Yew and Aspen spring term trip was to Cadbury World and the morning finally arrived for the 25 very excited children and 3 members of staff. After a fairly traffic free journey the Cadbury sign was looming large ahead of us and we were all looking forward to our day ahead.
Our morning began with a self-guided tour which led the children through the history of chocolate from the Mayans to the beginnings of the factory built by John and Benjamin Cadbury. The children worked with a partner to find out lots of information which was good fun. We were led through lots of interactive and video areas where the children had opportunities to find out more about how our famous brands of chocolate were made. The final stop of the tour was, perhaps, the most exciting for the children with the tasting room where they all had some chocolate and the opportunity to watch a display of how chocolate used to be made and how it is made today. They were certainly quiet for this part of the day!
We left the tour and went for some lunch where the children had an opportunity to let off some steam in the adventure playground before our last part of the day within the 4D Cinema experience. This was lots of fun for everyone as we entered the world of chocolate! A great day was had by all and for some it was a very quiet journey back to school.
Beech and Holly had a wonderful trip to the Bucks County Museum to take part in a Toys Through Time workshop. As part of our work this half term we have been exploring Toys and what they are made from and how they move. We have also talked about Toys from the past and in our workshop we were able to play with lots of old toys and explore how to make them move. Our favourite toys were the wooden toys and we became very good at the cup and ball game after lots of practise. We looked at optical illusion toys and made our own spinners which was really fun. In the afternoon we explored the museum and had a wonderful time joining in some role play. We had fun spotting all the different animals around the exhibits and designing our own toy farm. The children were wonderfully behaved and it was a pleasure to take them on our trip. We very much look forward to going on our next adventure together in the Summer Term.
On Tuesday the 30th January, Acacia and Pine went with Mr Pendry and Mr Thorne to Tring Natural History Museum. When we arrived we were treated to a 45 minute interactive lesson on advanced classification where the children really impressed the staff with their knowledge and understanding of the topic. They looked at sorting living organisms into different categories and were given specimens of invertebrates to classify and organise based on their physical features. The children quickly got used to hearing the scientific names for groups such as lepidoptera (as opposed to butterflies).
After their lesson the children went on a tour of the many galleries, seeing and finding many new species that they had not seen or heard of before. Sadly we even found several stuffed examples of now extinct animals such as the quagga from South Africa and the thylacine from Tasmania. After a much needed lunch break the children revisited the galleries with clipboards and paper and sketched some lovely examples of animals that they had not heard of before that day. The children impressed staff with their scientific knowledge and despite the excitement that they obviously felt upon seeing so many wonderful animals on display, they managed to represent the school well.
On the 16th January 2018, with a sun “ au rendez-vous”, Spruce and Juniper went to the Courtauld Gallery in Central London and discovered an amazing collection of French Post- Impressionists Paintings.
On arrival, we were greeted by Annabelle, our very knowledgeable and very pleasant guide.
She led us to admire and study several paintings from Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugin.
The children were very engaged in all the discussions related to the possible meanings and the various new painting techniques. Annabelle also explained to us how depth of field could be created by the contrast of various colours; we debated whether the Lady in the Folie –Bergère Painting had the same or a different reflection in the mirror and its possible significance; we looked at the ‘Joueurs de Cartes’ and learnt about this very popular card game of the time, called ‘la Bataille’.
The children discovered various aspects of Parisian and French modern and social History of that time. They participated in mini-workshops on colour mixing, sketches and cartoons with speech bubbles in French and did translation exercises.
‘Are they all originals’? asked one of the pupils. ‘Of course’, said Annabelle. This collection was only a minute part of what the Gallery had to offer and we saw an auto-portrait of Van Gogh on our way out.
There were follow-up activities at school in the form of a mini-booklet with pairing-up exercises, quiz, questions and answers, colouring a palette, playing the ‘bataille’ card game, and for some, drawing the Portrait of a bird, following the instructions given by the very famous French Jacques Prévert.
This trip enabled the pupils to recognise the links between the different subjects of the curriculum and apply the language in a meaningful context, as well as providing an opportunity to see the ‘real’ paintings.
The art scholars group had a wonderful tour of Ely cathedral looking at various stained glass windows and styles and at the Gothic architecture. Looking carefully at the early Norman round and then early Gothic arches for visual inspiration as well as providing insight into how structures evolved over time. A highlight was the carved wooden Octagon Tower, with exquisite decorated arched rib forms and tracery which the children looked at by lying on their backs and looking straight up! This part of the trip involved careful sketching and notetaking for later use in the silk painting work as well as with a longer term view towards later glass work in school! This was followed by an excellent silk painting workshop, with panels inspired by the visit and the related sketchbook initial studies, all of this took place in a workshop space within the cathedral directly overlooking central part of the Nave. Some very good silk painting was produced and an array of reference sketches were acquired for further development work in the specialist Art scholars club at school.
