Class 11 and their trip to Botton Village

Class 11 Social Practical - A trip to Botton Village

Last week, from the 27th of June to the 4th of July, the whole of Class 11 travelled up to Yorkshire with our class guardians and Madame Coote to pay a visit to Botton. This class trip is one that happens every year with each Class 11, and is known as a Social Practical. In other words, a practical trip during which we gain a broader social awareness and experience, learning key skills to take on board and apply to other people and situations in the future. The reason Botton is the chosen location for this kind of trip is because it is a Camphill Village Trust Community, where people with learning disabilities (known as residents) live alongside co-workers and support the community there by working together. Our task at Botton would be to help out in the community and come to an understanding of how it all works in the week we spent there.

Botton itself is comprised of a small village and the few farms dotted around it, all nestled within the gorgeous expanse of a valley in the beautiful North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire. The landscape it’s set in is an absolutely breathtaking sight, and the amount of nature that constantly surrounded us during our stay gave the trip a free and simple feel. After the stress of exams, we were escaping back into the basics of nature.

This was very much the case with our duties around Botton as well. The class was split into a few different groups to work at various places around Botton, most commonly the farms, and jobs included weeding, hay-making, forestry, and herding farm animals such as sheep, cows, and chickens. The experience was very physical, and it left a lot of us very achy during the first few days. But though the work was hard, it was also somehow relaxing. It was calming, in that it required no mental strain and instead only the use of the physical body, which was a very nice change after mentally exhausting exams. Many members agreed that as such, the trip was extremely well timed.

I know for a fact that through working with the members of the community with special needs at Botton, the class has come away with a much greater confidence and capability to interact with those we would call mentally handicapped. Though many of us were apprehensive of how to behave around these people at first, we soon realised how friendly, open, and approachable the residents at Botton are, and it was hard for us all not to react in the same way. Completing tasks on the farms with the residents was extremely rewarding, and not just because of the physical end-products of our labour.

Some quotes taken from presentations presented by class members to the rest of Class 11 reveal just a couple of the realisations many of us came to.

“What I found interesting was how you didn’t have to ‘tiptoe’ around the residents; you could behave with them in exactly the same way as you would with anyone else. I ended up thinking, who am I to say that these people aren’t ‘normal’? They’re just people. Who am I to say that they have a disability?” - Seamus Dillane

“They just have a different perspective on the world.” - Mickey Weavers

As such, I believe the trip to Botton has had a very positive effect on our class. Indeed, we all seemed to come away from it as much more accepting of each other and much more open as people. I feel that the resident’s friendly and unjudgemental personalities rubbed off on all of us. Spending time with the residents and co-workers at Botton, completing practical tasks for the wider community, being able to feel proud of our ability to contribute, and finally, learning how to better understand and appreciate everyone around us without any prejudices, were all things that Botton offered our class as fantastic opportunities to grow and better ourselves as a group and as individuals. I have often heard it said that the Class 11 trip to Botton is life-changing. And having seen the influence it has had on our class as a whole and the opportunities it has given us to be more socially accepting and mature in the future, I am inclined to agree.
Katherine Burgess, Class 11 student

Woodland Parent and Child Group at Michael Hall

Tuesday mornings from 10am until 12.15

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Watching a frog

Hear from a parent

I just wanted to share my experience of the outdoor parent and child group as I had such a lovely morning!
I would really recommend going for a taster session before the end of term to enjoy a gentle morning exploring the stunning Michael Hall grounds with group leader Lorna and the other parents and children.
As we wandered peacefully through the grounds Lorna shared her knowledge of the wild plants and their uses with the parents whilst the children explored close by and listened to the birdsong.
Lorna's beautiful ring time transported the children on a magical adventure to the seaside, which was then followed by a well earned shared snack of fruit and muesli.
The parents were treated to delicious fresh elder flower tea gathered on our journey through the schools beautiful biodynamic garden.
Much to the delight of the children our stroll homeward lead us past the piglets and then on to story time and a farewell song.
This is a really inspiring and nourishing group, do go along and experience it for yourself and your child!

To sign up contact Reception or email Lorna directly at lorna.hendley@michaelhall.co.uk

Thank you to Class 8.

The CEO from the Child Poverty Action Group has written a lovely letter to thank Class 8 for the £605.76 they raised with their two performances of Oliver Twist back in May.

"The money you have given us will have the most meaningful impact on our work, enabling us to continue providing the best support to families struggling to make ends meet in the uk.

Our congratulations to your students for delivering what sounds like an outstanding production of Oliver Twist. Unfortunately we are still faced with social issues similar to those that Dickens portrayed and campaigned against. It is very encouraging to learn that your young performers are so aware of poverty in this country today and want to make a difference."

Letter available here

The Sunday Times on Waldorf education...

