Farmer David was so impressed with how well we cared for the baby chicks earlier this half term, that he surprised us with a visit from his other farmyard friends. We were amazed to discover ducks, sheep, goats and alpacas waiting for us just across the playground! We listened carefully as Farmer David taught us many interesting facts about the animals. Did you know that alpacas are part of the camel family?
It wasn't long before we got to know the animals up close...stroking Donald the duck, feeding the sheep and goats, and even taking the alpacas for a walk!
When we return after the Easter break, we will draw on the excitement of this 'hands on' experience to drive our learning about life on the farm. Why not do some research on this topic at home? Try to find three pieces of information about a farm animal of your choice.
Every Friday, we now head over to our new forest school location (the secret garden behind the year 6 annex). Sessions are designed to help us connect with nature and to grow in confidence and self esteem! We explore and make discoveries: this week we discovered frog spawn in the old bathtub! We listen and concentrate: most recently, we listened to the story of the disappearing fairy house (we even made our own fairy houses using twigs, leaves and feathers!). We learn about the world: we have been finding out about the parts of a tree and also about the fire triangle (fuel, oxygen and heat).
We follow our own forest rules:
We love to recycle and re-use, especially when we can turn junk and old packaging into something new! We are working hard to plan ahead: explaining or drawing what we intend to make. Just as importantly, we are using our voices to explain to others what we have made and how we could improve it or change it, if we were to make it again.
Why not see what masterpieces your child can assemble at home using only old packaging and some glue or sellotape? We'd love them to bring their creations into school to show to their friends and teachers!
Books - an essential ingredient in any childhood and both the food and foundation of all future learning. How many books do you share with your child each week? Story time is precious and builds your child's future vocabulary, imagination and knowledge of the world in which they live. Definitely something worth celebrating!
Children enjoyed our special World Book Day parade and were confident telling others about their chosen character. Later we split into teams and researched three of our favourite authors - Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson and Hans de Beer. The following day, the teachers created a special author quiz to see how much we could remember; they could hardly believe their ears when we answered every single question correctly!
See if your child can answer the questions below at home! Each answer is one of the authors named above and we have put the correct author's initials after each question (so that you will know if they are right).
1. Which author has the middle name Wayne? (MR)
2. Who had a cat called Geoffrey as a childhood pet? (JD)
3. Who is also an illustrator who loves to draw polar bears? (HDB)
4. Who wrote the Gruffulo? (JD)
5. Who loves to perform funny poems? (MR)
6. Who has written over 180 school reading books? (JD)
7. Who is the author of 'The Little Polar bear'? (HDB)
We just can't get enough of mathematics! Each day we practise and apply what we know and continue to make new discoveries; adding layer upon layer to our mathematical skills and knowledge.
We learn by interacting with the world around us and make use of a range of mathematical resources (including everyday objects) to play with number, try things out, observe and interpret and then use our representations to communicate and explain what we know! Sounds exhausting for four and five year olds and yet it is so much fun!
Below are a few snaps of us hard at work exploring number and shape...
What a great responsibility we have taken on! We are now the carers of newborn chicks! Having kept them warm in their incubator over the last couple of days, we watched eagerly as they made the difficult journey out of their shells. We observed how they used their sharp beaks to peck a small hole and how, though tired, they worked and worked until the hole grew big enough for them to claw their way out.
Once born from their shells, the chicks lay exhausted; their feathers wet and their tummies hungry! We made sure that they stayed in the incubator long enough for their feathers to dry and then moved them into a larger enclosure where they could drink and eat for the very first time! When they grew strong, we had the chance to observe them up close - holding them with great care! We were eager to find out about their life cycle and even made our own chick information books to share with other children.
Why not spend time at home learning about the life cycles of other animals and creatures? A great place to start would be the life cycle of a butterfly or the life cycle of a frog. Don't forget to share what you have found out when you are back in school!
We were more than excited to find out about Chinese New Year and the many traditions involved in this special celebration! As well as researching together in books and on the internet, we were delighted when Oscar arrived in school with his Chinese lion and drum. He explained that both were presents from his grandparents and was proud to play the 'Lion dance' on his drum as we took turns bringing the lion to life! Lucia wore her traditional Chinese dress to school; we were able to look closely at the silk fabric and delicate patterns. Lucia's mum even came to school for the afternoon to help us make our own traditional Chinese dumplings, which we had as part of our Chinese buffet! We enjoyed many Chinese-themed crafts, including painting Cherry blossoms, decorating Chinese fans and making our own dragon masks!
Since returning to school after the half term break, the children have helped to transform our role play corner into a vets! Previously, the children had been very vocal about their wish to take care of animals during our 'God's world' topic; now, from a ladybird with a broken wing to a dog with a tummy ache, the vets in Reception M are on standby to offer their services!
