The Little Red Hen

These amazing children retold the story of The Little Red Hen.


That wasn’t the best bit! They then adapted the story, changing the setting to a zoo and the characters became a lion, sheep and a cow.  Cages and enclosures were quickly made to support the story telling. Fantastic!!!

This is what my job is all about…


Week of May 15th in Reception

What a lovely week. We had Science Week and National Outdoor Learning Day on Thursday.

We kicked off science week asking the children what they thought science was all about. They blew us away. We introduced a song that covered gravity, hibernation, migration, metamorphosis, evaporation. Many of which the children have / are experiencing through their everyday play. Here is the link to the song on You Tube from The Learning Station.

  1. Joshua knows all about gravity.

  2. Most children could explain evaporation, they just didn’t know the proper scientific term.

  3. Most children knew about hibernation. Migration was a new term to many.

  4. Metamorphosis – We are learning about this ‘in the moment’ with our class caterpillars.

Science Week photos:

Gloop: The children were exploring two type of gloop, making it,  then observing how it changed and what it felt like using their senses. They explored transporting it, putting it through funnels and sieves, trying to pick it up with their hands or utensils and trying to form it into shapes, just to see what would happen.  We heard some lovely language, describing how it felt, looked and behaved in their hands.

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Bubbles: Talking about how bubbles are made of trapped air, the colours the children can see, their shape, size and chasing them to try and pop them are all valuable learning opportunities. I sent a recipe home that we used for science week, it’s well worth it! Would love some pics if you are successful making even bigger bubbles.

STEM Challenge: The children (and many of the parents!) loved the STEM challenge. The children used toothpicks and sweets to build 3D shapes. We are taking a closer look at 3D shapes next week. Could you make a better one at home?

Child led learning at its best: How much water is needed to be added to make the perfect sandcastle? What is happening to the water when it is poured on the sand?

Jump Rope: What goes up must come down!!!

George P was amazing, gold medalist in the making. Think we’ll try double dutch next week…

Sorry, but my photos really don’t do the children justice, didn’t manage to capture many mid flight.

Imaginative Play:  Mrs. Kimber and I managed to salvage some car seats and bumbers from the Car Body Repair Shop in Breakspeare Rd (Thanks Issy!). They were so popular with the children, lots of lovely language and imaginative play. At risk of turning the garden into a salvage yard we love open ended resources like these. We’d love a steering wheel or three!

  More construction:


Next Week: We are looking at 3D shapes. Take a look at your environment, can the children spot any 3D structures, cone, cube, sphere etc.

We are collecting interesting shaped boxes. There are some hexagonal chocolate boxes if you fancy treating yourself (just in the interests of your child’s 3D education of course!).

  1. What shape is the football?

  2. What shape is a toblerone?

  3. What shape is a Swiss Roll cake?

  4. What shape is a Battenburg cake?

On Wednesday  Miss Boby and I are out of class for part fo the day each  as we have an internal moderation which is a statutory requirement, but we are on site.

Mrs. Quinn.

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

Literacy: Reading and Writing

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

In Early Years we will be working towards children developing their:

  • Reading skills: by the end of reception children will read and understand simple sentences. They will use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
  • Writing: by the end of reception children will use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

How can you help?

  • The most effective way to help a child to learn to read is simply to read aloud to them regularly and often.
  • The learning of nursery rhymes helps them to notice the sounds in words and the tunes help them to remember the words.
  • Read stories regularly to your child, they will want to hear their favourites over and over again and will soon know them off by heart, reprimanding you if you miss out parts or change the order!
  • The books that are best are books your children like! You will soon discover which they are!
  • Join your local library, it is free and a wonderful source of good quality literature!
  • Before they can learn to write children must learn to control a pencil and form the shapes they want, so don’t try to teach your child to write letters until they have had lots of drawing experience.
  • Free drawing enables them to explore shapes, gain confidence and develop the right muscles for writing. Your child will start by making marks that look like scribble. This is a very important first stage to develop good pencil grip and control. The children will enjoy working with a variety of implements – pencils, crayons, chalks, felt-tips, paints, etc. Show them how to hold a pencil correctly.
  • Show them how to hold a pencil correctly.
  • Gradually your child will start to draw shapes that look more like letters, often starting with the letters in their own name. If your child is showing an interest in writing letters use a capital letter for the start of their name and then lower case letters for the rest of their name.
  • Make sure your child sees you writing, so that they know writing has a purpose.
  • Get them to take a short shopping list to the shops with you and cross off the items as you put them in the basket.
  • Encourage your child to do their own emergent writing. They may start by writing initial and dominant sounds from the words; this is normal, praise all of their efforts and be very proud of your child
  • If your child is left-handed don’t do anything to alter this. It really doesn’t matter and it’s wrong to force a child to change.

Finally: Attend the phonics talk in the Autumn term, pheck out the Phonics blog and knock on Mrs. Quinn’s, or your class teachers door, with any questions or concerns.

Check out the core reading texts recommended for your child.

Teddy Words

Well done to Millie W, Nathan and Harry, sounding out their Teddy words to me. It is lovely to see the progress.

Please give me your Teddy Word book at the beginning of a session if you would like your child to sound out/read some words to me. Some days we don’t get to go through book bags, so this will ensure I am able to keep up with children as they progress.

Mrs. Quinn.

Nursery Phonics

Dear Parents

We have introduced some phonic sounds to the children. Children can learn to recognise letter shapes just as they do numbers. They may not yet be ready to read words, but you can still help with pre reading skills at home.

Initial sounds:

Find everyday objects, perhaps toy animals or fruit. Ask what it is and use the same word as your child – a child may choose to say ‘cup,’ and you may have been thinking ‘mug.’ Ask what sound it begins with. If they can’t tell you model saying ‘c,c,c,c,cup!’ encourage them to say it with you.

Set out a few objects. Making sure the children can identify each object, ask them to:

• Pick an object and say what sound it begins with – If they find this difficult then praise their efforts and, pointing at an object, say for example ‘d, for duck.’
• Ask them to find you something beginning with an ‘m’ sound.
• Set out three objects, make sure two begin with the same sound – tomato, apple, tiger (toy), pont to the tomato and ask your child to show you what else begins with ‘t.’

Without expecting your child to read the words below, you can orally say each sound in a word to see if they can work out the word. We call this Fred Talk, like our class frog, Fred, who can only talk in sounds.

For instance you say ‘m –ad,’ the child will learn to hear ‘mad.’
If they can do that, you can split the sounds further saying ‘m-a-d’ and they soon will be able to hear ‘mad.’ Don’t worry if they can’t do this yet!
If they can, encourage them to read the words with you.

Mad Sad Sat Sit
Dad Sam

If you’re not sure of how to sound out words please drop in to see me, that’s what I’m here for!
Mrs. Quinn.