Reception w/b 22nd May

Date: 26th May 2023 @ 1:17pm

Just like that, another half term draws to a close. Only one more half term of Reception remains but it promises to be the best one yet, filled with summer fun and celebrations of a wonderful first year of school. The children are so well-prepared for next half term and beyond; we are so proud of how they are flourishing across all areas of the EYFS curriculum as unique, well-rounded, happy individuals.

The highlight of our final week of the half term was most certainly our ‘Forest School Day’. I hope that the photos below capture the pure joy of the whole day. We simply loved spending the day outdoors in our beautiful Forest School environment. We are so lucky to have Mr Simmons, our fabulous Forest School leader who proudly takes care of our Forest School, constantly updating it and finding new ways to utilise the outdoor environment. On Thursday, the children enjoyed creating dens, blowing bubbles, making leaf wreaths and digging in the sandpit. They were also able to create ‘stick friends’, using bamboo sticks. Using a potato peeler created a flat surface on which to draw a face. The children could then attach twig arms/legs and leaf clothes. There was also the exciting opportunity to use hammers. The children collected natural materials (e.g. grass, leaves, flowers), which they lay on half of a sheet of calico. We then folded the calico over and used the hammer to gently tap over the natural materials. This made the colour of the materials transfer onto the fabric, creating a beautiful, symmetrical print. We learnt how to use hammers safely, including tucking our fingers away and only lifting the hammer slightly above the surface.

Within our Forest School Day, we especially enjoyed two opportunities to use the fire and, of course, sing some campfire songs. We learnt the fire circle rules. Firstly, we all stood behind the benches and waited for Mr Simmons to tell us to sit down. We knew that we mustn’t cross the fire circle and instead needed to walk behind the benches. Mr Simmons showed us how he kept the area around the fire circle clear to prevent tripping. He had ‘just in case’ buckets of water which also contained a wet cloth. In the morning, Mr Simmons toasted bread over the fire for our morning snack. We could choose from margarine, jam and chocolate spread…I wonder if the photos of lots of happy little faces reveal the most popular choice? The next time we gathered around the fire pit was to eat our packed lunches which was a novelty in itself! Reception made sure to collect any rubbish to ensure that no litter remained in the natural environment. The final time we gathered around the fire pit was the perfect conclusion to our day. Each of the children carefully toasted a marshmallow over the fire. There were so many opportunities to practise fire safety within this activity, as Mr Simmons showed us how to kneel by the fire and hold the stick at an angle so the marshmallow didn’t touch the coals. When it was finished, we knew to hold the stick flat out in front of us so the marshmallow didn’t slide down it. Mrs North helped us to slide the marshmallow between two chocolate biscuits to create yet another delicious treat – s’mores! We could choose from hot chocolate and juice to accompany our final treat. Miss Witham, Miss Toft and Mrs North of course couldn’t resist a s’more too! Everybody seemed to return home from Forest School Day with a happy smile (although sleepy and a bit dirty!). I hope that it will be a memorable day for everybody.

This week, I have also been completing reading assessments with many of the children (other children completed their assessment a couple of weeks ago). Each and every person has made pleasing progress and both their sound knowledge and blending abilities are expanding all the time. Thank you to all of our fabulous phonics teachers for their hard work with our Reception children. After the half term, we shall have a handwriting focus, just spending 5 minutes each day working on forming a letter. We shall focus on certain letter families each week (e.g. c, o, a, s, d, g, q are all in the ‘curly caterpillar’ family as they all begin in the same way). We shall send a handwriting homework sheet home each week to reflect our focus. In the meantime, over half term it would benefit the children to practise writing their full names along with their letter formation. All letter formation rhymes can be found on our website by visiting: teaching and learning – curriculum – reading – Read Write Inc.

In maths, our work with number bonds of 10 has continued. This week, we have used a part-whole model to support our understanding of this concept. We began our week with outdoor learning, using hula hoops to create the part whole model (searching online for ‘part-whole model’ will reveal photos of what this would look like). We started with 10 beanbags in the ‘whole’ – we have 10 altogether and this does not change. We then partitioned the beanbags into the two ‘parts’ in a variety of ways e.g. 8 beanbags in one hoop and 2 in the other. We could then use the stem sentence: __ is a part, ___ is a part, the whole is 10. ___ + ____ = 10. The children are picking this up marvelously and can already recall many of the bonds. This focus has continued throughout the week, including using smaller part-whole models and counters as well as choosing 10 children to group in different ways.

In our English sessions, the children have all finished writing their finding stories, inspired by our focus text Star in the Jar and our story map work. This is an achievement to be celebrated, especially as we have challenged them to write with such independence. We were impressed with the use of capital letters, full stops and finger spaces in addition to use of Fred Fingers to spell. Well done Reception!

This week’s understanding the world challenge was a chance to follow our curious interest in shadows. This week, we used acetate and sharpies, creating colourful pictures. When the sun shone through the acetate, colourful shadows were created!

This fascination with colour tied in beautifully with our focus on Kandinsky. This week, we looked at another of his pieces: Several Circles. Inspired, we have been printing with circular objects. We have continued to apply our understanding of colour mixing within these creations. It has been lovely to see children inspired by Kandinsky and exploring in new and individual ways. For example, Bee added smiley faces to all of her circles which created a beautiful effect. Another Reception artist (who currently remains unknown!) stuck pom poms and yoghurt pots to their artwork to make it 3D. This is so creative and we can’t wait to find out the artist behind this piece.

Last week, it was Mental Health Awareness Week. As it was a very busy week with Space Day, we chose to focus on Mental Health Awareness Week this week instead, in order to dedicate the time that it deserves. We have focused on the importance of talking about our feelings to others. Having good mental health means:

  • Looking after our mind just as much as our bodies
  • Finding ways to do things that make us feel better if our minds aren’t feeling so well.
  • Making mental health an important part of our lives

This year the focus for mental health is ‘Anxiety’. When we are anxious, we can feel nervous, overwhelmed, scared, lonely and feel like we have butterflies in our tummies. We agreed we all worry about different things, but it was important not to keep worries to ourselves and talking about worries to a trusted adult or friend can really help. These are some of the other ways we agreed we could manage our anxiety:

  • Having a good night’s sleep
  • Happy breathing
  • Being active and enjoying time outside
  • Spending time with family and friends

Finally, we read the book Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival, which reminded us that worries like nothing more than being hidden. When we talk about and share our worries, our worries are reduced, and we can cope with them more easily. We read this book in Forest School to begin our day, in order to remind ourselves that time outdoors is a wonderful way to look after our minds. This work has tied in beautifully with our My Happy Mind work, where we have been setting goals for ourselves.

Finally, this week, I have spent time talking to each of the children about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit to assess their understanding. Today, Mrs Taylor concluded our week with another beautiful RE focus as she worked with the children to create yet another outstanding piece of art: ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’. Thank you Mrs Taylor!

I end this half term feeling incredibly proud of all of the children and so very lucky to be their teacher. I am so excited for our final half term together. In the meantime, I hope that you all enjoy a wonderful week together in the beautiful sunshine. I shall look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Tuesday 6th June.

With many thanks and warm wishes,

Miss Witham

Brereton C E Primary School

School Lane, Brereton Green, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1RN

Administration Assistant: Mrs S Henderson
or Senco: Richard Cotton

Tel: 01270 918931

Email: admin@breretonprimary.org.uk

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