Sunday, September 28, 2008

And we're off!!!

Hi there!

Finally, it is time to begin on our learning journey. Before I begin explaining what your child will be doing this week could I just mention a few domestics?

The Morning
The children have settled well and are becoming more familiar with the daily routines and expectations for behaviour. The morning is still very hectic and we really do need to speed this up, as we are often late for assembly due to doing the register late. PLEASE could I ask that you allow your child to come in on their own if possible. There are five members of staff in the team, all of which can assist your child should they need it, and they are more than capable of doing everything for themselves now. Obviously, if your child is upset then do accompany them in but please allow us to take over as they do settle much quicker. Many thanks in anticipation of your support.

Many thanks to all those parents who have took my advice about the key ring on their child’s school jacket. Now that the children are using the outdoor area throughout the school day they do need to be independent in putting on their own coat and this has really helped. Also, those children who have hung their own coat up in the morning know where it is too which fosters much more independence. Lastly, please make sure your child does have a coat in school every day as they will need it to access the outdoor curriculum. Thanks.

So what will we be doing this week?

On Tuesday morning at 9.10am there will be a Mass to celebrate the Harvest. Many thanks for all your donations towards the food parcels for the St Joseph’s Welfare Centre. We were overwhelmed with your generosity. Parents and families are welcome to attend the Mass. Of course, we can not let the children take part in the Harvest Mass if they do not know why they are celebrating it. Therefore, we begin this week with our own celebration of the Harvest in the classroom. The children will explore the fruits and vegetables, grains and beans that the land produces.

A little prayer the children will learn this week and that you may wish to share as a family is:

Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you God for everything. Amen

Perhaps a visit to the local farm shop or grocery store to see what items of food the land produces would be a great way of helping your child to understand the Harvest festival. Here are some websites you may wish to explore with the children also. - share with your child the reason why we celebrate Harvest. - this is a simple version of how the Harvest is celebrated.

The Little Red Hen

The children have worked on a lovely display for in the hall as a focus for the Harvest based on the story of The Little Red hen. However, ‘For one morning, and for one morning only!’ the children will have a live performance of the story by the team. Yes, we will be acting out the story on the outdoor stage for the children. We each have a role to play but our ‘shy and retiring’ (mmm) Mrs Latham couldn’t wait to be the hen! I’m sure the children will love it! My sewing machine has been smoking this weekend as I have made very simple costumes for the children to wear to act out the story in their play. Apologies in advance if your child comes home with any white fur on them. I looked like I’d been tarred and feathered after making the duck costume and my vacuum cleaner will never forgive me! This is all in aid of developing the children’s love of story and language skills. I’m sure it will be a real success.

Our resident baker, Mrs Latham, will also be making bread with the children to reinforce the story of The Little Red Hen. She will make the dough from scratch with them and them miraculously turn it into a wheat sheaf to accompany the Harvest display.

Communication, Language and Literacy
The children will have the opportunity to develop their story skills and role play through the props for the Little Red Hen as well as the small world table which will have a windmill and a farmyard scene. In addition to this, they can tell the story through the use of the magnetic storyboard. Of course, the staff will be listening in to observe the children as this is an aspect of the Foundation Stage Profile the children need to achieve.

Rhythm and Rhyme

The focus for this week will be on RHYME and RHYTHM. The children will be exploring different words that rhyme and playing matching games, learning rhyming songs and poems, making up their own rhymes etc. In your child’s diary, you will see that this is also their reading target that we shall be working on but you can reinforce at home also. Please feel free to make a comment in the diary regarding how your child is doing with any rhyming you have done at home with them. So, by the end of the next two weeks, the children:
MUST be able to join in with a familiar rhyme;
SHOULD be able to match two rhyming words;

COULD be able to continue a rhyming string.
As you can see, we will work on this for two weeks as rhyme is very hard for some children to grasp. Here are a few websites to help. - select level 1

In addition to this, the children will have a few surprises from our friendly giant who often leaves us gifts. On Monday, the children will have a parcel containing wrapped up books for them. These books will have a time and day of the week on them denoting when they can be opened. The stories and rhymes will have a rhythm to them. We will be reading the stories, encouraging the children to join in with the patterned language. We will even be adding percussion instruments to them.

But the fun doesn’t end there…oh no! A rhyming bag with clues to nursery rhymes will be a daily focus for the children before lunch. Can they guess the rhyme from the clue?

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
We are just completing a few more assessments of the children on entry on their ability to count reliable. There will be a range of activities available to the children to enable us to observe their counting. These will include, making sausages with the playdough for the pans, making juggling balls for the clowns to match the number given on the mat, threading beads onto a string to match the number shown on the card, playing skittles outdoors and counting how many they knocked down etc.

For those children who know all their numbers to 10, we will be assessing their ability to order them from 0 to 10 and then backwards using a washing line, pegs and numbers,

Creative Development
The children will develop their observational and drawing skills through having the opportunity to draw and paint the different fruits and vegetables they have seen. In addition to this, they will use the beans, pulses and lentils to create pictures in our creative area.

Linked with the work on rhythm, the children will explore the music area and investigate the different sounds that can be made. They will be encouraged to maintain a rhythm. The computer will also have a program on called Mouse Music which the children can explore sounds and create their own musical composition.

Our MORNING WARM UP will involve dancing and doing actions and movements to a rhythm. We will start with a march and build up to skipping and galloping.

To develop their listening skills the children will complete a listening walk and then have the opportunity to draw, paint or make a model of something they heard. If you have any boxes, yoghurt pots, kitchen rolls etc that you could send in for our workshop boxes that would be great.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
The children have come into school with great ICT skills and therefore, we move straight onto CLICKING and DRAGGING. The children will dress the teddy on the computer screen be clicking and dragging the clothing onto his body. Again, these websites are great for the children to play on a develop these skills.

In the water area, the children will explore which fruits and vegetables float and sink. This is always an interesting activity and the children love to guess why. Something you can try at home is comparing a baked potato before it is cooked and then after to see if it floats or sinks.

Physical Development
As I have mentioned, the outdoor area is a vital part of your child’s learning environment. The outdoors this week will be used to support many other areas of learning but for physical development, we will be focusing on throwing and catching. The children are fully aware of the rules for sharing the wheeled toys and where to use them. Therefore, we add challenge by placing obstacles in the way for them to manoeuvre around.

They will develop their pre-writing skills by moving with sticks and ribbons as well as making marks on the playground with chalks.

PE has gone well so far and the children are trying very hard to get changed independently. The target for this week is to learn to stop and start on command and keep control of their bodies.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
As a school, we follow the SEAL programme. The theme this half term is ‘New Beginnings’. The children will be in small groups to have circle time to talk their feelings. This will be related to incidents within the classroom when the feelings may occur.

Here I Am
The children will learn about God who knows each one by name. This is an opportunity for the children to practice the writing of their names, a skill they MUST learn to enable them to be independent when in the learning environment.
Phew! I think that's about it for this week! Have a great one, we will!
Best wishes
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx

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