Daily Update

2nd July 202

Good morning to you all.

Today we wish a very happy scrumdiddlyocious, fandabbydosie birthday to Mrs Roberts! Mrs Roberts, I hope you are treated like a superstar (because you are one) and have day full of love, kindness and cake. Enjoy your special day.

Well done to all of those who are taking part in virtual sports week. I hope you are enjoying the activities. Today focus is Wimbledon….ooo strawberries and cream!….researching the players designing trophies and writing winners speeches are some of the activities. The challenges are called ‘smooth skills’ I have a feeling they may involve paper aeroplanes, so hide your best printer paper!

Later today we expect the Secretary of State for education to announce the planning parameters for next academic year. We hope this will provide some clarity and support to enable us to make our plans for September. Once we have this information we will be able to share details with you such as your child’s next teacher and plans for transition meetings. I know some of you are keen to know this, and rightly so, I am just reluctant to have something set up for it all to be changed!

Whatever the day brings have fun, live in the moment and enjoy the wonderful little beings who are your children, nothing more precious than a child.

Take care

Mrs Wood

 

 

1st July 2020

Another new month and another Wednesday! And very warm Wednesday wishes to you. Once we hit July I always think we are on the home stretch!

We have three birthdays to celebrate today: Tommy A in Onyx is 7, Jasmine S in Crystal is 9 and Will W in Ruby is 10. I hope you all have brilliant days and enjoy lots of fun and plenty of cake. 🎂

Today’s sports focus is Health and Fitness. There is lots to do on raising the heart rate, healthy diets (cake is ok isn’t it?!)  and ensuring relaxation. Sonic Speed is the theme of the challenges with speed bounces, drop shots and star jumps. The rain yesterday didn’t help and I am not sure today is going to be any better! We would have been postponing sports days in school for sure!

Have a good day everyone. I shall be back later with a story…at least I shall try, having inadvertently deleted Dojo from my IPad yesterday and subsequently locked myself out of it altogether I didn’t have the best of days, in fact everything I touched went wrong! One of those days!

Have a good day everyone and I shall try to too.

Stay safe

Mrs Wood

30th June 2020

Good morning to you and good morning to Tuesday.

One special Birthday today, Miss Dillon! Have a fabulous day Miss Dillon and make sure all those in school spoil you! I shall be sure to eat some cake in celebration 🎂

How did everyone get on yesterday with the sports challenges? All good I hope, and no injuries! Today the menu focus is The Olympics. A chance to design an Olympic village, and study some of the different sports. The physical challenges are all to do with coordination today…all can be done at home, no special kit required! Have fun, and don’t forget to upload the scores to the teachers.

There is much talk in the media about schools and September. We have not yet received anything from the Department from Education regarding expectations for the new academic year.  Please don’t let the press and social media ‘put the wind up you’. Once we know exactly what is expected of us we will adjust our plans accordingly, and share them with you at the first opportunity.

Enjoy the day, you are doing a great job!

Mrs Wood

29th July 2020

Good morning and welcome to another working week. I do hope you are all remaining fit and well…and if the fit bit has become a challenge then this week is just for you!

We are mixing things up again and have a whole week focussed on sport, as this is when we had scheduled our sports days at school. I had no idea last year that I was attending my last ever sports day…it just shows, live in the moment! I also look back at how much I anguished over having to postpone because of the rain… That was nothing compared to closing a school in a pandemic!

This week then you can expect a different sporting menu each day. The teachers will post these on the class pages and they have a range of activities with a focussed theme. So today for instance the theme is football and there are tasks such as creating a set of Top Trumps cards for a team and designing a mascot as well as investigating the countries which have hosted major tournaments.

Alongside the menus there will be 3 Personal Challenges every day. Todays is Making muscles with activities such as press ups and bag for life lift. The children are able to gain a score for their activities and these can be recorded onto a score sheet and uploaded onto their Dojo portfolio or sent to the teacher. Again the PowerPoint slides of activities will be uploaded by the teachers onto the class Dojo page, and just to note they will be slightly different in each key stage e.g. press ups: early years complete press ups against the wall, KS1 against a table or worktop and KS2 on a low step.

As if that wasn’t enough Miss Booth will also be posting some information regarding a Shepway interschools sports event so look out for that too. Wow we shall be so fit!

Finally, happy 8th birthday wishes to Quinn W in Turquoise class. I hope you have a superstar day Quinn, I made some blueberry muffins yesterday so shall celebrate your special day with one of those (and then some press ups 😉)

Take care everyone, enjoy the activities and I shall be back later with a story.

Mrs Wood

26th June 2020

Good morning and Happy Friday! That was a bit of a noisy start! 🌩

Today we have two birthdays to celebrate Bobby -John G in Jade is 7 and Jake H in Amber is 8 today. Very happy birthday wishes to you both and I hope you all have fabulous days of being treated like royalty! We also send birthday wishes to Claire from the Nursery today. Happy Birthday Claire! On Sunday it will be Aaron H’s birthday. Aaron is in Coral class and has reached the wise old age of 11. A Happy Birthday to you too Aaron, may all your birthday wishes come true 🎂

I don’t blame any of you if you haven’t achieved very much over the last couple of days. Whilst I completely adore hot sunny days they aren’t very conducive to productivity! So good for you if all you have achieved is staying hydrated and enjoying the rays! As Mr Wood pointed out yesterday in 6 months time it will be Christmas (😱) so make the most of it!

I shall be back later with a story for the children…this one is perfect children’s humour!

Meanwhile to you, enjoy the day in whatever way you spend it…remember no stress, it isn’t worth it!

Have a lovely weekend

Mrs Wood

25th June 2020

Thursday and another ‘scorcher’ ☀️😎

Today we have two birthdays to celebrate: James B from Amber class is 9 years old and Callum R in Jet is 6! I hope you boys both have a great day with lots of fun and plenty of 🎂

With some further easing of lockdown measures we must keep reiterating the hand washing message. I have found with just the two of us in the house and neither of us going anywhere we have both become a little less conscientious. Although I am still putting parcels in quarantine and washing all my food shopping when it’s delivered! From our school return in September we certainly want the children to be proficient hand washers, not least because of the winter germs! What a shame hand washing doesn’t eliminate nits too!!!

I saw this in  a magazine which I thought looked good, although I have not checked it out yet. Each Friday at 7pm one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musicals will be released on YouTube for just 48 hours. Big hits include Cats and The phantom of the Opera. Find them at youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon. I think I shall take a peak, I really hope Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is shown, it’s my all-time favourite

Enjoy todays sunshine, and keep safe.

Mrs Wood

 

24th June 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to Wednesday, mid-week again!

Today would have seen year 6 heading off on their residential, I am so disappointed for them that they haven’t had the chance to have this very special experience, especially as the weather is set to be glorious for the rest of the week. So many plans have been scuppered but ultimately I guess, safe and sound trumps all. If you know the story Pollyanna the little girl in that plays the ‘be glad’ game. In every difficult situation or bad event she finds something to be glad about. So for Year 6 parents…be glad you haven’t now got tons of washing to do at the weekend!

I suppose we shouldn’t dwell on the what could have been but instead look forward to the endless adventures ahead. These few months have been a tiny percent of our lives, yes I’m cross at what I have missed out on, on what you and your children have missed out on but we must be hopeful for the future and look to all that it has to offer. We will come out of this with so many more skills and qualities, as will our children. So let’s be glad we are safe and the future is yet unwritten.

Take care in whatever today holds. Enjoy the moment.

Mrs Wood

23rd June 2020

Good morning to you good morning to Tuesday.

We have another birthday to celebrate today Miss Williamson, our teaching assistant in Amber class. I hope you have a glorious day Miss Williamson… obviously with the obligatory cake randen en kaders downloaden gratis! 🎂

It’s hotting up this week so look after yourselves. I always tell the children that a hot person can quickly turn into a cross one so they must be sure to drink plenty, use the shade and make sure they’ve taken their jumpers off! You will be amazed how many children continue wearing their school jumpers in a heatwave! On one hot day I remember saying this to the school during an assembly and one small person at the front put her hand up and asked what do cold people turn into? That was a reasonable question I think!

I’m sad not to be sharing time with the children in assemblies and around and about the school. When I recorded yesterday’s story I imagined a class sitting in front of me, all ears…it really is a magical experience having a group of children in the palm of your hand…I shall miss it.

Come on Mrs Wood, let’s not get maudlin! You’ve work to do and cake to eat!

I shall be back at 3pm with another story for the children.

Stay safe and have a good day

Mrs Wood

22nd June 2020

Good Moring everyone and I hope you are ready for another week.

This week we welcome Miss Ward back to ‘school’. Miss Ward has been on maternity leave since October after the birth of her daughter Ava. Ava, I can report, is scrumdiddlyumptious…and Miss Ward is still just as lovely. Miss Ward will be working part time and from September will share a class with Mrs Roberts.

Today it’s a birthday shout out to Ethan Oliver! Ethan is 9 today! Happy Birthday Ethan, I hope your day is super great with plenty of cake 🎂

Last week we mixed things up a bit, and a huge thank you to Miss Jones for putting together our work for the week. This week we are back to as we were and then from Monday we will have a Sports themed week as this is when our sports days were scheduled.

The Zoom meetings generally went well. The things I learned from the meetings I was invited to:

  • We are totally dependent on Internet quality!
  • Children loved seeing their friends…but then realised they missed them
  • Children who don’t stop talking in class weren’t so chatty with a screen!
  • Little brothers and sisters don’t want to be left out
  • So many children have learned to ride a bike without stabilisers.
  • The staff loved having a ‘mute all’ button
  • Teachers are amazing! (well I knew that already)

Thank you for supporting your child. I think there are plans to schedule more so if you didn’t return your agreement form and want to be part of this the drop me  a dojo message.

