Great British Nature Day
This week began with a ‘Great British Nature Day’ themed assembly on Monday. We learned about the many benefits of gardening, including biophilia effect, describing our human instincts to connect with nature and other living beings. On the same day, the children’s author, Sophie Edgar, delivered a virtual assembly to Pre Prep. In this fun, informative session, the Pre Prep pupils learned about the vital importance of bees. As we continue to promote biodiversity, Pre Prep pupils will be bringing home wildflower seeds in the near future and there will be a competition to see whose flowers can attract the most ‘visitors’.
The Great British Nature Day theme continued in lessons too – with Year 3 pupils learning about the essential factors that plants need to grow – including water, light, warmth and nutrients. Meanwhile, Year 5 were inspired by ‘biomimicry’ in their engineering designs, and also enjoyed a musical study of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘The Lark Ascending’.
Year 7 spent time this week exploring scenarios where the Fibonacci sequence is linked with nature. On many plants, the number of petals is a Fibonacci number, and the seed distribution on sunflowers also has a Fibonacci spiral effect. The Fibonacci sequence is found in the strangest of places, including the fascinating example of the pineapple – being studied by the pupils in these photographs.
The sequence was initially discovered 800 years ago by the famous Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci and it involves adding up the previous two numbers in order to find the next in the series, for example …0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 etc. if you are feeling inspired to investigate further then pinecones provide another excellent opportunity to do so – by counting the number of spirals going from the centre of the cone to the outside edge, in both directions.
Planting of the Jubilee Tree
On Monday Mrs Sue Freestone OBE, Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire visited our school for the ceremonial planting of a Rowan tree in Tom’s Garden, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Mrs Freestone explained to our pupils in attendance, that in her role as Deputy Lieutenant, she is the Queen’s representative, so we were very honoured that she was able to join us.
Foundation Visit to Cambridge Market
As part of their work on Traditional Tales, Foundation have spent this week thinking about the story ‘Stone Soup’. The children and their teachers caught the Park and Ride bus from outside school into town and then headed to the market where they bought lots of lovely vegetables. When they returned to school, everyone helped to peel and chop their purchases, turning their shopping into delicious vegetable soup.
It was a pleasure to meet Foundation parents at our coffee morning in Tom’s Garden on Thursday this week, and to introduce them to our St Faith’s Parents’ Association Committee. From my conversations with parents, it was very clear that the bus trip to the market had been an extremely popular activity with the Foundation pupils!
Year 1 Production of Tiddler
We were also very pleased to be able to welcome our first ‘in person’ Pre Prep parent audience to school this week, as Year 1 took to the stage to perform their rendition of ‘Tiddler’ by Julia Donaldson. Tiddler is a little fish with a big imagination, who tells tall tales every day when he is late for school. This collaborative performance by Year 1 was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and was a really special occasion. There were some very clever and colourful costumes and it was very impressive to see our Year 1 pupils delivering such an accomplished production.
Music Tea-Time Recital
On Tuesday we enjoyed a welcome return to ‘in person’ audiences for our ‘Tea-Time Music Recital’. Remarkably, the recital was predominantly piano soloists demonstrating the strength of the piano teaching in the school, however performances on both ‘cello and Highland bagpipes also featured. We were treated to a variety of excellent performances with great musicianship on display from all soloists. Pupils played pieces from a variety of composers, from Beethoven to Burgmuller, Pam Wedgewood to Martha Mier and traditional Scottish folk tunes such as the Aberdeenshire tune Banyards of Delgaty. This informal and relaxed setting is a wonderful opportunity for encouraging young musicians at St Faith’s as they return to performing on the concert platform.
Year 8 Art & Design Visit to Zoology Museum
The Year 8 Art group spent an afternoon at the Zoology museum in Cambridge. This began with a talk on ‘Colour in Nature’ which highlighted how colour is made and used in nature by different plants and animals, followed by a hands-on experiment showing how the structural composition of butterfly wings creates colour. The pupils then spent some time exploring the wonderful museum with the intention of gathering ideas to help inform the glazing choices for their ceramic sculptures, entitled ‘natural forms’.
On Thursday afternoon 12 pupils from Years 3 to 6 inclusive, participated in the ‘Quiz Club’ General Knowledge competition. The competition was strong and the questions very challenging. The children performed admirably and with great enthusiasm, only just missing out on the next round.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizen Education (PSHCE) – Show Racism The Red Card
To culminate their PSHCE topic of diversity and raise awareness of this important issue, Year 5 pupils produced posters for the ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ school competition. The Year 5 tutors were very impressed by the entries and how the effectively children expressed themselves.
In addition, some of our Year 8 pupils also chose to produce artwork or creative writing based on this topic, with some outstanding results – and the winning entries will be submitted to an external competition. Well done to everyone who took part.
As many of you will already be aware, last Sunday, 6 members of St Faith’s staff and many parents, joined almost 10,000 other runners on a bright, chilly morning for one of the UK’s biggest and most beautiful closed-road Half-Marathons.
Cambridge-based Alzheimer’s Research UK was the headline charity of this highly popular event, with more than 50 other charities also represented in the race. Further details can be found in the index of this newsletter. Congratulations to all who took part.
As we reach the end of a week in which we have had many opportunities to be grateful for the beauty of nature all around us, it really feels like Spring is on its way. I do hope you are able to enjoy some ‘Great British Nature’ this weekend.
With all best wishes,
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn