Curious Calves (Reception)
Please see below the vocabulary that we will be using in class this half term and some ideas of how to incorporate these at home.
Autumn 2 Newsletter
I hope you have a restful break after such a busy, but fantastic first half term at school. I am extremely pleased with how the children are settling in and can already see some brilliant progress as they embrace all the new topics and learning concepts I keep sending their way.
Autumn 2 is going to be another action packed half term, particularly with all the celebrations in the run up to Christmas, which is always an extremely exciting time of year for the children.
This half term we will be looking at Traditional Tales. We will be focusing on exploring the language included in these books, different character roles and beginning to learn how we can be authors and change elements of a story ourselves. We will also be learning about celebrations and family traditions such as Diwali, Firework night and Christmas.
To help your children develop in this area it would be great to share some of your favourite traditional tales as well as the more modern ‘messed up fairy tales’ which often tell the stories from a different perspective. It would also be great if you use the vocabulary triangle, reflective questions and story starters at home. This will help extend the children’s vocabulary even further and also explore the concept of differing narratives.
Many of the children are rapidly picking up the new sounds introduced, as well as the skills needed to read and write words and captions. Due to their hard work, we will be continuing to introduce the rest of the Level 2 sounds this half term and have a real focus on developing the children’s understanding of how we form these letters and how we use these sounds in our blending and segmenting. We will then move on to Level 3, however more information about this will be sent home about this when the children are ready.
We will also continue to introduce high frequency words (HFW) and common exception words (Tricky words.) Learning these by sight make for much more fluent readers and make spelling them a lot easier. These can be found on the bookmarks sent home in the first week of school.
If your child is a little reluctant to read at home, this could be due to several things such as time of day, lack of understanding of the narrative so it therefore becomes boring, or un-engagement. To try and help with these issues I would firstly suggest picking the reading time according to your child’s mood. If you know your child is more responsive in the mornings, try and have a morning cuddle and spend 5-10 minutes reading before the morning routine kicks in. To hook the child into the narrative and help them learn how to understand these through the use of pictures and text you could first act out what you think will happen using the pictures to help before ‘being a detective’ and actually reading the story to see if they were correct. Please see the vocabulary triangle and questions sheet for a little inspiration about how to try and get your child to engage with the books that they are reading.
Literacy will focus on encouraging children to use their phonic knowledge to segment words in order to build sentences with less adult support as previously needed. This is due to the majority of children showing great understanding of how to use skills taught in phonics lessons to do this. We will also be using ‘talk 4 writing’ methods to look at Jack and the Beanstalk. I will be including lots of videos on Class dojo so that you can see how talk 4 writing is used to develop children’s language and understanding of the features of a book. This will give you insight into little activities that can be done at home to help develop these further. I will also be showing you how we encourage children to write independently, without copying words and going over dots to help them grow into independent writers.
This half term we will continue to focus on number work. This includes recognising numerals to 5, (or beyond) counting objects, actions or even noises accurately and matching totals to a number. We will also continue to develop the children’s understanding of subitising and practising recognising the total number in different arrangements of objects or dots without counting. Finally we will move on to exploring more compositions of numbers to 5 and try to encourage children to use number facts to recall these rather than using counting methods. An example of a composition of 5 is ‘2 and 3 make 5’ or ‘1 and 4 make 5.’ Finally, in the last week, we will be beginning to look at simple patterns, ready to lead us to shape in the Spring term.
I have noticed that there are some children who have come to school lacking basic number knowledge or number sense making it difficult for them to recognise numbers 1-10 and count out totals to match each numeral. Any additional practice at home would help develop these skills quickly. You can also use the number games I have created on the home learning section of the website.
The response to the writing home learning activities has been fantastic and the children are consolidating skills learnt at school very quickly by practising them at home too. I have seen a huge improvement in the children’s handwriting who have been doing these activities regularly, so thank you for your support with this. Home learning will continue over Autumn 2 and I will now include a maths activity linked to what we have been learning in school. This will alternate between being paper based or online using a website called ‘Maths Seeds’ which is very fun and engaging. The logins for this have been sent home. Each week the correct task will appear on a Monday, (see below for what these will be.) However, I have added some additional tasks your child can work through in your own time to develop number knowledge or consolidate skills. It has been fantastic to see how many children get excited about this weekly, and I see a huge difference in the children who complete it regularly. May I remind you it is not compulsory, however strongly recommended that this is completed as again it consolidates skills and builds independence. Please see the timetable below for the homework.
