Archive – 2015 – Explorers



Only just a week into the new school term and we’ve decided to head to the southern hemisphere for a sunshine adventure in the Land of Oz. For those of you who are not familiar with the lingo, that’s Australia!

There is so much to discover about this amazing country. Unfortunately, not all of us have a passport to make the 9,443 mile journey so we have had to bring a bit of Australia to us!

What have we been up to? The children have dashing here and there in a game of ‘Capture the Australian Flag’, painting a life-size kangaroo using Aboriginal art, creating Australian Animal masks, colouring cute koalas, designing and constructing our own unique boomerangs. Some very strange sounds have been coming from the Explorer’s base too as the children test their musical skills using a didgeridoo!



Our theme for Explorers this term is TOYS AND GAMES, as chosen by the children. We have included MECHANISMS into this so that we can try to make some things with moving parts.

If you have any spare bottle tops we would be grateful for those and junk modelling material – particularly cereal/similar boxes!

We have decided to start around the Victorian times, with a time line including the War Years and then 1950’s to present day.

It has been interesting in comparing the amount of toys children had back then and what they have now. To realise that many of the toys and games were quite physical activities and involved few parts. We wonder how many of the toys we have today, will still be around in 60 or 70 years.

To actually see some of the toys from that long ago, we have been lucky enough to have a local gentleman, Mr Joe Trotman, come into school and show us some of the things that he had to play with. Many, as we had read, were made of wood , and metal was also often used. Mr T had even a metal wind up fish for the bath!!!

Did you know that if you couldn’t use a leather football – a pigs bladder was blown up to use!! Ugh!

We are enjoying spending some of our time making small toys and games for ourselves and there are more to come! We’ve already tried out our skills at marbles but we didn’t stop there, we used them for making pictures and marble mazes.

We saw that children used hoops and a stick to have fun just trying to keep them up, and having races. It was much harder for some of us than we thought!

Hopscotch was originally marked in the dirt with a stick – lots of muddy footpints in the house!! We are lucky to have some painted in the playground so we decorated our own stones and the adults tried to remember the rules!

We had a Ring and Toss contest (the original game was Quoits – with just 1 pole) to see who could get the most points. Some of us became quite skilled at this – and practice does make perfect! We will be making a mini one to bring home! . Skipping , we’ve had skipping races and some have tried crossing hands and other tricks. We are making the most of the opportunities to be physical – on the days the weather holds up!

We’ll be gathering more information, trying out and building new things until the end of term – and having lots of fun along the way!

Please take a look at the display board next time you drop in!




This coming half-term the Holiday Club will be generating lots of fun and games when we head to ‘The Big Smoke’ and experience the best of our great capital city of London.

New for this half-term is the opportunity for all primary school children to take advantage of a wealth of sporting activities provided by highly qualified and experienced sports specialists from Sports Plus Scheme. Activities include Ultimate Frizbee, New Age Curling as well as familiar traditional sports. There is a menu of activities which your child could dip into, depending on interest either for a half or full day. Theses sessions can also be combined with activities on offer by the Holiday Club staff. The result is a tailor-made half-term that suits you and your child.

The fees are per child per day:

Holiday Club

  • All day – 7.30am to 6pm = £25
  • School day – to 3pm = £20
  • Half day – 7.30am to 12.30pm or 1pm to 6pm = £15

Sports Camp

  • Half day – 9.30am to 12.30pm or 1pm to 4pm = £9
  • All day – 9.30am to 4pm = £20

Combo Holiday Club/Sports Camp

  • Half day – £15 + £6 = £21
  • All day – £25 + £12 = £37

If you would like to make a booking please do so on the new booking forms available online or from the school office. To be returned by Friday 6th February.

Don’f forget the demand will dictate the days available but we are hoping to provide at least 3 if not 4 days.



Whatever you have been up to during the Easter break we hope you have had a wonderful time with family and friends.

The children at the Holiday Club have been travelling across the globe exploring the best of what Canada, Holland, Italy and Germany have to offer. You will be pleased to hear that this journey has not incurred extra costs to parents nor required passports or visas. Their experience has been rich and varied and so this term we will be continuing our journey exploring our incredible world.

Our voyage will open a door of exploration, curiosity and fun. With a realisation that we have been given such a magnificent world they will discover there is so much more on their horizon.  G Adventures puts it beautifully, “This is your planet. You really should come see it sometime.”





We have travelled thousands of miles across the globe during the Easter break from the continent of Europe to North America without even leaving Berkeley! The explorers are becoming well-seasoned travellers and enjoying their discoveries along the way.

