Little Lions

Welcome to our class page. 

Spring 1 Newsletter

 Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and would like to wish you all a Happy New Year-let’s hope it is a good one! I am extremely proud of how far the children have already come during their first full term at school and can’t wait to see what they can achieve this half term too.  

 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.  This will be on Friday 17th February 2023.

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 similar to that used when looking at Jack and The Beanstalk last half term. 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.

Please find below two examples of writing that children did independently, with no adult support at all. This is the expectation at this point in the year and what we are aiming for with home learning. Sometimes I know it can be difficult to know what we are aiming to achieve so thought this would give you more of an understanding. Please note, not all children are at this level yet as they all learn at different rates.

 

‘not I said (sed) the dog.’                                                                    ‘The princess (prises) wos sad she had no money (muny.)’

Phonics
We are going to start Phase 3 of letters and sounds this half term where children will concentrate on learning 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). New high frequency words(HFW) and common exception words (Tricky words) will also be introduced. Bookmarks for these will be sent home in the new year.

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 or with their homework. 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.  

In order to meet the expected standard for reading at the end of Reception, your child would need to be reading and understanding the book colours stated below by the end of each term.

Maths

We will begin this half term with exploring Shape. Here the children will be identifying 2D and 3D shapes and their properties. 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!  After looking at shape, we will then continue developing our number knowledge, this time looking at numbers 6,7 and 8. We will start by practicing ordering numbers and counting accurately to these totals. We will also be looking at combing two groups to make these numbers as well as the usual composition facts and subitising skills.

Homework

Please see the timetable below for the homework- I will also set it weekly on Dojo. I will be keeping a record of who completes this from now on as numbers have reduced slightly, although it is not compulsory it is exceptionally beneficial. The weekly words have worked very well with many children learning these by sight, thank you for your support with this.  I have also added a number of spare sheets at the back (which are labelled) if you notice children need additional support in certain areas or if they want to do some additional work.  Please continue to encourage pre-cursive handwriting and correct one or two handwriting ‘mistakes’ on the homework and ask your child to practice these multiple times at the bottom. This is a strategy used to help develop their hand muscle memory to make writing easier.

Week 1

Week of 9th Jan

Sentence- Pat a dog.

Maths- 2D shapes sheet

Weekly word- Dad

Week 2

Week of 16th Jan

Sentence- Cat in a hat.

Maths- Maths seeds – Numbers 1-8

Weekly word- Mum

Week 3

Week of 23rd Jan

Sentence- Cats and dogs.

Maths- Composition of numbers sheet

Weekly word- big

Week 4

Week of 30th Jan

Sentence- Sock on a mat

Maths- Maths Seeds- Add to 7

Weekly word- the

Week 5

Week of 6th Feb

Sentence-. Rats on a bag.

Maths- Combine 2 groups sheet

Weekly word- if

Week 6

Week of 13th Feb.

Sentence-  A dog in mud.

Maths- Maths Seeds-More, less and the same.

Weekly word- at

 Memory Games

Playing memory games can improve other brain functions, such as attention, concentration, and focus. Memory games give space to critical thinking and that helps children nurture their attention to detail. Memory games can improve visual recognition. With this in mind I will be including some ideas that you can try at home to help develop these skills in a fun and engaging way in each newsletter.

Jumping Sequence- Use large squares of paper, which are coloured, numbered or lettered. Begin with coloured squares taped to the floor. Show the child a sequence, initially only two colours/numbers etc. Child then jumps onto the squares in the correct sequence. Increase difficulty by increasing amount of squares in the sequence and move onto letters and numbers.

Communication and Language

Did you know that Templin (1957) (as cited in Bishop, 1997 and Saxton, 2010) estimated that by 6 years of age, children have a vocabulary of 14,000 words. This means that on average, children between 18 months and 6 years old would need to learn 8 new words a day. What do you do at home to introduce new words to your child every day?

Research shows that children who have poor vocabulary at 2 years old tend to do less well at school by 7 years old- which is a very scary thought, but also something we do experience in school.