Week beginning 6/11/23
Literacy – Phoneme frames, cat, man, tap, dog
Week beginning 13/11/23
Literacy – Pictures and captions matching
Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 1-5
Week beginning 20/11/23
Literacy – Phoneme frames, peg, net, mop, pen
Maths-All about numbers 3 and 4.
Week beginning 27/11/23
Literacy – Autumn CVC reading
Maths- Maths seeds- numbers 0 and ordering numbers
Week beginning 4/12/23
Literacy – Phoneme frames, pip, sit, ten, pan
Maths- Number 5 and number formation
Week beginning 11/12/23
Literacy – Read it and draw it
Maths- Maths seeds- Number lines 1-10
Week beginning 18/12/23
Literacy – Write a list to Santa using your phonic knowledge to list the things you would like.
Maths- Number representation sorting 1-5
We will continue to operate the reading book system as we have been doing so that you keep one book at home which matches your child’s reading level. The free reads books and games will also be put out on a Monday if you would like additional books. I will also be adding more games on Twinkl Go for you to access at home to support reading skills.
Memory games, Executive Function and Language
As mentioned in my previous newsletter, executive function skills play a key part in development. It enables children to maintain attention and avoid getting distracted, to enhance concentration, to remember instructions, and to keep track of what they are doing as they are working…and lots more. With this in mind, along with my communication and language course I am undertaking, I have two lovely storytelling ideas you could try at home that would not only support developing children’s memory, executive function and language skill, but will also be very fun too.
Storytelling requires that children hold and work with information in their working memory. With practice, and as their executive function skills develop, they can plan and organise more complex narratives.
Activity 1- Write down children’s stories, or get children to draw pictures and create their own books. Use this record of the story to revisit it, which will help children to elaborate further on the story or support them to organise the events in a more effective way. You could even record them telling their story.
Activity 2- Get children to act out the stories they have written. This requires children to pay attention, hold the story structure in working memory, and inhibit the impulse to change the story. They can use the pictures from task 1 to support this.
I will be setting this as an activity on Dojo as I would love to see what you get up to at home.
- A reminder that the communication and language workshop is on November 13th at 4pm-5pm. I would love to see as many of you there as possible. It is the first workshop I am doing on this topic and hopefully will give you lots of information about the development of these skills, along with ideas you can use at home.
- Nativity Book- Children will come in their costumes on Monday 4th December to create the book before the story telling for adults at 2.45 pm.
Thank you for your continued support,
Curriculum Web and Topic Knowledge Organisers for this half term.
Please take a look at the wonderful things we will be learning about this half term.
Autumn 1 Newsletter
It is a pleasure to welcome you and your children into Reception, with a special welcome to the new children and families joining the Barlborough Primary School family. I am very much looking forward to getting to know your little ones over the Reception School Year. The main priority during the first few weeks is to support the children as they transition into school life and make them feel comfortable and safe as they settle in to their new environment and become accustomed to all of the new rules and routines.
This newsletter gives you some insight into your child’s day and what to expect in the first half term. I am also hoping that it will help ease you into the routines and structures of the school, but if anything is still unclear, please do not hesitate to ask.
Children are expected to be dropped off at 8.50am. 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, so any practice at home will make these mornings a little easier for your child and the class.
◾When entering the cloak room your child will find and recognise their name, this will help them learn the letters that make it up and therefore distinguish it from others in other contexts such as on book bags, PE bags and cardigans/ jumper.
◾ Your child will then put their coat on their peg. Again any practice with taking coats off and putting them on (including doing the zip/buttons) will help them do this by themselves.
The children will then go and wash their hands with soap and water in the toilets before entering the classroom.
◾Once all of the above are complete the children will then enter the classroom. They will take part in morning work linked to Phonics lessons.
Our topic for this half term is ‘Marvellous Me’ where the children will explore lots of different and unique ways which make them special. Here we will explore their original features, their interests and unique characteristics. This will then lead onto learning about families and how they differ from one another in the UK and those from other countries. Finally, we will explore the amazing human body and why it is important to stay healthy. To make the topic more appealing, we will be using books by Lisa Bullard which explore the similarities and differences between ourselves, our families and our homes. They offer a great insight into cultural diversity also. Please see the vocabulary triangle and discussion points that you could use at home to support your children’s learning in this area and also to have some lovely little discussions about your unique family with your child.
