Spring Catchup: Open Day, Art Exhibition & Hatchlings.

Senior Class: Flat Stanley Display

Senior Class: Flat Stanley Display

Spring term has flown by and we are almost into the Summer term! What an exciting and action packed time we’ve had. New arrivals, Lifecycles, Open Day, Art Exhibition, Lego Trip, so much learning, fun and friendship.

Enjoying the fluffy new arrival

Enjoying the fluffy new arrival

 

Where to begin? We left you last with the news that we had received some eggs and a hatchery. We can tell you that we witnessed two chicks emerge from their shells and they were proudly named Niall and Zayn (there really was only “One Direction” we could go after that) it was fantastic to witness the chicks’ hatch and observe them get stronger day by day. They seemed to enjoy their custom made home in our classroom. Once they were big enough they went back to join their flock but we really delighted in having them in the class with us and we all learned so much from their time with us.

 

Daisy's egg hatched

Daisy’s egg hatched

 

Another new arrival was from our school mascot Daisy Duck who found a little companion Diddle, hatched from an egg filled with little chocolate treats! What a lovely surprise for us all.

Senior Class: The Art of the Brick trip

Senior Class: The Art of the Brick trip

The senior class had a wonderful trip to the Art of the Brick in the Ambassador. We love Lego, it is one of our favourite free play toys, it has so much to offer from design and imagination to cooperative play and cognitive skills Lego is one of the primary “go to” play resources. The exhibition featured many 3D models made from Lego and amazing artwork reproduced with the iconic plastic bricks. It gave us lots of inspiration to do something really amazing with our Lego bricks back at school.

Speaking of art we were getting pretty creative ourselves. Working hard all month on canvas, each child had created a work of art of their own. Subjects, colour scheme, and media all chosen by the individual child we worked on our beautiful creations with the aim of an exhibition for our parent and family community to enjoy.

Welcoming our guests to the Art Exhibition

Welcoming our guests to the Art Exhibition

On the 16th April we were ready to receive our guests, with the senior class putting their years of grace and courtesy lessons to good use and took it upon themselves to act as silver service hosts of the event.  Bedecked accordingly they circulated amongst the parents and friends offering canapés and drinks, ensuring a good time was had by all. The exhibition itself was a sell out and we raised €1300 for new equipment to further assist in our learning.

 

 

 

Flat Stanley goes viral!

Flat Stanley goes viral!

On the topic of interactions with the wider community, the senior class also embarked on one of our favourite projects, Flat Stanley! We have such a wonderful culturally diverse senior class it seemed to be the perfect way for everyone to share a little more of their background and family connections worldwide by sending Flat Stanley on his travels to report back to us all. This year we had the happy coincidence of benefitting from some of our schoolmates that have left us to continue their studies in other countries and still keep in touch with their Hedley Park friends.

Flat Stanley, never one to be left behind the times also took some virtual travels as suggested by one of out teachers Aoife, and went on an internet tour of our wonderful Facebook followers. He was shared 30 times and visited New Zealand, Jordan, various cities in the USA & Canada, had a mini tour of the UK & Ireland, before heading to Germany & the Netherlands.

 

Of course that wasn’t the only project on display at our Open Day, each year we think we’ve seen the most amazing projects and work from the children, who really relish creating wonderful and unique pieces to highlight their learning over the past month, but this Open Day the students surpassed all plans and came up with some really wonderful projects and pieces to show to the Hedley community.

Reception Class: Practical Life Shelves

Reception Class: Practical Life Shelves

 

Starting with the youngest in our Reception class, it is here that the work is at its most concrete, the children love to work with the practical life an sensorial pieces, their shelves filled with wonderful activities to inspire and motivate them to work on elementary movements vital to later learning and expression. The polishing and folding work area has been expanded, young children love to be more involved in their own care, cleaning, folding, tidying and keeping things in their environment in order helps children to find their place and value in the group, whether at home or in school.

Reception Class: Polishing & Folding work.

Reception Class: Polishing & Folding work.

The skills learned in practical life activities assist the child to refine their movements and logic enabling them to successfully complete tasks around the home and class, thereby increasing the child’s self esteem and concentration.  Role Play, another popular area in the classroom, is a fantastic tool for expression, the listening skills, the verbal reasoning, imagination and turn taking are all vital elements in building social skills and verbal capacity needed to make successful relationships.

