Welcome to Reception

Our Reception classes are called Butterflies, Dragonflies & Ladybirds

Reception Team for September 2021: Miss Gooch (EYFS* Leader), Miss Bartleet, Miss Lloyd, Miss Vines, Mrs Biggs, Mrs Barker, Miss Davies, Mrs Hanley & Mrs Gosling.

Senior Leadership Team member overseeing Reception & Nursery: Mrs C Hopkins (Deputy Headteacher)

You can contact the team via email

Reception and Nursery use an online platform called Tapestry to share learning with parents. They will also use Tapestry to share home learning activities for pupils that are self-isolating.

Please email the EYFS team if you need any help with Tapestry.

*EYFS = Early Years Foundation Stage = Nursery & Reception classes in a primary school

Gusford Reception Induction powerpoint 2021- amend (1).pptx

Useful Documents

Reception sports day

reception artwork

Mrs Race's Weekly Blog (Archive)

9th July 2021

This week in Reception has been very exciting. The children have been able to meet their Year One teachers, spending a morning with them on Tuesday. They have also had the excitement of their first school sports day. We were all incredibly impressed with how focussed and sensible the children were for our sports afternoon. They all put in lots of effort to each race. The children completed a sprint race, relay race, skipping race, sack race, 'balance a beanbag on your head' race, and a 'throwing balls and beanbags into a crate' activity.

The children have also had a dress down day with a 'virtual disco', a treat organised for them by the 'Friends of Gusford' team. This was a very exciting and much anticipated treat.

Alongside all of this excitement the children have continued to find out more about life in space, this week finding out about life for astronauts living on a space station and comparing it to their own life. Please ask you child for their talk homework this week to tell you about what life is like on a space station (we have found out about the strange ways they brush their teeth,, make a sandwich and go to sleep).

They have been busy creating 'Space' works of art for Gusfords' 'Virtual Art Gallery' that will be available for you to see next week.

In our Maths learning the children have been exploring teens numbers, partitioning different teens numbers into tens and ones, for example finding out that 12 consists of 1 ten and 2 ones.

In Phonics the children have been introduced to the consonant clusters 'shr' and 'thr'. They have also been recalling and using the digraph oa and the trigraph 'igh' for reading and writing activities.

The children have continued to learn the story 'How to Catch a Star'.

18th June 2021

This week in Reception the children have begun a new topic, finding out about 'Pirates'. They have been discovering how they travelled and about their life. We have encouraged the children to compare their life styles to those of pirates and thinking whether anything is the same, and what is different. The children have explored creating their own pirate ships and other pirate items, such as hooks, eye patches and treasure maps. They have had great fun developing their pirate role play as they have found out more about pirate life.

We will continue this topic into next week - for talk homework this week please ask your child to tell you what they know about pirates. Encourage them to talk in complete sentences as they do so.

In our phonics learning the children have been learning the new adjacent consonants dr and gr. They have been introduced to the new tricky word 'put' and have been practicing using the trigraph 'ear' for reading and writing.

The children have been introduced to the story 'Pirates Love Underpants' this week., and have thought about the characters, the story setting and the main events of the story. Next week the children will start to learn the story using actions to help them.

In Maths the children have been learning about halving and sharing. The pirate topic link has been great to support this as the pirates need to share out their treasure fairly.

We also joined in with the whole school 'Maths Day' on Wednesday. The children completed Maths tasks to fill their treasure chest, The tasks involved some practical addition, subtraction and use of money language.

We have been thinking about a healthy lifestyle this week, the children have found out about the need for a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and of course a healthy mind. We thought about how we could help to improve the pirates health on board their ship, creating exercise routines and choosing them a healthy range of foods to eat.

This week has been unpredictable with the weather. We would encourage you to keep a careful watch on the weather forecast and ensure your child has the appropriate clothing, whether this is a sun hat or a raincoat (or both!). If your child brings in sun cream to put on at lunchtime on hot days please can it be clearly named and given to the class teacher.

Please make sure your child brings a water bottle to school that is clearly named May 2021

This week in Reception we have been continuing with our transport topic, with a focus on air vehicles. The children have found out about different air vehicles and made models and pictures. of them, including large vehicles in the outdoor construction area. They have compared them to other vehicles that they are aware of.

In Phonics the children have been introduced to new adjacent consonants - sk and sn. They have practiced reading and writing using the digraph oi and the trigraph ear. They have learnt the tricky word 'they' and used it in sentence writing.

The children have continued to learn the story 'Lost and Found', about a boy and a penguin who set off in boat to the South Pole!

In 'Learning and Life Skills' the children have been taking in turn to have the opportunity to tell their classmates their 'news'. It might be about somewhere they went with their family or something that happened, or about a favourite toy they might have at home. It has been great to see how well most of the children are at listening carefully to their friends and sometimes responding to what they have heard, with a question or comment.

In our PE session the children have been learning to control a ball with their foot, kicking it to a partner, and stopping the ball, and controlling a ball with a bat, dribbling it along the ground.

In our Maths learning the children have been learning to double! They have explored creating two groups of the same quantity, and adding them together.

For talk homework this week please talk to your child about doubles - can they explain what a 'double' is? Ask them to have a hunt around the house to find some things that come as 'doubles' such as pairs of socks, shoes, gloves

Can they use objects to demonstrate and explain a doubles sentence?

We hope you have a lovely half term holiday and enjoy some family time. When we return to school the following week the children will be taking part in planning a pretend rainforest adventure.

We will be 'going' to the rainforest on Friday the 11th of June and on this day your child may come to school dressed for their rainforest adventure, wearing shorts/ trousers, sturdy shoes or boots, a protective hat and raincoat. They may bring items such as toy binoculars and a backpack to help them immerse themselves into the adventure.

