Congratulations – your child has now started at North Somercotes CE Primary school! The Reception class is about much more than colours and shapes, numbers and letters. This is the year that your child becomes ‘school-ready’; developing their independence, confidence, resilience and curiosity. It’s an exciting time, for children and parents, as their Primary school career begins.
Class Teacher: Mrs Abualzulof
Teaching Assistants: Mrs Musgrove
NVQ: Miss Williamson
This year your child will continue to learn by doing things for themselves, by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating — in other words — playing. Play is children’s work and playing hard is very tiring! Your child may be really exhausted and perhaps a bit grumpy when they come home! If they don’t want to talk about their day straight away, don’t worry, they will gradually let you into their new world as time goes by. Play can also be very messy as your child will be learning both inside the classroom with sand, water, paint, but also in the outdoors with mud, leaves etc. so you can expect some mucky clothes at the end of the day!
In Reception we operate a broad, balanced and creative curriculum which focuses upon the importance of learning through play. We want the children to have lots of fun as well as learn. Our curriculum is shaped by the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage. We are using the Topic approach, each topic lasting for half a term. In the Reception year our planning is flexible as we take children’s significant interests and needs into account.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and this is broken down into 3 prime aspects and 4 specific areas of learning:
Personal, social and emotional development
One of the prime aspects of your child’s first year at school will be a focus on their personal, social and emotional development, and their teacher will be aiming to give them a good start to their school experience by helping them form positive relationships, build confidence and self-awareness, as well as manage their feelings and behaviour.
Physical development is important too: you will hopefully notice that they are starting to move more confidently and to understand how to look after themselves and be healthy.
Our PE days this term are Mondays and Wednesdays. Children should wear a T-shirt, shorts/tracksuit and plimsolls. Please make sure that everything has your child’s name inside. Their PE kit should be kept in a named bag on their peg all week. We encourage the children to dress and undress independently, so please support this by practising with your child at home. Please ensure your child has suitable outdoor clothing every day as part of our day is spent outside in all weather. Please can you make sure that your children do not wear any jewellery to school for safety reasons.
Children learn through speaking and listening first and foremost, and this year you may notice your child communicating in a variety of ways at school — for example, through stories, in conversations with adults and their friends, or through facial expression, movement or dance.
We aim to develop confident readers and writers who are always eager to have a go for themselves. Our main focus this term is on the teaching of phonics working towards all children learning the letter sounds and beginning to use these to orally blend and segment the sounds in simple words. We will have phonic sessions each day and the children will be involved in various activities focusing on rhyme, alliteration and letter sounds. Look for letters and words in the environment. This will support your child further as we begin our phonics lessons.The children will listen to stories and experience a wide variety of books through their learning activities.
Your child will be choosing library books to share at home. These can be changed at the start of the day and as often as you wish. It is vital that you ensure your child has opportunities to share stories with you at home. Ask them questions about what is happening in the story. Can they guess what might happen next? Ask them to re-tell the story to you. Can they tell you who the characters in the story are?
The Jolly Phonics songs in order. A great way to introduce your child to phonics in a fun way:
Listen to the 42 letter sounds of Jolly Phonics, spoken in British English:
The children will be engaging in a variety of mathematical learning activities that are carefully planned and matched to their stage of learning. We will be focusing on counting, recognising and using numbers. This will involve lots of practical play and problem solving activities encouraging children to explore and find answers themselves. Through practical activities in our classroom provision the children will be developing their mathematical vocabulary by exploring and talking about shapes and sizes.
It is important that the children can say the numbers in order to 10 and then later to 20. Look for numbers and shapes in the environment. Can they find a number 2 on a door or a number 7 on the bus? Ask children to get you 3 pencils or 4 spoons. Can they count how many chairs are around the table whilst touching each item as they count for example.
Children learn about the world, too, exploring different people and communities, and how we can use different forms of technology in our learning. Finally, imagination and creativity are championed in the area of expressive arts and design. Your child will explore different media and materials and be encouraged to use their imagination in a range of different experiences.
