Like other schools, our Summer Term had a disrupted start beginning on Tuesday immediately after the Easter Weekend, followed by the Royal Wedding on Friday and Monday May Bank Holiday! We were open on Friday and the small group of children who came in for the morning were treated to some fascinating science experiments by Monty’s Dad, Matt. We produced music by causing air to vibrate in a tube, used air combined with heat or pressure to move objects and made our own electricity by turning a wheel!
The following week we visited The Queen Elizabeth Country Park which provided a valuable conclusion to our wildlife project as well as an alternative venue to the village hall which was in use as a polling station! We were looked after beautifully by Becky who talked to the children about some of the animals we had learnt about and took us to search for evidence that they live in the forest, (when did looking for rabbit droppings become so interesting?) The children were encouraged to think about how some of the animals live and one of their tasks was to hide away some nuts like squirrels and remember where they had hidden them. Becky forgot to remind the children to go and find the nuts but much later, on our way back to the Visitor Centre, Ruby suddenly did a small detour and retrieved hers! The children were provided with maginifying glasses and pots for a bug hunt. It was fun to walk through the forest looking under leaves, wood and stones, never quite knowing what might be hiding there. In the end we found a huge variety, including beatles, centipedes, spiders, woodlice, worms and ants.
We decided to base our new project for the term on “Earth Story” a book by Eric Maddern which tells of the beginning of the Universe. We wanted to convey to the children an idea of how long it took for our galaxy to be created and compare this to the brief amount of time that man has been alive. So, in keeping with Montessori tradition, we unwound the very long black ribbon that represents time taken to create our world and showed the children the small white tip on the end which represents time that man has been in existence. In art we tipped marbles into paint and swirled them in paper lined circular trays to make pictures of galaxies. To illustrate the aftermath of the Big Bang, we soaked black paper with water and used syringes to squirt the paper with yellow, red and orange paint. As the paint ran and blended, the children got an impression of black nothingness becoming filled with light. In music and movement we listened to sounds representing the dramatic eruption of a volcano and we used different body movements to match the erupting magma, explosion of dust and rocks and flowing lava. We also created our own erupting volcano using a mixture of vinegar, washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda.
Other events during the term included the return of our old friend, Storyteller, Mike O’Leary who entertained us with more wierd and wonderful tales accompanied by his music and sound effects. Mike has an extraordinary gift for combining traditional stories with a modern twist that makes them accessible to a wide ranging audience across all ages.
In July, we held our annual Games Day, despite postponing it for a week due to poor weather and we managed to have our traditional picnic in the garden. The children all competed in our obstacle course, sack and balancing races, bat and ball game and sprint! They cheered each other on and entered fully into the spirit of sportsmanship. As Abigail told her parents later – “I didn’t win any of my races, but it was great fun”
In August we are participating in the Froxfield and Privett Horticultural Summer show. Our children have each woven different materials into a frame made of twigs and strung with wool. The results are very individual and very attractive. We hope that parents will take the children to see their work on display at Froxfield Village Hall on 20th August.
We said goodbye to 11 children who are moving on to Infant School in September and although it is a sad occasion because it is the end of their journey with us it is also the beginning of the next very important and exciting step in their lives. We wish them success, fun and happiness in their new schools and look forward to seeing them on Inset Days!
We return on Monday 5th September and looking forward to another busy and happy term.