14th May 2021

This week in Reception we have continued our exploration of land vehicles, and very much enjoyed watching films of some extra special land vehicles - a snow plough, monster truck and a straddle carrier! They did this via the CBeebies 'Caties Amazing Machines' programme. The children then compared the vehicles and discussed which were their favourites and why and we created class tally charts to show which vehicle was the most popular.

There are many other programmes about vehicles in the 'Caties Amazing Machines' series. We watched part of the 'Best of' programme to see this weeks machines. You can access them via this link if this is something your child would enjoy watching, and talking about with you at home:

The children have enjoyed making representations of different land vehicles and have improved in their ability to compare different features of the vehicles.

Phonics - This week we have introduced the new adjacent consonants gl and sm. They have been practicing the digraphs oo (short sound, as in 'book') and or. The children have been practicing reading and writing the tricky word 'she'.

In storytelling this week the children have been learning some land vehicle rhymes, adding their own actions, and then we have made some changes to the songs. We noticed that you have to think carefully before you change a word in a song, or it makes the rhythm of the song difficult to manage. We noticed that we could swap one syllable words, such as red for pink, but it was tricky to change it for yellow.

Maths - The children have been learning about practical subtraction this week. They have practiced taking a small group away from the whole group, and saying the number sentence each time.

Talk homework - Please encourage your child to look carefully at a vehicle (possibly your own if you have one). Support them in naming different parts of the vehicle, such as steering wheel, bumper, windscreen. Challenge them to describe their vehicle to someone else, without telling them what the vehicle is. Can they describe it well enough for the other person to correctly guess?

7th May 2021

This week in Reception we have continued our 'Transport' topic, focussing on land vehicles.

The children have been discovering the different types of vehicles there are that move on land, and have been comparing and describing them, as well as creating their own representations of them. They have written facts about different land vehicles. In our outdoor learning the children have also had the opportunity to create different representations of land vehicles.

In ICT the children will, over the next few weeks all have the opportunity to use the 'Tuxpaint' paint programme to draw a vehicle and possibly to label it.

In phonics the children have been introduced to another 'adjacent consonant' - pl, as well as using the digraphs ar and oo (long sound) to read and spell words. They have practiced using the 'tricky' word he in their reading and spelling.

In their storytelling work the children have continued to learn with actions the song/ story 'Car, Car, Truck, Jeep' and have had a try at creating some changes in the song/ story.

In our Maths learning the children have been developing their 'counting on' skills. This is quite a complex skill, requiring the children to 'hold in their head' the quantity of the first group of objects and then 'counting on' from the first group to find the total of both groups. Some children have gone on to apply this skill when using a number line.

This week for talk homework please ask your child to think about their favourite 'land vehicle', to name it and describe it. This will support them in the discussions we will be having this week in school about our favourite land vehicle. As they describe it encourage them to speak in full sentences and to link their sentences, perhaps by making comments such as 'Can you tell me more about it?'.

30th April

Last week in Reception we began to think about transport, starting with how we journey to school. As a class we created a tally chart to find out how many children travelled by car, bike, walking, bus, or even by taxi! We introduced some of the useful vocabulary such as travel, walk, car, bus. road, path, and environment, as well as some challenging vocabulary - journey, route, and transport. This has led to lots of discussions about the different features we see on our journeys. Some children decided to create maps to show their route, and the features they see.

We also spent time discussing road safety, and how to cross the road.

We have used the bebots (electronic toys that can be programmed to move forwards, backwards, left and right) and have been programming them to travel both on our maps and without them.

In our phonics work this week we have introduced the adjacent consonants bl and fl. We have practiced using the digraph oa and the trigraph igh for reading and spelling activities. We have learnt the tricky word 'all' and practiced using it in sentences.

In our class storytelling work we have shared the story 'Car, car, truck, jeep' and have begun to learn to tell it as a class (or sing it as it is set to the tune of 'Baa, Baa, Black sheep' ).

In our Maths work we have learnt about the teens numbers 17, 18, 19 and 20. The children have explored different ways to make these totals by adding groups together. They have used a variety of equipment to do this such as numicon, to print with, draw round or use on a numicon board, objects from different areas of the classroom or outdoor area, and some have even challenged themselves using numberlines to count on or back to the different totals.

For talk homework this week please encourage your child to think about vehicles that travel on land (cars, lorries, trains, taxis, coaches, buses etc). Encourage them to describe one, without telling you which it is. Can you guess based on their description? take turns with them to guess/ describe the vehicle, as being the 'guesser' will encourage their careful listening skills. Use pictures of vehicles to help if they find this tricky.

Please remember Monday is a bank holiday, we hope you have a lovely time as a family.

When we return to school on Tuesday please remember it is 'Green Day', in which we are supporting a charity for the deaf. Your child may attend school wearing green on Tuesday.

16th April 2021

This week in Reception the children have been finding out about spring. They have been on a spring walk around the school grounds, noticing the new leaves and buds growing, and the blossom in the trees and bushes. They also heard birds and some were lucky enough to spot the bird currently nesting outside Butterfly classroom.

The children have created lots of artwork in response to the things that they saw, as well as writing their own spring fact book.

The children have also enjoyed watching the development of their class butterflies, and some classes have hatched all of their butterflies now and have watched them fly out into the world!

For talk home work this week we would like you to encourage your child to talk about the butterflies in their classroom and describe what they have seen them doing and if they have been let out (Dragonfly and Butterfly class have let theirs go!) ask them to explain how the butterflies managed their first proper flights. Please encourage your child to use full sentences when they explain what happened please.