Reception Class: South America Continent Display

Reception Class: South America Continent Display

Our youngest learners also took on a study of the continent of South America, using their natural interest in chocolate (who doesn’t like chocolate) as a key to their learning, they found out about the continent and its people. Using pictures as discussion starters and stories of the animals, foods and people in the continent the children get a sense of the region that they will build on year upon year as they continue to study each continent in more detail as their interests change and grow.

Identity and belonging are natural cornerstones of the Montessori approach, each child innately discovering their natural abilities and finding their space as equals in the group. A wonderful activity for the children was on display, “Guess Who?” the children brought in a photo of themselves as new babies which they could discuss and figure out which picture matched which child. It gives the children an opportunity to discuss their families and histories with each other, bringing mementoes of their family into the school setting makes the daily transitions from home to school natural.

 

Reception Class: Guess Who Display

Reception Class: Guess Who Display

The Junior class had their own transition project, “My week with Bunny” saw the children spend a week with the class mascot, recording the process with photos and writing on their display posters. The children could then present the bunny posters to their classmates, sharing the story of their week and what happens in their family time through the activities of bunny’s visit.

 

Junior Class: Bringing Bunny Home Display

Junior Class: Bringing Bunny Home Display

The students in the junior class are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to using the amazing

Junior Class: We Love Our Work

Junior Class: We Love Our Work

selection of Montessori materials they have at their disposal. They get immense pleasure from the concrete learning that comes from working with the materials. Practical life, sensorial, maths and language are all used daily, alongside the culture subjects of history and geography. The learning that comes from the materials can often be hard to explain to those who are not in the class to witness the concentration and skills building daily as there is no “product” at the end of the session, so our teachers Aoife & Sinead decided to record the junior class love of Montessori materials in a photo collage.

 

Junior Class: Butterfly Habitat

Junior Class: Butterfly Habitat

Our most exciting project has been our Butterfly lifecycle, it has been fascinating to watch the evolution from larvae to caterpillars, cocoons to butterfly. We have been so drawn to the mini beast area, so it has been an amazing experience to see the changes daily, as the caterpillars grow bigger, climbing to the top of the jar to begin their metamorphosis from cocoon to butterfly. A project, which combines science and history, observation and prediction, recording and wonder. We really have been so inspired.

 

Senior Class: Ecosystem Display

Senior Class: Ecosystem Display

Not to be outdone the Seniors had a remarkable line up of learning achievements and outcomes on display. We discussed our Flat Stanley project earlier, but another major project combining some of what Montessori referred to as the Great Lessons. The importance of the Sun, and from it a study of the water cycle and the growth of plants and the delicate balances at work in our own ecosystem. This was an action research project, the learners in the senior class were inspired to reproduce a model of our ecosystem they discovered on their research. Using recycled lemonade bottles they built a perfect working example of how a natural ecosystem can be self-maintaining. Anyone visiting on the day was treated to a wonderful guided tour of the ecosystem and its operation. Thankfully we captured a later presentation of the same information to the children in the junior class. Enjoy!

 With so much done we will leave you now, but as the summer term beckons we know we will have much to report, tennis, sports days and school trips are all on the cards this term. Where will we get the energy!

 

Here is our slideshow of images.

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Royalty, Arrivals, Saints & Chess-players!

What a time we’ve had!

At the end of January we celebrated Chinese New Year. We welcomed the year of the horse with great ceremony and fun!

Our Chinese Feast

Our Chinese Feast

A royal court was held with an Emperor and Empress in attendance, there was an entry procession and then the feasting began. We have been learning lots about Chinese history and culture in our weekly Mandarin lessons with Evan so we all knew the correct way to greet our royal visitors.

We tucked into a great menu of delights and everyone tried something new and tasty. Community meals are a great time for children to model good food choices and correct table manners to their peers. We are always delighted to see our children striving to try new foods and share the pleasant experience with their school.

Baby Max

Baby Max

Soon after our celebrations came a sad day when we said “good luck” to our lovely teacher Katie, as she spent her last day with us for a while. We are pleased to report she has since given birth to the gorgeous Maximilian. We are delighted to welcome Claudio and Katie’s beautiful son to the Hedley family!

