Issue 9 - Autumn Term 2020
A very warm welcome Issue 8 of the term.
20th November 2020
Life continues as normally as possible at Windlesham and for the sake of our children, I am very grateful for the both the safety and calm that our little corner of the South Downs provides.
It was wonderful to watch the Inter-House mixed football tournaments this week and for a very happy hour or so, it was almost possible to forget about the pandemic and be transported back to simpler and more normal times. The friendly, competitive nature of any house competition is always a joy, and the football was certainly no different. Every team worked together with the usual mixture of skill, determination, effort and good fun. It was impressive to watch and my congratulations to the children and staff involved. Further inter-house excitement is to come, all with a Christmas theme so watch this space!
As adults, we may often see exercise as a necessity and not always a pleasure; something to balance our lifestyles, to lose weight or as part of a new, healthier regime. However, for children it is a valuable part of their everyday lives and such an essential element to their growth and development. For Windlesham pupils, exercise means playing and being physically active whether that’s at break time on the adventure playgrounds or running in the woods, as well as in their structured PE and games lessons each week. In addition to the obvious benefits of physical activity in schools such as enhancing fitness, improving bone and muscle strength and promoting healthy body composition, exercise contributes to so much more. There is a wealth of scientific research that shows regular exercise makes a significant impact on children’s ability to learn, academic attainment and the progress they make. These benefits include improved memory function (including maths problem solving), overall higher cognitive performance, better focus, concentration and classroom behaviour and equally important, regular exercise also plays an important part in reducing anxiety and increasing confidence. I am sure that none of this comes as much of a surprise, but it is a helpful reminder that by providing a broad and rich curriculum with an equal emphasis on high academic rigour through a creative and individual approach together with a full and varied co-curricular programme, we are giving our children the best possible opportunities for a healthy, happy and successful childhood.
I have been immensely impressed with our Year 8 pupils this week and the way they have approached their mock CE exams. This can often be a worrying time but they have approached the challenge with great effort, resilience and cheerfulness as well as realising that any mistakes made now are fantastic learning opportunities. I was particularly pleased, during my supervision of their revision sessions, to see their effective study skills in play. Together with the ability to think critically, display independent learning habits and being able to analyse, synthesise and hypothesise, these are all areas we will be developing across the school in the coming weeks and terms.
After a number of weeks of planning and discussing logistics, I am really pleased to announce that we will be offering pupils the opportunity to bring their horses and ponies to board at Windlesham too from the summer term 2021. As someone who grew up surrounded by horses, I am really looking forward to seeing them at Windlesham soon.
I hope you all enjoy the long weekend and a chance to relax a little before the busy and exciting run up to the end of term.
The busy activities programme that runs through the week at Windlesham becomes even more fun-packed at weekends. This weekend featured three different year-group discos, a pizza takeaway, dodgeball tournaments, waterpolo, cooking and even target pistol shooting.
The lovely Poppy Sutcliffe came into coach our Year 8 girls for cricket - having herself represented Sussex at this age and now playing for Lancing and Middleton boys’ U16s.
In Boarding, we’ve always made celebrating birthdays important and now they’re more fun than ever. Typical ingredients include a birthday banner, and treats left on the pillows of everyone in the birthday dorm. Best of all, birthday parties involve the entire year group - everyone is invited! And, lest anyone be forgotten, our Birthday Boards remind everyone whose birthday is coming up next.
The Boarding Team
Target Shooting Taster Session
Last Saturday afternoon. Groups, in their bubbles, of children took part in this. It was awesome with plenty of potential shown by lots of them.
We are hoping to hold another taster for many who missed this first time round and then looking to having this on a more regular basis for those who are really interested to take it to the next step.
This week in Year 5 maths the pupils have been learning how to find the difference between positive and negative numbers, and add and subtract positive and negative numbers using a number line.
The class started the week by working outside, using large chalk number lines drawn onto the ground. This allowed them the physical experience of using a number line and applying the new rules of positive and negative numbers.
The pupils worked collaboratively in small groups to answer a variety of questions and some REALLY challenging ones! Year 5 also enjoyed racing against each other to win points. Later in the week, pupils used small number lines in the classroom to tackle some independent work.
