Thank you so much for all the support, offers of help and positive comments that have made this first term so rewarding and pleasurable for all of the staff involved at Tadpole Farm CE Primary Academy - we couldn't have done it without you! As Bishop Lee said, when he opened the school at the start of September, this is one step on our journey and we look forward to sharing many more steps with you in the coming terms and years. This blog has information about the beginnings of the Christmas events; our values foci for term two; an update on the real school build; news on fundraising and gift giving; guidelines about things your children need and news from the classes. We wish you all a lovely holiday (remember, the last day in school is today, Tuesday 21st October) and look forward to seeing you on Monday 3rd November for term two.
The Beginnings of Christmas...
Christmas Decorations - we have thought carefully about setting up traditions and practices that will carry on as the school grows and have decided to set up one that will make Christmas very special community time. We would like each child to bring in a decoration for the Christmas tree - the decoration needs to be robust enough to stand the test of time as we will hang the same decoration on the tree every year that your child is in our school. When your child leaves the school their decoration will be returned to them as part of the leaving worship. The guidelines for the decoration are:
- it must be named
- it should fit a colour scheme of red/green/gold
- it must be of a size that will hang on a branch
- it must be strong enough to stand being hung each year for up to 7 years and being packed away repeatedly each year
- it should be sent into school in the last week of November
Stay and Play - on Thursday 20th November we are offering the opportunity for up to 40 of your children to Stay and Play at school from 3:30 to 8:00pm. This gives you an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, without small people, or you may choose to spend the time doing something more relaxing! During the session, supervised by staff in school, the children will do some Christmas crafts, play, have a buffet style tea and watch a DVD on the big screen. The cost for the session is £5. Booking will be on a first come, first served basis - Niki Wilding will be stood at the entrance door to school on the first day back after the holidays - to secure a place you need to bring in an envelope, labelled with your child's name, containing the £5. In my experience, children really enjoy these sessions and love the novelty of staying on at school after the end of the day to play and have fun with their friends. As a staff community, we feel it gives you a little bit of time to spend with your partner/friends and we know you value that.
Values and Collective Worship Foci for Term 2
For Christians, service means not only service to God but to each other. We will be thinking about doing things for others and how others do things for us. The message that the children will be learning about from the Bible stories is 'It's good to be helpful'. In this period in the run up to Christmas there are lots of things the children can do to be helpful and show the value of service - serving others helps them to think about themselves as part of a wider community too.
We will also be studying the value of thankfulness. Through the worship stories, we will be thinking about how it feels to be thanked and not thanked for something we have done. Looking at the amazing world around us, we will thank God for the changes that happen in Autumn and be talking about what we love most about the world that God has created for us.
It's obvious to say it I know, but our celebration this term will be Christmas. The children will be learning the story of the nativity and the journey and events that led to the birth of Jesus in the stable. Our nativity services (Nursery on 16/12 at 2:00 pm St Andrew's Church; Reception 18/12 5:00 pm St Andrews Church) will bring all this learning together to share with you at this special time.
The Real School - progress update.
Some of you may already have been for a look around the new show houses that opened up last week on the Tadpole Garden Village development. I was fortunate to go to the launch of the Village and met up with many of the designers and people involved in the woodlands and open land surrounding the site. It looks set to be a very exciting project that your children will be involved in from day 1 - there will be opportunities to work with artists on aspects of the public art areas and also to benefit from the many wildlife and outdoor developments that will be taking place. I also went to the school site for the first time... it feels huge compared to where we are now! Wilmott Dixon are making good progress and it is possible to see most of the foundations in place already. The beginnings of the timber frames were being erected the day that I was on site and it looks like the building will be as bright and airy as the one we are in now. The builders are keen for the children to visit the site but at the moment it wouldn't be safe for them so we are hoping to take them over sometime in January for a first look around. If I can, I will get permission for parents to visit at some point too as many of you have asked about the build and I know would love to see it. You may have noticed, in a recent Swindon Advertiser article, that Swindon Borough Council have now confirmed an opening date of September 2015 for us to be in the new building. This makes sense as the contractors are due to finish sometime in June/July and so we will have plenty of time for setting up the building ready for the children's return after the summer. The plans are currently being updated and I hope to have a set on display soon.
