Week of 31st January in Reception.

Many thanks to all the donations for the Syrian appeal, and to Madison’s mummy for taking all the items to UNICEF  this weekend. We did really well and the children got an insight to the world around them.

Whilst we don’t always do ‘themes’ of work as it never  holds the  attention of every child, and we like to be very child led in their learning, we do endeavour to cover Seasons and cultural celebrations, especially those that are relevant to the children in our care. Chinese NY has been really popular  over the last two weeks. It was great to see so many visited the CNY celebrations in London last weekend. Per Henry “I went to China with mummy and daddy and I saw dragons.” Priceless! The children have been representing their new found knowledge painting willow pattern plates, making their own red envelopes, making lanterns and painting dragons.


Elsewhere this week we continue to be amazed at the  children’s reading progress. We are introducing ‘tricky red words’ to many children for reading and writing so if your child can read the red words in their Teddy Word book, can hey spell and write them? Have a go.

Reading: Please sign reading record books every time you read their school reading booking with them. Please keep them in the school bag.

Maths: We forgot to send out the no. 12 worksheet, so this will go out on Monday.

To support your child at home, can they recognise all four basic 2D shapes. Square, rectangle, triangle, circle by name and can they tell you why they know it is that shape? Can they talk about a rectangle having long and short side, but a square’s sides are all the same. Can they explain a triangle always has 3 sides and a circle has one curved side. If not, try to point out these shapes in your environment – Can they recognise the door is a rectangle? We will continue to support this in class too. But don’t stop there – can they recognise a pentagon, hexagon, octagon?

A few more from this week:

Lots of interest about clocks this week so we have begun to talk about different times of the day and where the hands will be.

And also – Helicopter Stories

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

— Albert Einstein

I invited Make Believe Arts to visit us for some staff training for nursery and reception this week to develop story telling in class.

Helicopter Stories is based on the Storytelling and Story Acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley. At its most basic, children make up stories, adults scribe them, and then the class acts them out.

You may find your child has been asking you to write their stories. Please encourage this at home and send in their stories. Children can’t write it if they can’t think it. From past experience I have taught some exceptionally bright children, who when asked, are crippled with anxiety about ‘getting it wrong’ and find it difficult to put their ideas down on paper. We want children to allow their imagination to flourish and be able to put these ideas into words verbally, then develop into writing them. We put no pressure on the children to write at this stage. We scribe for them as thinking and writing at the same time is a challenge at 4, and I don’t want a child to thin of a great story but not tell it because of anxiety due to writing aspect.

Class rule: Each child can write a story which the adult scribes, but its maximum length is A5. Half a full page.

This form of holistic approach to education enables children to discover the world around them in their own, very personal way and explore vocabulary. We can quickly assess which children understand how stories are structures with characters, setting, a beginning, middle and an end.

Stages of Story Telling:

Children will internalise and imitate stories and you may well spot familiar plots creeping into their own story telling. Common characters and settings, good over evil. This is to be encouraged. Some of our children are at this stage.

Innovate: Children may follow a recognisable story pattern but characters and setting are changed. There is a boy and he goes into the house of three ninja’s and eats their food, tries out their swords and sleep in their beds…. Some of our children are at this stage.

Invention – They create their own new story.

The Benefits: Taken from Make Believe Arts homepage.

  • An inclusive, whole-class approach which values every child’s contribution;
  • Facilitates high levels of engagement;
  • Creates confidence and self-assurance;
  • Supports the development of speaking skills as children express and share their ideas;
  • Helps to develop accurate, active listening skills and understanding;
  • Supports co-operative and collaborative and creative learning;
  • Develops positive relationships within a shared storytelling experience;
  • Allows children to explore the power of words as they see their stories come to life, and develop their ability to use and adapt language to communicate;
  • Offers children a bridge into the world of story writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page.
  • Acting out our stories…

Core Texts To Read to Your Child.

These are recommended boks for Early Years. You will find that the local libraries have most of these books, or swap with your friends.

