• “Beechwood Primary School is Always Doing Something Good”

Foundation Stage Blog – 20 April 2018

The children have a made bright and sunny start to the Summer term. During the hot weather please ensure that you apply sun cream before your child comes to school. We also advise that your child brings in a named sun hat and water bottle.

This week the children started their new topic of life cycles and planting.

On Wednesday morning we talked about the Characteristics of Effective Learning (see further information about these below) and the importance of the children showing what they have learnt, explored or created during their independent learning times. This term the children are encouraged to take control of their learning, show increasing self-confidence and independence. Each day the children will be given a learning to challenge to complete to extend their learning opportunities.

This term’s PSHE topic is about relationships and this week the children created a recipe for friendship and thought about what they need to do to be a good friend. The children were asked to think about how they could be a better friend to their peers.

On Thursday the children were asked to share what they knew about butterflies and caterpillars, it was fantastic to hear the children sharing so much prior knowledge. Following this the children looked at the butterfly life cycle and watched a video to show the life cycle in action. During the afternoon the children received a parcel of caterpillars which they will observe over the coming weeks as they turn into butterflies. During our group time the children talked about their current interests, what they want to learn about and what they can’t do at the moment but they would like to be able to do. The children’s ideas will be used to inform future planning and support children with their learning throughout the term.

During this week’s handwriting the children practised the formation of the letters o, a, c, d and g using the RWI letter formation rhymes (these can be found on the back of the children’s flashcards). On Friday the children used The Hungry Caterpillar story to learn about the days of the week and sequencing familiar events. We have also used the story during our adult-led activities this week. For their Literacy activity some children wrote a simple sentence about what the Hungry Caterpillar ate on Monday and others read simple sentences about the Hungry Caterpillar and were challenged to complete the missing words. This week’s adult-led Maths activity focused on addition using dice. We will be continuing to learn about different life cycles next week.

What are the Characteristics of Effective Learning?

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe learning as a process and not as an event.

The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go
  • Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
  • Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Below is an example of what the Characteristics of Effective Learning look like in children’s terms:

Foundation Stage Blog – 22 March 2018

This week the children sprung into their new topic of Easter and Spring. They started with the question “What is Easter?” and then they watched a video of the Easter story. Following this the children talked about what happened in the story. On Tuesday the children followed on their discussion about Easter and were asked to think about why they celebrate Easter. The children watched short video clips about how children prepare for and celebrate Easter. This encouraged the children to share what they do to celebrate Easter and then this led onto a discussion about Easter symbols and signs of Spring. On Wednesday the children learnt about what happens in Spring and were encouraged to think about how the world around them changes during Spring (e.g. what happens to nature during Spring? How do the trees change in Spring?) On Thursday the children developed their fine motor skills and pencil control by doing an observation drawing of some Spring flowers. It was fantastic to see the children taking care with their drawing and colouring within the lines. Whilst they were doing their observation drawing the children talked about the parts of a plant, the colour of the petals and why the flowers are growing now. On Friday the children developed their self-confidence by talking about themselves and what they like to do in-front of the class. Then their peers were encouraged to ask the child how, what, where, why and when questions. During this week’s handwriting the children have been practising forming the letters r, h, m, n and p correctly using the Read Write Inc. rhymes they have previously been taught. You could practise forming these letters at home using the letter formation rhymes on the back of your child’s Read Write Inc. flashcards.

During PE this week the children participated in a class yoga session about Peter Cottontail the Easter bunny. The children joined Peter Cottontail on an Easter egg hunt and discovered that the Tickly Monkeys had taken all the eggs. The children learnt about Easter through vocabulary such as bunnies, daffodils, Spring sunshine, Easter eggs, etc. During this week’s PSHE discussion the children talked about the importance of sleep and their bedtime routines. It was lovely to hear that lots of children listen to their parents read them a story before they go to bed. The children were asked to talk about if they had something special to cuddle up to when they go to sleep and whether they had ever had a dream. The children were asked questions such as: what time do you go to bed? What do you do before you go sleep?

During this week’s Maths inputs the children have learnt about number bonds and money. They started the week learning about number bonds and the children were challenged to make up the eggs to make a given number (e.g. 2+3=5) and then they worked with a partner to use cubes to find different ways to make the same number. On Tuesday the children started by talking about money and whether they have used coins to pay for something in a shop. The children learnt about the coins 1p-£2 and began to talk about the value of each coin. They talked about being able to buy more with the silver coins that the copper coins because they are worth more. At the end of the input the children talked about which coin was worth the most and which coin was worth the least. You could help your child to develop their coin recognition and the understanding of the value of coins by playing with coins at home and allowing your child to pay for items when you go to a shop. On Wednesday the children developed their understanding of coin value by using 1p coin to make the amount of other coins (e.g. How many 1p coins are worth the same as a 2p coin?). Then the children were challenged to add different groups of coins (e.g. 2p, 2p, 1p). On Thursday the children continued to explore different ways to make amounts using coins. They were faced with the challenge that a rabbit costs 6p but there isn’t a 6p coin so how can they make 6p to pay for the rabbit. The children explored how many different ways they could make 6p using a combination of 1p, 2p and 5p coins. On Friday the children explored ways of sharing money fairly between different teddies (e.g. children were given 3x1p coins, 3x2p coins, 3x5p coins and then asked to share the money fairly so that they each had the same amount).

The children have been learning a song about a Spring chicken in preparation for the schools’ Easter church service next Monday (26th March). Alongside all of this learning the children have engaged in a variety of activities linked to the topic of Spring and Easter such as: designing an Easter egg; making Easter cards; painting letter shapes on the playground using large paintbrushes using water; playing shops using money and price tags; egg box adding; feeding the chicks pasta using tweezers; making Easter egg mosaics; making spring paper flowers; using their imagination in the garden centre shop; exploring Spring themed objects in an exploration tray; making Easter cakes and hot cross buns using playdough; Easter egg potato stamping; and painting Easter pictures.

This week’s home learning challenge is for the children to design their own Easter bonnet to wear on the last day of term (Thursday 29th March).

