St. Michaels School Blog
What an exciting experience we had last week in the science dome.
Foundation Stage were lucky enough to have a visit from the science dome to experience all things 'under the sea' and pirates.
The children were so excited about going into the dome. They had to be really careful and quick to get inside as it started to deflate as the zip was opened. When the children entered they were surrounded by 360 view of the deep blue sea. Whilst we were in the dome lots of different sea creatures, fish and mammals appeared around us as we listened to lots of interesting facts about them.
The children really enjoyed listening to the sound of the dolphins communicating with each other and learning the names of the different whales.
What a great experience enjoyed by all of Foundation Stage! A very memorable experience that encouraged lots of discussion, imagination and excitement. Thank you to year one for organising this and inviting us to share the dome.
This week Foundation Stage were lucky enough to have Fire Officer Campbell from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service visit them. The children were really excited to ask lots of questions about his job as a fireman.
The children really enjoyed looking at, discussing and asking questions about the equipment that a fireman use. They were especially intrigued by the hose head and loved trying on the mask. The children noticed when passing around the gloves that they smelt of smoke and were interested that they had been use in tackling real fires.
It was fascinating to listen to Fire Officer Campbell talk about the ‘Fire Triangle’ promoted by a question asked by one of the children; ‘How do you put out the fire?’ explaining that when oxygen, heat and fuel and combined a fire will happen and when putting out a fire they aim to remove one of these elements from the fire triangle.
Fire Officer Campbell brought in his protective uniform, which he uses when responding to a call for a fire, explaining that he was two uniforms. He also brought his pager along with him that will bleep if he is on call and there is an incident that he needs to attend to.
Miss Drury was lucky enough to be able to try the protective uniform on.
It has been great to see the children’s knowledge develop throughout the visits from the emergency services and most children could explain who to call when there is an emergency and that they needed to ask for a specific service when calling 999. There were some fantastic questions asked by the children, to develop their understanding of another emergency service.
We have been especially lucky in Reception in recent weeks. A number of family members, who work for the Emergency Services, have visited us to talk about their role, allow the children to ask questions, try on real uniform and handle real resources. First of all, we were visited by WPC Draper. The children were fascinated by how much equipment Mrs Draper carries about her person as part of her job and were very excited to hear what a real police radio sounds like. Trying on WPC Draper's uniform, they quickly realised how heavy it is.
Next we were visited by PC Reed and his ex police dog 'Marty'. It was fascinating to hear that Marty was bred for the Olympics and how important his role has been to ensure places are safe for people, in particular royalty and anyone using train stations. We learnt how police dogs work for the ball and PC demonstrated how obedient and clever Marty is using his ball. It was a treat to be able to stroke Marty and hear about his adventures. Then came the excitement of sitting in a police dog van and experiencing the flashing lights and sirens.
Finally Mrs Huckson, who is an ambulance technician came and spent the afternoon with us to explain her role and to teach the children when it would be necessary to call 999 for the ambulance service. It was interesting to see the different vehicles used by paramedics, technicians and doctors including a quad bike, bikes and helicopters. We learnt that the London Air ambulance is red and the Essex air ambulance is yellow. The children took part in a quiz and having listened carefully most children answered correctly when they might need to call an ambulance.
These first hand experiences and talk have helped developed the children ability to ask questions and deepen their understanding of the role of these emergency services. We have noticed the children use what they have seen and heard within their role-play and we look forward to our next visitor, from the fire service.
This week mysterious things have occurred in Foundation Stage!
On Thursday the children entered the classroom to find lots of police tape. To the children’s surprise, the class police dogs, Bruce and Max, along with 2 books had suspiciously gone missing! Fortunately, the children had undergone Police training with Officer May and Constable Wells so they were able to investigate this crime.
The children joined together to watch the CCTV that we managed to find of the two cheeky characters coming in and taking Bruce, Max and the books. Luckily the suspicious pair left some evidence behind!
The officers got to work to look for clues and evidence investigating who they thought had committed this crime. First, the children decided to search the area of where they had been in the classrooms. The evidence found was dusted for fingerprints, mug shots taken of possible suspects and any evidence noted down. The police officers then interviewed possible suspects. Lots of witness statements were taken describing the main suspects. We focussed on using describing words and making sure that we spoke and wrote in sentences so that everyone had as much information as possible.
