World Mental Health Day
As a continuum to strategies already used in the school, on Friday 9th October we took part in World Mental Health Day. Young Minds is a charity that focuses on the mental and emotional wellbeing of children and they organised #helloyellow to encourage all children to come together and feel supported by each other. Our pupils therefore came dressed for school wearing anything yellow to show their support. All year groups completed activities around resilience and showing kindness as a way of making their friends feel happy.
Children in Year R created superhero masks and became positive superheroes!
Children in Year 1 discussed what we do to keep our bodies fit and healthy. We then talked about healthy minds (brains) and that we need good nutrition and hydration, sleep and exercise. As a class we also talked about what makes us muddled up and confused or angry, and how can we help our minds to be calm and clear our thoughts such as relaxation and mindfulness, yoga, listening to music in our bedroom, lying down with a book on our bed to name a few ideas.
Children in Year 3 explored times that make us have low wellbeing, and things we can say or think to make ourselves feel better. They also created a Wellbeing Tree and each pupil wrote an uplifting phrase on a yellow post-it note and stuck it on a branch of the tree. This tree will be used moving forwards to help pupils feel better if they are finding things hard.
As a school our consistent focus on mental health remains a priority moving forwards. We are committed to ensuring the physical and emotional welfare of each and every pupil to ensure that they are safe, happy, involved and able to perform to their potential.
Year 6 Leavers Campout Event
On Thursday 16th July we held a special Leavers Campout event at the school overnight. We enjoyed the last of our ice-cream, played games, watched a movie and signed our tee-shirts. We also enjoyed a special lunch before pitching our tents for the camp out. We were incredibly lucky with the weather - it could not have been better!
We ate fish and chips by the camp fire, and as the evening descended upon us, we sang silly songs before beginning a game of manhunt in the dark with our torches and walkie-talkies.
It was lovely to meet up again with our friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in a while, and were able to say our goodbyes.
The next morning, we enjoyed our bacon sandwiches before our final problem solving activity – putting down our pop-up tents!
(Please click on the thumbnails below to view full-size photographs.)
Talking Buses Trip to Hop Farm
One Wednesday 4th March, selected pupils from Year 2 took part in the Talking Buses initiative which is run by the Arriva bus service. Inspiration for this project came from the television programme in which four year olds visited a nursing home to interact with the elderly, which went on to be a great success. Whilst on the bus the children had the opportunity to talk to the elderly people about their lives and what they were looking forward to at the Hop Farm. Both groups of people had a fabulous time talking to each other and had a lovely time interacting at the Hop Farm. We could not be more proud of the Year 2 pupils for their positive and confident behaviour throughout the day, and hope to maintain the relationship between Arriva, the West Kent Befriending Service and our school.
You can also view KMTV video footage of the Year 2 pupils taking part in this fabulous day by clicking on this link: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kmtv/video/arriva-launches-service-in-maidstone-to-tackle-loneliness-30550/
Author Visit from Poet, Tony Peek
On Monday 3rd March, we were very all very excited to welcome writer and poet Tony Peek to the school for an assembly followed by individual class workshops. Inspiring learners through poetry and fun, Mr Peek’s Poetry workshops take children on a magical journey and inspire creativity through fun, games and thinking.
Tony worked as an English teacher for 15 years before finding his true calling after being asked to speak about his poetry at one of his own children’s primary schools. Immediately afterwards, he resigned from teaching and began working fulltime as a poet and poetry workshop provider. Tony’s workshops introduce pupils to poetry in a fun and engaging way; Mr Peek performed poems and, together with the children, played word games, practiced rhyming and gave children an appreciation of poetry and words in general. Some pupils are also given the opportunity to write a poem of their own and to share their work with their peers.
We were so pleased to welcome Tony to our school, thank you so much for coming to see us all.