So lets talk about the work we’ve been doing!

Our Solar System Planetarium!

Our Solar System Planetarium!

The senior class have been super busy! They finished off their planetarium in the skylight of their classroom, it was a wonderful art and science feat and was enjoyed by all. Getting sticky and messy with art is always a hit no matter how old you are!

Our projects were on display this month too, we all had a chance to make a presentation (which was videoed on the ipads, and which we are making available for parents) The public speaking experience is very important in this age group, teaching others in the community what we have learned, increases self esteem and confidence in our own ability as learners. Positive feedback and support from the learning community makes learning an exciting experience, these affirmative seeds planted within our students stay with them through their learning lifetime.

Chess Club!

Chess Club!

Using our Interactive White Board.

Using our Interactive White Board.

Lots of new experiences came our way in the senior class, we began our Chess Club, led by our chess master we have all been learning the pieces and plays and soon we will be champions ourselves. Chess is a fantastic training for strategic thinking and logical decision making skills which will stand us good stead. Also its great fun and everyone is enjoying pushing themselves to learn more and practice at break times.

Another addition to the classroom has been our interactive whiteboard and new class pc. It’s lots of fun, and we are adding elements of it to much of our independent study. From the touchscreen writing, hands on fraction manipulatives to complement our Montessori materials, to the fascination of Google maps and street view. We have wandered the boulevards of Paris and the Pyramids of Giza.

Tir na NOg

Tir na NOg

In the Junior class the children have been working hard on their mythology, history and folklore of Ireland. Tir na Nog being our anchor tale for the season that is in it. Folklore and Fairytale are a super way for our young learners to learn sequencing and memory skills. Hearing stories and repeating the sequence is an excellent early history and math skill. Of course we have also been getting stuck into group and individual art on the story and we think you will agree they are fantastic to look at.

Spring has most certainly sprung in the Junior class with our talk of snowdrops, buttercups, spring lambs, cuckoos, and frogs! It’s a riot of spring colours. Personally I love the personal art interpretations of a buttercup and using wonderful art techniques individual to each child.

In the Nursery class we have been getting ready for St Patrick’s Day by making leprechauns and talking about what to see in the parade. We often try out our own parading skills at break time and you can be sure everyone joins in!

Little Leprechauns in a row!

Little Leprechauns in a row!

Our story board featured the Dinosaur who lost his roar. We love books and stories in the nursery class which is good as Lisa

Story Board: The dinosaur who lost his roar

Story Board: The dinosaur who lost his roar

and Magna love books too and we get so many fantastic stories in the class. We have read lots in our exploration of the polar regions, and our vocabulary is really expanding with all the new words and phrases we hear. Exposure to a wide vocabulary is of utmost importance at this stage and our teachers are so aware of this. Stories, poems, songs and new words introduced daily really concrete our natural inclination towards acquiring new language skills.

World Book Day - Willy Wonka

World Book Day – Willy Wonka

Of course the love of books and stories only grows in Hedley Park, which is why we loved our celebrations for World Book Day. We had a whimsical day as everyone came dressed as his or her favourite character from a story or book they had read. We had a great book sale on the day too, so we could find a new character to inspire and delight us further. Book day is a wonderful family experience as all our parents come in that morning and we have some uninterrupted enjoyment of all the lovely books on display.

St Patrick’s Day also brought another fun family occasion as we went on out walk led by

St Patrick!

St Patrick!

our own St Patrick in Merrion Square, this year we were hunting our old friend Larry the Leprechaun who had been up to his old tricks and leaving a big green mess all over the school. (You can see for yourself in the slideshow below) We went to find him and send him on his way home, but only after he paid for the mess he made in yummy gold chocolate coins!

So you can see that we have been very busy indeed, thankfully we also had our midterm break in there too, so we have had some rest. But one of the most exciting events is still to come, it has been rumoured that we may be getting a hatchery in the Senior classroom. Our very own Hedley Chicks!  The Senior class have been busy learning about the life cycle and care of chicks so that they can be prepared for our new arrivals. We can not wait to tell you all about them next time!

Thanks for reading and be sure to share our new with friends and family.

Lots of love, the students and staff of Hedley Park.

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Adventures in Space and lots more besides!

