Saturday, November 01, 2008

Welcome back!!

Hi there!

Welcome back to the most exciting and most hectic part of the school year! Yes it is the build up to Christmas!!! Already I am singing away to myself the songs of our production. This half term is the best!!! Lots of singing, dancing, glitter, tinsel, more singing, more glitter etc. A half term to totally make sure you endear yourself to the cleaning staff! The production is now written and ready for learning. This week you will receive a letter regarding your child’s part in the production. It will detail the costume your child will need. I know we are early but you will be surprised how quickly tights etc run out on Warrington market! It may be worth mentioning that we operate a TICKET ONLY system for the performances. Each family will get three tickets, a ticket for each performance. This is for health and safety purposes.

I hope that your child is eager to get back to things this week. The week begins on Monday with the children receiving an invitation to a baptism of Miss Polly's dolly. No...I haven't lost the plot! This sets the children up for developing their understanding of Baptism as part of our Here I Am topic on Invitations. This week the children will learn about Baptism as an invitation to join the family of Jesus. They will learn the importance of the white shawl, the sign of the cross, the words spoken, the candle and the shell You may wish to support your child in their understanding through sharing some family photographs of their baptism or of one attended by them.So what else will the children be learning this week?

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
This will be a two week unit of work. So, by the end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to count reliably 6 objects (extending to 10);
SHOULD be able to identify which set has MORE or LESS (with an emphasis on the MORE this week);
COULD be able to find one more or one less than a given number to 6, extending to 10 (with an emphasis on finding ONE MORE this week)
My experience and assessments show that the children pick up finding one more MUCH easier than finding one less. You never really ask the children do they want less but do they want more. Thus, their understanding of the term ‘more’ is understood better. Therefore, if you are to help your child in any way then I would suggest focusing on the term ‘less’ this week at home also so as to prepare them for next week.Here are some great websites you could use to support your child in this area of learning. However, developing this mathematical understanding is better in context. For example, when eating chicken pieces at tea time, ask how many they have and then as they eat one what is one less? - with this website, you will need to work with your child. They will need to firstly count the fish (they are moveable into a line) and then find one more and one less. - this website is great for developing the children’s understanding of one less. As one speckled frog jumps into the pool, there is one less! - these are great for those counting rhymes that involve one less each time.

Communication , Language and Literacy
Now that everyone is settled we start our rapid teaching of phonic skills. You will be amazed at how quickly the children learn to read and write. This week we will be reviewing the letters s, a, t and p. Some of the children already know these letters but this week, they will be required to hear them in words, read words containing them and even have a go at writing them. The words used will be:At, as, tap, sat, pat.By the end of this week, the children:
MUST be able to provide the sound for the letters a, p, t and s in response to seeing the letter symbol;
SHOULD be able to orally segment (sound out) the words containing the letters;
COULD be able to segment, blend and write the words containing the letters.
However, to prepare them for next week we will also be introducing the letters Mm, Nn, Ii and Dd.
If you have a set of magnetic letters at home then why not have a go at spelling some of the words with them. Here are some websites your child could use to develop their letter recognition and start to develop their reading of words
. - The children are to try to hear the initial sounds in words. - Look at the letter shown and then select the picture that begins with that letter. - This is an amazing website focusing on the initial sounds. Hours of fun why you do your ironing I think! - the children are to focus on the initial sounds of the picture shown and then identify a picture with the same initial sound. - a good website for getting the children to identify the letters of the alphabet. - this is a great all-rounder. Remember to encourage your child to use the letters they are unsure of. I will stick this information in your child’s diary this week. - I love this game! - activities 12 and 13 are good for helping with identifying the initial letters.

We really step up the game with the high frequency words now that we are fully settled in. Your support is crucial in developing your child’s recognition of the words. The words are so important as they provide a scaffold for the children when they are reading. The high frequency words will also be a focus for us in school.

A date for your diary!!
I will be holding a Reading and Phonics workshop for parents on Thursday 20th November at 6pm in our classroom. Please be aware that a crèche is not available and children are not able to attend. Thanks. I will send a letter this week so I know what numbers to expect.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World
This week is one of my favourites because we learn about the Hindu festival of Divali. If you are a little unsure of what Divali is all about then here are some useful websites. - this is a very simple version of the story of Rama and Sita. - have a go at creating your very own mendhi pattern. - the children can listen to Indian music on this site. Encourage them to talk about their likes and dislikes. What instrument do they think is used to make the sound? - this contains information about Diwali. - paint your very own rangoli patternThere will be many exciting activities linked to Divali that the children will work on this week. Here goes…
Diva lamps – this will be a lamp which will be modelled out of clay and so beautifully decorated that you will most definitely place it on your mantelpiece.
Indian Dancing – the children will learn a song about divali and learn some special movements in response to it.
Divali cards – an opportunity for the children to practice the use of the high frequency words to, mum, and, dad, as well as writing their name.

Rangoli patterns – these are symmetrical patterns using shapes. The children will have 2d shapes to place in dough to create them as well as using the school playground as a canvas. Let’s hope the rain doesn’t spoil our fun!
Role-play – the children will act out the story complete with the monkey army. Mmm...casting should be easy!
Barfi sweets – Mrs Latham will be making traditional Indian sweets with the children. Yum yum!

And much more…BUT what would a week in Foundation Stage be like without FOOD? Yes, we will be introducing the children to a variety of Indian foods. Perhaps this is an opportunity not to cook and get on the phone to the local take away for tea. Last year, we only bought a little as we thought the children wouldn’t like it. How wrong were we? They ate us out of house and home. Therefore, Golden Time this week will be tasting Indian food and having a boogie to Indian music.

Of course we can’t forget about Bonfire Night. On Thursday the whole day will be dedicated to learning about Bonfire Night and the traditions of the day. We always do this after Bonfire Night so they have experienced it and then what we talk about has some relevance. The children will be creating their very own firework pictures and music related to the theme as well as making movements like fireworks.

Parents’ evening
You will have received the time and date of your parent/teacher interview. I have done my very best to accommodate everyone’s wishes. I look forward to seeing you all.

Chester Zoo
You will have also received a copy of the letter regarding our trip to Chester Zoo on Tuesday 11th November. We still need three more adults to help out if you are free on that day and can help out please see a member of the team. Thanks.

Keeping Warm
As the colder weather approaches the children will need to wrap up warm. We still use our outdoor area continuously throughout the day and your child will need a hat and possibly gloves (ones with fingers please rather than mittens). As always please ensure that they are clearly labeled with your child’s name.

I think that is all for now! PHEW!!

Take care and have a GREAT week!

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team x

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