It was our pleasure this week to play host to eighteen teachers from South Africa, visiting Cholsey as part of the CHOKO project…

Their presence influenced much of our week, as we enjoyed playing Mancala…

Made South African flags, exploring its mathematical properties and the meaning behind the colours…

So, by the time they arrived, we were all very excited…

Even if it was a bit of a ‘squash and a squeeze’ in our tiny school…

Conversation flowed freely, before we shared some of the ways we practice basic maths skills….

Which included visiting our Tuesday Trading, where the Gang buy and sell goods, 25% going to the school, 75% to the Vendor. A brisk business was done in rands…

Then it became a tale of the unexpected! We gave our visitors a small gift each, (some resources to use with their children), in response they broke into traditional song and dance…

What unfolded was epic…moving…magical. Some very special memories were made. When they left, we felt we probably have more to learn from these lovely people, than they do from us. One of the children has conveyed this far more succinctly than I could ever hope to…

 

‘Ding, dong!  A rush of excitement spread through The Treehouse School as the doorbell rang. Could it be the Choko visitors from South Africa?  Yes it was!  Suddenly emotion flooded into the room as old friends were reunited and new friends welcomed.  But there was no time to waste; ‘Team South Africa’, wearing their splendid green and gold outfits, had come to see The Treehouse Market.

So where was the market you say…Follow me!  Through the garden the eighteen visitors were taken and into The Scout Hall.  Homemade cakes, cookies and lamb samosas soon sold out.  South African rands spent our trading came to a close.  Gifts were given, and then thanks and kind words exchanged.  This is where the fun begins.  All of a sudden the songs and dancing began.  Sound waves echoed through the room, as a sea of green and gold swirled around The Scout Hall.  Everybody joined in.

But all great days come to a close.  If you have ever seen Choko visitors dance and sing you will know what I mean.  As we waved our friends off, we hoped we would see them again soon.  We had such a good time. ‘

To conclude, it was an honour and a privilege to meet Team South Africa, who left us feeling that we had been gifted some African sunshine.

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BINS!

Earlier this year, inspired by Stomp Pete, we approached Grundons to see if they would loan us some bins. This they readily did, equipping us with big ones, middle-sized ones and small ones, throwing in fluorescent jackets and hats for each member of the Gang.

Well, every school should have some! They have been in constant use. They love wheeling each other about in them, often with the lid closed and they then have to guess where they are; there have had been bin races; bin dens and so much more…

They have been used as instruments for performances…

As sleeping spaces at Camp Treehouse…

For impromptu ‘jamming sessions’ in the garden…

They have become u boats in our World War II game…

And more recently a network of dens in a collaborative game involving ‘chums’…

Before being dusted off for a performance at Cholsey School this week, to entertain their South African visitors…

What an unexpectedly rich resource these have turned out to be!

A BIG THANK YOU TO TONI AND THE GRUNDON TEAM.

YOU need to get some BINS.

Applications
On Monday 25th September applications will be opened to fill one place. Interested parties should download an application form from https://goo.gl/RQvr1x and send hard or electronic copies to the school by the closing deadline of 8th October. The successful applicant will be notified on 13th October 2017.

Our annual over night sojourn in the countryside, found us this year, on top of Lollingdon Hill. After days of trepidation as we tracked the ever-changing weather forecast, conditions turned out to be ideal…

The children chose whether they wanted to sleep under canvas or devise their own shelter…

Camps made and inspected, the children had some time just to be…

Before supper with some of the founder members of the Gang…

A sing-song orchestrated by the arrival of Helen and Dave, was accompanied by toasted marshmallows…

All too soon it was time to turn in…

Having cleaned your teeth obviously…

Time to tuck up with friends, furry ‘chums’ and books…

The camp reassuringly lit by candle light…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Before hat clad, book wielding early risers heralded the arrival of morning…

After a hearty breakfast of fruit, bacon baps and hot chocolate around the fire, we headed for home on our bikes.

Once home, even the most energetic members of the Gang, showed signs of fatigue…

Another amazing camp, with amazing people, in an amazing location, amazing food, amazing music, creating yet more amazing memories. Lucky us…

Which birthday I hear you ask?

Yes, this week we embarked on our sixth year and celebrated our fifth birthday!

Which as per tradition, we marked with a party, complete with magician…

Not bad for the first day back!

And then there was cake 🙂 …

 

 

To mark half a century of the Power House that is Lee Ryman…


Here is to many more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it they say? Better late than never? Some ‘user error’ type technology problems, has prevented me from sharing this until now! Belatedly, enjoy…

Despite blistering heat the Gang kept Stomping, for over an hour at the Wallingford Carnival…

Three rosettes and two trophies later, it was clear that The Treehouse had triumphed yet again, despite adversity. What a Gang! What a Team! What a pleasure…

Thank you Cassie and Lou for making our float a recycling heaven. Your efforts were not in vain…your decorations look just as good in The Treehouse garden…

 

 

I have been blogging useless recently! Perhaps looking back at just the past week at The Treehouse might explain why…

 

Sometimes facilitating inspiration, motivation, collaboration and hands on experiences is all-consuming, leaving little time for anything else. However, I think the pictures say it all…

Should we adhere rigidly to the National Curriculum, the exploration of other cultures and places could be tokenistic, scratching the surface of the real issues.

We prefer to respond to events both locally and globally, as and when they present themselves.

Last week, the starvation of innocent children in Somalia and Yemen, was much in the news. This was not an issue we would, or could, ignore. Furnished with the facts, comparing their own comfortable existence with those of children in Africa, shared on national media the Gang devised a way to help…

This small event, to which all our children contributed goods to sell, raised an incredible…

£312.30!

Which we plan to send to Africa…With Love.

To duplicate our excellent day in the woods you will need just 3 things:

Bikes, a group of people ranging from 2 years to 70! and an interest in the natural world…

With the Easter holidays on the horizon, you too might like to take part in the RSPB Wild Challenge. It certainly got the Gang going…

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/kids-and-schools/kids-and-families/wild-challenge/whatiswildchallenge/