School News March 2015

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16th March 2015Dear Parents and Friends, We have had a very busy and sociable half term! Thank you to everyone who came to the work Day - almost 60 of you. We got so many jobs done, including taking down the old climbing frame, replacing the rope on the swing, tidying and planting flower beds, planting fruit trees, building leaf mould containers, spreading manure (!), painting a radiator in Early Years, tidying Early Years undercover area, cleaning windows and light covers and doors, painting doors upstairs, and lots of general sprucing up and Rebecca did her filing! We all enjoyed a bowl of delicious soup, bread and puddings together. What a feast! A special thank you to the lunch team for making, setting up and clearing away; and thank you to the older children who set up a “crèche” which helped everyone get even more done! With so many people joining these productive and friendly days it has been suggested that I put a list of jobs out earlier in the week so that we can have enough tools/ladders etc., to be even more efficient. It’s a great idea and I will implement it for the next Work Day on Saturday 27th June, 10am – 2pm. All this work meant that the school was ready for the Open Day last Wednesday. This was a busy afternoon with 12 new families popping in to see us. Thank you for displaying your poster, which not only publicises the event but reminds people that we are here. Every poster counts! Thanks to all the cooks and people who stepped forward to make the Cookie Café a success. So many of you stayed to chat to families and they all said how welcomed they felt, there was real Parky warmth. We have two more busy weeks before we finish the spring term. I am so excited about the next two events; we have the Art Exhibition starting on 18 March for 2 weeks (which I have sent a separate letter about) and the school play, Alice In Wonderland, on Thursday 26 March 6pm. The children in Mark’s class voted for this play way back before Christmas and have written the script, and made all the shadow and rod puppets and props with Martin’s help. I know that Drum and Richard have been chatting about how to use the lighting etc., to add some special effects! Ben’s class are very fortunate as they have been working with an actor, Paul Jayson, to create their dances. Sarah, our singing teacher, has been helping them all to learn the songs. The Early Years children will watch the dress rehearsal in the school day so that they do not miss out – and they will see what they may be involved in one day. Please make sure costumes for all the children are in school by first thing on Monday 23rd March. The play will be in Studio 31 at DAPA, Park Road and will start at 6pm promptly.  There will be a bar from 5.30pm and also during the short interval. We hope to be finished by 8.15pm. Ben’s and Mark’s classes need to be in school to get ready by 5.30pm.  (Please make sure that they have eaten something, rested a bit and been to the toilet before you drop them off).  Tickets are available to buy from Mark after school; they are selling fast, so be please be quick to avoid disappointment. Village Life Over the last few weeks, Rabbit Wood took on a new life.  Almost all the children in Mark’s and Ben’s classes decided to make dens in it and form a village.  Soon, shops sprouted up and they had worked out a barter system with berries and seeds to buy wood to make the dens.  It was mostly very harmonious, but at one point they had to appoint policemen as there were a few robberies, and debates about who owned which piece of land.  “Wood for sale!” was a common phrase heard when passing the little corner.  It has been a fascinating learning project to observe and it showed me yet again how important it is to let children play, create and imagine.  The whole curriculum could be seen before our eyes, even wood chopping songs and special café receipts! Book Week Book Week is a time to celebrate the joy of books and to find out about new authors and stories. Ben’s class went into Totnes to visit the library and the local book shops before walking back to school. On the way they had a 'wild read' by the river and up trees! The children made books and book covers with their names on, which we illustrated and discussed. There were storytellers, author readings, book swap shops and times to read books to other classes. “Barefoot Books” came to school so that parents could buy good quality books from a local bookseller. The climax of the week was World Book Day where all the children and staff dressed up as their favourite book characters. We had to stay in character all morning - especially in our Grand Parade. It was a fantastic week and has hopefully inspired us all to read more. Lunches EARLY YEARS: Tabitha has very kindly offered the Early Years children the chance to have a one-off pizza day each half term, even if they do not usually have a school lunch.  Once every half term, the school oven has extra space because Ben’s and Mark’s classes cook their pizzas in the Cobb oven outside.  If you would like Tabitha to cook your child a pizza on Pizza Oven Day, the next one is this Thursday, 19th March. Please book it and pay Tabitha.  Tabitha has also offered those Early Years children who only attend for three days the opportunity to have just two lunches rather than 3.  Please speak to her if you would like to take up this offer. PAYMENTS: Tabitha is now sourcing her vegetables and fruit from a local organic trader and will only be using a supermarket for store cupboard produce. It is with great sadness that I hear from Tabitha that she has received some late payments again this term, and has had to apply the 20% surcharge to their bill.  Please do not debate with her about this surcharge, which is quite clearly explained as part of her payment details.   We re-scheduled when Tabitha’s menu is sent home so that you have the last week of the previous half term to let her know about changes to bookings, ready for the preparation of the next half-term’s invoice during the holiday. The payment deadline is always the first Friday of the new half term and there is no longer a reminder sent or phone call made from the office. I appreciate that we are all busy, but Tabitha is self-employed and when payments are late this has a serious effect on her budgeting and cash-flow – thank you to all those who pay according to Tabitha’s terms.  Let’s all try to pay Tabitha on time (or early!) from now on. Thank you. Eamon’s Park School Pop up Restaurant - 17 April 2015, 7pm-10pm Eamon (Buster and Petal’s dad, and a chef who worked with Jamie Oliver at No. 15) has come up with a delicious fundraising event for you to pop in your diary. It is open to adult friends and families of Park School and invitations and a menu will be available soon.  Eamon will work with Ben’s and Mark’s classes to show them how to make homemade pasta, which will then form part of the meal on offer at the restaurant. Book your babysitters now! Parking and Road Safety It has been brought to my attention that the car park is very congested at drop off and pick up times. Please do not park on the double yellow lines at any time. This makes it very dangerous as no one can see who is there.  Also, if you can, walk on the grass behind the car park and around it before crossing the road, and avoid walking with children through the car park. I am trying to see if the Estate will put a small bark path there.  I have also asked the Estate if we can have a longer ‘free parking’ allowance in the Great Hall car park, so that people can come earlier and park further away. I will let you know their answer as soon as I know.  In the meantime please be extra careful and follow the speed limit across the whole of the Estate which is 20mph.  Thank you for those people who parked further away on the Open Day. It was much appreciated! Cross Cultural Project Fantastic news!  I managed to get our children into a morning of free workshops to learn African drumming and dancing at KEVICCs on 24th April.  More details to come, nearer the time. Wood Chip & Manure Could you help with collecting some wood chip from the Dartington gardeners on the Lower Drive?  We have dumpy bags in school.  We also need more manure, even one bag helps!  Please speak to Ben to find out more. Parent View Don’t forget - you and your child have the opportunity to share your views about our school on Ofsted’s websites:  CHILDREN should go to https://learnerview.ofsted.gov.uk. The PARENTS’ survey is at  http://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk Paper copies of the pupil survey can be obtained by phoning 0300 123 1231 or emailing surveys@ofsted.gov.uk Fleur’s Competition Gabi and Fleur saw a completion about schools and how play is so important for developing essential life skills. Fleur decided to write a piece all about Park School and was given an award because our school sounded so special. This is what the organisers said: Dear Fleur, Thank you so much for nominating Park School to be a Play Champion. Your school sounds like a unique place with lots of time for free play, and we are so pleased that you have taken the time to tell us about it.. Many thanks! Sandra and the NCDUK team The children went home with fruit treats and healthy snacks. Thank you Fleur and Gabi! NITZ  Please spend some extra time over the holiday and let’s see if we can eradicate them!  The following NHS guidelines are the most effective method: Detecting head lice (Bug Busting) It's difficult to identify head lice simply by inspecting your child's head. Detection combing is a more reliable method.  Detection combing can be carried out on dry or wet hair and is more effective than chemical treatments if done regularly. Less preparation is needed to comb dry hair, but wet combing is more accurate because lice remain motionless when wet. You'll need to use a special fine-toothed detection comb that you can buy from your local pharmacy. The comb has a tooth spacing of 0.2-0.3mm to trap the smallest lice.  To be effective, Bug Busting needs to be repeated every three days for up to three weeks to ensure all head lice are removed.  More information is available from the office or online at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Head-lice/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Spring Celebration, 30th April, 2-3pm This seems a long way off, but I thought I would mention it as it is lovely to have some music at this event.  After the Cabaret Evening, I know how much talent we have at Park!   For those of you who haven’t been to our Spring Celebration before, we have a wonderful time dancing and singing and waking up the plants – and have a scrumptious café!  If you are interested in forming a band to play for about five minutes, please do let me know. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Art Exhibition – it is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday and our private view is on Saturday 21st march, 12 – 4pm.  Don’t forget to display your posters! Best wishes, Amanda Bellamy Teacher in Charge

News, School NewsAmanda