Books marked with an R are good for rhyme Books marked with an * are particularly good for early readers

Five Minutes Peace Jill Murphy & all the other ‘Large’ family books

Whatever Next Jill Murphy

So Much! Jill Murphy

Peace at Last Jill Murphy

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Helen Oxenbury

The Bear Under the Stairs Helen Cooper

Walking Through the Jungle Julie Lacome

Titch Pat Hutchins

You’ll Soon Grow into them Titch Pat Hutchins

Mei Ling’s Hiccups David Mills

Lullabyhullaballoo Mick Inkpen

The Blue Balloon Mick Inkpen

Kipper * Mick Inkpen

Kipper’s Toy Box * Mick Inkpen

Dinosaur Roar Henrietta and Paul Stickland

Bumper to Bumper Jakki Wood

Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car John Burningham

Mr Gumpy’s Outing John Burningham

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

The Very Busy Spider Eric Carle

The Pig in the Pond Martin Waddell

Farmer Duck Martin Waddell

Can’t you Sleep little Bear? Martin Waddell

Owl Babies Martin Waddell

Who Sank the Boat? Pamela Allen

Mr Archimedes Boat Pamela Allen

Lima’s Red Hot Chilli David Mills

Handa’s Surprise Eileen Browne

Handa’s Hen Eileen Browne

Elmer David McKee

Peepo Janet Ahlberg

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

The Rainbow Fish Marcus Pfister

Goodnight Owl Pat Hutchins

Don’t Forget the Bacon Pat Hutchins

Oi! Get Off My Train John Burningham

Knock Knock, Who’s There? Sally Grindley

The Wheels on the Bus many versions

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly Pam Adams

Old MacDonald had a Farm Pam Adams

Rosie’s Walk Pat Hutchins

As Quick as a Cricket Audrey & Dan Wood

The Red Ripe Strawberry Audrey & Dan Wood

Once Upon a Time Nick Sharratt

You Choose Nick Sharratt

Dear Zoo Rod Campbell

It’s Mine Rod Campbell

Hairy McClary Lynley Dodd

Fish Go Woof Miranda Maxwell-Hyslop

Ahh Said Stork Gerald Rose

Not Me Said the Monkey Colin West

Pardon? Said the Giraffe Colin West

Hello Great Big Bull Frog Colin West

Have You Seen the Crocodile? Colin West

The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Ketchup on my Cornflakes Nick Sharratt

A Dark, Dark Tale Ruth Brown

Nine Ducks Nine Sarah Hayes

Jasper’s Beanstalk* Mick Inkpen

Where’s Spot?* Eric Hill

Brown Bear, Brown Bear*

Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

Polar Bear, Polar Bear* Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

Mrs Wishy Washy* Joy Cowley

Cat on the Mat* Brian Wildsmith

How do I put it on?* Shigeo Watanabe

Ten in the Bed* Penny Dale

All Fall Down* Helen Oxenbury

Dig, Dig, Digging R Margaret Mayo & Alex Ayliffe

Each Peach Pear Plum R Janet Ahlberg

Mister Magnolia R Quentin Blake

Mr McGee Goes to Sea R Pamela Allen

The Train Ride R June Crebbin

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes R Eve Sutton

This is the Bear R Sarah Hayes & Helen Craig

Pass the Jam Jim R Kaye Umansky & Margaret Chamberlain

Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs Ian Whybrow

My Mum and Dad make me Laugh Nick Sharratt

Shark in the Park Nick Sharratt

Also Traditional tales, Nursery Rhymes

Communication & Language

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

By the end of reception children will develop their communication skills:

Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.


How can you support your child?


Talking to your child, sharing experiences, remembering together, listening to them and encouraging through genuine questions do more to prepare them for school than any other activity.

Children who come to school able to express their needs and willing to listen to others are much more likely to settle in quickly and absorb learning more readily.  Your child should learn to be a good listener, taking turns in a conversation, and not just a forceful talker.  We want them to be able to express themselves clearly and with confidence.

Join in with their imaginative play, ask questions, and get them to make decisions, have opinions.

The learning of nursery rhymes, songs and poems cannot be over emphasised and is an enjoyable and valuable activity.

The rhymes help them to notice the sounds in words and the tunes help them to remember the words.