Last week I commented that I loved reading stories. Mrs Bovingdon later asked if I would like to read Diamond class their story each Friday. I explained that I didn’t have any books at home, then remembered that I had stashed away some of the picture books that I had enjoyed using when I first started teaching. A quick rummage in the loft and yes I have a box full! Mrs Bovingdon then suggested that rather than just read to Diamond class I could read and post on school story…How could I resist?! So I shall be back at 3pm with a story, they are mostly for our younger children, but who doesn’t like a good story? …and as I started teaching 33 years ago there are probably books parents enjoyed when they were little so we can all have a trip down memory lane!

See you later…

Mrs Wood

 

 

19th June 2020

And we land at Friday….again! That’s 13 Fridays since we were at school. Let’s hope it’s not unlucky! Especially as today we have a very special birthday to celebrate; Miss Gorham! Miss Gorham I hope you have a fabulous day, and even though you will be in school, I am sure everyone there will make sure you are treated like a princess!

It has been lovely to see the staff reading to you this week. The favourite part of my job, especially as a teacher, was reading to the children and I still love it now. Sadly there weren’t enough books or days to go round for me to have a turn but I’m glad I had such keen staff willing to share. Books and stories are just fabulous. Today it’s the turn of Mrs Nelhams and she is going to read Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman. I hope you have enjoyed the change of approach this week. We just wanted to tap into the outside and all that it has to offer, and support those children (and mummies and daddies) who are worksheeted out!

So onwards with Friday.

Take care everyone and do your best, that’s all we can ask.

Mrs Wood

18th June 2020

Hello Thursday, Hello Greatstone.

Today we wish a very special Happy Birthday to Denise from the Nursery and Breakfast and Afterschool provision…I believe it is  a bit of a special Birthday that ends in a zero, the first digit rhymes with ‘Bee’ 😉Have a glorious day Denise and I hope you are treated like a superstar! We also wish a Happy Birthday to James B in Onyx who will be super seven today. I hope you too have a fabulous day James. 🎂

If you have a child in Years R, 1 or 6 please can you make sure you have returned the parent survey on Parentmail with regards to wider school opening, even if your answer is the same as last time. Given the response so far I think it unlikely that we will have capacity to open to other year groups however should this change we will be in contact with parents of children in other year groups.

Like you I wait to hear about provision in September and truly hope that we can have all children back in some form of education by then. As Professor Whitty said last week the epidemic is shrinking but not fast. There is still a way to go, but there are reasons to be hopeful. I shall maintain that hope. Despite the difficulties, despite the pressures I shall continue to do my best to support you and your child until I leave.

So let’s embrace Thursday, find something to smile about and tell ourselves again; there is no script for this; we are all doing our best with the situation we are in and we are all fabulous at keeping everyone loved and safe. What a community the children, parents and staff of Greatstone are and I am so very proud to be a part of it.

Today’s story is The Cloudspotter by Tom Mclaughlinand is read by Mrs Bovingdon….she will be here soon.

Take care

Mrs Wood

17th June 2020

Mid-week Wednesday wishes to you and I do hope you all remain fit and well.

No birthdays to celebrate today, but fortunately there are some at the end of the week, hurrah 🍰

I’ve enjoyed seeing the work from the book menus this week, who knew the humble leaf could have taken on so many different personas! The footprints in the sand pictures were lovely too…sorry if there was paint on your floors 🙈

Three more books to go and today our newest member of staff, Miss Turner is going to read Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis. Miss Turner joined the school at Easter as a teacher in Diamond class…I think we will call this her initiation ceremony!

Enjoy the story, enjoy the activities, enjoy the day…and if you have cake enjoy that too!

Until tomorrow,

Mrs Wood

16th June 2020

We arrive at Tuesday again and I hope it finds you well.

Thank you Mrs Everitt for yesterday’s story…I saw lots of lovely beach related work…today it’s another outside theme and Mrs Richardson will be here shortly reading Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. As with yesterday the teachers will post the menu of related activities but remember there is still the BBC bitesize if that suits your routine better…or just do your own thing, no pressure!

If you are joining the class Zoom meetings please don’t share the meeting IDs and passwords, we need these to be secure to safeguard the children. If you didn’t return your ParentMail form and are wanting your child to take part please message me. It was lovely seeing some of the children yesterday, in fact I got a little bit emotional! Of course the flip side of the excitement is the sadness some children may feel after the meeting when they think about their friends. Such a fine balance to get right isn’t it? …but between us we can. We have spent the last three months reassuring the children and we shall continue to do so. Keeping them safe and happy is our shared aim, that trumps everything!

Today Leah B in Ruby class is celebrating her 10thBirthday today. Happy Birthday Leah, I hope you have a superstar day…with cake 🎂

Have a good Tuesday, remember we are only a message away.

Take care

Mrs Wood

15th June 2020

Good morning all! Well wasn’t that a glorious weekend? I spent the majority of it in my garden…apart from the rainy bit on Saturday afternoon and then I moved indoors to my sewing machine. I have made  fair few face coverings for friends and family over the last few days. In the words of the marketing experts at Tesco…Every Little Helps!

So this week we are mixing things up a little with regards to our work. Each day a member of staff will read a book which will be posted here on school story. There will then be  a menu of activities which relate to that text to choose from. Your child can do as much as they wish….I think there is something there to inspire everyone. The text and activities will change each day, they should work for any age group so if there is more than one child in the household they could work together…I know…we can but dream! So coming up shortly we will have Mrs Everitt with ‘A day at the Beach’ ….now that sounds perfect 🏖

We have three birthdays to celebrate today herunterladen! Riley S in Amethyst is 8; Harry W in Crystal is 9 and Abi M in Coral is 10. Have a super duper day all and eat plenty of cake 😀🎂

I’m looking forward to our class Zoom meetings this week, I hope I get an invitation to all of them (that’s a hint for the teachers!) Bear with us if we have technical hitches, in our staff meetings there is usually someone that can’t get in…or at least that’s what they tell me 🤔

Have a good day everyone, you are doing a brilliant job

Mrs Wood

12th June 2020

Good Morning…and we reach the end of another week.

We have had a few grey days this week but I hope your mood has been cheery, it’s hard this not going out lark isn’t it? Who would have thought we could have been so good at it though…we all have much to praise ourselves for, not least in keeping our families safe. Praise to our children too. I have no doubt that at times they have tested the boundaries, and your patience. That comes as part of being a child though, and I am sure when they are sleeping soundly you can forgive them anything! Don’t take anything personally they test the boundaries with us and push our patience to the limits at times too!

There are just 29 more school days now until the summer holidays. We can do this! Hopefully over the weeks to come there will be further lifting of lockdown and we will be able to meet our families more widely. I can’t begin to imagine the hugs that are going to be received from grandparents and other family members. Let’s hope it isn’t too long.

Happy Birthday wishes go to Ollie M from Ruby who will be 11 tomorrow. Have a great day Ollie! 🎂

Stay safe everyone, you are all superstars.

Enjoy the weekend

Mrs Wood

11th June 2020

Good Morning to you all and good Thursday wishes too.

Especially good wishes to Katie W in Ruby who is celebrating her 11thBirthday today. Happy Birthday Katie…I am hoping an ‘in school’ birthday is just as much fun…if not better than a home one! I am sure you will be treated like a superstar! Happy Birthday 🎂The bad news is the Wood house cake tin is empty 😱I shall have to bake later today when I have finished all my tasks, but what shall it be this week? Chocolate Brownies or Banana Bread?…oooo decisions!

Today we shall try to finalise plans for our new entrants in September so if you have a child due to join Reception class in the next academic year we should be able to give you some more information next week.

Next week we shall have a different approach to our learning, just for the week, to see if we can help those of you struggling to engage your children in tasks. It will take the form of shared book a day with a related menu of tasks, all of which will suit all age groups. The children should be able to complete them with a degree of independence but there are many that can be done as a family too. A little bit of pick and mix, and what’s not to love about pick and mix?!

I hope you have a grand day. I’m going to speed through my meetings and work so I can get my pinny on!

Stay safe everyone

Mrs Wood

10th June 2020

Good morning all and I hope Wednesday finds you well.

Today we are celebrating two birthdays: Grace H from Amethyst is super seven today and  Leon J in Turquoise is a mighty nine years old. I hope you both enjoy a great day with the superstar treatment you deserve 🎂

Yesterday of course the Secretary of State for education confirmed that primary schools will NOTwelcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer. He also confirmed that he would like to see schools with capacity bring back more children before summer if they are able. Our capacity would be 110 children in total, however there are currently 134 children on role in the year groups that have already been able to return. Whilst not all parents wished for their child to return to school, and I completely understand the reasons why, you can see that we already lack space to welcome back those prioritised year groups in full. We shall, however resurvey parents over the next week or so to determine if there would now be more uptake of those year R, 1 and 6 places for July. We shall then plan from there.

As I said yesterday we will do our very best to support you all, children and adults. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need to. I really do understand that it is hard.

Take care everyone,

Mrs Wood

 

 

9th June 2020

Good morning, lovely to see the sunshine again.

I am a bit late with the post this morning as I have been watching and reading the news regarding the likelihood of a government announcement to the effect that there will be no wider opening of schools before the end of the summer term.

I really and honestly, at this moment in time don’t know what to say to you. I understand this government decision will cause anxiety for some, possibly relief for others, and I appreciate you will be seeking reassurance from the school and from me. The reassurance I give is that educating your children is our specialism, it is our reason for being and one that we all, every member of staff, take incredibly seriously.

We do not know what school will look like going forwards but we do know that whatever plans we make your child will be at the heart of them. We are already talking about our curriculum; its need for emotional and wellbeing support. We are planning our September classes to best support each and every child and we are thinking about how we can ensure you too are supported both now and in the future.

Remember every child, every family in the land is in the same situation. Life is different for all and children can be remarkably resilient. By working together we can help our children channel this quality. I have every faith in our Greatstone community. Please don’t worry, I mean it.

Coming up next week we shall begin our class Zoom meetings. I shall provide the timetable in a second post later today so you can schedule them in. Initially we shall have a whole class meeting, but going forward, especially given today’s news we may go to groups.  

 

These are links to the Zoom Apps and computer downloads:

https://zoom.us…and if it is from the App store it is the Zoom Cloud Meetings App.