In Maths the children have been finding out about the numbers 11, 12 and 13. They have explored how to write the numerals and how to represent the numbers in different ways.

In our talk for writing work we have been listening to and beginning to learn the 'Jack and the beanstalk' story. We have also planted our own bean and are looking forward to watching it develop.

In Phonics the children have been learning about the adjacent consonants sp and pt. They have been practicing the digraphs ng and th and learning to read and write the tricky word 'into'.

In PE the children have been practicing their ball skills with a partner, rolling, throwing and catching the ball.

Next week we will continue to think about spring, particularly focussing on animals that are born in the springtime.

12th March 2021

Last week in Reception was fantastic. The children have made us so proud with how they have come back into school with very few tears, and lots of confidence, enjoying the school routine and being able to spend time with all of their friends once more.

In phonics the children have been practicing using the phonemes ll and ff. They have been using the adjacent consonants ft and nk. They have been using these for reading and writing. They have also been practicing the tricky word 'you' and learning to spell it.

We have been exploring the life cycle of a Butterfly this week in our topic learning, and the children have created the stages of the lifecycle in different ways - using collage or pain, loose parts, playdough, construction....the children have used their imaginations to find interesting ways to represent stage of the life cycle, whilst learning the new vocabulary to accompany it: chrysalis, change, caterpillar, butterfly, lifecycle and cocoon.

The children have been listening to, and developing actions to help as they have begun to learn to tell the 'Hungry Caterpillar' story.

In our maths learning the children have been exploring shape, both 2D (flat) shapes and 3D (solid) shapes,

They have been on shape hunts, inside and outside, they have used shapes to create pictures and models, they have played guess the shape game with a feely bag, and have turned boxes inside out and decorated them. The vocabulary they have been practicing includes sides, corners(vertices), straight, curved and the shape names for 2D flat shapes. For 3D solid shapes the vocabulary they have used, alongside the shape names includes curved, flat, faces, vertices (corners) and edges.

As talk homework for this week we would like your child to take you around the house on a shape hunt - can they find. name and describe some 2D and 3D shapes. Please see the attached pictures to support your child with this.

5th March 2021

Last week in Reception we enjoyed a final week of Dinosaur themed learning. The children were introduced to some different dinosaurs and found out a little about the different 'ages' of the dinosaurs. We have been very impressed with how confident the children have become at comparing different dinosaurs, and creating representations of them.

Thank you to those parents that enabled their child to join Reception in our final 'live meet' on Friday - it was great to see so many of you and well done to all of those confident to talk about their dinosaur facts and show their creations.

In phonics the children learnt two new 'adjacent consonants' - sl and cl. They also practiced the digraphs or and ur and to read and write the tricky word 'the'. The children are slowly becoming more confident to read words with 4 phonemes in now we have introduced several adjacent consonants which is great to see.

In our maths learning we practiced counting back from 10, and explored number bonds - adding two groups to make a specific total. The children also explored patterns, identifying what a pattern is and continuing and creating their own patterns.

We would like to say a big thank you to all of you parents that have worked so hard on home learning over the past few months.

We are really looking forward to seeing the Reception children all back together in school tomorrow and hope they are excited too. We hope you are able to have a very well earned rest parent/ teachers, and enjoy just being a parent again!

26th February 2021

This week in Reception has been about Dinosaurs, our new topic. We have been delighted with how much enthusiasm has been shown for this topic in both at school and at home learning.

The children have made representations of the different dinosaurs we have been learning about, and have spent time comparing different dinosaurs and explaining what they know.

It was great to see everyone at our second 'live meet' this morning, and a huge well done to the children who were confident to talk to the group about their dinosaur learning, and those who joined in our Dinosaur action rhyme.

In Phonics this week the children have been learning about some new adjacent consonants - nk and ft, and have been practicing the digraphs ur and er. They have practiced reading and writing the word my.

This week has given the opportunity for the children to create their own stories, and there has been some great characters, story settings and stories developed during the week.

In Maths the children have been developing their understanding of the numbers 9 and 10, and have been comparing numbers to 10 and ordering them.

Our continued thanks to the many of you that are supporting your child's learning at home, We are fully aware of what a big task this is and we ask you to please contact us with any queries or concerns you may have.

Please continue to look after yourself, as this is the best way you can support your family.

Have a restful weekend everyone. 12th February 2021

This week in Reception has been an interesting and exciting week, with everyone getting involved with home learning this week as we were closed for three days due to the extreme weather.

We have seen some great learning in both home learning and in school learning. The children seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the 'snow day' on Monday and we loved seeing all of the amazing things that parents and children did together, exploring the snow and ice, such as writing in the snow, exploring adding colour to snow with colouring to create pictures, finding out what happens to an icicle when you taking it inside your house......alongside the favourites of snowman constructing, building igloos, making snow angels, and of course snowball fights!

It was great to hear some of the children's snow activities at our first 'Live check in' today . Thank you to all parents who created a google email for your child to be able to join. If you would like to join our next live meet and haven't yet made your child an account to enable them to join then please see the Parentmail that went out earlier in the week concerning this.

We have also been thinking about Chinese New Year this week and have been very impressed with the level of interest this has encouraged both in school and at home. The children have created lanterns, chinese dragons, and masks, fact books and lucky fish....and many other activities. There has of course been dragon and lion dancing!

In phonics the children have learnt some new adjacent consonants - nt and mp. They have continued to practice some of the other tricky digraphs and trigraphs as well as learn the new tricky word 'was'.

In Maths the children have explored time, with days of the week and 'what can we do in a minute?' as well as measuring length and height.

