St Mary’s School children enjoyed a week of fun festive activities last week.
The Nursery children enjoyed walking into the centre of Henley to post their letters to Father Christmas in the special post box outside the Town Hall. Their Christmas wishes included a blue aeroplane, a baby doll, a big fire truck and a new cuddly cow! The letters will now be on their way to the North Pole, and with any luck Santa will have written back to the children by the end of term.
Year 1 children entertained the residents of Henley Manor Care Home on Wednesday by singing Christmas carols. Charlotte Bennett from Henley Manor Care Home said, “It was lovely to have the children visit from St Marys school, who delighted the residents with some festive carol singing and piano playing. We thoroughly enjoy whenever the children visit and look forward to future projects with them in the new year as intergenerational activities are so important to our ‘Lifestyles’ programme.” Resident Mac added, “They were absolute wonderful. we wrapped up warm, opened the doors and we got as near as we could to the kids so that we could hear them and we joined in the singing with them and it was fun.”
On Thursday the school were visited by two real live reindeer. The majestic animals were brought to the school by Riverways Farm, the free range poultry farm based in Twyford. Melisa Todd-Gul and Neil Overton, from Riverways Farm, were on hand to teach the children all about the reindeer, and to answer a flurry of questions.
Melisa said, “It’s always fantastic coming to schools. We thoroughly enjoy it. There’s so much to learn about these guys and they’re so underrated as an animal. It’s great to mix some Christmas spirit with some education as well. The kids as phenomenal as well.”
The children were bursting with questions about Santa’s favourite furry friends, from how long they live for, to their behaviours in the wild. Neil Overton said, “We’ve had great questions about their antler growth. Antlers are the fastest growing bone in the animal kingdom, and if they damage their antlers in the growing stage, they regrow that part of the antler. They’re quite fascinating. Scientists are looking at that and trying to figure out the mechanisms.”
All year groups got to see the reindeer and learn about the animals from Neil and Melisa. Sophia, aged 6, said, “I really liked the reindeer. I like that they can stay warm and don’t get cold in the winter. I learnt that they can run at 40 miles an hour.”
Headmaster Rob Harmer said, “It has been a delight to see how much all of our children have enjoyed the countdown to Christmas during the last few weeks. Our youngest children paid a visit to our friends at Henley Manor Care Home, delighting the residents with Christmas Carols and a piano recital. We have really enjoyed building that relationship this year, and both the children and the residents of the Care Home get a huge amount from it. The Nursery children enjoyed walking to the town hall to post their letters to Father Christmas, and their Nativity was a real treat for us all! We were very lucky to have a visit from two beautiful Reindeer, they made a detour to school on their way to Lapland, and we all learned a lot about these amazing animals. Later this week we are looking forward to welcoming parents into school to watch our Christmas show ‘The Inn-Spectors’, and our children have been hard at work rehearsing what promises to be a wonderful production. This year we are more aware than ever that many families are facing a very different sort of Christmas to those of our pupils, and with this in mind we will be collecting for the local branch of Care4Calais who are doing some amazing work supporting the families of refugees. I am very proud that St. Mary’s children are always very keen to think about how they can help others, and this follows on from our recent support for the local foodbank at D:Two.”