We will begin Level 2 of the Twinkl Phonics scheme, the week commencing Monday 18th September depending on how the children are settling in. Here the children will be introduced to a new sound every day and we will practice using these in reading and writing tasks. This will gradually build up the necessary skills needed to begin to blend to read and segment to spell. I will be conducting a Phonics Home Learning Support Workshop for you to attend at school to help you understand how to apply similar techniques we use at school at home on Monday 18th September at 4.00pm. It would be lovely to see as many of you attend this as possible as it is vital we work together to develop the fundamental skills needed to read and write in Reception, because if children fall behind in Reception, it is very hard for them to catch up. I understand that not all of you will be able to attend this, so I will also be uploading a video of the presentation on Class Dojo too. This is for adults only so you can try to wrap your head around some complicated bits and bobs!
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. There are also some very useful videos on the Twinkl Phonics Youtube channel. Here they demonstrate the correct pronunciation of each sound, along with the actions we will use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SzkjubQ-Ok . They are child friendly but also a vital tool to your own understanding of phonics.
As phonics begins I will be sending home weekly handwriting practice sheets. These will be sent out the Friday that we start Phonics lessons and should be complete each week and sent back into school in book bags to be marked. You will have a week to complete each one- guidance will be uploaded on Class Dojo in regard to this when it begins.
I will also be uploading some very fun games via Twinkl Go that can be accessed at home. I have had some great feedback about these from parents this year with children wanting to go on these regularly.
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 Rhino Reading book, linked to what is being learnt in Phonics lessons, that you can share with your child at home. 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. This should be kept in your child’s book bag so we can see how much reading children are doing weekly and also input reading at school. Please be aware every child is different and they all progress at different rates. However, if you have any concerns over your child’s reading development, please see one of us. In the meantime, please continue to read to your child as much as possible as this is a valuable tool to develop your child’s vocabulary and imagination.
At first Lilac books will be sent home which have no words in. This is an opportunity for you to ask your child to look at the pictures and create their own narratives. Here you can use questioning to help them predict what will happen next, name the characters and think about the emotions of the characters. I would recommend that you start by making up the story on one page to guide your children, then encourage them to have a turn with the next few pages. After this Level 2 A books will be sent home. The children may still not be at the blending to read words stage, but it would be beneficial for your child to look at sounds they have learnt and have a go at orally blending these.
We will change these books on the Friday.
We also have a virtual book library on Twinkl Go which I will set reading books on as well so you can chop and change between hard copies and these online ones. I will send a ‘how to read with your child’ guide which will help in using similar strategies at home, to those used at school. It also explains a reading reward system we have in place to try and encourage reading at home- as we know this can be tricky at times!
During this half term, we will be focusing on number recognition with numerals to 5 and counting objects and actions to this. We will also be teaching children how to subitise as this is a key element of the new EYFS curriculum as it underpins a secure understanding of numbers and their compositions. Subitising can help children to build images for numbers, to visualise and to learn number facts. For instance, most four-year-olds readily learn to recognise five dots on a dice, which helps them to understand the cardinal value or 'howmanyness' of five. We will develop their recognition of different arrangements of objects to represent numbers to 5 along with the standard dots on a dice.
With number recognition we encourage children to explore the shapes of numbers and the different lines which make each up. This allows them to distinguish them from one another and will encourage them to begin to record numerals with their own representations. When you are out and about see how many different numbers you can see on doors, shop windows, price tickets or number plates. This will help children with their development with this.
Counting underpins all operations and the more we practise, the better we get. If possible, count with your child as much as possible at home. Children can count anything and everything, shoes, claps, carrots or jumps! – encourage them to count things wherever they are and if possible begin to integrate matching the total counted to a numeral for development of number sense and understanding. Some great games can be found on this website; www.maths-games.org/counting-games.html
It is common knowledge that some boys often have a completely different approach to learning than girls. Although this comes with it many positives, it has also created a global problem where girls can be seen out performing boys throughout their whole school life. With this in mind it is absolutely crucial that we work together to try and engage both the girls and boys in the class and create that love of learning from the outset. It appears that independence is key when it comes to boys learning and I will be sending home some activities to all students which are designed to encourage independence in thought processes as well as when involved in tasks. I will also be sending home information by Gary Wilson who has published many books to help practitioners and parents nurture boys and build them to be successful learners. I have a fantastic book by him for parents called ‘help your boys succeed The essential guide for parents.’ I would strongly recommend for parents to purchase this, or am happy to lend my copy out if you are interested in reading it. I have included an information sheet at the end of this newsletter about your child’s independence and ideas on how to build on this as well as some early literacy ideas to help both girls and boys discretely with essential skills needed to write successfully.