This Youtube link shows how to join a meeting. It is one of many, you may well find something better! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkCmbvAHQQ

I have also posted a PDF of Zoom meeting guide from the National Online Safety group.

Finally today, at the end of a very long post we wish a very happy 11thBirthday to Darcy C in Coral class. Darcy I hope your day is fandabbylicious and that you are thoroughly spoiled!

Take care everyone, we’ve got this…after all our motto is ‘Together we Learn’ and indeed we shall.

Mrs Wood

 

8th June 20202

Good morning, and what a glum looking morning it is. We’re going to need to make our own sunshine today for sure. We can do that though, we can do anything….look how far we have come! Maybe over the last few weeks you’ve learnt teaching is not for you! Maybe you’ve learnt it is…Maybe you’ve learnt just how brilliantly talented your child(ren) is/are and maybe you’ve learnt that just like them you too, can turn your hand to anything…I hope so, you have been amazing in your support of them and us. Thank you.

Today we celebrate a birthday…Happy Birthday Noah F in Amethyst class. Noah is 8 today and I hope you have  a fabulous day Noah. I have cake in the tin so shall celebrate with you. 🎂

Don’t forget to return your Zoom agreement via Parentmail if you are happy for your child to take part. We shall begin meetings next week, and you will need to download Zoom. You can do this on any device, and it is free. We will send more details nearer the time. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom you might want to have a little play with it first, but it is an easy platform to use.

Have a good day everyone, whatever it brings. You’ve got this.

Take care

Mrs Wood

5th June 2020

…and we land on Friday again!…it is Friday isn’t it??!

You will receive a Parentmail in the next couple of days with details of our proposal to have class Zoom meetings. We are looking to commence these the week beginning the 15thJune once we have had the returns from parents. The meetings will not be lesson based but will be an opportunity for the class to meet, see each other and their adults, and share some of what they have been doing during their time at home. It should be a lovely social time, but obviously there is no obligation to take part. There will be a strict protocol which we will share with you and which you will asked to agree to in order to safeguard the children and staff. We will also schedule the class meetings at different times to accommodate families with more than one child. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing those smiley faces again!

No birthdays today or at the weekend, but there are a few coming up next week. Watch this space!

For now, enjoy your Friday and have a good weekend.

Take care

Mrs Wood

4th June 2020

Good morning…and what will Thursday bring I wonder?

Well, apart from grey skies, it brings two Birthdays! Today we wish a very happy birthday to Sophie B in Amber who is a whole 8 years old and to Mrs Day, who is a little more 😉I hope you both have superstar days and that you are both thoroughly spoiled 🎂

I hope the weather improves a little so any plans anyone may have had to meet a friend at a social distance outside can still go ahead, if not there will always be another day…we’ve certainly learned to have patience over the last few weeks! Having seen so many photographs of the plants the children have started to grow I’m sure a sprinkling of rain is very welcome.

Keep doing your best everyone, that is all you can do. Your children aren’t missing out, they have you…how can they be missing out? They are just learning new things in different ways, not least how to work together as a family.

Take care

Mrs Wood

3rd June 2020

Good morning to you all and hoping Wednesday finds you well.

Today I shall work with staff to draw up plans for ‘meeting’ the children online. Hopefully we will be able to embrace the virtual world and give us all some much needed visual contact with those we have not seen for a long time siri nederlands downloaden. There are likely to be some forms to be completed which we will send via Parentmail but I’ll try not to make them too onerous!

We will also be discussing how we can embrace the outside into our learning and look at designing some projects that are whole school. This will support those families with more than one child, enabling the same tasks to be done by all. For example it doesn’t matter if you are 4 or 11, you can still make leaf characters and write a story about them.

Remember there are also lots of learning links on our website under the COVID-19 tab and home learning, I also put my daily Dojo posts on there too under the daily updates tab should you not have access to Dojo for any reason.

Hope the day goes well for you… Mr Wood has just offered to make me a bacon sandwich, so my day is definitely off to a good start! I feel I may have become slightly food obsessed during this lockdown 🤔😂

Take care

Mrs Wood

2nd June 2020

Good morning to you all, and we find ourselves at Tuesday…or chooseday; What will you choose today?

One thing I need to choose today is to refill the cake tin! At the moment I can’t choose between making a coffee walnut or lemon cake 🙃I was running out of baking powder and couldn’t get any from my online shopping…I ordered some from another site…I did chuckle when a small plastic bag of white powder came through the post! I’m sure there is a potential headline there 😂

I shall also choose to take a moment in the garden, working from home means that everything is on screen and it’s so easy to find a couple of hours in front of it has slipped by. I need to take the advice that is given to the children…frequent screen breaks 💻⏳✔️

One thing that isn’t a choice however is to continue with the whole handwashing and stringent cleaning regime. It’s so easy to become complacent isn’t it, particularly as lockdown begins to ease. But actually it’s really crucial that this remains a priority…if you haven’t done the pepper/water/soap experiment with your child yet it is certainly worth it…not least for going forwards when we have the joy of winter bugs too🙈There are plenty of examples, here is just one.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=pepper+soap+experiment&docid=608032609966228584&mid=A27A612BAEC77A5570DFA27A612BAEC77A5570DF&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

So whatever you choose today make sure one of them is being kind to you…choose to remind yourself you are doing a great job.

Take care

Mrs Wood

1st June 2020

Good Morning

A new term, a new month and a new week; there is always something enjoyable about a new beginning and we have much to look forward to as we head into the summer.

The school diary says that today and tomorrow were to be Staff Training Days, we shall instead be ‘online open’ and you can expect some learning tasks to appear on Dojo from 9am. You may find, however,  that the posts come from different members of staff as some teachers will need to be in school. Your child’s class teacher still remains your point of contact though, it’s just logistically they can’t be in two places at once!

One of the things I think it would be fair to say has been hard for our children is not seeing their friends. That has certainly been hard for me, we are social creatures after all. This term we are looking to enable more opportunity for the children to do this, albeit virtually. Inevitably this comes with a whole raft of safeguarding and GDPR hurdles, but nothing that can’t be overcome. I’m sure those meetings will be a bit wild with excitement to start with! The flip side of any online gathering will be managing the emotional aspect of it, being sure to support the children with their need and want to be with their friends, which sadly just can’t happen at the movement. There are some good links on the leaflet Mrs Richardson posted yesterday, to support all aspects of emotional wellbeing and family life.

Well let’s head into the new term. Remember each and every family is different, if something is working for one child it may not work for yours. Your child may thrive on clear timetable and routine, for others this may increase anxiety and stress. You have all done a great job so far…10 weeks of a great job and that is something for us all to be proud of. Do what’s right for your child, you are most certainly the expert in that.

Take care and stay safe

Mrs Wood

22nd May 2020

Good morning…Friday! The two P’s day Pizza and Prosecco!

Today I shall be raising a glass to a very special birthday lady…Mrs Liddell! Have a fabulous day Mrs Liddell, enjoy your birthday and I hope you have some treats lined up, I don’t mind eating some cake for you 🍰😉. Pixie P from Onyx and Lexxe H from Jet are also birthday girls on Sunday. Pixie will be 7 and Lexxe 6. I hope you both enjoy superstar days girls.

So we end another term. Usually at this time in a school year I would be writing about how hard year 6 had worked on their SATs tests, how the rest of the school had enabled this to happen by their really superb behaviour in not disturbing them and how we were all looking forward to the promise of the final term and all that it brings. Well clearly none of that has happened (sadly because Year 6 had been working so hard) but that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward, and we definitely should. I have ideas of bringing classes together virtually to enjoy some of those end of year traditions as well as enable the children to see each other, they must be missing their friends desperately, I am!

We shan’t be providing work next week, and there won’t be check ins from us but teachers will check their Dojo just once each day, should you need to message them urgently.

I hope you have an enjoyable week and are able to change your routine a little to make it feel like a holiday.

Take care, stay safe

Mrs Wood

21st May 2020

Good morning, Unbelievably we have reached Thursday again. One minute the time is whizzing by, the next an hour takes forever! Everything I’m trying to do at the minute seems to take twice as long too. I realise just how much I would ‘run something past’ someone, share ideas etc. Ultimately teaching is rooted in creativity so I miss that sharing of thinking. I’m guessing Mrs Kay and Mrs Roberts are beginning to dread a WhatsApp notification from me!

Well, on to today. It’s a meeting day so involves a ‘general make yourself look vaguely presentable’ attempt for me. Actually I not only try to make my top half look ‘professional’ for virtual meetings but I also put shoes on! Crazy, but it makes me feel in role!…and reminds my feet that one day they won’t have the freedom they are currently used to 👠

Today we have two birthdays, hurrah! A huge Happy Birthday to Daisy H in Jade Class who is a super seven, and Harry L from Diamond who has reached the magical milestone of being 5. I hope you both have a brilliant day…and cake🍰😉

It’s the last couple of days of Term 5. There will be a break from school work next week, although we will still be at the end of Dojo if you need us.

Stay safe

Mrs Wood

20th May 2020

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, the 9thWednesday of being at home with your children and what an amazing job you have done. Thank you.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, this week and the focus is on Kindness, and the power that kindness can have. I have been overwhelmed with kindness during this lockdown. People offering to shop for me, pick up prescriptions, checking in and from you, such kind, caring supportive messages. I really hope that during this time you to have been on the receiving end of some kindness, and if you haven’t let me know, I’ve plenty to share 😊

I posted a page from Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful fable ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ yesterday. I love that book, and in it, relevant to today’s Dojo post, the horse says  “Nothing beats kindness. It sits quietly beyond all things.” How very true.

So today I wish you all a kind day, in whatever way that looks and being kind to yourself is a top superpower.

Keep on doing your thing!

Mrs Wood

19th May 2020

Good morning, Tuesday beckons with the promise of warmth and sunshine.

