Spring Into Action

Spring Into Action
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

From Daffodils To Ducklings For Nursery

With the daffodils in the garden in full bloom and signs of spring all round them, the Nursery has been full of seasonal activity. Having already planned what they would like to grow in their new raised beds, this week the children began the planting process. The curious youngsters also learnt all about the life cycle of a sunflower and why it has that name and were intrigued by fast-motion video footage of a field of sunflowers moving in unison to track the sun through the course of a day. The excited children then planted a variety of different sunflower seeds in pots, which will now take pride of place on the windowsill in Nursery until the seeds germinate and the plants are big enough for the children to plant them out in the garden after the Easter break. Beautiful images of sunflowers also provided a stimulus for some fantastic, colourful and creative artwork, during which the children experimented with colour mixing to create the paint shades they needed. Meanwhile, a trip to Forest School on Tuesday also provided an opportunity to explore our theme of spring and new life, as the children listened to the birds singing, looked for signs of nest building, and spotted the first signs of beautiful bluebells emerging from the woodland floor. But arguably most exciting of all for the children in Nursery was seeing the newly-hatched ducklings, which have been incubated in Reception. They absolutely loved seeing the baby ducklings splashing and swimming in a makeshift pond in Nursery - and the excitement levels rose still further as they even got to hold one.

Sam Forster, Head of Nursery

Joyful Signs Of Spring In Reception Class

Highfield and Brookham learners are always encouraged to ask questions and to be inquisitive and resourceful - and there have been plenty of opportunities for Reception to develop these skills during the week when looking for signs of spring. From examining the finer details of a bumble bee - looking closely at its features and investigating what the different parts of its body are used for - to identifying the different species of flowers spotted while walking to Forest School, questions have been asked and the answers researched. The excitement of finding out new information and sharing known facts with friends can be very exciting, and the teachers have also learned a lot! The joy of new life that spring always brings has continued to be enjoyed within the classroom environment with the newly-hatched ducklings having their first swim and every Reception child having the opportunity to hold a duckling, many for the first time. These experiences helped develop the children's literacy skills when describing what it felt like to hold the fluffy and cute ducklings and when talking about how they have changed in appearance during the week. Spring is a time for hope and new beginnings; with the warmer weather coming and Easter fast approaching, it certainly is an exciting time at Highfield and Brookham. 

Georgie Hunter, Head of Reception

Year 1 Drill Down Into Practical Knowledge

There was plenty of excitement in Year 1 as the children got to grips with their exciting new workbench, appropriately so with the onset of spring and its wealth of new things and new beginnings. With a new piece of equipment to try, the curious children were keen to practice using the hand drill to create holes. They thought carefully about the purpose of a hand drill and how using one could add to and enhance any creation. They also learnt that they should always use a piece of scrap wood beneath the piece they are working on to avoid damaging the workbench with the drill. The children also used their knowledge of clocks to turn the drill in a clockwise direction and quickly discovered that this increased the speed at which they were able to drill. And their mathematical understanding of length also came in handy as the children learnt how to measure and drill a hole to a specific depth. As the Year 1 youngsters happily drilled holes, they observed that tiny pieces of wood shaved off each block and that this material was known as sawdust. And, just as importantly as learning new techniques with the hand drill, the children prioritised the safety rules throughout this practical activity which are essential for using the workbench.

Olivia Shepherd, Year 1 Teacher

Happy Year 2 Have A Spring In Their Step

Everyone in Year 2 is absolutely loving the change of weather along with the season, it has given us the opportunity to take our learning outdoors and into the sunshine. In Maths this week, we have been learning about volume and capacity, which has afforded all sorts of possibilities for water-fuelled measuring and pouring. Healthy eating and fitness have also been on the agenda, and we have made some wonderful healthy-eating plates for a balanced meal. And, of course, Forest School is the perfect place for scientific experiments, and this week we used all sorts of natural materials to build bridges. Our predictions for which materials would be best were tested and we discovered lots of new vocabulary to describe the building materials we used, for example rigid or flexible, bouncy or stretchy, weak or strong. We were enormously proud of our designs and it's abundantly clear that it hasn't taken Year 2 long at all to spring back into action.

