Rocking Robins

Summer 2 Newsletter


Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you managed to get out even though the weather was not very good and had a well-deserved break. I cannot believe we are starting the final half term of the school year, where has the time gone? During the final half term our topic will be ‘Minibeast Madness.’ Here we will be exploring creepy crawlies and small creatures you may find in the garden. Firstly will be learning about habitats and going on welly walks to see if we can spot some of these. We will be exploring how different mini beasts like diverse environments and even try to make some of our own for the garden. We will also be exploring how some of these creatures change during their life cycles.

 This half term is an extremely busy one with our trip to the butterfly house, sports day and the transitions weeks where children will be visiting their new class so that they can get to know their new teacher and get used to the structure. This may be a little unsettling for some of the children however we will do lots of circle times to try and make this as smooth as possible for both them and also you. If you have any questions about this then please don’t hesitate to ask.


We are continuing with Phase 5 this half term, where more alternative sounds for phonemes already learnt will be introduced. The children have picked this up very well so far and have impressed me by asking me which spelling of the sounds they need in their writing. Please refer to the little bookmark I sent home recently for more information about this, as well as to help your child consolidate these. There are still some children who are not picking up the tricky words by sight, this is very evident when reading. Please encourage them to learn as many as possible in the lead up to Year 1 as it will enable your child to access this new curriculum with a little bit more ease as new Year 1 common exception words are introduced here.


Our main focus in Literacy this half term will be looking at non-fiction books once again, however we will concentrate on using the language included in such books. The children will continue to use the ‘talk 4 writing’ methods of boxing up and adding actions to help the children internalise this new vocabulary.

We will also be continuing to encourage children to write sentences independently and have a focus on handwriting to get letters clearly formed ready for their next school year and so that they have the solid foundations needed to start joining letters in Year 1. Some children are continuing to need lots of support when writing. Please can I ask that you encourage as much independence as possible when completing their home learning tasks. If they constantly ask you what sound is next, re-direct the question to them and don’t fall into the trap of accidently giving them all the answers. This will help them greatly. Also once your child has done some writing, if you ask them to read over their work, this will encourage them to evaluate their work and add in anything they realise they have missed. This will once again help make the transition into year 1 far easier as they will be expected to sit at tables and work independently to complete learning tasks.


We have returned to school learning all about Money, here we will be learning how to recognise and identify coins using their size, shape and colour, before looking into the concept of value. We will then move on to time.

When looking at time we will begin with learning the days of the week and months of the year, before using different methods to measure time, such as stop watches, sand timers and then clocks.

In order to help your children at home here are a number of ideas you could do;

◾Ask children to sort a pile of coins into 1ps, 2ps 5ps etc to help them learn the properties of the money.

◾Set up a pretend shop.

◾Allow them to hand over coins when in shops and look at price tags when you are out.

◾Put coins in a bag, ask children to close their eyes and choose one and then they have to tell you what it is. You could then have a turn and get it wrong so they have to correct you.

◾Look at arrows on a clock.

◾Time how long it takes for your child to do things for example get dressed or how many star jumps they could do in a minute (or tidy their room!!)


Please ensure that your child has appropriate summer kit as it is getting warmer as I don’t want children to overheat in tracksuits. This will also be needed for sports day, including appropriate footwear for grass.


Children have continual access to the outside area so please ensure that sun cream is applied daily and that your child brings a named hat to school. If children do not have sun cream on, I will have to limit their outdoor time to ensure they are safe. Please can I also ask that a water bottle is brought in daily as many children do not have them?          

Barlborough’s Got Talent

Every year the Year 6 cohort organise a talent show. We will be holding in class auditions to see which act will perform in the show. If you want to start practicing and putting together an act then this would be fantastic. We have some very talented children in the school so the more creative performances, the better…no pressure parents! This could be a dance, a song, a karate sequence.

I will let you know when the in class auditions are so that costumes and props can be brought in.


Due to the unsuccessful number of chicks hatched last time, we are going to attempt to do this again this half term. We hope we get more than three fertile eggs this time and will actually be able to hold the chicks this time.

Passport Target

We will be encouraging children to ‘always say please and thank you’ as often these can be easily forgotten.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Summer Term Topic Web: Minibeast Madness

 Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: 

Forest School

 On Tuesday afternoons the children will now take part in forest school lessons with Miss Heath-Smith. This is a fantastic opportunity for the children to immerse themselves into a multi-sensory activity which promotes learning with natural materials. This week the children were making natures paintbrushes. They searched the garden for materials which would be good to use for their paintbrush and then explored different ways of attaching these to a stick. They then used these to make marks with water on the stones and logs.

Summer Term Newsletter 1

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am amazed that we are at the beginning of the last full term of the school Year. It has flown by and when I think back to when the children first started in my class, to how they are now, the progress they have made is incredible.

This half term our topic is ‘Commotion in the Ocean.’ We will be becoming deep sea divers to explore the magical depths of the ocean and learn about some animals who live here. This is a short half term, but crammed with some very exciting learning opportunities.


In Literacy we will start by exploring rhyming words in stories and poetry before moving on to using the talk 4 writing method to explore non-fiction texts and how we gain information and facts from these. We will be learning about the features of these books (for example the contents and index pages) and will be creating our very own pages to create a class book.

The children will be working towards writing one or more full sentences this half term. The children should now be at the stage of including finger spaces, capital letters and full stops regularly, with many words spelt phonetically and most tricky words spelt accurately, with little to no adult support.  To entice your children to practice this at home you could introduce a special writing pen that they only get out when they want to practice their writing.

If you are struggling to get your child to have a go at writing independently, when they ask you what comes next if you respond “What do you think?” This often encourages them to engage as chances are, they will actually know!


We are continuing with Phase 4 of Letters and Sounds and will be moving on to Phase 5 when I feel the children are ready. Here they will learn some alternate ways of writing some sounds for example if we take the sound ai (rain) this can also be written as a (race) ay (delay) etc. I will provide more information about this when we reach this stage.


