We were so lucky to celebrate Africa Day on 25 May with our friends from Iroko Theatre Company.
They introduced the children to many new songs and dances: the children joined in singing, dancing and beating out their rhythms on the djembe drums.
At the end of the day the staff commented how the energy of the drumming and music was a truly sensory experience and we all felt so positive and energised!
If you are interested in finding out more about Iroko Theatre Company visit their website:
Over recent weeks, children have been supported to develop skills through a range of weaving and sewing experiences.
Initially children were invited to work collaboratively to create large scale sculptures, weaving recycled fabric through a grid. Children made patterns, filled spaces and worked harmoniously. We noticed lots of talk and conversations were happening while children worked with their hands.
What followed next was some printing on fabric: again children were encouraged to think about patterns they might make and recognise repeated patterns.
Once this was dry, children returned after a few days to embellish their fabric using cotton, beads and buttons. Some children were able to thread their needles and sew the beads and buttons after being shown only once! A few understood how to fasten their embellishments and reinforce them so they wouldn't wobble.
Other children were encouraged to sew using binka fabric. This meant that the sewing process was a little simpler but to beautiful effect. Many children demonstrated sustained concentration and showed real joy in their achievements!
Can you sew or knit? Maybe share your skills with your children.
At Rachel Keeling we are so lucky to have a team of staff who are passionate about outdoor learning - we value the rich learning environment that our garden provides.
Being aligned with the seasons of the year mean children have jobs to do with staff all year round to keep our garden and its wildlife flourishing.
Children love meaningful, first hand jobs with real tools and purpose.
They have been supported to develop skills and understanding of how to care for the flora and fauna in our garden.
At this point in the year we are enjoying seeing so many visitors to our garden: not only is our resident cat becoming very relaxed around the children, but we have so many other creatures who can be found.
Just look at the photographs to see if you can see:
We are always very careful when we spot creatures to respect and observe them first and then think about whether we can touch or move them.
Children now show great knowledge and appreciation - they are able to identify and name creatures and will support each other in caring for them.
We often use books or the internet to find out more information: for example when the pond was cloudy recently, we were worried our frogspawn might not survive: Maria and some children discovered some straw and a special solution would help to clear the water.
Children have been working with Nazma all year, planting, weeding, watering and tending to our fruit and vegetables.
Can you see the redcurrants, strawberry plants, raspberries and grapes growing already?
Soon it will be time to harvest, prepare and share them.
Maybe in time for our Platinum Jubilee Celebration on 8 July?
At Rachel Keeling we involve children in the everyday routines of school life: setting up, preparing snack, washing up, making the playdough to play with, tending the fruit and vegetables growing, caring for the wildlife visitors to our garden and doing the shopping.
Our Shoppers of the Week take the responsibility of the whole process and the learning they get out of it is incredible:
Confidence and communication: Children need to go around the school asking if any staff need shopping for their areas this week;
Mark marking and phonic awareness: Children make a list of marks to represent what we they need to buy, it might be pictures, squiggles or come may be able to write letters using their knowledge of phonics;
Counting and recognising numbers: Children come to the office to ask for money to do the shopping. They often have pound coins and count them out (usually 5 each!) Then they put them safely in their purses and backpacks.
Understanding of the world and their community: Children often show us and tell us so much information when we go on local walks. They sometimes know the different shops, bus routes, where they live, the park and people and pets who are in our community. They always know they have to hold hands with an adult;
Reading and talking: Children are encouraged to remember what was on their lists and read them. They then need to look for the items, seeing if they recognise packaging or labels.
Developing confidence and relationships: Then they pay the shop keeper and pack their shopping in their backpacks.
We are lucky to have such lovely local shopkeepers in Bethnal Green.
Consolidation of the above skills: Finally they return to school and have to give the office their change. They talk about what they bought and sign the docket for the auditors.
They unpack the shopping and give it to the people who asked for it.
So next time you go shopping or lay the table, get your child involved in the process: there is so much learning in the every day.
At Rachel Keeling we love a community celebration.
We welcomed the children back to school after a long weekend (and Eid celebrations to have our own Eid celebrations in school.
Children were invited to wear their party clothes: some children wore outfits that had been sent from Bangladesh.
So many children shared their news about visiting family, eating special food, sharing gifts and praying.
We gathered together and shared some music and danced together.
We shared a fruit platter in the garden.