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.
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.