Please could it be noted that here was an error in the end of the day timing for Reception critical and vulnerable after half term on the newsletter that was sent to parents by Parentmail today. The end of the day time will be at 3pm, as it has been. The start time is 9am as stated. The gate for entrance and collection remain as on the newsletter.

The children (and home learning parents!) have definitely earned a good rest this half term. We hope you have a restful time. We look forward to seeing you either online or in person on the 22nd of February.

7th February 2021

Last week in Reception the children were finding out about different types of animals, exploring reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and birds, having explored insects the week before.

Both at home and in school the children were able to find out and write interesting animal facts, and complete animal models and pictures.

The children explored sorting in Maths and were able to apply this to sorting animals. They were also introduced to the skill of adding by counting on. This is a tricky skill. If your child is finding it difficult there is one part of counting on that can be practiced at home quite easily, with your child showing you a number of fingers when asked, e.g. 4 and then 'counting on' the other fingers to get to 10. This will make them more comfortable with the idea of starting with a given number and saying the numbers that come next, which is a vital skill in counting on to add another group. They can try different starting numbers whenever you have a moment.

They were also introduced to comparing items by height, building and comparing towers.

In Phonics they were introduced to two adjacent consonants - groups of letters that are often found together in words. When fred talked they do of course make two separate sounds but by meeting different combinations in Phonics lessons children will become more confident at the specific sounds made by different clusters of letters. The two that the children learnt about this week were st and nd, in words such as stick, rest, end and bend.

They also learnt the new 'tricky word' me.

Children develop at different rates so do not be worried if your child is finding an element of learning difficult. Some time practicing can enable your child to suddenly grasp a skill they were previously finding tricky.

Please let your child's teacher know, via Tapestry or an email if there is a specific concern you have about your child grasping a particular skill, for example reading words with digraphs or the tricky red word recall. We will be able to give you ideas to try at home to support so your child can practice whatever they are finding tricky in a different and hopefully engaging way.

The week ahead will involve your child finding out about Chinese New Year, a celebration that will be celebrated shortly around the world. We hope your child enjoys discovering about this celebration.

Talking at home about their own celebrations such as Christmas and Birthdays will support them in their understanding of celebrations and allow them the confidence to compare their own celebrations to Chinese New Year.

A particular thank you once again, home learning parents. We continue to be delighted with the effort being put in by both children and parents into Reception home learning activities. Please continue to contact us for additional support and questions as needed. We will do our best to help.

29th January 2021

This week in Reception we have continued our animal topic, in school and at home. We have explored woodland animals and insects and there have been some amazing representations made of woodland animals, insects and of the woods. This has been in both school and home learning.

We have been practicing the phonemes oo, ur and oi, and learnt two new digraphs, ure and er. Our tricky new word was 'we'.

In this weeks maths learning the children have learnt about the numbers 6,7,and 8 and used numbers to 8 for more and less activities and matching equal groups.

Home learning parents you should feel very proud of yourselves, and of your child, With a days notice you managed to embrace the big challenge of supporting your child's learning at home, and we have been delighted at the high level of support the children have continued to receive for their home learning this week. Thank you very much.

Next week is Children's Mental Health Week, and the timing is good in a world that is very different to what is 'normal' for your child (and you!) on a daily basis,

We are going to giving you access to some activities and ideas to support your child's mental health next week. We will also have Wednesday as a day 'off timetable' from Topic and Storytelling, giving you some other ideas of things you might support your child in doing which could help with their wellbeing, and hopefully your own too.

Have a restful, peaceful weekend

15th January 2021

This is a short blog this week just to say how pleased we are with all of the effort we are witnessing from parents and children involved in both home learning and in school learning.

Both groups of children should be immensely proud of themselves for their engagement in this weeks 'Farm Animals' focus. We have seen excellent writing and model making around the topic, and have loved having feedback on, and seeing live 'Cosmic Kids Yoga farm session'.

Children in school and and at home have also been fully engaged in Mr Slade's fitness sessions.

We hope you have had a good week those parents at home with their children - please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns about what your child is doing or how you can support. Remember there is also the opportunity to share concerns by way of the phone call home you will receive from staff or emailing at If you wish to put on a Tapestry post to contact us you can do so. If it is your own post the only people to see it will be staff. If you comment on a post by staff this is available for all parents to read.

If you would like a response from your child's class teacher then please address it to them in the title.

We are aware that we are putting on lots of activities for you to do with your child, do not feel you have to access everything every day. If your child is finding it difficult, then choose one or two activities to focus on. Or select something entirely different to do with your child and have another try tomorrow.

Remember this is not a normal way of working for yourself or your child, be kind to yourself.

8th January 2021

This week in Reception has been very different with lots of adaptations to normal routines from everyone!

We would like to say to new 'teacher parents' how much we appreciate the immense effort so many of you have put into making this new way of learning work for your child.

We have had a really good response from many of you who are delivering home learning, telling us how your children have got on with the work set, thank you for this.

We are very aware that sometimes we use vocabulary that might be confusing - please ask us if you are unsure. If you are having difficulty with something that you are doing with your child then please get in contact, however silly you think it might be.

Several parents have mentioned that their child struggles at times with concentration. This is very normal with Reception age children - their attention span is typically quite short.

If you find your child is struggling to complete an activity, you could try getting them to complete short tasks and split them up with breaks for them to do something else.

In school we have carpet times interspersed with 'independent learning time' where the children choose their own learning. During this time an adult might ask a child to complete a task with them such as reading or writing.

So you could use that idea at home and allow them free choice time in between activities. You could use a timer, on your phone for example, to let them know when it is time to start another learning task if they will find it tricky to leave their free choice activity once begun.

