We had a fabulous day at Trosley Country Park today. Travelling up in the minibus and 3 cars, we arrived slightly late, but soon settled into our activities. Gemma from Outdoor Studios reminded the children about the Ash Tree; following up on the information they were given on Monday.
They began by using charcoal to do some observational drawings of the Ash trees surrounding the outdoor classroom area. Then off we went on a short walk to another part of the wood. On the way we took a short break at the climbing bars. At the next stopping point we observed lots of fallen trees, blown over by the wind; some of these were Ash. Amazingly, in spite of the damage many of them were still growing. The children found flint and chalk. The chalk they used to draw the root of the trees, along with some charcoal. Mrs Stanford had a little 'woodland envy' as this area was a wonderful space for children to play and learn.
We returned to the centre to prepare for lunch - a thorough hand wash.
After lunch, another time to play - lots of millipedes kept the children entertained for quite a while. Then we had time to create sun pictures and bark rubbings of ash trees. The children had lots to do, and the time rushed by, so it was soon time to leave for the return journey.
Thanks should be extended to Mrs Ridout, Mrs David and Mrs Newton who very kindly gave up time in their busy lives to transport the children. Thank you ladies!
We were blessed with amazing weather, and everyone agreed it was a great day. Certainly a great venue to visit if you haven't been there. We would recommend it.
Have a look at the amazing photos taken by Mrs Newton (and a few not so good ones taken by Mrs Stanford). Most are in the year 5 gallery.
Today Ms Lane received notification of the outcome of our Artsmark application.
"Thank you for your submissions to Artsmark.
Your Statement of Commitment and Case Study have been reviewed by our assessment panel and we are delighted to inform you that Goudhurst and Kilndown Church of England Primary School has been awarded an Artsmark Gold Award. Congratulations!
The panel has made the following comment about your submissions:
The panel was delighted that Artsmark is ‘held accountable’ for such positive change in your school! Your commitment to the arts as a vehicle for learning, well-being, confidence and sheer pleasure is evident. You have further enhanced your focus on pupil voice and choice through the implementation of Arts Awards, your Arts Council and Arts Festival; you have extended your range of offer and have engaged parents and the wider community. The testaments provided with regard to children’s self-awareness and self-confidence are moving and powerful. Going forward, you will wish to continue to develop partnerships with outside organisations and should use this and other means to share your example and advocate for the arts, using your pupils as ambassadors.
Congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award!
As a Gold Artsmark school Arts Council England celebrates your commitment to arts and cultural education at a leadership level and the opportunities embedded across your provision. Your children and young people have equal opportunity to plan, experience, participate in, and evaluate a diverse range of high-quality arts and cultural activities and you recognise the importance of development opportunities delivered by specialists for your staff in these areas. You engage with a range of arts and cultural organisations and can evidence the positive impact of these partnerships. Your children and young people have an opportunity to further develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of arts and culture and you are working to share the expertise you have established.
Once again, congratulations on your Artsmark Gold Award.
With warm wishes,
Arts Council England
I think you will agree this is an amazing achievement and demonstartes our commitment to providing all children here at Goudhurst & Kilndown a rich curriculum that places equal importance on providing high quality teaching and learning of the 'Arts' as it does on high attainment in Reading, Writing, Maths and Science.
We have also been awarded a Music Mark from the Royal College of Music and we are a Trinity College accredited Arts Award Centre.http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=64
Both Y1 groups spent a few minutes at the start of the day today identifying and collecting Elder flowers, The children looked at the tree, smelled the flowers, and collected some in a bag to take to the woods, We learned about why plants have flowers and that if we leave some on the tree, they will be fertilised by insects, and then berries will form in the autumn.
Alder group then carried these flowers to the woods to add to the ones Tawny Owl had collected in the woods earlier (which involved much stumbling around and falling over and being stung by the nettles)!
We soon got on with the task of boiling a large kettle of water and taking the flowers off the stalks. Tyler and Harry were particularly good at this, although Miles was the most entertaining! All the children had a go at this task.
While this was going on, some of the group had a go at using a very sharp knife to cut up the lemons. All this was put together in a large pan, with the water and sugar and put over the fire to brew! The children had decided they felt like they were making potions and there was talk of wizards in the woods!
Tommy thought he had seen a bear after spotting bare claw marks on one of the trees – this prompted a great game involving lots of howling wolves.