Therefore, it is vital we promote a range of different vocabulary at home and school. It is suggested that 5 new words a day are introduced at school and 3 at home. (Apart from the weekends where all 8 should come from home!) This seems a little daunting, however there is a very simple way you can consider the introduction of new vocabulary to your child.  One way is through my vocabulary triangles and the knowledge organisers for our Understanding the World topics. Another is a strategy we now use in the classroom. This is a vocabulary flower.  A vocabulary flower is a simple planning tool which simply makes you consider 2 object names to introduce to your child, 2 describing words and an action.  These can be used when completing activities at home such as baking, helping with jobs or when on a walk.  We use them for every table activity in the classroom and introduce one a day. These then change weekly, along with the activities. It has been fascinating to see some simple words that we had assumed children would know (e.g. rolling pin, tube, baking) that they actually did not know and could not use within context. I have included some examples of the flowers used in the classroom and I have also included a blank one that you could use to have a go at just carefully considering the vocabulary that you want to emphasise when playing, reading or conducting an activity with your child at home.  Please let me know if you have had a go at doing this and how it went.

 

 

 

 

A few further bits of information:

  • PE will continue to be on Monday and Wednesday.
  • 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.
  • Independence is key this half term in order to help the children make good progress. To help this you could 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.
  • If you would like to come into school to talk about your job (any job would be fantastic) then please let me know and we can organise a time that suits you.

  • Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Topic Webs Spring 1

  Have a look at the fun things we are going to learn this half term. 

Vocabulary Triangle Spring 1

 A good vocabulary (the number of words you know and can say) is really important for all children. It is an important building block for helping children to talk in sentences (and beyond!) but it's also really useful for learning to read and write. So, helping children to develop a good vocabulary is vital. With this in mind please use this vocabulary triangle to introduce these words to your children and encourage them to use them when taking part in the conversation starters.  

Nativity Book

Wow- what a fantastic day.
The children have blown we away with how well they have coped with such a busy day and their enthusiasm during the performance was lovely.

Thank you for all your support with getting the costumes and being such a wonderful audience this afternoon.

Here is a sneak peak of one of the pages from the book. (Please note the quality is reduced on here.)  I would love to share more, but due to not having permission to share a large number of children's photos on the school website I am unable to do so. Look out on Dojo where I will share more. 

Mystery Readers

 Thank you to all those who have been our mystery readers this half term. The children have absolutely loved hearing all of the stories that you have shared with them and often talk about these for weeks after your visits.

They get so excited to try and work out who it may be coming into visit every Friday from the clues you have sent in. Thank you for getting creative with these! 

Due to the success of the Mystery Readers this term, I am pleased to announce we will be continuing with this in the Spring Term too.

If you would like to come in to read to us (we are a lovely bunch so no need to be worried if you have never read to an audience before!!) please fill in the questionnaire here by Friday 9th December and I will send out your allocated day the following week.

Please note that I have changed the day to Wednesday to try and accommodate as many parents as possible.

https://www.allcounted.com/s?did=s14btuhyfbuzx&lang=en_US

Anti-Bullying Week

 We have had a lovely day exploring what Anti-bullying means and spent the afternoon trying to perform acts of kindness.
The children had some lovely ideas about smiling at others, asking if people are ok or asking to help others. They made such a conscious effort to make others smile and are a very thoughtful class, it was lovely to see. 

Vocabulary for Autumn 2

 Please use this vocabulary triangle to introduce these words to your children and encourage them to use them when taking part in the conversation starters.  

Autumn 2 Newsletter

 Dear Parents/Carers,

 I hope you have a restful break after such a busy, but fantastic first half term at school. 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.

Topic

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. It would also be great if you use the vocabulary triangle, reflective questions and story starters at home. This will help extend the children’s vocabulary even further and also explore the concept of differing narratives.

