Here Comes Summer
Nursery Subtly Hone Life Skills In Our Gorgeous Grounds
The Nursery children have certainly been busy making full use of the amazing grounds at the Highfield and Brookham pavilion during the Summer Term. The continuous provision is designed to enhance the children's learning with everything they do. When feverishly throwing themselves into water play, the sandpit, bike riding, tree climbing and visiting Forest School, little do they know that their engagement offers them a huge number of learning opportunities - appropriately enough, now that summer has arrived at last, even learning about keeping safe in the sun by applying sun cream and wearing a hat. While losing themselves in their play sessions free of any inhibitions, the children are continuingly soaking up knowledge, moving forward and challenging themselves. Problem solving, team building and relationship development are carefully and seamlessly nurtured while early engagement with mathematics comes in the form of measuring, pouring, counting, adding and subtracting. And carrying pots full of water, riding bikes, climbing and mark making help develop both gross and fine motor skills. Throughout daily play, the children are also learning to share and patiently wait their turn which, of course, helps their personal, social and emotional development. These essential skills are used on a daily basis and really do lay the foundations for life for the Nursery children. And what an amazing place they have in which to gain and develop these skills and experiences!
Lou Blackaby, Nursery Teacher
Sun Beats Down As Reception Head To The Beach
Reception have made the most of the glorious sunshine this week. The busy children worked together to fill and carry big drums of water which they used to cool themselves down, build dams in the sandpit, and water the plants. After a scorching start to the week, Reception took welcome shade in the woods where they got to work making fabulous fairy houses, potent potions, snazzy swings and top traps. The welcome sun really made the children's smiles even wider while thoughts also turned to the approaching summer break. The children got to recreate some of their favourite summer holiday activities by pretending they were on the beach, making ice creams and splashing about in a pretend pool. With their very own summer in full swing, Reception used their mathematical knowledge to compare and build sandcastles, make ice creams and play pretend shops, and the language used during the dam building, the collection of water from a leaky tray and the role play beach shop was truly phenomenal. The youngsters really demonstrated what resourceful learners they are by using their imagination and making links between their home experiences and fun at school!
Lucy Deary, Reception Teacher
Year 1 Ecologists Get Close To Nature
Whether it’s orchestrating a game of cricket or chatting under a shady tree at playtime, Year 1 are revelling in their collaborations now summer is finally upon us. They have impressed us with their increased confidence and problem-solving skills, both in and out of the classroom. While outdoor learning is a key feature of the curriculum all year round, during these sunnier climes it becomes even more alluring. Moreover, what better way to avoid the heat of the day than to head up to Forest School and go on a bug hunt. With appetites whet after a term learning about minibeasts, Year 1 proved to be diligent detectives. As a precursor to making their own bug hotels next week and using clever writing techniques to persuade a minibeast to come and live there, they explored different micro-habitats. There was much excitement after a variety of bugs were spotted, not least a toad, giant slugs, caterpillars and red beetles to name but a few. The children were encouraged to stretch their resilient learning muscle by noticing where these animals were found and the types of places they like to live. By studying the way in which animals and plants live harmoniously both with one another and with their environment, they are showing a growing understanding of ecology and the balance of nature. In the words of David Attenborough:
It seems…that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement, the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest
Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher
Creative Year 2 Go Potty For Roman Wares
The warm and humid weather at the beginning of the week gave Year 2 perfect first-hand experience of the heat a potter would have worked in while producing their wares during the Roman times. As the creative children worked on their pots, they learnt that ancient Roman pottery was widely divided into fine and coarse ware, with the coarse ones being used regularly for daily activities such as cooking, preservation and transportation of goods and foodstuffs, while the fine ware were mostly used as serving vessels during official dining occasions. The diligent children became completely absorbed in their creations, all the while working with great care and imagination, and the final pots looked magnificent. This creative vibe continued up at Forest School where the focus of the session was land art. Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's woodland art photographs, the children worked collaboratively in groups or individually to create their masterpieces. And away from their studies, there was much excitement on Tuesday too as the children spent the morning in Year 3, meeting the team of teachers and assistants and hearing all about the interesting activities ahead of them next year. One thing's for sure, they are without doubt proving they are ready for the final chapter of their lovely Brookham journey.
Kerri Wilkes, Year 2 Teacher
Year 3 Get Creative To Build Colourful Coral Reef
With the sun shining brightly this week, Year 3 have been embracing the summer and thrown themselves fully into our worthy topic 'Save Our Seas'. The open-minded children have loved learning about the different types of coral and the vital roles that coral plays within the ocean. Did you know that a quarter of all marline life lives on coral reefs? Or that half a billion people rely on coral reefs for food? All of the environmentally-minded children in Year 3, without exception, have enjoyed using a wide range of creative resources (including expanding foam!) to create their very own coral. And mirroring what happens in the ocean, each piece of coral that the children have made is coming together to form a fabulous, colourful coral reef. With such care and dedication to the environment, our planet looks to be in very good hands.
Ellie Graham, Year 3 Teacher
Year 4 Tantalise The Tastebuds With Marvellous Mocktails
The production of thirst-quenching fruity drinks was the order of the day for busy Year 4 as they appropriately got to grips with making summer mocktails as the warm sun beat down on the beautiful grounds of Highfield and Brookham. The eager children made light work of the tricky challenge of reading scales and measuring ingredients as they produced tantalising tipples such as Raspberry Ripple, Rum Punch and Summer Breeze with great enthusiasm. The children worked in small groups on a range of different activities, such as carefully measuring the capacity of myriad containers and diligently weighing a selection of fruit and vegetables, but without doubt the overwhelming favourite task was the making, and sampling, of the mighty mocktails!
Rosie Dachtler, Year 4 Teacher
Improving Year 5 Cricketers Too Good For Aldro
The boys' U10B team took on their rival cricketers from Aldro in the hot sunshine on Wednesday. After winning the toss and deciding to field first, Highfield began well with the opening bowlers finding a good line as the visitors from Shackleford found runs difficult to come by. As the innings wore on, Aldro's batsmen did get into a groove and punished any loose bowling with a series of boundaries. But just as Aldro threatened to cut loose, a couple of quick wickets put Highfield back on top as they restricted the visitors to a beatable score. Chasing 62 to win, Highfield scored freely with the bat and quickly moved to within touching distance of Aldro's score. But a flurry of wickets meant the hosts had to dig deep to first stem the tide and then take the lead. Having settled their nerves and steadied the ship, smart batting and good running between the wickets saw Highfield ease to a 40-run win. It was a great performance from all of the boys, both with the bat and the ball. It's great to see all of the boys improving as the season has gone on and I hope that this continues until the end of the season.
Elliott Hall, U10B Boys' Cricket Coach
Vibrant Friendship Bench A Labour Of Love For Year 6
Year 6 are an artistic and industrious bunch - but don't just take my word for it. Very soon you will be able to see the results of their hard work and creativity for yourself when their lovingly-crafted 'friendship bench' takes pride of place in the school grounds. As part of their ongoing Keys sessions, the children have been painstakingly sanding and painting to ready the bench for its public unveiling before the end of the Summer Term. Having already applied two coats, the pupils were able to take full advantage of the beautiful summer weather out in the playground to add more than just a splash of colour to the snazzy bench. And it was great to see all the children working together and taking a huge amount of pride in their project, both this week in the sunshine and previous weeks on the squash court. The bench, which we expect to be completed in the coming days, already radiates brightness and warmth and is sure to be a friendly and welcoming addition for our pupils.
Adela Munoz Garcia, Year 6 Keys Teacher
Year 7's 'Big Red' Slides To Glory In Chariots Of Highfire
There was much excitement on Thursday evening when, at long last, THE major sports event of the year was able finally to take place after the Covid pandemic put a stop to it in 2020. No, we're not talking about the Euros, but instead the drama and spectacle that is 'Chariots of Highfire'. For the uninitiated, the best way to picture this is to think of a cross between the start of an Olympic bobsleigh run and a dragster race down a very steep and slippery hill!
Back in May, groups of boarders began creating their chariots out of large cardboard boxes, and the dull brown boxes were soon transformed into creative, colourful chariots. Although dreadful weather forced multiple postponements of race day, it did mean the charioteers had longer to festoon their vehicles with added features such as wings and go-faster stripes. And then, finally, conditions changed and on a sunny, summer-like evening we were all set to race. During the day, the slippy slide was set up and the course prepared ready for the event by the Chariot Safety Team. The going was tested and adjudged to be good to firm, which experience suggested favoured the heavier designs. Safety factors were considered and triage points prepared ready for the brave boarders who adopted the maxim 'if you aren't crashing, you aren't trying hard enough' a little too seriously.
Finally, after supper, and having 'talked the talk', it was time for the fun-loving racers to 'slide the slide'. So teams of excited boarders duly collected their chariots from the Art Room and the chariot parade wound its way to the paddock with the sounds of the iconic Vangelis theme ringing in their ears. Waiting for them were throngs of spectators eager to witness first hand the thrills and spills they knew were mere minutes away. Head judge Mr Evitt then cast his expert eye over the chariots for the 'Best Design' competition. This was a supremely tough task but, after much deliberation, the Y7 girls' team with their 'Big Yellow Taxi' creation were adjudged the winners. Seasoned chariot veterans all remarked on the high standard of design this year, and it was felt that in another year 'Meatballs', 'The Pickle', 'Rocket' and 'Assassination Classroom' could well have won first prize.
Then it was on to the main event and a fierce competition as the teams fought to race their chariots down the slippy slide in the quickest possible time, and as more and more washing-up liquid and baby oil was added, the course became slicker and quicker. The spectators were in fine voice by this stage, perhaps in the manner of Roman citizens in the Colosseum baying for blood and eager for gruesome entertainment. On the track, desperate teams resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to shave vital milliseconds off their time and soon stripped their chariots of non-essential items such as brakes and steering, with many following another old chariot mantra that "brakes are for wimps!" The lead changed hands several times, but in the end 'Big Red' showed their rivals a clean pair of wheels - extremely clean given the amount of washing-up liquid on the track - to clean up for the Y7 boys' team in a speedy time of 5.75 seconds, an agonising 0.1 seconds outside the 'world record' set in 2018 on the same course. And celebrating the end of a momentous race in traditional style, all the boarders were given the chance to throw themselves down the slippery side. Chariot racing is one of my favourite Highfield activities as it gives our pupils the chance to be creative, work as a team and have some serious fun.
Andy Baker, Head of Boarding (Strategic)
Incessant Rain Fails To Dampen Spirits Of Year 8 Golfers
Despite driving rain, seven intrepid Year 8 golfers headed out to the fairways and greens for our friendly match against rivals Amesbury. The golf team have been left frustrated after having a number fixtures cancelled before half term, so it was great to be able to get back on the course to host Amesbury at ‘Royal Highfield’. The course was particularly challenging given the incessant rain, but there was some good golf played by the battling septet. While many players carried their own clubs, others were lucky enough to have caddies, and several non-playing team members braved the rain to add their support to the cause.
Richard Dunn, Year 8 Golf Coach