Canada was our first port-of-call. We went whale-watching off the west coast and saw some magnificent Killer Whales. We read a story called, “My Friend Whale” which made us think about the plight of whales and how they have reduced drastically in numbers. Some of us made some fantastic model whales. Nicole’s had a personality of its own and looked like a ninja!

We then went to an art gallery and had a look at the work of Emily Carr, a famous Canadian artist. Paint, brushes and paper ready, we had a go at painting in the style of Carr.

Explores always have to sample the local cuisine so we made and ate lots of Canadian waffles. This gave us the energy to play ‘Four Square’, which is a popular outdoor game for children in Canada. Ned enjoyed playing this so much that he couldn’t resist playing it in Holland, where we travelled the next day.

The weather in Holland was warm and sunny so we took advantage of travelling the canal paths on our scooters, trikes, bicycles, skateboards and hoppers.

Mrs Robbins likes art so she persuaded us to visit another art gallery. Here we saw Van Gogh’s ‘The Mulberry Tree’ and Bruegel’s Children’s Games’.  Some of us had a go at producing Van Gogh’s ‘The Mulberry Tree’ in a ‘wax and wash’, which looked really effective. We had great fun taking a close look at Bruegel’s work with our friends to name as many games as we could. Later on we had a go at some of the games but not all eighty of them; we didn’t have time! Time was moving on so we jumped on a coach and headed to the tulip fields.

Wow! What beautiful colours! We were so inspired by the range of stunning colours that we designed and made our own tulip-coloured bracelets. To add a touch of ‘the modern’ we also designed and created tulip-coloured tattoo bracelets.

The journey from Holland to Italy didn’t take too long. Travelling seemed to make us quite hungry so we made some pizzas for snack. Delicious! The Italian’s are well-known for their love of food, especially pasta. Some of us took advantage to create some mosaics from different shaped pasta while others raised to the challenge of building the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

As we arrived in Germany we knew we were nearing our end of our holiday, which was quite sad. Travelling down the Rhine we saw some amazing castles which inspired us to build our own using either wooden blocks or Lego.

We were reminded after our snack of frankfurters, that Germany is the holder of the World Cup. Any excuse to play football, James organised a penalty shoot-out! Well done players for producing some accurate shots and defeating the goalie (James).

We don’t have the space to share all our adventures but we would love you to come and share the rest of our journey as we continue to ‘globetrot’ across the world during Breakfast and After School Club this term.

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What an amazing summer we are having! Basking in the seasonal sunshine has put us in a holiday mood and thoughts of faraway places. In a child’s imagination, paradise is a perfect place just right for them and not necessarily a location which suits grown-ups. With that in mind we are ready to travel wherever the children’s imagination takes us. It’s going to be a bit scary; a bit exciting but a great adventure. Who knows where we will end up? A sultry Caribbean island? Abandoned planet light years from earth? A den built at the bottom of the garden? Under the duvet reading a favourite book? Swimming with playful dolphins in the depths of the warm waters?

We will be discovering how the children will travel to their paradise through junk modelling. Who and what they will take on their adventure? A survival kit containing essential items is a must. The children will be making their own mini suitcases so they can pack all the necessary essentials for their journey and final destination. This is just the beginning!

We look forward to seeing your child and this incredible exciting escapade.



We hope you have had a wonderful half-term break and are ready to jump into a world of fun and adventure at Explorers.

Our theme for this part of the term has been inspired by the well-known game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’. A game, which requires no equipment and is simple to play and seems to have been around for some time. It is suggested that the game originated in China and can be traced back to the Chinese Han dynasty (206BC – 220AD).

We are sure that many generations of children from Berkeley had great fun playing this game with their friends and so we felt that we would like our children to carry on the tradition. So what can the explorers expect from the sessions?

Obviously we will be learning how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors and maybe introducing a modern twist! However, here is a taste of some of the activities planned:

All things associated with ‘rock’ –

  • Sift for precious gold nuggets, just like the ‘forty-niners’ in the American Gold Rush of 1884.
  • Be geologists and hack into ‘treasure rocks’ of discovery.
  • Make and bake Rock Cakes and maybe Rocky Road Fudge Cake. Yum!!
  • Create a Pet Rock
  • Become rock climbers who scale dizzy heights
  • Allow our imaginations to become Rocketeer, with our special jetpacks.

