Dear Parents and Pupils,
We are in week 2 of the autumn term and many of you and your children are now familiar with some of the routines in Class 1, however, as I don’t always get to speak to you all personally I would like to warmly welcome you to Class One, and provide you with a useful point of reference in the form of this termly newsletter. I apologise in advance to those parents who have had this information last year, but a ‘belt and braces’ approach ensures that everyone is kept informed!
The EYFS Curriculum.
In school we often use a range of acronyms and initials which I appreciate can be confusing. EYFS for example, stands for Early Years Foundation Stage which is the curriculum document which both Nursery and Reception children follow. The primary school curriculum is separated into 3 Key Stages; EYFS, Key Stage One (KS1) and Key Stage Two (KS2). EYFS comprises of Nursery and Reception, KS1 comprises of Years One and Two and KS2 comprises of Years Three, Four, Five and Six. In class one we have Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children.
The EYFS classroom is set up to encourage child initiated meaningful play which the children may refer to as ‘choosing’. By this they mean that they are allowed to choose an area or activity set out, in or outside of the classroom. These areas of learning and activities are carefully planned and arranged to encourage spontaneous learning opportunities. These areas are known as the Continuous Provision. The areas will regularly be enhanced with topic related activities and themes as well as resources to reflect each child’s personal interests throughout the term.
In addition to the Continuous Provision the children will be taught daily Phonics, Maths, Reading and Literacy lessons. Other lessons will be taught relating to the topic or identified areas of need. Initially these sessions will last no more than 10 minutes extending as and when the Reception children are ready.
The main topics we will be covering this term are Seasons and weather, Nocturnal animals, Harvest and Christmas.
The Year 1 children are already accessing a more formal approach to their learning following the National Curriculum.
The over - riding theme for the Year 1 pupils (which the Reception children will also follow to a lesser extent) is Day and Night and we will be looking specifically at the globe, making our own globes, identifying the north and south poles, locating Africa and comparing Africa to England. In Computing the Year 1 pupils will work with programmable toys (bee bots), and we will photograph the stages of following a recipe. We will be finding out about Harvest, and Christmas in RE. In PSHE we will find out about healthy lifestyles, keeping safe and learn a little bit about democracy and the rule of law. In Music we will enjoy action songs and play with musical instruments. In PE we will practise travelling and stopping and put together a dance. The main part of our Science curriculum will focus on Nocturnal animals and exploring Seasons. In Art we will make repeating patterns, print patterns and aim to make a nocturnal animal. We will also look at the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela.
Phonics, Literacy and Numeracy will be planned thematically on a weekly basis.
I think all children already have their water bottles, PE kits, waterproofs and wellies in school, so thank you for assisting us with this. Please can I ask that ALL items are clearly named and that you do not send in shoes or trainers with laces. Changing for PE and playtime is a challenge in itself and the added complication of laces is a step too far for all concerned!
We open the class doors at 8.40am and parents are welcome to drop off the children any time after, school officially starts at 8.55am prompt. Children will come into the classroom and self-register; they will find their photograph and move it on to the ‘door’ self-register. The Reception and Year 1 pupils place their book bags in the book bag box and during this time we will hear children read, share books and encourage children to take part in the ‘morning activities’. All Nursery children will have a named box, where we put any letters or items to go home. Please check your child’s box for things to take home. At 9am we will all come together to formally register the children and discuss the day ahead. At 9.10 we have daily phonics. At 9.30am we have 5 minutes of ‘dough gym’!
At some point between 9.30 and 10.15 a reading/literacy session will take place. At 10.15 we will stop for fruit and milk. All pupils under 5 years of age are eligible to receive free milk. If your child is aged 5 years and over and you would like them to have milk you must register them on the Cool Milk website. Please speak to Mrs Lawson if you need more details about this. Initially I will use this time to reinforce good manners, good hand washing and sharing the fruit, once the routines are established this session will be a good opportunity for children to talk. Playtime starts at 10.30am. The children can, if they wish, buy plain biscuits or crackers. It is entirely up to you if you wish for your children to have snack money. The simplest way to organise this is for your child to have a named purse/wallet with enough small change for a week or two and I will send it home to be replenished when the money has run out! Lots of children do love to buy a couple of biscuits and it is a good ‘real life’ experience of handling money and being allowed to make a simple choice.
After break we have our maths activity. The children in Class 1 will go for dinner 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the school; this will give the children 15 minutes of quiet, calmer hall time, plus additional time to eat. Either myself, Mrs Evans or Miss Simpson will be in the hall with the children. We never force children to eat all of their dinner or to have something that they do not like. I will try to encourage them to eat enough to sustain them for the school day!
The afternoon sessions vary depending on the activities, PE and Computing are timetabled due to resources. We recommend that PE kit is in school at all times to allow us to take advantage of the good weather when we have it.
Afternoon break is at 2.00pm and school finishes at 3.30pm
Homework and Reading.
Reading books have already been issued to Year 1 pupils and Reception will shortly be given theirs! The reading books are changed daily, and we ask you to make comments about the books you have shared. We can use this book for communication if you are not dropping off or collecting that day. Ideally, I would like for the children to share their book with an adult every night, this should take no longer than 5 or 10 minutes.
After about 4 weeks, the Reception children may bring home some letter sound/phonics related activities to practise. I will endeavour to send accompanying explanations with each as and when I send the activities home.
Year 1 children
In addition to daily reading books, they have one piece of homework and a set of phonic related spellings to learn and practise. I will give out spellings and homework on Monday and ask for both to be returned to school by Friday.
We try to keep parents as fully informed about school, visits and anything extra happening in school via school letters delivered by email. There will of course be occasions when we do not have an electronic version to send and so these will be sent home via your child.
Mrs Evans, Miss Simpson and I are always available for a chat at the start, or the end of any day and we would urge you to come in and see us at your earliest convenience should you have any concerns, or questions about what is happening at school.
If there is no one in the office, please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
As a teaching headteacher I must take non-contact time away from the class to fulfil my headteacher role and duties. I am not in class on Tuesday or alternate Fridays. During these times Mrs Blackley supports Mrs Evans and Miss Simpson in class.
Many thanks for taking the time to read such a lengthy introductory letter and I hope that you do find the information helpful. We are all really looking forward to the year ahead with your children and hope that they all enjoy the curriculum, visits and other exciting opportunities that we have planned for them.