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Of Family, and Fondest Things…




26.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

Some days you feel it more than others. This morning, I just really want to spend the day with my daughter Jessica and her family. We message, we have several phone chats per day, plus having Teams meetings (the same as we use for all our online lessons) has been brilliant, but of course there is nothing quite like being together. So, you pick yourself up and get on with your day.

Jessica has supplied today’s blog post. In addition to her musical life , she is an early years education specialist, and so as well as an upbeat focus on coping with life during lockdown, (it seems to be a family trait!), she takes the perspective of home educating younger children so they can come through this well, with bright and curious minds.

Coming soon: Watch out for contributions from your fellow readers, too. My recent request for your thoughts is yielding fruit, and amongst other things our readers have been inspired to poetry!

Learning on the Land

26.04.20 – Jessica Laughton

This past week we’ve seen some wonderful weather. The combination of the sun on my face and watching the sun beams dance across the garden has been quite exhilarating to say the least. As for many of you I’m sure, these past few weeks has seen more of us venture out into our gardens and this past week with the beautiful sun and warm weather has been just the perfect invitation to get outside and enjoy our surroundings.

In recent weeks many of us have began home schooling and our house is no exception. However, this week we have taken our learning outside into the garden. I have two children, my eldest (Freddie) is three and my youngest (Eliodie) is eight months. Our garden isn’t especially big by any means but we are still able to go out and enjoy most of the day playing and learning at the same time.

Each day in the garden has been different and filled with adventure.  Earlier on in the week, as per usual, Freddie chose a book to read before bed.  This particular evening he had chosen one of his favourite books, ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’.   Often very inspired by the books he has read, the following morning I observed Freddie re-enacting the story for his sister Elodie.  He ran into his playroom in search of his basket of animals and took out a toy butterfly along with other creature such as frogs, bees and spiders.  Later that morning during our time outside Freddie decided to go on a bug hunt in search of the creatures that lived in our garden.  He was fascinated to see the ants at work and observed them for several minutes climbing over the buds on the peonies.  I explained that the ants were collecting the sweet sap from the flower buds and that this was a sign the flowers will open soon.  Freddie was very excited by this and each day he goes to say hello and check on the ants as they work.  

Driven by a keen interest in animals, Freddie decided to create a home for his toy Frogs.  We used a spare clear plastic tub to create a pond.  Freddie added stones for them to sit on and flowers and leaves before adding the water. From this activity we learnt about the life cycle of a frog.

However, this week hasn’t just been about animals. Each day there has been a new adventure to embark on in the garden. We have taken our rocking and hobby horses along with our swords and shields into the garden to be knights for the day (Elodie included on her own rocking horse). Another day we dressed up as pirates and went fishing for the day in the water tray.

We’ve truly enjoyed immersing ourselves in the surroundings of our garden.  We’ve made artwork using the stones we’ve found to make the picture and created new and exciting games to play using what ever we have to hand. 

You may recall from an earlier blog (‘Digging for Victory’) I mentioned how we boldly dug up parts of our patio to create vegetable beds. Well I am very happy to report that we now have rocket growing and the potatoes are starting to surface. Freddie has taken on the roll of checking on the progress of the runner beans at the start of each day. So far he has counted twenty three shoots in total and there are signs of more to come.

So whilst there are many aspects of the outside world we are missing, we are taking more notice of our garden and the life (be it plant or wildlife) that lives within it. In fact I would say we are developing a new appreciation for our own back garden.