If you still have a date with Mr Wicks at 9am then go you! I gave up when I realised I could only manage the cool down! I do have a skipping rope however and am aiming to top 100 skips in one go…or I might just put the kettle on again, any one for a cuppa? Seriously though if you and your child/ren can keep active then you are winning.⚽️🚴🏻⛹🏻🏓🏃🏼💃🏼🏈

Have  good day all, we are all here on Dojo if you need us, and please do speak up if things are worrying you. As the saying goes a problem shared is  a problem halved. These were my words to you about seven weeks ago and they still stand now: “Look after your own and your child’s emotional and mental health. This is important, what happens over the next few months will live your child for the rest of their lives, a worksheet won’t. Don’t stress.”

Take care, stay safe and most importantly ‘Stay Alert’ ☕️

Mrs Wood

18th May 2020

Good morning and I hope  Monday finds you all well.

I remain incredibly cautious about expanding the opening of the school allowing the return of some year groups, which is why you have not yet received any firm plans, or guidance from me. Part of this wariness stems from the fact that whilst the school has been able to provide childcare provision for some children of Critical Workers these numbers of pupils have been low. We have not been able to see what the effect of larger numbers of pupils has and how we can therefore best ensure absolute safety. It is all very well seeing a plan on paper, reality can often be very different, especially when that reality is unpredictable small people!

I do intend to present something to you very soon and am waiting on a Local Authority risk rating document to test our plans against. I appreciate your support as well as the trust you have shown in me to get this right.

There are no birthdays to celebrate until Thursday…and then we have two, hurrah!

I hope the day goes well for you all. We are heading towards a ‘holiday’ and the children can often be tricksy in school as we get towards these break points…so if you are seeing it at home, it’s normal! Right at the beginning of Lockdown I shared our restorative conversation script which we use as a behaviour support, now might be the time to revisit it:

What happened herunterladen?

Why did it happen?

Who has been affected?

How have they been affected?

What are we going to do NOW to put it right?

What are we going to do in the future?

Take care

Mrs Wood

15th May 2020

And we’ve reached another Friday in lockdown.

No birthdays to celebrate today but we do wish Zak S in Jet Class a very happy 6thbirthday for tomorrow.

Remember, as well as the work that the teachers set, there are some additional links to things on our website. http://greatstoneschool.co.uk/They can be found under the COVID-19 tab and Home Learning. Something there may be just what you need, if you haven’t already checked them out.

I remain very anxious at the potential reopening of the school and there is much going on to plan for this. It’s in my blood as an educator to want children in education but it is also my absolute key responsibility as headteacher to ensure the health and safety of all in my care. At the moment I am struggling to bring those two together. I will continue to work on a way forward.

Mrs Oliver will be sending out the class photographs the teachers put together for you. These will come via Parentmail. I do hope you like them, I have only seen a couple and they looked lovely.

As we end another week I would like to thank you all for your very kind messages of support, both for myself and my teachers, which you have given us daily. We really do appreciate it; It makes a difference.

Have a good day everyone, the weather looks to be improving in temperature, which is always a mood lifter.

Stay safe and enjoy the weekend

Mrs Wood

 

14th May 2020

Good morning Thursday, good morning Greatstone!

Just a quick post this morning as I have a video meeting to attend at 9am and

  1. I don’t know what to wear (too much cake 🙃)
  2. I’ve forgotten how to blow dry my hair…and
  3. I can’t find my make up

A parent commented yesterday that I had been very ‘real’ during this time…well it doesn’t get more real than grey roots and an expanding waistline!

Anyway today we wish a very Happy Birthday to two of our children Emily B in Crystal class who has reached double figures and is a whole 10 years old today; And Tommy C in Jet Class who is a super 6! Happy Birthday to you both and I hope enjoy a great day. (Oh go on then, just one more slice 🍰)

Don’t fret if your children seem to be ‘going off the boil’; if things are seeming more arduous than before; if they are getting a tad (or a lot!) less enthusiastic about their learning. It’s to be expected. At school we see peaks and troughs, home will be the same. The children will also have heard talk of school return, again, just like it has you and me, it will unsettle them. So don’t be hard on yourself if it isn’t happening right now. Take a breath, have a cuppa and just remember one day this can all be fixed…I have amazing teachers and teaching assistants with incredible superpowers!

We haven’t forgotten about the class photo’s we look forward to sharing them with you via Parentmail tomorrow.

Right…where is that lippy?

Have a good day everyone

Mrs Wood

13th May 2020

A Wednesday morning welcome to you.

Never did I imagine ending my career in education like this…and nothing in the last 33 years of teaching, the last 11 in ‘headteaching’ has prepared me for the challenges I am facing now. I think yesterday I experienced every emotion known to man and I must be careful that today I am not coming across as wildly hysterical, extra ranty or totally belligerent!

At this stage our plans for any potential reopening remain embryonic and I am sure will go through multiple changes. However, one thing I do need to be clear on is that any attempt to facilitate a phased return will mean the likelihood of your child spending the day with a known adult, or indeed many of their friends, is going to be slim. At present I only have the possibility of 15 adults able to work…and that’s before any potential absence. We have to be realistic, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, that hasn’t changed. The death toll yesterday was still over 600 and yes I understand that children are less likely to have very bad symptoms should they contract the virus, but clearly adults don’t, and children can’t be in school without adults. Equally one child, just one child contracting the virus and experiencing the awfulness of it, is one child too many. (Oh dear I am verging on hysterical and ranty now!).

So, I think what you can do best at home now is to make sure your child is aware that if they do get to return to school from sometime after the 1stJune…and it remains a big IF…that it won’t be school as they know it. We need to be honest with them. For our year 6 it won’t be the ending to primary school that they envisaged, and I am truly sorry about that. I wish I could make that different but it isn’t possible.  

I shall continue to work closely with my team…and your new headteacher…to make sure the provision we make now, and in the future is the right one. On Mothers Day this year I said to you On the 14thMarch 2021 it will be Mothers Day again. I want us all to be able to hold our loved ones tight that day and be able to say ‘I’m glad we did the right thing’. I remain so desperately keen to do the right thing. I really don’t want to fall at the final fence!

But, for now, let’s not allow any of that prevent us from celebrating Amethyst’s class Joey W very important 8thBirthday!! Have a superstar day Joey, make sure there is plenty of cake! 🎂

My diary tells me its 46 more school days until we would break up for the summer. We can do this!

I hope you find some peace in the day

Mrs Wood

12th May 2020

Good morning

Last night I received the DfE guidance on what a return to school may look like, the steps schools should to take to implement protective measures and the expectation of who should be attending. It talks about social distancing being key, and children returning to smaller classes. It’s a start…but the very beginnings of a start so forgive me if I can give no further information for a few days at least.

School reopening will, without doubt, pose a risk. I understand that there are some who will ‘just want to get on with it’ but I cannot, and will not do that, without thinking through all scenarios carefully to ensure that everyone is safeguarded. I am living through so many ‘what if’s’ at the moment, as are my team. We want to get this right and I certainly don’t want to replace those ‘what if’s’ with regrettable ‘if only’s’. To date our immediate school family has not suffered any loses. That is something I am ever thankful for. Each day I tell myself ‘you will never know if you have overreacted but you will know for sure if you have regrets’. I don’t want to live with those regrets.

The guidance for parents and carers published by the DfE is here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carersshould you want to read in detail the suggested planning. It may also answer some of the questions that you have. Ultimately I respect any decision you take. If that is deciding not to return your child to school until you feel it is safe to do so, then I will assure you now there will be absolutely no consequence from us for making that choice.

I am hopeful that the rampaging weather has left us behind, yesterday it certainly reflected the turmoil of my head!

Today the sun is out so that we can celebrate Lilly-May B in Jet Class 6thBirthday. Have a grand, superstar birthday Lilly-May 🍰😃

I get that you are probably at the end of your tether, it’s hard but hang in there, you are doing a brilliant job. Look after yourselves too.

Mrs Wood

 

11th May 2020

Welcome to a new week.

I hope you were able to enjoy the weekend, despite the feisty weather yesterday.

Yesterday evening certainly saw some mixed messages from government and I am hopeful that some clarity will begin to emerge over the coming week. Throughout this time I have heard the announcements at the same time as you, and so at this stage I still know as much as you do about the possibility of schools extending their opening. It is probable that we share many of the same concerns but meantime we must continue to do what we are doing, and that is stopping the further spread of the virus. I understand it’s hard, and we all want to be back to normal, but realistically that is a long way off. If we can’t go and see our family and friends, I am unsure just why we would put 30 small people (who have a tendency to lick and hug 😛) in a room together! There is much to think about, and many things to take into consideration. Equally, I don’t think a return to school will be school as we know it and whilst I respect the fact that from an economic point of view parents need the opportunity to return to work, this should not be at the expense of adult and children’s mental or physical health. I maintain that our school will not compromise the safety of our families, children and staff… not on my watch anyway!

In the light of yesterday’s briefing however,  I completely understand there could be some parents who may need to access the limited emergency childcare provision we have. Whilst we have  remained open for a key worker family, this has not been education provision, and I must be clear that on limited staffing and strict social distancing measures, it won’t ever be. Please only seek to use the provision if you have absolutely no other viable alternative.

On a more cheery note I am delighted to wish Nadia, one of our Nursery Assistants a very Happy Birthday, enjoy your special day Nadia. We have five more birthdays coming up this week. Hurrah 🍰😉

Remember from this week you will just get the one work post (or set of) from your child’s class teacher at 9am Download gta online. That’s not to say that either myself or the teachers aren’t available all day for anything you may need help with, we are, we simply wanted to reduce the number of notifications we are sending and enable you to manage your child’s day with more freedom…who says English and maths must come first??!!

I hope the day is kind to you all. Please don’t stress we can work through this together. Team Greatstone will ensure we do.

Mrs Wood

7th May 2020

Good morning…and we arrive at Thursday, the last day of the working week as tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I shall post later in the day tomorrow with a little treat the staff have prepared for you and the children; our commemoration of the VE day Anniversary.

