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Big Bangs or Little Bubbles?

Primary Science

science teacher La Garenne

This week our primary school children have been focussing on science - looking at the tiniest creatures, investigating how materials change from liquid to solid, and what makes something acidic or alkaline and how to tell the difference.

Litmus Test

Observing science in real time helps embed learning in young children’s minds. For example, watching an indicator stick (litmus paper) change to red to indicate a more acidic content, or to blue for more alkaline, or stay white to indicate a neutral result - is knowledge that is far more likely to be remembered than merely learning it from a book.

From this experiment we get the metaphor “Litmus test” - an effective and definitive way of proving or measuring something. For example, you might find it used in politics to assess the value of a policy, or in conservation, to determine if the extinction of a species is related to the climate emergency.

Using Microscopes to see the hidden world

Using microscopes to look at the smallest objects always makes for a fun classroom activity. The children carefully put small amounts of fresh water onto microscope slides and using the lenses to fine tune the focus, they were able to identify mini invertebrates which they couldn’t see with the naked eye.


This experiment shows children that there is a hidden world out there - beneath their feet, in rivers and streams, and in the vegetation and trees. Biodiversity isn’t always immediately visible and it’s important not to forget that it exists even when we can’t see it. Classifying creatures teaches children that labels matter - whether it’s a common object like a book, or the name of a living creature like a worm or a snail or an insect.

Boiling water

As if that hard work wasn’t enough, our children also learned how materials can change from one state to another - liquids, gases and solids. Using heat and dry ice they watched as water froze, melted and then evaporated. Observing changes at first hand enables children to make predictions about what will happen next.

Making foam bubbles

Come next winter this week’s science will be at the forefront of our primary children’s minds when they observe how water turns to ice, how water vapour falling from the sky becomes snow, and why their warm breath is visible as it evaporates in the cold air.

Using checmiclas to make sparks

Many thanks to our Senior School science department and especially to super teacher Paul Minton for creating such fun and exciting lessons for our primary children.

Categories: Academic


Welcome home

Service and action in Tanzania

It's been a busy but exhilarating time for La Garenne students who have been in Costa Rica, Tanzania, France and Portugal on our annual school trips.

From building chicken sheds and installing solar lights in a remote African village, braving the chilly Atlantic surf in the Azores, enjoying close up views of wildlife (not all of it friendly), to having fun at the Puy du Fou theme park, all ages have made the absolute most of their experiences. Even the unexpected weekend in Amsterdam (thanks to issues at Schiphol Airport) didn't phase us. In fact it became a fabulous opportunity for exploring such a beautiful city. Sunny Amsterdam

Sadly the school trips are now coming towards their end and we expect some of our students back in school in the next 24 hours, no doubt exhausted but full of reflection about what they have seen and learnt. France School Trip Parc Puy du Fou

They will spend the next few weeks writing up their journals and putting together presentations for their IB exams and assessments. We can't wait to see them.

Costa Rica waterfall

Thank you to all the staff who led the trips for their encouragement, care and support of La Garenne's students.

Welcome home

Categories: School Trips


And we're off!

There's been a palpable sense of excitement across La Garenne for the last week, as students and staff prepare for the best event of 2022: the School Trip. Our buildings and boarding houses have been ringing to the cries of "where's my passport?", "I can't find my flipflops" and, most importantly, "will I be able to sleep on safari?"

This year we are going to Tanzania, Costa Rica, Portugal (actually the Azores) and France. Even our youngest children from age 5 have days of activities planned including trips to Aquatis, a chocolate factory and the beautiful floral sculptures down by Lac Léman (Lake Geneva).

Like every school trip, there is always a reason behind choosing the destination. Our students will learn about biodiversity, ecology, conservation, and in Tanzania, they'll be helping on humanitarian projects such as installing solar panels and renovating a school. Privilege comes with responsibility.

The reason for so much excitement - after all, school trips at La Garenne are compulsory - is because we haven't been able to go to faraway places for almost two years. Finally though, with restrictions lifted, bags are packed, plane tickets are bought and yes, those flip flops have been found.

You can follow the progress of our students across La Garenne's social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook, where we will be posting regular updates and highlights.

off to tanzania

And we're off!

Categories: School Trips


Back to school Term 3

When the hard work really starts

Welcome to what is optimistically known as the Summer Term*. Our students have been enjoying a good break with their families but that comes to an abrupt halt this weekend as we open our doors once again for Term 3.
We really hope they've found time to complete all their holiday homework, because this term is crucial for grades and progression to the next academic year. On the timetable are French, high school diploma and IB exams, and all manner of tests and assessments.
That's not to say there won't be time for relaxation and fun, because boarding school life is never just work and no play. So in a couple of weeks' time, our students will be complementing their classroom learning with trips to Tanzania, France, Portugal and Costa Rica.
Follow us on social media to learn more.

* In the last week we have had heaps of snow, lots of rain and hail and also some very welcome sun - normal for the Alps of course.

Back to school Term 3

Categories: Academic


Primary Wellbeing Week

Wellbeing is the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. Each day this week, we set aside time at the start of the day for our students to participate in a range of activities. The children loved being grouped with children from other classes and they enjoyed moving to a different classroom each morning. We had a professional yoga teacher come into school to work with the children, they benefited from the Mini Mediatation sessions and they took time to reflect on how they are feeling and what things they can do to look after themselves.
The childen, when asked why they loved this week, explained; `It is fun, we get to spend time with different children and different teachers, talking and playing and connecting with eachother. There are a variety of activities, some of which I haven`t tried before. It was relaxing and I felt excited each morning.`

wellbeing blog1 wellbeing blog1 wellbeing blog1 wellbeing blog1 wellbeing blog1

Primary Wellbeing Week

Categories: Academic

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