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Growing Together Project 2020


Locations of The 12 Creatures of Christmas!

I hope you all had fun, combining a crisp Winter walk with hunting for the 12 Creatures of Christmas! Lots of Cheapsiders also took part and really enjoyed the challenge.  Some were pretty tricky to find!

Now that many of you will have had a chance to look, I'm posting a slideshow of photographs of John Cross with clues as to the locations of the little logs! 

How many did you find - I wonder if anyone found all 12?

Happy New Year and see you all next week!

Mrs Ryker smiley

Locations of The 12 Creatures of Christmas!

12 Creatures of Christmas


As part of our Growing Together Project (more exciting news on this next year!), our wonderful founders John Cross and George McGavin have organised a little Christmas trail for you!  It's just a bit of fun to get the children out for a walk after their days of festive eating! Please watch the video below to see John and George explaining it all, followed by a slideshow of all the pictures you need to find. Happy hunting!

Have a very Happy Christmas, see you in the New Year and Let's Keep Growing Together!


Mrs Ryker smiley

12 Creatures of Christmas

12 Creatures of Christmas Pictures to find!

Stag Beetle Survey Results - Cheapside & Ascot June 2020, plus an extra amazing surprise!

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted photos and sightings of stag beetles to for our survey, launched on behalf of Dr George McGavin!

There were 21 sightings of the Stag Beetle (Lucanus Cervus) altogether, made up of: 3 Females and 3 Males in Cheapside, 2 Females in Sunninghill Park (Cheapside), 3 Males in Sunningdale, 3 Males in Ascot, 3 Males in Sunningdale. There were also sightings of the Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus Parallelipipedus):  2 in Sunninghill, 1 in Cheapside and 1 in our very own Forest School! But also......

**STOP PRESS - Nightingale Pupil finds Amazing Beetle!**

As if all that wasn't exciting enough, one of our families had a very interesting sighting! Upon seeing the photographs, Dr George McGavin explained that this beetle was, in fact the Tanner Beetle (Prionus Coiriarius). Dr McGavin further informed me that this is a nationally scarce species, usually found in the New Forest area of the UK. He was extremely excited as he has never seen this species in the wild - what a rare find! We're so glad we found something interesting for you, Dr McGavin! Photos of this beetle (the last two slides) and of the stag beetles sent in can be found in the video compilation below!


Enjoy and Let's Keep Growing Together!

Mrs Ryker 

Staggering Stag Beetles - Cheapside & Ascot June 2020

Growing Together 2020 Achievement Awards!

This week, it was fantastic to celebrate the commitment of children who have really embraced the ethos and spirit of Growing Together and who have also taken part in some of the challenges.  I was delighted that Dr George McGavin visited school yesterday.  He came to present a prize of one of his own published books 'Endangered Wildlife on the Brink of Extinction' to one of our Nightingale pupils for outstanding participation and commitment to the Year 3 Growing Together Project.  She was naturally delighted! This young lady has taken part in many challenges, including a litter pick, creating a new soup and a task to spot and document as many different types of tree as possible. She has also presented her work beautifully! More of her photos can be seen in the word document also below. Thank you so much to Dr McGavin for his generosity.

In addition to this, I was also proud to present three other pupils with certificates and prizes for their great work, which included some fantastic nature photography, examples of which can be seen in the slideshow below our winners' slideshow. Well done everyone!

Mrs Ryker angel


12.6.20 - Dr McGavin's Cheapside Stag Beetle Survey!

Dr George McGavin, co-founder of Growing Together and Cheapside’s local entomologist (an expert in studying insects!), is wondering if you can help him. Here is a message from George:


"Dear Nightingales, 

I wonder how many of you have seen a stag beetle (male or female)? 

If you have, I would like to know where you saw it and when you saw it. A photograph would be useful too if you have one. 

I have attached a photo of a male I saw in my garden tonight (11th June) - he is very handsome! 

Yours, George"


Next to George's photo above, you can see another photo of 2 stag beetles, male on the left and female on the right, to help you to identify them. Please keep a look out for these amazing creatures!

Please send information and photographs of any sightings to Mrs Ryker at:  and I will pass the information on.

Thank you!

Mrs Ryker

15.6.20 - Growing Together Catch-up Chat No. 3, Update about the Cheapside Bees and a new Challenge from our beekeeper Mr Nick Evans! 