Year 3 Visit to Go Ape at Leeds Castle
A huge thank you to Go Ape at Leeds Castle, and all the staff, for the wonderful opportunity given to Year 3 to spend an afternoon there on Friday 14th February, which was the last day of Term 3 and a fantastic way to end the end. All of the children had fun and challenged themselves by taking part in the new Treetop Adventure course. It was truly wonderful to see how everyone joined in and encouraged each other to have a go. Thank you also to the parents and carers who supported this outing by transporting their children to the venue, and to those parents who were also willing to support the children up in the trees as well as on the ground.
Music Composition Workshop with Alfabeto Runico
On Wednesday 5th February our school was given the amazing opportunity to play host to Alfabeto Runico, an Italian string trio who released their debut album in March 2018 to great exclaim. The trio are Marta, Nicola and Andrea, who fuse traditional Italian music, classical, jazz, reggae and pop to create an exciting kaleidoscope of sound and feeling. These artists have extensive classical training and a fresh innovative style, and together they produce new arrangements of ancient songs and write their own original compositions with a unique combination of two double basses, violin/viola and voice.
The whole school enjoyed an assembly at the beginning of the day, followed by a workshop attended by a selection of pupils from Years 2 through to 5. The goal was to compose a complete piece of music, working with harmony, rhyme and rhythm to bring to life a musical arrangement. The children explored the paths of creativity and playing together, using both sound and physical expression. They also used some of the junk instruments they had made at the home over the Christmas holidays! A small concert was performed at the end of the day.
All children had a fantastic time with Alfabeto Runico, whether they watched the performance or joined in with the workshop:
"I enjoyed everyone standing in a circle and then we could go into the middle to perform something. I did the floss." - Sid, Year 2
"I liked the end bit when they played their own instruments to us." - Noah, Year 2
"I really enjoyed how we did activities in groups and then worked together at the end." - Maea, Year 5
"I enjoyed it because we all got together to play music as a group." - Olivia, Year 3
Thank you Alfabeto Runico - to Marta, Nicola and Andrea - for coming to our school to play and perform to/with us and for sharing your amazing musical talent with all pupils from our school. We were all very inspired!
Junk Orchestra Workshop
On Friday 6th December, we were visited by The Junk Orchestra, an amazing collection of recycled objects, rescued and reinvented from all sorts of places, and who both relish and encourage the opportunity to upcycle and express ourselves through a combination of art and music.
The children had an amazing time taking part in a junk orchestra workshop. They thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with various types of percussion, wind and string instruments made from everyday objects that have been recycled and transformed, conducted in bands to play urban rhythms from around the world! The sound was amazing although with the Headteacher's office right next to the school hall, little work got done!
Due to the success of today’s activities, we have decided to form our very own school junk orchestra! We have challenged every pupil to make an instrument from recycled materials over the Christmas holidays and will look to set up sessions for our junk orchestra to take place in the New Year. Instruments are to be made out of anything from an empty Quality Street tin to a large water bottle or some pipe insulation! The task is to inspire children's' imaginations and create an instrument they can bring to our new school orchestra in January!
The Junk Orchestra workshop was paid for by the PTFA (you!) as a result of the many successful fundraising events that have already taken place this academic year. Thank you.
Children In Need 2019
On Friday 15th November, our school chose to support Children In Need with a non-school uniform day to raise money for this amazing charity which runs projects all across the country to help change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. We also held a cake sale after school in the hall, where Mrs Cooper's delicious cupcakes were sold to parents, carers and children of the school. Throughout the whole day, we managed to raise an amazing £389.74 and every penny of this will be donated directly to Children In Need. Thank you to everyone who contributed in some way.
Anti-Bullying Anthem Music Workshop
On the 6th November we were delighted to welcome Nathan Timothy for a workshop to produce an Anti-Bullying Anthem for our school. Nathan is the founder of The Nathan Timothy Foundation "The Songwriting Charity", which is dedicated to the empowerment of young people through the art and craft of songwriting and addresses the emotional health and wellbeing of children using songwriting and music technology. Each workshop is bespoke, and unique to the children involved, presenting children with opportunities to sing, write lyrics, perform and record their ideas both individually and as a team - evaluating their progress and actively supporting the progress of their peers every step of the way. More information about amazing work of The Nathan Timothy Foundation, which was formed in July 2011, can be found on their website www.nathantimothyfoundation.org
Six children from each class in KS2 participated in the workshop with Nathan, which began with Nathan telling them about his exciting life and how much he gets paid each and every time one of the songs he has written gets played on the radio or online... it was not nearly as much as the children anticipated, and he definitely hasn't made his millions from it! We when went on to talk about bullying as a whole group and Nathan wrote all the words on the board that the children came up with during the discussion. He went on to ask three children to pick from the letters A, B, C, D and E - those children selected A, C and E, and they became the three main chords used in the song!
The children were divided into four groups in order to brainstorm ideas and start writing their anti-bulling anthem. Everyone played a part and got involved in one way or another. Three boys were tapping their pencils on the desk to give themselves a beat to keep in time with, and this was recorded and included in the song too! Some of the children played chords for the background of the recording. Each group in turn was recorded singing their part of the song, which Nathan then put together and a created an amazing masterpiece!
After lunch, the children also designed the CD and cover, one of which was selected to feature on iTunes!
All of the pupils had such a fantastic time with Nathan, and our school was so lucky to have this incredibly amazing experience. The children of Sutton Valence Primary School have achieved the writing of their very won anti-bullying song that can be played to an international audience. Thank you Nathan, for providing us with this superb and memorable experience.
You can listen to the children of Sutton Valence Primary School's Anti Bullying/Kindness Anthem here.
You can also download a copy of the song lyrics here.
Feedback from the children who participated:
"I really enjoyed the music workshop because I think it inspired lots of people to be songwriters" - Dylan
"It was interesting to learn how the instruments Nathan had worked and how he uses them in his songs" - Leena
"I really enjoyed it because it was about anti-bullying and we had to work as a team" - Poppie
"I found the workshop helpful because it helped me to build up my confidence when singing or talking in front of others" - Jack
"I loved this workshop and it has inspired me to write my own songs at home" - Yasmina
"Creating the anti-bullying song was fun because we got to use a professional microphone. We also got to create beats, lyrics and melodies. My group and I created the lyrics for the chorus and it was so much fun. I will definitely be writing songs from now on because of this workshop" - Louis
"I really enjoyed this workshop and it was very eye-opening. My favourite part was when we tried all the different ways of putting the song together - we kept changing different parts to make it better" - Shayleigh
"I liked it when we got into our groups and started writing down all of our ideas for the song" - Molly
Year 1 and 2 Up-cycling Workshop
On the 24th September we welcomed Phillip Hunton to our school for a series of up-cycling workshops. Year 1 and 2 took part in a Litter Fish workshop they, through an interactive presentation, explored the issues of litter in the UK and examined single use plastics and their alternatives. Did you know that 62% of people in England drop litter, although only 28% will admit to it? Clearing it all up costs £1 billion each year in England alone!
Each of our Year 1 and 2 pupils then decorated a cork fish with colourful recycled scales to educate them in the problem of litter in our local surroundings. We can all play a part in supporting a beautiful and healthy natural environment.
Welcome Back Camping
On the weekend of 14th/15th September our school held a Welcome Back camping event, organised by our ever-fabulous and dedicated PTFA. The weather was glorious and turnout was excellent - almost double that of last year when we held this event for the very first time. Fun was had by children and adults alike, and the children took part in games and craft activities, including making their very own kite. There was a BBQ, licenced bar, cakes and biscuits, hot drinks and more, and both children and adults enjoyed the beautiful weather and the opportunity to relax and spend time with their families.
Staff would like to say a huge thank you to the PTFA for their hard work, and for making this event an enormous success once again. Their unwavering dedication to top-quality school events is both recognised and appreciated.
