Reception w/b 25th September

Date: 29th Sep 2023 @ 5:00pm

We have thoroughly enjoyed Week 4 of Reception life! Having packed such a lot of wonderful learning experiences into just a week, I am sure we are all feeling rather sleepy at the end of the day but I am also so thankful for such a beautiful week with our lovely class. Reception, you continue to impress us!

Phonics lessons have continued with enthusiasm and the children have been ever so keen to reveal our next four sounds. What a joy it is to see such keen, joyful learners! From Monday to Thursday, Fred the Frog introduced us to the sounds: t, i, n, p before reviewing on Friday. In addition to recognising/reading these sounds, we have also practised writing them, in some small groups. Unusually, our first two phonics sounds this week didn’t follow our ‘rule’; normally, our pencils stick to the paper until we have formed the whole letter. However, we need to lift our pencil off the paper to finish forming t and i. For n and p, our pencils were back to being sticky, making sure we went down and then back up again! We used the following handwriting phrases:

t – down the tower, across the tower

i – down the [insect’s] body, dot for the head

n – down Nobby, over his net

p – down the plait, over the pirate’s face

This week, we have also introduced ‘word time’ in small groups. We have been using magnetic tiles to spell some CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words using our known sounds (e.g. mat, sad, dad). In the ‘how to help’ document, the first ‘learning to blend’ video will help to support this skill; staff have also used small cards in pocket charts when modelling this week, so this will be familiar. Continuing to ‘talk like Fred’ is also helping us to develop our oral blending skills. On our website, you will find handwriting sheets for each sound if you would like to practise forming t, i, n, p at home. Links to videos for each sound, along with oral blending videos, can be found in this week’s ‘How to support at home’ document.

In maths this week, the children have engaged with activities that draw attention to the purpose of counting – to find out ‘how many’ objects there are. We have been helping Counting Croc to improve his counting skills! Last week, we used subitising to identify the number in a set; this week we have been developing our counting skills to enable us to identify how many there are in a set that cannot be subitised. This connects subitising and counting to cardinality whereby the last number in the count tells us ‘how many’ things there are altogether. We have also helped Counting Croc to use 1:1 correspondence, by counting numbers at the same time as moving or tagging the objects. We have also explored how all sorts of things can be counted, including sounds. This focus will continue into next week. Accurate counting is an essential skill for children to learn from an early age. Although this may seem straightforward, there are many counting concepts that young children need to master in order to become effective lifelong mathematicians. When a young child begins counting, they count by rote, meaning they will be able to say the number names in order simply because they have remembered the words and the order they go in. From this starting point, children then need to begin to master five counting principles. You will find information about these principles and activities to support children to develop these skills in our ‘how to help at home’ document. Remembering the names of the principles and all of the research behind them is certainly not essential! The important part is understanding what the 5 different skills are and supporting your child to master each of them.

In our English sessions this week, we were introduced to a new traditional tale: ‘The Little Red Hen’. On Monday, we read the story all the way through. We thought about how each of the characters were feeling. We asked: Why didn’t the Little Red Hen share the bread with the other animals? We understood how frustrated she felt when the other animals didn’t help her and she felt as though she was doing all the work. One of the children likened this to tidy up time in school and how important it is to work together – we are a super Reception team. We discussed the fact that this is a traditional tale so there are many retellings of this story – just like Goldilocks. For example, in the first story we read, there was a cat, dog and duck and, in others, a goat, cat and dog. Later in the week, we were introduced to our first story map of the year to help us to retell this story. The images on the story map and the Makaton signs we use help us to remember the story and to allow this learning to become embedded. Learning to retell this story has allowed us to learn so many more Makaton signs! I wonder if the children could show you how to sign: hen, bull, cat, rat, who and help? It has been an utter delight to begin to learn the retelling of this tale with the children, listening to the voices that they add as they join in enthusiastically with the repeated refrains. We are looking forward to performing this retelling for you in our harvest service alongside some beautiful songs.

The traditional tale ‘The Little Red Hen’ has been a wonderful hook for learning all about harvest. Learning about the steps the Little Red Hen has to follow to ensure the journey from seed to bread has helped us to understand the concept of growing and harvesting food…

‘Harvest’ is our second RE unit this half term, running alongside ‘I am special’. To begin our RE lesson, we once again looked inside our Chatterbox. Here we found: a globe, flour, cereal, vegetables, fruit, a photo of a combine harvester, a poster for ‘Chance Changing Lives’. Our Chatterbox is always an exciting way to launch an RE unit, sparking rich discussions, questions and predictions. We thought back to our learning from last week, remembering the Christian teaching that God made the world and everything in it for us to enjoy and share. God created an amazing variety of plants and animals and therefore we have wonderful food to eat. We then asked: Why is harvest time so important for Christians? We realised that Christians give thanks to God for the wonderful food, the sun and the rain which helped to grow the food and the farmers who worked hard to grow and harvest the food. Therefore, a harvest church service is an opportunity to say thank you to God for all his gifts to us especially the food at harvest time. This work links beautifully to thinking about our Brereton Harvest Appeal for 2023 and this year we shall be supporting the great work of Chance Changing Lives in Crewe and the Brereton Food Pantry. Please refer to our Harvest Appeal letter which will be sent later today.

