Message from Mrs. Castell
Our Christmas planning is in full swing! We will deliver our Christmas performances to you virtually this year and the children will have parties and other festive activities within their bubbles. To get you in the festive mood, we're very grateful to our piano tutor Bonnie for posting another piano lesson on YouTube. This one teaches the children how to play a couple of Christmas tunes! Please note that we will be unable to distribute Christmas cards from children to their friends this year, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The staff will donate to the British Heart Foundation instead of giving cards this year. In place of our charity collections at the Christmas concerts, we would like to invite parents to support Barnardo's through our JustGiving page this year. The charity supports the well-being and protection of vulnerable children, which is even more vital this year given the circumstances.
As you know, we love seeing your emails with work that the children have done at home and I get the chance to see the home learning as well. At a time when it is difficult to bring things into school or have a catch up with parents on the door, this method of communication is so important. However, I am conscious of the teachers' workload and the time they are taking in the evenings to respond to emails. To achieve a balance, from now on we will acknowledge your email automatically so that you know it has been received, but the teachers may not be able to respond individually to every piece of home learning. Please be assured that we do give verbal feedback to the children in class and share their work with their peers. This only applies to emails about home learning - we will of course continue to respond to any other concerns as soon as we can. Our aim is to reply within 48 hours during the week, although it is normally quicker than this.
We are still planning our Health and Happiness Hub and we had a real boost this week from Chelmsford Athletics Club, who gave us a donation of £250 following fundraising activities with Writtle University College Students' Union. We were also delighted to learn that the Co-op Community Fund awarded us £2900 through Co-op members nominating us as their local cause and raising money through their shopping. Please look out for more news on the Hub in the next few months. At the moment the first step is to add a new gate to the front of the school through our Forest Schools area. In time this will lead to our new building, but it will also enable us to create a one way system to facilitate social distancing for parents.
WISPA are also looking at ways to raise money for the school in the absence of their biggest annual fundraising event, the Christmas Fayre. They will be holding a virtual raffle and have posted on their Facebook page, other Facebook and parent Whatsapp groups to ask for prizes. This might be a way of promoting your business so please contact WISPA if you can offer any help, or you are welcome to drop a prize into the school office (please wear a mask). There will also be a Christmas Jumper day and a Crazy Hair day in the next few weeks, so please look out for those!
Thank you again for persevering with our pick up and drop off arrangements. Please can you ensure that your children stay with you while you wait, rather than running around. Even though they may be playing with children in the same bubble, if they run around they may still pass by other adults. With schools all around us sending bubbles home, or in some cases closing whole schools, we are just trying to do everything we can to stay open.
The new NHS Essex Child Health app is live from this week and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store. This has been designed to support parents, grandparents and carers across Essex to find NHS advice to help look after their children’s health and recognise when they are unwell. It is hoped that by signposting families to appropriate services, this may reduce demand on A&E, especially during the crucial winter period.
Have a lovely weekend. Stay safe.