While we were waiting for the Elderflower Cordial to brew, we played a game of ‘What am I – Nature’. The children chose a card out of a basket and on the card was the name of a woodland plant or animal, and the children either had to give clues, or do an impression! We didn’t have time to do them all, but we had: a primrose, fox, honeysuckle, nettle, hazel, and bramble.
Most of the children tasted the Elderflower Cordial – most deciding they liked it, but some found it rather too sweet. We discussed making it again with less sugar. We will see what the other Forest School Groups think later in the week.
Rabbit visited us later in the morning to share in Silent Spot.
Tyler explained to Hornbeam group how the Elderflower had been made, and then the children enjoyed playing hard in the woods. There was lots of playing in trees, a walking stick game (which evolved into) a ‘comic game’, where the children slid down a piece of timber with a piece of stick which they hoped would break so they fell on the ground for the others to laugh at! The children also enjoyed playing in one of the hammocks again today.
Everyone agreed that a happy time was had by everyone.
Yesterday afternoon, the children created an art gallery! Using sticks and whatever else they could find outside, they created some pictures of outdoor scenes, houses and animals. Have a look at the photos below.
Rabbit joined the children in the woods today. She had a lovely time. Indeed Rabbit commented, “ It was wonderful to watch and listen to the children immersed in their activities. There was so much learning taking place without the children even realising it.”
The children enjoyed helping with topping up the woodshed. Look at the dragonfly they found!
Tawny Owl was lucky to be attending a Forest School Conference in West Sussex. She also learned much, and has returned with more ideas for our Forest School. She also made a platter/basket which she plans to try doing with the older children and adults.
What a very busy day today!
Larch group began by gathering timber for cutting and splitting to put in the woodshed. They worked incredibly hard to find appropriate wood - even pushing down a couple of small dead but standing trees! Not only that but then gathering a team of people to carry it back to the Forest School area for cutting.
They then willingly cut the timber and split it. Meanwhile another group were emptying the woodshed so that it could be sorted and restacked.
Everyone worked incredibly hard.
When they weren't helping with this task, they played in the hammocks, or built amazing shelters, climbed trees, or sat and did some weaving. Tawny Owl had bought a couple of Bushcraft magazines and a story 'Weslandia' (which she read to Larch group), which some of the children had a look at.
Birch group did not need to gather timber, but still enjoyed working hard to help prepare it for the woodshed.
This group enjoyed the hammocks, as well as composing some woodland music; watch this space, as they proclaimed they would be making an album!
Tawny Owl is in the process of putting together a video of the day; she will let you know when it appears on this blog.
Meanwhile have a look at the photos below; there will be more on the class 4 gallery.
What a busy day today!
The sun shone which allowed Tawny Owl to dry some of the equipment which became so wet yesterday. The birds sang, and Willow group were able to do some tracking on their way to the Forest School area. We spotted deer footprints in the mud on the footpath, and also talked about rivers as the heavy rain yesterday had left a dry river bed on the footpath.
We began to create Woodland Journals today - each child created a leaf print and a bark rubbing to help learn how to identify some of the variety of trees on our woodland.
The children were keen to make bows and arrows like year 4, so Goldcrest helped some of them learn how to ties a clove hitch by using the story: make a fishy, then a dishy; place the fishy on the dishy.
The mud created after the rain was just the right consistency to make mud ice-creams.
The music tripod os also coming along and several children enjoyed creating melodies, while nearby others hunted for worms, centipedes and woodlice under the sitting logs.
One boy from Willow group also continued the work year 6 had begun on making a bridge.
Look at the class gallery for more photos.
Year 2 had a wonderful day learning in the woods today.
They climbed trees and had a go at making shelters. Ratty showed the children how to create some woodland art, and Tawny Owl, Goldcrest, Blossom and Cuckoo worked together with Eva and Sebastian to begin creating a music stand. Thank you to Blossom who took the xylophone bars home to drill as using the brace and bit was really hard work, although Eva persevered to drill a hole in one of the bars with Goldcrest and Blossom's help, even though the wood was really hard.
Field Maple group sat quietly when they arrived, trying to see if the Thrush would visit it's babies in the nest in the Ash tree to feed them. Sadly the children did not see this happen as they were so keen to go and play! They all ran around playing noisily before settling down to make a see-saw, which the children enjoyed, and worked together to ensure everyone had a happy and safe time.
Tawny Owl showed the children a wood wasp nest which she found in the shed. Lily explained very well how the wasp makes the paper to create it's nest.
