl is in the process of putting together a video of the day; she will let you know when it appears on this blog.
Meanwhile have a look at the photos below; there will be more on the class 4 gallery.