Twelve of our Prep students were invited to attend a lunchtime concert given by the Open University choir on Thursday this week.
The programme included a specially commissioned piece to commemorate Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday – A New Kind of Urban. The composer, Liz Lane, and the lyricist, Judi Moore were at the concert along with Mayor of Milton Keynes.
There were also some much older pieces in the programme, including a piece by Monteverdi who would be celebrating his 450th birthday this year.
The children enjoyed the concert and wanted to share their thoughts:
‘It was a privilege to go to the Open University because the music was inspiring.’ (Maya)
‘The brass was very good and had loud and soft parts.’ (Rohit)
‘The Open University made a brass ensemble and a choir to celebrate 50 years of Milton Keynes, it was very good.’ (Henry)
‘I found it really interesting to listen to a piece about where I live.’ (Damilola)
‘I really enjoyed the older piece by Monteverdi.’ (Alexander)
‘The brass instruments were awesome’ (Emily)
‘I liked the world premiere of ‘A New Kind of Urban’ because the music took you on a journey through MK.’ (Emily)
‘I loved the brass section and the choir, don’t forget the organ!’ (Carolina)
‘My favourite parts were the trombones and the drums.’ (Ryan)
The Palace was very grand, we split into two groups, with Middle Prep in one and Senior Prep in another. My group (Middle Prep), learned about public speaking and about Sir Winston Churchill.
In public speaking we learned:
- Facial expressions
- How to captivate your audience
- Look at all the people not just one person because the other people will get bored
- Do not bore the audience!
The tour of the palace:
- We saw the room where Churchill was born on 30th November 1874.
- He died on 24th January 1965 in Kensington, London.
- We saw the room where they would have Christmas dinner and other dinners
- We saw the green drawing room which was very green and beautiful. There are a lot of gigantic paintings in the room.
- We went into the Long library where there was a statue of Queen Anne.
Then we had lunch in the Indian room. The walls were painted with pictures of Indians dressed in old fashioned clothes.
We also visited the Secret Garden which was amazing, there were lots of plants and there was a gazebo where it was very dark. There were a lot of small ponds and streams and a lot of ways round to get to the gazebo. There was a bridge and a pond going into a stream under the bridge.
By Jaina Kavia
(Sycamore Class - Age 9)
Acacia and Pine had a good trip to Cambridge's Fitzwilliam gallery to see an exhibition by the French Impressionist artist Degas. The children carried out a series of drawing and creative imaging exercises with string in the exhibition area. This was followed by a monotype drawing workshop using the same process as Degas with the specialist museum staff, which really caught the children's interest and imagination. After lunch the children carried on to sketch the middle eastern and traditional English ceramics ware ready for later work next year.
Sycamore had an exciting visit to "The Higgins" museum and gallery in Bedford, looking at lino-print work by Edward Bawden, (one of Englands top artists of the pre and post second world war period), where some excellent research sketching took was done by the children. This was followed by a very good print workshop in a studio at the gallery with some variations on block printing and layered printing methods resulting in striking prints from the children.
The children arrived at school bright and early last Thursday and we made our way over to Oxford. In the Pitt Rivers Museum, the children were able to explore the anthropological artefacts and saw some interesting items ranging from Ancient Egyptian mummies to shrunken heads and model boats. After lunch, we attended a workshop in the Natural History Museum. In a room surrounded by incredible fossils and preserved creatures from the natural world, the children learned about how different aspects of dinosaur fossils reveal how they lived. The workshop was very engaging and really emphasised how important it is to ask questions and use all five senses, to be a successful scientist. The children enjoyed handling delicate and fascinating fossils and were even invited to have a sniff of some fossilised poo! The children benefitted from the interactive nature of the workshop and saw some amazing exhibits, on the trip. All in all, a successful day out.
This term Cedar and Birch classes travelled back in time by visiting a very special home in Stratford Upon Avon: Williams Shakespeare's birthplace. As part of their Famous People topic, the children attended a varied workshop in which they experienced first hand what William's life would have been like. They created a beautifully crafted version of a horn book which Shakespeare would have used to learn Latin in school. They practised Elizabethan handwriting by using ink made with egg and used a quill to create their own names in the style of Queen Elizabeth's I signature. You could not hear a pin drop such was the level of concentration! They explored the social class divide of the era by sorting objects used by the poor and rich. Finally they all dressed up in the characters of Shakespeare's plays and fantastic looking donkeys were galloping around the large room alongside Cleopatra and Macbeth. The children thoroughly enjoyed the first hand historical experience these activities provided.
