Ardleigh Green School contacted us to tell us about how they celebrate Remeberance Day this year, we spoke to Head Teacher John Morris:
We approach Remembrance Day in a different way each year.
Last year we discussed how life would have been in the Ardleigh Green Community at the time of the first World War. We learnt some of the popular songs of the time eg Pack up your troubles, Keep the Home Fires Burning and Its a long way to Tipperary- discussing the meaning and context of the songs. With the help of local historian Norma Jennings, a long time friend of the school, we explored local history records and realised that the farms/ fields around our school were used to rear horses which were shipped to France. To celebrate 100 years since World War 1 we held a special assembly which culminated with our song We Will Remember. This was posted on our school website and had 1K + views. The song written by our resident Musician in Residence Andrew Linham captured the importance of us not forgetting the price that was paid by so many people in WW1 and WW2 so that we can live in peace.
Andrew dedicated the song to his grandmother Sylvia Pogson who was heavily involved with running the women’s section of the Hornchurch Branch of the British Legion. When asked about the song Andrew commented, “The song seeks to capture the values that she instilled in me as a child.”
This year the song again formed the basis of our reflections about World War 1 and World War 2 in a number of assemblies and class discussions leading up to Remembrance Day. As part of our Worldly Wise London Project we focused on the Cenotaph in Whitehall with the help of a a great model provided by the British Legion and the significance a poppy and the laying a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph. In one of our assemblies I talked to the children about how proud I am of my grandfather Reginald Amor who fought in the Battle of the Somme and my father Frank Arthur George Morris who served in Egypt in World War 2. The following Day Lyla shared with us information she had found out with a little help from her dad about her two great great grandfathers Edward James Griffiths and Henry George Stephens who both served and survived WW1.
On Remembrance Day we shared the following poem as an introduction to our Remembrance Song which itself includes reference to the poem by Binyon For the Fallen first published in 1914
Why are they selling poppes , mummy?
Selling poppies in town today?
The poppies, child, are flowers of love,
For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood my child,
The blood that our soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black mummy
Why does it have to be black?
Black my child is a symbol of grief,
For the men who never came back
But why mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears my child
For the world is forgetting again….
This year the two minutes silence was kept in the children’s classes, with the children stopping what ever they were doing and reflecting on the things we had discussed leading up to Remembrance Day. The children without exception stood silently and respectfully as at 11.00am as the school fell silent for two minutes. The children and staff loved singing the song which we first sang last year. We all agree that that it captures the significance of Remembrance Day particularly with the images which form part of the video.
The children as usual sold poppies everyday and wore their poppies with pride. Hopefully the poem will have reminded them about the significance of the poppy and the song once again cause adults and children to reflect, remember and be thankful to all those who have given their lives that we might live in peace.
“Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.”