Welcome to Reception
Our Reception classes are called Butterflies, Dragonflies & Ladybirds
Reception Team: Mrs Race (EYFS* Phase Leader), Miss Bartleet, Miss Cumberland, Miss Vines, Mrs Wimpress, Mrs Biggs, Mrs Gosling, Mrs Barker & Mrs Jones.
Headship Team member overseeing Reception & Nursery: Mrs C Claydon (Headteacher)
You can contact the team via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Look out for Mrs Race's weekly blog which will give you a flavour of what our reception classes have been up to each week. Please email the EYFS team if you need any help with Tapestry.
*EYFS = Early Years Foundation Stage = Nursery & Reception classes in a primary school
Tapestry blog by mrs race
Every week Mrs Race (EYFS Phase Leader) writes a blog post and shares it with Reception parents on Tapestry.
Mrs Race's Weekly Blog (Archive)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p060d14t
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.
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.
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdvJZD-cplg
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 EYFSteam@gusfordprimary.net, 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.