Autumn Web Newsletter 2
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- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0dJWfQHF8Y 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.
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.
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
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.
Autumn Term Curriculum Web 2: Once Upon a Time
Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term:
Autumn Web Newsletter
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.
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. https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/phonics-made-easy 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; https://www.teachyourmonstertoread.com/
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; www.maths-games.org/counting-games.html
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.
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.
Autumn Term Curriculum Web: Marvellous Me
Click to view and download all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: