This calls for love 13th July 2020
Today we are sharing with you a beautiful song that one of the parents has kindly sent to us following some of our more recent emails. It has been written by Gary Barlow during this lockdown period and is entitled ‘This Calls for Love’. It forms a part of his ‘Crooner Sessions’ where he has been joining with friends to sing to others during lockdown. This has been his way of sharing the ‘love’ with others using his gift.
In the song, he sings about the power of feeling love and loving someone and this is something that we have shared with you throughout our morning emails. Love is, in fact, one of our school values and something that we show every day, in every way that we can, in our school. The bible verse,
“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
is one that your children will know and probably be able to quote to you as we learned it during our worship time.
The bible passage continues,
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
We very much hope you will take a quiet minute or two to listen to this lovely song and recharge those batteries as you think through the words. Music is good for the soul and I know, from listening to this, you find some peace in this tricky time.
Recharge the batteries 6th July 2020
Well here we are on the first day of July - who’d have thought we’d be in this position. July is a great month in school - the children are enjoying the summer days and time outside. The oldest children in the school are rehearsing for plays, planning proms and leavers services and everyone is just enjoying time in the class, savouring each minute as they know it will soon be time to move on to pastures new. Sadly this year, things have been a little different but we have had new opportunities to create new memories this year. It has been lovely to see some of our Year 2 and 5 children visit this week and I know everyone is looking forward to seeing the Y3 and 4 next week followed by those Robins and Wagtails who are not in school, later in the month. We called these visits ‘essential contact’ and they are already proving to be exactly that - a chance for children and their current teacher to reconnect. They are one of our first steps into transitioning into the next school year with more children back into school.
We have heard the phrase ‘hit a brick wall’ a number of times this week, and if we are honest with you all, it is something we think we are all starting to feel. After a long period of working in a new way, people are starting to tire and we are hearing that some of the children are finding the learning a little more tricky to engage with. Remember - that is ok! Some children have worked through holidays in school, some children have worked intensely 1:1 at home with parents and others have had to work much more independently than they ever have before. All of these new changes mean that everyone has been challenged in new ways and this can be tiring. One of the things I said to the secondary schools when I spoke to them about the Owls class was that they have worked harder this term, than any Year 6 class I’d ever taught before! The treats they usually have like extra PE, play rehearsals and sports tournaments have all been cancelled and replaced by daily, online maths and English learning. It’s no wonder people feel like they are needing a break.
As we have said all along, let your children be your guide. If they are tired, let them have a break. There is little point in trying to get them to work when they are grumpy and needing some time away, so let them have it. As a leadership team, we have had to make a conscious effort to take a break over the last 2 weekends as we have felt that that was what was needed, which has meant that time in the school week has been much more productive. Never feel guilty of taking that time away, taking a break and recharging the batteries and refilling the tank. Sometimes that can be the only way to move forward productively.
Have a wonderful day today, and remember ‘sometimes the best way to recharge our own batteries is to unplug them!’
Counting our blessings 29th June 2020
Co written with Marion Waston
There is a verse in the Bible which reads:
‘Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.’ (James 1:17)
When things are tricky (and let's face it - we certainly live in tricky times at the moment), it can be easy to draw our attention to the bits that are not working so well - we wish we were back to normal; we wish we could be with our family and friends and give one another a hug; we have worries about our health or finances etc. etc. Whilst it is a very natural thing to worry about the things that bother us, it is important to ‘count our blessings’ too. We have somewhere to live, a bed to sleep in. We have clean water to drink and clothes to wear...but those simple things are so much more than some people in our world have.
Today, we think that we should take a moment to think about the many things we are blessed with. It would be lovely to sit down as a family and talk about things you are grateful for. If everyone in your family was to draw a hand outline (drawing around your hand) and then write or draw some of the things you would like to say thank you for - perhaps our friends and family, the beauty of nature around us...some of the things we may take for granted perhaps. Cut them out and pop them somewhere that everyone will see. When you feel a little discouraged, take a look at the hands once more to remind you of the many blessings you have.
Have a beautiful day everyone.
Kindness - A poem 22nd June 2020
The world feels different,
and you might too as this isn’t what you’d planned for the year
your normal has gone and a forced normal in place
filled with uncertainty and maybe some fear
one day you are fine and enjoying the basics
embracing spending your spare time at home
other days you are agitated and short with your loved ones
desperate for some time on your own
You might be up and down and all over the place and asking yourself “but why?” You’re trying to feel grateful that you’re healthy and safe
So why is it that sometimes you cry?
As humans we put so much pressure on ourselves
to be the best we can be at all times
be kind to yourself
as what we are going through is hard
you don’t always have to pretend to be fine
You will get through this,
it won’t last forever and one day you will look back
and be proud you carried on working, you parented, you partnered
when at times wanting to scream out loud
So until that day, find thoughts that are happy and remember
these times will pass you have lots to look forward to
and plans to make just remember this strangeness won’t last
And with each day that dawns
you’ll carry on juggling it all and you’re doing it well,
so just find a moment to reflect
and catch up with yourself, be kind to yourself and your mind.