Next week, we shall be holding a short Harvest Service for parents, carers, grandparents etc. of children in EYFS and Years 1 and 2, on Thursday 5th October at 10am, at St Oswald’s Church. The children will be singing some harvest songs and each class will present something to the service. We shall have enough adults in school to walk down to Church but if you would like to walk back to school with us you are most welcome. We expect the service to last no longer than 35 minutes.

Harvest and the Little Red Hen have inspired many of this week’s exciting activities. We have been thinking about the fact that the Little Red Hen and other farmers plant seeds and then have to wait patiently for them to grow. This inspired us to plant bulbs in our outdoor area garden; we will wait patiently for them to grow and will be rewarded with beautiful new flowers in the springtime. In the meantime, we have planted winter pansies at the top of our planter boxes to enjoy through the colder weather. We have also planted an herb garden and are already enjoying exploring the scents of each plant. Later in the year, we will be able to use these herbs in our nature kitchen recipes! We have so many keen gardeners in Reception and the children have been ever so helpful, from covering bulbs with soil, to ‘tucking the pansies into bed’ and then giving the garden a good watering. We can’t wait to watch this garden grow with us throughout the year.

On Thursday, we were most excited to make bread, just like the Little Red Hen. We first looked at the recipe, noticing that it had a title, a photograph, a list of ingredients and then step-by-step instructions. In small groups, we then mixed the ingredients together. We talked about the necessity of warm water and adding the salt in a different spot to the yeast. We were especially fascinated by the yeast and how its job is to make the bread rise. Once all ingredients were incorporated, it was time to knead the dough. We each worked hard to knead our dough until it was smooth and stretchy; this was great for our fine motor skills and hand/arm strength! We then needed to leave the dough over lunchtime, in a warm space and covered over. After lunch, we were amazed by how much our dough had increased in size, and noticed the bubbles and how the cling film had fogged up. The yeast was working! In the afternoon, we each shaped our bread rolls. Miss Witham was then able to use the oven after school to bake the bread; all of the teachers felt very hungry as the scent of freshly baked bread wafted through the corridors! Today, it was time to eat the bread. We enjoyed adding some margarine, jam or marmalade to our bread roll before giving it a taste. According to the children, it was delicious! Such a lovely Friday afternoon treat to have an extra snack and chat with our friends.

Today, we have also been exploring some harvest vegetables. We recognised the carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower and corn on the cob but were not too sure about the two remaining vegetables. We learnt that they were a parsnip and a swede. We looked at photos of how each of the vegetables grows and were surprised to see that ‘the part we eat’ can often grow underground. We loved smelling and naming these vegetables. We then explored the different textures that the vegetables can create when we print with them. Some children just chose to explore the marks they would make, whilst others made repeating patterns e.g. carrot, swede, carrot, swede, carrot…

Earlier in the week, it was our Forest School session. With our ‘Goldilocks’ focus still fresh in our minds, the children discovered that the bears had left a Forest School obstacle course to be discovered. The children loved completing the obstacle course and they showed super balancing skills. We love our Forest School afternoons with Mr Simmons!

On Wednesday, we thoroughly enjoyed our PE lesson with Mrs McAree. First, we warmed up with our ‘Starry Starry Night’ game and then recapped our shapes. Our main focus was then jumping. Mrs McAree first introduced a ‘Rocket Jump’ (straight jump). We start in a straight shape. Then, we count down and call “BLAST OFF”, whooshing our arms up above our heads as if shooting into space, keeping our body straight as a rocket. Finally, we land on the moon, bending our knees and putting our arms out to balance. Next was a star jump. We start with our hands in front of us in a cross position, bending our knees. Then we jump up into a star shape, before landing with bent knees. For our final activity, we travelled around the hall slowly, moving like an astronaut. We listened for Mrs McAree calling “rocket jump” or “star jump”. If she shouted “aliens are coming”, we needed to hide, getting into a small ball on the floor. What a fun PE lesson this was!

Our Makaton signs of the week have been: ‘toilet’ and ‘wash hands’, great signs to use before each break and lunch time.  There are some videos below so that you can enjoy learning these signs together at home.

Toilet –

Wash hands –

Well, my goodness me, the children have accomplished such a lot this week! We are very proud of them. There is lots to look forward to in Week 5 of Reception, so we shall enjoy this weekend of rest.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and let’s hope to see some more of this sunshine across the next few days.

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


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