We had lovely weather today, although Field Maple groups had to rush to put their coats on when we had a heavy April shower.
Have a look at the class gallery to see more photos.
What can I say! What a wonderful evening was had by all yesterday at our third Arts Festival. Our school motto is 'Enjoy Achieve Together' and last night certainly was an example of this. It was so lovely to see the whole school community, parents, children, governors and of course the stars of the show 'children' coming together to provide an evening of entertainment, fun, laughter and celebration. This year the event was opened by an amazing performance from Emily Allen (known to you as Mrs Mckay who is an actress in her own right)-she certainly set the bar high! This was then followed by a showcase of a wide range of talent by children from the full breadth of the school, an ex pupil Charlotte Ensor, Mr Golledge (a music producer and teacher and parent) and a surprise appearance from Wonder Woman! All the acts received a rapturous applause from a full house of performer's family, friends and members of staff. The evenings proceedings were masterfully led by the schools Arts Council as the audience enjoyed performances ranging from instrumental, to modern dance, to poetry recitals, to the school Choir and forgetting the Staff SClub 8. Thank you to Ella for doing Lighting, Jake for the Sound and the PTFA for providing refreshments during the interval, indeed the evening was a truly magnificent affair, with children and parents beaming from ear to ear. Video to follow!
Alongside the celebration we made a presentation acknowledging the outstanding contribution to the Arts by one of our children. The Lindsay Roberts Arts Award recognises talent, commitment and aspiration towards achievement in the Arts, be it at performance level of something someone has simply done for joy. Congratulations to Gemma Brassley who was awarded the "Lindsay Roberts" Arts Award for 2018.
Her love of drama began with the school nativity plays in KS1 and she has participated in the drama club productions. She had her first major part last year, playing Prospero in her class production of The Tempest at the Shakespeare School Festival at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. Mr Gilder describe his experience of working with Gemma:
“Gemma was a true leader by example when Year 5 rehearsed and performed The Tempest at the end of last year. I particularly remember one rehearsal, about two weeks in, when we were sitting in a circle going through the play and got to the final scene, in which Gemma's character had most of the lines and was responsible for tying up all the loose ends of what is Shakespeare's most complex play. Robin didn't have her script with her, so Gemma said she could borrow hers but asked Robin to keep it open so if she forgot any lines she could look down and see them. She proceeded to deliver all her lines crisply and clearly, with a total understanding of the script. When we finished the whole of the Year 5 cast were silent and just looked at her in astonishment. Then they clapped her. It was a great moment for Gemma but also for the rest of the children because it made them really believe in each other and that they really could do Shakespeare. So, when it came to writing this scene for the Arts Festival I knew I needed to stretch Gemma. I deliberately wrote her a character that firstly sits and listens which is a vital discipline for actors to perfect. Then she had the big wordy difficult speech towards the end that I knew she would relish.”
Gemma is also an enthusiastic and committed member of the school choir and has enjoyed two trips to the O2 as well as performances at the Summer fetes and church services. This year I am sure you would agree that she flourished in delivering her first solo performance to you this evening. She has singing lessons with Kent Music at school and will be taking her Grade One exam this Summer.
She is also a member of the Kilndown Youth Choir meeting every Saturday morning. Her choir master, Julian Wells says "Gemma is a truly inspirational member of the Kilndown Community Choir. She has a beautiful singing voice, incredible musicality for her age and an ability to really engage her audience. Her ability to learn all of the words is also legendary! She inspires all of her fellow choir members, both children and adults and is such an asset to the choir." She has performed at several concerts and sang her first solo at the Advent Family Service in Christ Church.
Don't worry if you missed it, click on the video to find out more.
....and a memorable finale to this years' Arts' Festival - S Club 8 hit the stage.
Almost year 6's last ever Forest School Session.
They planted tree seeds for their buddies - the idea being that the seeds will be germinated and growing before the end of the year, when year 6 will hand them on to their buddies in YR, who will then nurture them throughout their time at Goudhurst and Kilndown; planting out when large enough.
'Poetree' was composed, practised and performed. Friendship and teamwork was a key theme to today's sessions.
Leon and Jack were noticed especially for all their hard work in composing, practising and performing their poem as well as finding and transporting LARGE pieces of timber for cutting for the fire. Well done boys!
Look at the year 6 gallery for more photos, and watch this space for a video of their poetry.