We certainly took the new year to new heights!

2014 got off to a great start this January in Hedley Park, we went to the other side of the world, explored deepest space, went back to the land of the dinosaurs, and took a trip to meet the best young science minds in Ireland.

The Nursery class visited Australia

The Nursery class visited Australia

Starting in the nursery class we took on the wild and wonderful continent of Australia. The colour coded continents are so helpful for the children to associate the images, artefacts, plants and animals to that continent.  We enjoyed making our own koalas, and kangaroos, and painting our Australia. We also sang songs and examined all the wonderful artefacts Lisa and Magna brought in,

Another great trip the nursery class took was to the land before time. We love dinosaurs, they are our

Hands up! We love dinosaurs.

Hands up! We love dinosaurs.

super cool top thing to play with. So we created a fantastic display complete with volcano, with lava hands and dinosaur group.  Taking our interest in dinosaurs further our teachers helped us to recognise that dinosaur begins with the sound d. In Montessori classrooms we teach the children the sounds each letter makes rather than its name, this helps the child later on to begin to build words by working out each sound.

We are growing so fast in the nursery our teachers wanted to celebrate that fact, each day we change and learn new things. It’s great to see our friends each day and find all the wonderful things to do in our class.

Blossoming in the Nursery Class.

Blossoming in the Nursery Class.

Thankfully at the end of the day there is always a story to help us wind down.

Nursery class Story Board

Nursery class Story Board

Helping children to love reading is a real passion in Hedley and we have so many wonderful books and opportunities to enjoy a story on our own, in a small group or all together. One of our favourite stories recently was Town Mouse and Country Mouse.

In the Junior class we also went on a trip to the continent of Australia. We really enjoyed looking at all the photos of Australia at this time of year. Imagine they have their christmas dinner on the beach, and right now they are preparing to go back to school after their summer holidays. That just blew us away.

Australia board in the Junior Class

Australia board in the Junior Class

We have been so lucky to get a lovely new teacher, we were very happy to welcome Sinead to the school. She is helping us while our lovely Katie is away on maternity leave. We cant wait to meet your baby Katie but relax knowing that we are in good hands with Sinead and of course Aoife 🙂

The foundations of good handwriting which begin by tracing the sandpaper sounds in the

K for Koala

K for Koala

nursery class are perfected in the junior class. We enjoy practicing our sound writing and we are very proud of our K’s and P’s , Kangaroos, Koalas and Platypus were our inspiration. The final stop on our tour of Australia was a study of silhouette and horizon. We think you’ll agree they are magical.

Last but not least our Senior class  went on quite the tour, starting with a trip to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition on the 9th of January. We love the young scientist, its such an inspiration to meet all the older children and their projects alongside professional scientists all of whom had amazing things to show us.

This is how we roll!

This is how we roll!

Circular tessellation.

Circular tessellation.

This inspired us to take on some experiments of our own, from physics to geometry. We hypothesised, predicted, observed and recorded many different ideas. Lots of work on materials and shapes help us discover how the world works, and what the properties of each matter are.

Working on our literacy and creativity we enjoyed writing about “If I lived in a Snowglobe”.  This fun imaginative exercise really got us thinking and you can see the results were captivating. Some of them are displayed for you to admire.

Of course if you are a parent or relative of someone in the senior class you will have heard all about our adventures in space. We have spent wonderful times comparing and contrasting planet properties, sizes, shapes, temperatures. How light travels through space, in particular how the light of our sun creates night and day on earth.

I’m sure you’ll agree we’ve been busy and the month isn’t even over yet! This week we are celebrating The Year of the Horse. We will have a traditional Chinese feast on Thursday after our last Mandarin class of the year of the snake. We will even have royalty visiting, with a special appearance of an Emperor and Empress. Come back soon to see how much fun we had.

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Jumping right into the new academic year!

Welcome back to the blog for the new academic year

Our senior prep school class have certainly jumped into learning with both feet!

We have so much news to share with you, September has been a busy, happy and productive month for everyone in Hedley park.

Firstly welcome to all our new friends and their families, we are delighted to have you in our Hedley Family. I’m sure you feel right at home by now and that’s when the fun really begins! And to our old friends we are glad you all had a great summer and cant wait to show off all you’ve done this month.