The children’s confidence and love of reading seems to have grown greatly last term. Many children are sight reading most of the high frequency and tricky words now and quickly notice repeated words in books. I have had a number of parents telling me that they have displayed these words around the house so that children constantly see them. This is a fantastic way to develop their sight reading. Please practice reading their books as many times as you can throughout the week and continue to ask the children questions about what has happened in the text or to predict what events may happen next, who might they meet next, what do you think you could change the title of the book to? This will continue to develop their language comprehension skills. You could even use a bit of the ‘talk 4 writing’ methods we use to develop vocabulary and ask children to create story maps about the narrative and get them to act this out.

This half term you will now be in charge of swapping your child’s books. There will be coloured baskets with books for you to look through and select. Please ensure that you stick with books from your child’s book band colour as this level is the most appropriate for your reading skill. You can change these as many times as you like, but please only take 2 books and read each book twice before returning them.


This half term we are focusing on Shape, Space and Measure again, however we will be introducing length, height, capacity and weight. The children will be working towards using language associated to all of these things competently (for example length- long/short, height-tall/small, capacity- full/empty/cupful’s and weight-heavy/light) We will be using many methods to explore how we measure these things. There are lots of ways you could practice this at home too. For example when weighing out ingredients ask your child to help and discuss grams, when in the bath see how much water different containers hold or use a tape measure to measure the size of their favourite toys.

We will be continuing to order numbers to 20 and beyond, say one more than/one less than a number, and complete simple operations during starters.

Passport Targets

The children have been far more respectful to our classroom and adult instruction and I am pleased to say we will be moving onto a new target this half term. We will now be focusing on ‘comforting others.’ Lots of children do this naturally, but it will be nice to look at ways in which we can do this.

Forest School

This term Miss Heath-Smith will be conducting forest school in the school garden with the class on Tuesday afternoon. This will enable the children to explore natural materials and get creative in a multi-sensory environment. I would recommend that children bring in their wellington boots as this will still go ahead in the rain.

Other Information

  • We will be practicing ball skills and gymnastics during PE this half term.
  • As the weather is getting warmer we advise that the children bring in named summer hats and have sun cream applied before school as and when needed.
  • I have arranged a trip to the Butterfly house for next half term. Please check book bags in the next few weeks to find out more information about this.
  • There are lots of PE kits unnamed which is making us accumulate a large number of lost property. Please ensure these are named so I can return items back to their owners.
  • Book bags will no longer be checked in preparation for Year 1 so please hand any slips in to an adult.
  • Thank you so much for your generosity this half term. Many parents sent in resources for our Space topic and I really do appreciate this as without them I do not feel it would have been as successful.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Summer Term Topic Web: Commotion in the ocean

 Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: 

Astronaut Menu Writing

 After tasting the food, the children then went on to use their Phonic knowledge to create a menu for an Astronaut. They were so enthusiastic when writing some of the food options and the majority of children did this with high levels of independence. Well done children.

Astronaut  Food

 Today the children enjoyed exploring what Astronauts eat during their space missions. They found it very funny that they ate dried food and had some strange combinations such as cheese and crackers for breakfast. They then went on to taste some dehydrated foods such as apples, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I think their firm favourite was the ice cream sandwich however, even if it was "crunchy" and "crispy."

Child Initiated Maths

 Last week Miss Lowre introduced the concept of pictograms and tally charts to the children though a discussion she had with some of them during discovery time. This led to most of the class creating their own tally charts and asking each other what their favourite fruit was, recording this on the tables. This week the children have continued to be excited by these and are now enjoying finding out what the children do to keep safe in the sun and again recording this through tally marks.

It has been lovely to watch their knowledge and understanding of many different concepts unfold through this child initiated activity.

New Addition

 What an absolutely wonderful day. Not only due to our new arrival but the excitement this generated from the children was incredible to be a part of. They were writing cards, banners of encouragement and passages about what was happening, placing them close to the incubator so the chick could see. Then when it had made an appearance, they were so respectful, not touching the glass, making sure they were quiet and being very considerate. Hopefully tomorrow we will see some more movement from the others.
Well done Rocking Robins, you have been super stars 🌟

Role Play

This week the children have been creating the most fantastical narratives in the role play space station. From Alien's coming to Earth, to loosing all the stars in the sky. We have had some wonderful stories unfolding and it is great to see the children trying to use our word of the week to develop their play.
Not only this, but the children have enjoyed experimenting with using different media to print with and creating their own story maps based around our talk for writing text 'There's No Place Like Space.'

Red Nose Day

We had a fun filled day learning about why we were trying to raise money for Red Nose Day and it was lovely to see how emphathetic the children were when talking about where the money raised today would be going and how it would help others. The jokes sent in were hilarious and it was lovely to see how confident the children were standing up and telling them to others. Well done to Nola who won the competition with the following joke: Why can't you give Elsa a balloon? Because she will let it go!

We then went to the cake sale and had a hard time choosing what we wanted to buy as there was a wonderful selection. Thank you for dressing your child in all the red you could find and sending in lots of money for them to spend.


World Book Day

 We had a fabulous day in Reception celebrating World Book Day. So much effort was made with the costumes, so thank you very much for that. The children did so well presenting their favourite books to the class and spoke with self-assurance about their favourite parts of the stories. It is lovely to see them growing into such confident young things.

Well done to Evie, our winner of the poster competition and also Daniel and Callum who were the runners up and thank you to those who submitted entries. It was a very tough decision to name the winner as they were all so creative.

Chick Update

 As you have seen the eggs have arrived and the children have been excited to learn about how the chicks are growing everyday. We  currently have 14 days until they should start hatching. This means that the chicks  have now formed large eyes, the majority of their bones, their toes and their wings. In the next few days their beaks will turn hard and their feathers will begin to grow. If you would like to keep up to date with how the chicks change daily then please visit this helpful website. The children have been extremely respectful of our new arrivals, ensuring that they do not touch the incubator and that they talk quietly so we do not scare the chicks!

The children have also taken to reading to the eggs which has been lovely to see

Space Fever!

 The children have very much embraced our new topic already this half term and have been super excited learning about Earth and ways in which we can help to keep it nice, clean and look after it for the future. They have had great fun counting eyes on aliens, becoming scientists in the Space Station and creating play dough UFO's. We have also been exploring teen numbers in maths and the children have been modelling dough to make these numbers to help with their recognition.