After discussion with teachers yesterday we decided that we would slim down the amount of posts we are making daily. You will receive the work /activities suggested (and it is only a suggestion) for the day in one morning post, rather than us breaking the day up into pre and post lunch. You can still post to portfolios or messages any photographs or videos of work (and play) that has been done, but again that is totally optional. I can assure you that no teacher is making a judgement on the work received, we absolutely understand the challenges you are facing. We love to see what is happening but we also understand that when a child’s work is shared on the class post, although lovely to celebrate for that child it can make others, children and adults, feel inadequate in what they are doing. That should never happen and we shall be more mindful of that going forwards. Praise and celebration can and will continue to happen privately.

At the moment we have about two thirds of our families engaging with our posts. That’s brilliant and thank you. Our concern was that perhaps the other third are simply overwhelmed by the volume of posts, particularly those with more than one child. Last week for example we sent out 2.22k messages and 1.51k photos and videos! That’s huge and whilst our aim is to maintain a connection perhaps our enthusiasm to do so has put some people off.

So let’s see how we go. We will always be a message away if you need us for anything, that won’t stop. It is so important that you have the opportunity to be in touch with someone, your own mental health and that of your child/children is a priority for us and we will help in any way we can. Sometimes you just need an opportunity to talk things through with someone. I know I do.

Having said all that do check in tomorrow for our special message!

As always remember what you are doing is totally amazing, and so are you.

Mrs Wood

6th May 2020

Good morning and I hope Wednesday finds you well.

We have the promise of some sunshine and warmer weather and that will lift our spirits I am sure.

Today we have a virtual teachers meeting and we shall reflect on how we are going about our online learning and consider whether it still fits our aims to be accessible to all and also to:
• be clear
• give specific instruction
• be in a dependable format
• be a manageable amount
• be enjoyable and meaningful
• provide human interaction
• give feedback

We will discuss what this might look like going forwards but whatever we decide it will definitely not cause you stress! We continue to acknowledge the brilliant work you are doing at home.

It has been interesting to hear and see how parents and children have engaged with the learning provision and I cannot say it enough times, the most important thing is always to do what is right for you and your child. We will fix the learning at the time that is appropriate. Remember your child won’t have an adult sitting next to them full time to do their learning when they return to school so don’t let them rely on that too much now…and give yourself a break!

With the VE day anniversary approaching these traditional games might be something that you can enjoy together; https://icebreakerideas.com/hand-clapping-games/do you remember playing these?! I do but then that could be showing my age just a bit too much! They cost nothing and are great for mental agility too!

Have a good day, I have become obsessed with days that are good to get my washing dry! Today is a good one 😀

Keep smiling everyone, you are all superstars!

Mrs Wood

5th May 2020

Welcome to Tuesday!

I wonder what you will be up to today? I saw plenty of red, white and blue themed tasks and projects happening yesterday; Bunting being coloured, timelines being constructed and virtual tea party invitations being drawn up. There was certainly a creative buzz to Dojo, and as I said yesterday it gives the opportunity for discussion around the significance of this part of history and a chance to acknowledge each and everyone of those people who played a part in shaping it.

Today we shall start the planning for our September new entrants to Diamond class. It will be strange not to be there to welcome our new children but I want to ensure that despite everything, we do our very best to make the transition to ‘big school’ perfect for them all. If you are a parent of a September starter you should be hearing from us very soon.

Well I best get my hair done and put some lipstick on if I have virtual meetings to do…I don’t want to scare the staff! …I have no idea how I will ever be up, showered, fed and dressed by 7.15am if I have to return to school!

Have a good day, do what is right for you and your family, and above all stay safe.

Mrs Wood

4th May 2020

Good Morning to you all. I hope that your weekend went well, and that you all had the opportunity to do something that made you happy. For me that was making chocolate brownies and sewing a rabbit 🐰

The weekend saw more speculation in the press about potential lockdown lifting and the way forward for us all. I know no more than you and can guarantee, based on past announcements, that I shall be finding out about any requirement to reopen the school at the same time as you do! When we went into lockdown the talk of schools opening in June seemed such a long way off, now it seems so frighteningly near. I shan’t lie, it makes me incredibly anxious. However whatever it is we are told by the government we must do, we  shall do so with the safety of our children, families and staff as our main focus. That has to be our priority.

This week will culminate in a Bank Holiday to mark the 75thAnniversary of the end of the Second World War. We had such lovely plans to mark this event at school but now they are not to be. Ironically though, that is very little to lose given the sacrifice people actually made  during the duration of that period in history. My Mum is 88. She loves alone and my sister drops shopping off for her. We speak frequently on the phone. Our conversation is always the same, “If I can survive a year living in an air raid shelter, I can survive this!” she says…quickly followed by, “but at least I have oranges now!” I wanted to give our children the sense of that past, of what it is we owe to that generation, and of how are future was shaped (just as it is being now in a different way) by those events. My mum talks of always having to have her tea in the garden so she could be the lookout for which way the doodlebugs were flying, either up or down the Thames, in order that she could warn the family. She was 9 when the war started and 13 when it ended. I think we have a duty to ensure this period of our history is not forgotten as soon there will be no living person to do that remembering. So this week the work we are sharing we will be on the theme of VE day, the whys, the whats and the wherefores, so that we don’t forget. We shall end the week in a virtual tea party, as a way of acknowledging our thanks  to the many who gave so much for us. I hope you are able to join us.

We don’t have any school birthdays to celebrate until Friday, so I shall be saving my cake eating until then!

Meanwhile stay safe, continue the incredible job you are doing and remember we are only a message away

Mrs Wood

1st May 2020

Good morning and we have reached another Friday…which means pizza night in my house! (and a G&T!)

Today we wish a very Happy 11th Birthday to Brendan in Coral Class. I hope you have a grand day Brendan with some awesome treats too…including cake! 😉Tomorrow we wish a very Happy Birthday to Yaquob in Crystal Class who will be celebrating his 9thbirthday. Hoping tomorrow brings you all good things too Yaqoub.

Today I have a poem for you, it was sent to me last night by Miss Reeves. Miss Reeves, sadly for Greatstone Primary School, has decided not to return after her maternity leave. Having met gorgeous Hudson I’m not surprised! Whilst Mrs Everitt has done an incredible job covering this post, and we thank her hugely for that, she is unfortunately unable to continue in the same position. We have employed Miss Rachel Turner as our new Reception Class Teacher and Miss turner joined the team after Easter…what a time to start a new job! She has already been a visible presence on the Diamond class page although Mrs Everitt is still there too, and has joined us for our virtual staff meetings. Welcome to Greatstone Miss Turner, we hope you will be very happy with us. I am sure you will all join me in thanking Miss Reeves for the commitment she gave to our school and your children. She worked tirelessly and with huge dedication to the school, demonstrated now by the fact she is still thinking of us all by sending this poem to share:

I tried to teach my child with books,
He gave me only puzzled looks.

I tried to teach my child with words,
They passed by him often unheard.

Despairingly, I turned aside,
“How shall I teach this child?” I cried.

Into my hand he put the key,
“Come,” he said, “Play with me”

-Anonymous

Thank you Miss Reeves, that could be the thing that some of us might just need to hear today.

Continue to do your best everyone, and I hope the weekend is a time for you to relax a little.

Take care, stay home, save lives

Mrs Wood

 

30th April 2020

Good morning everyone, and welcome to Thursday!

The last day of April. I don’t know about you but one minute time is flying by and the next the day seems to last forever. I had a day yesterday where the monotony was getting to me a  little. I suppose that’s inevitable at times for us all and we will each find our ways of managing that. For me it’s to remind myself just why we are having to do what we are having to do download cloud app. Part of being unsettled I guess is the worry and uncertainty that sits around the ’not knowing’. We can easily be overwhelmed by the ifs, buts and maybes and it is important therefore, I think to focus on the here and now, what we do know and ultimately to be sure in our knowledge that this will pass. It will continue to be a marathon and not a sprint and I am telling myself to focus on the mile I am running now not the miles ahead!

The last day of April also means that we are celebrating two birthdays, both from Amethyst class: Reagan E will be eight and Demi-Leigh W will be seven. Have a super duper birthday you two …and hurrah, cake for me!

Don’t forget everyone, you are the experts on your family, we are simply a supporting role. Do what’s right for you and your child and be proud of all you have achieved so far.

Take care, stay safe

Mrs Wood

29th April 2020

Good morning

Today we wish a very Happy Birthday to Gracie W-L in Diamond class who is a huge grown up 5 years old! Happy Birthday Gracie. I’m running out of cake as there are so many birthdays this week…we still have another four to go!

Today I have some book links for you. This is a well-stocked online library https://readon.myon.co.uk/library/browse.htmland many of the books have a linked Accelerated Reader quiz for our older pupils. It has books of all different genres and is free too. What’s not to love?!

Also. what’s not to love about The Book of Hopes? This is a collection of new short works (none longer than about 500 words) by various writers and artists. Edited by Katherine Rundell it is dedicated to everyone currently working in hospitals. The collection contains short stories, poems and doodles so it’s perfect to dip in and out of. To read it, follow the link. https://issuu.com/bloomsburypublishing/docs/thebookofhopes_interactivepdf

I know it can be hard to keep the children motivated to ‘work’. Remember at home it’s likely to be more full on than at school. Less distractions, no definite breaks like assembly and playtime and no changes of face. The experience we give our children now will last forever so sharing a story together today may be more important than thrashing out a maths worksheet. Always do what’s right for your child and for you; We are in this together! If, however, you feel a little encouragement wouldn’t go amiss please do let your child know I am looking at their uploaded portfolio work every morning. I am commenting on some (not every…I’d be here all day and night!) because it’s important to stay connected and motivated. So do use me in a positive way ‘Mrs Wood would love to see…’ because I promise you I would!

If you do find your child is needing some space, particularly if the rain is keeping you indoors (although jumping in puddles and playing in mud is also great fun…forever experiences remember!)  this is another link full of good advice and sensible ideas. https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/calm-zone/

 

Another excellent site to support mental health and wellbeing is this one https://www.camhs-resources.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR0wdqA8b0_mQ9oB463E8jYp0BMzt8kaMZDQg_H-jVJV6xhmwXXH7PcDQfYI shall add the links that I use in these posts to our website so they are there for future reference. They can be found under the COVID-19 tab.

