Upon arrival our students went to the orangery for a brief introduction, then Middle Prep went to the Churchill Spencer Room and Senior Prep went to the Marlborough Room for the start of the Public Speaking Competition.
The competition was fierce. Both groups were up against some ‘seasoned’ speakers at Blenheim, who clearly knew what was expected of them and delivered some excellent speeches, which were delivered with confidence and skill.
Findlay Hovell, Iraa Kulkarni and Chloe Cave were all amazing! After a nervous start, they embraced the challenge and delivered a thought-provoking speech to their audience of boys, girls, teachers and other honoured guests including; Lady Henrietta Churchill and Her Grace The 12th Duchess of Marlborough. Findlay, Iraa and Chloe worked well together, each referring to the next speaker by name. Findlay was a super chairperson who introduced the topic exceptionally well. Iraa and Chloe maintained a magnificent posture and held the room in silence as they delivered their speeches with energy and passion.
Our Middle Prep team had some very pleasing feedback from Her Grace and other VIP guests in the audience. During the interval, Mrs Prigmore-Wells, much to her surprise and delight, returned to find Findlay, Iraa and Chloe in close conversation with Her Grace the 12th Duchess of Marlborough. Her Grace was very interested in the children’s experiences on the podium and was both gracious and kind in her manner with our pupils. Three other members of the adult guests came to our groups to congratulate them on their presentation.
Jumeirah Francis, Oluwadamilola Omotosho and Caitlin Hendry were our ambassadors for the Seniors competition. There were nine teams competing in this age category and the standard was exceptional. After listening to some engaging and rousing oratory from several other schools, our Grove children took to the podium. Dami chaired the speech confidently, adding some effective pauses and emphasis for dramatic effect. Caitlin and Jumeirah, similarly, spoke very clearly and with controlled passion.
The team had to navigate some tough questions from the panel of guests and it was heart-warming to see Caitlin come to the aid of Jumeirah, when she was answering a particularly difficult question. It was a valiant effort and the children conveyed their knowledge and understanding of the topic, ‘in a very cool way’ – according to one previous judge, who spoke to us after the event. We all felt that this was a wonderful experience and it was exciting to see so many young people, able to speak with such authority to a room of perfect strangers.
Following the competition there was a formal photograph taken of each school’s team with members of the Churchill family.
A super experience and a wonderful opportunity to present our amazing children’s speaking skills.
Mrs Prigmore-Wells & Mrs Kenton
Each year the children in Prep are asked to produce a science project on a specific topic. This work is done in addition to their normal classwork and homework. Each time the projects are handed in I am amazed at the wonderful pieces of work that are presented to me and the effort and time that most of the children spend on their work is immediately obvious.
Between October half term and Christmas it was the turn of Pine & Acacia to do their project and the topic was famous scientists and inventors. The children had to have a main focus for their work but would also look at someone from more than 2000 years ago, as well as two other people linked to their chosen person. Whilst some focussed on the more famous scientists or inventors, such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Leonardo da Vinci, others chose less celebrated people such as Maurice Hilleman (worked with vaccines after WWII), Carlo Rovelli (theoretical physicist) and Hedy Lamarr (Hollywood actress who invented remote guidance mechanisms for torpedoes in WWII and who’s work led to Bluetooth technology)!
Their wonderful written projects were accompanied by amazing models and pieces of art work. There were examples of da Vinci’s helical screw (helicopter), hands covered in pox blisters for Edward Jenner’s work against small pox, movie posters for Hedy Lamarr’s films and mobile radiation scanning trucks, used by Marie Curie.
Deciding on winners is always very difficult and I often seek other teacher’s opinions. In the end I was so impressed that I had to have three special mention prizes to recognise the effort that so many children made.
Scientists and inventors chosen: John Dalton, Nikola Tesla, Dian Fossey, Rosalind Franklin, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Edward Jenner, Maurice Hilleman, Hedy Lamarr, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Carlo Rovelli, Stephen Hawking.
Best Written project: Shiv Das
Best model: Emily Garwood
Special mentions: Chloe Cave, Maya Shah, Carolina Diniz Fernandez-Lomana
Reverend Walker is a Baptist minister who has visited the children of Cedar and Birch today in order to enrich their learning on Christianity and 'Rites of Passage' in particular.