Foundation Stage Blog – 16 March 2018

The children arrived in Foundation Stage on Monday to find out that the aliens space craft had gone! This sparked many questions such as where have they gone? What planet have they gone to? Where is their home? What does their home look like? Did they go straight home or did they go on a new adventure? The aliens left a letter for the children thanking them for mending their spacecraft. On Tuesday the children worked as a class to describe an alien for their teacher to draw. To support the children’s ideas they were asked questions like: what did our aliens look like? How did the aliens move? Did the aliens make any noises? How many eyes/arms/ legs did they have? What did they feel like? What did they smell like? This week’s adult-led activity the children were supported to think of words to describe the aliens they had previously created. During a circle time this week the children worked together to build up their own space story and then they used this to learn about the three parts of a story. The children used a story mountain template to draw pictures of what would happen at each part of their story. During their handwriting and super sentence writing times The children have been practising the letters i, l, t and b. The children have been learning how to write simple sentences using finger spaces, full stops and capital letters.
During this week’s PSED the children were challenged to sort healthy and unhealthy foods into groups, following this they had a class discussion about what healthy foods do to their bodies, what would happen if they ate unhealthy food all the time, what they have to do to look after their bodies at home (e.g. what would happen if you didn’t have a bath? what would happen if you didn’t wash your hands after going to the toilet? What would happen if you didn’t brush your teeth?) and lastly the children talked about who they went to see to check that their teeth were healthy. The children followed on from their PSHE during a discussion about health & Self-Care, where they talked about keeping clean through exploring hygiene items (e.g. tooth brush, sponge, soap, nail brush, hair brush, etc) and then thinking about how they use them and why they are important.
During this week’s PE the children used different space themed movements to warm up their bodies and then they engaged in space themed physical challenges e.g. space obstacle course, throwing and catching moon rocks, throwing a flying saucer (beanbag) and jumping out of a space craft.
A highlight of the week was when the children visited the ICT suite for the first time! During their time in the ICT suite the children learnt how to control a mouse using 2Simple City software. We are very excited to have access to the ICT suite on a weekly basis from now on J
This week’s Maths has focused on positional language and counting / comparing numbers. On Monday the children explored where the larger and smaller numbers are on a number line. Some children worked on matching a given number card with a number on the number line and then clapping the corresponding amount, some children were looking at numbers that were more than 10 and less than 10 and some children began to explore the meaning of the 1 in 2-digit numbers from 11-19, beginning to explore tens and ones. On Tuesday the children were given a 1-30 picture card and then they were challenged to find their number around the classroom. The children showed great excitement and pride during the number hunt and then they made a class number line from 1-30. On Wednesday the children talked about positional language and started to learn about which is their left hand and which is their right. Following this the children pretended to be beebots and followed instructions using the positional terms forwards, backwards, left, right. On Thursday some children explored missing numbers, some children looked at the pattern between 1-9 and 11-19 and some children started to learn about doubling using ladybirds. On Friday the children continued to use their positional language, from Wednesday, to give their partner positional instructions using mathematical language linked to position (under, next to, behind, in front of, left, right).
Alongside all of this learning the children have engaged in a variety of activities linked to the topic of space and health & self-care such as: ordering rockets 1-20; playing the tummy ache game; playing on the beebot emulator on the interactive whiteboard; wooden blocks and space people; washing dolls in the water tray; washing clothes and hanging them up outside on a number line; and making a healthy plate of food using play dough.
Next week we will be starting our new topic of Spring and Easter.

Foundation Stage Blog – 9 March 2018

The children have enthusiastically immersed themselves in our space topic and it has been wonderful to hear them sharing the information they have learnt about the planets, the phases of the moon and what it is like in space. On Monday the children learnt about star constellations and how joining stars together can make pictures. The children discussed the differences between day and night and the different events that occur during different parts of the day.  On Wednesday the children learnt that the aliens had returned and started to build the spaceship. The aliens had left a letter for the children asking them to make designs for their new rocket. During their independent learning the children were challenged to design their own rockets and it was wonderful to see some children labelling parts of their rocket. The children are making good progress during their super sentence writing sessions, where they have been learning about using finger spaces, full stops and capital letters when writing sentences. They are developing their ability to segment sounds in words, using their ‘Fred fingers’ and then blend them together. This week’s handwriting has focused on correctly forming the letters c, a, d, g.

This week’s Maths has focused on 2D and 3D shapes as well as addition and subtraction. On Monday the children revisited the names of 2D and 3D shapes and during an adult led activity the children went on a shape hunt around the Foundation Stage area, looking for 2D and 3D shapes. On Tuesday the children learnt about the concept of addition using an alien adding machine. They read a number sentence (e.g. 5+3=), then they put the first amount in the first tube (e.g. 5) and the other amount in the other tube (e.g. 3). Then the children had to open the aliens mouth and see how many objects it had eaten, lastly they recorded the answer to the addition by counting how many altogether. The children have enjoyed making their alien addition machines in school and it would be fantastic to see observations of them using their alien adding machines at home. On Wednesday the children looked at pictures of everyday objects and were challenged to identify and name the shapes they could see. After that the children worked with a partner to find a given shape within the Foundation Stage environment. On Friday the children talked about their routines and demonstrated their ability to sequence events.

During this week’s PSHE discussion the children have been talking about how they exercise and what happens to their body when they exercise. Many children were able to talk about the importance of exercise and it was lovely to hear the children talking about the various physical activities they enjoy participating in. The children continued these discussions on Thursday when they talked about healthy eating and how to look after their bodies. During this week’s PE the children ended their music and movement space journey. They listened to space themed music  to move in ways which showed the aliens space craft malfunctioning and the aliens having to leave the space craft.  Another highlight this week was when the children opened the outdoor sand pit for the first time! It was fantastic to see the children working together to remove the sand pit cover. The children have thoroughly enjoyed making cakes and sandcastles. During the week the children have been busy making a surprise for their mummies, we hope you like it.

Foundation Stage Blog – 2 March 2018

The children’s journey into space continued this week amongst the snow and ice. They have been looking back at that the mind maps they made last week and learnt how information can be found in books and using technology.

