Parents’ Newsletter autumn (1) 2018
Although the title of this newsletter says autumn, it has felt remarkably like summer over the past six and a half weeks. It has been a wonderful half term blessed with sunshine so often that we’ve even lost the ability to complain about the weather, and as we all know, commentary on the weather is a particularly British obsession.
I am slightly shocked to see all the Christmas paraphernalia appearing in shops – it seems to get earlier each year. However, once the children return, we will be on the countdown to all the lovely festivities that happen towards the end of term.
Changes at school
I hope that you were all able to see the beautifully renovated Early Years Foundation Stage spaces during our recent Open Morning. To be able to create three separate classrooms for the different learning needs of our youngest members has been an enriching project. So, we now have two Nursery classes: there is a clear separation in the morning between those who are preparing to go to Reception and those who are just starting with us and beginning to learn the Westbury Way.
The Reception class has had some refurbishment, but there is more scheduled, as the space is going to be enlarged as soon as we have the required building/planning permission. We will keep you informed about developments as they become scheduled.
An exciting addition to the timetable for Reception children is that we are going to be teaching them chess after half term. Children in Years 1-6 are able to access chess clubs. However, Reception is the best time to start teaching them and they are too young to attend chess club. Once a week, they will be taught chess by our Junior Chess teacher on a Tuesday afternoon.
As you learn to play the game, it stimulates the brain. Dendrites conduct signals from the neuron cells in your brain to the neuron they happen to be attached to. Learning and playing a game like chess actually stimulates the growth of dendrites, which in turn increases the speed and improves the quality of neural communication throughout your brain. Increased processing power improves the performance of your body’s computer, the brain.
To get the most benefit from a physical workout, you need to exercise both the left and right sides of your body. Studies show that in order to play chess well, a player must develop and utilize his or her brain’s left hemisphere, which deals with object recognition, as well as right hemisphere, which deals with pattern recognition. Over time, thanks to the rules and technique involved in the game, playing chess will effectively exercise and develop not one but both sides of your brain.
A child who is introduced to chess at a young age is likely to do better in school for years to come. Research shows that playing chess improves a child’s thinking, problem-solving, reading, and maths scores.
If your child does not already learn chess, there are still a few spaces in the after-school chess clubs.
Recent events at school
Y5+6 boys vs Weston Green – 14th September
The first fixture of the year was a fantastic start to the sporting season. All boys represented the school in either the A team (captained by Ilyas) or the B team (captained by Zane). As referee of the B team match I can say that the level of play surprised me – it was as if the boys had not had a break since the last football season.
They played amazing football by clearing the ball from defence (particularly powerful kicking from Yegor), tackling and dribbling well in midfield (especially Hari, Jooeon and Adam) and scoring two goals for the school (Hari and Arun).
My biggest praise goes to Abishek, who played the game of his life in defence in the first half and then in goal in the second half. He was on great form, as were the rest of the team. The result was a 2-1 win for Westbury House.
The A team had moments of success in their game against Weston Green’s best players. Unfortunately, they were unable to hold back such a strong side and the game turned into a defensive contest for them. They showed great character by never giving up and continuing to play to the game plan. The A team and Weston Green players followed their match by joining together and mixing the teams up a bit, which balanced the teams out a little.
Y4 boys v Weston Green – 21st September
The B team, captained by Kishen, secured another great victory in their match against Weston Green last week. The guest players from year 5 (Hari and Adam) were the goal scorers for Westbury House. In the dying seconds of the match, a penalty kick was awarded to Weston Green. The shot was powerfully slotted away resulting in a 2-1 final score. Well done boys.
Once again, the Weston Green A team players proved too strong for our boys. A couple of their players dominated the attack whilst we found it difficult to break through their defence. This was a game that could have been closer if luck had been more on our side. Well done to the team for a valiant effort. Congratulations to Ethan for performing very well as captain of the A team.
Many thanks to Mrs Alwan who volunteered her time to travel with and support the team. Special thanks to Mr Bains (also known as Coach Bains) who encouraged and coached the boys from the side lines.
EYFS and KS1 Forest School – 24th September
A group of children from Nursery, Reception, Yr 1 and Yr 2 had a wonderful time in Esher Common for their very first forest school adventure this school year.
The Nursery and Reception children searched for natural resources they could use to make tree faces. They then developed their balancing and climbing skills as they crossed logs and climbed up the tree wall. They also went for a Gruffalo hunt, but alas, all they found was one huge puddle. So off they went squelch, squelching in the muddy puddle.
Year 1 thoroughly enjoyed their morning in the forest. The children made their own den and took part in problem-solving. A long, blue rope was found dangling high up in a tree. One child made up a story about how the rope got there – a story about Alice! Everyday materials were gathered as part of our Science topic this term. Walking along the logs was challenging! However, all were able to balance and walk independently along the logs by the end of the morning.
Year 2 children decided they would be the kings and queens of the forest. So, they each made a woodland crown with materials gathered from the multitude of leaves and pine cones lying on the forest floor. Measuring the size of their head and sticking objects to the crown proved quite challenging, but with co-operation and perseverance they all managed to make something of which they felt proud. Later, they went bug hunting and unearthed a huge woodlouse and a tiny beetle. One squirrel was in the process of building a drey high up in the canopy and some children excitedly watched it scuttling up the tree and jumping from branch to branch, while others did a spot of whittling or carried clip-boards and drew pictures of the wildlife they had seen that morning. It was a beautiful day and an enjoyable educational experience.
EYFS and KS1 Circus Adventure Drama Workshop – 25th September
The Early Years and Key Stage 1 children had a fun morning at Circus Drama Class full of laughter, fantastic listening and use of our imaginations. Carl from the performance team, asked the children if they could imagine themselves in the circus with the trapeze, jugglers and clowns. The children copied the actions to accompany each of the circus acts. However, Carl shared that there was a clown in the circus who lost his smile. He challenged the children to help look for the clown's smile and bring it back to him. It involved listening for specific cues to act like a trapeze or juggler. And lastly, the children had to pretend they were statues and freeze when the clown (Carl) walked back in the room. They had to make faces to help the clown find his smile and they successfully did it! The other part of the session involved mimes and pretending to be mimes by copying what the leader was doing. Everyone had a wonderful time at the circus.
EYFS Klassical Kids – 26th September
Our first Klassical Kids of the academic year was a great success. The Westbury House Early Years pupils and their parents were the first to enjoy the classical music and nursery rhymes played by an array of professional musicians. The twenty Early Year pupils were joined by five of their parents to move and listen to the wonderful and varied music played by Miss Moston on the piano, Mr Taylor on the guitar and Mr Cope playing the flute.
The children also got the chance to play along with the musicians when they were given percussion instruments; this caused much delight and a lot of noise! Once the Westbury House pupils were back in their classrooms, the doors were opened to the community. Eighteen local adults booked spaces for twenty-two children to participate in Klassical Kids. This gave the children the opportunity to be exposed to classical music in an environment where they were free to move around and dance as they wish.
KS1 and KS2 Chess Master assembly – 27th September
On Thursday 27th of September the pupils of Westbury House were lucky enough to be given an assembly by a former British champion and master of chess, Mr Basman. The children were thoroughly interested and engaged as they answered questions and took part in the assembly. Mr Basman explained that chess is a great way to use your brain as the game expands and uses thinking skills whilst having fun. We hope that the children were inspired and will take up chess so that maybe one day they can compete in a nationwide competition and pass on their chess skills to others. Thank you, Mr Basman!
Y2+3 girls vs Jack and Jill – 2nd October
All of the girls had a fantastic trip to the sports fields at the National Physical Laboratory (in Bushy Park) to play three football matches against Jack & Jill. The girls were extremely well motivated and played with great heart and enthusiasm.
It is fair to say that we dominated most of the matches, being able to win possession with some timely tackles and create many chances with fast breaks.
We were unable to convert the possession into goals in the first match, which ended as a 0-0 draw. The second match was a 1 – 0 loss due to a moment of brilliance from their best player. I would add that they could have scored many more goals in that match if it hadn’t been for the outstanding goal keeping from Manha. She was alert and brave and stopped many shots.
Our team steadily improved throughout the three matches and during the final game confidence was high. We scored two great goals, expertly slotted away by Safiyyah and Anjali. It was a good feeling to win the match 2 – 0. Well done girls, it was a pleasure to see you playing with such fun. Special thanks go to all the parents who drove over to Bushy Park to spectate. It was great to see you there.
All parents – Parents’ evening – 2nd October
Thank you to all parents who attended the pastoral parents’ evening. It was lovely to see so many of you and to give you a chance to meet your children’s teachers.
KS1 LSO – 8th October
On the 8th October 2018, Years 1 and 2 were part of a very special event at the Barbican Hall with the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The children were extremely excited to visit such an iconic venue and to be able to see and hear such a famous orchestra play live.
At the concert, we heard the popular story of ‘Peter and the Wolf’. The narrator acted out the gripping story on stage featuring the brave Peter and the fearsome wolf! The two Year groups performed the song 'This is the story...' and ‘The Hungry Wolf’ by Rachel Leach alongside other school choirs. The children performed beautifully and had a very rewarding time singing in such a large and prestigious Hall.
Y2+3 girls vs Jack and Jill – 9th October
Following a very successful trip to Jack & Jill last week, we hosted the return fixture at King’s College fields. Jack & Jill brought three teams and together we played a round-robin festival of matches. Of the three games that the girls played, Westbury House conceded only two goals and won one of their games 1-0. It was great fun and the weather was beautiful. The girls worked extremely hard and were tired at the end of their three matches. They all loved the well-earned snack at the end of the match. Well done girls, and thanks to the great support from our spectating parents.
Margaret Goldthorpe talk – 11th October
For the first time, we hosted an external speaker to talk to parents. Her talk – entitled 20 things I wished I knew earlier – was inspiring and resonated with many of the audience. The evening started with some light refreshments and was followed by Margaret’s talk. If you missed it, you missed a great evening. Thank you to everyone who came – it was a lovely evening and well worth the effort of returning to school after normal opening hours.
Open Morning – 13th October
The school looked wonderful for the Open Morning, which is down to the hard work of both teachers and pupils. It was good to welcome so many parents into the school and show you how things have changed since the last time you visited. We also welcomed many parents of children yet to sign up with us. So, we are hopeful that they, too, will want to join the Westbury House family.
Y4 Banstead Woods – 17th October
Year 4 pupils have been studying the wonderful book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in English. So, the trip to Banstead woods perfectly complemented their studies. Encountering statues of Aslan, Lucy and the lamppost, the White Witch and then being able to go through the wardrobe all enhance the children’s understanding of the novel. In between statues, the children were able to build their own shelters from the branches lying on the floor of Banstead Woods.
Please note that we finish on Thursday 13th December and return to school on Monday 7th January. There has been a slight shift in days to allow for a group-wide training opportunity.
Please check on the school calendar for relevant dates. We love to welcome you to our important celebrations.
Meet the new Head Teacher – 6th November
Nativity plays – 5th December
Carol Service at St James Church, Bodley Road – 11th December
The children should come to school in winter uniform when they return to school on Monday, 5th November.