From Spring 2021 we have been running our latest Erasmus funded project called 'Small Steps to a Better World'.
This project will be raising our awareness and understanding of environmental and climate goals, in collaboration with our French partner school, Ecole du lac. We look forward to the activities, workshops, education and enjoyment these will provide for all our stakeholders and the wider community.
Because of the interruption due to Covid-19, the project has been extended into the academic year 2022-23.
ARK Water Workshops
On Monday 4th July we were visited by Mia and Glyn from ARK - Action for the River Kennet.
Mia is a former pupil of the school, so we were pleased to welcome her back.
Years 5 and 6 had individual sessions where they explored their knowledge of rivers and the kinds of wildlife to be found in and around them. In particular, the River Kennet which is a chalk stream. Chalk streams are very special and rare. There are about 200 in the whole World - 180 of them are in the UK.
We learned about the birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates that live in the environment and how they fit into the eco system.
We also found out about the water cycle and the pressures on the river habitat created by the extraction of water for human use. Various ways to reduce water usage were discussed - many are featured in Ecole du lac's award winning video below.
The children were then able to search for may of the smaller creatures in some samples of River Kennet water which had been collected in the morning - and was returned later.
Save Water - Economisons l'eau
This is a video produced by Ecole du lac to show ways to save water.
Thanks to the public vote, this video was the winner of a competition organised by their local water company 'Eaux de Vienne'.
Planting our Orchard:
On 18th & 19th of January all the classes took part in sessions to plant an orchard in our meadow area at the top of the school site.
In keeping with our international theme, we have chosen many varieties with French or European names as well as a few familiar types.
As well as the general benefits of trees, orchard fruit trees have the benefit of being early blossoming, so helping bees and other pollinating insects, they have their own particular eco-systems and, of course, will produce fruits to enjoy.
We should see some growth in the first year, but realistically it will only be the younger classes which will see the trees produce significant crops. But tree planting is for the long term; pears in particular can live for hundreds of years!
We planted 4 apple varieties:
Queen's Green Canopy:
As part of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, our Year 6 class took part in tree planting event at Church Meadow in Wanborough on 14th January 2022.
Christmas Cards and Gifts
Just in time for the end of term, we received a wonderful package of Christmas cards, Christmas Stocking and Crackers from our friends at Ecole du lac in St Cyr.
Merci beaucoup et Joyeux Noël!
Farm Days 28th, 29th & 30th September:
On these special days all our classes from Year 1 to Year 6 visited the National Trust Coleshill estate.
The day was in two parts: one session at Coleshill Organics, focussed on sustainable organic fruit and vegetable production. The children looked at the kinds of produce grown and how they are grown, the importance of seasonality and reducing food miles, the role of pollinating insects and how compost is made and used.
The second session was at Eastrop Farm where the children looked at organic milk production: They saw cows about give birth and newly born calves. They found out about how they are fed, how the cows are milked and what happens to the milk afterwards. They also got to sit on a tractor and pet the new born puppy!
Massive thanks go to The National Trust team and volunteers for the really engaging and stimulating sessions.
Below are a short sampler video of our days and slide shows of the activities.
Our latest project for Term 6 is to create habitats for beetles by re-purposing old plastic buckets.
Groups from Years 2, 4 & 5 have created these bijou beetle habitats around the school site - look out for the signs!
This is part of a wider campaign being promoted by the Wildlife Trusts and The Royal Horticultural Society in their Wild About Gardens scheme.
You can do this at home too - see below:
Front Garden Bric-a-Brac:
On Sunday 27th June, we ran our first Front Garden Bric-a-Brac sale in support of the theme of the 3 Rs of "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle".
Green Day has been part of the school's summer programme for 5 years, although last year it could not be held.
All the classes go to enjoy both sporting and environmentally themes activities at the Parish Council's Hooper's Field and the Woodland Trust's Warneage Wood.
This year it was three sessions on 24th and 25th June. You can read more details and see a video on the Green Day page.
Wild Flower Meadow Update 17.06.21:
It's been a tricky spring, with cold and dry weather followed by very wet and now, hot and dry. The season is as much as 4 weeks behind a typical year, particularly compared to 2020.
However, nature adapts and our wild flower meadow area is beginning to develop. Now that it is not being cut, the grasses themselves plus buttercups, daisies, dandelions, clover and many other species which were already there, are able to flower and provide opportunities for pollinating insects. Also the denser undergrowth provides better cover for small creatures.
We're now beginning to see some of the plants that we have added, notably the Yellow Rattle, which was sown back in October and has been waiting for the right moment to appear.
Our partners at École du Lac's superb video about "Protect, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" (P.3Rs) has won the Grand Prix in French schools competition "Ma classe a du talent".
Congratulations to them for a prize well deserved! Ma Classe a du Talent website