Yesterday evening we learnt about fire safety; most children were brilliant at coming down the stairs silently and I enjoyed seeing where the extinguishers were kept. Last thing before bed, we listened to Mrs. Tigg read out the blog and the parents' and teachers' comments; the children loved hearing from their families!
After a good night's sleep, with only a few children up beyond midnight, the children seemed refreshed this morning, and very hungry- lots of boys starting queuing for breakfast half an hour before it was served! It was
worth the wait- poached eggs, toast, baked beans, Frosties... What a feast! It was a civilised meal, with quiet
talking on tables and one boy clearing the cups without being asked. Impressive! The teachers are also amazed at how many CLEAN children we have this year- boys and girls asking to have showers! The clothes may be caked in mud but the skin and hair are perfectly clean!
Today we split into our four activity groups and had terrific fun. The Smugglers' Game brought us closer to the history of the island, learning through team-games about how the Revenue Men taxed goods so smugglers brought them in to the island illegally. The children thought that smugglers were immoral until they heard that chocolate was part of their contraband, then the smugglers became heroes! There's a boy and a girl with (almost) the same name in 6HB, and we discovered that they're both brilliant at hiding during a woodland game- they boy actually clambered behind a woodstore and was further hidden by one of the twins. Good teamwork!
The free-roaming chickens are another attraction here- many children have stroked them and gone so far as to give them names- 'Winston', 'Jeff' and 'Victor'! On discovering they were all female, they had a re-think... 'Winnie', 'Jeffina' and 'Vicky'.
Mrs. Curzon has injured her ankle in the woodland, but this has not dampened our spirits and, as always, she is being very stoic and brave. I helped he apply an ice pack, but that was nothing to the kindness and concern shown by Year 6. The children's hugs and well-wishes have demonstrated their wonderful Betham spirit.
I was awestruck by the den-building abilities of the children, until they explained that they were experienced in forest skills from lessons at The Litten. Here are some of the brilliant statements I overheard-
"We need a little bit of an entrance."
"It has to be waterproof because I've seen water pistols that it'll be tested with."
"We need two people to carry this large log."
"We'll get the sticks, you get the tarp ready!"
"Put it here so then you can tie it, and it will stay up."
Excellent work, teams!
More teamwork was in evidence during our team-building activities- the intrepid Year 6s showed us how to get through the tyres, and even over a slack line.
The hill-rolling continues apace, with a particularly tall 6HB boy developing his own athletic multiple-somersault method, leaving all other competitors far behind! Algernon showed me how to hill-roll but I think my ears might get in the way.
Olivia, one of the East Dene instructors, has a strong Northern accent, and several 6ML girls love it so much they are trying to copy it! A bracing walk along the sea wall at Monks' Bay, including some very engaging activities (geography lessons where the children formed the cliff edge and deposited pebbles as long shore drift, painted sea pictures and saw the old sea wall, now eroded) was fantastic as the sun continued to shine. Our challenge for Thursday's hike is to view Monks' Bay from above.
I have been thrilled to learn the songs for the forthcoming Year 6 production 'The Blue Crystal', which the children regularly into spontaneous renditions of, and Algernon and I cannot wait to scurry to our seats to see the real thing!
Tonight we have the Celebration Campfire, including a wide range of performances from the talented Year 6. Several children in 6ML have said that it is a shame that their classmate isn't here this week, as he knows the best jokes! We are thinking of him and hope he's having a good time back at school.
Today, I've overheard many conversations between the teachers about how they are of the caring and collaborative way pupils have behaved with children who need extra encouragement (and let's face it, who doesn't at some time?) Because of this support, many children have overcome their anxieties and tried something new, from different food at dinner, to propelling themselves through a tyre-mangle, to jumping in the pool, to even coping with creepy crawlies!