29th January 2021
by Justin Chippendale
As well as there being a great deal of discussion and news surrounding vaccines, vaccinations and variants this week, we also had a new possible return to school date tentatively pencilled in the diary.
I imagine your mind may have formed a similar block view of time as mine. I have been visualising that we have a fortnight until half term and then a fortnight after the break until Monday 8 March with then three weeks of this term left which may be here on site. It is very helpful to have some indication of the intentions, yet we have learned that it is important to be open-minded and flexible enough to realise that situations, and hence intentions, can alter pretty freely in response to the Covid scene. I think we have all agreed through lockdown experiences that school is better in school and so we do hope to be back on site as soon as we’re allowed.
One benefit of remote learning is that it is not geographically limited. A couple of our classes, one in Year 4 and the other in Year 7, will be having a live link up with King’s College, India. Year 4 are discussing ‘Looking After Ourselves’ and Year 7 will be considering land management under the title of ‘Waste Patch to Green Patch’.
In another virtual hook up with our overseas schools, on Wednesday I have a virtual meeting with the Head of King’s College, Doha, (KCD) to discuss various matters of mutual interest. KCD is now five years old and has over 600 children in it with the oldest now being in Year 8. Plans for the next site, which is just 10 minutes from the existing one, are now finalised with enabling works due to start in February and the school is scheduled to open in September 2022. It will be a spectacular, all new, purpose built site providing Prep and Senior school facilities for well over 1000 children from Year 3 to Year 13. The existing site is intended to accommodate Pre-Prep from Nursery to Year 2. As you can see, our Middle East interests are thriving. We continue to develop our profile and involvement in the region with further opportunities already in the pipeline.
Back here, as well as those two links with India in the diary, staff continue to engage with your children across a terrific range of activity. As you will have seen from the briefest glimpses in Prep assembly the children, in the main, remain a good source of energy. I hope to share a few more on Monday morning. Other diary entries to look forward to before half term include the Literature Festival and a Wellness Wednesday.
I remain very aware that parents’ efforts and support are a key component of this state of affairs and thank you most heartily, as ever. As part of our partnership and wish to understand how it is from the other end, we are in contact with some targeted families with children across the age ranges. Even if you’re not part of the fixed contacts, if you so wish do share any useful insights you feel would be constructive and helpful with Mr Watson. Naturally, any challenges can be different for different people at different levels and so, of course, we will probably not be able to solve every issue for everyone but any common themes we can address.
This has now become too long and so it is time to sign off and let you dive into the weekend.
This Week in Pre-Prep...
by Claire Luckhurst
The month of January often gets lamented for being long, gloomy and anti-climactic after the excitement found in its predecessor December. It is hard to argue otherwise, and this month has probably felt, for many, like the longest January in history. However, the optimist in me insists that despite the ‘gloom’ we must also celebrate just how much we have achieved this January in the toughest of circumstances.Please click here to read the rest of this week's Pelican News
Here are some of this week's brainteasers for you to try at home ...
“What is the name of the river that flows through Taunton?”
“Who wrote the Hound of the Baskervilles?”
“Which month of the year has the fewest days?”
“What is the capital of Chile?”
“In which outdoor sport can I play a lob, smash and backhand?”
“What breed of dog is Snoops? Labradoodle, Dalmation, Cockapoo or Spaniel. ”
“Which character from The Wind in the Willows steals a car?”
“Which planet is nearest the sun?”
Photo credit: Mr Drew
Mrs Cole is encouraging our Year 7 scientists to get involved in the RSPB England #BigGardenBirdwatch. Currently studying classification, the children will be spending time recording the birds in their own gardens. Open to all pupils, Mrs Cole will be running a photo competition to find the best garden bird image.To get involved in the RSPB initiative, click here
What a load of rubbish!
Whilst working remotely the children in Year 6 have been investigating the problems with waste. They have looked at the environmental impact of landfill, explored the issues of single-use plastic and are now focusing on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. They have even come up with some inventive ideas of their own to reuse items that otherwise would have gone in the bin, including covering their exercise books. You have ‘bin’ great Year 6, Mrs Hardy and Mr Halls are thoroughly enjoying their live lessons with you - so keep up the fantastic work!
A Few Words from...Kate Barker
This term's Deputy Head Girl
I hope you are all well and safe.
Last year was not the best and this year started with lockdown again. Even though we have been in lockdown my family and I have been continuing playing sport and going on long walks! We have explored the local area as we can’t go to Dartmoor, and have discovered some hidden jewels. As well as walking I have recently started running and I now love running with my mum in the morning or trying to beat my brother and dad in the afternoon. I have recently received my King's loop badge for doing 12 King’s loops I would definitely recommend doing 2.5km every Wednesday because it really boosts your wellbeing and running skills.
Because of my family’s competitiveness and love for all sports our back garden has been used as a netball court, basketball court, football field and even a trampoline park. I am really grateful to have access to our small but mighty garden because many people living in flats don’t have that opportunity.
As you all probably know Zoom is a great way of talking and meeting up with the family ‘virtually’. I have recently used it to play bingo with my grandparents and scouts that I do every Tuesday, this week we made biscuits at home.
I hope you had a great Christmas and the start of 2021 has been good. Stay active and stay safe!
Our Creative Curriculum includes Art, DT, Music and Drama. Each week fun activities are posted which enable children to be away from their screens!
Year 7 have been designing and drawing their own silhouette, cutting their image out carefully, finding locations to hold it up to (thinking about proportions, angle/viewpoint and what the silhouette is doing) before finally photographing it!
Discovering Van Gogh
Year 4 have been finding out about the famous 'Sunflowers' painting and drawing their own sketches of the painting using only their memory ...
The Scottish play!
Year 6 have been making puppets of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth and acting out the following speeches ...
“My name is Lady Macbeth. I am a strong-willed lady and I am very determined. I know what I want and I will get it! I want my husband to be King of Scotland. I think he is weak and probably a coward and he will need help to do whatever it takes to become King. I have a plan.......”
- Lady Macbeth
“I am very anxious about the witches’ predictions. I would dearly love to be King. I am worried that Banquo’s sons will be King and not me! Malcolm is already being made the heir to the throne. I like everyone to think I am brave and courageous but really, I am not. I have been made Thane of Cawdor but I want more. I know my beloved wife will help me. ”
by Snoops the Dog
In this week’s diary I’m going to share some of my favourite board games with you.
Why not have a look at the games that you have at home and choose one of your favourites to play with your family this weekend. I know from past experience that it isn’t always the easiest task getting everyone in the family to sit down and participate in a game, but give it a go. I know that a great number of you have just about perfected the art of ‘pester power’. Another tip is to copy my adorable, but highly persuasive, puppy dog eyes; they’re enough to melt even the coldest of hearts!
So here goes, my list of favourites are as follows; maybe you've got one of them in your games cupboard/chest too:
- Ticket to Ride
You may notice that Monopoly is not on my list. It’s just that I’ve had a few exasperating experiences with that particular game. I don’t know about you, but I find that there’s always someone in the family that manages to buy about 5 hotels, and it’s never me. The said person pretends not to gloat (but it’s obvious they are).
I usually end up with a downtown property such as The Old Kent Road and just a few pound notes. I’ve been known to get stuck in prison for hours on end and I somehow manage to pick up cards that say that I’m not allowed to collect £200 when I pass go. You may not believe this last observation, but I’ve even seen players sneakily rob money from the bank when no one is watching! I’m sure this has never happened in your family but I have my suspicions about one of your teachers!
Have you ever heard a member of staff talking about planning a bank robbery, and using children to help? It’s worrying having such a teacher in our midst, I know, but I think he/she is just kidding!
Anyway, let me know which game you choose to play and have a great weekend.
Year 7 have had a busy week ...
have spent the last 6 months taking the reins in training our puppy, Mila. This lockdown has given me lots of time to perfect our signature moves: I have taught her to ‘dance’, ‘army crawl’, ‘jump through her legs’ and to ‘high five’. I am now looking forward to some warmer weather walks, lighter nights for exploring and less mud!
Recently we have been going on lots of family walks altogether, for a breath of air and some exercise. It also means our much-loved Patterdale, Cookie, gets a nice long walk while the sun is setting. On this particular walk we went up to Culmstock Beacon on the edge of the Blackdown Hills - it was really beautiful looking down at the view below us.
This week I have been spending quite a lot of time looking after my pet Iberian ribbed newts, Triton and Aristotle. I think Triton might be about to shed her skin, so she might increase in length by up to half an inch! Incidentally, ribbed newts are Europe's largest newt species, and have been known to grow up to twelve inches in the wild. I hope my newts don't get that big or I'll have to find a new tank. Recently I have made a picture of the courtship display of Great Crested newts using chalk and oil pastels and collage. I've also been reading the Jeeves and Wooster books, and am finding Gussie Fink-Nottle very funny.
On Sunday, I was woken up by sister who ran into my room and started jumping on my bed saying it was snowing. I must admit I didn’t believe her until I looked out of my bedroom window and saw that the whole of the front of my house was white! We had fun making a small snowman (which melted quickly) and playing on the trampoline with the snow flying in the air when we bounced.
Despite it not being the same as coming into school I have enjoyed the routine of school at home. My new classroom is now the dining room! I am kept busy with school but I have been doing lots of dog walks and we all did the Weekly Walking Bingo Challenge which was great fun. I have also enjoyed making Mr Stannet’s raspberry buns, doing DT experiments and taking part in Mr Halls’ PE and Strava challenges.
How are your favourite book characters coping with lockdown?
Mrs Lowery's Library lockdown challenge
Choose your own favourite character from a book and produce an illustration to show what they are up to in lockdown. Alternatively, feel free to create a text or dialogue extract to illustrate the same idea.
Entries should be emailed to RLowery@kingshalltaunton.co.uk together with the title of the book and the name of the character depicted.
The closing date for entries is Friday 19th February and there will be a small prize for the best entry in each year group.
"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart"
Winnie the Pooh
These words have probably never been truer for a lot of people who have been missing the simplest, smallest things the most.
For me there have been so many things which I have taken for granted in the past: a hug with my grown-up son, cuddles with my grandson, Saturday morning coffee and catch-up with my friends, a reassuring smile from a stranger (it may still be there but is hidden behind a mask) and, on a lighter note, a haircut!
I know we have heard a lot from Winnie the Pooh lately but he certainly was a wise old bear...
AN EVENING WITH ... RICHARD SHORTER - NON-PERFECT DAD
Wednesday 3rd February, 8.00 pm
Next Wednesday, our Director of Sport at King’s College, Phil Lewis, will be hosting an evening (online) with Richard Shorter, the Non-perfect Dad:Courageously Honest Parenting.
Richard has a vast amount of experience working with parents to develop effective ways to create the best outcomes for their children. He has worked closely with schools and his knowledge and experience will offer a wonderful insight into how to support your children.
Alongside Richard, Phil will be sharing his own experience of supporting parents and working alongside Prep schools, elite sporting environments and their sports staff.
Below are some of the topics up for discussion:
• Covid and its impact on young people.
• Motivation – what motivates young people to improve on the sports field? And in life?
• How to connect with coaches – exploring the parent/coach relationship.
• How can parental behaviours influence confidence and development in their children?
“I am not perfect as a parent, but I am pretty good at taking the opportunities which sport offers to build character which leads to success on and off the sports field. This is the gift I offer other parents and their children.”
- Richard Shorter
It is crucial that we keep spirits high over this difficult period. Physical and mental health are so important, so look out for tweets which will give you all some ideas. Keep exercising, keep eating well and look after each other.Sports Twitter
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