Wow Words

After attending a course about the importance of vocabulary in Early Years, I have decided to trial introducing 'wow words' to the class on a weekly basis, and exploring the varied meanings they have in a variety of contexts. This is supposed to improve the children's speech, writing and also their confidence, particularly those who currently have limited vocabulary skills.  

In order to do this I have gathered the common language which children already have prior knowledge of which is linked to our topic (Tier 1 of pyramid.) I then went through the key text we are using this half term and picked words which have many different meanings or may be a little confusing to understand due to limited experiences with these. (Tier 2) We will introduce 1 or 2 of these words a week and look at it in depth  to encourage children to understand it's meaning, use it in context and embed it in their mind. We then have subject specific words (Tier 3) which children will access throughout the topic.

I will be displaying the pyramid on the learning wall in the corridor and highlighting the words we have explored so you can use them at home too. I also invite you to add to Tier 1 of the pyramid with any topic based language your child seems to use a lot and have a good understanding of, this in turn may encourage us and parents to also incorporate these words into our learning.

Spring Term Newsletter 2

 Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you had a lovely break and feel refreshed and ready for another busy half term in the run up to Easter! Last half term the children really enjoyed exploring different occupations and developed their passion for knowledge as they continually asked questions to find out more about the different roles we have in the community.

In Spring 2 our topic is ‘Super Space and Sparkly Stars’, where we will be exploring all things space and use ‘Talk 4 Writing’ to explore descriptions included in stories to learn all about the different planets and stars. The story we will base this around is ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ by Tish Rabe, which is all rhyme based meaning that picking up the facts should be fun and interactive for the children. As you have seen, there has been a hole appear in the school roof so we can now see into space! It appears that an alien has done this to help us with our learning and we will be working to find out a little more about this character this week!

We will be bringing all of our learning together and making special space themed t-shirts to wear at our special assembly which you are all invited to and more details about this will come in the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Towards the end of the term we will also explore the tradition of Easter and the celebrations surrounding this time. We will begin by learning about Shrove Tuesday, where we will make our own tasty pancakes, before competing in a pancake race! The children will then explore the Easter story and take part in some familiar customs such as making chocolate nests, decorating Easter eggs and going on an egg hunt.


Some of the class have now finished Phase 3 and are starting on Phase 4. In this phase the children will not learn any new sounds, but they will be learning how to use previously learnt sounds to write CVCC words and polysyllabic words (words with more than one syllable) such as farmyard. Some of the class will be recapping the phase 3 sounds to help to consolidate their learning as some of the trigraphs ( 3 letter sounds eg ‘igh’) are a little difficult to remember. Any work you can do with them at home to help those who may need a little extra support would really help your child to become more confident in this. Phase 4 Phonic book marks have also been sent home this week, please keep using these when reading with your child to help them develop their sound and tricky word recognition.

Reading Books

The children have shocked me with their progress in reading last half term with many of them confident in sight reading common words as well as those that are tricky. We will start guided reading with those who are confident readers which will build on the children’s comprehension skills as well as their actual reading ability. We do this through ‘clarifying’ words which they may not know the meaning of, and asking them to ‘summarise’ pages they have read and draw conclusions from both text and images,  Reading books will continue to be changed on a Monday as it allows enough time to revisit the text a number of times to build the children’s comprehension skills as well as their reading.

I have had a number of parents concerned that their child is a little reluctant to read at home. This is very common however it is vital that you try to entice them to do so to continue their development and try to create a love of reading as reading is the foundation of all learning in Early Years. There are many ways you can do this without them knowing, for example get them to choose a reading buddy. This is a toy which is only allowed to come out if they child reads to that toy, then they can play with it for a short while afterwards. Encourage them to read to their pets, siblings or even a group of teddies. Use the torches we gave you at Christmas. Try asking them to read each page in a funny voice. You could even act out the pages when their have read it. The more fun, energetic and discrete you make it, the more they will want to do!


In our Literacy lessons, the children will continue applying their learning from our daily Letters & Sounds sessions through a guided literacy activity once a week and then independently during the Wonderful Writing task. This half term will focus on using dazzling describing words to define characteristics of planets, write letters to aliens and create food menus for astronauts.

Most children have grown in confidence with their writing this half term and are enthusiastic about doing it to a high standard. It is lovely to see them beaming with pride when they have completed a piece with independence and remembered all of the key features such as capital letters and finger spaces. I can see those who complete their home learning tasks regularly and with little support are absolutely flying with their writing, so thank you so much for supporting their learning at home.

I have included below some examples of the writing to show where I would expect children to be at this time in the school year. Obviously all children learn at different paces, however it is sometimes helpful to see where we are aiming to get them to. If you think your child finds certain elements of writing difficult then please come and see me and we can support them with this together.      


We will be focusing on number again this half term, this time exploring problem solving techniques. This will look at adding totals, subtracting, doubling and halving and sharing different quantities. They will also continue to look at ordering numbers to 20 or beyond as well as stating one more than and one less any given number. Some children are finding the numbers 12,13,14 and 15 difficult to remember when counting or ordering so this will be the main focus with starters during lessons as well as with home learning tasks set.

If you would like to help your children develop such skills at home, here are a few ideas to try;

  • Sharing out food between you and your child, showing them that you must both have the same. Start by counting out your starting total and then giving “one for you and one for me” until you have equal amounts before reinforcing that half of your starting number is what you have in your pile.
  • Double the spots on a ladybird’s wing, emphasising that when we double it has to be the same number on each side before they want to be friends and counted together.
  • Doubling the total number of their favourite food!
  • Looking at and drawing the symbols for add, subtract and equals.
  • There is also a fantastic and catchy song here to sing;

Passport Target

This half term we will be focusing on ‘saying sorry when I have done something wrong’ and also ‘comforting others when they are upset.’ As well as this, we will also be revisiting ‘Always doing what my teacher asks’ as there has been some behaviour issues last half term with some children displaying a lack of respect to adults which is obviously unacceptable and could potentially be dangerous. We will be exploring these concepts during circle time lessons.

