Saturday, October 28, 2006

Week beginning 30th October 2006

Weekly update

Hi there!

I hope you all had a great half term holiday and are ready to get going! This half term is all about Colour, Light and Sound and starts off to a ZOOM!! Yes, we will be looking at space. This week's Mantle of the Expert will involve the children solving a problem for Mrs Daydream (aka Mrs Higgins). Once again, the information I am about to give you is top secret and no little ears should know what is about to take place this week. Here's how it goes...

Mrs Daydream visits the Problem-Solvers because she was simply walking down the street when out popped a strange looking character who gave her a present. He just seemed to have fallen out of the sky! The character tells her that he is a 'jigaree' and then disappears.

Over the course of the week the children will get to find out who the jigaree is, where he lives and how Mrs Daydream can get to visit him in space. The following information should explain this further and how it fits into the children's learning.

Communication, Language and Literacy
This week, the children will work on the text 'The Jigaree' which is about a monster who lives on the moon. This text places a high emphasis on developing the children's understanding of rhyme. By the end of this week we hope that all the children will be able to recognise a rhyming pair and even create a rhyming pair of their own. The following websites may be useful to you in supporting their understanding of rhyme: - this is a lovely website to use but you may need to sit with your child as the words will need to be read out for them in order for the rhyming pairs to be identified.
However good these websites may be, there are so many great children's literature which have rhyming words in them. Why not have a browse on your child's bookshelf and see what you can find. Also, reciting the nursery rhymes your child knows and identifying the rhyming words is a good idea too.

Mathematical Development
As the class target suggests, the children will be working on finding one more and one less than a given number. We will begin by starting with one more and see how it goes. Obviously, the language associated with this area of mathematical development is very important. Therefore, before the children can identify a number that is one less and one more they need to have an understanding of the terms more and less. The following website will help you with this: - this is linked to washing their hands when going to the toilet!! They have to see which hand has more or less germs on it.
Once they have mastered this they could then use the following webistes to support their learning: - a game linked to our topic on space. You can select the number of rockets you want and add one more/less. Click on the rockets to make them shoot. - the same as above but with fish. - as above.
In all of these games you can determine the number of objects you work with. I would advise you to start with 5 and then work up to 10.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Linked to the Mantle of the Expert, the children will be designing rockets for Mrs Daydream to visit the jigaree. They will first have to draw their own plan on a piece of paper and label it (with support). However, Mrs Daydream needs to see what the rocket would look like. Therefore, the children will create a model rocket using their design. They will use a range of junk materials so please send in any boxes, plastic bottles, egg cartons etc. The aim is for the children to learn how to join materials and make a model with a specific purpose. The rockets will be made next week as well as learning about space.

In addition to all of this the children will be investigating objects and materials that are shiny and dull. (How we will fit it all in I do not quite know yet!) You may wish to support this by looking for shiny and dull objects around the home.

Creative Development
Starry, Starry Night - Yes, I have raided my dad's CD collection and found Don McClean's 'Vincent'. Did you know that the song was based on Vincent Van Gogh's painting Starry Night? The children will experience being music and art critics this week and look at the work of Van Gogh and in particular this painting. They will create a piece of art work in the style of Van Gogh in teams linked to our colour mixing activities also. We hope to display these in the cloakroom. The children will also create a musical accompaniment to Twinkle, Twinkle.

Physical Development
The children will create dance movement to Gustav Holst's The Planets. They will talk about how the music makes them feel and create dance movements in response to what they hear and feel.

As always we will be having a real push on pencil control and scissor skills. Any practice the children can have at home on these skills would be greatly appreciated.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The children will learn to recognise and deal with conflict. This is a unit from the SEAL project the school is implementing. The children will also be talking about the dark and how it makes them feel. We will be reading a chapter from the book 'The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark'. In this chapter the owl encounters fireworks. This provides us with the opportunity to discuss safety issues relating to Bonfire Night.

Yes...and as always we'll be getting dressed independently.

I think that is all for now!

Take care and have a great week.