I hope you have a good day, in whatever direction it takes you.

Stay home save lives

Mrs Wood

28th April 2020

Good morning

What a shame it’s a rainy day as we have three birthdays to celebrate today:
Evie S Amber Class
Kacey D Amber Class
And Jacob F Turquoise Class
All three children will be 9 today. We wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Every day I sift through a huge amount of resources and information that I am sent. I try to find those bits that would be most useful to you and I am keen that you are not overwhelmed. I see yesterday Miss Calver posted a Young Writers competition. Having seen some of the writing in children’s portfolios I think we certainly have some budding authors! I have also seen another competition this time run by Waitrose/John Lewis who are launching a competition to design a superhero teddy bear. The winning teddy will be sold in John Lewis and Waitrose shops later this year, with 100% of the profits going to the NHS. The details are here: https://www.johnlewis.com/content/your-partners-through-it-all/feel-good-friday(You have to scroll down a bit!)

I also have received information that as well as Aldi, McColl and Martins will be accepting FSM vouchers. I don’t know if those stores are local to you but if they are I hope that information helps. I also understand that the expiry date for the vouchers has been extended to four months from their delivery date.

Finally, (for today!) parents whose older children may have more of an online presence via phones or other devices this App may be a useful. The BBC’s Own It app helps young people new to social media manage their well-being, whilst empowering children to make smart choices, and helping them to lead a positive life online.

The Own It app and keyboard lets children:

  • get advice whenever they type
  • track their feelings
  • win badges as they reflect
  • take quizzes to learn more about themselves

The app also includes a special keyboard to use which offers helpful tips and friendly advice to children when they need it. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play. Further information can be found here: https://www.bbc.com/ownit/take-control/own-it-app

Just a few little bits there that may help. I have some other links to share on a range of topics but as I say I don’t want to overwhelm or cause worry and stress. I simply want to help to keep your days safe, calm and happy.

Have a good one and see you tomorrow (Three birthdays = three pieces of cake!!)

Mrs Wood

 

27th April 2020

Good morning.

What a beautiful weekend, it is certainly making lockdown a little easier. Looking at the weather forecast however I think April is going to end with its infamous showers.

To differentiate between a week day and a weekend day Sunday has become baking day in my house. I was given six beautiful duck eggs so the sponge cake that I made looks particularly yummy! I also had my sewing machine out, although I have to say my motivation for sewing recently has sadly declined. I guess that’s all part of adjusting to a new normal. I’m sure I’ll get that mojo back!

I have seen this book recommended in an article I was reading https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coronavirus-Book-Children-Kate-Wilson-ebook/dp/B086SX6HY7/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3VSVD5ECC1EVP&dchild=1&keywords=nosy+crow+coronavirus+book&qid=1587971602&sprefix=Nosy+crow+co%2Caps%2C141&sr=8-1

It is illustrated by Axel Sheffler, who is famous for his Gruffalo book illustrations. This is its blurb: “Engagingly illustrated by Axel Scheffler, this approachable and timely book helps answer these questions and many more, providing children aged 5-10 and their parents with clear and accessible explanations about the coronavirus and its effects – both from a health perspective and the impact it has on a family’s day-to-day life”.It is currently free to download and read. Sometimes we just don’t have the answers to the questions we are asked so it may just help settle some little people’s minds…or even our own!

Today we wish a very happy 9thBirthday to twins Louie and Mason in Turquoise and Crystal classes. We hope you have a lovely day…and guess what I shall do to celebrate? That’s right eat some cake! (I feel there is a bit of a theme to my lockdown experience!)

For those of you who are receiving the FSM vouchers I can only apologise for the utter shambles that is the government site for distribution. Access to the site is unbelievably slow but we will do our very best to ensure you have what you need, so do ask if you require some help. Aldi have now joined the scheme, so vouchers will be valid there too.

Have a good day everyone, the teachers will be here soon to start the week. We are busy too prepping some things ready for next week and the VE day celebrations, so watch this space!

Mrs Wood

24th April 2020

Good morning.

As we head towards another weekend we can be proud of what we have achieved this week. Well done everyone!

A parent commented to me yesterday that they liked having my morning post because it helps them differentiate between a week day and a school day. Happy to oblige!…It helps me too!

Today we celebrate one birthday and that’s Mya S in Onyx who will be 7 years old (I can remember when you were born Mya!) Tomorrow there are two more birthday girls Hollie C in Jade class who will also be 7 and Amelia P in Coral who has reached the grand old age of 11! I hope you all have a glorious birthday…and I shall eat more cake to celebrate with you.

It’s easy to believe there are things we are now missing out on as a result of lockdown. Celebrating birthdays with friends and families springs to mind. However, I am sure we all just so conscious of the greater good of maintain our own and each others safety. For our Muslim families yesterday was the start of Ramadan we wish a very warm Ramadan Mubarak as you begin this holy month.

Another thing that my diary tells me we are missing out on today is our Class photographs. What a shame! Well, in the true spirit of Greatstone Primary, we won’t be beaten. The teachers would like you to send them individual photographs of the children and they will then compose them into a class montage. Cracking idea! If we do get back to school before the end of the academic year I can’t promise and official photo but we will however do a school based class one.

Have another good day everyone, stay safe and well, and enjoy the weekend.

Mrs Wood

 

23rd April 2020

…And it’s Thursday!

I’ve been in two minds as whether you need to see a post from me each day, but actually I do think it’s important. I’ve written much over the days since school closed about our aims being to stay healthy and happy, however I think there is another very important one too and that is to stay connected. We were so fortunate that we had Dojo set up and working well before lockdown and I can see, looking at all class posts and individual pupil portfolios that it is providing a superb platform for that whole school connection. So for that reason, I’ll be here daily J

I am loving the portfolio pictures of completed work, the videos of children sharing their learning…and my favourite the pictures of children simply playing and having fun herunterladen. I look forward to seeing what you are all getting up to each day. I used to wish I had more time to get my paperwork done…well now I have that time what I know I loved most and what I miss most about my job is seeing and interacting with the children. Be careful what you wish for eh?! That also goes for the countdown to retirement I had in my diary…did you know from today there are only sixty more school days until the end of the summer term! So I now have a new mantra, be grateful for what you have and live in the moment!

We don’t have any school birthdays to celebrate today, but I shall eat some cake anyway!

Take care everyone, and have a good day, in whatever way that works for you and your family.

Mrs Wood

22nd April 2020

Happy Wednesday!

You’ll be glad to hear I don’t have much to say today! Can you believe we’ve actually only missed 12 days of school so far?! I know… it feels like 12 weeks!

Today we wish a Great Happy Greatstone Birthday to
Charlie M in Rhinestone 10 years old
Lois P in Jet 6 years old
Abi S in Crystal 9 years old
And Lilly-Mae W in Ruby 10 years oldI hope you all have a lovely day.

Well done those of you who had a go at the fitness dice game that Miss Booth posted yesterday. I’m not going to lie…I’m glad I didn’t have to play it with anyone!!!

Enjoy whatever you choose to do today, if that’s the sunshine and your garden then so be it. Don’t forget children will learn well when they are interested in something. Go with their interests and you are on to a winner!

Take care ‘see’ you tomorrow

Mrs Wood

21st April 2020

Good morning Tuesday, and good morning to you.

I hope you are all keeping well.

So another day of ‘doing what’s right for you and your child’. The BBC resources certainly looked useful and as I said yesterday provide an alternative…or an addition, should you need it. It’s so difficult for us to get the balance right and not overwhelm you. Just like in the classroom, at home we have those children who are thriving on the routine and eating up the work and we have those children who are tricksy to motivate. Remember we have trained for three years, often four to deal with that in school, and have a range of experience and resources (notably other humans!) to manage it…and still we have off days. So do what you can, don’t beat yourself up if it’s not happening just now, and stick with the ultimate aim of happy and safe.

I’ll remind you again of our three school rules of Ready, Respectful and Safe. They are a perfect starting point for the conversations if you are facing challenge from your small person e.g “No, I am not the boss of you, but it is my job to keep you safe and therefore I would like you to…” Use a script…it works, honest!

We obviously have a duty of care to ensure online safety for our children, clearly that’s hard for us to do remotely but I have come across some useful resources that may be of help to you. Thinkuknow is the online safety education programme from the National Crime Agency and You can find lots of support and advice on keeping your child safe online at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/

They also have age appropriate activity packs

Home activity packs for ages 4-5 https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets/early-years/?utm_source=Thinkuknow&utm_campaign=03f521e658-TUK_ONLINE_SAFETY_AT_HOME_21_04_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b54505554-03f521e658-55024769

Home activity packs for ages 5-7 https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets/5-7s/?utm_source=Thinkuknow&utm_campaign=03f521e658-TUK_ONLINE_SAFETY_AT_HOME_21_04_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b54505554-03f521e658-55024769

Home activity packs for ages 8-10 https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets/8-10s/?utm_source=Thinkuknow&utm_campaign=03f521e658-TUK_ONLINE_SAFETY_AT_HOME_21_04_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b54505554-03f521e658-55024769

Home activity packs for ages 11-13 https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets/11-13s/?utm_source=Thinkuknow&utm_campaign=03f521e658-TUK_ONLINE_SAFETY_AT_HOME_21_04_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b54505554-03f521e658-55024769

Again I am not saying you have to do these they are simply there if you want them.

The teachers and I continue to be in awe of you. Keep doing your best that’s all any of us can do.

Mrs Wood

20th April 2020

Good morning and welcome to a new week.

There was so much speculation over the weekend with regard to schools reopening and other educational issues. Suffice to say at present this is simply that, speculation, and I would rely on hearing the facts from us rather than from a hyped up media. At the moment we are as we are and will be so for the foreseeable future. Please be assured that we will do whatever the government asks us to do in a timely manner, ensuring the safety of our families and children first and foremost.

