Care and Respect for All02/10/2020
Thought of the Week:
“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realise they were the big things.”
Message From Mr Sutherland
A very warm welcome to our first newsletter of the new term. As I mentioned in my recent letter to you, we are now producing two newsletters per half term, which I hope will keep you up to date with everything that is happening at Dunston Hill.
We are now, unbelievably, at the end of our 4th week back; as ever, the days seem to fly by. I know I have mentioned this before but I am full of admiration for the way in which the children have returned to school after such a long time away. It has been such a stressful time for everyone and I know that we will all continue to face significant challenges in the months to come. However, I am proud of the way the children have settled back into their learning and are loving being back in school. I see it in their faces every day as I meet them in the yard and I can see the difference from our first week back, when children (and parents) were understandably nervous to now when they are skipping into school, smiles on their faces and excited about the day ahead.
It is very easy and natural for us to feel that coronavirus is dominating everything that is happening at the moment and with good reason. Many things have changed and we have had to adapt to ensure we move on and do not stand still. Sometimes that can be a good thing too and we are learning with every day that comes that there may be other, better ways to do things. After all, as someone, (was it Henry Ford?), very famous once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”. However, I want to impress on you and reassure you that, once in school, we are determined that the children have the best day they possibly can. We are regularly posting photos and curriculum information so that you can see for yourselves what is happening in school and ensuring, by thinking creatively, that events like “Meet the Teacher” and Parents’ Evenings still go ahead. Teaching and learning is still taking place, any gaps in learning identified and addressed and children are still being supported and challenged as appropriate. Perhaps more importantly, the school is once again filled with the sound of children’s voices and laughter.
It has been lovely to see you all on the yard in the morning or the end of the day, (or both), and I am very grateful for your supportive comments and messages which make the hard work it has taken from everyone to get the school ready, more than worthwhile.
Have a great week!
Whole School Information
A reminder you will have received information yesterday about our phone call parents evening. Please make sure you click the link in the letter to make your appointments.
We have created a plan in school so parents and staff know what to expect if children are off school having to isolate. When children are unwell and absent from school we just expect them to rest and get better. However, when children are well but being asked to isolate from school, class teachers will provide learning and tasks to do at home. Please click on the link below to read our school plan. Should you have any questions please don`t hesitate to contact Mr Sutherland or Mrs Anglesea. A simple guide will be sent out next week to support parents.
Awards – We are delighted to share the following news…
United Mark Award
Over the summer we applied for the ‘#UNITEMARK Award’ which recognises the success of our sporting events which took place during the Summer term. It was great to see so many of our families participating in our virtual sports day, P.E week, and sporting activities. We would like to say a huge thank you to you all for getting involved!
Exciting news! In addition to our current ‘Focusing Health and Wellbeing’ award, our school applied for an ‘Innovation Status’ which recognises schools that are undertaking specific, high-quality projects linked to their wider Health and Wellbeing ‘offer’. Our project in school with Dr Manoj Krishna, focusing on children’s emotional intelligence, was recognised by the Gateshead Schools Health and Wellbeing team and we have therefore been awarded an official ‘Innovation Status’ to add to our award; becoming just the second school in Gateshead to achieve this level of award!
We have been nominated by Gateshead Schools’ Music Service to become a Music Mark school for the 2020/21 academic year!
This is because of the value that we place on music and our commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum has been recognised.
Music Mark is the UK Association for Music Education; they champion and support access to music for all children and young people.
Hopefully, we can get back to singing together very soon, but in the meantime, each year group is working on listening, studying some of the world’s great composers and becoming composers and musicians ourselves!
You can now apply for primary and secondary school places for September 2021. Closing date for secondary school admissions is 31 October 2020 and primary school admissions is 15 January 2021.
To find out more and to apply, go to www.gateshead.gov.uk/schooladmissions.