Excellent enthusiasm, focus, effort and progress made by everyone this week.
Computing & Digital Learning
We have some very talented coders in our Year 5 Code Club and they have been impressing me with their skills and enthusiasm. This week we enjoyed programming chatbots that they could have a conversation with. In addition, Edward made everyone a badge which were worn with pride - keep an eye on these guys as they are going places!
In Science lessons this week, the Year 5 pupils have been collaborating to design and conduct experiments investigating the rate of dissolving under different conditions and Year 6 pupils have been investigating the pH scale and testing their own indicator solutions against Litmus Paper and Universal Indicator.
This week in history Year 6 have been looking into the reasons why the Battle of the Somme was fought during the First World War. Here are some of Miss Johnson's form reading soldiers’ accounts of the disastrous first day on 1st July 1916. Before we even started to look into the details, the children were able to understand so much about what went wrong from these primary sources. They will now develop their understanding by working in groups with a variety of different source material, with the aim to present their findings to the rest of the class.
Fantastic pair work in French, working together gives an opportunity for the pupils to help each other, work things out and motivate each other to do well. When learning is fun, pupils’ participation is at its highest. Thanks to a mix of teaching and access to technology, the children are making excellent progress in French.
Watch Year 4 learn greetings in French here
In PSHE, Year 7 have been creating ‘charters’ based on their own values designed to build a better society and Year 6 have been discussing how to avoid stereotyping people based on appearance.
In ESOL, Year 5 were learning about the senses. They enjoyed making popplets of the vocabulary, creating a useful visual guide to show how different words associated with our senses link up. We discussed how perfume relates to smell and ear to hearing, for example, and they put these into connected boxes on their popplets. They can also add to their popplets when they come across any new connections for themselves. They also enjoyed colour coding the popplets and there was plenty of enthusiasm for creating new boxes!
Scholarships to Senior Schools
The first scholarship of the academic year!
Congratulations to Tristan who has been awarded a highly sought-after golf scholarship to Stowe School. Come rain or shine, Tristan can always be found on the golf course! His dedication and natural talent for golf has been well rewarded with this scholarship.
Year 4 are very excited to be starting on their rehearsals for ‘Rumpus at the Vets’ to be performed Spring term. Whether we can perform this from our theatre stage or turn it in to film for home viewing, the show must go on! There's lots to do, characters to choose and lines to learn! We will update our progress as we go!
The junior bubble and Year 6 are creating a performance poetry piece inspired by nature at this time of year. They will create their own Imovies using the poetic verses they have written, footage of our explorations and time-lapses of the mask they are creating with Mrs Clark, especially for the occasion.
Mrs Jenkins & Mrs Clark
The Junior pupils got their Christmas on yesterday in our amazing new Marimba Room! With lots of space to learn, the pupils look forward to playing and sharing their Marimba pieces in the virtual Christmas performances later on in the term.
Pupils have been working with all kinds of different textures from paper to fabrics to clay and paints. There have been lots of interesting art projects going on throughout the year even from home in lockdown where the pupils continued experimenting with art in even more ways. Everyone has shown great creativity in their artistic responses.
Fun and highly competitive Year 7 Inter-House Football was played out under gloomy skies yesterday afternoon, the first done officially as a mixed event. The rise in enthusiasm for girls' football was clearly in evidence with the ladies giving as good as they got and in some cases a lot more! All houses competed well right to the end even if things weren't quite going their way and none finished pointless. The final positions were.
1st HUNT 4th RALEIGH
2nd BADER 5th DRAKE
3rd SCOTT 6th GRENFELL
And yet another fantastic afternoon out on the pitches today, this time for our Year 6 and Junior mixed Inter House Football competitions. The drop in temperature made the afternoon a little fresh, but we still had smiles all round!
The final positions
Whilst being kind is part of our everyday lives in the Pre-Prep, this week we have had kindness at the forefront of our classroom discussion times. The children have discussed what kindness is, what it looks like and why it is important to be kind. Our chapel service this week saw the children beginning to make a chain of kindness. The idea being that they would pass kindness around the department throughout the day. It has been wonderful to hear the children sharing how others have passed kindness to them and how that made them feel. Next week, we will be focussing on how we are stronger together and the importance of teamwork.
