After half-term pupils in Years 5, 6, 7 &8 will be undertaking educational trips in this country and abroad. The benefits of outdoor learning are well documented and represent exciting opportunities for pupils to experience a completely different form of education. In order to do so they are required to be away from the comfort of their homes, and for a few days, the support of their parents.
Meticulous planning means that every potential scenario is considered in scrupulous detail for the wellbeing of all concerned. Outdoor education means exactly that, so weather will play a part in even the best laid plans and is clearly something that we have to deal with at the time.
Fourteen members of staff will be accompanying trips and the school is indebted to all of them for their willingness to undertake this type of responsibility. Without their commitment it would be simply impossible to even contemplate the type of experiences that the pupils in Years 7&8 will enjoy in the Mountains of Spain, Wales, Scotland and England. The rugged terrain of Dartmoor awaits Year 5 and the adventures of Normandy for Year 6.
Anyone who has accompanied a day trip with Daneshill will be aware of the expectations that we have for the behaviour of all our pupils. These expectations are heightened when travelling considerably longer distances and undertaking challenges of a much more advanced nature. We know that our pupils will rise to the occasion because nothing less is acceptable. They will return home tired and exhilarated but with memories of an extraordinary experience that will sustain them for the years ahead.
Blenheim Palace Award Presentation
‘His Grace the Duke of Marlborough requests the pleasure of your company on Friday 9th May at the presentation of the Annual Heritage Education Awards’. Following Elysia Rougier’s success with winning the Art prize, Mrs Rougier, Elysia and I attended the presentation. After a short talk, His Grace the Duke of Marlborough presented the prize to Elysia and the other winners. We were given an opportunity to view the vast array of work entered for the competition and I must say a big ‘well done’ to all of Year 7 as their work looked fantastic. With tummy’s rumbling, we were ushered along to the Orangery for the famous afternoon tea with a feast of sandwiches, scones and cakes on offer. It certainly lived up to the billing!
Huge congratulations to Elysia for her wonderful achievement. This is the third year in a row that pupils from Daneshill have won an art prize so the pressure is on to deliver again next year.
Shakespearian Language Workshop
On Wednesday, a small group of year 7, 6 & 5 pupils met for three hours of language study. In this workshop we celebrated William Shakespeare’s recent 450th birthday by exploring how he helped to develop our language, creating now familiar phrases as well as some more unusual words. This led to closer study of Shakespeare’s words in Sonnet 130, playing with amusing descriptive vocabulary and the Seven Ages of Man from ‘As you Like It’. Creatively inspired, the pupils are now writing their own version of this passage through a lifetime.
Whilst looking at the derivation of words, we naturally had to look at the longest word in the English language currently: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis. With great detective work, the pupils split words like this into their root, prefixes and suffixes, to establish the meaning. I leave this one for you to work out (without google) if you can!
News from the Pre-Prep
With half-term nearly upon us, the teachers have a chance to reflect and ponder; ‘where has this academic year gone?’ Life at school is always so busy with endless activities on offer to stimulate and inspire the children in their learning. At this time of year it is hugely rewarding for all the Pre-Prep teachers to look at their classes and see how much progress every individual child has made, whether it be in forming their letters correctly and writing a sentence, or being able to write up a good scientific report following an experiment, or being able to count to 100, or having won bronze, silver and gold stickers for times tables. Equally important is the social side of school life with the children being taught how to share, take turns and act more empathically towards their peers. Plus remembering their manners without being prompted! Keep the good work up children!
‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ has arrived in Nursery! As mentioned last week this will be the basis of a topic on healthy eating, sequencing a story, counting, and ordering the days of the week. The children have been read the story and they are in the midst of creating a display. They have painted, cut, coloured, manipulated ‘model magic’, and glued. The role play area has been transformed into a fruit and vegetable shop with a café.
This week the children have also planted Nasturtium and Sunflower seeds and are eagerly awaiting their appearance; I was asked ‘Have they grown yet?’ just 25 minutes after they were planted! Patience is such a hard concept, particularly when you are 3 or 4 years old ….
Next week we will continue with ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. We will do some ‘fruit’ tasting and create some written and number work, and story sequencing exercises to support the children’s learning. We will be introducing the story of ‘Mabel’s Magical Garden’, whichis a lovely story about sunflowers and friendships.
All of this is in addition to our usual nursery activities, such as, learning new sounds and numbers, learning to share and compromise as well as participating in Monkey Music, PE and swimming. Most importantly of all we continue to enjoy the great outdoors and this glorious weather. To this end please can I remind everyone to apply sun cream to their children every morning, as it is a shame to have to keep sweatshirts on in the sunshine.
This week we introduced the sounds /w/ and next week we will move onward to /v/.
Weekly Sports Reports
The Daneshill rounders teams have had a good week, winning the majority of matches across all year groups. The U.9 and U.8 teams travelled to St Gabriel’s last Friday (9th May). The girls were split into 3 teams across Years 3 & 4 and played exceptionally well against very good opposition. The U.9 A team won their match 7-6. The U.8 and U.9 mixed team won 10 – 7 and the U.8’s had a very close game, managing to hold onto a draw with the final score 8.5 rounders all.
On Wednesday the U.13 A team were victorious against local rivals St Neots in a highly contested game. The final score was 14-12 to Daneshill. The U.11’s did exceptionally well too, beating St Neots 24-16 after some incredible batting and brilliant fielding. The U.10 team were very unlucky to lose by just one rounder with the final score 17.5 to St Neot’s 18.5.
With the sun finally out for good (fingers crossed), we were able to enjoy a full set of fixtures this week, which was a great feeling. The First XI had a good game against Lord Wandsworth College. Alex Brown, Sam Steele and Billy Pocock put in some notable performances and were backed up very well in the field and with the bat by the rest of the squad. Our field placing’s improved from the previous week as did our running between the wickets, and this will stand us in good stead next week.
For the Colts A, it was a real learning curve. On a soft pitch at The Oratory we came unstuck playing too many shots too early. This saw our top order giving away their wicket without scoring many runs. This coupled with the fact that the Oratory held all their catches and had a great day in field saw the A’s losing the match. Back to the drawing board we go for our players as we look to increase our understanding of how to build an innings.
The Colts B and C were both outplayed by stronger sides but must bounce back as Papplewick will certainly provide another stern test next week.
This week was an exciting one in the pool. On Monday we enjoyed our annual Year 5 to 8 swimming gala at Bradfield College. With all children swimming back stroke, breast stroke and front crawl, and some butterfly, we had some very competitive races, improved swimmers, close finishes and stylish performers. With three houses on the same points after the individual races it proved to be an exciting finish after the relays and the fun race. The final tallying of points saw Red house finish in first place (168), Green second (153), Yellow third (149) and Blue fourth (142).
The Year 5 to 8 swim squad then competed in a gala at St Neot’s school on Thursday. We excelled in most events, winning 18 out of 24 individual races, and 10 out of 12 relays. Our Year 5 swimmers Oliver James, David Wilson, Sam Jefferson, Alexander Cleaver, Florence Gill, Felicity Hindley, Hannah Smith and Jessica Bettesworth have really strengthened our team. Daneshill finished on 169 points and St Neots on 124. An enjoyable week!