The children used non-fiction books to find out facts about space and the planets and they also learnt how to search for information on the internet using a computer.

Following this the children recorded their own facts about space and the planets during an adult-led activity.

The children have enjoyed listening to the story Aliens Love Underpantsand have engaged in activities linked to the story during their child-initiated learning time. There were gasps of amazement as the children watched some of Tim Peaks space adventure to find out what life is like in space. During a class discussion the children learnt about the phases of the moon, they were asked “what happens to the sun at night?” and “what happens to the moon to make it change shape?”

The children actively explored the moons phases with one children standing in one place being the sun (holding a torch) while another child walks around the sun being the Earth. The Foundation Stage staff explained that sometimes the sun is shining on the moon, but sometimes the Earth is in the way and causes a shadow so we cannot see the whole moon. It would be wonderful if the children could look out for the different phases of the moon at home.

This week’s Maths has focused on weight and making comparisons between the weight of objects. First the children were given two different sized moon rocks and were encouraged to use mathematical vocabulary to compare them, using words such as lightest, heaviest. Following this the children put their moon rocks into some weighing scales and watched what happened, making comments such as “It’s gone down because it’s heavy.” Then the children used everyday objects to make weight comparisons e.g. a bag of sugar and a bag of cotton wool, a bag of potatoes. Lastly they have been learning how to use non-standard measures (e.g. cubes) to weigh objects by exploring and how many they need to make the scales balance with an object.

During this week’s PSHE the children have continued their discussions about healthy eating and being hygienic. They considered why they need to look after their bodies and how they can do this, as well as exploring why some foods are not good for us by sorting healthy and unhealthy food.

The children played ‘Guess my sport’ using clues and then discussed the sporting activities they participate in both inside and outside of school. The children were asked if they had ever won a trophy, certificate or a badge for a sporting activity, encouraging them to recognise their strengths and achievements. This led onto a discussion about why we need to exercise and what happens to our bodies when we exercise. The children continued their journey into space through music and movement during PE, where they imagined that they were astronauts floating in space  and exploring the inside of the space craft.  

The children have thoroughly enjoyed being outside in the snow this week and carried out their own ice investigation where they made ice gloves. The children were amazed when they came into school the following day and cut open their ice gloves to see the ice they had made.

Foundation Stage Blog – 23 February 2018

This week the children launched into a space adventure! When they arrived on Monday they found a space craft that had crash landed in the outdoor area. The children were encouraged to think about who could have been in the space rocket? Where had they gone? How did the space craft crash? Where did it come from? Following this the children worked in small groups to create mind maps of what they knew about space and what they wanted to learn about space. During the afternoon the children engaged in a class discussion about who was flying the space craft, whether it was an alien and what they knew about aliens. The children drew pictures of what they thought the aliens would look like. During their child-initiated learning in the outdoor area the children built their own spaceship. To end a busy day of exploration the children watched a short video clip about the moon and were asked questions such as is the moon made of cheese? How do we know what it is like on the moon?

On Tuesday the children listened to some of the story The way back home and paused to discuss how the boy got stuck on the moon and what he was going to do. The children were encouraged to think what they would do if they were stuck on the moon and during an adult-led activity the children recorded their ideas. In the afternoon the children were introduced to the concept of subtraction. They sang the song ‘5 little men in a flying saucer’ and explored how the numbers go down/ there is one less when they take one away. After each verse of the song the children were challenged to think of the corresponding subtraction and an adult modelled how this would be recorded. The children were shown an active subtraction activity using playdough called ‘subtraction smash’ where they would choose a subtraction (e.g. 5-3=) and then make the first amount of playdough balls (e.g. 5), then they smash however many they are taking away (e.g. 3) and then count how many playdough balls they have left (e.g. 2).  To end the day the children participated in a group discussion about the importance of healthy eating and being hygienic. They sorted foods such as chocolate and bananas into groups according to the criteria of ‘eat lots of times’ and ‘eat sometimes’. Following this the children talked about what they do at school which is healthy and what they need to do to be healthy and hygienic.

On Wednesday the children listened to the story Whatever Next! Then they looked for similarities and differences between today’s story and the story they had listened to the previous day. The children talked about how they would prepare for a journey into space and what they would take with them. An adult modelled how to write a list using the children’s suggestions and then the children wrote their own list during an adult-led activity. During PE the children made up their own space themed dance routine about preparing for a journey into space (elements included: approaching space ship and climbing in, putting on suit and helmet and getting into seat/preparing instrument panel). They listened to some space themed music and were challenged to make their movements match the music. Their journey into space will continue during next week’s PE.  In the afternoon the children learnt a counting back rhyme about 10 little spacemen. They recorded subtractions after each part of the rhyme and started to notice the pattern that there was 1 less each time.

On Thursday the children explored the concept of finding one less than a given number using a dice. First a child was chosen to roll a dice and then the children held up the corresponding amount of fingers. Following this the children were asked to show 1 less by folding down one finger. Lastly the children were shown how to record the number problem as a number sentence. During an adult-led activity the children explored the concept of subtraction with some children using numicon and numicon pegs and some children using 10 pebbles and a 10 counting frame. In the afternoon the children used their alien designs from Monday to think of questions they would ask an alien if they met them. The children worked with a partner to scribe their ideas onto a speech bubble.

On Friday the children used the planets in their Maths to make a numberline. A child was asked to find a number between 6 and 9 and then another child rolled the dice. The child on the numberline then jumped back that many spaces and the children were encouraged to record the subtractions on the interactive whiteboard. This was then consolidated during an adult-led activity. To end the week the children participated in a celebration assembly where their learning achievements for the week were shared.

In addition to all of this week’s activities the children were provided with many space themed learning opportunities such as: alien speech bubbles; shapes in space game on the computer; making aliens, robots and rockets using junk modelling resources; playing in the space station; exploring textures using silver beans; story props for Whatever Next!; objects to explore floating and sinking; paint blowing to make alien pictures; making aliens using playdough and a variety of tools and resources; playdough smash subtraction; and non-fiction and fiction space themed books.