Next week we will be continuing our Animal topic with our focus moving to farm animals. Have a good weekend.

11th December

This week in Reception the children have begun finding out about how Christian families celebrate Christmas, and about some of the traditions that occur at Christmas time, such as eating turkey dinners, having crackers, mince pies and a Christmas tree. They have been comparing their own celebrations to those of others.

For talk homework this week please talk to your child about Christmas celebrations - see if they can remember some of the things people might do at Christmas time. Encourage them to speak in a full sentence, and if they are confident to speak with several sentences, talking on a Christmas theme then please let them do so! If your child is finding it tricky you may like to show them pictures of Christmas celebrations to get them started, perhaps googling images about Christmas on a phone or tablet to find

The children have learnt about the story of 'The Nativity' - the birth of baby Jesus, that is important to Christian families. They have had the opportunity to create their own Nativity pictures and story maps. They have also had the opportunity to write Christmas cards to their friends and family members.

Each class has been fortunate to be visited by a Christmas elf. The children have had the opportunity to write notes to the elf, telling it about them, and finding out about their school elf. They have used the 'message centres' in their classrooms to post letters and cards to the class elf. This has caused a lot of excitement and the children have been very keen to write their messages!

In PE the children have been continuing on their theme of target games. This week they used cones with three targets on and practiced their aiming skills, scoring more points for hitting the trickier targets with a tennis ball. For those really confident they could try to bounce their ball and hit the target.

In Maths this week the children have been learning about shapes, particularly focussing on the ones with 1, 3 and 4 sides as this is the numbers we have been learning about in school over the last few weeks. The children have found out about the many different shapes 4 sided shapes can take, watching the numberblocks episode 'Flatland' to spark their interest in this. They have had the chance to go on shape hunts, to create shape pictures and books, to make shapes in different ways and to arrange shapes to create pictures and patterns.

In Phonics the children have been learning some new digraphs - ng, ee, ai. They have also been introduced to a trigraph for the first time - the igh phoneme, in words such as light and night. They have found out about the tricky word 'he'. When we talk about tricky words with the children we talk about the 'grotty grapheme' in the word - the letter that makes the word tricky for them to read if they use fred talk. In the word he, for example it is the e that is the 'grotty grapheme', as it makes an eeee sound in the word he.

In ICT some children have used ipads to explore a simple app, whilst some of the children have used the Tuxpaint programme to create shape pictures.

4th December

This week in Reception the children have been finding out about Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. They have been comparing the way they celebrate events such as Christmas and birthdays with the way Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah. They have made models and pictures of Menorahs - the special candlestick that holds 9 candles used by Jewish families in their Hanukkah celebrations. They wrote fact books about Hanukkah, and made Happy Hanukkah cards.

They have also had the excitement of Christmas Decoration day, making different decorations to make the classrooms look fantastic for Christmas - just in time for our two weeks of learning about 'Christmas' beginning next week!

In our number work the children have been finding out about the number four, exploring the different ways to make four and trying to 'subsitize', this is the skill of looking at a small amount of objects and not needing to count the group to know how many there are. This is the skill used when we use a dice. The children sorted '4' and 'not 4' pictures, working as a group.

The children have been encouraged to show their 'self confidence' value in school this week, having a chance to sing or dance, or show a skill to their class group. This is something a lot of the children have very much enjoyed doing.

In ICT the children have been learning to use ipads to select an app to play a dragon maze game, involving helping a princess escape from a maze using finger control.

In PE the children have been continuing to improve their ball throwing skills. This week they tried the tricky skill of bouncing a tennis ball onto a mark to bounce it into a net or bucket. They had great fun and some children were very successful at doing this.

In phonics the children have been learning the phonemes sh, ch and th, as well as the 'tricky' word 'of'.

This week for talk homework please ask your child to tell you about the Christmas decoration they made for the classroom. See if they can explain how they made it, putting the sentences into the correct order so their explanation makes sense!

27th November

This week in Reception the children have been finding out about Hibernation in their 'Autumn at School' topic. They have been learning about the different animals that hibernate, and where they hibernate.

The children have been creating representations of the different animals that hibernate, and creating them a home to sleep in for the winter. They have had the opportunity to write facts about hibernating animals.

The children have been developing their early time vocabulary in their Maths learning this week, using words such as day, night, morning, afternoon, evening, and the days of the week. They have listened to stories to reinforce this vocabulary such as 'Night Monkey, Day Monkey' and 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. They have been talking about, and ordering the events in their day.

They have begun to learn the key events of the story 'Night Monkey, Day Monkey' using actions to support them.

In Phonics the children have been learning some new phonemes this week: y and z. They have been learning some new digraphs too (two letters that make one sound): qu and zz. They have also learnt the tricky word 'no'.

The children enjoyed coming to school in their non uniform clothes for our colour day, and our thanks for the many contributions that were given for FOGs rainbow hampers.

For talk homework this week please encourage your child to tell you about hibernation, can they remember what it is? Can they remember some of the animals that hibernate during the winter? Encourage them to speak in full sentences as they speak.

Please remember next weeks parent teacher phone call conversations - we look forward to speaking with you about your child and how they are getting on.

20th November

This week in Reception the children have been continuing to find out about Diwali, particularly finding out about the story which the celebration is focused on - The story of Rama and Sita. For any parent particularly keen to know the story please see the link here:

The children have been able to make their own masks of Rama and Sita and the other characters to act out the story. In ICT some of the children used Tuxpaint to draw the characters from the story.

The children have continued to create Diwali crafts such as making diva lamps and lanterns, Diwali cards, Rangoli patterns and mendhi patterns.

