Tiny Turtles

Week of Monday 13th July Home Learning

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Week of 22nd June Home Learning

Week of Monday 15th June Home Learning

Next Weeks Home Learning

Friday 5th June Home Learning

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Planning for After Half Term

Friday 22nd May Home Learning

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Home Learning for Next Week

Friday 15th May Home Learning

Thursday 14th May Home Learning

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Next Weeks Learning

Thursday 7th May Home Learning

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Next Weeks Learning Tasks

Friday 1st May Home Learning

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Plans for Next Week

Friday 24th April Home Learning

Thursday 23rd April Home Learning

Curriculum Web Summer Half Term

Here is the curriculum web for this Half Term. Although not at school for the next few weeks at least, I thought it may offer you some insight into what is going to be covered in my daily plans for the home learning tasks to try and keep the children on track in all areas of their learning. 

Wednesday 22nd April Home Learning


Tuesday 21st April Home Learning

Monday 20th April Home Learning

Playdough Recipe

You need:

  • few drops glycerine ( for stretch and shine- but this is optional)


  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • Add food colouring (and glitter if you want) to the boiling water then this mixture into the dry ingredients
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  • Add the glycerine (optional)
  • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*
  • If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right
  • Keep in an air tight container


Home Learning Tasks for Week Commencing 20.04.2020

Friday 3rd April Home Learning

Thursday 2nd April Home Learning

Wednesday 1st April Home Learning

Tuesday 31st March Home Learning

Monday 30th March Home Learning

Friday 27th March Home Learning

Thursday 26th March Home Learning

Wednesday 25th March Home Learning

Tuesday 24th March Home Learning Task

Monday 23rd March Home Learning Tasks

Spring 2 Newsletter

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. 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, then 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 very nearly finished Phase 3 and are starting 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.  Please remember to fill in the reading reward spines in the corridor every time you read at home, as we do celebrate this within the class.

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 the 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 they 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 and trusting my guidance last half term.

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; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik_-OAgzD-8

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 will have some new members of the class next week. We will 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 or rehoming them to a local family.

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.
  • World book day is on 5th March 2020. 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 2 Topic Web

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

When I grow Up Day

It was lovely to see all of the children embrace the 'When I grow up' dress up day on Friday. This not only rounded up the whole half term's learning, but it also brought with it so many learning opportunities. All week the children were so excited about their costumes, writing about these, drawing pictures of what they would look like, and role playing their chosen occupation.

Thank you to those who also attended the song at the end of the day. The room was full to the brim and the children's confidence during this was outstanding.  

This Weeks Sounds

Enterprise Week

As part of our enterprise week, we were lucky enough to have a visit from some ladies who work at Pets At Home. They informed us about what their day at work usually looks like and also bought some furry friends in for us to meet. The children asked some fantastic questions about their occupations and also about how to look after the guinea pigs. 

This Weeks Sounds

Chinese New Year

The children had a fun filled day learning about many different traditions celebrated on Chinese New Year. They made lanterns and decorated these with fortune cats, tasted some new foods and took part in a dance workshop. The children were so immersed in all this learning and kept asking questions, keen to learn more about this celebration. 

This Weeks Sounds

Shape Pizza

To help the children learn shape names and their properties, we made shape pizza during maths! They picked different shaped ingredients, described these and then put them on their triangle piece of pizza! They did a great job and remembered most names.

They will be bringing their pizza home for you to cook later. 

This Weeks Sounds

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. 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 which is understandably quite nerve wracking for some. 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 Thursday and Friday.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some children have mentioned that they still have dummies. As mentioned at my phonics workshop this can be very detrimental to their speech and language at this age as dummies can make teeth growth irregular and also stop muscles in their tongue from developing properly which can make speech slurred due to correct tongue placement being difficult.

Thank you for your continued support,

Miss Jolly

Spring 1 Topic Web: Real Life Superheroes

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

Writing Examples

This week the children have been learning how we can alter traditional tales and came up with some ideas about what animals Jack could sell instead of a cow in the story of ‘Jack And The Beanstalk.‘ I had to share these with you as the children were so imaginative and the work shown in the photo was done with good levels of independence. 

Watercolour paints

A favourite activity this week was experimenting with watercolour paints to mix and blend colours together to make magic beans. Many of the children decided to visit this activity multiple times throughout the week and create different patterned and coloured beans. They found it fascinating to watch the paint spread when mixed with lots of water or the vibrant colours created when using less water. 

