It is a huge honour to welcome all the children and parents to Reception, with a special welcome to the new children and families to the Barlborough family. I am very much looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you, along with your little ones. 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.
The themes for these activities are as follows:
Monday- Name Writing/ Handwriting (When phonics starts)
Tuesday- Jigsaws and group games
Wednesday- Maths and number
Thursday- Rainbow reading
Friday- Cutting skill
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.
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, so 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 Monday 18th September at 4.30- 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. 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 send 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.
Every half term we celebrate an ‘Amazing Author’ where we explore lots of their books and use these as a link to our topics and Literacy objectives. This half term we are looking at Liz Pichon.
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; http://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;
We use an online learning journal to document all of your children’s achievements. It also allows you to see what your child is up to at school as well as input ‘wow’ moments your child has at home for us to see. To link you to your child please complete the form below with your email address which will then send you information about the next steps and how to access your child’s journal. Please ensure you do not share any information from your child’s journal on social media sites as there may be references and photos of other children due to group work.
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 a red one. This has the following targets in it which we are hoping the children will achieve by the end of the Autumn term;
Answer my name when my teacher or friend calls me
Take turns when playing a game
Always do what my teacher asks me to do
Solve a problem without arguing
Listen when someone is talking to me
We will be concentrating on the three in bold this half term and discuss these topics during circle times.
A few further bits of information:
If you have any questions about any of the above or any other queries please do not hesitate in speaking to Miss Heath-Smith, Mrs Attia or I, we are always happy to help.
Click to download and view our topic web, with all the exciting things we'll be learning this term: