Welcome to Spooner Row Primary School. I have had a lovely three days visiting you all at home and want to thank you for making me, Mrs Pigg and Mrs Bradley feel so welcome. The information you have given will help me to plan individualised curriculums, as well as care for and support your child in the best way possible.
The purpose of this newsletter is to outline the work your child will be doing this term and give you information specific to Squirrel Class. Please read it carefully and keep it safe so that you can refer back to.
Learning in Squirrel class is fun. The curriculum is play based and planned around seven areas of learning. There are three prime areas; communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development and four specific areas; literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. Learning will take place both inside and outside.
The main emphasis this term will be on settling the children in, establishing classroom routines and developing social skills. Although I have planned work loosely around the topics of Amazing Me and Autumn, I will be led by the children’s interests.
Starting school is a big step in a child’s life and we want to make it a positive experience, so this area of the curriculum will play a key role this term. Emphasis will be on settling in, making friends, getting to know the school and learning the classroom routines and rules.
During the second half term we will look at different festivals and the way in which they are celebrated.
Communication and Language
Emphasis will be on listening attentively and responding to what is heard, following instructions and speaking confidently in front of the class using correct tenses. Much of this work will be done through carpet time activities and Show and Tell.
We are aiming for some form of physical activity every day. There will be two planned P.E. lessons each week (Wednesday and Friday) as well as daily access to the outdoor area and hall. Emphasis will be on spatial awareness, and moving in different ways with control and co-ordination.
Children will also be involved in lots of cutting, threading, stacking and pencil control activities designed to develop their fine motor skills.
Emphasis will be on counting and number recognition to ten this term and adding and subtracting within five. We will use songs and rhymes to say, order and use number names. Children will be encouraged to use their mathematical knowledge to solve simple problems.
Throughout the term we will also focus on measurement and shape.
All children will have a daily phonics session. Emphasis this term is on sound discrimination, letter/sound recognition and sounding and blending cvc words. We will learn a number of ‘tricky’ words by sight, as well as reading and writing our names, labels and simple captions.
The children will be read to everyday and encouraged to talk about what they have heard.
Understanding the World
Much of the work in this area will be led by the children’s interests. The children will have access to a wide range of ICT equipment from computers and ipads to keyboards and telephones.
Children will have the opportunity to learn German with Mrs Ward using the ‘Dinocrocs’ scheme and a selection of songs.
Expressive Arts and Design
In art we will be experimenting with colour and texture as well as learning to manipulate playdough for a purpose. As part of our topic we will be drawing people and creating self portraits.
The children will be taught music by Mrs Ward and will be learning some new songs and exploring different musical instruments and the sounds they make.
Home-School Diary and Home-School Sharing Book
These are your link with school. If you want to tell us anything, need advice or need a question answering, write it in the purple book and we will do our very best to get back to you on the same day. Mrs Pigg checks through the purple books daily and passes on to me any that require attention.
Assessment in the Foundation Stage is largely based on observations of activities completed by the children independently. These can be things that the children have completed at home as well as in school. Please write in your child’s Home-School Sharing Book any tasks/activities that they have achieved independently. These may include climbing to the top of the climbing frame in the local park, telling you a fact they’ve learned, swimming 5 metres, tying shoe laces, writing their name, reading a road sign etc. Please date all entries and remember that they must have achieved them without any help. As I assess your child throughout the year I will take all of these into account.
This is a key skill and one that cannot be rushed. Your child will not be given a reading book straight away. They will be given a sounds book in the next couple of weeks, in which I will put the sounds we have covered in class, a list of words that can be made from those sounds and some tricky words (written in red). Individual sound cards will be sent home for you to use to help your child read and spell the words. Tricky word cards will be sent home and these need to be learnt by sight. All children will have their words checked once a week on a Monday.
Your child will be given three reading books from the pink book band box once they know the majority of letter sounds, can sound and blend cvc words, read simple captions and read the first ten tricky words. Please look/read through the books at least three times throughout the week and sign the purple home/school diary every time you read with your child (please remember to write the title of the book).
Each child will read their book and go through their word cards with an adult on a Monday. Reading books will be changed at this time, as long as the diary has been signed at least three times. Children will also get the chance to read in small groups and pairs throughout the week during adult directed activities.
