Just look how our garden grew!

The kids are back at school… if they can find it.  It’s a low-slung 1950s building behind a lot of foliage.  All the children’s garden work in the summer term paid back in spades over the holidays, with a fantastic display in the planters all around the school.  Make sure you take a detour and have a look. (The school site has a great photo, too…)

We dress them in red so they can't get lost in the leaves.

We dress them in red so they can’t get lost… green could be fatal.

And this is the way we left it in July.

Can you believe this is how it looked in July?

There’s more gardening fun to come this year, thanks to a generous £985.00 grant from the Thames Water Charities Committee (and massive thanks once more to Kim and Andy Ollard for alerting us to that source of funding).

That’s just one of many, many projects our busy HSA has in the pipeline. Please put the HSA Annual General Meeting in your diary, come along and speak up about what you’d like to see happen this year. The meeting is right after school on Friday 9th October, with a creche and refreshments provided. We’re lost in the weeds without you.

We are winners!

Our Infants’ Playground – completed by business volunteers and parents on Give & Gain Day last year – has just won joint first prize in the Society of Garden Designers’ annual awards (Community Space category).

Triumph! Our infants' playground proved good enough for gold.

Triumph! Our gorgeous infants’ playground has proved good enough for gold.

Designer Jackie Herald was at the ceremony at the Milennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington on Friday night to hear the announcement.  How Jackie splits the gold medal with joint winners Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital, we don’t yet know… but she’s bringing the framed award into school next week.

Well done Jackie; another million thanks to the volunteers from Flamingo who gave their time and muscle on Give & Gain Day – and a massive well done to all the families and children who made the project happen. That represents a lot of organization, activity and donations of time, goods and cash.

Let’s do it again on Friday 15th May this year, when we use Give & Gain Day to refurbish our school lobby and long corridor in accordance with the children’s designs…

Going for gold: playground on the shortlist

unnamed

Sometimes the grass is greener on this side of the fence.

It seems the judges at the Society of Garden Designers are mighty impressed by our beautiful Infants’ Playground, and they’ve shortlisted Jackie Herald’s fantastic design in the Community Space category.  The ceremony is in January – but with only three finalists, we can’t go home without bronze, silver… or gold.

THE SHORTLISTED GARDENS ARE:unnamed(1)

  • Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Courtyard Garden
  • Tufnell Park School Infants Playground
  • Willow Wood Hospice Sensory Garden

Welcome back!

Thriving playground

Six weeks to grow and grow… the Infants’ playground now really is the jungle our kids requested.

Aw, school! Surely we all missed it just a little bit?

To remind you all what fantastic good times we have at Tufnell Park, the photo gallery for the Summer Fair is available at last – take a good, long look. And please also take a moment to read through the long list of local businesses who supported us. That’s in addition to the many, many parents, carers, friends and families who helped in so many ways. There are far too many to name you all, but the hardworking ladies at the Summer Fair spa asked for a special “thank you” to former pupil Nora Alshammary, who appeared out of nowhere with her friends and worked tirelessly to help shorten that never-ending queue.

The "donut" appears - having mutated into a brick-red rubberscape with dots, as voted by Cygnus kids.

The “donut” appears – now a brick-red rubberscape with dots, as voted by Cygnus kids.

And so to a new term. Elves have been at work in the Infants’ playground over the summer, completing their work at last with an undulating, dotty landscape – made of recycled rubber – under the beech tree. Governors have already been in to play on it, and we hope the children will enjoy it, too.

There are tons of events coming up in the first four weeks of school alone – beginning with the Adults’ 5K and 10K Fun Run on Friday 12th September.  Our new headteacher, Martin Scarborough, will be cheering us on and meeting parents informally at the Tufnell Park Tavern afterwards.  Keep your eye on the calendar and don’t forget to look in those PACT folders every day for more details.

 

Make way for the donut

From tiny shoots, giant fronds grow...

From tiny shoots, giant fronds grow…

Pictures of how our infants’ playground was transformed are now available – take a look at the new Give & Gain Day gallery.  And heartfelt thanks to all photographers for your help.

The playground has had a happy half term break, meanwhile. While the rain may not have suited everyone, it certainly pleased the giant tree ferns – those tall, hairy stumps that stand between the cedar stepping logs. They’re starting to come out of hibernation, fronds unfurling… Designer Jackie Herald assures us that it’s the start of something enormous.

Measuring up for a great, green donut... all in a day's work for some.

Measuring up for a great, green donut… all in a day’s work for some.

And the great, green donut? Measuring up took place during half term, too, and manufacture is on its way. There’s a rumour that the finished item may have spots… and it’s certainly going to undulate. The mind boggles.

Moving mountains on Give & Gain Day

So many people helped out on Friday - and there was no lower age limit.

So many people helped out on Friday – and there was no lower age limit.

Despite all the build-up, Friday’s Give & Gain Day with Flamingo London still managed to surpass expectations.

The weather, as everyone commented, was spectacular.  But so, too, were the workers, the goodwill, the donations, the lunch and of course, what we managed to achieve on the day.  Here’s a glimpse:

Remember the playground before works began?