All of children wrote their own witness statement based on the CCTV they saw. It was extremely important they added key details to their statements based on what they were wearing, their hair colour and anything they left behind.
Mug shots were taken from some suspicious suspects in RG and RD and all fingerprints taken from the children in both classes just in case!
Fortunately, Bruce and Max safely returned to our classrooms on Friday afternoon. Luke had noticed that there were scratches on the door where the sniffer dogs had escaped and entered our classrooms.
We are glad to have our resident sniffer dogs back in our stations to return back to normal duties next week!
Foundation Stage were extremely excited on Friday as they came into school with snow falling. It wasn’t long before the snow got heavier and heavier. RG and RD went outside to explore.
It was fantastic to see the excitement from all of the children. After going through the key safety rules we joined Year 1 out on the field to enjoy the snow. It was freezing cold but we went onto the field in the snowy blizzard.
The children noticed as they stepped outside that the snow had turned into ice on the field and the snow was not soft. Lots of the children described what they saw, heard and felt as they walked onto the field. Mila and Noah heard the crunch as their welly boots touched the field and Peggy identified that the snow had turned into ice. The children were encouraged to pick up the snowy ice to see what happened as they held it. Cora noticed that the ice started to melt because ‘my hands are warm and the ice is freezing.’ Jenson said the snow made everywhere look 'magical' and Harleigh said that her face was 'All tingly and cold'. Great observations made!
The trail of footprints from RD and RG’s boots covered the field where we were able to see whose footprint was the biggest and smallest.
A lovely morning with lots of investigation involved!
What a fantastic afternoon we had on the 9th December! It was wonderful to see so many grandparents, parents and family members attend our Christmas Craft afternoon.
The activities were based around lots of fine motor skills, some of them were quite tricky, but we encouraged the children to be as independent as possible. There were a variety of Christmas crafts for the children to complete one of those being sewing and creating a Christmas puppet. The children used a needle and wool to thread the back and the front of the puppet together and followed instruction to add the different cut out felt to make a Father Christmas, Robin, Snowman, Reindeer or Angel.
Not only did the children make a puppet they also used porridge oats, glitter and weatbix to make reindeer food. They measured out each scoop carefully following instructions and cut out a template to put onto their bag.
On Friday the 18th of November Foundation Stage was full of spotty children! In aid of Children In Need everyone came dressed in something spotty - donating £1 to the Charity.
We attended an assembly lead by Mrs Farran, who explained what a charity is and is why we donate money and examples of children and families the money supports. Well done to Luke Huckson who was one of the winners who took part in the competition - Guess the Bear's Name. he enjoyed collecting his prize in assembly.
In Class we made spotty cakes, but the recipe we used was a little bit different and involved using a balance scale. Here is the recipe;
Balance 1 egg with self-raising flour and pour the flour in the bowl.
Balance the same egg with sugar and pour the sugar in the bowl.
Balance the same egg with room temperature butter and place the butter in the bowl.
Crack the egg and add it to the mixture.
Add one tablespoon of warm water for extra moisture.
The children's learning was based around measuring the ingredients exactly so that the scales balanced. It was great fun weighing out each ingredient making sure it wasn’t too heavy or too light but balanced perfectly. This involved a rich discussion about when too much or too little was added; using the vocabulary of heavier and lighter.
During the afternoon the children decorated their cakes with buttercream icing using a knife to spread this and used different coloured icing to make the spots for their cakes. It was great to see their fingers and hands working hard as they made small balls to represent spots. A great finger gym activity.
Not only did the children in foundation stage make cakes but they were also involved in our new woodwork project Mrs Goodman is running. Some of the children spent the morning nailing in buttons into a piece of wood using hammers. This involved lots of concentration and hand eye co-ordination but the children loved it and can't wait to do it again.
Can you seePudsey waving in the background!
Some of the children used the role play resources to set up a mini bear surgery for the poorly bears in their classes. The children demonstrated their experiences of doctors and vets through their imaginative play and it was fantastic to see their communication and language skills and imagination bring this experience to life.
