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No time to blog recently. Maybe a few pictures will begin to explain why…

Anna, a teacher from the Cayman Islands, visited when the term started…

Inspired by ‘Blue Planet II’ we all became very interested in litter…

As we turned some of the litter into pictures, the idea of a ‘Rubbish Art’ Exhibition presented itself! This event is planned for the end of May, watch this space. But to whet your appetites…

We found lots of real reasons to write…

We enjoyed a bit of modelling…

Harvested the remainder of last year’s crops…

Did some cooking, actually lots of it…

Relishing eating it afterwards…

We made useful things out of discarded t-shirts and jumpers…

Some of which were good enough to take to bed!

We made the most of our Friday’s outdoors…

Started filming our entry for the Film Festival this year…

We celebrated a birthday…

Undertook the Big School Bird Watch, with some help from our friends…

Having found a mysterious tin in Basildon Woods, five years ago. This week we had the pleasure of meeting the owner, author and illustrator, Nick Hayes…

As usual, I have only managed to record photographically, a small proportion of what has been going on at The Treehouse.

Suffice it to say, the Gang have an amazing ‘Golden Glow’ just now, the reasons for which is a both a puzzler and a cause for celebration.

All of which I hope goes some way to excusing my blogging absence?

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We really try at The Treehouse, to keep business as usual, and play down Christmas until the last-minute. Recognising that for both parents and children, there is just too much going on at this time of year, when everyone is flagging.

But during our last week, the ‘C’ word has finally been embraced, thinking of others, before enjoying some treats ourselves…

We have written cards and wrapped our charity shop finds; made cookies, assembled and delivered hampers, (in driving rain, gale force winds and plummeting temperatures, without a murmur…); visited the Creation Theatre to enjoy this years production of A Christmas Carol, where both the production and the children’s behaviour was exemplary; enjoyed opening presents that were either recycled or useful; played some games that we could ape during moments of flux during the holidays; before finishing the term with a lovely lunch and Secret Santa gifts, (each of which were hand-made, bespoke presents for the recipients),  in our neighbouring pub…

Wishing all of you who couldn’t be with us, a very happy healthy Christmas, that continues into 2018. xxx

From today, Friday 1st December, applications are invited to fill the five places at The Treehouse, that will become available in September 2018. Interested parties should download an application form from http://thetreehouseschool.org.uk/policies/ sending hard or electronic copies to the school by the closing date 15th December 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by 19th December 2017.

The Gang are currently deeply engrossed in our shared story, ‘St Cuthbert’s Wild School for Boys’, by Ingrid Skeels.

It has resonated with our children on so many levels, at the main character Jack fails to thrive in his local school and then goes on to thrive at St Cuthbert’s, ultimately saving the day when the inspector Mrs Sharp arrives.

Image result for ingrid skeels st cuthberts

So imagine our excitement when the author, Ingrid, agreed to pay a visit to the Treehouse! The children were buzzinng with ways that would could bring elements from the book alive, when she visited. Preparations included building treehouses, writing stories, organising a fire and hot dogs for lunch, baking sweet meats and identifying questions for the author…

We could barely contain our excitement. On arrival, Ingrid certainly did not disappoint, throwing herself whole heartedly into a day of St Cuthbert’s celebration…

After the briefest of introductions, which was reriched by the presence of the Gang old and new, old friends and new friends; we knew we were going to have a great day…

As Ingrid relished visiting OUR treehouses and listening to the stories we had written for her…

After a St Cuthbert’s style lunch of hot dogs and tomato soup around a log fire…

We savoured cakes and hot chocolate…

In our treehouses, where the rain did not seem to matter…

The cake that one of the Gang had iced, said it all. We love you Ingrid. And if you haven’t read her book, you jolly well should do. Available on Amazon…

An inspirational lady, an inspirational book, an inspirational day…

Friday 3rd November is nearing….I can’t decide whether I would like the haircut, canoe trip, fishing lesson, blacksmith experience, forensic science taster, artwork, cakes….what to choose!
Tickets are £7.50 and include a delicious Treehouse Supper.  The catalogue can be found at http://thetreehouseschool.org.uk/auction-of-promises/

We’d love to see you there, but you can still bid even if you can’t make it on the evening.  Just let Jo know the lot number and maximum you would like to bid via info@thetreehouseschool.org.uk

 

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.

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 🙂 …