In the afternoon a tour of Shakespeare's house took place and as our children moved from room to room a general feeling of excitement began to emerge as in the words of one of our children..." I'm walking on the same stone floor as William did!" The house has been restored to its original characteristics and it was an incredible experience to view the authenticity of some of the furniture and objects replicas. The tour naturally took us into the garden where we joined a group of actors and took part in one of the plays they were performing. It truly was an amazing experience and all of our children were part of the cast from being a ferocious lion to representing a wall!
The day came to an end in the late part of an unusually warm afternoon with the children talking about this amazing historical trip all the way back home.
On Tuesday 3rd October, Juniper travelled to London to visit the Natural History Museum. They were accompanied by Mr Pendry and Mrs Howes and had the opportunity to build on information learned in both Science and Geography.
When we arrived we took the opportunity to admire the new display in the main hall of a blue whale skeleton, which has replaced the touring diplodocus that has stood there for so long. We followed this with a visit to the human biology section where the children were able to review topics such as muscles and bones, cells, eyes and how the senses work.
The children then had the opportunity to choose their next two locations and so we went to the earthquakes and volcanoes centre, where they experienced what it was like to be in a supermarket during the Kobe earthquake. We followed this with a visit to the giant sequoia tree on the top floor. Whilst it was only a slice of the giant tree, we were all stunned by the size and age of this colossal plant!
We then enjoyed lunch before visiting the hall of mammals and finally a trip through the dinosaur exhibit, highlighted by a face to face encounter with a full size, animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex.
The children enjoyed the day out and were great ambassadors for the school.
Upon our arrival at the Living Rainforest we were greeted by, very experienced and friendly, staff who escorted us to the glass houses. Inside, we saw a wonderful variety of animals, fishes, reptiles and birds who are native to the worlds’ rainforest areas. The interior space was very warm and was filled with fantastic plants, trees and flowering bushes. Larch and Rowan children were so excited, their cries of delight were lovely to hear; especially when they saw toucans, monkeys, snakes, lizards and lots of other beautiful animals. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and made our visit lively and exciting with all children engaged in their activities. The staff were very impressed with our year one’s knowledge and understanding of rainforest species and praised them on the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the rainforest and its animal and plant species! We all felt that the highlight of the day was when the sloth decided to wake up (they sleep for 18 hours per day!) and head down from their canopy to look at us watching her. The children we amazed at her hanging upside down and look at us with equal curiosity. We all had a super day, it was so interesting to see such a vast assortment of rainforest animals first-hand and to hear the children’s excited talk about their day out.
We have had a brilliant first day in Rome! We arrived a little later than scheduled but it didn’t deter us. After checking in at the hotel our collective excitement gave us the energy we needed to get straight into the warm fresh air. We stepped out of the hotel and immediately begin to soak up the sights in Rome. After a walk to the park we treated the pupils and staff to a train ride, though strictly speaking, train is not an accurate description (see photos below!). We have uploaded a selection of photos from our day below, we are looking forward to tomorrow and will update you throughout our week.
We started our day with a continental breakfast at the hotel. We then walked to ‘Archbasilica of St. John Lateran’, the Lateran Basilica is the cathedral church of Rome and therefore houses the cathedra, or ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Pontiff (Pope). It is the oldest of and has precedence among the four papal major basilicas all of which are in Rome. Because it is the oldest church in the West and houses the cathedra of the Roman Pontiff it has the title of ecumenical mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful. We then walked to the church of the Santissimo nome di Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuit order. Our visit to the Trevi Fountain followed. This was a popular area but not too busy for us to soak up the atmosphere and noise of the fountain. Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. We also visited the Pantheon today, at more than 1,800 years old it is a phenomenal site to see. Our last visit of the day was to Piazza Navona, the children had a great time here to finish the day off. We walked back to the hotel and settled in a local restaurant before heading to bed.
The day began with a walk to Piazza Barberini to see the Triton Fountain. The heraldic symbols of Pope Urban VIII are clearly visible on Bernini’s sculpture. From here we walked to Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the very top of the Spanish Steps (Scalinata). Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe, it connects Piazza Trinita dei Monti with Piazza di Spagna at the base. When we reached the bottom the view back up the steps to the church of Trinita dei Monti was amazing. We paused for smoothies in a small shaded café overlooking Roman ruins before walking on to Barracco Museum where we saw some very old artefacts. We stopped for our lunch in Campo De Fiori before our visit to see La Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth). We managed to pause for gelato overlooking The Colosseum of Rome before our last visit of the day to Basilica San Clemente, photos were limited in here but the ceiling was an incredible sight. We took a refreshing walk back towards our hotel for dinner before bed.
The Colosseum, what a sight! We timed our visit perfectly and were able to gain access without too much of a wait. Outside alone it is an awe inspiring building, inside it is spectacular. We went up to the upper level first to experience the view before working our way down to the lower levels. After we left The Colosseum, we went to see the Arch of Constantine on route to The Forum where we walked through the incredible ruins. The children are now packing their bags and enjoying some downtime at the hotel before their dinner.