News From Inwoods Small School

Dear Friends,
These frosty mornings and clear blue skies awaken the senses and uplift the spirit as soon as one steps out the door. But the real joy is seeing the well-dressed children arrive at Brockwood Park with a glint of excitement in their eyes, dropping their bags and hurrying to the natural dip in the field for some mud sliding. All in their protective outdoor gear of course! Rosy-cheeked and warm from the physical exertion, they bound back up the field to the gate in search of ice puddles and more of what a frosty day can offer.
On Thursday the whole school, in three different class groups, took to the local Hampshire countryside to explore water in its different forms (as part of a water project for the term). Ice sculptures, frozen droplets, a frosted feather and lots of questions were some of the elements and creations of the expedition. The older group of children each found a solitary place in the grove to observe, and despite the cold conditions everyone eagerly made a few notes or drawings in their nature journals. It has to be said that the children’s relationships were exceptionally harmonious in this beautiful nature-rich environment that gives no importance to the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’. Days like this remind us of the significance of being in nature. With the senses alive and the intellect quietened, there arises a sensitivity in our relationships and a more open, flexible mind.

Please see photos below illustrating Thursday's morning in nature and some curriculum information regarding upcoming topic work for our oldest group of children.

Mary-Ann and the Inwoods team

To Sit Under A Tree

You see, you are not educated to be alone. Do you ever go out for a walk by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree—not with a book, not with a companion, but by yourself—and observe the falling of a leaf, hear the lapping of the water, the fishermen’s song, watch the flight of a bird, and of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind. If you are able to be alone and watch these things, then you will discover extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt, and which can never be destroyed.
J.Krishnamurti, This Matter of Culture © KFA

Morning movement circle for everyone before classes begin.

A quiet place in the grove at Brockwood. Throughout the remainder of the school year this group will come regularly to their chosen place in the grove to sit quietly, observe, and write or draw in their nature journals.

Student’s Nature Journal Entries
Winter: Day One
I walked to the back of the grove and then I found this 'tunnel' of Rhododendron bushes. Walking through the tunnel was peculiar; it was natural yet it was also man-made. There is this lovely opening, where all the sunlight pours through. In the middle there is a beautiful tree from where you can look up and see two lovely twig nests. About 10 feet away from me is a fence and behind there are a few lovely trees, which look so beautiful and enchanting in the frosty sunlight. (Ella) 

A bird twittered nearby and another hopped into the hedge.
Another flew into a tree nearby and landed on the edge. 

Sophia's assembly on the arctic fox

Abi's assembly on giving assemblies

The Redwoods group experimented to show that plants create food through photosynthesis.

Curriculum Information
Redwood Topic: How Am I Me?

With the Redwood group, ages 9-11, for one and a half terms in the Spring and Summer, we will explore the process of human individuation from an evolutionary and personal point of view, bearing our connectedness to each other and the world in mind throughout. It is a natural follow-on from the current topic which looks at ecosystems and the adaptations of plants and animals within them. This will be a good platform to look at ourselves - our bodies, our habits, our heritage, our similarities and differences. We can also take this opportunity to meet the growing pre-adolescent needs for factual information about reproduction within a wider context. 

Beginning with a look at DNA, we will explore discoveries about genes, chromosomes, sexual reproduction and how traits are passed on through the generations. We will also explore the various implications of genetic science in our present day. The history of research into genetic reproduction and the mapping of DNA has many interesting historical figures. From Charles Darwin to Gregor Mendel to Rosalind Franklin to Dolly the Sheep, there are many examples of insights of individuals, of people competing to discover things and of people working together. It is also ripe ground from which to discuss stereotypes, the changing of our culture, equality and other moral dilemmas. 

Beyond this scientific framework, we hope also to explore each individual child's personal impression of their own self, their needs both physical and emotional, and the ways in which they interrelate. There will be an opportunity to go into some of their particular interests by exploring personal projects, which can connect to the topic, broadly or specifically, or can be a topic the child is fired up about.

And finally, some snaps of our students cooking parsnip soup and garlicky bread (and making parsnip creatures!)