The Heart of Learning

The Heart of Learning
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Nursery Jump And Splash

Nursery have been exploring the properties of water. Water offers so many opportunities to develop children's creativity and imagination. The children's hand-eye coordination was stretched as they filled various containers and poured the water from one to another. Maths was introduced as the children discovered which container held the most water, and counted how many bottles of water were needed to fill the water tray. The children used their initiative and problem-solving skills to decide how they were going to fill and empty the vessels and they worked together as a team as they took turns to fill from the tap and transport the water to the tray. The introduction of paint and washing up liquid offered further interesting learning opportunities in colour mixing and a particularly enjoyable discovery of foam. Some children took their learning outside and added extra water and soap to the large puddles and jumped in them to make even more bubbles. The children used the bubbles to mark make using their bikes, fingers and brooms and some went on to add some more ingredients to the mix to make a rather delicious looking Salty Sand Soup!

Lou Blackaby, Nursery Teacher

Reception Focus On Numbers

The children have been focusing on number bonds to 10 in their Maths lessons. Number bonds form a strong foundation for further Maths and it is important that the children are able to compose and decompose numbers in a variety of ways. Really understanding numbers is a fundamental part of Maths, and getting to grips with the part-whole relationship is understanding that a number can be made up of smaller parts. This knowledge of quantity in terms of its parts is essential for future addition and subtraction skills. The children have been looking at a variety of different methods to solve mathematical challenges this week, beginning with a focus on developing the children's reasoning skills. The children were asked to choose five items and then their parents hid some of the objects and the children had the challenge of working out how many were missing. This encouraged the children to explain how they worked out their answer and which method they used. Throughout the rest of the week the children made their own number bond hands to support them with orally recording and writing number sentences. 

Jessie Millsom, Reception Teacher

Year 1 Make Mathematical Pizzas

Over the last few weeks Year 1 have been expanding their understanding of ordinal numbers and directional language in Maths. From designing and labelling their own race to directing family members, to finding mystery items around their homes, it has been fantastic to see them grow in confidence in using directional language, such as left and right. Alongside supportive family members, the children have enthusiastically participated in a range of activities enabling them to apply their understanding to give reason for their answer and solve problems. In one activity the children were tasked with managing their own pizza restaurant by meticulously following directional language such as 'add ham to the 4th pizza from the right.' They had to listen carefully and apply their understanding of both directional language and ordinal numbers to ensure the customers received their desired orders. Thankfully, we were left with many delighted customers and some highly rated reviews on TripAdvisor!

Olivia Shepherd, Year 1 Class Teacher

Year 2 Show Determination

Learning has not skipped a beat in Year 2 since the switch to remote learning and Foxes and Hedgehogs are working really hard with the fantastic support of their parents. Whether, learning the common exception words, the intricacies of multiplication and division or how to extend a noun phrase, the children are taking it all in their stride and trying their very best. The learning behaviours we promote at school such as resilience, resourcefulness, being reflective and working together are shining through, even remotely. Children are meeting up with each other to collaborate over their learning, they are returning to activities to improve them and they are using equipment and persevering when the learning gets tough. 

Kerri Wilkes Year 2 Class Teacher

Year 3 Build A Skeleton

In Science this week, the children have thoroughly enjoyed taking in various roles as medical professionals. The children have discovered all sorts of fascinating facts about bones and the different types of joints. Armed with this knowledge the children worked to assemble the images of a human skeleton, reflecting carefully upon which bones they thought would provide movement, support or protection, and whether some bones had more than one function. Once they had completed laying out their skeletons, the children marked each bone according to what they thought its job might be. There is no doubt that we will see some of these children become shining lights in the medical world in the years to come!