Do as iSay, not as iDo: Silicon Valley’s two faces on learning

Online education is set to be a $100bn industry, but if it really is the future, why are so many IT moguls choosing traditional schooling for their own children, asks Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen Published: 14 June 2015Michael Sandel of Havard has a huge audience online

Among the rich and powerful families of Silicon Valley, the new-new thing is to give their children a “Waldorf” education that outlaws computers, tablets and smartphones.

“Waldorf educators believe it is far more important for students to interact with one another and their teachers, and work with real materials than to interface with electronic media or technology,” says the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, part of a private chain that has two highly popular campuses in the valley.

In its “media and technology philosophy” statement, the school adds: “Current studies reveal that the pervasive use of computers in the classroom is having a negative impact on key aspects of children’s learning.”

Full article here

 

Class 5 Olympics last weekend

The eve of the Olympic Games, a rainbow shone over our camp. The next day, pots of gold everywhere. Four hundred athletes from 29 Steiner Waldorf schools, gave of their best, after training for two very full days.

Under skies as blue as the Aegean Sea, in their bright white tunics, athletes showed grace, beauty, determination, perseverance, strength and speed in their abilities. We were blessed with fine weather – but more than that, with the enthusiasm, support and goodwill of all the many people involved in making the Class 5 Olympic Games such a spectacular event.
Hilary Jessel and Dan Skinner, Class 5 teachers

 

 

Fundraising initiative...

Tennis Fundraising Class 6b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harkiran or Maximilian from Class 6b wanted to raise funds for the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal, so they decided to do this by offering tennis lessons to anyone who would like them. So far they have raised over £550.00 which is also being match funded by a London company. Philip Beaven Class 6b Teacher

Olympics Info for Parents

Saturday 27th June - Opening Ceremony starts 7.30am  and the day finishes approx 4.00pm

Documents about the day below:-

Order of Events
Olympic Day Menu
Information for Parents & Visitors

VSO ICS has been an eye opener...

P1000612I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who supported me and my fundraising efforts last year. I have put together a little piece of writing about some of my experiences while I was volunteering in Tanzania.

I travelled out to Tanzania in January with 12 other UK volunteers, upon arrival in Dar Es Salaam we met the group of Tanzanian volunteers with whom we worked together for the three months.

My experience of volunteering with VSO ICS has been an eye opener on different levels. I feel I have learnt a lot in many different ways.

From Monday till Thursday every week I worked within a secondary school. Our aim was to encourage the teacher to be more interactive in their teaching and show them that creating teaching and learning aids is simple and cheap/free. We worked with the students to create a system for subject clubs (pupil led learning which was very important to the students given their school structure and routine). Every Friday all volunteers would meet up, each week a different pair bring a global issue for discussion on which they would facilitate a session. This was very interesting, and we were able to share view points, and ideas and often gain an insight into different cultural perceptions and results of this. P1000209

Over the three months we held three Community Action days- for example for the first one we liaised with a local NGO  to provide free HIV testing, advice, information, and talks from an ambassador working to reduce stigmatisation around this issue.

Through doing this program I have definitely gained a greater understanding of the complexities surrounding development: Who has the right to say what is best? How must we educate young people? What is the priority in the society? And who is to determine this?

In a region where rates of HIV positive cases are among the highest in East Africa, gender roles define the life of so many; and in a country where Albino killings are increasing, unemployment rates are high and corruption can be seen within the government, local hospitals and in schools; our work has not been easy and at times felt frustrating.

Cross cultural working and the cultural exchange are one of the most valuable things I have gained from my time in Tanzania. I have leant a lot about people, and team work. It is important to be clear, communicate well and be open to other perceptions; while at the same time having faith in my own opinion, thoughts and ideas.

Being on my own in a host home I had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in much of the culture; this was at times very challenging but also rewarding.

To start with I have very apprehensive and nervous. The first encounter with my host family was difficult- they spoke very little English- I didn’t understand them and they didn’t understand me resulting in misunderstandings.  I was confronted with unexpected questions about beliefs and social norms. It took a couple of weeks for me to become more comfortable but slowly the rewards started, my host-home brothers started to draw pictures with me, and I started to play football and gymnastics with them outside. At times I got very frustrated by my host family- they are very traditional and the family roles play such a big part here. I am in awe of my host-home sisters who get up early to do chores before school time, come back from school at 6pm for more chores then do homework-yet they are always happy and smiling. It is strange; the children have a lot of freedom but at the same time so much responsibility.

Everywhere I went I was welcomed by people who have so little but are prepared to give so much.

Laura Selter, Alumni and Gym Teacher

Midsummer Night's Dream - Dress Rehearsal pictures


Class 10 will be performing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' tomorrow at the Midsummer Festival.
Weather permitting, this will be performed on the the Open Air Stage (if not we will move into the Indoor Theatre).
To book tickets call 01342 822275 or purchase from the Information Stand tomorrow between 11 - 5pm

Midsummer Night's Dream

A4 Poster Use