Phonics

Many of the children are rapidly picking up the new sounds introduced, as well as the skills needed to read and write words and captions. Due to their hard work, we will be continuing to introduce the rest of the Phase 2 sounds at the new slower pace this half term and have a real focus on developing the children’s understanding of how we form these letters and how we use these sounds in our blending and segmenting.

We will also continue to introduce high frequency words (HFW) and common exception words (Tricky words.) Learning these by sight make for much more fluent readers and make spelling them a lot easier. I have sent home a set of word cards with the homework pack. Each week there is a  ‘word of the week.’ This is a word that we would like you to practice with your child every day at home, so they are able to read it by sight. We will then do a weekly check at school to see who has learnt it. This will develop your child’s accuracy when reading and their fluency so please ensure you practice it.

If your child is a little reluctant to read at home, this could be due to several 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 routine kicks in. To hook the child into the narrative and 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. Please see the vocabulary triangle and questions sheet for a little inspiration about how to try and get your child to engage with the books that they are reading.

Literacy

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. This is due to the majority of children 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.

Maths

This half term we will continue to focus on number work. This includes recognising numerals to 5, (or beyond) counting objects, actions or even noises accurately and matching totals to a number. We will also continue to develop the children’s understanding of subitising and practicing recognising the total number in different arrangements of objects or dots without counting.  Finally we will move on to exploring more compositions of numbers to 5 and try to encourage children to use number facts to recall these rather than using counting methods. An example of a composition of 5 is ‘2 and 3 make 5’ or ‘1 and 4 make 5.’ Finally in week 7 we will be beginning to look at simple patterns, ready to lead us to shape in the Spring term.

I have noticed that there are some children who have come to school lacking basic number knowledge or number sense making it difficult for them to recognise numbers 1-10 and count out totals to match each numeral. Any additional practice at home would help develop these skills quickly. You can also use the number games I have created on the home learning section of the website.

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. I have seen a huge improvement in the children’s handwriting who have been doing these activities regularly, so thank you for your support with this. Home learning will continue over Autumn 2 and I will now include a maths activity linked to what we have been learning in school. This will alternate between being paper based or online using a website called ‘Maths Seeds’ which is very fun and engaging. The logins for this have been sent home. Each week the correct task will appear on a Monday, (see below for what these will be.) However, I have added some additional tasks your child can work through in your own time to develop number knowledge or consolidate skills. 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. Please see the timetable below for the homework.

Week 1

31.10.22

Literacy – Phoneme frames, cat, man, tap, dog
Maths- All about number 1 and 2.

Weekly word-at

Week 2

07.11.22

Literacy – Pictures and captions matching

Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 1-5

Weekly word-sat

Week 3

14.11.22

Literacy – Phoneme frames, peg, net, mop, pen

Maths-All about numbers 3 and 4.

Weekly word-pat

Week 4

21.11.22

Literacy – Say it, join it, write it.

Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 0 and ordering numbers

Weekly word-tap

Week 5

28.11.22                     

Literacy – Phoneme frames, pip, sit, ten, pan

Maths- Number 5 and number formation

Weekly word-sap

Week 6

05.12.22

Literacy – b/d sheet

Maths- Maths seeds- Number lines 1-10

Weekly word-sit

Week 7

12.12.22

Literacy – Write a list to Santa using your phonic knowledge to list the things you would like.

Maths- Number representation sorting 1-5

Weekly word-sip

Week 1

31.10.22

Literacy – Phoneme frames, cat, man, tap, dog
Maths- All about number 1 and 2.

Weekly word-at

Week 2

07.11.22

Literacy – Pictures and captions matching

Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 1-5

Weekly word-sat

Week 3

14.11.22

Literacy – Phoneme frames, peg, net, mop, pen

Maths-All about numbers 3 and 4.

Weekly word-pat

Week 4

21.11.22

Literacy – Say it, join it, write it.

Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 0 and ordering numbers

Weekly word-tap

Week 5

28.11.22                     

Literacy – Phoneme frames, pip, sit, ten, pan

Maths- Number 5 and number formation

Weekly word-sap

Week 6

05.12.22

Literacy – b/d sheet

Maths- Maths seeds- Number lines 1-10

Weekly word-sit

Week 7

12.12.22

Literacy – Write a list to Santa using your phonic knowledge to list the things you would like.

Maths- Number representation sorting 1-5

Weekly word-sip

 

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.

Reading Books

We will continue to operate the reading book system as we have been doing so that you keep one book at home and the one previously read at home is returned in book bags on a Monday so we can change it on the Friday.  I will also be sending home information about an online reading system that we use called ‘rising stars.’ These are e-books and are a great addition to add to your reading schedule for variety. These are set at your child’s reading level and like the books sent home, should be read through multiple times to develop the children’s comprehension skills. I will set 8 books at a time for you and your child to work through throughout the half term.

Memory games, Executive Function and Language

As mentioned in my previous newsletter, executive function skills play a key part in development. It enables children to maintain attention and avoid getting distracted, to enhance concentration, to remember instructions, and to keep track of what they are doing as they are working…and lots more. With this in mind, along with my communication and language course I am undertaking, I have two lovely storytelling ideas you could try at home that would not only support developing children’s memory, executive function and language skill, but will also be very fun too.

Storytelling requires that children hold and work with information in their working memory. With practice, and as their executive function skills develop, they can plan and organise more complex narratives.

Activity 1- Write down children’s stories, or get children to draw pictures and create their own books. Use this record of the story to revisit it, which will help children to elaborate further on the story or support them to organise the events in a more effective way. You could even record them telling their story.

Activity 2- Get children to act out the stories they have written. This requires children to pay attention, hold the story structure in working memory, and inhibit the impulse to change the story. They can use the pictures from task 1 to support this.

If you try these at home, please upload them to Dojo as I would love to see what you have been up to and hear the wonderful stories your children create.

Communication and Language

The way we interact with children plays a vital role in developing their communication and language skills. Sometimes when we communicate with children we can take the lead of games, bombard them with questions or simply answer for them as they take a little longer to respond to us. With this in mind I have put together a little task for you to look at your interaction style and think about how you could improve it a little. I did the same and have found it fascinating what little things you can alter (that you probably didn’t realise that you were doing!) to support your child’s development in this area.  To complete this checklist, approach an activity that your child is immersed in and look at the following:

 Other Information:

  • Nativity Book- As part of our enterprise topic this year and due to its success in previous years, we will be creating a Nativity book. The children will act out the story and we will photograph this, turning these into a published book for you to purchase. It was such a lovely keepsake last year and something the children really enjoyed. Please fill in this questionnaire to secure a part for your child and also give your consent for your child to take part in it. This closes on 15/11/2022 and limited parts will be given out to those who filled in the questionnaire first - https://www.allcounted.com/s?did=s6tm9hzd9myxa&lang=en_US#

We will also be inviting you in to see the children share this story with you on Wednesday 7th December at 2.40pm in the village hall. I will send out a link about requesting tickets during the next two weeks.

  • Sponsored event- During our ‘Understanding The World’ topic this half term we are looking at ‘Does everyone in the world have a favourite pair of shoes?’ Here we will be exploring how families from around the world differ to ours. We will be looking at their clothing, possessions, and houses before leading on to seeing how a child in Africa’s routine is different to ours too. We will be thinking about how some families are not as lucky as we are and do not have basic things like water or shoes. With this in mind, we will be having a sponsored ‘move your feet’ week where we invite you and your children to be as active as possible for a full week. We want to encourage you to go on walks/runs, walk to school, have dance a thons, go swimming- anything to get you to move those feet. We will then have a full day at school where we will be as active as possible, whilst wearing our favourite pair of shoes. For this week, we will ask that your children get sponsored to take part, and all money raised will go to the charity Sal’s Shoes. Please find more information about this charity or more information about donating your own unwanted shoes to children all around the world here https://www.salsshoes.com/our-story/  More information about this event will be sent home soon.  We do recognise that with the cost of living being so high at the moment that gaining sponsorship may not be a possibility for some people, but all children are more than welcome to take part in the active day.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Topic Web Autumn 2

 Have a look at the fun things we are going to learn this half term.  

