We are now well into the Autumn Term, and a variety of activities have already taken place. Every Thursday we have a visit from Splash, who works for a company called Artis, who run classes in performing arts, combining work in music, dance and drama. Our Year 2 children have visited St Andrew's Church, where Father Tara showed them round and explained the purposes of many of the artefacts. The children in Year 2 also enjoyed a maths challenge day.
As part of our topic on food children have also been involved in baking bread and making vegetable soup. For our Harvest Festival we collected food donated by our families which was passed on to the local corps of the Salvation Army. In the second half of the term we are holding art activity afternoons when all the children will have a chance to work in small groups to make a variety of art and craft items. Many children have already designed a Christmas card as part of a competition organised by the local MP, John Baron.
It will soon be time to start rehearsals for our Christmas production, which will be performed at the end of term. We are currently looking after some seedlings which will be planted out next Spring along the riverside nature trail which is being created beside the River Crouch.
Healthy Schools Scheme
We joined the 'Healthy Schools' scheme in April 2004. As a school, the area that we have chosen to focus on is:- "to improve the children's physical and emotional well-being at playtimes". To do this we surveyed the children to in the first half of the Summer term to find out about the games children were playing in the playground, and how they felt about playtimes. We then took 2 weeks to remind children of resources that are available at playtimes, and show them some other playground games they may or may not already know · These games were gradually introduced, with the support of all classroom staff and Mid-day workers, in the form of 'special games for the week'.
The games we focused on are displayed on our "In the playground" board in school, together with photographs of children playing the games. We also found that some children were not so happy at playtimes as others may be spoiling their games or chasing them. We are encouraging children to have the confidence to say, to any child that is spoiling their game, a simple but polite phrase such as "Please stop doing that" or "I don't want to play that game thank you". This enables children to start to try and sort out situations as they arise, often more successfully than if they go and get an adult to come over and sort out the problems. Adults are, of course, always 'on duty' in the playground.
As we begin the new Academic year, we have given children a few weeks to settle (especially those that are new to the school!). We are repeating the survey and will revisit some of the games introduced during the Summer Term. We will also be asking Mid-day staff if they are seeing any improvements in behaviour and other social skills as a result of having focussed on these areas.
There has been a busy start to the year with the delivery of two new printers provided by the Tesco Vouchers for School scheme. Thank you to all parents, family and friends who contributed. We have updated our ICT suite by adding a further three XP's, bringing our total to 13. We have been successful in our bid for an interactive whiteboard (hopefully two) and await installation. New software installed this term has been focused on maths, geography and early learning goals. We have subscribed to Espresso, an interactive software package that looks set to ensure full integration of ICT across the curriculum.
Mrs P George