Ellie Graham, Year 3 Class Teacher

Year 4 Use Persuasion Power

Year 4's Creative Curriculum topic this term is Africa and this has provided some exciting learning opportunities in English. This week, the topic has led us to look at a key question, 'is it acceptable for animals to be kept in captivity or should they remain in their natural habitat?' This question has led to a great deal of discussion amongst the children and everyone has been very keen to share their views and opinions, some with very strong beliefs and we have had some very interesting discussions. Through looking at the use of key persuasive language, the children produced their own fantastic videos, eager to get their point of view across to the class. We have definitely seen some budding reporters of the future. Following this, we focussed on the features of writing a formal letter of persuasion as the children began to plan their letters to zoos and other organisations persuading them to take their own opinions on board. We very much look forward to reading the finished letters next week. 

Martine Melling, Head of Year 4

Year 5 Have Firm Foundations

Year 5 have been really engaged in their online Maths lessons. They have clearly been working hard and making great progress with plenty of enthusiasm. Even at a distance, it is great to see the children's mathematical understanding developing so well, laying firm foundations for the future. There has been tremendous improvement in test results, and some children have been working very hard to bolster their times tables. Many will soon be taking the Primary Maths Challenge, which I am sure will further motivate and stretch. Cooking has also provided an additional opportunity for the children to use their maths skills as they weighed and measured their ingredients for the Highfield and Brookham Cook-Along with some delicious looking results. Despite such hard work and positivity, for some, there is no substitute for being in the classroom and I very much look forward to seeing everyone back before too long! 

Patrick Davies, Head of Maths

Year 6 New Discoveries

Over the past few weeks Year 6 have been busy learning about the lifecycle of flowering plants, microscopes and cells. The children have produced some fantastic work and carried out experiments at home. The children have shared their discoveries and we have had some very interesting discussions about the findings. Sam discovered that a walnut is not actually a nut at all, but a fruit and Jess produced a fabulous Parts of a Flower diagram. Lottie completed an experiment on a celery plant to show the xylem transporting water through the plant. Using food colouring really helped illustrate this and you might notice the blue colouration of the celery leaves in the picture above. The children embark on a model making extravaganza in the coming weeks, as they tackle making 3D models of plant and animal cells, I can't wait to see what they produce!

Peter Hesselmann, Science Teacher

Year 7 Perfect Imperfect Tense

Our focus in Latin is to develop independent learning, problem solving and giving the children the skills and confidence to work things out for themselves. These skills are, of course, valuable beyond the Latin classroom and will be drawn on at senior school and beyond. Our top two sets of Year 7 Latinists have crossed the Rubicon of the imperfect tense and are wending their way through the early chapters of Clarke’s Latin II. The future tense beckons, and thereafter a new and exotic type of conjugation. 7 Set 2B, meanwhile, are making sound headway with the ablative case and are presently working through a somewhat anachronistic passage about Hercule Poirot and the redoubtable Citra (Miss Lemon). When lockdown has passed, I shall be sure to gather all the children in one room to reveal whodunnit.

Ed Clarke, Head of Classics

Year 8 Art Scholars

Henry Moore said: "To be an artist is to believe in life" and our Art Scholars have certainly embodied this approach as they worked incredibly hard to finish off their resolved, final pieces in time for the portfolio deadlines over the Christmas break. In light of Covid restrictions, the portfolios took on a new digital format this year. Added to this new format and interesting challenge, both art interviews and art assessments were also online. This all added up to a, perhaps, more daunting if not inscrutable process. Showing true Highfieldian spirit the children were undaunted and I would like to personally commend them for 'believing' in their own abilities, rising to this challenge with true gusto and the typical Highfield can-do approach! Regardless of the outcome and whether an Art Scholarship is awarded, I am sure you will all agree that the true celebration and accolade comes out of producing these magnificent portfolios. All pupils have followed a process for each and every final piece, not dissimilar to the GCSE experience in Art, which is to Discover, Explore, Record and Present learning about themselves and the world around them, whilst developing their skills and appreciation in and for Art. I have no doubt in my mind that all of our Art Scholars will choose Art at GCSE level and be very well prepared for the experience too. A huge congratulations to all Art Scholars, my beret goes off to you! 

Parents, if your child is currently in Year 7 and is interested in pursuing an Art Scholarship, please do look out for my annual Art Scholarship talk which I will present next Summer term, hopefully in person, and do send me an email to express your interest,

Olga Houghton, Head of Art


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