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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

The Junior School plants a time capsule!

On 27 May 2022, as part of our Jubilee celebrations, the Junior School planted a time capsule with a selection of artefacts to be remembered many years from now. 

The Rotary Club of Reading Matins kindly donated Rowan trees to the school following the damage caused to some of our own trees in Storm Eunice. This was the perfect opportunity to create a time capsule of the children's experiences over the last few years.  The following article details all the artefacts included in the time capsule which we hope will be uncovered years from now!

The children chose to include a range of items including current British currency, a Covid-19 face mask and a flag in support of Ukraine. Photographs from trips to Windsor Castle and current Junior newsletters have also been included. Year 3 put together a number of questions to ask the future such as "Do you drive flying cars?" and "Who is the King/Queen?". 

A fact sheet detailing our current climate crisis was included which featured a number of endangered animals such as the orangutan. Reception class wanted to include their favourite toy 'Paw Patrol' as well as quotes from the children about what they love at school. Dani (Year 2) and Emmeline (Year 6) both included letters explaining a 'Day in the Life' of a St Gabriel's pupil in 2022. Year 5 included a letter which explained how the NHS helped us through the Covid-19 pandemic and Annabelle detailed her own experience of the pandemic. 

All of these artefacts came together to paint a picture of life as a pupil at St Gabriel's in 2022. Representatives from Year 6 and Reception were chosen to plant the trees and the time capsule. 

A letter to the future pupils of St Gabriel's was also included:

"Friday 27th May 2022 

Dear Future Pupils and Staff of St Gabriel’s, 

This week Reception to Year 5 have been celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, during their Cross-Curricular week. It has been an opportunity for the whole-community to come together to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II and her 70 years of service. We have visited Windsor Castle, painted commemorative plates, designed Jubilee t-shirts and held a Jubilee Tea Party in the school marquee, on the back lawn. The week has been packed full of arts and crafts activities and opportunities to reflect on Her Majesty’s reign. Our finale to the week has been the planting of this time capsule. Each class was asked to decide on an item, to put in the capsule that reflected the period of time we have lived through or ‘Our School’.  

The last two years have certainly been an interesting period of time. In 2020 our lives were turned upside down by Covid-19 and the pandemic that swept the world. On the 23rd March 2020, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on coronavirus. From that evening we were told we must ‘stay at home’ and we were only allowed to leave our homes if it was absolutely essential. Exercise was limited to once a day, and we could not meet up with family or friends, if they lived in a different household. Schools up and down the country closed their doors and St Gabriel’s moved all of their lessons online. Children whose parents were Key Workers formed their own bubble in school. 

Pupils and staff had to adapt quickly to this new norm of online lessons and Zoom and Microsoft Teams calls. Many thought we would be back in school by Easter, but sadly that was not to be. The doors to our school were finally opened again on the 1st June 2020 to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Several weeks later the rest of the Junior School returned. Everyone was delighted to be back in their classrooms and to see their friends and their teachers once again. Our community showed great resilience and adapted to the ‘new norm’ of face masks, bubbles for year groups, drop and go and outdoor learning. As always our community at St Gabriel’s came together and faced these challenges head on. Thankfully the summer of 2020 was one of the warmest on record so everyone was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and explore the Great British Countryside. Foreign holidays were not an option during the pandemic as the world was in lockdown. 

In September 2020 schools opened as normal, everyone was hopeful that we would remain in school for the whole academic year. Restrictions remained but that did not dampen spirits. We had got used to our Bubble world and our new play spaces on the playground and back lawn. Unfortunately Covid-19 cases would increase throughout the Autumn Term and whilst numbers remained low in school they continued to creep up in the country. Sadly tougher restrictions were reintroduced over Christmas meaning that many families and friends were once again separated. Staff returned to school for INSET on the 5th January 2021, ready for the term ahead. However, it was not to be and England entered their third national lockdown on the 6th January. Staff once again showed how quickly they could adapt, preparing packs for their classes and switching lesson plans to virtual tasks. We would not return to school until the 8th March, almost a year since the very first lockdown. 

As you can see the period of time we have lived through has been extraordinary. We only hope that you have not lived through similar, and that if you do online lessons it is through choice and not because of necessity. Our world is slowly returning to normal thanks to the vaccines that have been developed in record-breaking time. Face masks and Covid-19 passports are no longer mandatory in the United Kingdom, international travel has resumed and families have been reunited around the world. St Gabriel’s is now a Bubble free zone and field trips, residential trips and off-site visits have all been reinstated. Hence, our week of celebrations for The Platinum Jubilee.  

This summer we will see the return of Sports Days, Swimming Galas, the Year 6 play and finally Celebration Day. We look forward to welcoming the whole-community together to celebrate these moments in our pupils’ lives, which are so important. 

From all the Junior Pupils and Staff of 2022, we wish you all the very best. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Miss Amelia Smith, Deputy Head of the Junior School"     

Planting the trees and the time capsule was the best way to end the Junior Cross-Curricular Week. Thank you to Miss Smith for arranging such a fantastic week for the Junior school.