Learning about the Seasons through art and colour.

We will start with the preschool group, its been great to welcome so many little brothers and sisters of our pupils in the prep school group. While Hedley does have a strong family feeling in general, nothing beats actually having your brothers and sisters close at hand to share in the fun.

On the “new” theme, the preschool room got a summer makeover and sports a fantastic new home corner area and loads more notice board space to display all the work our littlest ones are doing.  If you haven’t done so already, give us a call and come take a look!

Through September the Preschool group have been learning about many themes, Autumn, South America, and Weather being the main ones. Aside from the traditional academic, sounds and numbers for  preschool, the Monetsssori environment places an emphasis on assisting young children to understand world cultures, geography, natural sciences and the society they live in. This is achieved through art, music, story and movement. But particular to Montessori is the exploration of these themes through the senses.

Exploring the properties of 3D geometric shapes. Do they roll? Do they have sides or edges?

Using touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing young children absorb the physical impressions of  world around them and use these later as the foundations and cornerstones of all the abstract information older children and adults process. In the Montessori school there are materials created to provide this input to the child and assist the child in really creating the strong logical framework it needs to be an independent and active learner.

Group Painting the South American Continent: a social and physical learning experience.

South America was the focus of our geographic trip around the globe for September. As you may know Montessori colour codes the seven continents, this helps young learners to classify and connect the learning and images related to each continent. Allowing for quicker recall and better connection of plants, animals, people and traditions of each continent. Pink is the colour of the South American continent and with the help of our teachers, the preschool group painted a huge mountainous continent for our notice board.

Take a trip to Sunny South America!

Renoirs "Les Parapluies"

Another amazingly fun project got the preschoolers talking and exploring the weather through art. Using Renoirs “Les Parapluies” as an inspiration, we talked about rain!

Hedley Park's "Les Parapluies"

 

 

 

What rain felt like? What rain sounded like? What a rainy day looked like? What clothes we would wear? What things we would need?

All great topics to expand vocabulary and enhance listening and speaking skills in the group. Then we made our own version. We are sure you will agree the feeling and ambiance of a rainy day is captured perfectly!

Prep Schoolers learn about the Wonders of Ancient Egypt.

In the preparatory school group Aoife & Katie’s class have been busy beavering around too! Enjoying the mixed age range in this class, with the older ones helping the younger ones. It really is true what they say, you remember 90% of what you teach someone else to do, experiential learning has been a big feature of the work of the junior prep school class. Montessori classes have a mixed age range from each plane of development, knowing that younger children watch older ones looking for example, this n turn inspires the older children to be more responsible, assisting the younger children enhances self esteem and providing the social cohesion of a caring learning environment.

Swish! Great African themed handwriting sample!

The group learning themes this month have been The African Continent, (coded green) Ancient Egypt, Autumn and our phonogram “Sh” and the sound “C”.

Autumnal Leaves! Displaying great pencil skills.

Everyone is enjoying the discussions, art, song and story during group work and circle time, but personally I am really impressed with the personal handwriting and colouring work from these young students.

Africa Wall Display, lots of fine motor skills needed: colouring, cutting, glueing!

Practical life, a wonderful staple of the Montessori environment has been given a seasonal update. Practical live allows the younger child to gain independence and fine motor skills, and in the older child it enhances concentration and raises self esteem through accomplishment of interesting and detailed tasks.

One of our Practical Life shelves in the preparatory school

Halloween spooning. Enhancing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Witchy Eyedropping Work. Eydroppers strengthen fingers and utilise the pincer grip essential for handwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Halloween and Autumn themed work has been really well received and was proudly displayed to me by the students when I went to ask them about their work. I really liked using the magnifying glass to “spot” bugs in the sand! 🙂

Footy Fun for everyone!

Last but by no means least, our senior prep school group in Ashley’s class have indeed jumped right in! You can see from their fabulous “Footy Fun” display board (also at the top of the page). This was a fantastic team building experience for the new “big kids” to be welcomed by their more seasoned senior class colleagues. Everyone got to experience a mini spa, as shoes and socks were discarded and painted feet left their mark. Highlighting that even down to our toes everyone is unique, our differing feet impressions were lots of fun to create. A nice aside to this was a small lesson in “care of self” as foot washing and drying finished the group work nicely. Well done to all you really did put your best foot forward!

