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Centenary Wood

Children are by nature curious. If you have the expertise to approach a subject in an age-appropriate way there is almost nothing that a child cannot understand or relate to. World Wars are a subject of interest for a whole variety of reasons. Geographical reasons can often play a major part in a war and of course knowledge of the History of the time will help to explain the course events, but the subject of war is often generated when thinking about behaviour. We spend a long time thinking about our behaviour and about the behaviour of others. Our children will be the citizens of the future and much hope is pinned upon them hoping that they will be part of a generation who focus on kindness and understanding.

We have taught the children about aspects of the First World War in connection with Poppy Day. Being St Christopher’s we don’t just sell poppies and observe the 2 minutes silence we go a little further. By taking our children to the world famous Poppy Factory in Richmond the children hear about the history of this National tradition. They hear the poem ‘In Flanders’ Fields’ at the factory and hear about the good that the British Legion do when looking after injured servicemen and women. During the tour they then meet some of the disabled soldiers who work at the factory and marvel at the determined spirit that allows the staff to overcome physical difficulties and make poppies to sell around the world.

On occasions during Philosophy lessons the children want to know why grownups argue and fight or in the words of one child’s question the other week ‘Why do grownups sometimes make a poor choice?’ We want our citizens of the future to be active questioners in today’s society, not passive followers. Learning from the past is a wonderful way to achieve this goal.

All four countries who comprise the UK are planting a wood each to commemorate all the men and women who were part of the First World War. The location for the wood in England is on Epsom Downs in Langley Vale just a short distance away. Tomorrow we are sending Year 2 representatives complete with wellies and spades to help to plant trees in this brand new wood. The Woodland Trust who are masterminding this scheme hope to plant 20,000 native trees including beech, oak, rowan and hawthorn to transform the land into a peaceful place for the next generation to cherish. We are proud to be part of this exciting initiative and look forward to taking our children up there this year and indeed, in many years to come when we can talk to future generations about the little piece of history that children from St Christopher’s helped to make.

Annie Thackray
Head Teacher