As the children have ventured ‘into the woods’ through their topic lessons and forest school experiences they have revealed sensitivity and curiosity towards their natural surroundings. The Latham Road nature reserve, Botanical Gardens, Madingley Hall Gardens and Madingley woods have been the destination for our adventurous children as they learn to take bark rubbings with charcoal, make their own rope swing and identify signs of the changing seasons.
In Kindergarten the children organised a teddy bears picnic; they wrote invitations to ask their cuddly companions to join them at Forest school. With their teddies safely tucked into rucksacks and sandwiches and biscuits prepared by the children they all headed to Madingley Hall Gardens. Whilst there they saw the many different vegetables grown in the gardens and talked to the gardener about how he looks after the grounds. The children walked nearly 2 miles during their morning and were ready for their lunches on their return to school. The Forest school sessions show us of the positive effect physical exercise and being in the outdoors can have on the children’s wellbeing.
In Year 1 and 2 the children have spent their topic lessons considering the impact of humans when they visit woodlands. Well trodden pathways, and forest campfires were some of the signs of damage the children identified during their research. An integral part of the learning experience in Forest school is reducing the impact of their visits in any way they can. For example the children visit different parts of the woods, return any items of interest and observe creatures and plants without moving them.
The topic lessons sparked a thoughtful debate about public access to woodlands in our City Year 1 class. Mrs Hegarty proposed that no one should be allowed to visit these natural spaces, she quickly got told by the Year 1 children ‘you might not see real things and you need it for quiet’. Convinced by their arguments Mrs Hegarty amended her proposal and said everyone should pay to visit the woods, Sofia was unhappy with this proposal and argued ‘if you pay you might not have enough money to buy food and it’s not fair for the children’ Sofia added that ‘if we don’t pay we can come and go, come and go.’ It is wonderful to see the children so passionate in their ideas and opinions.
The clubs continue to be a popular part of the Pre-prep day and this term Eco Club have also been considering their impact on the environment. At Madingley they developed a catchy tune to help remind their peers to switch off the lights when they leave a room and the City Eco club have been monitoring water use.
I have been impressed by the children’s genuine interest in the environment. It is an important topic and one that the children are very keen to engage with. I wish our Pre-prep families an enjoyable weekend and hope you have the chance to visit your local woodlands.
Many thanks to all those that attended the recent Literacy workshops on Phonics (Reception and Kindergarten) and Spelling and Reading for Years 1 and 2. Parent workshops provide a valuable insight into the teaching and learning that goes on in the Pre-prep. They provide an opportunity for parents to ask questions, clarify and understand what and how we teach and ways to support their child at home. The positive benefits when parents are actively engaged and support their children’s learning at home are well documented. As parents and teachers we have a common goal; to facilitate the best educational experience possible for your child. Communication and collaboration between home and school is key to ensure we work together towards this common goal. We look forward to seeing you at the next parent workshop!
From Mrs Jasvir Hegarty, Year One Class teacher, Deputy Head of Pre-prep