New Arrivals

I am pleased to announce that we have some new members of the class this week. We have chick eggs! We will be incubating these for 20 to 22 days with the hope of hatching 7 little chicks. Obviously due to nature, it is not guaranteed that all of these eggs will hatch, however we will do everything we can to nurture the eggs and tackle this topic sensitively with children if needed. We will then keep the chicks for around a week before returning them to Little Morton Farm where they will be looked after until a home is found for them.

This is such an exciting learning opportunity and would not have been possible without your support with our enterprise projects which enabled us to raise the funds to buy the equipment, so thank you very much.

A few further pieces of information:

  • Some names have worn out of PE kits so please can you check that names are visible as there has been numerous things lost or misplaced when getting changed and my pile is getting bigger each week.
  • Thank you for putting so much effort into the home learning tasks to document their home school learning collaboration. This allows me to get a true picture of how your children learn and assess them accurately.
  • We are now leading into targeting the Early Learning Goals for those who are on track to meet these towards the end of the year, with this in mind I have attached some more information regarding these and some helpful things you could do at home to support your children achieving these. If your child is not yet here, please do not worry and do try some of these activities too, as this will also help.
  • Class helper- we are still looking to have a class helper to read with children weekly, if you could give some of your time this would be greatly appreciated.
  • World book day is on 7th March 2019. Children will be invited to dress up as their favourite book character and bring the book to school with this character in, in their book bags.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Spring Term Topic Web 2

Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term:  

Wonderful Writing

Wow, what a brilliant first 2 days back. The children have returned to school with such maturity and a very positive attitude to their learning. Today we were learning about Earth and how we can look after it. The children then wrote sentences about this and the work they produced was wonderful. They used their sound knowledge well to segment words into their sounds and spelt tricky words correctly without prompting.

Please see the photos for some of the fantastic writing achieved today. (Please note, not all children are at this level of writing at the moment and that is completely fine.)

Well done children and thank you to those who have evidently been practicing at home, it makes such a difference. 

Book Bus Visit

We were extremely lucky to have a visit from the Book Bus on Friday. Many of the children enjoyed visiting this either with us or with an adult and many books were purchased. Thank you to anyone who did buy a book and support your children's love of reading.

Safer Internet Day

 It was lovely to see so many of you showing your support with Safer Internet Day and take part in an online safety lesson with your child. I hope you found it useful seeing what devices the children use in class, as well as the messages raised in our lessons in Reception.


This week the children have been exploring people who keep us safe as well as 3D shapes. They have been very curious about both and enjoyed making cone party hats, taking on the role of doctors and nurses in the role play and being builders, creating safe structures as well as building words using nut and bolt letters.  

More 2D shapes

Today we finished off our 2D shape exploration by making toast shapes whilst discussing the properties of each. The children then spread these with jam and enjoyed eating their creations!  I am very impressed with the mathematical language the majority of the children have picked up and their confidence when naming some of the more obscure shapes such as ovals and pentagons! Well done children.

2D shapes

The children have come in to school today so enthusiastic to learn about people who help us at school this week, as well as 2D shapes. They got stuck into exploring all of the different activities and extending their learning in many different areas.

I have found a very useful game online which the children may find useful to extend their shape knowledge, please find it here;

Child Initiated Learning

The children have come back to school after the break very eager to learn and have got stuck into various activities which have introduced them to our topic 'Real Life Superheroes.'  We have focused on exploring all the different people who help us at school so there has been washing up like dinner ladies, giving first aid to a poorly elephant and making class registers.

Spring Term Newsletter 1

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year. I am extremely proud of the children for their enthusiasm and confidence during the Nativity play, they all tried exceptionally hard in front of some very large audiences. We hope you enjoyed it also.

 This half term our topic is ‘Real Life Superheroes.’ Here the children will explore lots of different occupations and discover their roles in helping us with day to day tasks. We will split the topic into areas such as People who help us; at home, at school, stay healthy, get food and keep safe. In the final week of this topic we will then look at what the children would like to be when they grow up! This will be celebrated with a “When I grow up” dress up day where the children will be invited to dress up as the occupation they would like to do when they grow up.  I am also looking to invite people of different occupations in to class in order to talk about their roles and develop the children’s questioning skills, if you would like to come in and talk about your profession then please let me know.  

English (Communication, Language & Literacy)
We will be focusing on looking at non-fiction texts this half-term. Here we will be exploring how these differ from picture books and identifying some of their key features. We will also include the talk4writing practice that some of you witnessed on the video posted on Class Dojo of our rendition of Jack and The Beanstalk. This encourages children to organise facts as well as recognise language used when writing them down.  Using similar techniques we will also learn a version of the story ‘Cops and Robbers’ by Allen Ahlberg.

 The children will be encouraged to use full sentences when writing and break their flow of speech into words. We will be looking for them to use capital letters, finger spaces and full stops, so any support at home with this would be very useful. 

The children will be given a range of opportunities to utilise these skills this half term with different activities such as creating posters to promote helpfulness at school or writing about what a doctor might need in their bag.  The children will also be completing a weekly independent writing activity to further develop their confidence to form sentences and words using their own knowledge as some of the children have become extremely reliable on adult presence when writing, and are reluctant to have a go. We have tried this out last term and it has been extremely successful and the progress made already has been amazing.

I have noticed that some children are still very dependent on adult support when writing. If children do any writing at home I advise that you help them plan it by saying the sentences together a number of times, marking each word by using your fingers (a video will be posted on dojo about how to do this) and then leaving your child to write the sentence on their own. This may be a challenge at first, but it will help them read over their work to see what sounds come next as well as develop their critical thinking skills, enabling them to sequence their own ideas. Once they have completed this, I would recommend going over their writing and correcting one or two things such as letter formation, or adding in some missing sounds. This again encourages your child to think about reading over their work and editing it.

We are continuing with Phase 3 of letters and sounds this half term where children will continue to pick up new digraphs (2 letters which make one sound eg ai as in r/ai/n .) They will also be introduced to trigraphs, (3 letters which make 1 sound eg igh as in t/ight/t) new tricky and HFW and also encourage the blending and segmenting of CVCC words (as in frog).

