The Last Lap
Forest School Flavour Of The Month For Nursery
Forest School trips are always the highlight of the week for the Nursery children - and this week was no exception as we embarked on the last leg of the school year. There's absolutely no doubt that taking lessons in the great outdoors is integral to our varied curriculum. The benefits are many; the children experience freedom and space to learn and develop independence, they learn to collaborate through team activities and sharing tools, and the sensory experiences they encounter help develop their language and communication. This week, the children set off on a gloriously warm and sunny afternoon armed with a bowl of flatbread dough they had prepared earlier in the day. Once in the woods, they helped build a fire, learning how to do it safely and finding out exactly what was needed to make it burn well. They then rolled out their dough ready to cook it over the flames, before sampling it as a delicious afternoon snack around the fire pit. Away from the baking, the the warmer weather also meant there was an abundance of new life to be discovered in the woods and the children were completely engrossed as they searched under logs and through the fallen leaves on the ground for insects and other tiny creatures. Forest School is a wonderful way for the children to develop their physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills, and it fosters in the children a heartening interest in and respect for the environment.
Sam Forster, Head of Nursery
Reception Conjure Up Weird And Wonderful Potions
En route to their fabulous Forest School, the children were encouraged to use their senses to consider what has changed in our local environment during the half term holiday. From the vibrant beauty of the blossoming and colourful rhododendrons to the feeling of the warm sun on their faces, the children enjoyed pausing for a moment before racing at high speed toward the woods. On arrival, shrieks of delight were heard when a bottle of 'invisibility potion', complete with instructions on how to make it, was found. It seems that Sue, the friendly witch, has been trying out curious new potions using a range of somewhat dubious ingredients such as grated unicorn horn and snail slime. So imaginations were sparked and learning muscles stretched when several children worked collaboratively to create potions of their own, made up of such delights as mud, sticks, feathers and beetles. And these newly-created potions could, organising to their mischief-making creators, do all sorts of weird and wonderful things such as turning a person into a tiny dog, making you grow into an enormous giant or grow a beard as long as a snake! With such an explosive start to the final half term of the year, it will be fascinating to see what wonderful potions develop over the coming weeks.
Georgie Hunter, Head of Reception
Year 1 Dig Deep To Unearth Marvellous Minibeasts
This glorious sunshine and welcome return to warmer days has seen a marked increase in the activity of minibeasts throughout the Highfield and Brookham grounds. With an ever-popular Summer Term topic of Marvellous Minibeasts, the vast range of creepy crawlies particularly piqued the interest of the curious Year 1 youngsters at Forest School this week. The children were keen to locate scurrying insects of all shapes and sizes, and carefully thinking about their optimal habitats enabled them succeed on their hunting mission. While identifying some of the invertebrates was straightforward, other minibeasts required the children to use their resourceful muscle. Through discussion with their fellow adventurers, as well as the use of a minibeast key, the children quickly whittled down the list of possibilities to identify each mysterious marvel. And some children even took it upon themselves to create a new habitat in which their minibeast could thrive and searched for others to keep them company.
Olivia Shepherd, Year 1 Teacher
Year 2 Look Forward After Period Of Quiet Reflection
The second half of the Summer Term is always special because there is both a feeling of excitement for what is still to come mixed with a quiet reflection on the year that has gone. The Year 2 children have returned to school brimming with a whole range of emotions, conscious that this is a time of transition and animatedly talking about their plans for the summer and looking forward to the new adventures they will undoubtedly have with their friends in Year 3. Having had such a wonderful time at Fishbourne Roman Palace before the half term holiday, the children were keen to find out more about the Romans, so we spent some quality topic time creating the timeline of how and when the Roman empire spread across Europe. As is typical of this year group with their unwavering thirst for knowledge, the children asked some fascinating questions and engaged in discussions that took all of us forward in our learning. And keeping with the Roman theme, we are proud of our recycled plastic bottle planters while Basil has been sown and, if successful, we plan to enjoy Roman-style pizzas made using some of our homegrown ingredients. Tending our vegetable patch has shown us how tricky crop-growing can be, especially during periods of unseasonable weather, which swings from inclement to scorching with precious little in between. With that in mind, we will be lucky to harvest many tomatoes. Still, it’s all good science that contributes to our learning, if not to our pile of provisions. And while there is a real feeling now that we are on the home straight, the final lap, the last leg, I'm confident that for this year’s Foxes and Hedgehogs, it won’t be without breaking a record or two along the way!
Stephanie Turner, Year 2 Teacher
Year 3 Making A Splash In Final Days At Brookham
Year 3 have returned from Mill on the Brue and the half-term holiday a little older, a little wiser and a little busier than ever in this their final term at Brookham. As part of their SOS: Save Our Seas topic, they welcomed a special visitor this week as Professor C Lea-Nup came to talk to them about an invention by one of her proteges, currently being installed in the world's most polluted rivers around the world. She then challenged them to design their own inventions to help in the global fight against plastic pollution. Putting their heads together and applying all they know about solar panels, autonomous structures and recycling, this inventive cohort have begun their initial blueprints for their environmental machines. This might be their last term at Brookham, but their impact upon the world has only just begun...
Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher
Year 4's Dramatic Last Stand Is A Successful One
Year 4 have been exploring the theme of 'voice' in Drama this term, through the topic of Apache. Over the last seven weeks, they have learnt about the skills of verbal and non-verbal communication and why this might have to be considered when exploring how the white Europeans and the Apache Indians first met. They have also developed the four Ps - pitch, power, pace and pause - in relation to how they can use their voice to communicate. This week marked the culmination of our journey and 'the last lap' of our Apache Indians, as the two sides met in The Battle of Little Big Horn. The class were divided into the two opposing sides and had to recreate six group freeze frames to mark each key moment in this story. General Custer did battle with Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and through the power of rolling drama, the scene came alive before them. This was all set to the calming panpipe music of the Apache Indians, which we then filmed and could watch back at the end of the lesson. I have really enjoyed seeing how all the Year 4 pupils have grown in confidence, knowledge and awareness this year in Drama. Their end-of-year production is now on the horizon and I can't wait to see them tread the boards.
Sarah Baird, Head of Drama
Communication The Name Of The Game For Year 5
Year 5 children are going to be great communicators if this week's Study Skills session is anything to go by. They are an integral part of our curriculum and are, more often than not, ingrained in our lessons. Study Skills include growth mindset, target setting, proofreading and editing, and selecting learning preferences. But the theme for Year 5 was 'My Amazing Brain' and 'Communication Skills'. The communication element featured pupils playing a variety of games to hone their skills and get their message across clearly and concisely. Sitting back to back, usually in twos or threes, instructions as to such things as shape and size were given by one pupil with a view to their classmate(s) guessing what item was being described. The pupils did well and certainly relished the challenge but, as you'd probably expect, it's fair to say that there were one or two questionable end products! Memory games and charades were also added to the mix, which helped the children understand the importance of good communication, no matter what form it takes. And, just as importantly, it was all done in a fun and enjoyable way. Talking of which, it's always a pleasure to hear the children playing the games during their break times of their own accord, unaware of the learning opportunities that are taking place.
Vivienne Liddell, Head of Year 5
Honours Even For Year 6 On The Cricket Pitch
Highfield Girls' U11A team took on their Edgeborough rivals in glorious afternoon sunshine on Wednesday. There was some strong and confident batting all round, with standout performances from Emily and Edie in particular as Highfield racked up 248 runs from 12 overs, with only four wickets lost. In the field, Highfield snapped up six wickets. Tallulah and Lottie both hit the stumps, while some clever and efficient fielding accounted for the remaining four wickets. But Edgeborough kept calm under pressure and pulled out some big hits in the last four overs to ease home by 21 runs with a score of 269. In the B team match between the two schools, Highfield chose to bowl first, and the decision proved to be a good one as the hosts won by 24 runs, restricting Edgeborough to a total of 240. There was some incredible bowling from Suzy and Betty, who both took wickets, as well as a superb catch from Georgia. And, in reply, the impressive batting form continued as fine hitting by Betty, Jess, Georgia and Mariella propelled Highfield to a winning total of 264 runs. The girls remained focused throughout and underlined their obvious improvement as we head toward the end of the school year.
Natalie McIntosh, Girls' U11A Cricket Coach
Caring Year 7 Eco Warriors Are A Force Of Nature
As a part of the Year 7 keys programme, the thoughtful pupils have continued the ethos of ‘developing our community’. Throughout the year the group has been busy with a series of eco projects, and we have enjoyed learning how we can make a difference to the environment and how we can make a positive change for the future. Each form group has been busily designing new initiatives, all carefully planned by the children themselves. 7JF were keen to help the bird community in early spring, making bird houses and cleaning out the Highfield pond in order to provide a safe and hospitable place for our wildlife to live, and 7RD were the brains behind the well-received meat-free Mondays initiative, as well as constructing two hibernaculums on site where the local reptile community can find warmth and shelter. 7JD put the finishing touches to the hibernaculums on Thursday, adding a layer of soil to cover the carefully-placed tunnels and foliage, and 7HP will be the final group of eco-warriors this half term as we head to the end of the school year, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what positive changes to the environment they will make.
Rob Dilworth, Head of Co-curricular Activities
Chocolate Treats For Year 8 Scholars
The scholarship set spent Monday morning on a chocolate workshop learning how to temper, set, decorate and present bars, shards and truffles. And the young confectioners left nothing to chance as they sought expert guidance and tips from Mike Noble, Head Chocolatier at Easebourne-based Noble and Stace. The pupils learned clever techniques and picked up valuable nuggets of information from Mr Noble to help them produce their very own mouth-watering chocolatey goodness. During their sweet voyage of discovery, the scholars were particularly surprised to learn of the importance of optimum temperatures in the delicate process of dark and milk chocolate production. Luckily, while poring over pots, trays and greaseproof paper armed with spatulas and scissors, the hardworking scholars got the chance to sample a healthy dose of their gooey wares!
John Muhlemann, Head of Scholarship