Alpington & Bergh Apton C of E VA Primary School

The Big Sleepover – report

Published: 6th July 2018

After months of planning and anticipation, the evening was finally here.

As the children arrived, we started a big game of rounders. Mrs Osborne was our no-nonsense umpire, while Judy (from YMCA), Mrs Green, Mrs Connor and I all joined the teams to play. Getting that rounders bat in my hand took me back to my school days and we had a great game. It was excellent practice for the older children, who had a tournament a few days later and went on to win.

After rounders, we stopped for a water break and then split into groups to play two new team games. One group played ‘Lob Bob’ a game requiring speed and accuracy as the players lob Bob (a stuffed sock) with the aim of knocking over a skittle, before the opposing player. The other group played Human Connect Four which requires tactics and teamwork to make a line of four players while trying to block the opposition from doing the same. This resulted in much laughter as the players tried to follow their team’s directions to block or complete a line.

The next activity was to work with a group of friends to build a den on the field. The children had access to play building blocks, tarpaulins, poles and skipping ropes. Most groups used a structure as the basis for their den, including picnic benches, the trim-trail, trees and the climbing frame. There was a lot of earnest discussion and determined knot-tying as they worked hard together with varying degrees of success and a high level of fun and camaraderie.

Building a den helped to remind the children the purpose of our sleepover was to raise money for the YMCA to help homeless people find safe shelter. Of course, what goes up must come down and our dens needed to be dismantled and equipment returned. I was impressed with the way our children helped each other put things away and collect up resources.

Once tidy, we started to gather dry twigs and sticks to make campfires. The children were the experts here, having all participated in outdoor learning and lit colander fires before. We successfully lit three fires and set about the process of roasting marshmallows to make S’mores: a melting marshmallow squashed between two chocolate digestives – very sticky, messy and tasty.
By this point the sun was getting low in the sky and, once we had finished off the biscuits, we made our fires safe and went into the hall to set up our beds. Mrs Connor and Mrs Green made delicious milky hot chocolates, so nice that some children came back for more.

The children put their pyjamas on, brushed their teeth, got into their sleeping bags, and settled down to watch Early Man. As the film reached the end, the children had a pre-bed visit to the loo and we all settled in for the night.

They settled well, with the last whispers being heard just before midnight. I am very pleased to say that the night passed uneventfully and the first murmurs of waking came around six o’clock. My first thought on waking and seeing the time was that we had all ‘survived’ the sleepover – we had done it!

We encouraged the children to go back to sleep if they could, or read their books if not. By seven o’clock most children were awake – just two girls sleeping on through the rustling of sleeping bags and book pages.

After our lie-in we all tided away our belongings while Mrs Connor, Mrs Osborne and I arranged breakfast, kindly provided by Friends. The children were very happy to sit on the hall steps in the morning shade to enjoy croissants, pain au chocolat and orange juice before initiating a kick around. Judy had left us some temporary tattoos for the children so, while they played, I set up a mini tattoo parlour to apply the transfers for those who wanted them. The Y6 children were keen to have matching tattoo positions to demonstrate their solidarity and unity in their final few weeks of Primary School.

As parents arrived to collect their children, I had a moment to reflect on how blessed we are to have such amazing children. They were so well behaved, kind and helpful towards each other and us. One boy even offered to help wash up the hot chocolate mugs.

I would like to sincerely thank all those involved in making it such a successful event and raising funds for YMCA Norfolk. I will be able to let you know the final figure later in the month once all pledges have been brought in to school.

Special thanks go to the children for bringing Alpington school spirit to our first sleepover.

Rachel Eland

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