It has been great to see the children’s enthusiasm and engagement in our Space topic this week and we are excited about continuing our journey in space next week.

Foundation Stage Blog – 9 February 2018

The Foundation Stage children have immersed themselves in the topic of Chinese New Year this week. On Monday morning the children learnt about how people celebrate Chinese New Year and looked at where China is located on a globe. During their adult-led activity the children made Chinese lanterns and Chinese dragons to decorate the Foundation Stage area. In a class discussion after lunch the children learnt about the Great wall of China, animals found in China, the types of food people eat in China and the music Chinese people like to listen to. The children ended the day by learning the Chinese New Year song ‘ Gung Hay Fat Choi.’

On Tuesday the children started their day by watching a Chinese dragon dance video and explored the differences between the Chinese New Year dragon and the dragon from the Room on the Broom story they had recently been learning about. Then the children listened to the Chinese New Year story about animals crossing the river. During their adult-led activity the children wrote a list of the animals in the Chinese New Year story. The children participated in dragon addition during their Maths input, exploring the different ways to make 10 using Chinese dragons. It was wonderful to see the children attempting to record additions on a whiteboard.

On Wednesday they learnt about children receiving red envelopes with money in as part of their Chinese New Year traditions. Then the children used 10 gold coins and 2 Money pouches to explore different ways to share the coins and then they were challenged to find the corresponding addition card. During their adult-led activity the children continued to develop their understanding of pairs to make 10 using gold coins and money pouches. In the afternoon the children role-played the Chinese New Year story.

On Thursday the children explored how many Chinese dragons were hidden in the river (under a blue cloth). The children counted how many dragons they could see and then showed this on their fingers. After this the children were challenged to find out how many dragons were in the river by looking at how many fingers they still had folded down. The children were introduced to completing missing number additions e.g. 4 + _ = 10. During their adult-led activity the children explored different ways to make 10 using Numicon. After lunch the children tasted a selection of Chinese food (noodles, rice, prawn crackers).

To end the week the children explored the concept of subtraction using animals from the Chinese New Year story. The children counted how many animals were waiting to cross the river (blue cloth), some animals were moved into the river because they were trying to get to the other side. Then the children had to check how many were still on the land and an adult modelled how this would be recorded as a subtraction. As a class the children read the subtractions and then the adult emphasised what had happened (e.g. There were 10 animals waiting to cross the river, 2 jumped in, which leaves 8 animals still waiting to cross the river.) It was lovely to hear about what the children had achieved during this week’s celebration assembly.

During this week’s PE the children carried out their own dragon dance and then engaged in a dragon themed Yoga session. In PSHE this week the children talked about how to be a good friend. Additional Chinese New Year activities the children have engaged in this week include: Chinese dragon ordering game https://www.topmarks.co.uk/ordering-and-sequencing/chinese-dragon-ordering ; exploring noodles with chopsticks and tweezers; making animals masks to act out the story; making egg box dragons; constructing the great wall of china using different construction materials; exploring the Chinese café; acting out the animal race; and looking at non-fiction books about China and Chinese New Year.

After half term the children will be learning all about Space.

Below are some ideas for home learning during half term: (It would be lovely to see pictures of what the children have been doing in Half Term on Tapestry)

  • Make words using Read Write Inc. flashcards.
  • Read and write simple words and sentences.
  • Go outside/ look out the window when it is dark and talk about what you can see. Can you count the stars? Can you find the moon? Does the sky change from one night to the next?
  • Make some pancakes following a recipe. Add chocolate chips or blueberries into the mix. Which is your favourite?
  • Hunt for shapes and numbers in the environment when you are out (e.g. road signs).
  • Go to the park to develop your physical skills.
  • Take photos using an electrical device e.g. Camera, Phone, Ipad.

Foundation Stage Blog – 2 February 2018

The theme of Room on the Broom continued this week and the children started by learning how to make a story map, retelling the story using pictures and key words. During this week’s English adult-led task the children were challenged to independently  draw pictures and write simple words and sentences about the Room on the Broom story.

During Monday’s Maths input the children made a potion where they had to add together how many objects had been put in the cauldron. The children learnt how to record an addition number sentence and how to use a numberline to count on to find the answer to an addition.

On Tuesday the children made their own potion and were amazed to see the potion fizz up when they added baking soda. The children were supported to write a list of ingredients they had used to make their potion, the children learnt that each object needs to start on a new line when they are writing a list and they continued to develop their blending and segmenting skills. During their Maths input the children re-visited the concept of addition and recapped how to record an addition number sentence. The children learnt that they had to count how many altogether to find the total of two groups and developed their 1:1 counting correspondence.

On Wednesday the children retold the story Room on the Broom using Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for writing’ approach where the children put actions to the story which helped them to become more familiar with the storyline. During their Maths input the children used the characters from Room on the Broom to complete additions, they counted how many animals were on the broomstick to start with, then they added some more characters and counted how many characters were on the broomstick altogether. During this week’s adult-led Maths activity the children have demonstrated their mathematical skills through a range of activities such as recognising numbers, ordering numbers, matching numerals to a quantity, naming 2D shapes and describing their properties, sequencing events and identifying one more or one less than a given number.

On Thursday the children thought of a spell they would make or what magic they would do if they were a witch. While passing a witches hat around the circle the children recited the rhyme “If you were a witch and you were going to make a spell, what would it be? Put on the hat and tell.” Whoever the hat stopped at shared their ideas. During their Maths input the children role-played going on a bus, a number of children started on the bus and then the bus stopped and some more children got on. The children were then asked a problem-solving question (e.g. There were 4 on the bus and then 3 more got on. How many children are on the bus now?)

On Friday the children consolidated this week’s Maths learning by developing their use of mathematical vocabulary linked to addition and then recording additions using marks they could interpret and explain. The children laid out a 1-20 numberline on the carpet and a child rolled a dice. The child stood on the corresponding number on the number line and then another child rolled the dice. The child on the numberline then jumped that amount along the number line. Another child was asked to record an addition number sentence to correspond with what the child on the numberline had done e.g. 5+4=10.