It was a very busy day making a split pin Pudsey, painting Pudsey bears, making cakes and taking care of all of the poorly bears in Foundation Stage! A fun filled day supporting Children in Need!
Over the last two weeks Foundation Stage have had their first visit to the forest! The children wrapped up warm, put on their wellies and forest suits and they were off!It was really exciting for all of the children because we now have new transport- the St. Michael's new mini bus.
Luckily, the weather stayed dry for foundation stage but there were lots of muddy puddles to walk through on our walk to the forest. As the children entered the forest the children commented that it was 'beautiful' and all of RD and RG were very inquisitive; asking questions about where they were and the environment around them.
The children learnt that the forest is called 'Cow Wood' and were shown the area that would be their part of the forest, including a log circle. Once the children had arrived Mrs Mrs Mattin explained the boundaries to the children and the area where they would be able to explore whilst in the forest.
The children played lots of games including 1, 2,3 where are you? to make sure they could always find a friend if they we unsure of where they were in the forest. The treasure box was also taken to the forest and all of the children had a great time exploring the different tools and resources they could use in the forest. It was fantastic to see the children enjoyed climbing trees, making bug hotel's, log pile houses for the snake linked to the Gruffalo (our focus story for Literacy), digging for treasure and much more!
Foundation Stage enjoyed a snack and a drink sat at the log circle before throwing their apple cores into the forest for the animals to scavenge.
The children loved exploring and had a fantastic time! They can't wait for their next visit.
We are very proud of all the children in Foundation Stage for how well they listened and respectfully observed the two minutes silence in the Remembrance Service on Friday. We have been learning that the poppy is a symbol of remembrance for all those who have died or been injured in battles because poppies grew out of the ground where there had been serious battles at the end of World War One. We explained the important work that the Royal British Legion do to remember men and woman who fought in the past and who continue to fight to protect others today, and their families. The children were very interested in the beautiful standard, which we have been given by the Royal British Legion. Some of the children shared stories of great grandparents, who were involved in previous wars, and others asked questions to help secure their understanding. We were delighted with the beautiful poppies that they painted independently.Well done RG and RD. You helped make our day of Remembrance very special.
This week Foundation Stage has really enjoyed learning about the Hindu festival, Diwali, particularly the celebrations, traditions and customs. We learnt that the Indian festival, Diwali, is known as the festival of light because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small Diya lamps to guide Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, into their homes.
Some of the children enjoyed listening to Indian music and having a try at writing 'Happy Diwali' in Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu.
The children had the opportunity to make their own Diya lamp, using clay. The children carefully shaped them and selected a variety of tools to make patterns in the clay. Once the lamps were dried, they decorated their lamp with brightly coloured paint and glitter. They look fantastic!
Super concentration using the tools.
We enjoyed learning about the story of Rama and Sita and the demon king that had 10 heads and 20 arms and acting the story out. It was fantastic to celebrate Diwali alongside Aryan's and Luna-Mia’s families as they were able to share their experiences with the rest of their classes. Luna-Mia really enjoyed sharing her knowledge of the story of Rama and Sita and Lakshmi and Aryan talked happily about making delicious Diwali sweets.
our setting has been full of colour this week as Rangoli Patterns filled our outside area. The children learnt the significance of Rangoli patterns how they are created. The children used brightly coloured chalks to fill in patterns and also had a go at drawing their own. Not only did they create a Rangoli Patterns using chalks but they also used coloured rice and paint to create a large symmetrical Rangoli pattern, which took looks of time and was very intricate.
The aroma of vegetable curry and a selection of Indian spices filled the air in Foundation stage on Tuesday! As part of the celebration’s the children made a vegetable curry.
The children had great fun cutting up a selection of vegetables working on our fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. This was quite tricky but Mrs May and Mrs Wells gave the children a helping hand. To make the curry the children looked at and smelt the spices and discussed which ones they liked. It was fantastic to see the children using their senses to compare spices such as turmeric, tandoori and tikka. They then observed the spices and vegetables being fried in a pan and they were encouraged to describe what this smelt like.
Then we waited for it to cook! Later on in the day the children had an opportunity to taste the delicious vegetable curry discussing likes and dislikes. Some of the children even asked for seconds, it must have tasted good!
Foundation Stage have had a fun packed week learning about Diwali!
This week Mr Twaites officially opened our fantastic new Mud Kitchen, which he made for us. He spoke to the children about how he set about designing and making the kitchen before cutting the ribbon. Straight away the children began excitedly exploring and experimenting with the materials and resources and enjoyed being 'hands on'. It's been delightful to observe the children's high levels of engagement and see the different approaches each child has to the kitchen. Some children want to organise and tidy the kitchen, some want to cook up a dish with their friends, some have clear ideas of their dish and ingredients, while others simply enjoy the sensory experiences of scooping, pouring, stirring and patting sloppy mud! We are looking forward lots more fun and learning through play.
We are seasoned Forest Schoolers now. The children thoroughly enjoy getting into their waterproofs, travelling to our new area of woodland called 'Cow Wood' and using their imaginations and equipment to explore, play, experiment and investigate.
This week we had a special activity - a camp fire. We learnt the important safety aspects of being near a fire before watching Mrs Heasman build one. We foraged for different sized sticks to keep the fire going and then took turns to toast marshmallows - delicious!
We had a lovely trip to Boydell's Farm on Tuesday. We were farmers for the day as we helped out with the many jobs on the farm, though the farmer had made a head start prior to our arrival (at 5am!) We milked Toffee the cow, fed the piglets, calves, goats, sheep, lama, donkey, ponies, ducks, geese, turkeys and the highlight of the day was holding the 3 day old chicks and holding and feeding the lambs! We learnt a lot about the different animals and enjoyed having a super hands on experience. Take a look at our photos and have a go at our Quiz below.
On our return to school we have been using our time connectives to write a recount of our busy day.
1) What is a baby cow called?
2) What is a baby sheep called?
2) The farm milks the Toffee cow for milk that the family uses. Which animal do they milk in order to sell the milk?
3) Do calves have top teeth?
4) Which animal is called Prince Samuel?
5) How can you tell a male Aylesbury duck from a female Aylesbury duck?
6) What is the oldest animal on the farm?
7) Why does the farmer put an elastic band around the lambs tale to make it fall off?
8) Why do the chickens have to be protected at night?
9) How many stomachs do cows have?
10 )What animal's young is called a poult?
1) Calf 2) Lamb 3) Sheep 4) No 4) The bull 5) Males have a curled up feather on their tail. 6) The pony 7) To keep them clean for milking when they grow up
8) So the foxes don't get in. 9) Four 10) Turkey
The children have been learning about the Easter Story and sequencing the main events. Outside we have created an Easter garden and we have been doing some lovely Easter crafts. The children enjoyed going to the school Easter Service at St Michael's Church and were praised for listening so well.
"Joyeuses Pâques!" (Happy Easter) In French the children have learnt that children in France have different customs for Easter. On Maundy One of these is to have egg rolling races. The French use fresh eggs but we boiled ours and after decorating them had great fun rolling them down the hill.
They have also cheekily been playing a game called Poisson D'Avril.
Chocolate plays a pivotal role during Easter in France, but not just in the form of melt-in-your-mouth eggs and rabbits. Here, you'll also find chocolate fish! While there is no direct correlation between the chocolate fish and Easter, you will often find chocolate fish in stores around Easter time because of its close proximity to the holiday.
The chocolate fish usually begin appearing in the shops on April 1, just in time for April Fool's Day, and all the fun and games that surround that day! In one such game, the children play a trick on the adults by sticking a paper fish on the backs of as many adults as possible. When the adults turn to see what's going on, the children squeal in delight, and run away yelling, "Poisson d'Avril!" this literally translates into April fish!
The children were so excited as they made their way to school on Friday through a thin layer of snow. We wasted no time in getting our boots on and going outside to explore and experiment.
"Look, I've made the number 9!" "I've made a sphere Mrs Goodman."
"I've made a cuboid. It's a very cold cuboid!" Great teamwork to roll the snowball to make it bigger.