It is vital that children practice their reading and writing at home as well as school as it consolidates their understanding and also heightens their confidence. Also please may I express the importance of letting the children use their robot talk to isolate each sound in a word independently, and not being given a word to copy as this makes them reluctant to have a go on their own and hinders their progress. I can often tell which children are reliant on their parents for this when it comes to writing in school. Please can I also encourage the use of cursive letters in all writing otherwise it will confuse children in the future if they are swapping.  

Shape will be our focus this half term where the children will be looking at repeating patterns first, before moving into identifying 2d and 3d shapes and their properties. Although main teaching and activities will have this focus, we will still incorporate daily number starters and focus on this in Friday maths lessons to ensure the children’s number sense continues to develop. To support your child in this area you could begin to look at shapes in the environment and allow them to play and construct with various shaped items to make images and models to develop their understanding of tessellation and edges.  Please note I will be using the term ‘rectangle’ and not oblong, due to recent studies suggesting this is the correct name for this shape!

Children are making great progress in completing their passport targets. We will be focusing on ‘solving a problem without arguing’ this half term and try and encourage children to use communication and kind gestures to keep play going when challenges may occur.

Boys (and girls!) Learning
Emotional development- “Many boys have difficulty naming and expressing their own feelings. Sometimes they just know they don’t feel quite right. Some boys don’t have the words to identify the feeling of being sad, cross, scared or worried. Therefore it is vitally important that we help boys to understand and express their emotions. Sometimes boys can find it difficult to read non-verbal cues and may respond inappropriately.” – Gary Wilson. With this in mind we have been trying to develop the children’s understanding and expression of their feelings as without the ability to do so, they often will have difficulty empathising and building relationships with others. I have included some more information about emotional development towards the end of this newsletter.
A few further bits of information:

  • PE will continue to be on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • We will be inviting you in to hear a song we will be learning to celebrate ‘people who help us.’ This will be on the same date as the dress up day, just before home time. Dates will be confirmed in the next week for this.
  • We are in desperate need of parent helpers to listen to readers at school. If you are able to give up an hour of your time, then please let me know.
  • If you have any questions about anything in this letter then please do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to another fun filled half term.
  • I have noticed that since the Christmas holidays a large amount of children seem to have lost some of their independence, making it difficult for them to access the learning as they require continuous adult input in order to carry out simple tasks and often expect the adult to do everything for them. Please try to encourage children to do little jobs at home such as set the table, make their bed, match socks etc and this in turn should help them regain their independence and allow them to redeem critical thinking skills, encouraging them to process information by themselves and act on what they have heard with little adult intervention.  If independence is lacking, children will find making progress very difficult as they become reliant on an adult doing absolutely everything for them which is not beneficial in the long run.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Spring Term Topic Web

Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: 

Christmas Wreath Making

Thank you so much to those who came to our Christmas Wreath making workshop this afternoon. It was lovely to see you work with your children to create some very beautiful wreaths. I hope it has got you in the festive spirit and you display them with pride in your home,
Thank you once again,
Miss Jolly

Autumn Web Newsletter 2

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome back, I hope you had a restful break after such a busy, but fantastic first half term. I am extremely pleased with how the children are settling in and can already see some brilliant progress as they embrace all the new topics and learning concepts I keep sending their way. Autumn 2 is going to be another action packed half term, particularly with all the celebrations in the run up to Christmas which is always an extremely exciting time of year for the children.

Thank you to those who attended Parents evening at the end of the last half term. It was lovely to share with you what they have been up to and the progress they have made.

This half term we will be looking at Traditional Tales. We will be focusing on exploring the language included in these books, different character roles and beginning to learn how we can be authors and change elements of a story ourselves. We will also be learning about celebrations and family traditions such as Diwali, Firework night and Christmas.  To help your children develop in this area it would be great to share some of your favourite traditional tales as well as the more modern ‘messed up fairy tales’ which often tell the stories from a different perspective. This will help extend the children’s vocabulary even further and also explore the concept of differing narratives.

The children are rapidly picking up each new sound introduced as well as the skills needed to read and write words and captions. Due to their hard work, we will be finishing Phase 2 in the second week back and then move onto Phase 3 where more sounds will be introduced as well as high frequency words(HFW) and common exception words (Tricky words.) New bookmarks will be coming home with your child. If you could attach these to the others on your reading log then this would be great. I hope you have found the video I have recently shared on the Class Dojo page as well as the Facebook group which showcases how we teach and develop reading skills in Reception.  I have had a few parents say that their child is a little reluctant to read at home. This could be due to a number of things such as time of day, lack of understanding of the narrative so it therefore becomes boring, or un-engagement. To try and help with these issues I would firstly suggest picking the reading time according to your child’s mood. If you know your chid is more responsive in the mornings, try and have a morning cuddle and spend 5-10 minutes reading before the morning kicks in.  In order to hook the child into the narrative and also help them learn how to understand these through the use of pictures and text you could first act out what you think will happen using the pictures to help before ‘being a detective’ and actually reading the story to see if they were correct.

Along with the reading books, we will also be sending some nursery rhyme bags home with 6 children every week. These will have a rhyme and some props included in it which you and your child can use to act out the nursery rhyme, sing it in different ways and learn some new vocabulary linked to these. It should work out that your child has 1 of these bags sent home each half term.

Literacy will focus on encouraging children to use their phonic knowledge to segment words in order to build sentences with less adult support as previously needed, due to the majority showing great understanding of how to use skills taught in phonics lessons to do this. We will also be using ‘talk 4 writing’ methods to look at Jack and the Beanstalk.

I will be including lots of videos on Class dojo so that you can see how talk 4 writing is used to develop children’s language and understanding of the features of a book. This will give you insight into little activities that can be done at home to help develop these further. I will also be showing you how we encourage children to write independently, without copying words and going over dots to help them grow into independent writers.

