As part of the school’s ‘Forest School Initiative’ parents, Old Girls, Senior and Junior pupils were invited to the Talbot Heath campus’ woods for a celebration of the school's beautiful woodland environment. For decades, pupils have been lucky enough to play in the woods; games such as hide-and-seek, cops-and-robbers, den-building and the like have been played by children over the years. The ‘Voices in the Woods’ event gave everyone a chance to take stock of what a treasure they are.
Persistent greyness and lingering showers had threatened to spoil the afternoon, but once again the weather smiled on Talbot Heath and the sun shone for the event. It was fabulous to see all who attended soaking up the sunshine, drinking tea and eating tasty treats baked by the kitchen staff. In particular the sight of the pre-prep, juniors and Upper 3 pupils running about dressed as fairies or woodland creatures was lovely to behold. The trees themselves were festooned with hundreds of pieces of creative writing and art work, all celebrating this unique space.
Before the school was built in 1936 the area consisted of mainly heathland with some trees. The founders of the school had to chop down the trees to make way for the school, but then they took care to replant them elsewhere. Not only did they care about the education of women, they also considered the value of the educational environment. Since then many of the trees have seeded naturally which is how the woods come to have so many trees now. We were delighted to welcome (aptly named) Celia Wood, the head of the Old Girl’s Association to the event. In her brief address, she said that she remembered the trees when they were half their current height.
When the members of the Talbot Heath Old Girls Association heard that TH were organising the art and creative writing competition, a huge number of members contacted the school to share their memories of the woods, these involved adventures, den-building, running away from teachers and lots of very entertaining stories of general disobedience. Excerpts from these stories were reproduced for display for all to see. A number of talented musicians also helped to generate a magical atmosphere – Darina Osipenkova (flute), Serena Chanoch (guitar and singing), Jamilla Smith-Joseph (violin) and Sophie Kwon (violin). Thanks go to all of the girls who performed.
Weeks in advance, many Upper 3 pupils went to extraordinary lengths to build two elaborate dens: sweeping the areas free of debris, propping up branches, constructing walls and roofs. Each den has its own distinctive quality. One has a utilities shelf, a blazer-holder and a place for hand-gel. The other is more complex, with several rooms, a table and chairs and a rather ornate decoration made of stones, sticks and other woodland materials. Volunteers from U3P and U33P organised activities such as face-painting and spider-making for the younger children which turned out to be extremely popular.
Lower school pupils took part in an art and writing competition based on the theme of the school woods which was launched at the start of the summer term. There were many creative and imaginative entries which were displayed throughout the area in an outdoor exhibition. Thank you to all of those who took part. Congratulation to the prize-winners who were as follows:
Writing competition winners - stories, poems, recollections and descriptive pieces:
Runner up: Sophie Russell – ‘One Friend’
Winner: Imogen Heald – ‘The Woods of Wonders’
Runner up: Charlotte Wittram – ‘The Voices in the Woods’
Winner: Eleanor Seery – ‘Are The Woods Magic?’
Runner up: Edie Lacey – ‘This Is Where I Feel Safe’
Winner: Evie Holloway – ‘The Four-Leaf Clover’
Art competition winners:
Year 4 - Winner: Freya Johnstone - Runner up - Rosie Kokuhamadige
Year 5 - Winner: Katy Jarvis - Runner Up - Neda Kolahy
Year 6 - Winner: Liza Abdrashitova - Runner up - Alice Cowley
Year 7 - Winner: Thulami Ratnayake - Runner Up - Grace Richards - Third - Olivia Pereana - Highly Ccommended - Evie Corn - Lillie Kaye - Evie Holloway
Year 8 - Winner: Emily Toms - Runner Up - Jasmine Fry - Third - Megan Griffiths - Highly Commended - Martha Pawson - Claudia Glowaka - Fran Rowley
Thanks go to Mrs Wakeling for organising the competition.