Throughout the week the children have engaged in a variety of activities linked to the Room on the Broom theme, such as making potions, making witches hat biscuits, writing lists of ingredients to go in a potion, using bugs and cauldrons to make additions, role-playing in the witches cave and using different sized bowl and spoons in the sand to make potions. During PE this week the children played a variety of parachute games. This week’s PSHE focused on the children thinking about how it feels when people are unkind to them and if it is ok to be unkind with their words and actions. The children thought about how their unkind words and actions affect others and discussed what they could do to resolve conflicts with their friends, whilst emphasizing what a good friend is.

To end the week the children participated in an assembly where their achievements for the week were celebrated and proud clouds were shared.

It has been wonderful to see so many parents uploading observations to show what their child has been doing at home, this helps the Foundation Stage staff to gain an insight into children’s interests which we then include in our future planning. It would be great to see if the children’s interests in witches, making potions and the Room on the Broom story have continued at home.

Foundation Stage Blog – 26 January 2018

On Monday the children arrived at school with a problem to solve! Somebody had left some items in a tree (a witches hat, a wand and a broomstick which had been snapped in two). The children had to think about who the items belonged to and how the items got there. This sparked their imaginations and during their child-initiated learning the children made broom sticks and wands and some children wrote letters to the witch to ask her some questions. During the English adult-led activity on Monday the children worked in groups to create mind maps to share what they had found in the tree and any ideas or questions they had. The children were asked what they could do at school that links to this problem e.g. writing letters to the witch. At the end of the day the children shared the letters they had written and pinned their messages to the tree so that they could be sent to the witch. During their Maths input the children developed their previous learning about 2D shapes. The children started by trying to guess a hidden shape which was gradually revealed from behind a scene. Then the children were shown two sorting hoops labelled squares & triangles. The children had to put a shape in the correct place, if they had a shape which wasn’t in one of the labelled hoops they put their shape outside of the hoops. The children were encouraged to use mathematical vocabulary to explain how they knew what each shape was (e.g. what makes it a triangle?).

On Tuesday the children received a letter from the witch thanking them for their help making broomsticks and wands the previous day. The witch explained what happened to her and told the children that her friends were scaring a dragon away. Following this the children created their own terrible beasts using junk modelling materials. During their adult-led English activity the children discussed how the witch was feeling at different points in the story and then they wrote simple words and sentences in speech bubbles to explain what the characters from the story would be saying. At the end of the day the children listened to the story Room on the Broom and started to make links with recent events at school and events from the story. During their Maths input the children had to use their mathematical vocabulary to describe a shape which had been taped onto a child’s back. Following this they explored the concept of symmetry by making a symmetrical butterfly painting. The children were challenged to think of other animals which were symmetrical.

On Wednesday the children continued the theme of Room on the Broom by acting out the story. During their Maths input the children were challenged to sort a group of Furbles (coloured shapes with eyes) in different ways (e.g. colour, shape, number of eyes). The children explored different sorting criteria with different groups of Furbles. Following this the children engaged in a Maths based adult-led activity where they explored and described 2D shapes using a feely bag.

On Thursday the children put the witch in the hot seat and the children were encouraged to ask the witch some questions about how she was feeling and what happened in the story (e.g. how did you feel when your broomstick broke in two?). The Furbles returned for Wednesday’s Maths input and the children were introduced to bar graphs, pictograms and pie charts as ways of recording data. During today’s Maths adult-led activity the children sorted 2D shapes in different ways and other children thought of their own sorting criteria for 2D shapes.

On Friday the children explored the topic of Room on the Broom through a variety of creative activities. The children continued learning about data collection during their Maths input by gathering information about which fruit/vegetable they preferred. The children looked at their data presented in groups and then this information was created into a bar graph. They were asked which type of sorting was the easiest for them to understand. Finally the children were asked questions to interpret the data (e.g. which was the most popular fruit/vegetable? Which was the least popular fruit/vegetable? How many people like apples?)

During PE this week the children continued their learning about 2D shapes by playing a selection of games. Firstly the FS staff put a shape on each wall, an adult would call out a shape and the children had to run to the corresponding shape. Next the adults would call out shapes and the children had to use their bodies to make a shape (e.g. 4 children to make a square). Then the children were put into shape teams and had races where they had to move in different ways from one side of the hall and back again. This week’s PSHE focused on the children thinking about something they want to get better at, this was referred to as their goal/ next step, and then they were encouraged to think of ideas of how they will achieve this.

It was fantastic to see so many parents attending our Tapestry parent workshops this week. We look forward to seeing parents uploading observations to show what their child has been doing at home and it would be lovely to see parents adding comments to their  child’s school observations.

Foundation Stage Blog – 19 January 2018

It has been fantastic to see so many children have been reading at home this week, well done and keep up all of your hard work! This week the children continued to explore the topic of Winter. During PE this week the children engaged in a winter themed cosmic Kids yoga session, where they showed good attention and concentration when listening to and following instructions. This week’s Topic inputs allowed the children to use their creativity and critical thinking skills when exploring biodegradable packaging peanuts during the following activities: melting snowmen, making sticky models, making models using cocktail sticks and making goo!

The children have further explored the topic of Winter during their English exploration times this week and some of the activities have included: building winter themed objects with sugar cubes; CVC snowmen word matching; making winter themed pictures using charcoal and light blue tissue paper; exploring the texture of Gelli Baff slime with arctic animals; making a snowman using a cut and stick template; Write the room – where the children hunted for winter words around the room and then copied the words onto the correct blank label template; writing words in the snow (salt/ shaving foam); Snow Baff exploration with arctic animals; tracing winter words; and making name snowmen. During this week’s adult-led English activity the children have been writing simple words and sentences using a winter themed picture as a stimulus, which has enabled them to demonstrate and develop their ability to identify initial sounds in words and segment sounds to spell simple words.

In the outdoor learning environment the children have been playing hopscotch, sorting objects according to their initial sound, using their imagination when engaging with ‘people who help us’ playmobil figures and transport, making music following musical tune cards, exploring ways to make 5 and ordering numbers up to 10 using large numicon, writing CVC words on a chalkboard and constructing using the wooden construction blocks, tyres and crates.