In PE this week the children have continued practicing their skills with balls, developing aiming skills and playing an aiming game with a partner, aiming their ball into a hoop to score.

In their Maths learning the children have been exploring the number three, they have watched the numberblocks episode to introduce numberblock 3, they have practiced their accurate counting to 3 and have been on a hunt for groups of three. Some children have gone on to consider how they can create 3 by adding smaller groups together to a total of 3.

In Phonics the children have been introduced to some new phonemes - j, v, w, and x. They have been practicing the tricky words they have learnt so far, each class practicing ones they are finding particularly difficult.

For talk homework this week please could you and your child talk about the seasonal changes they have been noticing, in particular things such as the darker evenings, and the appearance of the trees now that Autumn is well established. Have they seen any 'evergreen' trees or bushes, which do not lose their leaves and they also remain green? Have they noticed the colder weather we have been having and if you have the opportunity please explore the frost with them! Encourage them to explain what they have noticed in complete sentences, and to listen carefully to the questions you ask.

13th November

This week in Reception the children have been learning about Diwali. This is celebrated by Hindu families and is their 'New Year'. It is sometimes called 'The Festival of Lights'

This week we have concentrated on finding out how Hindu families celebrate Diwali and comparing it to their own celebrations. Next week we will be finding out about the interesting story that Diwali celebrates. The children have had the opportunity to write 'Happy Diwali' cards to their families and friends, to create 'Diva' lamps, to draw 'Rangoli' patterns, as well as 'Mendhi' patterns, which Hindu families will create on their hands with henna!

Most of Reception have had the exciting experience of visiting the ICT suite for the first time this week (Butterflies were unable to due to school photographs - but they will go next week). They used a drawing programme called 'Tuxpaint' and created their own Rangoli patterns.

In PE the children have started a unit on ball skills and the first lesson involved using beanbags and throwing them into a marker, and using balls to try to aim at and hit a small cone.

In phonics this week the children have concentrated on using the phonemes they know to read and write short words. Each class has focussed on using the phonemes that they have been finding tricky in Phonics.

Lots of the children are starting to become more confident now with using their 'fred talk' to blend and seqment words. Don't worry if your child is able to say the phonemes of a word but can't quite hear how those sounds blend to make a word. This is a skill that can take time. When you are reading with your child, if they are finding it tricky to hear the word when they are 'fred talking' it, 'fred talk' it for them really stretching the phonemes together and see if they can then hear it. Lots of 'fred talking' around the house can help, the more they practice the better they will get. Your could ask them to find their 'c-oa-t' to brush their 't-ee-th', to find their 'b-oo-k'. Playing 'I spy' with something beginning with...and saying a phoneme is another good game to help them to develop hearing sounds in words.

In Maths this week the children have been learning about creating patterns. They have made their own two colour or shape patterns. Some children have been able to create their own three colour patterns, or spot the silly mistake that their teacher might have made with a two colour pattern!

For talk homework this week please ask your child to make their own pattern at home. They could make one with coloured bricks, felt tips on paper, with cutlery (e.g. knife, fork, knife, fork). Once made can they explain to you what they have done? Encourage them to sequence the events, for example 'First I got the blocks, then I looked for the blue and red ones, then I put the red one down, then the blue.....'

If they muddle the order of what they did help them to order again. You could use 'my turn, your turn' to practice the sentences.

6th November

This week in Reception the children have been continuing their Autumn in School topic, focussing on colour.

The children have been exploring how the primary colour paints red, yellow and blue can be mixed to make other colours. They have also explored how adding white and black to a paint colour they can make it lighter or darker. The following words have been part of our key vocabulary for this week - shade, lighter, darker, primary colours, as well as the different colour names. They have had the opportunity to go on a colour hunt in the classroom. They have had the opportunity to use 'colour mixing glasses' which they can select different coloured lenses and put them in the glasses and see what happens when they place two or three coloured lenses together.

They have completed their talk for writing 'Little Red Hen' story telling - ask if they can tell you the story of the little red hen, using the actions to help.

In PE the children completed their final 'Write Dance' session, moving like robots and then applying these movements to the marks they make on the playground floor with chalks.

In Maths the children have been doing a lot of comparing. They have compared quantities and decided which had more and which had less. They have compared items by size, comparing long and short items. They will go on to compare capacity at the beginning of next week, using the vocabulary such as full and empty.

In Phonics we have been learning some new phonemes, l and the digraphs ll and ss. We talked about the fact that usually the digraphs ll and ss are usually found at the end or in the middle of a word. We have been working on confidently blending for reading and seqmenting the phonemes for writing (hearing that 'sat' has a s, then an a, then a t).

The children have brought home their Christmas card design this week and we are delighted with how many of you have ordered them to be made into cards and other gifts. Thank you for supporting our school community in this way.

For talk homework this week please encourage your child to talk to you about a celebration they have enjoyed - it might be a birthday, or Christmas.or something else. Encourage them to talk in full sentences as they talk about it, perhaps look at photos to jog their memory of this event. We are asking you to do this as we will be finding out next week about a Hindu celebration - Diwali, and we would like your child to be able to compare the way they celebrate to the way that Hindu families celebrate Diwali.

23rd October 2020

This week in Reception the children have thoroughly enjoyed wearing their Halloween themed clothes, and going on a Halloween hunt in the outdoor area to win themselves a prize. It has been a very exciting day.

The children now have 'talk partners' in their class. The idea of a talk partner is for each child to have someone to share their ideas with at carpet time. The children have been learning to look at their talk partner when they are talking to them, and when they are listening to them. Ask your child if they know the name of their talk partner. Encourage them to find out after the half term holiday if they are not sure.