Stephanie Turner, Year 2 Teacher

Focus On Healthy Living Inspires Year 3

Busy Year 3 sprang into action at the beginning of the week and haven't stopped since! Following the delicious success of their smoothie- making last week, many culinary-inspired children have been treating their families to a range of healthy snacks at home. In school, Maths has involved data handling, a fantastic opportunity to make a tally chart and bar graph showing all the healthy things they had eaten for breakfast. PSHE lessons have, importantly, focussed on the dreaded hidden sugar content of a range of foods, with children reading labels and packaging then weighing out the sugar content on scales. Science lessons involved learning about the importance of eating a balanced diet and the health benefits of fruit, veg, proteins, carbohydrates and dairy products, with some delicious healthy meals being crafted. And in addition to a healthy diet, they have been brushing up on their hockey and rugby skills in the great outdoors, understanding the importance of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Arguably most importantly, though, they have spent some wonderful time with friends in class and in the early spring sunshine in the playground and at Forest School.

Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 Tribe Marvel At The Maasai

Spring is traditionally associated with new life, new beginnings, in fact all things new. So, fittingly, in Topic, Year 4 have let their imaginations wander to pastures new. They travelled from the southern tip of Africa and along the coast to Kenya where their focus for the week was delving into the curious life and times of African tribes, in particular the renowned Maasai, who are among the best-known populations internationally due to their location close to the many imperious game parks of the African Great Lakes, not to mention their distinctive customs and striking and colourful dress. Clearly inspired by their African adventure, the children really approached this topic with great enthusiasm, posing so many thoughtful questions in their quest to learn about tribal cultures and traditions, ranging from the young warrior out hunting, their amazing jumping skills, their homes, and the brightly-coloured costumes and jewellery popular among tribes. And just like the Maasai, Year 4 will undoubtedly be jumping at the chance to learn more and more as the school year progresses.

Martine Melling, Head of Year 4

Arty Year 5 Drawn Into A Watchful Technique

Arty Year 5 have spent the early days of spring observing and recording objects carefully and learning new techniques. We have discussed Cezanne and how he would break objects down to 3D shapes such as spheres, cylinders and triangular prisms - yes, children learn about Maths in Art too. Another cross-curricular link is Geography and Art. Pupils have learnt in Geography where their food comes from, including a global outlook, so we thought that drawing fruit bought locally would be a super link. Children learned various starting points to help them with their compositions, which focused on contour, proportion, overlapping objects, and ensuring that they always look carefully at their subject. A good drawing is always about looking at the objects you are drawing more than your own drawings. Another trick we learned was why it is a good idea to turn your drawing upside down - perhaps you can ask your child to tell you more about this strategy and why we do it. I am so impressed with the skills and maturity that Year 5 have shown to tackle this challenge. Next week, we paint!