The key thing to remember here is that your child learns holistically. In other words, most of the time they will be learning all seven areas of learning together, in a fairly jumbled way. So if your child spends most of his time in the sand area there’s no need for concern! They may well be covering all kinds of important learning; working with different materials shapes, quantity and volume, creating imaginative worlds, feeling different textures, and even developing motor skills and strength for writing!
How can I help my child in Reception?
Talking and listening
If you have any worries or concerns do please let the team know about them. By talking concerns through together we can all benefit and learn more about your child.
Your child will be informally observed throughout their time in Reception and staff will use the observations to assess your child’s learning. You can do this too by making simple informal observations at home. We strongly encourage you to write WOW Moments or Magic Moments that can be added to your child’s electronic Learning Journey.
Read, read, read
Read to your child and encourage them to read to you. Read anything and everything: real books, with pictures, rhyme and enjoyable stories are crucial here. Try to encourage your child to talk about the pictures, or to make predictions about what will happen next. It’s most important for your child to enjoy reading above all, so try to relax, and stop when either of you begins to feel pressured or anxious.
Encourage your child to recognise and read print when you are out shopping, on the bus or at the park. Most children can recognise the Golden M for McDonald’s a mile away!
After half term, we will ask you to fill in a Reading Diary each time you read with your child. This can be a really useful communication tool, so the more info you provide the better!
Help with phonics
Talk to your child about individual letters (especially the letters in their name) and their sounds. Do not teach the alphabet but instead focus on the sounds that individual letters make. Singing songs and nursery rhymes really helps them to find out more about letters and sounds. Play I-spy when you go out (using the sound the letter makes, rather than its name).
At North Somercotes Primary we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ phonic programme. The sounds are introduced through the jolly phonics songs. Use the videos above to practise with your child at home.
For maths, there are all sorts of ways to encourage number recognition. Try to involve your child in using numbers at home by singing number rhymes and songs or by encouraging them to recognise and read numbers when you are in the car. When shopping, ask them to select the number of apples or bananas you need — they’re helping you out, and learning at the same time.
Getting dressed independently
And finally, (and on a more practical note!), it is really useful if you can encourage your child can have a go at dressing themselves at home so that they can do themselves during the day.
Magical Me happens every Thursday. We encourage the children to bring in to school items of special value to them (toys, photographs, pieces of work, etc). The children love to talk about their special possession and get opportunities to both answer and ask questions.
Here at North Somercotes we are passionate about healthy living. Your child will be provided with a piece of fruit at break time. Children will also have access to their water bottles throughout the day to keep their bodies and minds hydrated and ready to learn.
To put your child’s name on everything they bring to school including packed lunch boxes. It is very difficult to give children the correct jumpers and cardigans if they are not named.
www.phonicsplay.co.uk – free phonic games
http://www.ictgames.com/literacy.html – more phonic games
https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?Subject=37 – early maths games
www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/ – games and activities to support literacy and mathematics
Top 5 Reception free resources on the Oxford Owl website:
- You can find out more about the sounds of letters and digraphs on our Phonics made easy page
- Find out how to encourage number recognition on our Early maths skills page
- Choose one of our free eBooks to read together Boris Starts School might be a good one to read together with your child as they begin to prepare for big school.
- If you need help with choosing books for your child, you might find our Choosing books guide useful
- And finally, have a look at the video by Julia Donaldson on reading to your child
Request for Resources
Please let us know if you have the following:
- Old blankets
- Unwanted fancy dress outfits
- Kitchen paper tubes (for hygienic reasons we cannot accept toilet roll tubes)
- Left over wall paper
- Old unused diaries
- Old Keyboards, calculators, clocks
We want your child to have a wonderful, happy year in Reception in preparation for the rest of their school life. If there is anything that we can do, please let us know.
The Reception Team
Reception in action…
Our trip to Rushmoor Country Park
Nativity performance ‘Magical Christmas Tree’