This week’s Maths has focused on estimating, ordinal numbers and counting actions, objects and sounds. During our Maths inputs we have been exploring what ‘estimating’ means, doing actions to match a given number, playing finger aerobics where the children showed an amount of fingers to match a number card, counting up to and down from 10 using rocket counting, listening to sounds and saying how many, using ordinal numbers to say which position they are in a line, matching a position rosette to a number, matching ordinal number words to their position number and identifying numbers that are one more/ one less than a given number using clues e.g. I’m thinking of a number that comes before 4. This week’s Maths exploration time activities have included: counting how many objects in a bag and then recording the total amount; apple playdough Maths where the children rolled a dice and made that amount of playdough balls (apples), roll the dice again and then decide if they needed to add or subtract playdough balls (apples) to make the new amount on the dice; snowman size ordering cut and stick; number and action cards; having car races and then recording 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions using a tally  chart; positional penguins where the children matched positional words to positional penguin picture cards; hiding numicon in the sand and then making a 1-10 number line; winter themed pattern cut and stick; feeding the penguin activity where the children had a penguin and had to follow an instructions card e.g. feed the penguin 2 fish; and throwing the correct amount of bean bags onto a number card. During this week’s adult-led Maths activity the children have been exploring estimating through guessing if there is more or less than 5, 10 and 20 objects.

Next week we are holding our introduction to Tapestry parent workshops (FSR parents on Tuesday 23rd January 2:30-3pm and FSF parents on Wednesday 24thJanuary 2018 2:30-3pm). Tapestry is an online learning journey on which we record your child’s learning during the Foundation Stage, during the workshop you will be given your login details and shown how to view your child’s learning journey from home. If you are unable to attend the workshop an information sheet and your login details will be sent out by the end of the week.

Foundation Stage Blog – 12 January 2018

The FS staff would like to wish all the parents and children a very Happy New Year. It has been fantastic to see the children saying goodbye to their parents at the green gate and independently walking into school, such a positive start to the term. A highlight this week was when the children chose their first ‘Library Book’ and ‘Free Choice’ book (linked to their level of RWI phonics). Please ensure your child’s books, flashcards and yellow reading diary come into school every day in their book bag. We encourage parents to record when they have looked at the library book with their child and whether their child was able to answer questions about the story, in addition to this it would be lovely to see records of when your child has read their ‘free choice’ book at home. The ‘Library’ and ‘Free Choice’ books will be changed on a weekly basis (FSR books will be changed on a Tuesday and FSF books will be changed on a Wednesday). Alongside the Library book, Free choice book and RWI home learning (for some children this will be practising their sound sheets and some children will have a red ditty book) please practise your child’s RWI flashcards on a regular basis. If your child is confident with their RWI flashcards they are now ready to start making words, so feel free to take the flashcards off their treasury tag and use them to make simple CVC words e.g. cat.

This week the children were introduced to the topic of Winter. During this week’s inputs the children have talked about the four seasons and hibernation; talked about signs of Winter; looked at information about Winter and explored a snow scene; talked about clothes people wear in Winter and why; and we have also learnt about Arctic animals. The children have continued to explore the topic of Winter during their English exploration times this week and some of the activities have included: making snowflakes; breaking magnetic letters out of ice and then identifying sounds / making simple words; tracing Winter words; building an igloo with sugar cubes; building an ice castle using junk modelling materials; CVC snowmen word matching; making snowmen with glittery white play dough; making a snowman using different media & materials; and weaving ribbons through baking trays to develop fine-motor skills. During this week’s adult-led English activity the children have been reading words/ captions and then drawing a corresponding picture to match, which has enabled them to demonstrate and develop their blending skills. In the outdoor learning environment the theme of Winter was explored through activities, such as, painting ice cubes to explore colour mixing and tracing snowflake shapes onto tracing paper.

This week’s Maths has focused on counting up to 20 objects, ordering numbers and counting back. During our Maths inputs we have been helping Muddles the puppet to put numbers in the correct order; counting objects on a plate and then comparing them with an amount on another plate to identify is there are more or less; counting with 1:1 correspondence; exploring people getting on and off a bus, using a dice, to explore addition and subtraction; explored how a 20 bead string is separated into groups of 5 and then used the bead string to count back from 20. During this week’s Maths exploration times activities have included: painting snakes with a given amount of stripes on them; hunting for different amounts of shells and pebbles hidden in the sand; cutting and sticking to continue a winter themed pattern; throwing the correct number of bean bags onto a number card; playing a smaller version of the bus activity; sorting using compare bears and counting elephants; making play dough snow balls to match a given number; snowmen size ordering; winter counting sheets; making lego towers and then finding the corresponding number card. During this week’s adult-led Maths activity the children have been working on identifying numbers up to 20 and matching the correct number to a group of objects, some children have been estimating and then counting groups of objects.

It’s that time of term where we kindly as you for a termly voluntary contribution of £10, alternatively a ½ termly voluntary contribution of £5 can be made, to help replenish our messy play and creative activities. Please send any donations to the school office. We also appreciate any junk modelling donations. Thank you for your continued support.

For help with your Childs reading please take a look at our Reading guidance 2018 booklet.

Foundation Stage Blog – 15 December 2017

The Foundation stage children ended the term in style with a wonderful Christmas Production! The school hall was full to capacity and the performance was a huge success. Many parents were beaming with pride as they watched their child on stage singing songs and retelling the nativity story. The play included narrators, Angel Gabriel, soldiers, a donkey, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, sheep, innkeepers & their wives, angels and 3 kings. It was fantastic to see the children saying their lines with loud and clear voices and hearing their beautiful singing. Miss Rolfe would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Frain, Miss Williams and Mrs Soutter for helping the children to put on such an amazing production.