Olga Houghton, Head of Art

Year 6 Has A Night At The Oscars

Year 6 have been taking part in a course run by The Young Film Academy and The One Day Film School. When lockdown loomed once again, any thoughts of their customary year production had to be put on the back burner and the prospect of a project that could all be conducted online seemed perfect. Each week, the whole of Year 6 attended film tutorials, teaching them how to shoot, cut and edit footage, they learnt about the history of film and how the tricks of the trade are made. In Week 5, they were set the challenge to create their own ‘robbery’ mini-films at home. Then, by half term, they were all placed into 'production companies' to create their own films. The brief was simple - choose one of five storylines and include three wide, three mid-range and three close-up shots. It needed to be a silent film set to music or Foley SFX, with a maximum length of two minutes. In each production company, the pupils took on the roles of actors, directors, storyboard artists, filming specialists or editors. As part of the exciting project, we were lucky enough to be put in contact with legendary author and ex-SAS film maker Andy McNab, who kindly awarded six signed copies of his latest book, Get Me Out Of Here, to the pupils asking him the best questions regarding his film career. He answered these questions in a live filmed interview, which Year 6 will be watching as part of their Oscars evening. The pupils' finished film creations will be premiered at the A Night at The Oscars ceremony, which will be screened tonight via Teams, and we hope that all Year 6 children and their families will ‘dress to impress’ and enjoy a canapé and glass of fizz while watching. All that remains is to wish good luck to all the budding Spielbergs, Tarantinos and Howards for their cinematic offerings Film Fantasticazzzzzz, the High Fives, The Boyz, The Blondies, Film Frank 3.0, The Clingfilmers, The Chameleons, The Lollams, SBP Film Co and The Traitors. And the nominees are...

Sarah Baird, Head of Drama

Bears, Tigers Take Early Honours In Year 7 Hockey

With the seasonal backdrop of the bright and beautiful daffodils soaking up the early spring sunshine, the first of our two U12 HPL hockey matches took place on Monday, and it was a delight to have these games taking place concurrently. In near-perfect conditions, the boys, or as they shall now be known, the Bears, Raptors, Sharks and Tigers, took to the field for battle to commence. All four teams shot out of the gate and were aggressive in their attacking style, much like their namesakes. Tigers versus Sharks was a closely-fought match with possession constantly changing, but a goal from Ollie H (Sharks) was quickly countered with two goals from Tigers front men Fergus and Joey, to put them 2-1 ahead at the interval. Meanwhile, on the adjacent pitch, the Bears opened the scoring through a finely-worked passage of play which allowed Swithun P to neatly slot home the opening goal. But the Raptors were undeterred and pressed hard, allowing Alex B to sneak home an equaliser as the sides went in 1-1 at the break. The second-half whistle sounded and again the boys played with intensity with both matches firmly on the line, but it was the Tigers who prevailed as a fine piece of interlinking play and a touch of individual class from Stewart O’N, who finished with aplomb, cemented a deserved 3-1 win over the Sharks. The excitement continued in the second half over on the other pitch too, with wonderful passing and great stick skills on show. Ben B was the next to get on the scoresheet to put the Bears 2-1 up and was a constant threat in the Raptors' D. Back came the Raptors, though, as a good clearance allowed Freddie B the space to attack. Taking his chance, he controlled the ball well and put it over the line to even up the score at 2-2. But despite their best efforts, and a second goal by Alex B, the Raptors were beaten by the odd goal in seven as Ben B completed a superb hat-trick to secure a 4-3 win for the Bears. If the first two matches are anything to go by then we are surely going to have a fantastic tournament on our hands. 

Bertie Campbell-Baldwin, U12 Boys' Hockey Coach

Year 8's Welcome Return To The Netball Courts

The Year 8 girls were delighted with the opportunity to play some competitive netball again with the return of the HPL. They took up their positions on court with energy and enthusiasm, absorbing the excitement and letting themselves get carried away in the moment. It's undoubtedly one of the best things about playing sport. The Sharks played ferociously against the Tigers on the Mills Court while the Bears battled the Raptors on the main courts. Both games were close, with the Bears and the Tigers taking the spoils. The Bears and Raptors converted many scoring opportunities with some excellent passing into the shooting circle from the attacking third, while the Sharks and Tigers had similar opportunities to score but both teams were a little bit less consistent finding the back of the net. Those rusty shooting skills definitely needing polishing up for next time. It was a wonderful afternoon of fun but competitive netball and great to see the girls enjoying themselves in the lovely afternoon spring sunshine.

Scores: Bears 12, Raptors 7; Tigers 4 Sharks 3.

Girls of the Game: Freya, Georgie, Izzy & Lucy

Natalie McIntosh, U13 Netball Coach

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