What do we do?
Thomas Eaton PTFA organises fun events and enrichment activities for the children at TEPA, their families and our local community. At the beginning of this month, we held our very first Bonfire Event with games to play, hot dogs and jacket potatoes to eat, plenty to drink, music to dance to and of course the Bonfire itself where we watched some of the Guys that the children had made burn. Our next event, another first, is coming up. This will be our ‘Santa’s Secret Shop’, giving our pupils the opportunity to buy a gift for their important adults and their siblings. The items they select will then be wrapped and labelled by our team, ready as a surprise for the recipients on the big day! Orders are already coming in thick and fast. These events, along with many others we run, raise money for us to spend on things that enhance the children’s school experience.
Funds are spent on large and small items, as both are equally important. Recent projects and purchases include:
- A two year project to relocate, restock and renovate our school library making it a vibrant and welcoming area.
- Musical instruments which the pupils are learning to play for their class performances at our upcoming coffee morning.
- New play equipment for the school field chosen by the children themselves.
- Laptops for use in lessons enabling the pupils to undertake more in-depth research and different recording methods.
- A whole school trip to a Christmas Pantomime.
Old Library New Library
Why we need your help
The pupils at Thomas Eaton currently enjoy lots of inspiring ways of learning within the classroom but we would like to develop this by giving them the opportunity to gain skills outside of the classroom.
To do that, we would like to create the correct safe environment for them, and for that, we need your help. We would love to raise £3000 to contribute towards the cost of transforming an area in our grounds into a Forest School and purchasing all the relevant equipment such as kettles, tools, tarpaulins, cargo nets and dry fire lighting kits.
What is a Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process which offers every child regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Children who attend Forest School sessions improve their social skills, build peer relationships as they help each other with tasks such as den building and they communicate more freely whilst being exposed to different enriched language opportunities.
It helps to provide that balance for the child between the theory they learn in the classroom and the ‘real world’ outside where they can touch it and feel it. The team work and the independent learning skills they improve on are then transferred back to within the classroom environment.
A Forest School moment – taken from the Forest School Association website
Jon Cree: ‘just last month I was assessing a trainee leader, Laura, in a Dudley reception class with predominantly ‘English as an Additional Language’ pupils. After about 10 minutes, a child grabbed me by the hand.
‘Jon, come and look at my new home.’ (He had been working on a shelter the previous week.)
‘Great . . . its a bit cold in here.’
‘Yes, it’s wet and draughty.’ (This was a cold, windy, wet West Midlands day! But I did think to myself – good language.)
‘Mmm’,15 seconds silence. (This is important: teachers on average give maximum 5 seconds thinking time (Kontos, 1999))
‘I need a door’.
‘Have you any door shapes in mind?’
At least a minute’s silence, wandering around and thinking had gone on.
Laura asked, ‘Do you remember the shapes we were looking at last week in the
‘Ahh – a rectangle. That’s the one with two long and two short.’
The child then went off to find two long sticks and two short. He then mused a long time and came over to me again.
‘Not sure how to join these.’
‘Would you like me to help?’
‘Do you have any ideas on how to join them.’
‘Mmmm’, (more silence) ‘string!’
And lo and behold without any prompting from either me or Laura he asked her for string, which she asked her assistant to get from the classroom. The child ended up making a door he was very proud of (still draughty, mind!).
While this may seem a small incident, for Laura, who is clearly a skilled early years practitioner, it was symptomatic of a huge shift from being ‘on top’ to ‘on tap’. She admitted she had to fight all her instincts to intervene and show him what he might do. The resulting learning from her point of view, and the child’s, was far more powerful. What he had done was take ownership of the learning, invested his own thoughts into the door and applied learning inside the classroom to a real life situation outside the classroom.’
Why do we do what we do?
Thomas Eaton PTFA is a small team of staff, parents and friends of the school who have a shared vision to help give the children at TEPA the best possible opportunities, the best possible education and the best possible experiences.
Primary school life stays in the memory of most people long after they have moved on to secondary school. We want our children to look back and remember fondly their time at Thomas Eaton because of everything it gave them: friendships for life, inspiring teachers who took them on the best trip ever, the day they made a hot chocolate (with marshmallows obviously!) on a fire they built and lit themselves and many more besides.
We love being a part, even if it is only financially, of making those memories possible and helping pupils at TEPA become the best possible person they can.
We are really passionate about our school and really hope that you feel this is a project that you would like to support.