Today two new resources are lunched nationally: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons

https://www.thenational.academy

As yet we have not been able to look at these and determine how we might best support you to use them. Again it’s a case of you know how much work is manageable for your child…and you!…so please no pressure. They may though, provide other ways to help keep learning varied. Once we have been able to see them we may well integrate some of the activities into a daily plan. As always, however I am mindful that internet access, or device access, especially if there is more than one child in the household, is not always easy, or indeed available.

For parents with children under 5 years old, who have not yet started school, or indeed some of our younger pupils, the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign features tips and practical activities that you can do at home with children to support their early learning.

We have no school birthdays to celebrate today, but we will make up for that on Wednesday when there are four!

Take care everyone and remember we are here if you need us at all.

Have a good day

Mrs Wood

17th April 2020

Friday! I had to say that to let myself know! It’s bad enough all the days feeling the same and then to go ‘back’ to school on a Thursday which made me think yesterday all day it was Monday. Don’t even begin to ask me what the date is!!!

I hope it was good to be back in  a little routine yesterday. I was checking out the class posts and there was certainly a lot on offer and a great deal going on. Well done. Do your best!

We learned yesterday that lockdown is extended for at least another three weeks, and I am sure everyone is clear and appreciate why. It will however increase further strain on the emotional dynamics in homes. Don’t forget we are here at any time you need us. This link may be of use to you or someone you know. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/You can also find the link on our website under the COVID-19 tab. On the same tab you can find some additional home learning links, that may be of interest to you. Our website…for a reason I am not technically minded enough to know…doesn’t always appear in a search so if you wanted to check those things out, this is the address. http://greatstoneschool.co.uk/

I have seen an idea of making of a ‘time capsule’ to mark this time as something that for sure will be studied in history. The link below provides some ideas for this https://letsembark.ca/time-capsuleIt may, of course be something that you are already doing with you family, but isn’t it strange to think that in the future our children will be speaking to their children, grandchildren about all this.

Well there are my Friday thoughts. I hope you have  a good day. My day will be good if I can get the washing dry before it rains! Little things…

Stay safe

Mrs Wood

16th April 2020

Good morning and here I am back unlocking the gate and welcoming you to term 5. I hope you enjoyed a little rest from the strange school routine we found ourselves in. I know the glorious weather certainly helped….and of course a little bit of chocolate didn’t go amiss!

 

Well it’s back to it now and after long discussions with teachers we felt that we had a pretty good thing going with the way we were delivering learning opportunities prior to the break. Obviously the packs we sent home went a long way to supporting that and it’s clearly not something we can now replicate. However we felt our ultimate aim was to provide you with learning that:

  • was accessible to all
  • was clear
  • gave specific instruction
  • was in a dependable format
  • was a manageable amount
  • was enjoyable and meaningful
  • provided human interaction
  • gave feedback

We felt that we had achieved those aims and therefore we shall continue to provide for you in the same way for the foreseeable future. The teachers will post learning tasks in English and maths during the morning as well as other engaging tasks and in the similar way to previously, challenge type tasks post lunch, possibly relating to a mini project. The teachers ae going to try really hard to ensure the tasks they provide can be done without a ‘worksheet’. We shall also post …or at least Miss Booth will!…PE and fitness type activities onto the whole school page (this one) every few days or so, so look out for those. Physical activity helps the mental wellbeing too, so they are definitely worth engaging in.

The message is the same as before. Only do what you can do. You have my absolute promise that we will address learning gaps when we return to school. Please don’t stress, or be made anxious by what you see or read other families, either at Greatstone, or beyond are doing. You can only do what is right for you and your child. You are in the best place to decide that right now. Remember it’s ok not to all have the same mood at the same time. If one child needs time snuggled on the sofa while the others are playing then so be it. If one needs cuddles while the others work it’s ok. The ultimate aim is to be happy and healthy.

Today we have four children with birthdays:

Henry K Onyx
Daisy P Jade 
Oakley S Ruby
Younus T Diamond

I hope you all have a very Happy Birthday and enjoy a little bit of fun xx

It would have been lovely to have been at the gate this morning, seeing you all, in what promises to be another day of glorious sunshine, however it’s not to be. We must hold onto the fact that we are doing the right thing; staying home; saving lives.

The teachers will be here soon…enjoy the day!

Mrs Wood

1st April 2020

Good morning

…and we have got to the last day of term, even though it doesn’t feel like it! Never in a million years did I think I would be writing the end of term 4 message in a situation like this!

We have one more day of learning tasks to share and then we will leave you be for a bit with regards to the learning. We will, however, all still be here and your child’s teacher will ‘drop’ by daily to say a hello. So as always if you have worries, concerns or wonderful things to share please keep doing so, although we may not be quite so prompt in answering rammstein deutschland kostenlos downloaden! You have done an amazing job, but we didn’t think we could just walk away for two weeks, that wouldn’t be fair. We certainly aren’t going anywhere, and this for the moment is the new normal.

Enjoy the last day of ‘school’ for a bit, sun is out again hurrah!

My amazing staff have a treat lined up for you and the children later today, something to help with a smile and to lift your hearts, and make you smile…so be sure to be around at 3.15 to see Mrs Cooke’s post…too exciting!!

Mrs Wood

30th March 2020

Good morning and welcome to Monday and another school week. Well it’s the final school week of term 4 actually with the Easter holidays due to start on Thursday. Now that is going to be odd!

Obviously the learning packs we sent home will only last these final few days so I will be working with the teachers to see how we go about supporting learning into term 5. We will also discuss how we can still support you over the Easter break, not with tasks but in terms of check ins and generally ‘being there’. I know we wouldn’t normally during a holiday but I am anxious that we do our best by everyone in these most unusual times…it’s not as if we can go anywhere anyway!

At the beginning of last week I talked about the children feeling anxious, worried and frightened. I think that is likely to be true even more so now as we head into the crisis at its predicted worst. As you have no doubt been doing watch when those adult conversations take place, be wary of sensationalist newspaper headlines and accept and answer questions as best you can. CBBC Newsround https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/is a good source of clear child friendly information. Place to be has a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing.https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/

I know you are doing the right things and certainly don’t want to get ‘preachy’…I just want to help.

Well I had best get some breakfast before Joe Wicks turns up! Have a good day, do what you can, and remember to look after you too.

Mrs Wood

27th March 2020

Good morning

Welcome to day 5 in the ‘Big Greatstone House’

I hope you all continue to be fit and well. You’ve done a grand job this week, there has been no training for this so just to get to Friday…with a smile… is a bonus!

I saw a lovely idea on social media, the post was this: “Every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, invite people to visit us, we’re going to write it down on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. When all this is over this will be our bucket list and we’ll work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the lovely little things in our lives. Until then we’ll enjoy watching the jar fill up with magical things to do.” A simple idea I thought and one that might help the children understand that this is not forever.

I think one of the hardest things as we get to Friday and head into the weekend is going to be making the weekend different. All the things that made the weekend the weekend, have gone. The football training, the swimming lessons, gym practice, the trips to see family, even the weekly shop! It may be a good idea to try and set a weekend routine too, just like you have been doing for weekdays. Just simple, like Saturday night is pizza and film night for example. Little children remember, have no sense of time but they will mark time in events…it may just help.

Wasn’t that applause for the NHS last night incredible?! A real memory maker and a brilliant way to show our support and thanks. Thanks especially to our NHS working parents.

The teachers will once again guide you through the day, if you want it…if you are happy doing your own thing that is fine and right to do so.

I do hope you have a good day

Mrs Wood

 

26th March 2020

Good morning

Welcome to another sunny day, and in case like me you are losing track, it’s Thursday!

Today’s message is the same do what you can. Remember no stress!

At school we use ‘Restorative Justice’ to support behaviour fall outs. It has a strict script of six simple questions:

What happened?

Why did it happen?

Who has been affected?

How have they been affected?

What are we going to do NOW to put it right?

What are we going to do in the future?

We don’t divert from the script; It stops the answering back scenario, everyone has the same chance to speak and it calms a situation. Sometimes with our older pupils we get them to write their answers down.

I just thought it might help you with any squabbles between children at home.

I’m sure you are settling into a routine now. I had a go at Joe Wicks yesterday…oh my goodness!!!!  I was only successful with the cool down! I took heart from the fact that he was puffed out!

The teachers will be up and manning their classroom dojo doors from 9am again today, although this may be slightly earlier…or later if they too are doing the Mr Wicks workout.

Have a good day everyone. Don’t forget we are at the end of Dojo if you need an ear.

You are all amazing, keep doing what you are doing: Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Mrs Wood

25th March 2020

Good Morning

Unlocking the gate again on another day. You are all doing a grand job!

Don’t forget you are part of the huge team enabling NHS staff and others to keep the country safe, preserve life and keep food flowing. Mrs Kay and Mrs Roberts had just one child yesterday and Mrs Kay will be at the Marsh again today with just two children. That’s excellent! It means we are really understanding this is EMERGENCY childcare, thank you for understanding the bigger picture; by keeping our children at home we are minimising the spread of coronavirus. Thank you too Mrs Kay, Mrs Roberts and the rest of the staff who will take their turn and eventually join the rota, if it’s needed.

So what will today bring in the virtual GPS school? Joe Wicks? We are all going to be so fit! Don’t forget to keep hydrated, the children have their water bottles at school remember, and are watered frequently. Maybe in the sunshine you will have the chance to get the garden tidy, if you have one, or maybe it’s an opportunity to get some cupboards indoors tidy! Every day at 11am David Walliams is reading one of his World’s Worst Children stories, so that might be something to listen to. https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/

Of course the teachers will be checking in with you, they are there during school hours if you need anything, and as a group are all in contact with each other and our support staff so can always share concerns. Do what you can from today’s learning menu and if you can’t no problem…remember, no stress.

If you can keep your children’s brains active, keep reading, keep active and stay safe then you are winning!

Have a good day, see you at the gate tomorrow.

Mrs Wood

24th March 2020

Good morning

Here we are back at the school gate again, ready for another day.

You’ve done day one, you know you can do it now! Yesterday was a bit of a novelty I suspect, it’s inevitably going to get harder but remember this is a marathon not a sprint. Settle into a routine, take time to readjust and don’t forget there is no right way to do this being at home business!

