Dear Parents,

This week, as you will read below, has focused on Children’s Mental Health Week.  Throughout the school, children have been involved in activities around the topic ‘My Voice Matters’.  The aim of this is to empower children by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves.  This positive impact on wellbeing enables children to feel that their voices are heard, and provides a greater sense of community and self-esteem.

Also this week, we have celebrated Chinese New Year with a delicious meal provided by Chef and her team.

Chinese New Year

Children’s Mental Health Week

This week at school we celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week. The theme this year was ‘My Voice Matters’ and the children participated thoughtfully and enthusiastically in the myriad of activities on offer. The week commenced with a visit from Councillor Winter, the Mayor of Newmarket, who talked to the children in assembly about her important role in the local community listening to the voice of Newmarket residents. Councillor Winter also emphasised the importance of sharing our thoughts and feelings with trusted adults and friends no matter how big our small our worry might be. A tree was also planted by Councillor Winter and representatives of School Council, linking to the importance of nature for mental wellbeing. Other activities which have taken place throughout this wonderful Children’s Mental Health Week have included: yoga with Mrs Toynbee; Modern Foreign Language activities with Miss Bryan; ‘Mindful Me’ with Miss Hunt; Art with Ms Meyer; Mindfulness Music and ‘What Matters to me?’ activities with Mrs Sanders, and activities led by Mrs Allen and Miss Drayton inspired by the beautiful book ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ by Charlie Mackesey. The week ended with Harry in Year 4 playing two pieces on the piano in assembly, the children joyfully singing and many children receiving their bronze award badges; a fitting way to close a super busy week! Please check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to see more pictures!

Mrs Varma

Informal Teatime Concert

Congratulations to all the pupils that performed in the Informal Teatime Concert on Tuesday 8th February. We had 15 musicians from Years 1 – 6 performing on various instruments, from beginners to Grade 4. The Magic Flutes gave their first performance and I look forward to hearing them perform more in the future. These concerts are much loved by our Fairstead pupils and parents and an invaluable experience for developing musicians. Well done again to everyone and many thanks to our Music Prefects for setting up and clearing away at the end.

 

Famous Fifes

As part of our Instrumental Project giving all pupils in Years 3&4 the opportunity to have four, free, group fife lessons over the year, we enjoyed a short performance from the latest group in the music lesson on Thursday afternoon. I have heard from some pupils that they are so inspired by this project, they have bought their own fife and are hoping to start individual lessons.

Musical Concert at King’s, Ely

On Thursday 15th February, an Instrumental Festival Finalists’ Concert is taking place at Ely Cathedral.  If you would like to attend, please read the poster here.

Nursery

Ponies 1 have enjoyed exploring the mini topic of dinosaurs this week, linking it to our current learning theme of terrific textures. During this week we have worked together to create our own special dinosaur biscuits which we ate for snack. We have also worked on our dinosaur yoga moves and used dinosaur footprints and then buttons to make some super artwork. Great resilience was also shown to free the dinosaurs from their ice eggs and to practise our cutting skills to make snips in dinosaur pictures. Well done Ponies 1!

Reception

This week in Reception the children have enjoyed discovering all about how to keep safe online during, ‘Safer Internet Day’, and have also had great fun celebrating Chinese New Year, albeit a few days early!

A big thank you to Chef Alleyne today for organising a super lunch for us to mark this special occasion. Giving the children the opportunity to use chopsticks was a wonderful challenge, too.

More animal antics were discovered during the story of ‘The Great Race’ and the children thoroughly enjoyed discussing the ‘bad choices’ made by the rat in the story. They made some super predictions about which animals they thought would finish first and last in the race, and why.

The children had great fun finding out more about China and how some families there celebrate the New Year. They were keen to make their own lucky red envelopes and are counting down the sleeps until they can open them!

The class ‘Wishing Tree’ is now proudly on display too, for everyone to see. The children wrote their own wishes to add to the tree, which is again, another New Year tradition in China. The wishes were extremely special at Fairstead though, as the children spent time thinking about something they could wish for which would help make the world a better place. What very kind, ‘Thinkasauruses!’

It was the turn of our first parent ‘Surprise Reader’ to visit the class on Wednesday afternoon. Thank you very much to Mr Toynbee for treating us to two super stories! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them!

On Thursday, the children were very lucky to have the most amazing animal encounter! Thank you so much to everyone at ‘The Animal Experience’ for really bringing the children’s current topic to life!

Year 1

Mrs Hurlock came to visit us on Wednesday afternoon to tell us more about the Jewish festival, Hanukkah. She read two books explaining why and how Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah. We had so much fun pretending to light the menorah, playing ‘Spin the Dreidel’ and eating homemade challah bread. It was absolutely delicious and we all decided that we liked it much better than sandwich bread! A huge THANK YOU to Mrs Hurlock for taking the time to visit us!

To celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week, we spent time drawing self-portraits and then wrote ‘Mi voz cuenta’ in speech bubbles in Spanish. This means ‘my voice counts’. We decorated positive caps in PSHE with positive affirmations that will encourage us during times of challenge. We also practised mindfulness and meditation in the classroom. It was lovely to have some quiet time during the school day and it helped us to focus as well as recharge our batteries.

Year 2

Year 2 have been working so hard to discover the link between multiplication and division. We have been focused on identifying the difference between ‘groups’ and ‘groups of’, which we are so confident explaining now! We have also linked our understanding of doubling to halving and then to our 2 times table. In English, we have been further developing our dragon writing with the introduction of subordination and a review of descriptive language. We have been planning and then creating a ‘Dragon Fact File’ and have presented our information as a non-chronological report, linking in lots of our science vocabulary. In science, we have been learning all about food-chains. We have made food chains with photos, watched a video all about food chains and even made a zig-zag book about them! This week has been Children’s Mental Health Week. In PSHE we have been exploring the book ‘The Boy, the Mole, The Fox and the Horse’ by Charlie Macksey. We were particularly taken with the mole’s fascination with cake! We spent our talking time thinking and talking about how the horse was feeling when he had to hide his special talent – that he could fly! The children all thought of how special they are and how proud we are of ourselves and each other.

Year 3

This week, we had a very exciting visit from the Animal Experience in Stretham to bring our rainforest topic to life. Kayleigh came along to Fairstead to introduce the children to some animals and their habitats to enhance our topic, ‘Rainforest Calling’. When discussing habitats, the children were challenged to use their knowledge to discuss whether the animals would live in the rainforest and which layer of the rainforest they would live in and why. The children asked really thoughtful and interesting questions and were obsessed with the animals’ endearing personalities. Being careful and respectful, the children found out how to hold or stroke the animals kindly and safely. This was a fantastic hands-on experience to bring our topic to life. A big thank you to Kayleigh and the Animal Experience team. A valuable and lasting thought from our experience, “The best form of conservation is education”.

It has also been ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’ and we have been thinking about ways to look after our own mental health. We took part in activities that thought about healthy foods we like to eat, things that make us feel calm, people we can talk to, things that make us feel happy and places where we feel safe. We also made our own ‘Jars of self-care’ to remind us to take the time to do things that make us feel good. These included: getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, eating well, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, dancing, reading and relaxing. We also joined forces with Year 4 and Mrs Toynbee taught us some calming yoga to help us relax and feel more mindful.

Year 4

We had an exciting week this week where we looked at Children’s Mental Health week.  In PSHE, we thought about what we can do to make ourselves happy and how we can do these thigs regularly as part of our regular routines.  We then had a wonderful session of Yoga led by Mrs. Toynbee.  This gave the children a chance to focus just on themselves in a calm environment, leaving their worries behind.

Then yesterday, we all performed our speeches in class.  Thank you for the support you have clearly given your children in preparing the speeches.  It was wonderful to see speeches presented without reading them, with confidence and enthusiasm.  There were wonderful examples of speeches that allowed me to draw out all the skills that were shown.  This both showed the children’s learning, but also helped other children identify skills that they can develop.

Year 5

Year 5 have been continuing with their investigations of properties of materials by looking at separating mixtures.  They were given a mixture of two materials in a beaker: salt and raisins; paper clips mixed in couscous; sand and water; and a salt water solution, and were asked to devise ways in which to separate them using equipment.  Some solutions were more obvious than others, and it was how to separate the salt from the water which posed the biggest headache.  Two different methods were put forward and we tried them both.  It was delightful to see the children’s amazement in finding the salt left behind after evaporation and using science to explain why using filter paper hadn’t worked-even though some salt had been left behind overnight.

Furthermore, the school should have a new pond!  This is what the children were trying to convince Mr Radford of in their formal letters.  They then conducted a formal debate on this matter today, as well as whether wrestling should be banned. These built on the first experience at debating last week and there was definitely an improvement all round.  The pupils are definitely improving in their critical-thinking, reasoning and oracy skills.  Watch out for well set out and argued points parents!

Year 6

It is lovely to hear that Year 6 are enjoying the opportunity to present their independent research topics to classmates. The past week has seen the third round of presentations and the children have grown in confidence since the start of the year. Most presentations now include artefacts, quizzes and prizes – thank you, Year 6 parents, for your support and generosity! This week, we learned more about Greece (Lefkianna), Space (Eliza), Minecraft (Bert), Sloths (Fenella), Swimming (Annabelle), Alpacas (Jessica) and How the Racehorse Sees the World (Isabella). All presentations were very interesting indeed, and everyone was reminded that you learn something new every day! Thank you for your effort, Year 6. We look forward to the remaining presentations next week.

There was more good news about entrance test results – well done, Fenella, for receiving an offer from The Leys, Cambridge – and congratulations to Lefkianna for earning two Blue Peter badges for Sport and Music!

Have a lovely weekend!

Michael Radford