I cannot believe it is October already! The leaves are still very green out of my window but I do see the bracken starting to turn as I drive across the moor. I'm looking forward to cosy winter days and looking forward to all sorts of Autumn and Winter fun.
We have set the date of our Harvest Festival Service on October 13th. We will be back in the Church for the first time in a long long while and we hope to raise the roof with our singing and fill the space with thankfulness and joy. We will be making a collection for the food bank so do pop in an extra couple of tins or packets of long life or dried foods when you do the shop over the next couple of weeks. We will see if we can give you a list of what is particularly needed.
On the first Saturday of the half term - Saturday 23rd October - we want to hold a grand Community Fair in the school field. We'll have stalls and games and we'll be inviting every community group we can think of to come along and get involved. We hope to make this a celebration not just for the school but for the whole community. Thanks to the PTFA for organising - do put in in your diaries.
A few parents have been wondering about the possibility of having a lollipop person to help children cross safely - particularly in the mornings when the road can be busy and a lot of children are converging on the school from all angles. We think if we were to look towards this it would require a bank of volunteers who would be happy to wear the hi-vis and hold the giant lollipop one or two days a week. We wondered if this might be more something for a person who was free in the mornings than someone trying to fit it in around work - a recent retiree for example. Can you think of anyone who might fit the bill?
Thanks to the generous members of our school community who have donated the tractor tyres which are already adding interest and fun to our field area. We are very lucky to have this space - lots of schools even in rural areas having nothing like the space we have - but it's still a bit plain and lacks activities for the children. With a few tyres and logs we are starting to give them something to do which stimulates body, mind and soul and leads to fewer behaviour incidents - it's a win all round. The children have been genuinely delighted with the tyres today. It's been a pleasure to see.
Tomorrow, Saturday October 2nd, we'll be having a work party at school to do more to improve our grounds - if you're available come along between ten and one. If you can bring gardening gloves and secateurs we'll put you to work clearing bramble and nettles, if the weather is dryish and you can bring a paintbrush we'll be painting the EYFS fence. If you can bring some tools and imagination we'll be creating a mud kitchen for the little ones. There's lots of other jobs to get involved in so do come along if you can. With a following wind there'll be tea, coffee and biscuits to keep us going too. If the weather is really foul we might cut it a wee bit short.
I'm very glad to say that we have had no more cases of covid in the school since I wrote to you last week and that the affected children are coming back to school as their isolation periods finish. One member of staff took a PCR test this week just to be sure that a cold really was no more than a cold. It came back negative so we are currently and zero live cases in the school. I would let you all know straight away if that situation were to change.
Most children went home with a reading record today. The few remaining without them will be bringing them home next week. Parents often ask me what they can best do to support their child with the limited time they have available. I always say it's reading with their child. Bear in mind that it's not the reading to the child that's the magic ingredient - it's the rich talk around the reading that makes the difference. It's talking about the characters - what they're like, who they remind us of, if we'd like them for a friend - talking about the plot - why did he do that? What's going to happen next? - talking about favourite bits and bits we didn't like so much, wondering why we enjoy this author so much but not that one, talking about amazing no-fiction... It's all about the talk. So, when you're filling in that reading record do bear in mind that if you have just twenty minutes to read with your child it's more than fine if half of that time is chatting about the reading.
We are having a massive push on handwriting at the moment. We want to build children's pride in their work and fluency in their writing and we're aware that, over the last couple of years, one impact of the pandemic has been on presentation and penmanship. Classes are making sure they spend fifteen to twenty minutes practicing handwriting daily. Already in some classes we are seeing results on the page and in the pride children are taking over their work. Handwriting is broadly cosmetic of course but when children start to feel a pride in their presentation we often find they start to take more pride over the content too. It might be fun to see if you can write beautifully too - perhaps we need to have a calligraphy competition open to parents and carers as well as the pupils. Would you enter?
Have a wonderful weekend everybody - I look forward to seeing you all on Monday morning. We have a new dance for you and this time it's pure disco.