It is completely normal for children to get upset when you first start dropping them off at school, especially when they are not used to the new routine and structure that they are experiencing and having spent a lot of time at home these last few months. In order to help upset children it is vital that we work together and make the goodbye in the morning positive and not sound so final. Using phrases such as ‘see you this afternoon’ or ‘ I can’t wait to see you when I pick you up later’ will help with this. It is best in these situations that you leave the playground quickly as this makes the anticipation of you leaving less intense. In some circumstances children will latch on to you, making it difficult for you to leave, in these cases I will always ask your permission before I intervene. Next I will ask that you give them a kiss and a cuddle before you leave. I will then take your child from you calmly and gently and comfort them until they calm down. Often they take very little time to settle and we will always contact you to assure you that they are ok, likewise you are welcome to ring the office if you are concerned as I understand that it can be very upsetting for you too. If your child isn’t clingy, yet still upset, allowing you to leave easily, please make a member of staff aware as some children will then try and follow you.
Memory and Executive function skills
Executive function is a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things. With this in mind, over the summer, it may be useful to try and build in some fun games which will help your child exercise and develop these skills- ready for when they come to school. One of the biggest ways to support with this is by giving your child time to think of an answer to a question, before jumping in with the answer or thing they would like. Anther way is to ask them lots of questions so that children begin using their working memory to retrieve information as they respond. Children who struggle with these skills often find following one or two instructions difficult as they cannot yet retain and retrieve information in their working memory. If you ask your child things such as “Take your shoes off, then hop 3 times.” Can they do this? You could build up these simple instructions into your everyday routine. “Take your coat off then get your cup please.” Etc.
An easy game to play when in the car is an auditory sequential memory recall game! Say 3 or 4 words which the children have to try and repeat in order. Eg suitcase, lamb, sock, sandwich. Then ask children to repeat a sentence eg “The baby cries a lot.” Can your child remember the list of items?
Another favourite is the “What’s missing?” game. Place up to 5 objects on a tray, let your child see what is on there. Cover this up and remove one item. Can your child tell you what has gone? If they are really good at this, you could try taking away two items.
A few further bits of information:
- We will have PE twice a week. An indoor and outdoor kit will be needed. The days these will be on will be confirmed on Tuesday and children are asked to be sent into school in their kits on these days.
- Please look out for First Aid letters which children will be given at home time if they have had an accident at school. This gives you information about what minor injury your child received and how/when. These will be on red paper if it is a head injury. Please be assured that if any accidents happen which we deem of a more serious nature we will contact you immediately.
- Each half term, our class newsletter is available to read on the school website.
- It is important that your child begins to develop their independence in order to undergo day to day school life confidently. With this in mind we ask you to support your child in practicing certain skills at home such as getting dressed and undressed, taking their jumper off and putting it on, recognising their name, putting their coat on, using a knife and fork and tidying away what they have been using before moving on to something else! Another great skill to try and develop which may have been delayed slightly from spending lots of time at home is recall of and following instructions. This is part of the Early Years curriculum so it would be great if you practice asking your child to do something once and letting them try and remember this and follow it up without reminders. This can then be increased to two and then three things within the sequence. An example of this would be “go and wash your hands, put your coat on and then sit down.”
- Mrs Gilbert will lead the class on my PPA afternoons as it is my allocated planning time and when I am completing my speech and language course on a Thursday. Here they will take part in activities in the garden where they will take part in natural learning.
- Please ensure all clothes (including PE kits/water bottles etc) are named as things will go missing and we are always eager to reunite it with its owner.
- Book bags and mice will now be expected to be brought to school daily so we have access to their reading diaries. These will not be checked daily, so any letters being returned to school should be handed in to an adult or will be taken out of book bags on a Friday when these are checked. Any letters to be sent home will also be put in book bags during these checks too.
- Any letters or important information will be put on Class dojo or the website so please check these regularly.
- The school finish time for KS1 is now 3.20pm.
If you have any questions about any of the above or any other queries please do not hesitate in speaking to Mrs Stokes or I, we are always happy to help and understand there is lots of new information to try and process.
I look forward to starting this learning adventure with your little ones in September and hope you have a lovely summer.
Curriculum Web and Topic Knowledge Organisers for this half term.
Please take a look at the wonderful things we will be learning about this half term.