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Norwich Steiner School - Talking Trees Newsletter
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Issue Ten - 21st June 2017

Welcome to the tenth issue of our new e-newsletter Talking Trees.  As this is the first e-newsletter for the whole year, this is a special edition, with extra photos, showing you some of the highlights of the autumn and spring terms for the individual classes and the school as a whole.

As ever, we’d appreciate you taking the time to give us some feedback about the newsletter. Please feel free to pass it on and share it with friends and contacts.

The Autumn Term

Autumn term is one of the most productive times of the year and is also the time when we are most busy preparing seasonal festivals, which mark the arrival of winter. In mid-November we celebrated Martinmas.

Willow class (age 11-13) started the year with Roman History, and a wonderful trip to Hadrian's Wall to get a feeling for life as a Roman, and life now on the Gibbs family farm. The class visited Vindolanda, the remains of the Roman fortress town, and the Roman army museum with an impressive holographic teacher! Pupils and teachers did their own marching - walking around 18 miles whilst there. Everyone has returned with many happy anecdotes and a future job offer for one of the pupils!

The trip introduced the class nicely into a Business Maths block, where they got into the nitty gritty, or should we say, profit and loss, of Mrs Gibbs farming and hospitality business.

Pumpkins – This year we were invited by Norwich in Bloom to enter their schools gardening competition, which takes place every year. In November we were very pleased to find that we won the ‘largest pumpkin’ category.  The pumpkin was grown by Willow class.  It measured 106cm around its girth and was the result of much shovelling of manure and compost on to the soil by the students. Our prizes are £25 of Notcutts Vouchers, a cup with the school’s name engraved on it, which we keep for a year, and a shield, which we can keep forever on display. 

Birch Class (age 15-17) had their first term of being formally assessed for their SSC qualification.  This included some handwork projects.

They also did some hard work in the school garden, digging a bed for Rowan Class (age 6-7) and doing some planting around the pond.

Oak Class (age 13-15) had their first term in upper school, including many and varied activities.  They took a step forward in their academic work, having some demanding main lessons in science, maths and English.  They also did green woodwork, orienteering and gardening, including making wreaths for Christmas.  Below is a selection of photos of Oak Class:

Maple Class (age 7-9) made puppets, based on a story they had been working with, ‘The Snow Queen.’  They performed the story for parents, using the puppets they had made.

During the Advent festival, the hall was transformed from dark to light as each student held a candle, reminding us all of the need to find our inner light during the dark months of winter.  Enjoy this year’s advent spiral through watching the attached time-lapse sequence of photos. 

Advent Spiral time lapse

The joyful, fiery festivals of autumn and winter all contained an element of loss - not just for the dwindling of the sun, but because this is the last time that our oldest group of students, Elder class, will participate in these festivals, making their own light filled passage through the darkness even more meaningful. 

The Spring Term

Some pupils from Sequoia Class (age 9-11) and Willow Class made the most of some rare snow, during a cold beginning to the spring term.

Elder Class (age 17-19) worked on their final projects.  These are based on a practical or academic subject of their choice.  Elder Class completed very varied projects, including musical instrument making, learning to dive, cryptography, surveillance and writing, performing and producing an original album on CD.

At the end of the first half of the spring term, the students presented their projects, displaying their work and giving a talk for parents and other students.

Several students took part in a Physics SSC level 3 block, looking at questions like ‘what is the law by which things fall?’ That was the question Galileo had but he knew the question could only be answered by an experiment, by observation and thinking. At that time this way of asking Nature a question had become the only way and was totally new. The trouble was that objects fall too quickly for the human pulse to keep track of them.

Galileo knew, however, that if Nature has a law by which objects fall freely then that same law will rule over other phenomena – such as the heavy ball rolling down a slope. This goes slowly enough for the human pulse to measure time, and it was the first experiment for Elder’s physics main lesson on Mechanics. They too (and all of us) have the task to observe and think – so that Nature’s laws reveal themselves.

One experiment was also enjoyed by Rowan Class.

Elder Physics 1

Maple class (age 7-9) – have been busy with a building project.  This is a clear and simplified account, written by Maple class, of their building project, which they completed last term. It took a week, 10 enthusiastic workers and a precise carpenter giving instructions called Charlie.

 

We built a water butt. There’s a slanting roof. The water runs down to a gutter, which goes to the tub. It is next to the vegetable patches and it will be used in gardening lessons. We went to a field. Charlie showed us the tools and then we found the patch that we were going to dig. We had to clear the bags away and found 9 frogs!

We first planed the wood then hammered out the pieces of wood that Charlie had carved. Then we made wooden pegs that held the structure together, making it secure. In the woodwork room we put together with glue and hammered small blocks in between using the pegs. We made a roof by sawing a bit of wood the right size. We sat on the wood to saw it. We then turned the structure around and lifted it outside but it was very heavy! We took it into the fields and put the structure into the holes.

Now it works and is being used.

The pond in the gardening field (made by Birch class) has been a real highlight this year. There is so much life in and around it. Every time Maple Class go out to water their vegetable patches the children beg to see what is happening there. The frogs are in various stages of evolution and have been manhandled to the limit by enthusiastic students that almost leap into the pond to catch them. We might need a lesson in amphibian welfare...

 

As well as observing frogs, Maple Class also enjoyed making hedgehogs in handwork.

The Kindergarten (age 3¼-6) also benefitted from using the pond and school garden this term.

Willow Class had another busy term, starting with their first science block.  Using the lab, lab coats and goggles were almost exciting enough in themselves but the class also learnt about combustion.

Willow class also travelled back in time to the Crusades thinking about the struggles, the pilgrims and the spices, and the awakening of Europe to Oriental delights of sugar and sofas.

Rowan Class (age 6-7) were continuing work with numbers and number lines

Oak Class’s Physics Main Lesson included investigating the principles of Fluid dynamics.  They studied buoyancy and pressure – the aerodynamics – in pressure changes and vacuums. They linked their findings to natural and technological applications such as deep sea diving and siphoning.

They also enjoyed learning basket making from a visiting teacher.

Birch Class prepared and performed the play ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ for SSC Level 1 before Easter.  Below is a photo of Birch rehearsing for the final performance.

Birch Class also studied surveying in the last half term, learning to survey an area of land and produce a map.

They survived both powerful May sunshine and heavy rain.  In spite of a full week there was also time for a hot drink.

The whole school celebrated Mayday with music and maypole dancing.

The photo at the very top of this newsletter shows some of Elder Class enjoying their last maypole dance, along with members of other classes, surrounded by parents and staff.

Sequoia Class (age 9-11) have been preparing for their trip to the Steiner Olympics, both by practising long jump, high jump, javelin, sprinting, long distance running and other athletics, and also by sewing the tunics they will wear.  Photos of Sequoia at the Olympics will be in the next edition!

Sequoia Class have also been producing some wonderful clay work and paintings.  Below are some clay figures produced by Sequoia Class.

Following a geography main lesson, Sequoia Class produced these paintings of London at night, mixing the urban landscape with the mystery of the full moon.

UPPER SCHOOL FACT - You may not know……that although our oldest class Is moving on this year, we can still take pupils to join our next oldest class, now near the end of its first of a three-year school leaving qualification (the Steiner School Certificate.) We can take new pupils of this age and they can choose to enrol for the final two years of the qualification. Contact us for more details.

To visit our website click here.

Norwich Steiner School
The vision of Norwich Steiner School is to provide a Steiner-Waldorf curriculum for pupils from age 3- 18 years of age, with pupils being able to leave the school as balanced, well -rounded and mature young adults, able to pursue their own futures and destinies with confidence and self-belief.
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