All things associated with ‘paper’ –

  • Simple origami
  • Get messy with Papier Mache Masks
  • Design and make paper planes
  • Create 3D mobiles inspired by the work of Henri Matisse using colourful tissue paper
  • Discover an array of different paper and pen games which the children can teach mum and dad
  • Wrap the mummy competition using loo roll!

All things associated with scissors –

  • Let your scissors do the talking, with Henri Matisse inspired art
  • Read and share the story of Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson
  • Negotiate scissor-shaped obstacle courses
  • Incorporate your scissors into the art activities

We look forward to helping your child have fun, make friends and make the most of their time with us.




The children during the After School Club had such a fantastic time discovering the delights of games and toys from the past that we decided to continue the theme during the Holiday Club. An opportunity to do this has expanded the children’s repertoire of fun activities which they have shared with family and friends. We are so excited about the fact that children are teaching their parents how to play!


The fun and games have not stopped since we began the Rock Paper and Scissors theme this term.  With enthusiasm and energy, the explorers have engaging with a  host of activities which have appealed to all age groups, from those as young as 3 years to the very mature 11 year old.

The possibilities have been endless with activities relating to paper. Children have designed their own paper planes, fortune-tellers, created 3-D snowflakes, created paper chain dolls and Victorian paper silhouettes. Some have discovered or for others rediscovered simple games such as Battleships, Stop-The- Bus and Noughts and Crosses.

What else can you do with paper? We have had Newspaper Races using pages of a newspaper as stepping stones; used two willing volunteers to act as mummies as teams raced to wrap them in fine linen. (We couldn’t afford linen so we used loo paper instead!)

Rocks were well used too. Our little explorers made some fabulous Rock Pets, which were colourfully bedecked characters. All were named and have gone to good homes in the local area. These pets do not need feeding but the children do so we made some delicious Rock Cakes.

It is quite a skill to use a pair of scissors safely, testing the child’s fine motor skills and co-ordination; it takes patience and practise to perfect. We were so impressed by how even the youngest children attempted to master this skill, persevering to craft something of their own. Scissors were also used imaginatively by creating art work incorporating this scissors themselves. In addition, the children were introduced to the ‘parlour game’ of Crossed or Uncrossed.

Along the way we have had smiles of delight and howled with laughter which is always a good sign that the children are happy and content.




This term’s theme has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to share our favourite picture books. Even the grown-ups at the school have been inspired to bring along either their current favourite or a book which was very special to them during their childhood.

The theme began with the children listening to and exploring activities based around Mrs Marklove’s favourite book at the moment which is, ‘The Day the Crayon’s Quit’ by Drew Daywalk. Among other activities, delicious gingerbread crayon-shaped biscuits were decorated, creating an explosion of colour with crayons on a ‘graffiti table’.

The classic tale of ‘The Enormous Turnip’ is one of Mrs Timbrell’s favourites. A ‘tug-of-war’ to see which team could pull the hardest is great exercise to prepare to pull up the world’s largest turnip!

Others, including Mr Barnes, Mrs Fowkes and Mrs Lanceley have shared their favourites. Their brilliant books include, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, ‘Soggy Saturday’ by Phyllis Root and Helen Craig and ‘Grow Up Mum!’ by Suzy-Jane Tanner. The children have discovered how books inspire, bring our imaginations to life and take us back to special times in our lives. From this share, the children are now stirred to bring and read their favourites with us. The Explorers team’s privilege is to create activities based on their chosen books. What a fantastic challenge!





We had four days of fantastic fun during the February half-term break. There was a chance to both ‘chill’ as well as activities to keep busy and even challenge.

Continuing with the theme of ‘Berkeley’s Brilliant Book Share’, the children were engaged with activities based around the books of one of our favourite authors, Roald Dhal. George’s Marvellous Medicine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox, to name but a few, inspired the children and activities. For example, the explorers were able to concoct their own marvellous medicine. Fortunately, Mr Barnes and Mrs Timbrell were in the privilege position of being the first to taste this cocktail of ingredients. How did it taste? We best not say!

David Walliams is also a favourite in the school and so we read The Slightly Annoying Elephant which inspired us to undertake a treasure hunt of the many David Walliams books which had been hidden around the school playground.

The children were also able to explore what our local library has to offer. Staff were so impressed with how they were able to hunt down any book you could wish for and produce beautifully decorated bookmarks, ready to be used to slip into their favourite book.

Creativity abound when the children made pet hedgehogs out of old paperbacks and a giant-sized bookworm which now takes residence on one of our display boards.

We all had a wonderful time, including the grown-ups and look forward to more of the same during the Easter break.

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