Remember the playground before works began?

This is a snap of how (part) of it looked at the end of Friday - a different place!

This is a snap of how (part) of it looked at the end of Friday – a different place, though with one mountain still to move…

And these are some of the people who did it: Tufnell Park School loves you!

And these are some of the people who did it: Flamingo, Tufnell Park School loves you!

Our new friends at Flamingo commented that in eight years of Give & Gain days, they’d never been so well looked after, nor had so many of their hosts turn out to work alongside them. Tufnell Park School, we should feel proud.

There are so many people to thank and luckily we’ve got some really great pictures, so Give & Gain Day will have its own page where we can do it properly. Look out for that shortly.

For now, special thanks to Chris Stevens‘ Holloway Road branch for slashing their price on paint and brushes for us, just when it looked as if we weren’t going to make ends meet after all.

And for those of you who raised money specially for the great, green doughnut… it’s coming… it really is coming…

 

They say it’s a jungle out there…

Herbs and grasses arrive in the infants' playground for planting out tomorrow.

Herbs and grasses arrive in the infants’ playground for planting out tomorrow.

…they should see it in here!

No-one at the school today can have failed to notice the deliveries for tomorrow’s Give & Gain Day.  We’re still short of spare spades, wheelbarrows and trugs for carrying earth.  If you’ve got them, please do lend – we’ve got a lot of soil to shift.  And it’s going to be a scorcher, so bring plenty of suncream and a thirst-quenching drink if you’re coming to help.

Meanwhile, thanks very much to everyone for your patience while the playground gates are closed.  Roll on Monday.

Our trusty team sort through the new arrivals.

Our trusty team sort through the new arrivals.

A real dump truck! At primary school! That should happen every day, right?

A real dump truck! At primary school! That should happen every day, right?

Cedar logs ripe for jumping on - just wait until they've been settled in tomorrow.

Cedar logs begging to be jumped on – just wait until Monday…

Paint appeal – the final push!

One more thing we need in our line-up for Friday’s Give & Gain day in the infants’ playground: Paint! Please donate your left-over half-pots of brightly coloured paint for a series of circles that will be painted on the playground wall (is it a target? is it a ball? is it another planet?). The new base coat will be white: the dots will be whatever colours you bring in.

This cedar tree is coming to our school...

This cedar tree is coming to our school…

...after this man has sliced it into beautiful stepping logs.

…after this man has sliced it into beautiful stepping logs.

 

These gorgeous rosemary plants are coming too.

These gorgeous rosemary plants are coming too.

And this fine fellow is intend on hitching a ride.

And this fine fellow is intent on hitching a ride.

 

 

 

It’s all coming together for the final push. We’re very grateful to the tree surgeons and house owner who’ve donated the cedar, and to the Patrick of The Plot Doctor (local gardeners) who helped us collect it. Also to Andria and Genine at Glebe Nurseries, for squeezing some extra plants into our tight budget.

And to all of YOU for loans, donations, lovely food and your time, time, TIME.  It’s going to be a fantastic playground.

Scraping it together

girl_scrapingAn massive thank you to everyone who turned up this blustery Saturday to help with preparations for Give & Gain day. Despite the enormity of beige wall facing us, we got  a lot done and people even managed to make it fun… The community that scrapes together, stays together!

Now for the really big push: Friday 16th May.  We need to borrow plenty of equipment to make maximum use of our volunteers – we can’t have helpers standing idle for want of a wheelbarrow!  Please label equipment with your child’s name and class, and hand it in to school reception.  Or if you’re bringing it on the day, please email us now so we know it’s coming.

The complete equipment list is posted below the photos.

EQUIPMENT WE NEED FOR THIS FRIDAY:

Wheelbarrows (3)
Spades
Forks
Truckles
Stiff yard brushes
Secateurs
Trowels
Stiff hand brushes
Hand forks
Pruning saws
Power washers
Strimmers
Electric screwdrivers
Paint scrapers
Measuring tape
Kneeling mats / cardboard boxes to squash + bin liners if it’s wet
Chalk
Thick crayon (for marking on wall)
Rakes
Waders
Trugs
Old-fashioned dustbin lids (perfect circle with a handle on top) and similar circular objects, 30-60 cm in diameter

Parents, show your muscle!

We need all parents, families, carers – and of course, children too – to come and help at the school on Saturday 10th May.  We’ve got to prepare the long boundary wall of the infants’ playground for fresh painting the following Friday.  Please come and scrape off old paint if you can.  We’ll be there from 9:00am and any time you can spare is good.

One of our big boulders is eased carefully into its new home.

One of our big boulders is eased carefully into its new home.

Perfect fit - no rocking or slipping.

Perfect fit – no rocking or slipping.

One of the nursery space hoppers helps out with sizing the bamboo holes (it got a nice bath afterwards...)

One of the nursery space hoppers helps out with sizing the bamboo holes (it got a nice bath afterwards…)

Meanwhile, the Easter Hat Parade gallery is ready at last. Take a look – and (re)witness what Tufnell Park School can create when we all set our minds to it. Now we’ve only got a playground to complete…