In 'Squiggle while you wiggle' we have been developing our strong, whole arm movements, and have now practiced vertical and horizontal movements, zig zag movements as well as a curved 'rainbow' shape. In our 'Dough Disco' the children have been developing their strong finger muscles for writing. They have a name for each of their fingers as they go down to the 'dance floor' (their flat playdough laid out on one hand). They have also been learning 'piano fingers' - ask your child to show you this!

In PE this week the children have continued to develop their mark making using the 'Write Dance' programme of study, using chalks to make different marks on the playground floor. In Phonics the children have learnt some new phonemes (letter sounds). They have learnt f, b and ff, ff is the second 'digraph' the children have learnt. A digraph is two letters that make one sound. They have been completing Autumn writing activities using the sounds that they know to write.

The children have listened to the story 'The Little Red Hen' and have begun their very first 'Talk for Writing' session. 'Talk for Writing' is a whole school approach to writing. The children learn to tell a story with actions and this then has a impact on their writing as they such in depth knowledge of the story. The children have worked as a class to develop a story map, to create actions and to tell the story of the Little Red Hen. For talk homework this week, please ask your child to tell you about 'The Little Red Hen' story. For a peep at what Talk for Writing looks like in schools please see the following link

In our Autumn in School topic learning the children have been finding out more information about Autumn - that there are several celebrations in Autumn including Harvest and Halloween. They have also found out about the different things that animals in the wild, such as Hedgehogs, squirrels and birds do in the Autumn time.

In our Mathematical learning the children have been exploring sorting, and have sorted using a wide variety of practical equipment, such as autumn items, coloured bears and cubes. Some children have deepened their sorting knowledge by creating their own rule for sorting particular items.

We hope you have a lovely half term. Please find attached a document with ideas for things you might wish to do with your child next week along the theme of Autumn, as we are aware that with the current pandemic it may be more challenging than usual to find activities to do with your child.

16th October 2020

This week in Reception the children have been out in the school grounds looking for signs of autumn, such as the changing leaf colours, berries, fruits and seeds growing. They have also completed different autumn activities - exploring autumn items such as conkers, leaves and pine cones, and using them to create, such as threading an autumn leaf garland, and printing with leaves.

The children noticed that the trees and bushes are at different stages of changing colour, and that some haven't changed at all. Over the next few weeks we will be encouraging them to notice the changes that are happening to the natural environment around school.

The children have been completing their own drawing and writing about their autumn walk, with encouragement to use the phonemes they know, and try to write them.

For talk homework we would like you to go out on an autumn walk with your child, looking for signs of autumn - examining the trees and bushes for changes of colour, seeing if they can spot berries, fruit or seeds growing. Encourage them to describe what they are seeing and please encourage them to use full sentences when they talk.

In our mathematical learning we have been exploring matching. The children have been encouraged to find and create exact matches, for example by sorting socks into matching pairs, making matching patterns or brick towers with a friend. We will be continuing this theme next week as we teach the children about sorting into groups in different ways.

In Phonics the children have been learning the phonemes u, r and h. They have been introduced to the tricky word 'a'.

They are continuing to build up confidence to 'orally blend' - to hear phonemes and be able to identify the word, for example an adult says 'ssss-a-t' and the child can hear and say the word 'sat'. They are also working on reading short words (usually three letters) that have the phonemes that we have learnt so far - s,a,t,i,p,n,m,i.d,e,c,k,ck,g,r,h,and u.

Reception, alongside the rest of the school have 'Learning and Life Skills' activities, in which they work on skills that will help them to become better learners, and to develop their 'life skills'. This corresponds very closely with the Personal, Social and Emotional development which we work on throughout the EYFS.

This week the children have been practicing and learning about the skill of sharing an activity with a friend.

Hopefully you will all be aware of the Parentmail that has gone out to inform you that the Reception children will be having their photographs taken on Wednesday 11th November.

We would like to remind you that Reception use the outdoor area whatever the weather and we ask you to ensure your child has a coat at school every day. Also, if you have not yet sent in a set of spare clothes in case your child gets dirty or wet at school please do so. It will stay on their peg at school until needed. Thank you.

9th October 2020

This week in Reception the children have started the topic 'Autumn in School'.

They have been finding out about the Jewish Harvest celebration 'Sukkot', and how the families celebrate it. We have also linked this to their own celebrations at home such as birthdays and Christmas. Perhaps your child can remember and tell you what a 'Sukkah' is? (a shelter that Jewish families build in their garden, and cover the roof with leaves, twigs fruit and other decorations which they sit in to have a meal and celebrate Sukkot).

For talk homework this week could your child talk to you about a celebration they have had and can remember? Perhaps they can look at photos to prompt them with their recollections. Please encourage them to talk in complete sentences. If they can remember information about Sukkot they could compare their own celebrations to Sukkot (Both will probably have special food, and decorations, though these will not be the same food and decorations).

In our maths learning this week the children have been exploring the number two, beginning by watching the Numberblocks programme that shows how 1 and '1 more' becomes 2. We spotted quantities of two around our classrooms and the Foundation stage playground. We have been using the sentence 'I can see 2....' Some of the children were amazed at how many things on our own bodies come in twos! Perhaps they can look around their own home to find quantities of two?

The children have been learning some new phonemes (letter sounds) in Phonics - k, e and the 'digraph' ck. We have explained to the children that a digraph is 'two letters that make one sound' They also learnt that this particular digraph is not found at the beginning of words, but the middle or end, in words like rocket and duck.