I hope the teachers were a support to you yesterday, it certainly seemed so. Our aim in this is to keep that Greatstone community alive. To keep you in touch with someone who knows your child and can support you through any wobbles. Don’t get stressed by seeing pictures of what others are doing, remember everything I said yesterday, only do what’s right for your family.

We are lucky we have been eased into this this week with some beautiful sunshine, that has certainly helped lift my mood. It’s also showing the cobwebs and dust that had been hidden in the winter gloom…I’ve certainly got lots of cleaning tasks lined up!

Have a good day

Mrs Wood

23rd March 2020

Good Morning

I hope you are all well.

Thank you so much for all your kind comments yesterday. They meant a lot.

These are very unusual times. Our children could be scared right now. They will see and hear much, often when we think they don’t. Everything they know as safe at the moment has been completely disrupted, and inevitably they will feel the anxiety of the adults around them. We know this time is going to be very different for them, bear with them if their behaviours change. It’s natural and to be expected, they just need you to help them understand that life is just a bit unpredictable at the moment.

I would hate that any home learning we are providing adds to this anxiety and tension. You, your child, your family do not need extra stress at this time. Please don’t argue and fall out over any of the things we have sent home, they are there as an option. Enjoy the enforced luxury of this time with your children play games, do jigsaws, have a virtual museum tour, build with Lego, junk model, look at old photos, make up stories. Just be. For some children however, they may thrive on the structure and routines, they might be anxious about not learning they may want a daily learning task. You may find your child wants both!

Don’t worry about the academic progress at the moment. Every child in the land is in the same boat. We will fix this when this awful time is over, that’s our job.

Look after your own and your child’s emotional and mental health. This is important, what happens over the next few months will live your child for the rest of their lives, a worksheet won’t download snapchat photos. Don’t stress.

You know your child, go with your gut and follow their lead. There is no script for this. Do stay in touch, we can support you. Teachers will be manning their Dojo during school hours, but do bear with them…we are reliant on technology working here!

Stay safe

Mrs Wood

22nd March 2020

The text from the dojo video sent today.

Hello

Wishing you all a very happy Mothers Day.

As we enter this new week we must face the stark reality that this is probably the week that those who are infected without knowing will cause the spread of corona virus to explode. Please stay home if you have the privilege to be able to do so. This is not over reacting it is the required and absolutely necessary response. The governments ‘key worker’ list has become a bit of a red herring in all this and has, I think, clouded the main issue. It is not compulsory for children of key workers to attend the limited provision we have. It is an emergency childcare provision. If children can be safely cared for at home then this is what must happen. The safest place for children is home. The safest place for you is at home.

My huge thanks go to our parents who, along now with my staff are those critical care workers. Thank you for doing everything you can to keep us safe, fed and well. The rest of us must do our bit and keep ourselves to ourselves. My husband is a transplant recipient. I shall be at home now isolating with him for the 12 weeks he has been told to do so. If between us he and I save one NHS bed, or indeed a life, then we have done the right thing.

On the 14thMarch 2021 it will be Mothers Day again. I want us all to be able to hold our loved ones tight that day and be able to say ‘I’m glad we did the right thing’.

Stay safe

 Dear Parents

20th March 2020

We have now after 36 hours received a list from the government of Key Workers.Please read the guidance carefully to decide if you are included in this group.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

I  must stress the governments wish for children to remain at home wherever possible, so requests for childcare should only be made if no other safe supervision of your children is possible i.e children should only be sent to school as a last resort. For us to be able to function, we need parents and carers to follow this, because we have fewer and fewer staff each day able to come in as they quite rightly need to self-isolate themselves.

Please note with effect from Tuesday 24th March our childcare provision will be based at The Marsh Academy, until further notice. Further details will follow once we are aware of the families if any, who are affected.

If you have no alternative, please complete the questionnaire under the forms section ParentMail by the end of today, so that at the very least we can plan next week over the weekend with the staff we are able to get to come in.

We will separately speak to all parents/carers of pupils considered to be vulnerable today , in order to work through the best way to keep your child safe over the coming weeks.

The government have also made announcements regarding children eligible for Free School Meals in a way that is very difficult for a school in the current circumstances to deliver. We will follow up with more information on this when we can so please do not call to ask about this at the moment.

Many thanks for your support.

Dear parents

19th March 2020

Following on from my last update, I’m now writing to let you know thatwe have now been instructed to close the school to almost all children after this Fridayuntil further notice.

The government has advised schools to stay open for the children of key workers however we are currently waiting for clarification of who might be in this category, other than the obvious NHS staff. I will contact you later once that guidance has been received. There is every possibility that such provision may be at another local school, should that be deemed more feasible in terms of staffing.

All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards.

In the light of this we shall today be issuing the work packs that I spoke about yesterday. There is enough work in these to last until the beginning of the Easter Holiday. The work commences from Monday as school will still be open tomorrow. We shall send home the packs with the children who are in school today along with the rest of their belongings, e.g PE kit.

If your child is absent we shall put the packs and P.E Kits on tables on the playground for you to collect from 3.45 pm. If you would like to nominate another parent (whose child is in school) to collect these for you, they may do so when collecting their own child. There is no need to ring us to make us aware of this arrangement.

 

Dear Parents

18th March 2020

Home Learning

I think it is only a matter of time before we will be closed and it’s hard to know just what to do with regard to work in this very difficult situation. I am mindful that not all households will have internet access, or indeed enough devices should a whole family be in isolation. I also worry that the internet will not be able to sustain the number of ‘homeworkers’ and general social media traffic should we all be confined to our homes.

In the event of school closure, we have decided to use Dojo as our key means of contact. Yes, this is internet based however we are not suggesting that it is used for work, simply as a means of daily contact with a teacher or myself. We know that 99% of our families have access to it and it is used with consistency across the classes.

We will be supplementing this with a paper-based work pack. I am not ashamed to say that we have taken these from an educational site and they will not be bespoke to our curriculum, or individual pupils. However, for us to provide a similar quantity of quality material is a virtual impossibility given that our teachers are still doing an amazing job of teaching day in day out. They are selflessly ensuring that the measures being put in place by the government are actioned successfully. In my eyes they need recognition for this and I would like to publicly thank them, along with the team of support staff that are also working to maintain the school to a safe level.

I will also provide a suggested timetabled structure to the day, so that you can then blame me when your child thinks they don’t have to work! Class teachers will tell you at the start of the day the pages that are set for the day’s work as well as any other activities that could be completed. Nothing will ever replace that face to face contact daily, we have teachers in front of classes for a reason after all. If it’s any consolation I would have found teaching my own children at home incredibly hard! We are definitely here to support you. Maintaining that feel of our community is I think essential in this uncertain time.

I have added a tab called COVID-19 to our school website. Here I am collating all the information that we have sent out as well as links to relevant sites. If you are using the website on a PC you will need to ensure the web page is stretched wide enough otherwise the tabs cannot all be accessed. I will populate the home learning tab with some web-based activities and useful sites in due course, however, there is no expectation on our part for these to be used.

We are not yet sending packs home for children and families who are currently absent. In this situation please be in contact with your child’s class teacher for screenshots of in class learning activities. In the event of a school closure we shall either send the packs home with the children or arrange suitable collection times. This is still an unknown so bear with us.

Finally, I would like to hope that we have done a good job in teaching the children about keeping safe online as well as how its important to limit screentime. This link may help as a reminder of ways to safeguard your child.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-safety-online-a-practical-guide-for-parents-and-carers/child-safety-online-a-practical-guide-for-parents-and-carers-whose-children-are-using-social-media.

For those families currently absent form school we send you our very good wishes and hope that you are all safe and well.

Dear Parents

17th March 2020 -Covid-19 update

As I explained yesterday, in the light of further government announcements, I shall update you daily on the situation at Greatstone Primary school with regards to the coronavirus outbreak

Our position at the moment is to carry on as normal as best we can. Whilst we have a number of families who have made the decision, quite rightly, to self-isolate, we still have enough staff to be in a safe ratio. It seems unlikely, however, that this will continue given new advice on restricting social contact, and requests for more people in specific categories to self -isolate.

This is the most recent Advice from Public Health England:

  • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

If you are reporting an absence please be clear about the absence reasons so that we can monitor safe returns to school. Could you also make sure that if you have recently changed your contact details they have been updated on our system.

Please consult the:

 NHS website if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may have the symptoms, use NHS 111online if at all possible before calling 111

Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have any questions about the government’s response to coronavirus in relation to school download overlay.

This link is useful for explaining the virus to our children and is particularly written with pupils with SEND in mind. I hope it may help to answer questions and provide facts in child speak. https://littlepuddins.ie/coronavirus-social-story/

It’s a tricky time and we know you’re worried about the impact this might have on our community. It’s important we keep each other safe and talk about these events, being mindful to avoid scaremongering, to help with any anxiety.

Nicola Wood

Dear Parents

16th March 2020 – Covid-19 update

I thought I would use the start of the week as an opportunity to update you on the situation at Greatstone Primary school with regards to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government announced last week that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan to the Delay phase to support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

· A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)

· A new, continuous cough

Please contact the school office as you would for any medical absence if these symptoms appear in your child, please also confirm you are self-isolating for the minimum 7 days. Teachers may not be able to send home additional work for children with illness at this stage, although we will do so if the school is asked to closed.

 To support the principle of ‘social distancing’ contained in the Delay phase action plan, I have decided the school will take the following measures this term:

  • All assemblies – cancelled
  • PTFA Easter Fayre – cancelled
  • All parent volunteer helper’s visits – postponed
  • External agency Beanstalk (listen to some of our children read) – cancelled
  • The recycling project undertaken by Mrs Davis – postponed (we are unable to accept any recycling at this time)

To prevent the spread of germs between children we are removing all plastic cups, therefore your child will need to bring their own water bottle to school with immediate effect!

I hope you will agree that these measures are a proportionate response to the ongoing concerns nationwide. Parents should be reassured that school remains the safest and best place for children to be until national guidance changes.

Nicola Wood