Fundraising and gift giving
Thank you so much for the Harvest donations you gave. The Swindon Foodbank volunteers have collected the goods and will let us know how many meals we have provided. The Foodbanks are particularly needed at Christmas, as families struggle with gaps in income and cannot provide those Christmas treats that we may take for granted. We would like to do another Foodbank collection around the end of November - we will confirm exact dates after the holiday, but maybe you could keep an eye out for early offers on Christmas goodies that you might be able to donate. Having worked with families who have benefited from such help at Christmas, I can personally say that the difference that having the basic food stuffs, as well as a few Christmas biscuits/treats, can make to what can be the hardest of times is significant for families in need.
Children in Need - Friday 14th November
We will be supporting Children in Need on Friday 14th November. For a £1 donation, your child may come to school dressed up as a superhero or just dressed in fancy dress - all money raised will be sent to Children in Need. There are some great fancy dress tips for easy to create super hero costumes here.
Easyfundraising.org.uk Raise money for the Friends of Tadpole Farm School when you shop on line by using this web site - more details will be in a leaflet in your child's bag shortly. It costs you no more than shopping on line normally but the retailer sends a donation to the school for every purchase you make.
Helping your child
Wellies and waterproof coats - the children love to play on the grass but it is often wet so wellies are the answer. If you have yet to send in a pair of named wellies, then can I ask you to do this as soon as possible. If you are unable to supply wellies please let Niki Wilding, in the school office, know your child's current shoe size and we'll see if we can provide spares. Waterproof coats are needed every day too as we do play outside in all weathers - whilst gloves attached are useful in terms of not losing them they do trail in the water and mud when we are playing outside.
Parents Phonic Session - Tuesday 11th November 2:30 - 3:15 pm - come along and find out about the way your children learn the sounds that help them to decode and spell words. Miss Leach and Mrs Flynn have promised to make it fun for you and not include too many tests! There will be a creche running for younger children. We recommend that you come along to this session and ask that you sign up on the list that will be in the lobby from Monday 3rd November.
Birthdays - it's lovely to celebrate the children's birthdays with them, see their birthday badges and celebrate with them in Friday worship with our everlasting cake and candles. Please be aware that we are a healthy school and that children of this age may have intolerances that are not yet known about so, even though we have enjoyed the things you have sent in for birthdays so far, we would ask that, from next term, sharing of sweets and cakes are kept for parties rather than in school time.
Nut allergies - some of the children and staff have nut allergies so, to be on the safe side, could we ask that no nuts or products containing nuts are brought into school - thank you.
School Photographs - Wednesday 19th November - the photographer will be in taking individual and children's family group photographs on this day. There will be time after school to take wider family groups (this could be just siblings or parents too) - it will be a case of first come, first served. The photographer we are using is Snappers Photography - http://www.snappersphotography.co.uk/
News from the classes
Owls and Squirrels - Reception classes
It is the end of the first term already and it has flown past! We are delighted with the way all the children have settled into school and Owl and Squirrel classes have all become the best of friends.
We have been getting to know ourselves and each other this term, thinking about keeping healthy and how we change as we grow up. We have been learning to recognise and respect similarities and differences in each other and our families. The children have written their class rules, based on our school values, and use them to support each other in their learning.
The children had their first whole school performance and excelled themselves at our Harvest celebration, learning songs and poems in a very short period of time.
Next term we will extend our learning into the world around us, we are planning walks around the neighbourhood and lots of visitors.
We are impressed with the children's phonics learning, please keep practising at home and have fun with the new word webs.
Have a happy and restful half term break and we will see you next month!Hedgehogs - Nursery classes
The children have had a great first term in Hedgehogs and have settled in to our routines really well. Last week we read 'Oliver's Vegetables'; a story baout a little boy who ate lots of different fruit and vegetables. We then tried the fruits and vegetables from the story and said whether we liked them or not. We made collages of our favourite fruits and vegetables and learnt about Harevst.
This week we have been learning about Divali and how other cultures celebrate important occassions. We talked about similarities and differences between Christian celebrations and Divali. The children made beautiful diva, for holding special lights; had a special snack to celebrate Divali and did Bollywood style dancing with the children in the Owl and Squirrel classes.
The children have taken home there PE kits; please check through and make sure all the clothes are your child's own, as the odd item has gone missing. Please remember to bring named PE kits back in to school on Monday 3rd November. Have a lovely break and see you next term.