This half term we will continue to focus on number work. This includes recognising numerals to 20 (or beyond), counting accurately and matching totals to a number, adding 1 more than to a number, estimating totals with realistic answers. We will also be introducing combining groups to find the total (simple addition) and then recording this using the plus symbol. Finally in week 7 we will be beginning to look at simple patterns, ready to lead us to shape in the Spring term.  Any additional number learning at home will benefit your child’s number sense. Your children have really enjoyed some of the number songs I have introduced so I have included links to these below. Song to 100-  I have noticed that there are some children who have come to school lacking any number knowledge or number sense making it difficult to recognise numbers 1-10 and count out totals to match each numeral. Any additional practice at home would help develop these skills quickly.

Home Learning
The response to the writing home learning activities has been fantastic and the children are consolidating skills learnt at school very quickly by practising them at home too. This will continue over Autumn 2 and I will now include a maths activity linked to what we have been learning in school. It has been fantastic to see how many children get excited about this weekly and I see a huge difference in the children who complete it regularly. May I remind you it is not compulsory, however strongly recommended that this is completed as again it consolidates skills and builds independence.

Morning Name Writing
This has really helped the children learn to write their names with the majority conducting it daily so well dome to those who have kept at it. I am going to change this for Autumn 2. Now I will be putting a simple picture up with a phoneme frame underneath to show how many sounds are in it and your child will have the write the word on a post it note. This will help them develop their segmenting skills.  You may need to help the child repeat the word in robot talk to distinguish all 3 sounds in each word but please refrain from just telling them the sounds.

Reading Records
There will be a green box next to the book bag box as of this half term. Please could reading records be put in this every morning as we will be starting to do individual reading with your children. This way it will make it easier for us to let you know how your child has got on during these sessions. We will continue to change books weekly every Monday.

Boys Learning Update
I have included two more information sheets about how to support early literacy development with a little questionnaire to help you asses the level that your child is at currently and some ideas to further support them. Please note it does state on it that ‘too much pressure at an early age can create literacy difficulties.’ This is extremely important as pressure can lead to low self-esteem and also reluctance. This doesn’t mean you give up trying if your child is a little reluctant, it means you try new strategies to engage them. I have also included some maths ideas for home. Again these are not focused solely on boys and would be very useful for both genders learning development.

Bear Adventure Book
As of this half term I will be introducing the ‘Bear Adventures Book.’ The child who receives the star award on a Friday will get to take home a little box with 2 bear dolls in and a selection of clothes. Your child will then have to dress them appropriately (independently to help fine motor development) and take them on an adventure. They will then draw a picture of the bears or take a photo and write a sentence showing what they have been up to for the week. This only has to be one page, however if you would like to complete more that is fine. The bears will be sent home on a Friday and returned the following Firday, allowing you enough time to complete it. Please be aware I am not looking for correctly spelt sentences as the children are not at this stage and this is a clear indicator that lots of adult input has been given. I am looking for children to sound out words using their phonics, however they may need you to repeat the words to do so and also reminding of what these sounds look like by pointing them out on the alphabet mats sent home. I look forward to seeing what the bears get up to when in your care.

Speech and Language
Speech and language is a key area we focus on in Early Years as it enables the children to communicate their needs and opinions clearly and it is also includes the fundamental skills to develop their understanding skills. This includes how to process language correctly and act on instructions.  Many children have informed me that they still use dummies at home and unfortunately when used at this age, it can actually have negative effects on the speech and language development in children.  Please see below for the effects of dummy use:

Using a dummy can result in the following:

  • Delayed spoken language
  • Fewer opportunities to communicate with others, leading to reduced interactions (it is harder for a child to respond or initiate conversations if they have a dummy in their mouth!)
  • Less babbling and experimenting with speech sounds when the dummy is in the mouth
  • Development of ‘slushy’ or ‘lispy’ speech sounds as a child tries to talk around the dummy and air escapes over the sides of the tongue
  • Teeth and palate can be negatively affected, both of which are important for making speech sounds
  • Drooling as sucking causes more saliva to be produced. This can also be caused by poor lip closure as having a dummy can hinder full development of the mouth muscles needed for drinking
  • Use of dummies has also been linked to ear infections which can affect children’s speech and language development even long after the infection has cleared up

I know it is hard to try and put a stop to comforts such as this, especially when they are experiencing so many new things with the transition to school, however I know you all want the best for your little ones and would hate to know that something you are encouraging could potentially have negative long term effects for your children.

How To Ditch The Dummy

For the reasons above, it is a good idea to reduce and restrict the use of dummies as early as possible. It can be a daunting prospect to wean your child off a their dummy but here are some ideas on how to help with the process:

With older children it may be more appropriate to get rid of the dummy completely, in which case…

  • Swap the dummy with another source of comfort e.g. a soft cuddly toy
  • Use star charts or a small reward for each day and a bigger reward at the end of the week (NOT sweets!)
  • Help your child accept the dummy has gone by telling them they are a big boy/girl now and they could leave it under their pillow for the dummy fairy or encourage them to put in in the bin.
  • Don’t try to remove the dummy whilst the child is experiencing other changes eg a new sibling, starting nursery etc.
  • Don’t encourage dummy sucking by dipping the dummy in food or drinks

Additional information

Any reply slips or notes in book bags may get missed as we sometimes do not get the opportunity to check them. With this in mind, please hand all slips to the class teacher. If your child is being brought to school by an out of school club or child minder, please pass the slip to them so that they can hand it to us.

  • Class Dojo- There has been a wonderful response with this, with only a small number of parents not joined, I hope you are finding it useful seeing what the children get up to and as an easy way of communication.
  • Boisterous behaviour- With the class containing many boys this year, there is often lots of rough behaviour within the class and at lunch time. This is often not meant maliciously, however can lead to others getting hurt or upset. With this in mind, if children are playing roughly with siblings or parents, please try to encourage the behaviour expected at school so that they can easily distinguish between what is ok at home and what is ok at school. Hopefully this will then cut down on the number of incidents we have daily. 

Yours Sincerely,
Miss Jolly

Diwali Day

We had lots of fun exploring the traditions of Diwali. We have been busy making Diva lamps, firework paintings and  learning all about the story of Rama and Sita.
The children were beautifully behaved during the workshop and listened to our guest speaker. I was very proud of them all.

Remembrance Rocks

We have been working hard to decorate our rocks when learning about Remembrance day today. The children have created some wonderful poppies which they will be able to hide around the village for others to find and take to the church this Sunday.  

Healthy Eating

 We have been tasting lots of different fruit and vegetables today whilst learning about healthy eating. Some of these included grapefruit, celery, mango, peppers and limes. We then blended these together to make smoothies. Some were better received than others as you can see in the pictures!
There was also beetroot in some of them, just as a warning if when they go to the toilet it has red in it!! I didn't want you to panic!

Black History Day

We have been exploring Mary Secole today as part of our Black History Day celebrations. We smelt different herbs and spices before making our own remedy. Please do not let the children drink these as we have added some glitter to make them magical! 

Family Tea Party Celebration

 Thank you to all those who attended the tea party today. It was such a calm and positive afternoon with lots of team work on the activities which celebrated our unique families. Thank you also for all the cakes supplied, you are a talented bunch. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

Discovery Time

Children access a lot of their learning through child initiated play. With this in mind we encourage the children in Reception to explore lots of different activities inside and outside of the classroom to generate curiosity and nurture their development during discovery time. Here is a little snippet of some of the things the class has been up to this week during this time, as I know often when you ask what they have done, they will reply with short answers, if anything at all!  

Phonics Workshop

 Thank you to all those who gave up their time tonight and attended the Phonics information evening. I hope it was beneficial and you haven't gone away feeling overwhelmed. It is a lot to take in and will take a little time to get your head around, but hopefully I have given you some options as to where to go to continue to develop your knowledge as well as your childs.

Here is the link to the presentation that I used if you were unable to attend.

Autumn Term Curriculum Web : Once Upon a Time

  Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: 

Autumn Term Newsletter

Dear Parents/Carers,

It is an honour to welcome the children and parents into Reception, with a special welcome to the new children and families joining the Barlborough Primary School family. I am very much looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you, along with your little ones over the coming weeks. The main priority in these first few weeks is to support the children as they transition into school life and make them feel comfortable and safe as they settle in to their new environment. 

This newsletter gives you some insight into your child’s day and what to expect from this half term to help ease you into the routines and structures of the school.  

Morning Routine

Children are expected to be in the classroom at 8.50

  • In order to help your children settle down quickly in the morning, as well as begin to gain independence, there are a number of tasks we ask your child to do every morning. They may need a little support at first however by the end of this half term they should be performing these independently.

When entering the cloak room please encourage your children to find and recognise their name, this will help them learn the letters that make it up and therefore distinguish it from others in other contexts such as on book bags, PE bags and cardigans/ jumper.

Book bags will go in the box on the shelf by the door of the cloakroom (this is labelled) and lunch boxes in the one above.

  • Above their pegs there will be a post-it note, please ask your child to write their name on this before sticking this onto the wall opposite the office door informing us if your child is having a school dinner or a packed lunch. This encourages the children with their name writing, pencil grip and again encourages them to take initiative. They can enter the classroom to write their name, however pencils will be placed on the windows.
  • Upon entering the classroom, please ask the children to put their water bottles in the green trays which are located by the sink. This gives them continuous access to water throughout the day. Please note it is only water that is acceptable in school, any juice will be replaced with water.
  • Once all of the above are complete the children will then take part in activities set up on the tables in the classroom. These alter daily to allow children to explore activities they may not necessarily choose to conduct throughout the day and also consolidate vital skills needed to enhance their learning.  Again, your child may need support at first, but will be encouraged to gain independence for completion independently throughout the term;
    The themes for these activities are as followed;

Monday- Name Writing/ Handwriting (When phonics starts)
Tuesday- Jigsaws and group games
Wednesday- Maths and number
Thursday- Rainbow reading
Friday- Cutting skills

At 9.00 I will call all of the children to the carpet, if parents could make a swift exit from the classroom so we can start our busy day this would be greatly appreciated.

Our topic for this half term is ‘Marvellous Me’ where the children will explore lots of different and unique ways which make them special. Here we will explore their original features, their interests and unique characteristics. This will then lead onto learning about families and how they differ from one another. Finally we will explore the amazing human body and why it is important to stay healthy. To make the topic more appealing, we will be using books by Lisa Bullard which explore the similarities and differences between ourselves, our families and our homes. They offer a great insight into cultural diversity also.

We will be celebrating our wonderful families with a tea party towards the end of the term where parents will be invited to come in and participate in activities with your child which promote the unique nature of every family. This is often a very popular event, this will be on Monday 8th October at 2.15pm-3.15pm. Please look out for the letter in the next few weeks and reply promptly as it will operate on a first come, first served basis.

We will begin Phase 2 of letters and sounds next week depending on how the children are settling in.  Here the children will be introduced to a different sound each day and learn the necessary skills needed to begin to blend to read and segment to spell. I will be conducting a Phonics and Maths Home Learning Support Workshop for you to attend to help you understand how to apply similar techniques we use at school at home. This will be on Wednesday 26th September at 4.30pm - 5.15pm. This timing is to reduce the number of children that attend to help you get your head around it a little bit! If you plan on attending please fill in the signing sheet which will be put up on my door towards the end of this week.  Phonics is a little hard to understand at first, especially initial sounds as you are used to saying letter names, however Oxford Owl have a fantastic section on their website which demonstrates the pronunciation of each.  I have also put together some videos which are available on the school website. These demonstrate the pronunciation and formation of each sound. They are child friendly but also a vital tool to your own understanding of phonics. These can be found under the ‘parents information’ tab, with the heading ‘phonics and handwriting information.’

As phonics begins I will be sending home handwriting practice sheets. These will be sent out on Thursdays and should be returned the following Wednesday. Please note that we teach the children to write with a pre-cursive formation and this should be continued at home as going between writing styles could confuse your children as well as delay their development in writing. It can be a little confusing at first and may make your child’s handwriting appear messy, however it is essential that you continue to practice it this way. Please refer to the videos above or the handwriting booklet sent home in your transition packs.