Alongside this the children have been busy making Christmas cards and participating in Christmas themed activities. As the excitement about Christmas grows the Foundation Stage staff would like to wish all the children and parents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Foundation Stage Blog – 15 December 2017

The Foundation stage children ended the term in style with a wonderful Christmas Production! The school hall was full to capacity and the performance was a huge success. Many parents were beaming with pride as they watched their child on stage singing songs and retelling the nativity story. The play included narrators, Angel Gabriel, soldiers, a donkey, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, sheep, innkeepers & their wives, angels and 3 kings. It was fantastic to see the children saying their lines with loud and clear voices and hearing their beautiful singing. Miss Rolfe would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Frain, Miss Williams and Mrs Soutter for helping the children to put on such an amazing production.

Alongside this the children have been busy making Christmas cards and participating in Christmas themed activities. As the excitement about Christmas grows the Foundation Stage staff would like to wish all the children and parents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Foundation Stage Blog – 8 December 2017

On Monday the children were excited to be going on their first school outing to visit the local library! First they listened the librarian talking about what a library is and how to use a library, then the children were given time to explore the library and look at some books, lastly some children were helped to borrow a book from the library with their own library card.

The theme of The Little Red Hen has continued this week and it has been wonderful to see the children retelling the story with such enthusiasm. The children have shown that they can talk about the story setting, events and characters.

During Maths this week the children have been consolidating their previous learning about 2D shapes whilst being introduced to and exploring 3D shapes. Some of our Maths exploration activities this week have included: printing 2D shapes using 3D shapes, finding hidden 3D shapes in the sand tray, 3D shape bingo using pictures of real-life objects, making 3D shapes out of playdough, 3D shape sorting activity, drawing 2D shapes and copying shape names from a word mat, making 2D shape pictures, building models using 3D shapes and making 2D shape pictures on Geoboards using loom bands.

Amongst all of their learning the children have been busy practising for their Christmas production and they are very excited about performing to their parents next week.

Home learning activity idea:

  • Please practise your child’s Christmas play words at home and encourage them to use a big voice so that they will be heard on the day of the performance.
  • Go on a 3D and 2D shape hunt around the house. This will encourage your child to use mathematical names for ‘solid’ 3D and ‘flat’ 2D shapes and use mathematical terms to describe their features.

Foundation Stage Blog – 1 December 2017

This week the children were introduced to the story of The Little Red Hen! During this week’s inputs the children have learnt actions to use when retelling the story, talked about the characters, retold the story, talked about the main parts of a story and learnt how to draw a story map to show the main events of a story in the correct order. It has been wonderful to see the children so engaged when joining in with repeated phrases during story times. They have continued to explore the story of The Little Red Hen during their English exploration times this week and some of the activities have included: acting out the story using props, sequencing pictures from the story, orally retelling the story, making character finger puppets, following instructions to make objects for the story in the playdough area, free choice writing opportunities on Little Red Henpaper with word mats for support, making a Little Red Hen handprint picture and making CVC words using foam letters in the water tray and beads and pipe cleaners in the fine motor skills area. During this week’s adult-led English activity the children have been labelling characters from the story, which has supported their ability to segment sounds and then blend them together to spell simple words. The children were encouraged to say the word and then say it again slower, unpicking the individual sounds, then the children recorded the sounds they could hear. E.g. hen-h-e-n.

This week’s Maths has focused on comparing the length and height of objects and during our Maths inputs we have compared the height of our classmates, discussed who was the tallest and who was the shortest; put towers of cubes into height order from smallest to tallest; ordered different length snakes from longest to shortest; and measured the length of objects using a ruler. The children have enjoyed explored the concept of measuring during their Maths exploration times this week and activities have included: measuring junk modelling resources using a ruler and making comparisons about the length and height of objects; comparing lengths of sea creatures in the water tray; beanstalk size ordering cut and stick;  measuring the length of their shoe using cubes and then comparing whether their shoe is longer or shorter than their peers; making different length playdough snakes and then putting them in order from shortest to longest; using tape measures and rulers to measure the lengths of classroom objects; measuring the height of different penguins using cubes and measuring the length of different classroom objects using cubes. The measuring was taken outside where the children competed to see who could jump the furthest, building different height sandcastles and making different height towers using crates and other construction materials.

It was lovely to hear such positive feedback from the parents during the school’s parent consultation meetings over the last couple of weeks. The FS staff have been pleased to hear parents saying how happy their children are at school and that they can see the children making progress with their phonics and writing.

The FS staff welcome parents to be part of their child’s learning during the Foundation stage and you can help to consolidate what your child has been learning at school by supporting them to engage in Maths and English activities, linked to the ideas shared in the blog each week, at home. It would be fantastic to see the children bringing in photos, pictures or some of their writing to show what they have been doing at home. Please provide a short explanation to the context (e.g. Laura was playing with the lego and made three different height towers, she told me which was the shortest and which was the tallest), any quotations of what your child has said (e.g. “This one is taller than this one, that’s the shortest.”), whether your child completed the activity independently or with some support, the date and a title saying ‘Home learning’. This evidence will form part of your child’s learning journey and will enhance the FS staff’s understanding of what your child knows and can do.

Please ensure your child has a warm, waterproof coat in school every day  as we are now entering the colder winter weather and the children will continue to have access to the outdoors on a daily basis come rain or snow. Thank you for your continued support.

Foundation Stage Blog – 17 November 2017

The Jolly postman topic arrived in the Foundation Stage this week and the children were very excited to hear the first letter from Goldilocks. The children have engaged in a selection of rhyming activities during their English exploration time such as, matching rhyming words using picture clues, rhyming bingo matching, writing letters to the Jolly Postman, rhyming clip cards, Goldilocks and the Three Bears story sack, and making rhyming towers using mega blocks.

During Maths this week the children have been exploring the story of 5 and have learnt about the various ways to make 5 using counting objects, numicon and cubes. Maths exploration time activities included finger printing ways to make 5 using two different colours of paint, children to find ways to make 5 using numicon, mega block towers to make 5, on the bus counting game, ten green bottles number ordering game, making 5 using playdough balls, and the children were challenged to complete calculations which showed an amount and the children had to identify how many more they needed to make 5.

