School News


‘Learning with love, strength and faith, following the example of Jesus’

Our Forest School at St Mary’s is run by Ms Munn and classes rotate each week. It plays an important part in our curriculum, linking to other topics being covered. For example, the topic for Maple Class this term is ‘Turrets and Tiaras’, so after spending a morning learning about castles and making a giant castle outside using big cardboard boxes and anything else they could find, they mounted their handmade willow horses and set off for a gallop in the woods! They observed all the mud and puddles created by the recent storms – useful for letting the ‘horses’ stop for a drink, but it also meant they had to find an alternative route! In one of the ditches along the track the children spotted some frogs spawn and talked about how it will develop, as
well as noticing other signs of spring, such as catkins on the hazel trees (which they thought looked like caterpillars), primroses and daffodils. Once in the woods they explored the fallen oak tree and made up imaginary castle stories about being ‘…the King of the castle…’.

Willow Class have been learning about maps as part of their geography curriculum so they all had a look at maps of the village before leaving for
Forest School, looking at features such as the key, roads, the church, bridges, footpaths, bridleways, rivers and woodlands, and then used the map and a compass to work out the route independently. Once in the woods the children all created their own compass bearing maps out of sticks and other
found resources. They worked in pairs or small groups, making their own creative decisions about how to note North, East, South, West and shared
their mnemonics on how to remember the order.

Some groups went on to add features to their maps, like trees and the fire circle in the woods. Cherry Class’s last visit to Forest School was during a particularly heavy rainstorm but they decided they needed to ‘brave it’ and go and look at the effects of the flooding. The rain had made huge puddles under the railway bridge and the children had a great time splashing in them and discussing their depth. They took a look at the river Medway, which had swollen so much that it was only a couple of centimetres under the bridge. Some water had flooded onto the field and they discussed about how the river might rise overnight as it flowed down off the fields. By the time they returned to the bridge 20 minutes later the water had risen loads!

After the wet and cold weather we have been so used to, Lilac Class had gorgeous sunshine for their most recent visit to Forest School. Miss Banks brought her dog, Poppy, who enjoyed playing with sticks as much as the children. Many of the class added to their 10 minute school running challenge
by running stretches of the railway line on the way to the woods. In preparation for their ‘Survival’ topic, the whole class learned some knots, which they will be able to use to make shelters with at a later date.

They learned how to tie a ‘clove hitch’ and had a go at teaching and supporting each other with the steps involved. Then the children learned how to square lash their stick to another one and how to tie it off at the end.

Another member of the school community who particularly enjoys being outdoors is Benny, our school dog! A rota for ‘Benny walks’ has now been
started. Kaya, Evelyn, Verity and Miss Jane were amongst the first to don their waterproofs and wellies, and set off for some fresh air, fun and exercise! Kaya said, ‘I felt great; it was lots of fun to be out with Benny; he kept on picking up sticks and then he made a pile’. Evelyn said, ‘It was awesome. I
like being with Benny and spending time with my friends’. Verity said, ‘It was lots of fun to see Benny on his walk and get to see other parts of Hartfield!’
Juliet Stirrat

A message from the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors:

We have been instructed to close the school due to Coronavirus (COVID- 19) to the majority of pupils. The school was closed at the end of Friday 20th March and most pupils should not attend school until further notice. We will let you know when the school is fully reopen via a message through ParentMail and on the school websites.

Staff across the Federation are working extremely hard to ensure that we play our part in fighting COVID-19 and it is a difficult time for all. Thank you for your continued support, understanding and patience at this time.

Stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you all back to school soon.