If anyone has any photos from the day, please do send them for the attention of Mrs Jack in the school office.
Wear Red Instead Day 2019
On Friday 13th September we held a fundraising day at school to raise money for the Kent Air Ambulance through their Wear Red Instead initiative. A representative from Kent Air Ambulance visited us to hold an assembly for the whole school and talk to the children about the valuable work they carry out. In an effort to raise as much money as possible, we also held a cake sale in the playground after school.
On Friday 14th June we held our very first Music Festival on the school field between 4pm and 6pm. We were incredibly lucky with the weather - it rained for days either side of our event, but the sun shone brightly for us and lots of parents, carers and families turned out to watch the children perform. We had a fantastic stage for the children to perform on too!
Thank you to all those involved in our Music Festival, but especially to the children who have opened up to this experience. As always, we welcome your feedback on events provided by the school such as the Festival, but hope that you are all as proud as school staff are of all of the pupils at our school.
Outdoor Classroom Day
On Friday 24th May our school recognised Outdoor Classroom Day. All lessons were conducted outside - luckily to weather was kind!
Year 4 with their working outdoor model of a digestive system!
Year 5 pupil's sketching our school from the playground
Year 6 Residential Trip
Our Year 6 pupils are currently away on their residential trip at Belchamps Scout Activity Centre in Essex. We will be updating the website with photos as they are received from the staff who are accompanying the children on their exciting venture.
Teddy Bear Picnic - Friday 17th May
As part of the Celebration of Children under the umbrella of National Children's Day UK (NCDUK), we held a Teddy Bear picnic. Sadly the weather let us down and we were unable to eat our picnic outside on the school field, but the children still had a super time!
Two children in Year 4 also composed poems about the rights of children, please do take a look and read them.
Poem by Abigail in Year 4 (above)
Poem by Evie in Year 4 (above)
Recycle With Michael - Thursday 29th March 2019
Throughout March, pupils and their families have been having a clear out at home and filling special bags with unwanted clothes and shoes to donate to the Salvations Army's recycling scheme, Recycle With Michael. The Salvation Army works to support those in need, in particular, homelessness, poverty, modern slavery, unemployment and addiction, and provides services for children, families and the elderly.
Thank you so much to all families that have donated bags. They are being collected tomorrow and funds raised from the contents are split equally between our school and The Salvation Army... plus we have helped a little bit towards saving the planet too!
Voice In A Million - Thursday 21st March 2019
The coach took 23 children and 2 members of staff to Voice In A Million at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London. We left school at around 11.30am and had a really fantastic day, it was an incredible experience for everyone. We got home very late, at 1.30am!
Comic Relief 2019 - Red Nose Day, 15th March 2019
The children had lots of fun in school today! They decided in advance to wear crazy hair and red tops with jeans in return for a £1 donation to Comic Relief - there were lots of adventurous hair styles and the children (and their parents!) went to a lot of effort.
During the day there was the opportunity to throw sponges at the School Council members who volunteered to go in the stocks to raise money for Comic Relief too.
After school we also held a cake sale to raise additional funds for Red Nose Day - this raised an amazing £145.80 to add to the other donations collected throughout the day, meaning our total raised for Comic Relief 2019 is so far a little over £580! Thank you to all pupils and parents for their support.
World Book Day - Thursday 7th March 2019
For World Book Day 2019 we were fortunate enough to have Richard Dikstra, author of the successful "Tigeropolis" book series, visit our school. Richard spoke to the children in a special assembly where he talked about what inspired him to become a writer, inspiring many of us with his passion for wildlife and stories. The children thoroughly enjoyed meeting Richard and asked him lots of questions about being an author; I am sure his visit will encourage all the fantastic writers that we have here in our school to keep up the hard work!
This day was able to take place as a result of much support from parents in purchasing books from the Tigeropolis series for their child(ren). Thank you once again.