Anti-Bullying Fashion Show

 It is lovely to see some of the effort the children put into the drawings on the Anti-Bullying T-shirts some of them made for the fashion show. The messages were very clear about kindness and putting a stop to bullying. Well done to Mason who was voted the winner by the anti-bullying ambassadors.

Anti-Bullying Week

Anti-bullying week was lovely this year. The children showed good understanding about what bullying looks like and what to do if someone is unkind to them. They also explored the idea about how we can be kind to others in different ways such as through compliments and it was lovely to see the compliments you wrote on the bookmarks for your child. 

Remembrance Day

 On Friday the children started making their poppies as a mark of respect for armistice day. It was lovely that so many of the children already knew why we wear poppies and who we think about at this time and discussed this as they painted. On Monday 11th November we will send these home with your child which you are welcome to hang on the fence at the back of the playground. 

Diwali Writing

 This week we have been learning about Diwali and today the children were writing about the characters from the story of Rama and Sita. Wow, is all I can say! Some of the children wrote fantastic sentences with limited adult support. They used their sound knowledge to isolate each sound in every word and used neat handwriting to record these. I have included only some of the fantastic work from today as examples so you can see what your child should be working towards.

This Weeks Sounds

Autumn 2 Newsletter

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 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.

The word cards sent home are helping develop children’s reading skills and with continual practice will develop into them being able to sight read these so that new ones can be sent home too.

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.  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. 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.

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 Friday, 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.

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.
  • We have already had lots of forms returned for wreath making, please make sure these are returned soon if you want to attend a workshop so you don’t miss out on a space.

    Yours Sincerely,

 Miss Jolly

Autumn 2 Curriculum Web: Once Upon a Time...

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

This Weeks Sounds

Black History Day

For Black History day we have been exploring Mary Secole and Lewis Hamilton. We have made herbal remedies, car models and racing cars around different tracks.

The children were fascinated by both their lives and enjoyed asking many questions to find out more about each.  

This Weeks Sounds

Family Breakfast

Thank you so much for all those who attended the family breakfast this morning. I hope you enjoyed spending quality time with your child and taking part in the various activities. I must say you are a very creative bunch! The children have not stopped smiling since you left and saying how much they enjoyed having their loved ones in the classroom.
Thank you also to the people who donated food or money towards the resources needed for the activities, without this we wouldn't be able to put on such events.

Please leave some feedback about the event below. 


Sounds of the Week

Phonics Information

Here is a video I put together with the information I gave to those who attended the Phonics information evening. I hope this is useful. I have also added the actual presentation that I used on the day. They are very similar, just one a little bit more fancy! If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to ask.  

Stand Up Bolsover

 Wow, what a busy day! Reception definitely showcased their extensive energy levels today, giving their all in every physical activity that we took part in! We started the day with Yoga, then we had an active maths lesson before taking on some personal challenges at break and lunch times. This included counting how many times you could hop, jumping over an obstacle, or holding a wall squat. We then played games with a parachute which led to lots of giggles and still, somehow, an abundance of energy, so we finished the day with a group dance!

I hope your children sleep well tonight! 

Activity of the Week

 Every week I keep asking if the children want to keep the sand in the classroom or change it and every week they vote that it stays! In order to keep it engaging and encourage different areas of learning to be exercised I do keep adding small components into it. First it was socks, then glue and water and this week I decided to put tubes and funnels in it. The discussion this has generated from the children as they worked to fill the tubes up or problem solved how to try and make it pour through the funnels was incredible. The children even created their own races, working in teams to see who could fill the tubes up quicker and tried various methods and tools to help speed up the operation. It has been a simple but effective activity.

Sounds of the Week

Reading At Home

 Reading at home is vital to help your children consolidate skills learnt at school, as well as develop essential comprehension skills needed to take meaning from the text. With this in mind I have created a video showcasing different ideas you can do at home to help your child blend words together, develop sight recognition skills and read full sentences in books, all whilst ensuring they understand what they are actually reading. 

We have sent out similar word cards to those used in the videos so that you can practice reading these with your child, with the hope that they will read these by sight. 