"Look big tracks! Maybe it's Daddy bear. Let's follow them." "I've made a one-eyed alien!"
The biggest snowball of all, by far!!
Foundation Stage thoroughly enjoyed their visit to see the wonderful Watoto Children's Choir perform at Christchurch on Wednesday. We had the pleasure of being escorted by the year 6 classes, who did a fantastic job of chaperoning our classes and engaging the children in conversation as they walked. Thank you very much year 6, you set a great example to our classes.
Once at Christchurch we were treated to a highly energetic and uplifting performance by the Watoto Choir, who are touring to raise awareness of the plight of orphaned children from Uganda in East Africa. They invited some children up to try their hand at dancing. We were very proud of Nathan from RG for being brave enough to go up and dance.
As soon as we got back to class we were inspired to create pictures of the choir and their colourful clothing and learn more about the lives of children who are helped by the organisation. Some of us created our own patterns similar to those of the colourful clothing the children wore.
"They were smiley and clever, I liked their singing."
"I wish I could dance like that."
"They were so good, dancing altogether and singing too."
"The songs made me feel so happy, I really liked dancing."
"In my Church we sing but we don't dance."
"I feel sad that they don't have mummies and daddies. The lady said the choir is their family now."
"My pattern is for a skirt."
What an exciting start to the week we had this week. We were visited by an Police Inspector who spoke to us about his job and most importantly stranger danger. Then we had the fantastic opportunity of feeling like real police officers by sitting in a real police car with the lights flashing!
Later in the week we were visited by a paramedic who answered our questions about what kind of incidents they are called to and how they can help people on the way to the hospital. We were interested to learn that emergency vehicles have different tones to their sirens so that if more than one vehicle is travelling along they can be heard separately. We liked trying on the accident helmet, which felt "heavy and strange." A huge thank you to all our parent visitors.
We started the week with a visit from a Police Officer who helpfully answered all the questions that we had been working on in class with our talk partners.
We were excited to see the different equipment Police Officers have, especially their notebooks, which are just like the ones we have been using in our role play. We liked trying on real uniform.
Then we moved on to thinking about the job of the Fire Service and enjoyed meeting a real fire fighter who came in and spoke to us about what his job is like and how he fights fires. We were told how to keep ourselves safe in the event of a fire and how to play safely to avoid fires. We were surprised about how heavy his uniform was, especially the helmet.
Our final visitor talked to us about the role of the operators answering the 999 calls and sending out the different emergency services. We pretended to answer calls and role played radioing from class to class.
A huge thank you to all our visitors. We now have lots more exciting ideas of things we would like to make for our indoor and outdoor role play areas and how to use them.
This week was our first visit to the forest of the new year. Excitingly we set up camp in a new part of the forest called 'Cow Wood'. We set about marking our boundaries and exploring the area to begin new adventures. We noticed that the temperature was considerably lower than before Christmas and were therefore very grateful for Mrs Heasman's delicious hot chocolate to warm us up.
Class RM and RG had an exciting week.
We had training in our Police Station and learnt about how Police Officers help people and the equipment they might need. We have been asking and answering questions and working on describing people, features and events.
Fortunately, we had some practice in this before we needed to give our descriptions about a very exciting event when out class "Squawky" and "Froggy" went missing. We put our detective skills into action as we hunted for clues and suspects. P.C Curious was extremely impressed with our detailed Witness Statements. We were so keen to solve the mystery that we told everyone we saw around the whole school what had happened. We had training on how to take fingerprints of the children and staff.
One of our PCs writing a report. And another taking Mrs Marsh's fingerprints. Just in case!
The mystery had been captured on CCTV. If you would like to see the film it should be available on the link below.
Eventually Squawky was discovered in the play house and Froggy found hiding in the big blocks outside.
On Friday Mr Nolden, who is a Police Officer, visited both classes and spoke to us about the way Police Officers help people. We found out that Police Officers take 2 years to train, They have 2 different hats, one for wearing when they are out in the car and the other for when they patrol the streets. We also found out that each police force area has a special number, which Police Officers wear on their shoulders.
We enjoyed trying on the police hats.