He shared with us a wealth of information about his ministry which stretch as far away as Africa. The children enjoyed sharing their own prior learning about the meaning of a Christian Baptism, Holy Communion and a Marriage with the Reverend who also answered most sensitively a variety of amazing questions about the existence of God and his relationship with the Holy Trinity!
We thanked Reverend Walker for his visit by offering a card we created. Its content depicted a variety of Rites of Passage, churches and Jesus Christ which demonstrated further the children's enjoyment of this Religious Topic.
We look forward to Reverend Walker visiting our school again and sharing his knowledge with other year groups.
We had a wonderful afternoon in Foundation on History Day. The children and adults all looked fantastic dressed up as different people from History. We followed the theme of Royalty in our activities and in our house groups each child turned into a Prince or Princess and created a bejewelled crown. They then visited the Royal kitchens and prepared their own tea party cakes using of course, Royal Icing. All of the Foundation team were incredibly proud of the children and how well they worked together. It was a pleasure to see the excitement and wonder on their faces throughout the day. We look forward to our next special day.
The children in pre-prep had a fabulous afternoon dressed up as their favourite characters from the past. After the excitement of the cake sale the children all took part in some historical themed activities during the afternoon. Working together in their Hobby Groups the children made some medieval gingerbread whilst listening to some medieval music. It was really exciting to taste the flavours and the smells of the ginger, honey, cloves and basil which decorated the gingerbread. The children also got the opportunity to learn some facts about Mary Anning and her discoveries in Lyme Regis of fossils. The children got an opportunity to make their own salt dough fossils which was great fun!
Our Harvest Festival this year was a celebration of wonderful water. Beech and Holly got the whole thing started for us telling everyone their favourite watery things to do and singing their song with wonderful actions to go with it. Next came the Science Bit! Autumn, Harry and Jessica from Cedar and Birch explained how an amazing H2O molecule is made using 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom, how they bond and come apart again to make liquid water and how the water cycle works.
Walnut and Maple sang us a very charming song about three little clouds. The clouds rained on the dry ground and the sun shone and three very colourful flowers grew. Well done Walnut and Maple!
Barnaby and Ellie read us their own evocative poems ‘Peaceful Stream’ and ‘The Brook’. These two poems were chosen from the many that the children had written in creative writing lessons. We thought you might like to read them again, so here they are!
Peaceful Stream, by Barnaby Davison
One Autumn afternoon
A little stream wandered across a Maldive Island
Drifting over the soft sands
It is not deep, it is shallow
And a vivid blue like azure.
Winding its way past palm trees
Sometimes feeling the gentle plop of a leaf
On its back
The Brook, by Ellie Ying-Clifton
Do you have a tale to tell?
As you chatter and laugh – guffaw and jump,
Through my Autumn-time garden.
As you babble, as you blow,
Smell the fresh breeze blow you along.
You’re fresh and ripe like a golden-apple tree.
Feel your ripples splashing my grass in the breeze.
But soon, it will be Winter – what will your tale be then?
Your eyes closed tight, dancing to your Winter song.
And the September raindrops drop straight on your palm,
Refreshing, cooling. You gather strength to move on…
And you wind past the flower bed, camping my boat.
Sing me the story of a brook…
‘Riversong’ was a triumph! The Prep children sang their song cycle with great expression, attention to detail and commitment. Working hard in their music lessons really paid off and after a couple of focussed rehearsals altogether they once again showed how they can work as one to make a wonderful sound that filled the church.
The song ‘Waterfall’ was a particular favourite with a soaring theme and two parts that sound magnificent when sung together.
The percussionists of Acacia and Pine showed that they could be sensitive, listen and play to enhance the effect of the water ‘crashing bashing down through the craggy rocks’ and add sparkle to the ‘lazy river’ that jazzily made its way to the sea. Hana and Emily played their string parts beautifully, warming the sound.
The percussion ‘on the seashore’ with it’s exciting chant ‘I can see the sea, I can see the sea, I CAN SEA THE SEA!’ brought the river to it’s end and as it flowed out into the sea Findlay, Elijah and Ryan’s dramatic rap took us to the finale.