Hello lovely Nightingales - please see below for the latest video from our wonderful Growing Together team! There is a new challenge all about bees and the flowers they frequent.

Anyone completing the challenge, or any of the previous challenges - these may include photos, drawings or written work, please do send them for the attention of Mrs Ryker, with 'Growing Together' as the email title to the class email address:

I will be creating a special slideshow of any work you send in, so that the Growing Together Team will be able to see all your efforts! 

As ever, let's keep Growing Together!

Kindest wishes

Mrs Ryker


15.6.20 Video Catch-up with the Growing Together Team

8.6.20 - Growing Together Catch-up chat No. 2 and new Challenge from Mr Cross!


Hello Nightingales - how did you get on with Dr McGavin's Tree Challenge?  


Please see below for our second catch up from Dr McGavin, John Cross and Nick Evans. There is a news of a new, rather delicious challenge, so get creating! 

Anyone completing this challenge, or who has done the previous Tree Challenge - this may include photos, drawing or written work, please send them for the attention of Mrs Ryker, with 'Growing Together' as the email title to the class email address:

I will be creating a special slideshow of any work you send in, so that the Growing Together Team will be able to see all your efforts!  Look out next week for a new video challenge. 

As always, let's keep Growing Together!

Kindest wishes

Mrs Ryker


8.6.20 Video Catch up No. 2 with the Growing Together Team!

1.6.20 - Growing Together Catch-up chat No. 1 and new Challenge from Dr McGavin!

Hello Nightingales and welcome to June! Please see the video below for a catch up from our Growing Together experts Dr George McGavin, John Cross and Nick Evans.  Make sure you listen up until the end as there is a new challenge from Dr McGavin! Anyone completing the challenge - this may include photos or drawings - please send them to Mrs Ryker at the class email address: I will create a slideshow to showcase any work you send in and then Dr McGavin will be able to see it too! Look out next week for a new video challenge! We may still be in the later stages of lockdown, but let's keep Growing Together!

Mrs Ryker smiley

1.6.20 Video Catch-up No.1 with the Growing Together Team!

Mrs Ryker's beautiful spiny garden visitors last night! 7.5.20

4.5.20 - Exciting News and  New Challenge from Mr Nick Evans!

"Well, I promised you very exciting news this week and here it is! Here is a message from Mr Cross to tell you about it:

"Hi guys - I hope all is well. Just to let you know that I'm proud and pleased to announce that the Growing Together Bees have arrived! Our own Nick Evans has compiled these  videos to show you all what's happening. So enjoy, stay safe and let us know your thoughts.  Hope to see you all soon!" 


Isn't that amazing? Please watch the 2 videos below, in order! Mr Evans asks you some questions at the end of the second video - you'll need to do some research, or perhaps you remember the answers from Mr Evan's talk some weeks ago. To make it easier, here are the same  questions he asks on the video:


-There are 4 things that the bee goes out to collect, which helps the bees to survive and also helps with the growing of fruit and vegetables.  The first thing is Water - what are the other 3?

- What are each of those things used for and why are they so important to the life of the colony?


Get buzzing, write down your answers and send them to Mrs Ryker at:




Video 1 - The Growing Together Bees

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Video 2 - The Growing Together Bees

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26.4.20 New Litter Pick Activity from Dr McGavin!

Please see the latest fantastic activity below - this time it is all about litter. This is an extremely thought-provoking and important issue, which is key to Growing Together, so please do take part, read the document and then answer the questions at the end. Present your work neatly, perhaps with some illustrations too, if you like! Please email Mrs Ryker with your responses to the Nightingale Class email and I will pass your thoughts and ideas onto Dr McGavin. He will love to see them - thank you! smiley


April Wildflower Ramble

Please see below for the latest fantastic activity from Dr George McGavin. Enjoy!

Dr McGavin's Growing Together Challenge Competition!

Year 3 Children Only please!

You should all have received an email about this exciting competition.  For your convenience, full details are also posted here. 

Growing Together Challenge Competition!


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Easter Quiz Answers

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Hello all! We hope that you enjoyed last week's quiz from Mr Cross - how many answers did you manage to find out? Here is this week's quiz for you! Keep your eyes peeled for the answers at the end of the week.... As if that wasn't exciting enough, we also have a Photographic Nature Ramble Quiz from Dr George McGavin! Please also find below, with answers in due course

Photographic Nature Ramble Quiz!