Aside from their extensive individual learning the senior class have been working on three projects. Family Trees, Properties and Characteristics of various materials, and finally Story telling and Writing.

Our Family Trees! Colourful and Significant.

The family tree project saw, history taking on a very personal journey. Each child took time to talk to family members and classify each segment of their family tree. This is a great project for the older class, who are developmentally very aware of their position and place in the greater family and relative structure. It promotes a feeling of belonging that is central to self image.

Labeling our science project.

In science the junior experimenters have been exploring the properties of materials. What better way to find out about a material than to add something to it. Letting the students predict what may happen,  then observe and  record their findings. It is this concrete emphasis on the steps involved  in the scientific approach that will assist these young minds to really take in what is necessary to explore the world in a scientific manner. They tried their hand at oil marbling with great success. They also created a wave bottle, which was great fun until it fell and broke on the carpet. But all proving to be valuable physical property based learning experiences.

Oil + Paint + Water + Paper = Art!

A Story by Scarlett (Age 7)

 

The final group project involved literature and an interesting community based twist. The students used their imaginations, and IT skills to compose and print fairy tales of their own creation. Once the stories were complete the senior class authors had a “story time” for their younger school mates. This proved very popular and was enjoyed by all.

 

 

Knowing the senior class it’s just the first of many creative sharing experiences they will lead for the whole school to enjoy!

The Magic Box written and illustrated by Phoebe.

Thanks for stopping by, as you can see we’ve been really busy. We look forward to showing you our work from October very soon.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the Facebook page for detail of this years “Super Spooky Witches Walk”.

Big School News: Senior Infants Update

Welcome back to more Big School News!

This post concerns the wonderful work taking place in our Senior Infants class so be prepared for some spectacular samples of their activity.

Firstly we’d like to say thank you to all the visitors to our blog, we really appreciate your support and interest. There have been some extremely busy days on the blog, with Monday 20th Sept seeing 94 visitors in 24hrs! In total, as this piece is being written, we have received almost 500 visitors in the past 6 weeks. To anyone unfamiliar with blogging stats this is really positive and we are very pleased that your interest is so high.

There are so many fantastic purposes of blogging for a Montessori school but the paramount one for Hedley Park  is facilitating our parents sharing the precious moments of their child’s school days at home and with family members near and far. So please feel free to send the link to aunties, uncles, grandparents and cousins! There are special buttons at the bottom if you use Facebook or Twitter too!

With that, we are bursting with news from Senior Infants. The newly graduated big school juniors are now well installed as the  second year sophomores and have even welcomed some new students to their group. With almost a month completed they are working up a storm. The main themes for their studies this month have been Autumn and Africa. (alliteration not intentional 🙂)

Learning about the Seasons is an integral part of the curriculum, it allows children to experience and appreciate nature, while honing their discrimination for colour, texture, scent and taste. Talking about nature scenes and experiences allows children to develop their written and spoken language confidence. Finally the cyclic nature of the seasons appeals to the young childs sense of order and curiosity and inspires them to experiment with and question the changes in the world around them.

With the help of our artistic Emma the Senior Infants created their magnificent autumn sensorial wall complete with tree, tactile hedgehogs, leaf collages collected from nature walks in Merrion Square and a badger at home in his sett.

Autumnal Tree & Badger Sett

To supplement the autumn wall Aoife encouraged the students to perfect their written language and individual drawings with their descriptive seasonal handwriting samples.

Autumn Handwriting Samples

Our class themes frame and support the national curriculum workbooks used in class, while the Montessori method and materials allow the student to independently build on and concrete their learning in a hands on way that really resonates and remains long after the learning unit has been completed.

The second major theme of study for the Senior Infants is the continent of Africa. They have chosen to focus on Ancient Egyptian culture alongside African traditional jewelery, customs and topography.

Pyramids & Pharaohs

African Masai collars

The final thing Senior infants wanted to share with you is their wonderful handwriting samples on their African adventure

African Desert Handwriting

African Grassland Handwriting

So as you can see the Senior Infants are getting stuck in and their work shows the effort put in by all concerned.

Thanks for reading our update!

Best wishes from all the staff and students of the Big School.