School News May 2014


School News no.296  

If you receive your school news by email, please make sure that you still pop in to check your pigeon hole as often as you can, as you may miss other important messages – and we like to see you by the office too!

13th May 2014

Dear Parents,

What a wonderful Spring Celebration we shared last week.  Thank you for joining in with our loud parade (that managed to wake the sun up!), our quiet moments, singing, dancing, poetry and blessing of the apple trees and polytunnel.  Special thanks to Gabi (Fleur’s mum) and her friend Jane for their beautiful music that they gave to us throughout the afternoon.  What a treat!

It is so important for all of us to be connected to the earth and notice the passing of the seasons.  I don’t think we can hope for children to care about the environmental issues we face if they are not in touch with it.  The café was hosted perfectly by Rebecca (Reuben’s mum) and the Early Years’ Café team.  All the cakes were sooooo delicious, thank you!  Takings come to £145.59.  Here are a poem written by Sky from the older group for you to enjoy; please look outside the office for a few more.

The Bird Songs of Spring

I wake up in the morning to a concert of spring songs.

The bees buzzing their little wings to help the world.

The calves taking their first little breaths of life.

The sound of the wind in a hurry.

The sun dazzling me from its place in space.

The grass is swaying in the wonderful wind.

By Sky



We are all really excited that the polytunnel is now up!  Thank you for all the help everyone has given over the last year, from digging the trenches, fixing the structure, to putting on the plastic.  It is a wonderful new little house for us to grow things.  Ben, Shona and Tabitha are going to work together to try to ensure that garden produce is used in the school meals much more once we start growing in there!  I know we have a bit more to organise so that we make the most of this space, but it is fantastic!

At the moment we have lots of scrummy parsley in the garden – please help yourself to a bunch before it goes to seed (donation tin for garden produce is in the kitchen by the tea and coffee donations).


Daverick (a very kind ex-parent) kindly put up the yurt, with help from Maude (Sylvi’s mum) and John (Jacob and Kai’s dad).  We found that the porch has a rip in in so we are getting it fixed.  In the meantime, Daverick will lend us one, so that we can open it up as a wonderful play space for all of us.  Gabi and Anita have moved the carpets out of the garage – thank you!  I would love to make the yurt beautiful inside, so if anyone has any ideas (and time) please come to chat to me.

Young Dartington

Summer camps for children aged 8 – 14 years old are running from 28th July – 15th August and Park children are eligible for a 10% discount on the basic price.  If you would like more information there are brochures in your pigeon-hole and on the table outside the office.  Their website is and they can be contacted on 01803 867100 or 07818 032443 or email

School Cook

I am happy to say that Tabitha has decided to stay on as our school cook in September.  I hope that you continue to encourage your child to have a school lunch so that this job can remain sustainable.  We realised that Work Food Day is not a popular day, so Tabitha is looking to change the menu to homity pie, or perhaps another pizza day.  Check the menu after half term!

I am sure you would agree that the quality and quantity of healthy food provided by Tabitha is excellent.

Ex-pupil Folder

Some of you may know that I am putting out feelers to find out what our ex-pupils are doing now.  I got an email last week, from a proud granny, telling me…

Jessica Gribble educated at Park (1995-2002), Sands and Exeter College, got a 2.1 in Maths and Philosophy at Oxford Brooks University, is currently doing her PGCE (teacher training course) in Maths at the Institute of Education, London and whilst doing her second teaching practice at a school in Crouch End, today landed her first teaching job there.

She happens to be the grand-daughter of one of the founders of Park!

Last week I came across a young woman in our grounds.  When I chatted to her I discovered she was an ex-pupil who had come to see the Rabbit Wood tracks, because she said she loved them so much – she said they haven’t changed!  “They are still magic.  Park gave me a great childhood where I learnt to play and be creative – things that have helped me in my life.”  She is now a trained teacher, having completed a Philosophy degree with a 2:1 and a PGCE.

I will hopefully be able to have  a few more to tell you about from her era, as I did get her email address.

Mark’s Class topic this term is “Life Cycles”. They have been busy dissecting plants to look inside and were really excited to learn that there are female and male Campion plants.  Talia explained that while she was playing a hiding game outside, she was lying on her tummy and came across a campion.  She decided to open it up and take a look to find out which sort it was.  Another male!  I loved hearing that her lesson with Martin and Mark had been taken into her real world of play – a place where children really own their learning.

Mark’s class have also been playing “The Game of Life” where they have to buy things for their houses.  It is an exciting game where each lesson you are given a salary, but everyone has a different amount and is a great way to learn column addition, as well as cooperation, measuring and a host of other skills.

Ben’s Class have been looking at geology and finding out how different rocks are formed.  They have been making lots of different pigments from all sorts of materials to paint some pictures with too.  I also saw some beautiful artwork from Flor Laris.  Have a look in the middle room to see what they have done.

Ben is planning a trip to Kent’s Cavern this week and some expeditions on the estate – summer must be here!

Dartington Community Day

Dartington  Hall Trust would like to invite you all to a Community Day on 21st May, between midday and 5pm.  It looks lots of fun and there is a poster in the kitchen with more details.

Strawberry Fair

I am sure that you will get a carefully scribed note from Stephanie soon to enchant you into giving time and energy for our major annual fundraiser.

It is on SATURDAY 12TH JULY between 11am and 3pm.  This sounds ages away, but there is always so much to do that time goes very quickly!

Please contact Stephanie to offer help so that she feels supports.  Essential giving for everyone is:-

ü  Cooking for the fair – at least one dish please

ü  Giving time during the fair – at least one hour commitment please

ü  Giving time setting up or dismantling the fair – at least 2 hours commitment please

You may also want to offer a stall, entertainment, music, a craft idea, etc.  Let’s make this fair one that Stephanie goes out with a blast from!

As you know, Rudi, Stephanie and Johnny are leaving in the summer, as Rudi is going to start at Sands School in September.  Stephanie is being shadowed by Richard (Adelaide and Dorothy’s dad), who will be taking over her role in September.  He has Rachel (Will’s mum) and Simon (Lara and Dylan’s dad) close beside him for extra support.

Parent Council Member

As you may be aware, Park School does not have a board of Governors but has a Council of Management, which oversees the general running and direction of the school.  There are usually two elected parent members at the meeting, which happens once every half term (usually on a Tuesday, 5-7pm).  Heidi has come to the end of her term and is stepping down.  I would like to thank her for her support and insight, and the time she has committed to the Council.

If you would like to join, Council nominations should be returned to the office by Thursday 12th June.  Voting will take place on Tuesday 17th (3-3.30pm) and Wednesday 18th June (9-9.30am) – for more details, please speak to our current parent members Heidi or Mike.  Inge (Chair of Council) has a pigeon-hole outside the office, if you need to contact her for any reason.


Please leave the kitchen as you would like to find it!  This includes putting the milk away, wiping surfaces by the kettle and washing and putting away your cup.  The donation box is on the shelf above the kettle – suggested donations for tea and coffee is 50p, cafetiere coffee £1 and herbal teas £1.

Children are not allowed to use the kettle and can only be in the kitchen with an adult.  Shoes must be worn at all times, by everyone.

Bike Week – 23rd – 27th June

Remember all children in main school will need a bike in school after half term!  If you have an old one that your child has grown out of, why not bring it to school this term to give or sell to another family (any unsold/not given bikes must be taken away by half term).  Thank you.

Welcome to Pippa Hobbs and her parents Liz and Steve; Maeve and her parents Yarrow and Emma, and to Jahan Fionn and his parents Anarkali and Jonathan.  They have all joined Early Years this term – please look out for them and make them feel welcome.  An updated phone list has been emailed or left in your pigeon-hole.

Internet Safety

As children become older, they need good advice when using computers.  Ben and Mark offer this in school time, but if you want to learn a few important things about keeping your child safe please have a look at  I have also got a good, free, newsletter – please call into the office if you want one.

Ofsted Parent View

If you haven’t already done so, please visit Ofsted’s websites to give your views about our school: PUPILS: PARENTS: Paper copies of the pupil survey can be obtained by phoning 0300 123 1231 or emailing

Diary Dates- thank you to Leilani (Aliyyah’s mum) for her suggestion to highlight new dates. Not all dates are on here due to child protection .

15th May – Early Years Bring A Friend afternoon, 1.30-3pm
15th May – Ben’s class trip to Kent’s Cavern
20th May –Council Meeting, 5-7pm
19th – 22nd May – Blitz the Nitz Week
22nd May - Pizza Oven Day
23rd May – Education Day – staff only in school
26th May – 1st June – Half Term Break
4th June – Ben’s and Mark’s class expeditions – details to follow
9th – 13th June - Blitz the Nitz Week
10th June – Parent/Teacher Meetings 3.30-5.15pm
11th June – Parent/Teacher Meetings 3.30-6pm
16th June – Ben’s Class Parent/Teacher Meeting, 3.30-4.30pm
18th June – Sports Day (25th June if wet)
23rd June – Bike Week – main school children need a good working bike
Work Day,  and Family Camp (Leave tents up for camp next week)
 Overnight Camp (Mark’s, Ben’s & older EYs)
 Overnight Camp for Mark’s children
8th July – Council Meeting, 5-7pm
12th July – Strawberry Fair, 11am – 3.30pm
17th July – Leavers’ Ceremony, 11am-12pm then school ends


News, School NewsAmanda