The menu for week commencing Monday 5 October is Week 2. A reminder that as part of our Healthy Schools programme, we ask that children do not bring crisps, chocolate or fizzy drinks in their packed lunches. Due to allergies, please ensure that no peanuts or items containing nuts are brought into school, including in the form of Snickers or peanut butter sandwiches. This is especially important to remember for children bringing in packed lunches or snacks.
This week’s Class News is from …
Wow! What a busy first few weeks we have had in Early Years as we write our first entry to the newsletter with big smiles on our faces!
Nursery – You are super at settling in!
We are delighted to have opened our doors to welcome our very special new friends and families into Nursery. Over the last four weeks we have loved getting to know our children and parents and it has been lovely to see our children happily playing in the home corner, painting pictures, cooking in the mud kitchen, watering plants, riding on bikes, exploring the outdoor climbing equipment and so much more! Whilst there was one or two tears in the very beginning, it gives us great pleasure to say that everybody has now settled in extremely well.
We have never been prouder of our older nursery children who have shown just how much they’ve grown up as they have helped their new friends with many things; finding their coats and toys or simply asking for help.
To help some of our children settle we have been sharing a classic story called ‘Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell. Sharing the story together helped us not to worry about being left in the nursery by our grown-ups. We learned that after playing and learning in the nursery, our grown-ups come back and take us home. It was fun reading ‘Owl Babies’ and we especially enjoyed being able to use the characters and scenery available to re-tell this special story ourselves.
The nursery team were so excited about meeting new friends as well as welcoming back our older children that we wanted to create a special place to play. Our super-talented Mrs O’Hara made a tremendous treehouse with the help of some of the boys and girls. What a success! The children have enjoyed hiding, reading stories and using torches to make shadows in it. So, only four weeks in and so much fun has already been had. This bodes extremely well for a fun-filled time ahead in Nursery!
“I want to come back tomorrow.” Kacie
“I love my new nursery.” Blake
Reception – Your first full week!
We are already immensely proud of all of our children. Over the last few weeks it has been lovely to see them grow in confidence and independence, coming into school, eager to get started with their busy jobs. Each and every one of them has embraced new challenges. So far, the children have started to practise writing their names, spent time exploring their new classrooms and met Fred Frog, who is helping them with their Read Write Inc sounds. All this whist enjoying making many new friendships which we are sure will blossom as the weeks go by. Reception class are already showing their caring personalities and we have enjoyed learning how to be even more kind through stories and circle time.
All of our teachers are incredibly proud of how well the children have taken to their new lunchtime routines. The children have shown great independence as they have carefully carried their own tray to the hatch where they have been served lunch. Furthermore, they have been trying hard to cut their food and have been adventurous by trying different tastes. It’s fair to say that they have plenty of energy to see them through their busy days!
Reception also love to spend time outdoors and this week has been exciting because we found some baby snails on a leaf. We were fascinated by them because they were see-through! Observing them closely with magnifying glasses was very interesting and afterwards, we put them back in a safe place. The team can’t wait to find out more about the children and see their interests develop as the days and weeks go by!
“I really like coming to school.” Jack
“I love my new classroom.” Alanah
What a great start to an exciting year ahead for all of our Nursery and Reception children!
Since returning to school, Miss Tuart and Mrs Cox have loved being able to spend time with children from across the school in our Forest School, Dunston Den and Dunston Retreat. Mrs Cox has worked with children at lunchtime to create beautiful dream catchers and do some team den building – it is lovely to see lots of smiley faces of children having fun and being able to explore. The Dunston Den has once again been filled with the sound of laughter and sparkle; our lovely children have enjoyed playing with new games, construction and puzzles (just a little break away from the outdoors). Our Dunston Retreat has been used for some children for just a little ‘calm’ time-delicate lights, calming music and just an all-round peaceful atmosphere.
As well as this, we have Kirsty Smith (a RISE Team professional) and Laura Howard (a Kalmer Counselling professional) offering support to some of our children in school focusing on feelings, friendships and behaviour. Similarly, Mrs Cox is enjoying working with children on a small group or 1:1 basis to focus on social and emotional needs – both Mrs Cox and the children are really embracing this!