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Weekly update 16th October 2006

Weekly update

Last week was a great week with the children getting fully involved in their role as problem-solvers. Yet another problem was solved regarding how to mix the colours green, purple, orange, pink and brown. The children even taught 'Martha Colourwheel' (aka Mrs Latham) a song about colour mixing to help her remember. It goes like this...

(To the tune of Okey Cokey)
You put a blue blob here, a yellow blob there
Blue blob, yellow blob and give it a stir
You do the okey cokey and you turn around
And green is what you make
(the rest of the song is the same as the original)

You can change the colour names in the song for the different outcomes. Happy singing!!

Here I Am
The children are starting their topic on Initiation now. The children will be learning about baptism. You may wish to support your child by looking at videos or photographs of their baptism.

Mathematical Development
This week is assessment and review week prior to the end of half term. This is an opportunity for us to assess the children on their counting (reliably of course!) and their recognition of the shapes and their properties. The children have created some beautiful art work inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's piece 'Swinging'. We hope to have them up in the classroom after the half term so please pop in and see them after school one night. Over this week you may wish to look back at the websites that have been posted earlier this half term to support the assessment process.

Communication, Language and Literacy
The children will continue to develop their letter recognition. This will be done through an alphabet book. The key word for this week will be 'alliteration'. What on earth is alliteration you may be asking! Well, basically, alliteration is when words within a sentnece or phrase begin with the same sound (phoneme). For example, slithering snakes, happy hippos, etc. The children will be asked to identify words and objects that begin with the same sound. This will be further developed into them writing silly alliterative sentences with their group e.g Sammy snake sucks sticky sausages. I'm sure this will cause many giggles, and that's just from the staff! Again the websites previously noted on this blog will support your child's learning.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Next week the Hindu familiaes will be celebrating Divali. This is one of our most favourite weeks when the children really learn about the culture of other religions. The children will learn about the story of Rama and Sita and have the opportunity to reenact the story. They will be using the different construction kits we have in class to build a bridge for the monkey army in the story to cross the river. They will experience Indian cuisine by tasting curries, popadoms, rice, etc. Mrs Latham will be making an indian sweet called barfi. I have also organised for a dance company to visit the school and show the children how to do the indian dancing.

Physical Development and Creative Development
The children will be developing their fine motor skills by doing a little sewing this week. They children are to work together to stitch sequins and beads onto some sari material. These will later be used in the role play area. The children will also experience using clay as they will make clay diva lamps. They will make paper flower garlands too. The children will learn a lovely song about Divali and create their own movements to the song in their PE lesson.

Other details
Just a quick reminder about Parents' Evening. They will be held in the classroom. Thank you to you all for your prompt return of the forms to allow for times to be allocated. Please could you keep the handwriting book and library book in the plastic wallet we gave you and return them both on Friday. Please do not send them in any earlier as it is often difficult to find places to house so many folders throughout the week.

Have a great week. I know we will!!

best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

Friday, October 06, 2006

Weekly update 9th October 2006

Weekly update

Last week was a great week!

Firstly, can we say a BIG thank you for all your kind donations for our Harvest Festival. I am sure that they will all be greatly received. May I also that all those parents who religiously make a comment in their children's diary. I also appreciate how many letters and bits of information you are receiving home each week. Believe me it does start to slow down from now on.

Last week, we had our trainers coming in to do some 'on-the-job' training with myself and the team. The approach is called Mantle of the Expert. If you would like to find out more please go to

Mantle of the Week
We are going to 'have a go' this week at doing a mini-mantle. The children are going to explore how colours are mixed. They are to be problem solvers for the client, 'Mad Professor Patrick' aka Mrs Latham! I will act as the agent, asking questions and developing the children's thinking. He is going to have a problem! His life work on colour mixing has been burned to a cinder! He knows that he discovered how to make green, orange, purple, brown, pink and grey but he has lost his precious note book with how he did it. Can they solve the problem because he has to share his findings pretty soon. The children will have to come up with their own way of solving the problem. PLEASE do not give your children the answers. There is far more satisfaction and self-esteem built in the feeling that they have solved the problem themselves.

So what's going on this week?

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Your child will have two PE lessons a week where they need to get changed into their PE kits. At the moment it is taking the children a very long time to get changed for PE and back changed again, resulting in only twenty minutes per session for actual physical activity. Independence in dressing and undressing scores very highly on the Foundation Stage Profile, a document which your child's attainment is measured against. Therefore, please could you continue to help your child to get dressed themselves. Activities in the home such as baking, using play dough, building with Lego and other fiddly toys will support your child with their fine motor skills if they are finding buttons difficult.

Communication, Language and Literacy
Last week the children started on developing their ideas for helping Humpty Dumpty to learn about spiders. therefore, this week the children will continue to learn about non-fiction books and their features in preparation for making their own big book for Humpty. In order to support this, you may wish to take a trip to the local library and search for books on spiders or other books of interest. The key things for the children to understand are that non-fiction books have:
  • photographs
  • diagrams with labels
  • headings at the top of the page
  • captions which explain the photograph
  • contain information about things that are real

As always we will be continuing to support your child with their identification of the letter sounds and names. As with last week, we will be working on the following letter names and corresponding sounds - Aa, Ss, Mm, Tt, Gg, Oo, Pp and Cc. The best website is for these as the games use the letter names and the letter sounds together.

Some of the children in the class are hearing the initial sounds in words now. If your child can do this then I would suggest the following websites in order to extend their learning - - select initial sounds

Mathematical Development

In this area of the curriculum the children will be working on shapes. The children who know the shape names, circle, square, rectangle and triangle will extend their knowledge by learning about the properties of the shapes. This means talking about the number of sides, corners and whether it has curved or straight sides. You will receive an information sheet detailing the vocabulary we wish to develop on Monday along with your child's handwriting homework.

The following websites may be of use to your child. I will be using some of them in my input and as activities to support their learning. - select pattern, shape reveal and street shapes. - the properties are given and the children must guess the shape. - colour in pictures made of shapes, making pictures with shapes and making patterns with shapes. - shape matching.

This next one I just love! I couldn't stop laughing. By the way it has nothing to do with shape, just counting.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

The children will continue to find out about spiders throughout the week. They will also investigate waterproofing as Incy Wincy has categorically stated that he will NOT visit if it is raining. (With the weather we are having what hope do we have?) Anyway, the children must find out about waterproof materials and then come up with a shelter to protect Incy from the rain on his travels from the spout to Humpty's House. They must then make the shelter and test out.

In the computer suite the children will continue to develop their mouse skills. they will be using the following website so any help would be great!

They will also be learning how to program a programmable toy (dressed as Incy) to travel up the spout. See - it all fits together!

Creative Development

The children will learn about the famous artist Wassily Kandinsky and our work in Mathematical Development will inspire our art work. The children will also complete their paper plate spiders and start to make their Harvest frames. In addition to this the children will be learning a song for our Harvest festival. The children will investigate how sounds are made with different percussion instruments.

Induction Evening - this is a chance for you to learn in more detail about your child's learning whilst they are in the Foundation Stage. We will be providing you with details of the types of activities you can play at home to support your child with their learning, as well as sharing with you the different practices we employ in the classroom. Please be prepared to take part. You will laugh and have fun, and make new friends I am sure. You will hopefully see the supported, exciting and structured way in which your child will learn.

Kinetic Science Show - as apart of our endeavour to develop links within the community, we are joining with our neighbouring school, Penketh South, for a Science Show. This will take place on Wednesday. Thankyou to all who have made a voluntary contribution to the shows. I am sure we will enjoy them.

Goodness me, this blog gets longer each week!

Finally, a letter has gone out to you about parents' evening. Please complete the form at the bottom and return it to school as soon as possible. Handwriting homework will go out each Monday with your child's library book. Please return them both in the wallet provided on Friday to allow for marking of homework and new homework to be set.

Have a great week yourselves!

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team