I will assess your child when I feel they are ready to move on to the next box.
Please remember that there is a lot more to reading than simply decoding words. Talk to your child about the pictures, ask them questions about the characters, get them to predict what might happen next and read to them before bed. All of these things will help them to gain an understanding of how stories work and hopefully create a love of books.
In order to provide toast and milkshake, as well as a wide range of enrichment activities, including cooking and food tasting, I am asking for a voluntary contribution of 50p a week. This needs to be paid half termly (£3.50) or termly (£7.00). Please put the money in an envelope with your child’s name on and leave it in their book bag. Unfortunately these activities will not be able to go ahead without your support.
Early Morning Sessions (starting 25th September)
You are more than welcome to come into the classroom with your child from 8.40 am on a Tuesday morning. This is a time for you to work alongside and support your child with a range of gross and fine motor activities and games. I will be around for you to talk to if you have any concerns or worries about your child. Please ensure that you leave by 9.20 am, as the children need to be registered and dinners ordered.
Stay and Play Sessions
These will take place once a half term and will enable you to watch a teacher lead activity, followed by group and individual tasks. This term you will get the chance to see how phonics and number are taught. As these sessions take place during the school day we are unable to accommodate pre-school children. The first session will take place on Tuesday 16th October at 9.00 – 10.30 am and will focus on phonics.
All children in Reception are entitled to a free hot school dinner. A menu was sent home before the summer holiday. Please make sure your child knows what they are having for lunch each day (hot, vegetarian or jacket potato option). During the first few weeks it would be helpful if you could write what they will be having each day in their Home-School Diary. If your child prefers a packed lunch this can be brought in from home.
Water and fruit
The school is signed up to the national fruit scheme. This entitles your child to a daily piece of fruit up to the age of seven. Water is freely available and cups are provided. Please do not send bottles, as we have nowhere to store them.
Show and Tell
This is a very valuable speaking and listening activity and one that I would like to encourage. Each child has been given a day on which they can bring in one item from home to talk about. Shortly, you will be told when your child’s day is. Please do not send in items on other days, as there will not be time to look at them. For the first half term, whilst they are developing confidence in speaking in front of the class, they can bring in a toy to talk about. After half term no toys will be allowed and they will need to bring in an object of interest, a photograph or a model that they have spent time building. Please ensure that your child knows what they are going to say about the object. Show and Tell will start on Monday 1st October.
‘Inspiring a Generation’
As part of the 2012 Olympic legacy of ‘inspiring a generation’ I will be introducing ‘Elmer the Exercising Elephant’ to the children and encouraging them to get involved in physical activities with him throughout the week. At the weekend Elmer will be taking it in turns to come home with the children. He will bring a bag of equipment with him. Please could you get your child to involve him in sporting or physical activities and record them, with photos if possible, in his diary. He will come home on Friday and needs to be returned to school on Monday so that your child can share what they have done with him with the rest of the class.
It is a requirement of the Foundation Stage Curriculum that children have a balance of indoor and outdoor play. This means that we will be outside in all weather conditions. Waterproof coats and dungarees will be provided by the school but children will need Wellington boots in school at all times. Please ensure that these are named and put on the boot holder in the corridor. Once the cold weather sets in they will also need gloves and a hat every day. It would be helpful if children could have a change of clothes in their PE bag (jogging bottoms, t-shirt, pants and socks). It is always nicer for children to be able to put on their own clothes if they get wet, dirty or have an accident.
Remember our class motto: ‘A dirty child is a happy child.’
PE kits should be brought into school on a Monday and taken home on a Friday. Please ensure your child has shorts and a t-shirt in their bag every week. Trainers are preferable to plimsolls, as they provide more support. Long hair must be tied back and all jewellery removed. Staff are not allowed to remove earrings, so these should not be worn on PE days. Earrings that cannot be removed will be taped and your child will be given a modified curriculum to ensure their safety and the safety of their peers.
ALL ITEMS OF CLOTHING AND SHOES NEED TO BE LABELLED.
Please do not hesitate to come and see me if you have any questions or a concern about any aspect of your child’s learning and life at school. I can also be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Newbery, Mrs Pigg and Mrs Bradley