The whole school thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic song ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ which in fact is known throughout the Grove as ‘Mark the Shark’ (for obvious reasons). Larch and Rowan had made some fabulous sea creatures which danced in the waves with colourful splashes and smiley faces!
Our last song was AMAZING!
What more can I say!
Friday: The children have packed their bags and are heading off for their last activities. It has been a great Travel Week this year and we are looking forward to getting back to The Grove to see you all.
Thursday: The rain has arrived! Only a little bit of rain though and iOS thinks it will be clear by 7am… We have lots of photos to finish uploading so don’t forget to check back soon. We will let you know when Wednesdays folders are complete.
This morning we have the following activities.
Group 5 – 8 will be taking part in Kayaking and Raft building this morning on Condover Hall Lake.
Group 1: Rocket Launch, Conquest.
Group 2: Lazermaze / Grid of Stones.
Group 3: I.E’s, Abseiling.
Group 4: Abseiling, Swimming.
Group 1: Tunnelling / Vortex, Abseiling.
Group 2: Abseiling, Sensory Trail.
Group 3: Conquest, Rocket Launch.
Group 4: Conquest, Lazermaze and Grid of Stones.
Group 5: Conquest, Fencing.
Group 6: Climbing, Conquest.
Group 7: Lazermaze and Grid of Stones, Conquest.
Group 8: Circus Frenzy, Conquest.
Wednesday: Another beautiful morning in Shropshire, the thunderstorms have not made their way over from Milton Keynes. We have an early start which will give Pre-prep plenty of time to prepare for their lake activities after breakfast.
Groups 1 – 4 will be taking part in Kayaking and Raft building this morning on the Condover Hall lake.
Group 5: Circus Frenzy, Dance Mania.
Group 6: Sensory Trail, Circus Frenzy.
Group 7: Rocket Launch, Archery.
Group 8: Tunnelling/Vortex, Abseiling.
Group 1: I.E’s, Lazermaze/Grid of Stones
Group 2: Circus Frenzy, I.E’s.
Group 3: Dance Mania, Circus Frenzy.
Group 4: Climbing, Dance Mania.
Group 5: Lazermaze/Grid of Stones, Climbing.
Group 6: Tunnelling/Vortex, Abseiling.
Group 7: Abseiling, Tunnelling/Vortex.
Group 8: Fencing, I.E’s.
Tuesday: Good morning! The children are wide awake and playing on the netball court before breakfast. We have the following activities this morning and will number the group photos for you.
Group 1: Circus Frenzy, Climbing.
Group 2: Archery, Swimming.
Group 3: Sensory Trail, Archery.
Group 4: I.E’s, Tunnelling Voertex.
Group 5: Tunnelling Vortex, Sensory Trail.
Group 6: Fencing, I.E’s.
Group 7: Dance Mania, Fencing.
Group 8: Sensory Trail, Dance Mania.
Group 1: Dance Mania, Swimming.
Group 2: Climbing, Dance Mania.
Group 3: Swimming, Climbing.
Group 4: Archery, Circus Frenzy.
Group 5: Rocket Launch, Archery.
Group 6: Lazermaze, Grid of Stones.
Group 7: I.E’s, Sensory Trail.
Group 8: Fencing, I.E’s.
Monday: We left The Grove as scheduled at 10:00am and stopped for our picnic lunch on the way. The children were all full of energy and excitement as we got closer to Condover Hall.
We arrived at Condover Hall at 2:15pm. The children were very excited as we announced their rooms. Just before their first activities, we split the children into their day groups for group photos (online soon) and this afternoon we have: Archery, Rocket Launch, Tunnelling/Vortex, Sensory Trail, I.E's, Dance Mania, Circus Frenzy, Lazer Maze and Grid of Stones.
The children are all in bed resting for their first full day tomorrow. We are now uploading photos from this afternoon and evening to the gallery website.
The twenty-five children performing in our June lunchtime concert gave us so much to feast our ears and eyes upon. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
The cheeky chaps in Beech and Holly didn’t let us down with their speech and drama renditions, Jacob Okwaudigbo. Matthew Coomber, Dimitri Korontzis, Freddie Lancaster and Arjun Sohal told their funny tales of cats, lost socks, tastes and pancakes. Zayne Quinton joined in with his concert debut piano piece ‘Yankee Doodle’ that he managed to play so quickly that he didn’t even have time to sit on the piano stool!