One of the things that the children are working really hard on during Phonic lessons is 'oral blending'. This is the ability to hear how letter sounds blend together to make a word, for example ssssaaaat, as we would 'fred talk' it is the word 'sat'. This is a really important skill for reading as the children need to be able to hear how phonemes blend to make a word once they have remembered the phoneme for the letter (grapheme) they are looking at.

We play lots of games with Fred Frog 'fred talking' words and the children trying to say the word. You could try this at home for fun, with instructions, for example 'Go and get your c-oa-t' 'Brush your t-ee-th'. Words with only three sounds in it would be long enough at the moment for your child.

We have also had the great excitement of 'Mellow Yellow' day for mental health awareness, when everyone has come to school wearing something yellow. The children have been finding out about mental health - that it is all about our feelings and how we can manage them. They have tried different activities to support mental health - a Children's online yoga session (Cosmic Kids), mindfulness colouring, and other activities about feelings.

Next week in school we are hoping to go on an Autumn walk in the school grounds, so ask that you ensure your child comes to school with a coat, and suitable shoes.

2nd October 2020

This week in Reception the children have been learning some new phonemes (letter sounds) - m, d, g, o and c. They have been using the phonemes they now know to 'fred talk' and read short words such as mat, dog, cat, and pot. They have also practiced writing the new graphemes (letter shapes). Perhaps they can remember the sayings for the graphemes and show you how they write them? If they are unsure of the sayings you could look at the phoneme mat sent out earlier this week by Tapestry.

In our PE session the children have begun our first session of 'Write Dance'. This is a movement programme that encourages children to complete movements with their bodies and to then use mark making tools to make those same large movements with chalks on the playground floor.

They have continued to use our vocabulary 'Good Morning' 'Good Afternoon' and 'Excuse me', as well as the names of the different adults we have in our classrooms, and each others names.

In our Maths learning this week the children have been exploring the number 1, and have been amazed at how many quantities of '1' we could find. We were introduced to the number with the CBeebies programme 'Numberblocks' and we will be finding out a lot more about Numberblocks as the year progresses. We have been encouraging the children to use the sentence 'I can see 1_______' as they look around the environment.

For talk home work, please could you ask your child to find quantities of 1 around your home, and tell you 'I can see 1____'. The list of items they might find is endless - 1 toilet, 1 bath, 1 dog.....Please work on their using the whole sentence each time they find a new quantity of 1.

25th September 2020

This week in Reception the children have been trying to learn each other's names, and the names of the adults that work with them. We have introduced them to some specific vocabulary and encouraged them to use it. The words we have been using include 'Hello' 'Goodbye' 'Excuse me' 'Good morning' and 'Good afternoon'.

They have also been introduced to a new activity to promote finger strength for writing - 'Dough Disco'. This involves some bouncy music and their own pot of dough. They have been learning to make a 'dance floor' for the fingers of the other hand to dance on (by flattening the dough). Then each finger (one at a time) comes down to the dance floor and dances! This has proved to be very popular. Ask your child if they can tell you the names for their different fingers!

The children have continued their phonics learning, this week introducing the phonemes (letter sounds) p, i, and n. They have met Fred, their class frog who can only talk using his phonemes, and they have used their 'fred talk' to read some words with the phonemes that they know such as 'sit' 'pat' and 'pan'.

This week for talk homework please talk to your child about our 'dough disco' - see if they can remember what they have been doing. Encourage them to talk in complete sentences when they explain it to you.

Thank you to all of those who have responded to Mrs Cagney's request to arrive at school promptly, but not early. We are aware it is very difficult to time it just right, but it is so important for everyone's safety to minimise congestion at the gates as much as we are able.

It is also very helpful if you have a request, question or query if you could email to, or put it into a Tapestry observation. This will help us to minimise chat at the gates as much as possible. Staff may put on face coverings to have any conversations at the gate. As I am sure you can appreciate, we meet a lot of people at the beginning and the end of the school day, so we wish to protect you as well as ourselves.

18th September 2020

This week in Reception has been very busy. The children are now at the end of their first full week in school, and have become so much more confident throughout the week. They are probably now very tired though!

We would like to thank you all for your support with entering and exiting school. We have noticed a great improvement in arriving at school on time, rather than early, and it is making a big difference to the levels of congestion we are seeing, so thank you very much.

This week the children have been experiencing their first Phonics lessons. We have introduced your child to the phonemes (letter sounds) s, a and t. Perhaps they can look for these when they are sharing their book with you this week, as they have brought home their first sharing book also.

They have had their first 'Squiggle While You Wiggle' lessons. This involves using 'flipper flappers' (two small clothes) and moving our arms to some bouncy music. The idea behind this is for children to develop strong arm muscles as these big arm movements have been proved through research to have a positive impact on fine motor skills, supporting early writing skills.The children have loved this. Ask them to show you their Squiggle While you Wiggle' moves for this week!

We have also used the big sand pit for the first time this week, which is brand new, having been developed for the EYFS children shortly before lockdown.

Another first for this week was PE! The children were great at this, showing great concentration as they explored a giant obstacle course, and showed us their ball and hoop skills.

We are continuing to get to know your children and find out what they can do, and have enjoyed starting to work with each child as they have drawn their family, and talked about them.

For talk homework this week, please would you talk to your child about new friends they might have made. Can they tell you the activities they have done with their friend? Please encourage them to use whole sentences when they talk to you.

A few small reminders about life at Gusford - dogs are unfortunately not allowed on site at the collection and arrival times for your child. The only exception to this is Pebbles, our school dog. Also, the drink bottles that children may bring to school can only contain water, promoting us being a healthy school. Also spillages will result in spoiled school work if covered in squash, whilst water will dry off and be (nearly) as good as new.