Our Topic discussions this week have focused on looking at the story of The Jolly Postman and developing the children’s understanding of rhyming words, an example of an activity which helped the children to identify rhyming words was when an adult gave the children a clue (e.g. I’m thinking of a word that sounds like cat, you wear it on your head and the word is…) and the children were encouraged to identify the rhyming word.

During PE this week the children explored different ways of moving through the theme of animals. It has been another busy week outside and the children are enjoying their new outdoor area, they have been busy building dens.

On Friday the FS staff were very busy preparing to move into the new FS classroom and are very excited about having an open plan area for the children to explore, alongside the outdoor environment.

FSF parents evening’s will take place next Monday 20th (3:30-6pm) and Wednesday 22nd (6-8pm) and Miss Rolfe’s parents evenings are being re-arranged for the following week.

Foundation Stage Blog – 3 November 2017

This week the children started their new topic about Autumn. To inspire the children we started with a circle time to explore the inside of a pumpkin and the children talked about what a pumpkin feels like, looks like and smells like, which then enabled them to think of describing words during their English work this week.

It has been fantastic to see the children’s progress with learning their sounds and identifying initial sounds in words. Alongside this the children developed their fine motor skills when hammering golf tees into pumpkins and in the outdoor area they used knives, spoons and tools to cut up and dig out the inside of a pumpkin. The children listened to the story of Pumpkin Soup and were given props to retell the story during their learning time. Additional autumn themed English activities have included conker paint rolling, making leaf shapes with playdough, identifying initial sounds on autumn themed picture cards, autumn themed cutting sheets and making trees out of mobilo.

This week’s Maths focus has been ‘repeating patterns’ and during their maths inputs the children have been exploring patterns using colours, shapes and movements. We have also been continuing to develop our counting skills by playing number swap and being given clues to identify a number. As part of an adult-led activity the children have been creating repeating patterns using 2D shapes. Additional autumn and pattern themed Maths activities have included fishing for numbered conkers, matching the correct amount of minibeasts to a number on a leaf, making autumn patterns with playdough using natural autumn materials (e.g. sticks, conkers, acorns, leaves), making patterned necklaces using pasta and using compare bears to follow and complete a pattern card.

During PE this week the children were excited because they were able to go outside where they practised their throwing and catching skills using large balls. The Foundation Stage outdoor area is now in use and will be developed into an outside learning environment for the children in the forthcoming weeks.

Foundation Stage Blog – 24 November 2017

This week the Foundation Stage children have enjoyed exploring their new classroom and we have been free-flowing between the two classrooms during English and Maths exploration times, which has given the children even more learning opportunities. We have continued The Jolly Postman theme this week and the children have been applying their phonic knowledge to label and write about Goldilocks. Some of this week’s English exploration activities have included retelling the story of The Jolly Postman using stick puppets, making houses using junk modelling, writing CVC words on whiteboards and making CVC words out of playdough.

This week’s Maths has focused on counting a group of objects which cannot be moved, showing increasing 1:1 correspondence when counting a group of objects, counting back from a given number and matching numbers to groups of objects. During this week’s adult-led maths activities the children have been counting groups of objects and then identifying the correct numeral to represent how many are in the set, identifying one more and one less than a group of objects and counting 2 groups of fixed objects and then saying how many objects there were altogether. This week’s Topic inputs have focused on exploring different reasons for writing and the children have learnt about writing a letter, writing a postcard, writing an invitation, writing a list and writing a label.

During this week’s PE the children were excited about using apparatus to practise their jumping skills and they learnt how to land appropriately.

Within the outdoor environment the children have been practising their balancing skills using stilts and they have particularly enjoyed getting messy in the mud kitchen.

Foundation Stage Blog – 20 October 2017

This week the Foundation Stage children have been thinking about people who help us and it has been wonderful to see the children drawing pictures of what they want to be when they grow up.

The children have participated in a quiz where they had to answer multiple choice questions about people who help us. E.g. who travels in an ambulance to help us if we are not well? We have also played ‘Who is it?’ and it was fantastic to see the children’s enthusiasm to guess who the professional was before the whole picture was revealed.

To finish our topic of people who help us the children learn’t some songs about the emergency services and how people help us.

We continued our topic of people who help us during English this week when labelling pictures of a builder and a postman, the children have been starting to identify initial sounds in words and some children are segmenting sounds and then blending them together to write simple words.

During Maths this week we have been exploring 2D shapes and the children have enjoyed making their own shape monsters. The children have been learning how to describe 2D shapes according to their properties (sides & corers) when using a feely bag and their peers had to draw the shape they thought was being described. Some children were asked to put their hand in a bag of shapes and select a particular named shape, without peeking inside the bag.

The Foundation Stage staff hope that all the children have a wonderful and restful half term, we are looking forward to seeing the children in their official classes when they return to school on Monday 30th October.

Ideas of things to do during half term:

  • Go on a shape hunt in the environment.
  • Practise RWI flashcards and writing the letters, using the handwriting rhymes on the back of the flashcards
  • Go on an autumn walk and collect leaves, acorns, conkers, pine cones, etc, to bring into school after half term.

Foundation Stage Blog – 13 October 2017

In Foundation Stage this week the children have been talking about what they want to be when they grow up. We will be continuing this topic next week with discussions about different occupations and how people help us (e.g. police, fire and ambulance services).

During Read Write Inc. this week the children have been learning the sounds c, k, u, b, f and sounds sheets and flashcards will be coming home with the children on Friday for them to practise their sounds at home.

Throughout our English learning time this week some children have been practising writing their names, whilst other children have been starting to make words using magnetic letters. The children have engaged in a range of activities which include making words using letters on wooden blocks, making letters out of playdough and printing over letters using paint and cotton buds.

This week’s Maths has continued to focus on recognising, ordering and matching numeral to quantity for the numbers 1-10. The children have been busy making towers with wooden blocks and cubes. Some children were challenged to put their towers in the correct order starting from the smallest number/ shortest tower and going all the way up to the biggest number/ tallest tower. During an adult-led activity the children were asked to put numbers in the correct order and then find the corresponding amount of objects to match a given number.

This week’s PE focused on making different balancing shapes with our bodies and the children enjoyed thinking of their own balances to show to the rest of the class.