A poem about Kindness – kindly submitted from a parent from Saint Lawrence C of E Primary School
Why should I read? 15th June 2020
I don’t know about you, but I just love a good book! It has been nice, when the sun has been shining, to pretend I am on my holidays with a good book (when actually I have been in the garden with the paddling pool!). I have always loved ‘grown up books’ but also just love to read the texts that the children choose in school. There is nothing better than having a chat with someone about a good book and maybe even recommending a new read because of what they have said. The children are so lucky to have so many great books in their classrooms - and the collections have been growing while we have been in lockdown. Mrs Watson just loves Amazon Prime!
Some of the authors that I follow on twitter were recently asked the following question by a child, and I just wanted to share their answers with you and maybe you could share them with your children.
The question was - Why should I read?
Among a million other wonderful things, books provide doors when we are trapped, friends when we are lonely, and shelter from life’s storms. A good story gets under our skin, becomes a part of us, helps us grow and change and feel. If that isn’t true magic, then what is?
Ross Mackenzie (author of the Nowhere Emporium and much more)
A book is like a mirror when you need to find yourself, like a door when you need to get away, and like a friend when you are alone. It’s a world in your pocket. And it’s all yours.
Thomas Taylor (author of Malamander and Gargantis)
Why should you read? Because there is a book for EVERYONE out there. Whatever you love, there are books about it. So if you haven't yet found your favourite book - keep reading! It could be the one you read next!
SF Said (author of Varjak Paw and much more )
Reading is a special kind of magic. It takes us to new magical places & on exciting adventures without ever leaving our seats. It allows us to walk in another’s shoes. It can take us to the past & the future without leaving the present. Discover the magic of reading for yourself!
Lara Williamson (author of The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair and much more)
Because in stories the impossible can become possible, the unreal, real and what is lost can be found.
Ross Welford (author of The Kid Who came from Space and much more)
All of the authors mentioned above are featured in our school class collections as well as many, many more. It was wonderful to see a young Woodpecker yesterday who was telling us about the many books that he has been reading and he recommended we have a look at Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver - maybe that is another one to add to the list.
We hope you - and your children - have time to get lost in a book today. Remember, a child that reads becomes an adult who thinks.
Joyful June 9th June 2020
We just wanted to share with you some ideas that we have found as we go through - what is being called ‘Joyful June’.
You can see that this week we have missed a few days, but I am sure that these are things we can catch up on. We often encourage the children to (as it says on Monday) look for the good in things. I was reminded of this just yesterday as I had to remember my umbrella to open and close the school gates due to the rain. As I huffed and puffed about the change in the weather, Mrs Watson reminded me that the gardens need the rain and the plants would be so much better because of this.
On Tuesday, we were asked to reframe a worry and find a positive way to respond. Again, we all have worries but maybe we can deal with them in a better way? My daughter should be off to Uni in September, and rather than worry about what might be, she is trying to look at the positives - including the time she has had to learn to cook so that she may survive the first year!
We have talked a lot together about Wednesday’s challenge - including through these emails. I quite like the idea of writing them down though - it would be interesting to look back on them when we have a more difficult day to remind ourselves of the positives.
Today, in Joyful June, we are challenged to show our appreciation to those that are helping others. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself saying thank you to people like shop workers and the postman. The sort of people that we may have taken for granted before this pandemic but have become ‘critical workers’ as we have moved through this difficult time. I hope this is something that we will continue to do, even after we return to more of our normal life. As we have said before, there will be many new positives to come from this time.
We hope you will enjoy some of these challenges and have a go at some of them. I wonder what you may do, as a family, on Sunday to be physically active indoors or out.
By Helen Taylor and Marion Watson from Saint Lawrence C of E Primary School
Kindness is good for you. 25th May 2020
We are sure many of you will have seen - from our Facebook posts - the wonderful sight that greeted myself and Mrs Watson yesterday morning. We were simply blown away. When we left school on Monday night, there was not a hint of a banner in sight so it was a lovely surprise to pull up to see the colourful posters and kind words some of you had written. It is these little acts of kindness that go a long way to keeping everyone smiling during these more trickier times. As we continue to plan and work to get the school ready for the possibility of a change in provision (should the government want this to happen) from June 1st, it is lovely to know that we are all being supported by you all.
We see many random acts of kindness all around us; maybe even more so as we have adjusted to the new normal and - for some - a slower pace of life. People are buying little gifts for their friends as they can’t see them as often or in the same way as before. Families are doing extra baking and cooking at home and sharing their food with friends and relatives (big thanks to everyone who has popped in with cakes and crumbles!). People are telling others how thankful they are for them, which creates positivity all around.
