Friday 8th December 2017

I am not sure if there is a collective noun for nativity plays but if there isn’t there should be and I think it would be “a delectation of…”

 

Those of you with more than one child at St Michael’s will have experienced a veritable delectation of nativities this week and I did too.

 

The Nursery nativity with its counting songs and simple actions was brilliantly directed by Kâren Stibbons in full puppet master mode and the children were captivated by the opportunity to make the noises of the animals and join in the songs as much as the adults were captivated by their performance.

 

Kindy’s performance of what I call “Round the Back” was also at the front, down the sides and in the middle (!) and they certainly loved their costumes and the fact that mums and dads and grannies and grandads were there to admire their performance.

 

Reception’s wonderful” Christmas Celebration” delighted us with the traditional Nativity story, complemented by songs, sung with enthusiasm and panache, although one young performer was less than impressed that Mrs Leech invited our parents and grandparents to join in at the end!

 

Years 1 & 2 gave an assured performance of “A Midwife Crisis” with a veritable panoply of witty and fast-paced lines that they had mastered and were clearly enjoying in their singing.

With a large number of solo performance opportunities and a great deal of enjoyment therein, the audience caught a sense of fun as well as having admiration for what was achieved.

In all of this lies the dedicated work of Sally Beesley who is phenomenal. Each year group staff team joins me in thanking her for training all the children to sing with pleasure and for our delight.

 

On Wednesday evening when the lights went down for Year 3’s production of “Christmas is Forever”, the dashing Jane Blonde was drafted in to rescue and release Father Christmas from his evil kidnapper. Each class took turns to take the story from start to finish and there was a great deal to be proud of: assured and lively singing, a sense of timing for the jokes, the overcoming of nerves to stand on stage and be heard, and the milking of certain scenes by several children who definitely feel at home on stage and may turn out to make it their future.

 

No one present could fail to be impressed and the energy of everyone was palpable. I congratulate Alan, Gordon, Lauren, Seppie and Anna and all the mums and dads who help with costumes, Mark for help with catering and the drama scholars who helped with the technical aspects.  It was a joyful affair and one of many this week.

 

This morning’s Christmas concert at breakfast time set off the weekend in snazzy Christmas style. The showcase of ensembles, groups and bands which now regularly rehearse and perform is amazing. And the journeys of the performers in those bands is a pleasure to behold. Repertoire chosen is increasingly complex and demanding and the standards achieved are impressively high.

 

One of the joys of this annual event is the relaxed atmosphere created by Mr Baird and his team, which expresses itself visibly in the array of festive adornments sported by each performer. I must confess that I’m guilty of breaking one of the Ten Commandments today as there were some incredible festive sunglasses which I particularly coveted!

 

Alongside the incredible week of nativities of course, we were launched into Christmas at the P&F Christmas Fair which was a happy, successful and exciting occasion for all those present. We are truly grateful to Claire, Sadie, Tracey, Anna, Charlie and Jules for their fantastic work making it happen and to the army of helpers, who came, smiled, decorated, organised, sold, cooked, took money, cleared up and served up Christmas in style.  Thank you from all of us at St Michael’s for another fabulous fair.

 

We do hope to see you at our very special carol service on Wednesday evening at Shoreham church.

 

As we take time to reflect on the central message of the Nativity story we shall also take turns to sing, pray and celebrate together the true meaning of Christmas.

 

I very much look forward to seeing you there.

 

Jill Aisher

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There has been a vibrant atmosphere in the Hive this week, the children have been full of stories about their Christmas break and what wonderful presents they received. It has been lovely to catch up with many familiar faces and delightful to see how fast some children have grown in such a short space of time.

With the cold weather continuing, we are staying cosy inside but that hasn’t stopped us from doing a bit of skipping and limbo in our spacious room. We have enjoyed lots of activities playing with construction toys and our train set, colouring winter pictures, making paper aeroplanes and playing board games and card games. The doll’s house also proved to be very popular!

The children even constructed an indoor tent made up of chairs, a blanket and some cushions which looked awesome. Their inventive imagination is endless!

The younger children are very excited when the older children join us in the evening, beautiful friendships are forming as they play together in all activities.

For cookery we decided some delicious hotdogs would be a warm welcome for the first week back. As always they are a favourite treat and disappear into tummies very quickly, happy faces all around.

Miss Chambers

Year 3 were fascinated by Austin’s homework project presentation, which detailed the adventures of his Uncle Danny, a modern day Antarctic explorer. We were very excited when Dan Pollard volunteered to come in and talk to the whole year group.

Mr Pollard spent nearly 2 years in Antarctica as part of the British Antarctic Survey, where he was working as a marine scientist. In summer months he was part of a large team (over 100 people), but in the dark winter months the team reduced to nearer 20.

Mr Pollard explained his journey to Antarctica, rather different to Shackleton’s, which we have been learning about in our topic lessons. In fact, we were fascinated by all the photographs and descriptions of different modes of transport to and around Antarctica. These included commercial planes, small specialist planes, large ships, motor boats, tractors, skidoos and skis.

As part of his work, Mr Pollard, does a lot of diving, so he explained how they get under the ice by cutting ice holes, using 6ft chain saws! They need to create two ice holes because sometimes the seals steal one! We saw a video of Mr Pollard and his colleagues diving and this showed us how much life there was under the ice – crabs, star fish and coral and much more.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the talk was learning about the larger marine animals. Certainly these generated the most questions. Everyone was fascinated by penguins and the fact they sometimes jumped in the boat or even came into the buildings, and Weddell Seals were extremely cute. Mr Pollard taught us which animals were safe to dive with and which were not. The leopard seals and killer whales looked really scary!

We all learnt so much about this amazing place, and the important work scientists do there. Thank you, Mr Pollard. In the words of some Year 3 children, your presentation was ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘incredible’.

Mrs Chugg

Year 2 have been very busy with Christmas crafts. Mrs Beesley helped the children make beautiful table decorations – they’ll look lovely on Christmas day!

In 2S we’ve had great fun making melting snowmen.

Miss Salmon

The sparkle and magic of Christmas was definitely in the air this week as children put the finishing touches to their melted wax crayon calendars and relaxed with their friends.

Our giant wall Advent Calendar continues to create smiles as the last few doors are opened. It has been great fun and everyone has enjoyed watching their faces appear over the last few weeks.

Late last week the children presented Mrs Aisher, Mrs Leech and Mrs Birmingham with a beautiful Christmas peg wreath, which they had created during the term. It’s amazing what can be achieved with a coat hanger, pegs, paint and glitter! They looked lovely and I am sure will be useful over the Christmas period. Well done to everyone who helped make these special gifts.

It’s been a wonderful term full of Christmas joy and beautiful Christmas crafts.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Nicky Smith