Key Vocabulary

A good vocabulary (the number of words you know and can say) is really important for all children. It is an important building block for helping children to talk in sentences (and beyond!) but it's also really useful for learning to read and write. So, helping children to develop a good vocabulary is vital. With this in mind please use this vocabulary triangle to introduce these words to your children and encourage them to use them when taking part in the conversation starters.  

Newsletter- Autumn 1

Autumn 1 Newsletter

Dear Parents/Carers,

It is a pleasure to welcome you and your children 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 your little ones over the Reception School Year.  The main priority during the 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 and become accustomed to all of the new rules and routines.

This newsletter gives you some insight into your child’s day and what to expect in the first half term . I am also hoping that it will help ease you into the routines and structures of the school, but if anything is still unclear, please do not hesitate to ask.

Morning Routine

Children are expected to be dropped off at 8.55am. 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 with as little support as possible due to the current situation, so any practice at home will make these mornings a little easier for your child and the class.

◾When entering the cloak room your child will 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.

◾ Your child will then put their coat on their peg. Again any practice with taking coats off and putting them on (including doing the zip/buttons) will help them do this by themselves.

The children will then go and wash their hands with soap and water in the toilets before entering the classroom.

◾Once all of the above are complete the children will then enter the classroom. They will take part in morning work to develop their skills in certain areas. Some will be at tables, others on the carpet. The activities set up on the tables in the classroom 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. The themes for these activities are as followed;

Monday- Name Writing/ Handwriting (When phonics starts)

Tuesday- Name Writing/ Handwriting (When phonics starts)

Wednesday- Maths and number

Thursday- Rainbow reading

Friday- Cutting skills

Topic

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 in the UK and those from other countries. 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. Please see the vocabulary triangle and discussion points that you could use at home to support your children’s learning in this area and also to have some lovely little discussions about your unique family with your child.

Phonics

We will begin Phase 2 of letters and sounds the week commencing Monday 19th September depending on how the children are settling in. Here the children will be introduced to a different sound every other day so we can focus on using these in reading and writing for over a two-day period for each sound. Introducing these at a slower pace should help all children to learn the necessary skills needed to begin to blend to read and segment to spell. I will be conducting a Phonics Home Learning Support Workshop for you to attend at school to help you understand how to apply similar techniques we use at school at home on Monday 12th September at 4.00pm. It would be lovely to see as many of you attend this as possible as it is vital we work together to develop the fundamental skills needed to read and write in Reception, because if children fall behind in Reception, it is very hard for them to catch up.  I understand that not all of you will be able to attend this, so I will also be uploading a video of the presentation on Class Dojo too.

 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. http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/phonics-made-easy I have also put together some videos which are available on the school website or Youtube. 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 ‘parent’s 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 the Friday that we start Phonics lessons and should be complete each week and uploaded to Class Dojo for me to ‘mark.’  You will have a week to complete each one- guidance will be uploaded on Class Dojo in regard to this when it begins.

It is essential that the pre-cursive handwriting style shown on these sheets is continued at home, as going between writing styles could confuse your children as well as delay their development in writing.  This new technique can be a little confusing at first and may make your child’s handwriting appear messy, however it is important that you continue to practice it this way. Please refer to the videos above or the handwriting booklet for more help with learning to form letters this way.

Reading

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. Please upload a photo of this to Dojo every Friday so I can see what your child has been reading and how they have got 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 as this is a valuable tool to develop your child’s vocabulary and imagination.

At first Lilac books will be sent home which have no words in. This is an opportunity for you to ask your child to look at the pictures and create their own narratives. Here you can use questioning to help them predict what will happen next, name the characters and think about the emotions of the characters. I would recommend that you start by making up the story on one page to guide your children, then encourage them to have a turn with the next few pages. After this pink books will be sent home. The children may still not be at the blending to read words stage, but it would be beneficial for your child to look at sounds they have learnt and have a go at orally blending these.

We will change these books on the Friday.  

We also have a virtual book library called Rising Stars which I will set reading books on as well so you can chop and change between hard copies and these online ones. I will send login details home for this over the next few weeks, along with a ‘how to read with your child’ guide which will help in using similar strategies at home, to those used at school. It also explains a reading reward system we have in place to try and encourage reading at home- as we know this can be tricky at times!

Maths

During this half term, we will be focusing on number recognition with numerals to 5 and counting objects and actions to this. We will also be teaching children how to subitise as this is a key element of the new EYFS curriculum as it underpins a secure understanding of numbers and their compositions. Subitising can help children to build images for numbers, to visualise and to learn number facts. For instance, most four-year-olds readily learn to recognise five dots on a dice, which helps them to understand the cardinal value or 'howmanyness' of five. We will develop their recognition of different arrangements of objects to represent numbers to 5 along with the standard dots on a dice.

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; www.maths-games.org/counting-games.html

Boys Learning

It is common knowledge that some 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 and having spent a lot of time at home these last few months. In order to help upset children it is vital that we work together and make the goodbye in the morning positive and not sound so final. Using phrases such as ‘see you this afternoon’ or ‘ I can’t wait to see you when I pick you up later’ will help with this. It is best in these situations that you leave the playground 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.

Memory and Executive function skills

Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things. With this in mind, over the summer, it may be useful to try and build in some fun games which will help your child exercise and develop these skills- ready for when they come to school. One of the biggest ways to support with this is by giving your child time to think of an answer to a question, before jumping in with the answer or thing they would like. Anther way is to ask them lots of questions so that children begin using their working memory to retrieve information as they respond.  Children who struggle with these skills often find following one or two instructions difficult as they cannot yet retain and retrieve information in their working memory. If you ask your child things such as “Take your shoes off, then hop 3 times.” Can they do this? You could build up these simple instructions into your everyday routine. “Take your coat off then get your cup please.” Etc.

An easy game to play when in the car is an auditory sequential memory recall game! Say 3 or 4 words which the children have to try and repeat in order. Eg suitcase, lamb, sock, sandwich. Then ask children to repeat a sentence eg “The baby cries a lot.” Can your child remember the list of items?

Another favourite is the “What’s missing?” game. Place up to 5 objects on a tray, let your child see what is on there. Cover this up and remove one item. Can your child tell you what has gone? If they are really good at this, you could try taking away two items.

A few further bits of information:

  • We will have PE twice a week. An indoor and outdoor kit will be needed. The days these will be on will be confirmed on Tuesday.
  • 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 half term, our class newsletter is available to read on the school website.
  • 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 coat on, using a knife and fork and tidying away what they have been using before moving on to something else! Another great skill to try and develop which may have been delayed slightly from spending lots of time at home is recall of and following instructions. This is part of the Early Years curriculum so it would be great if you practice asking your child to do something once and letting them try and remember this and follow it up without reminders. This can then be increased to two and then three things within the sequence. An example of this would be “go and wash your hands, put your coat on and then sit down.”
  • Mrs Gilbert will lead the class on my PPA afternoons as it is my allocated planning time. Here they will take part in activities in the garden where they will take part in natural learning.
  • Please ensure all clothes (including PE kits/water bottles etc) are named as things will go missing and we are always eager to reunite it with its owner.
  • Book bags and mice will now be expected to be brought to school on a Monday. We will then keep these at school for the full week and return these on Friday.
  • Any letters or important information will be put on Class dojo or the website so please check these regularly.

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

I look forward to starting this learning adventure with your little ones in September and hope you have a lovely summer.

Kind Regards,

Miss Jolly

 

Topic Webs- Autumn 1

 Have a look at the fun things we are going to learn this half term.