I was looking for some ideas for simple ways to show kindness and thought I’d share them with you and your children:
· Make someone laugh
· Clear up a mess you didn’t make
· Smile at everyone you see today
· Read to someone in your home
· Tell someone the reasons that you like them
· Help cook dinner
We know how kind you all are, and in fact, you are probably doing all of these things already - but maybe today, do one extra thing to be kind to someone else. Being kind will increase happiness and energy in both you and the recipient, as well as decreasing anxieties and sadness. So it’s official - being kind is good for you!
Let’s all be kind.
Reflections 18th May 2020
We trust you have had a good week and that you have been able to take a little time to be still and reflect.
I have a few questions for you all:
1. What do you miss from your old normal?
2. What do you like about your new normal?
3. What will you keep when things go back to normal?
We had a chat about this at home and came up with some rather interesting answers. I have been ‘lucky’ in some ways as I have maintained normal life in many respects; I have been into work most days and kept contact with some of the staff team each week. When I asked the family, Mr T said that the thing he missed most was holidays (our summer USA trip is now cancelled). In the new normal, he is enjoying a more diverse TV programme range with a new favourite of ‘Escape to the Chateau DIY’ (oh dear!) as well as meeting new people when he volunteers at Foodbank. When things go back to normal, he hopes to spend more time with us and work less at weekends in his job in sales. Listening to the girls spending time together and giggling over the little things, has been lovely and so heart-warming.
When I asked the girls, the main things they missed were eating out at restaurants and seeing friends and family. They cannot wait to get back to Wagamamas and eat chicken gyozas followed by katsu curry! They haven’t had a hug from their grandparents since March 15th and that is really hard for them. They both said that they were enjoying the new normal and the lack of need to impress people; their skin is clear as they haven’t had makeup on for months! Last night, we went shopping and Caitlin didn’t take 20 mins getting ready - just in case she saw someone she knew. They are keen to continue to spend less time on their phones (and more time outdoors) and send their friends little gifts to make them smile. I hope they stick with this.
I wonder what your answers will be? What is it you are missing and what is it you are enjoying? We'd love to know. As we have said before, there will be many positives that come out of this strange time and many lessons to learn as we press ‘reset’ on our daily life. If anything, I think we have all learned not to take anything for granted and to cherish the good times.
“Remember, no children are behind, in fact your children are exactly where they need to be.” 11th May 2020
Over the past few weeks, in the media, we have started to hear phrases like ‘parents worry their child will have fallen behind’ and ‘some children will be left behind’ when children return to school. This worries and upsets us as we feel that some of you may start to pick up on this and feel the same way. Some of you may be at home feeling that your child is falling behind while they are at home with you. Some of you may be worrying about your child being ‘left behind’ educationally while others are streaking ahead of them. Please be reassured that none of this is true at all. In fact, we are impressed with the new skills your children are acquiring during the ‘new normal’. We are impressed that we have children who understand key concepts like measures, time and money in a real life context. We are proud that we are growing a generation of children who will be able to cook for themselves, care for younger siblings, be creative with limited resources and be independent and resourceful. It has been said that children don’t know how to be bored, well maybe now they do, and because of this, they have found new ways to learn and play.
Please remember that your child is in the same position as every single child in the country - and most of the western world. They are not falling behind because every other child is also at home, or in school as a key worker child, which is more of a child care facility at the moment. Across the country, children are staying safe at home (some of them without outside places to play and explore) and are all experiencing remote learning from home together. When we were chatting with the staff this week, we talked through people’s perceptions of situations. We likened it to people’s behaviour on social media; it is easy to post a couple of photos of the wonderful things that have been done with children, and not mention the fall outs, the spilled cereal, the crayon on the wall and the uneaten vegetables at tea! It is easy to look at this and feel (especially as we are all staying at home) that everyone else has this under control and you are the only one struggling. Please be assured, this is not the case! We all have moments of success in our day, but we also all have moments where we struggle or wobble - this is normal and again, does not mean your child is falling behind and will start back at school in a different position to his/her peers. Your child will come back to school healthy, happy and with some new skills learned that they can share with others.
As a staff, our job is to change and adapt. When the time comes for the children to come back to school, we will make some assessments and plan learning to allow everyone to make progress from their starting point. That is what we do every day in school and we will continue to do so. Every single child is different - and that is why we love what we do. When they are all in school, learning will be tailored to meet their needs and ensure that they are the best that they can be. Our children love to learn and we are confident that they will return ready to be proud to shine like the stars that they are.
As the image below says, we are a family, and in a family nobody gets left behind or forgotten. We are all in this together and we will get through it. What we ask of you is that you share your calm, share your strength and share your laughter with your children. Remember, no children are behind, in fact your children are exactly where they need to be.