As we begin Phonics it is important that your child discovers the sounds they hear and see at school in various contexts, we will therefore be sending home a school reading scheme book that you can share with your child. At this age, reading is a crucial part of children’s learning so it would be helpful if you could hear your child read at home as often as possible and ask them questions about the story to develop their comprehension skills. I will send home an information leaflet about this along with your child’s first book for some guidance. Your child will also have a Reading Diary for you to date and sign each time you hear them read. You can also use the diary for any informal messages you have to pass on. Please be aware every child is different and they all progress at different rates. However, if you have any concerns over your child’s reading development, please see one of us. In the meantime, please continue to read to your child as much as possible. The picture books outside the classroom can be borrowed for you to share with your children. Please sign these out and upon returning them.

A lovely website that we will be using this half term is Teach Your Monster To Read;

Reading  Rewards
As an incentive to try and encourage children to want to read when at home we have set up a reading reward system. Every time your child reads for 10 minutes or more and you have recorded this in your child’s reading record then you can place a sticker on your child’s named book spine located in the school corridor. We will then total up the additions every week and choose a star reader (or readers) who has read the most times. A raffle ticket will then be sent home to the parents of the star reader as a thank you for encouraging your child to develop their reading at home. There will then be a prize draw at the end of the half term where a name will be picked out of a hat and a prize for the adults will be sent home. Along with this children who have read a minimum of 3 times a week will also get a certificate and a prize. Please note that we will check reading records weekly to ensure that comments match the total number of stars on the spines and we will remove any that are not recorded.

During this half term, we will be focusing on number recognition with numerals to 10 and beyond and counting objects and actions. With number recognition we encourage children to explore the shapes of numbers and the different lines which make each up. This allows them to distinguish them from one another and will encourage them to begin to record numerals with their own representations. When you are out and about see how many different numbers you can see on doors, shop windows, price tickets or number plates. This will help children with their development with this. Counting underpins all operations and the more we practise, the better we get.  If possible, count with your child as much as possible at home. Children can count anything and everything, shoes, claps, carrots or jumps!  – encourage them to count things wherever they are and if possible begin to integrate matching the total counted to a numeral for development of number sense and understanding.  Some great games can be found on this website;

Boys Learning
We have a large amount of boys in this year’s cohort and it is common knowledge that boys often have a completely different approach to learning than girls. Although this comes with it many positives, it has also created a global problem where girls can be seen out performing boys throughout their whole school life. With this in mind it is absolutely crucial that we work together to try and engage both the girls and boys in the class and create that love of learning from the outset. It appears that independence is key when it comes to boys learning and I will be sending home some activities to all students which are designed to encourage independence in thought processes as well as when involved in tasks. I will also be sending home information by Gary Wilson who has published many books to help practitioners and parents nurture boys and build them to be successful learners. I have a fantastic book by him for parents called ‘help your boys succeed-The essential guide for parents.’  I would strongly recommend for parents to purchase this, or am happy to lend my copy out if you are interested in reading it. I have included an information sheet at the end of this newsletter about your child’s independence and ideas on how to build on this as well as some early literacy ideas to help both girls and boys discretely with essential skills needed to write successfully. 

Separation Anxiety
It is completely normal for children to get upset when you first start dropping them off at school, especially when they are not used to the new routine and structure that they are experiencing. In order to help upset children it is vital that we work together. It is best in these situations that you leave the class quickly as this makes the anticipation of you leaving less intense. In some circumstances children will latch on to you, making it difficult for you to leave, in these cases I will always ask your permission before I intervene.   Next I will ask that you give them a kiss and a cuddle before you leave. I will then take your child from you calmly and gently and comfort them until they calm down. Often they take very little time to settle and we will always contact you to assure you that they are ok, likewise you are welcome to ring the office if you are concerned as I understand that it can be very upsetting for you too. If your child isn’t clingy, yet still upset, allowing you to leave easily, please make a member of staff aware as some children will then try and follow you.

Passport to learning
At Barlborough we use a ‘Passport system’ to encourage children to work towards targets which encourage and promote good citizenship skills as well as link to British Values. The first passport they will start on is an Orange one. We will be concentrating on saying please and thank you and helping keep the classroom tidy this half term.

A few further bits of information:

  • We will have PE twice a week. Please can you ensure your child has their P.E kit in school on these days and that they are not wearing any jewellery (should your child have recently had their ears pierced you must send them to school with earrings taped up on these days.) As the weather turns colder it would be useful if your child could have long trousers and a jumper for our outdoor sessions as well as their t-shirt, shorts & plimsolls for indoor PE.
  • Please look out for First Aid letters which children will be given at home time if they have had an accident at school. This gives you information about what minor injury your child received and how/when. These will be on red paper if it is a head injury. Please be assured that if any accidents happen which we deem of a more serious nature we will contact you immediately.
  • Each term, our class newsletter is available to read on the school website.
  • We are always looking to collect recyclable materials to use to make models. If you have any that you could donate, please ensure it is clean and place it in the junk modelling box at the creative table.
  • We are always looking to have adult helpers involved in our school. If you would like to help out in our class as well as other year groups, please let me know and I will pass your information on to the office.
  • It is important that your child begins to develop their independence in order to undergo day to day school life confidently. With this in mind we ask you to support your child in practicing certain skills at home such as getting dressed and undressed, taking their jumper off and putting it on, recognising their name, putting their coats on and tidying away what they have been using before moving on to something else!
  • It is recommended that a pair of named wellies are kept on each child’s peg for outdoor learning as it moves into Autumn as we will be out come rain or shine!
  • Miss Heath-Smith will lead the class on Tuesday afternoons as it is my allocated planning time. Here they will do Forest School, where they will take part in natural learning activities.
  • Please ensure all clothes (including PE kits) are named as things will go missing and we are always eager to reunite it with its owner.
  • Please ensure that your child does not go on the play equipment in the main playground or Reception outside area before or after school.

If you have any questions about any of the above or any other queries please do not hesitate in speaking to Mrs Gilbert or I, we are always happy to help and understand there is lots of new information to try and process.

Kind Regards,
Miss Jolly

Autumn Term Curriculum Web: Marvellous Me

 Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: