As we approach the journey we make together through Holy Week we are all reminded of the journey Christ made. This is always such a special time in school when the children and staff contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made: "No greater love has any man than to lay down his life for his friends".
All classes are busy preparing for their assemblies which commence on Friday 31st March at 9:15am with our Year 2 children sharing their depiction of Palm Sunday. Following this on Monday our Year 3 children will be celebrating The Last Supper and on Tuesday our Year 4 children will be sharing the turmoil of the Garden of Gethsemane. The week will then continue with Year 5 depicting the despair of The Crucifixion and Year 6 will finally share God's promise for eternal life with us all on Thursday 6th April, our last day of term. You are all most welcome to join us.
Today was our last Mass in School for Lent and it was lovely to see so many of you there. I need to say a thank you to all the children who have shared the mass and give a special mention to our Year 6 children who have joined us every week, giving up their time to make a commitment to their developing faith; it really has been a joy to see and hopefully other year groups will follow their example next year.
“Forgiveness is surely the greatest gift we can give to others because it is the most costly. Yet at the same time, it is what makes us most like God.”
This time of the year always makes us stand back and reflect on our own lives. It is a time of prayer and fasting as we try to be the people God wants us to be. In school we are supporting children as they go on their own journeys trying to find those moments of stillness which help us all to open ourselves to prayer and essentially God’s love. Our early morning masses have been so well attended and our Year 6 children have made a special effort as almost two thirds of them have attended each week, playing an active role, altar serving, reading and bringing the gifts to the altar. This morning Father Peter reminded us of the prayer of St Patrick which you can read for yourselves here.
Last night our children made their first Confession, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for their First Holy Communion in May. It was such a beautiful service and it was lovely to see so many of the children overcoming their initial nerves to almost skip back from the altar; touched by the forgiveness of Christ. Their beaming smiles were truly a sign of God’s pure love. It was also great to see some parents using their newly learnt sign language; thank you! Please remember the children in your prayers - this is such a special time for these children and their families.
Learning has continued to blossom and throughout school the joy of reading has been visible within classrooms and in the corners of the playground. The Book Fair has energised children to choose new books, discuss plots and explore characters. Thank you for supporting this event; we will let you know next week how much we have raised to spend on books! This valuable skill of reading is one which can transport us to lands near and far and importantly, unlocks the door to many other areas of learning. I am sure you have experienced many magic moments at home together as you have found yourselves lost in a book! If you haven’t yet visited the book fair there is still time after school on Monday evening to get a last minute bargain.
Exciting news on the book front! Our Scholastic Book Fair arrives in town tomorrow and we will be running it in the Hall from 3:30 onwards. It will be open during Parents' Evening too which will give you chance to browse and find that perfect read. Hopefully there will be something for everyone.
We're running the Fair on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday, straight after school and will be there until 4 o'clockish, depending on demand. As we are in the process of looking at our library again, we would love to make some commission at the Fair which could be spent on books to add to the library shelves.
Next term, we are hoping to replace our whole school reading scheme; never a cheap process! As part of this we are hoping to organise a Book Aid scheme whereby we create a wish list of all the books class teachers and assistants feel would be of benefit to the children in the hope that when old pupils, visitors and friends wanted to make a gift to school, they might choose a book on the list, buy it and donate to school and we'd insert a bookplate with the donor's name on. We so want to make our library a really inviting place with a great selection of exciting, inspiring books - the love of reading is a priceless, lifelong gift and it can change lives!
It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for both body and soul! It has certainly put some bounce into everyone’s step and has revitalised tired minds! The children have enjoyed playing without the wind, rain and cold and the staff have appreciated taking learning outside. The trees are displaying some buds and blossom but today's rain and grey skies have taken the edge off a little of these early signs of Spring. We remain optimistic that better weather lies ahead and that we'll soon have more warm days on which to enjoy God's wonderful world.