Talk to your child at home about either your own pet or a pet that belongs to a relative, family friend or neighbour. Encourage your child to think about the following questions:
Children have been keeping an eye on the world around them and looking out for signs of autumn. They understand that the weather and the environment changes as we move through the year, and that autumn sees the world getting colder - marking the transition from summer to winter. To fully immerse themselves in the nature all around them, the children went on an 'Autumn Walk' both at school and at home. As well as using their eyes to spot changes, they also tuned into the sounds of autumn, such as the wind moving through the trees and the leaves crunching underneath their own feet!
After gathering many autumnal items (such as conkers, leaves and acorns), the children put them to great use, using them to count, represent numbers, weigh, compare and order. They certainly are busy bees!
This week, the children enjoyed going on a musical instrument hunt with their partner. They worked as a team to follow their clue card and locate their instrument as quickly as possible. Children then explored which musical instruments suited different pieces of music. They decided, after exploration and group discussion, that the triangle and the glockenspiel suited ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’, the drum and wooden rhythm sticks suited the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’, the cymbals suited ‘Mission Impossible’ and the maracas suited our ‘Samba Mega Mix’.
Listen to the music again at home and see if you can find objects at home which can be turned into musical instruments e.g. an empty sweet tin as a drum or rice in a plastic bottle as a maraca!
Just before school finished for half term, the children spent some time learning about the Hindu festival of Diwali. They were interested to learn about the traditional preparations made in the week before, such as spring cleaning and the creation of colourful Rangoli patterns outside the home to welcome guests.
As Diwali is the festival of lights, children worked in teams to create their own diva lamps and enjoyed lighting these during our reading of the story of ‘Ramayana’ (The story of Diwali)
On the final day of school, we had a Diwali party. Children made patterned paper chains and rangoli patterns to decorate our classroom. There was Indian food to taste and we even made our own traditional Indian sweets and edible sparklers!
As October is not only National Poetry month, but also Black History month, children across the school chose a poet of Black African heritage and spent time learning about their life and career, as well as enjoying their wonderful poems!
In Reception, children looked at the work of Grace Nichols and chose a one of her food poems ‘Sugarcake Bubble to learn off by heart. As they picked it up so quickly, we decided to write two additional verses of our own: the first described making porridge from oats and the second spoke of making a ‘hot and hearty’ vegetable soup. To bring our poem to life, the children had great fun writing recipes together and heading to our Early Years kitchen to make their very own porridge, vegetable soup and sugarcake!
To further celebrate National Poetry Month we were more than excited to welcome local poet and published author Elayne Ogbeta to school. Elayne visited every class from Reception to Year 6 to share her wonderful poetry. As well as performing her own poems, Elayne was delighted to listen to the children recite their own poem!
Phonics plays a crucial role in early reading and writing. Every day, children take part in a small group session tailored to their current needs. During ‘Leading my learning time’ children have a go at our many phonic challenges to try and apply what they have learnt.
It is important that children produce 'pure' sounds when blending sounds to read or when segmenting a word into sounds to spell. An example of a 'pure' sound is to say 'sssss' like a snake, rather than 'suh'.
To help children remember the 'pure' sounds at home, try singing the jolly phonics songs from the video below.
As soon as children enter the Reception classroom every morning, they put their finger muscles to the test. By engaging in lots of fine motor and hand strengthen activities, the children prepare their hands for gripping a writing pencil correctly and using it with increasing control and precision.
Strengthening hand muscles ahead of writing is extremely important. Children use their hand and finger muscles, as well as their cross body coordination and posture, to help ensure that they move the pencil with increasing control when writing. Once children are able to hold the pencil securely using the grip pictured below, they are introduced to the correct way to form each letter of the alphabet. It is important to form each letter using a specific sequence of movements, and not to just imitate the shape and appearance. For example, the letter o must be formed in an anti-clockwise direction and the letter b must travel down, then back up to the middle and around to the base of the line. For a demonstration of each letter, please see the video below.
(Children need to concentrate on the correct formation of lowercase letters before becoming more familiar with uppercase.)
Children are doing extremely well remembering the sequence of days in the week and gaining confidence recalling the sequence of months in the year. Use the songs below to continue practicing at home!
Try to regularly tell your child what day it is. Tell them what day it was yesterday and ask them if they can remember what they did (make sure your child speaks correctly in the past tense (e.g. I ran around at the park, not I ‘runned’ around at the park’). Tell them which day it will be tomorrow and ask them what they think will happen or what they think that they will do.
If your child is very confident, try to catch them out with quick-fire questions. For example:
· What day is after Tuesday?
· What day is before Friday?
· Which days are school days?
· How many days are at the weekend?
· What is the first month of the year?
· What is the last month of the year?
· In which month do we celebrate Christmas?
· In which month is your birthday?
Every day in Reception is a busy one! Take a look at our daily timetable, which is designed to enable all children to enjoy and achieve. It allows maximum opportunities for children to develop and gain confidence in all areas of our Early Years curriculum.