This week, the children’s play showed a renewed interest in our wooden blocks and animals with a new zoo being created every day. This gave the children a chance to share what they know about animals and zoos as well as share resources, plan ideas together and demonstrate flexible thinking as they learned through trial and error which methods of stacking and arranging worked best. The zoo was also labelled and mapped by the children which was a brilliant way to build in our phonics and letter knowledge. Using the book “You Choose” as a platform, many children have been telling stories and helping us to write them down.
The best part is listening to the wild and ridiculously imaginative stories at the end of the day. We have added a light table to our classroom provision which has inspired some gorgeous tracing. In maths we are learning all about bossy teen numbers- the one simply insists it MUST be at the front! We have also been looking at some photographs with our maths brains on and seeing many patterns and shapes as well as building in our addition knowledge using words such as plus, add and all together. In literacy, we have also met two of our handwriting characters this week and their actions - tall Harriet the cow reaching up to the sky and Georgia the pig who has a round tummy and loves rolling in the mud.
We also had a lesson this week on feeling words and things that make us feel that way and strategies to feel better if we are sad, scared or angry. These self-regulation skills help us all the time and the children in our class are all very empathetic and comfort one another if needed - lots of cuddles and kind words!
Our specialist lessons have kept us busy as well! In Spanish the children practised their greetings and the parts of the body needed to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. In swimming we had some brave jumpers in the shallow end and very brave swimmers in the deep end - there has been such growth in pool and water confidence for all of the children. In music we have been busy preparing Christmas songs which will be perfect for our production! There was no Forest School this week due to the half day on Friday but we’ll be back in the woods next week. In PE Miss Charman has continued to help them develop their ball skills and overall coordination.
We have been working hard to create our own castle dictionaries this week, applying our knowledge of all we have learnt. We will alphabetise our entries at the end of the week, paying close attention to the notoriously tricky ‘elemeno’ letters. We make an effort to slow right down when we sing our alphabet at this part so that we know it is L, M, N, O! We have also been discussing natural land features that lent themselves to optimal locations for castles, such as on cliff tops for incredible views of approaching enemy, as well as necessary proximity to food and water sources.
The children have enjoyed studying books in our class library about castles when they get a few spare moments and have excitedly brought pages to show me, declaring, “Do you know you’re actually teaching us the truth, Mrs Johnstone, because there’s a picture of it in this book?!” I hope that is reassuring for you all!
Perhaps our highlight though, has been in beginning to make our own model castles. Thus far, the walls have been painted, the portcullis has been attached and flags have been designed. Next week we will assemble the towers, pinch out the battlements and deal with the drawbridge! So much still to accomplish this term but what great fun we are having along the way!
This week in Year 2, we have immersed ourselves in the world of Samuel Pepys. We found out that Samuel actually wrote his diary using a secret code so that nobody could read what he had written, his wife included! The children were excited to experience how it would have felt writing with a quill and some fascinating secret codes were created!
Each day we have focussed on one particular writing element; conjunctions, past tense verbs and adverbs and the children have been tasked with using these in their daily diary writing. The finished diaries tell a story of first hand experiences in the role of Samuel Pepys.
In maths, our learning focus has been centred around understanding the tricky process of expanded column subtraction, the children have all worked really hard with understanding each of the four steps in the process and have used a range of different practical resources and methods to master the skill! We are very impressed. In Art, the children completed their silhouettes of a london street in 1666 and then applied the techniques of creating movement in the flames using either paint, pastel, chalk or pens. The results are superb!
The excitement is building for the Christmas movie; anyone would think Hollywood was on its way! The green screen has appeared and all the children are busy learning their lines, the movie poster should give you a taster of what excitement is in store!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and we look forward to more learning fun next week.
Head of Pre-Prep
Pre-Prep Photo Gallery
Headmaster's Awards & Commendations
Players of the Week
Alfie D W, Year 8
For outstanding effort and support to his peers with their understanding of the game in rugby.
Milly E, Year 6
For showing total commitment towards everything that is asked of her.
Theo F, Cameron G, Max F-K, Lolly O, Sophie C, Mollie T, Tess O
Musician of the Week
Danny B, Year 8
For his exceptional playing in the remembrance service and for his continued efforts in preparing for his music scholarship.
