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.
The children and staff were introduced to our exciting Creative Play project during Collective Worship on Monday morning.
Mrs Stanford showed everyone pictures of our beautiful outdoor classroom areas and contrasted this with some very unexciting examples. She explained what our playtimes were going to become. All children are now allowed to enjoy all areas of the outdoor classroom, and have been given the responsibility for managing their own risk. A particular emphasis was put on the children considering the use of sticks and how to carry timber safely (with the help of YR who are well practised at this). Lots of discussion has taken place around the need for being considerate and using negotiation. This is exactly what happens at Forest School and is a vitally important aspect of children’s development.
They were reminded about guidelines for safety and success – we look after ourselves, each other and the environment.
Children gain enormous benefit from having loose parts to play with as they create richer environments, and promote and support imaginative play.
The ethos of loose play is that children learn best when they play.
Play is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. (Play Wales)
Initial signs are that playtimes have indeed become more engaging for the children. Children have been playing together in mixed age groups, structures are being created (both on the ground and in trees) and there have been far fewer arguments, bumps and scrapes.
I have received lots of positive comments from the parents also and parent emailed
"I just wanted to e-mail to say I've heard wonderful things about the new 'outdoor' playground set-up that's been going on at School. My two boys have been so thrilled with it - most notably by the prospect of playing, planning and interacting with older and younger children. Every afternoon I ask them what their favourite thing at school was that day and now the answer is invariably playing in the 'old' forest school, playing with so-and-so from Year X,Y,Z, getting messy, working on some scheme or building plan, being in the Hide etc etc.
I think its a enormously beneficial for the children and if the others are as enthusiastic as as mine are, then you must have a lot of very happy, active and interactive kids on your hands!
I think its really wonderful that Goudhurst embraces adventurous play, being outside and getting dirty. Just brilliant!"
Click on the link below to find out more about the benfits of this initiative.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mothering Sunday celebrations started on Friday when the children created their mums, grandmas or someone special in their lives a lovely hand tied bunch of flowers. Thank you to all the members of the PTFA who turned the library into a pop up florist shop.
At lunch-time 62 mums, grandmas and carers then joined the children for a delicious lunch.
Today was not only Mothering Sunday but also my birthday! My daughter and I joined many of our children and their families at St. Mary’s Church and were treated to a very enjoyable service lead confidently by the young people of the Church. During the service some of our children from our Trinity Lights represented the school singing Shine from the inside out. I was very impressed by their enthusiastic, well co-ordinated actions, not least their singing. Thank you to everyone who took part - take a look at the video below:
My husband then surprised me with a helicopter ride over the local area taking in Scotney Castle, Bewl Water and an aerial view of the school. Can you spot our pond? Outdoor classroom?
What a wonderful end to a very busy week!
Ten Pieces aims to open up the world of classical music to 7-14 year-olds across the UK and inspire them to develop their own creative responses to the music. On Thursday the whole school went to Benenden Prep School to see 'Kidenza Classical Music Concerts for Kids' for the 4th consecutive year. The theme of the concert was 'A Recipe for a Musical Feast' where the children enjoyed learning about all the different ingredients involved in creating a classical composition. A great time was had by all. Thank you to the parent helpers that volunteered on this trip and particular thanks to Ms Lane for organising it. We are looking forward to next year already.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our kitchen staff and midday meals supervisors who worked incredibly hard to accommodate the extra numbers! Also a big thank you to all of our visitors.
One mum has emailed me already and her kind words are very much appreciated:
"I just wanted to pass on my thanks for a lovely afternoon today for the Mother’s Day Lunch. Everyone I was sitting with and spoke to, had a lovely time and the children were so excited to share it with us.
We are all very grateful to have such a fantastic school, and appreciate the effort that goes into arranging such events for us and our children, Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy your own Mother’s Day on Sunday!"
The Pond is finished! Thank you to the PTFA and Richard Balfour-Lynne for their generous donations so far. We will also be using the money from the Co-op Scheme towards this project.