ANSWERS Photographic Nature Ramble Quiz

Growing Together Quiz 30.3.20

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ANSWERS to Mr Cross Quiz 30.3.20

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Happy Saturday everyone!  As we begin this time of Home Learning, we are sadly not able to deliver our Growing Together sessions that we had planned. However, to keep all your learning going, Mr John Cross has put together a fun quiz of 10 questions to keep that Growing Together spirit alive! Some of the questions are quite tricky and will need some research! Watch the video and test your knowledge. An answer video will be posted soon!

Growing Together Quiz - 21.3.20

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Growing Together Quiz 21.3.20 - ANSWERS!

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All about Bees! - March 2020


Last week, we had the privilege of a visit from Mr Nick Evans, an experienced and very knowledgeable bee-keeper from Cheapside.  Nick brought in an empty hive and explained about all the different parts of the hive.  He also regaled us with many fascinating facts about honey bees - what incredible creatures they are! Some of the bee-guiling (sorry!) facts we learned are:


  • There are 20, 000 different species of bee, with 270 different species in the UK.
  • 35% of all our food only exists because of bees.
  • Most bees are solitary; only honey bees live in colonies.
  • In colonies or hives, there are three types of bess: tWorkers (90% female), Drones (male bees, only 100-200) and the Queen.
  • The Queen controls the behaviour of the other bees and lays between 1000-1500 eggs per day.
  • One bee will visit 50-100 flowers in a day.
  • They pick up pollen on their legs and body and then will pollinate another plant.
  • It takes half a million visits and a distance of 55000 miles to flowers to produce half a kilo of honey.
  • A bee's wings vibrates 190 times per second and it is this movement which produces a bee's 'buzz'!


Please see below, the Challenge Task for March - a hard copy has already gone home with your child. We look forward to seeing all the posters!


Thank you so much to all parents and children who work so hard on the Food Miles home task.  All work produced was brilliant, but I had to choose only two prize-winners and asked Mr Cross and Mr Evans to present the prizes and certificates. Well done!

Welcome to the Growing Together 2020 project page! On this page you will find regular updates, photographs and information about the two-term project being run with Nightingale Class. The project is being run by Mr John Cross and Dr George McGavin and co-ordinated by Mrs Ryker in school.

They, or other expert volunteers, will be visiting school every month to work with the children in Nightingale Class. 

Here is an introductory message about the project, put together by George and John:


Today there is a growing awareness of the effects we are having on the natural world and many of us are thinking about how we can live healthier and more sustainable lives. Cheapside resident Mr John Cross has enlisted the help of  myself, TV Zoologist Dr George McGavin, The Thatched Tavern and Cheapside  School to develop an exciting new project. Growing Together is aimed at helping children understand the links between food, health, well being and the environment.

For example, it has long been known that high fat and high sugar foods are very damaging and children today need to develop the skills to make choices about food and understand the benefits of eating a balanced and healthy diet. One aspect of the project will be to encourage home grown produce, which can lead to greater self-sufficiency and reduced pollution. In addition children will be encouraged to explore the natural environment and understand the plants and animals that can be found there and the roles they play."


As a school we are incredibly excited about the project and the impact we hope it will have on the children and families. We are also very grateful to George and John who are giving up their time voluntarily to run the project with us.


Food Miles - February 2019

This week, the children have completed their first 'Growing Together' session where they learnt about food miles. The session raised awareness of the impact of eating foods flown in from abroad on the environment. In class they used a world map to plot where everyday foods were produced and where these countries were in relation to the UK. They found out that, for example; apples were grown in many different countries but to reduce food miles we should buy apples grown in Britain! Over the half term they have been set a challenge to visit a supermarket and find out where some popular fruits and vegetables are grown. They have then been tasked with working out the food miles from source to plate.  Thank you so much for your time in facilitating this and we look forward to the results!


Project Launch Information Evening - Tuesday 27th January 2020

Thank you to those Parents who made it to the information evening. We hope you found it both informative and enjoyable. We were delighted to have received such positive feedback about the project and we hope it is just the beginning of us all working and growing together to  make some positive changes to our lifestyles. Attached below are some handouts from the evening, they include a booklet about the project and a copy of this month's Home Learning Challenge. Please note that these are just an electronic copy of the handouts which have already come home in paper version for you to keep and work with.






Photos from our Food Miles Session!