Junior Teacher Kindness Awards
Edwin L, Year 8
For always being helpful with putting things away without being asked.
Melody J, Year 7
For being kind and caring when another child was homesick.
Drama Star of the Week
Sophie C, Year 4
For her exquisitely animated face and voice as rehearsals begin for the Year 4 performance piece 'Rumpus at the Vets'.
Artist of the Week
Noella N, Year 7
For her lovely poppy painting.
Boarder of the Week
Andrew F, Year 8
For being polite and well organised in dorms.
This week the headmaster has given his official praise to:
Melody J in Year 7 for her amazing effort helping the marketing department in making a film.
Golden Moments Awards
Archie L-B recognised that two fellow pupils had not been in the previous lesson so may need extra help with the new class task and helped them.
Freddie N used his initiative to be extremely helpful and went above and beyond.
Edward E upon realising that one of his classmates did not have a chair Edward asked if he could get one and went off and did it.
Dami A D had picked up the last apple from the plate and quickly realised that his friend had wanted this so gave it to them.
Yasmin M used her own initiative and showed kindness by going out of her way to help a member of staff.
Jasmine G after carefully completing her picture of a shark in class, Jasmine's first thought was of her friend who she knew loved sharks and asked if she could give it to him. The child who received it was delighted.
Moroti A with no suggestion, and without hesitation, Moroti began helping to clear up the dining room purely because he wanted to help.
Cameron G recognising a fellow pupil was in pain and on seeing him making an additional trip to collect his jumper, Cameron stopped him and collected it for him.
Ryder Q for displaying kindness, respect, open-mindedness and maturity towards younger children and the member of staff during the Saturday morning creative expression exercise.
Oliver J recognised that a fellow pupil was missing home and in order to provide some comfort he waited in dorms to make sure this pupil would not eat breakfast alone.
Robin R & Edward E in class were working on a challenging task. On noticing that some children were finding the task more difficult than others, they offered their support.
Zachary H for supporting and reassuring a fellow pupil who had been feeling nervous about their Pre-Test.
Ethan F at the end of their circus skills activity, Ethan packed up all the equipment without any prompting and with help from very few others.
Leo J for understanding a friend was nervous and finding just the right words of encouragement which gave his friend great confidence and belief in herself and for tying a pupil's shoelace when they were unable to.
1st Raleigh 66 stars
Archie C for noticing another child had been hurt on the playground and offering to cheer them up.
4th Bader 48 stars
Agata K for listening to instructions carefully in computing and creating a great video tour of the pre-prep.
2nd Hunt 55 stars
Alfie N for working so hard on his joined-up handwriting.
5th Drake 38 stars
Fintan M for showing commitment and teamwork while making a zoo with his friends.
6th Scott 31 stars
George C for showing commitment to learning his letter sounds.
3rd Grenfell - 50 stars
Montagu B always being willing to share in the classroom and inviting friends to join in.
Golden Moments Awards
Alfie RB a golden moment for an act of kindness today. He could see that Felicity was struggling to reach to put her swimming basket away, I heard him say to her “would you like me to help you with that I can see you can’t reach” so he popped her basket away for her, it was really sweet.
Jasmine G sat and drew a shark by choosing a picture on the iPad. After carefully adding detail, colouring it in and cutting it out so neatly she said “I want to give it to Julian.” (Julian is a little boy in year 1 who is fascinated by all thing shark-related).
Citizens of the Week
Bertie T for consistently being a kind and caring friend in the classroom and comforting those who are upset.
Julian W for trying his very best to recall the capital cities of the 4 countries that make up the UK, especially Belfast!
Nathaniel C for continuing his learning at home by creating a piece of art showing “kindness” and “happiness” following on from his PSHE lesson on “being kind”.
Genevieve H-H for showing kindness in everything she does.
Parent's Tech Meetup
Please watch this online presentation
Notice for Parent's
Tik Tok has seen a massive growth over the last year and become popular amongst many children. This session will aim to give you an insight into TikTok, how it is used, how safe it is and how you can ensure your child remains safe when using the app.
Click here or video below to play
“It was almost possible to forget about the pandemic and be transported back to simpler and more normal times.”