Maanika Phul confidently played ‘Little John’ a clarinet piece. This was the first time she’d played in a concert. It’s good to see some younger pupils taking up different instruments. We need more to play brass and woodwind instruments so that we can have a Grove School orchestra.
David Ogundeji gave a beautifully rhythmical performance of his piano piece ‘Russian Song’ and Ife Adekanmbi made a lovely sound on her guitar as she played ‘Song of the Mountian’. Elise Reeson played her gentle piano piece ‘Bluebird’ peacefully and Sheyan Kothari’s ‘Elephant’s Waltz was counted very carefully.
It’s been very encouraging to see our young musicians and drama students making so much progress throughout the year. Don’t forget to keep playing over the summer holidays everyone. Your teachers will be so amazed in your first lessons in September when you can play them a beautiful piece. They will think it’s Christmas already!
On the 26th of May we held our, now customary, end of half term House Day. This term the theme was celebrating our school Charity the Farakunku Foundation from The Gambia. All of the day’s activities were based around the customs, traditions and values of The Gambia. Activates ranged from designing a House Trip to the small West African nation, interpreting a traditional dance, playing Gambian games and designing Gambian Jewellery. As ever the houses were completely self-reliant during the day, in terms of deciding when to move from one activity to the next and who would be in charge or specific tasks in an activity. At the end of the day all the houses displayed their trip posters on the kick-wall and performed their dance to the rest of the school.
At the culmination of all the performances the final scores for the day were announced with each task awarding points for Growth Mindset, Self-Reliance, Timekeeping and Teamwork. All the Houses showed a great deal of empathy and understanding for a culture very different to our own and despite all the scores being very close, Arden came out winners of the day with Rockingham, Dean & Wyre close behind.
A warm, sunny Sunday morning greeted around 50 Grove bike riders for this year’s FROGIS Bike Ride on 14th May. Caldecotte Lake served as the venue for the second year in a row and proved to be a worthy venue as riders could choose between a 2 mile course and a 1¼ mile course.
Armed with quiz questions and clutching pencils, our flurry of biking enthusiasts embarked on the course ready to hunt down the laminated A4 quiz questions that were pinned to trees, posts or other suitable inanimate objects all the way around the lake.
Course completed, (most) questions answered, and bikes abandoned in cars or chained to fences, the riders gradually filled up a large section of the Caldecotte Arms where a variety of pub lunch options had been pre-ordered, ready to feed the hungry peloton.
The weather had been so impeccably organised by the FROGIS committee that several families, after eating their fill, leisurely moved out of the pub and directly into the playground for further fun time for the kids and chat time for parents.
A successful event overall and one quite possibly to be repeated in years to come due to its popularity with children and parents alike.
Well done and thank you to all who attended!
Our lunchtime concert was packed full of stories this month. The children sharing their Speech and Drama poems and excerpts told us many. Tales of scary snakes, (delivered with intensity by Sophia Shaikh), of herbaceous pods and beaches, (clearly spoken and with great timing by Freddie Lancaster and Dimitri Korontzis), and of Father’s Day cards and beautiful new days, (excellently performed by Autumn Pim and Samara Saanvi). Suspense filled stories like ‘Mrs Mather’ kept us on the edge of our seats, (performed by Maya Shah), and a lovely rendition from ‘Little Women’ read by Emily Ying-Clifton that made some of the older audience members want to read the whole story again.
Stories can be told by music too. We heard the gorgeous tune of a waltz singing out over the top of a beautiful left hand accompaniment played by Emily Garwood and the ringing tones of a twinkling star played by Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio on his guitar. Barnaby Davison’s ‘Cheeky Monkey’ was very playful on his violin and Thomas Huggin’s ‘Saints’ were brilliant at marching in time. Damilola Omotosho showed us some real ‘Attitude’ at the piano and Joseph Imonioro’s clarinet playing ‘Guinea pigs’ were marching almost more in time than the saints.
The cutest story told was Kylie Dissanayake’s, she is so small she needed to climb on to the stool to play us those famous Big Ben chimes. Well done to everyone for another delightful concert, especially to those I haven’t mentioned, you were all so good at your very special storytelling.