I can already see Mrs Hotchkiss getting ready to start Gardening Club again and those eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed the arrival of two large recycling containers in the bike shed area. Today the ECO Council have launched this new initiative and are hoping to collect goods which will be sent to a very wonderful charity, SENSE, to raise much needed funds for those they help. SENSE helps support learning programmes for people who suffer deaf-blindness; this is a combination of hearing and visual impairment, both conditions being serious enough for those suffering from them to be unable either to access training or educational programmes for the deaf or the blind, making people feel even more isolated.
We can help by using the recycling bins to deposit decent quality, clean, unwanted goods which will be sent to the SENSE charity shop locally. One bin is the media bin and goods for that include DVD's, CD's, computer games, vinyl records and books. The other bin is for pairs of shoes, clean clothes, accessories, handbags, scarves, jewellery, hats and gloves.
Items need to be placed in sealed plastic bags and 'posted' by adults in the correct bin, either before or after school when the gate is open. Thank you in advance for your kind co-operation, let's hope that together we can make a difference.
This week has marked the start of Lent and after much preparation all the children shared Ash Wednesday at Church with the Parish, receiving ashes and reflecting on the journey ahead. This is always such a special time at school; a time of great reflection as we all consider how we can make changes to make our world a better place for others. We are continuing to raise money for Brian House throughout Lent and within classes we will all be thinking about how we can do something extra to help. The children are so good at coming up with ideas and often think of very creative ways to raise money. All children have now swapped their Lenten Boxes in which they can collect any money they've raised through giving up their own time and doing jobs. We will be collecting these in the week beginning 27th March so that all monies raised can be counted and checked.
Our Easter egg raffle will also take place this term and once again all money raised will go to supporting the inspirational work which is carried out at Brian House in Blackpool. We will begin our collection of eggs on March the 24th. Over the past few years you have been so generous with your donations and I thank you in advance. The children always enjoy the excitement and anticipation of the raffle!
What a lovely week we've had with your children! It is always great to see just how easily the children slip back into school life following a holiday and already it feels like we've all 'picked up where we left off'. Every classroom I've entered this week has been buzzing with children working to acquire new skills and the enthusiasm I have met as they've explored topics and grappled with challenging questions is a true testament to the joy and power of learning.
Turning to the Cross
This is always such a special time for us all as we approach the beginning of Lent. Taking this journey together as a community always gives each of us the strength to be brave and reflect on our true mission. At the heart of all that we do is forgiveness and reconciliation. Together we try to make God our guide, living through love without judgement, as we constantly reflect on the changes we can make to develop our capacity to become true missionaries of God. For our First Communicants this is brought to life as they commence their Sacramental programme. In their small groups they have the opportunity to question, explore and reflect on their own beliefs; please keep all these children in your prayers this term. On Sunday we will be welcoming them all to the programme as we celebrate Mass together at 9:30am. It was also lovely to spend time with parents on Tuesday as they began their own sessions; thank you for being so responsive and open to discussion. I look forward to next week; don't forget your homework!
Throughout this half term it's been a real privilege to observe the children getting excited about their learning. I'm sure if you've been a frequent visitor to the website, you've also been intrigued and amazed by the weekly learning logs and galleries as classroom environments have been turned into communities, an Anglo-Saxon village, and that old London Town to name but a few. Midweek, Year 1, all in costume, were lost in learning about the Great Fire of London and events surrounding it. At the same time Year 2 were all ready to ‘take your money and make you walk the plank’ as they wore their pirate costumes with bravado and were clearly lost in the whole drama of the day.
Amongst all this our Year 6 children have been busy working together to support each other through the learning process. They truly are working incredibly hard, taking on challenges and learning from mistakes.
I could continue to reflect on the many achievements this term as all classes have continued to move forward with a real thirst for learning. Reading the wonderful writing this week has demonstrated to me just how inspired the children have been. If you want to find out more, why not visit other class areas and don't forget the learning galleries which really do provide a little insight into the learning day.