Thank you to Lily for taking part in the video. Please note, children will all be at different stages of reading, but there are ideas included in this video to suit all children within the class.

I hope it is helpful and will be filming some more ideas soon. 

Wow Words

 Giving children opportunities to explore a broad range of vocabulary is very important in Reception so every week we introduce 'wow words' to the class. We will explore 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 for 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

Activity of the Week

This week we have had two very popular activities, both linked to maths again! The boys in particular have really enjoyed exploring the number garage. I labelled the cars with number stickers and then created parking spaces in the garage, again by numbering these. The children then had to match the numeral on the car, to that on the parking space and park it. This helps their numeral recognition with numerals from 0 all the way to 20.  This could also be done with making either the labels on the cars or parking spaces dots for the children to count and match this to a numeral. This also encourages hand strength and communication skills as they talk to their peers to discuss where they are parking their car.

The second activity was a very simple number decoration task. The children had a large selection of collage materials for them to stick on numerals of their choice. This again had numerous learning opportunities, such as fine motor skill development as they picked up and placed sequins and small parts, as well as encouraging them to be imaginative as they considered where to place each item. This could be adapted at home with children looking through magazines to find numerals the same as their chosen one and sticking these on.

What Makes Me Special?

We have been very busy this morning, making self-portrait pizzas! The children did a wonderful job at explaining what they were using to create their unique features, as well as discussing other ways that make them special, such as their interests. The children will be bringing these home for you to cook and enjoy later. 

Sounds of the Week

This week we are officially starting our daily Phonics lessons, as the children seem more settled and ready to learn. Here we learn one sound a day and then use these in a range of activities to develop the skills for them to read and write.

Here are this weeks sounds, please ensure that if your child practices at home, they include the lead in and lead out line seen in these videos, otherwise it can really confuse your child and result in very messy letter formation. If you need any more help with this then please ask as I know it is also a massive learning curve for parents too.  

Activity of the Week

 This week the children have enjoyed matching numerals and quantities using padlocks and keys.
This is a very simple activity that brings with it many learning opportunities, some of which include: strengthening of fine motor skills as they turn the keys, number recognition, problem solving and perseverance.

If you would like to try similar at home, all you will need is various padlocks and keys, (I picked a multi-pack up from Pound Land) sticky labels and some key fobs.

You will then need to draw numerals or dots on the labels and stick these on the padlock and fob so that when they are matched, the padlock will open. I make this slightly more engaging by locking the padlocks on hooks that are screwed into a log and have small teddies or toys that need rescuing once the padlock has been opened.

If you would like any more maths or phonics ideas to do with your child at home, please visit this page on our website.

Reading At Home

I have sent the first set of reading books home this week for you and your child to use to retell stories based on the images. If your child is ready, they can also see what sounds and words they can find on the page. Along with the books, I have also sent home some guidance on how to tackle reading with your little ones and get the most learning out of it.

Please find this below in case it has been misplaced.

Our First Week at School

 We are nearing the end of the first full week at school and I just wanted to take the time to say how proud I am of every single child. They are trying exceptionally hard with all of the rules and routines and have shown great confidence around lots of new faces. 

There may be a few more tears in the mornings towards the end of the week as their little bodies adjust to the busy school week. This is perfectly normal and hopefully will soon stop all together.

Well done to the children, but also to you parents as I know it can be emotional sending your children to school and getting your head around it too.

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 each and every one of you, along with your little ones over the coming weeks and have already had a delightful couple of days with them. The main priority during 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, but if anything is still unclear, please do not hesitate to ask.   

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 large yellow box on the shelf by the door of the cloakroom (this is labelled) and lunch boxes in the one below

  • 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 by the outside door by the reading area 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 family breakfast towards the end of the term where parents/carer will be invited to come in and participate in activities with your child which promote the unique nature of every family as well as eat some yummy food. This will be on Monday 7th October from 9.00am until 10.00am.  Please look out for the letter in the next few weeks confirming the date and times as well as a slip you will need to complete and return to me as it is a very popular event.


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 25th 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 up 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.  http://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.  

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.

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 dot 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. 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

Boys Learning

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 on Thursday and Friday afternoons. 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.  I hope the first few days in Reception have been as stress free as possible and I look forward to starting a full week with your little ones on Monday.

Kind Regards,

Miss Jolly

Autumn Term Topic Web: Marvellous Me

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