Sunday, February 22, 2009

Welcome back!

Hi there!
Well, I hope you have had a wonderful half term holiday and are raring to go for the last half term before I return. I can’t wait to see you all and have lots of fun activities up my sleeve.
Ash Wednesday

This week sees the start of Lent. We will be holding a short service in the hall to mark Ash Wednesday and the children will receive their ashes in the classrooms afterwards. Should you wish to receive ashes in school, please join us at 9am in the hall. As part of the Here I Am syllabus the children will be learning about LENT. We have a Good Shepherd box which we try to fill each year. The children can bring in little amounts of money they would usually spend on sweets to place in the box. This is then given to charity. To read about the traditions and customs of Ash Wednesday, go to

Of course this also means that we will be indulging in pancakes on Tuesday! Maybe the children could have a go at helping you make some on Tuesday evening and use their knowledge of how to write instructions to write the recipe down? has a great recipe on there for pancakes and also written instructions – how many of mine will stick to the pan I wonder?

So what else is going on this week?

Communication, Language and Literacy
By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to know what a label and a diagram look like.

SHOULD be able to label a diagram
COULD be able to write out a caption to go with a diagram/photo.

This is an excellent opportunity to have a look in non-fiction books which boys in particular love to look at.

As always the children will be focussing on their phonics and I would ask that you look back at previous blogs for the different websites available to the children.

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to find one more than a no. to 6.
SHOULD be able to find one more than a no. to 10.
COULD be able to find one more than a no. to 10 and beyond.

Although the children have looked at this before, we aim to develop their mental recall of number facts. Perhaps you can also focus on one less as well and seeing how quickly they can recall the number.

The children will learn how to ask questions about why things happen and how things work. They will look at pancake mixture and how it changes at the different stages. The children will also be finishing off their rockets from last half term then they can adorn the ceiling of the classroom.

I think that is all for this week.

Have a good one!
Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Teamxxx

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Heavy or light?

Hi there!

Can you believe your child is half way through their first year in school?

I hope you all enjoyed the snowy weather. I was so excited for all the children when I thought of all the fun they could be having!! Ms Sammon said that it helped to reinforce the mathematical language related to weight as they were able to get out the sledge and do some practical activities outdoors. Fantastic!! - I found this the children may like to play on!

Can I also thank those of you who supported the book fair last week. I look forward to seeing the photographs of all the children dressed up. The fair raised over a thousand pounds, of which we receive 60% commission to purchase books for our school library. I am sure you join me in thanking the hard working staff who ran the book fair every night. Many thanks also for the generous donations to our class book area. I can’t wait to read them!

Problem-solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
As the theme of weight was touched on last week, the children will continue to develop their understanding of this form of measurement this week. Therefore, by the end of this week, the children:

MUST be able to recognise objects which are heavy and light;
SHOULD be able to use and understand the mathematical language such as heavier and lighter when comparing two masses;
COULd be able to use and understand the mathematical language such as heavier and lighter when comparing three or more masses, ordering objects from heaviest to lightest.

This is a website you could use but nothing beats actually using household objects to measure weight. You will not have the pan balance we have but if you choose obviously heavy and light objects then holding one in each hand will give the children experience of heavy and light. I would suggest that you focus on the language as much as possible. - this is a great website. Click on the questions at the bottom and then use the scales to find the answer.

Communication, Language and Literacy
In this area of learning the children will be focussing on writing sentences. This does not happen easily for children and as a parent I would suggest you focus on ensuring your child always answers in a sentence. If you would like to support your child in writing a sentence then first of all get them to rehearse it orally aloud. I often use the mantra ‘THINK IT, SAY IT, WRITE IT’ as a means of helping the children to know the sequence for writing.

In phonics, by the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to say the name and sound of the letters they have been taught so far and identify them in words;
SHOULD be able to hear and recognise the diagraphs ‘sh’, ‘th’ and ‘ch’ and the ‘ng’ sound in words;
COULD be able to hear and recognise the diagraphs ‘sh’, ‘th’ and ‘ch’ and the ‘ng’ sound in words and use them in their writing. - this focuses on ‘th’ - this focuses on ‘sh’ - this focuses on ‘ch’ - this is a great game. The children must fire at the phonemes ‘ch’, ‘th’ and ‘sh’. You can also go to the home page and select the letters your child needs to work on. My little girl, Faith, loved this and played for hours leaving time for me to do the ironing! Mmm… - download the bingo cards and have a play with the words. This is great for developing blending skills.

High frequency words

After half term there will only 7 weeks until I finish my maternity leave! How fast it has flown. What I’d love to see on my return is the children doing really well with their high frequency words. Ideally I would love for the children to be able to read and spell the words from the term one and term two list at the least. I know children are at different rates so DO NOT panic if your child will not achieve this. However, little and often practice is best. Here are some websites that may make life easier. - there are some harder words for those children capable of reading more than the first two terms. - if you type in the key words you wish your child to focus on then it can be personalised to your child’s learning

Please be aware that as a parent of a reception child I too have the task of getting my child to learn the high frequency words. Sometimes it requires medication afterwards!! Please stick with it as the words are the foundations of your child’s reading development.

Handwriting Homework
Thank you to all the parents who support their child every week in the formation of the letters. This can often be a difficult task for the children to do and finding the right time to do it with them is equally as taxing. I would suggest one line per night rather than it all in one sitting. Perhaps practice on paper first or on an etcha-sketch if you have one. Please keep at it as this will help your child develop their writing skills. Imagine trying to write with your left hand if you are right handed. Have a go! A child who struggles with their pencil control encounters that frustration every time they write so it’s well worth the effort. Perhaps play with playdough or do some colouring to build the muscles to support pencil control.

Here I Am
We move onto the next topic of ‘COMMUNION’. This week the children will learn to:
Recognise that being together makes people happy.
Reflect on all that they do with others which makes them happy.
Respect Appreciate how many things they do with others, the happiness this brings them.

I think that is all for this week. Enjoy the last week of the half term.

Take care

Best wishes

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xx

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Are we sitting comfortably...?

By the title of this week’s blog, you should be able to guess what is happening in school this week...yes, it’s Bookweek!

On Friday, the Book Fair arrived in school and the children had the opportunity to browse through the books which are available. I am sure they came out at home time with a long list of the books that they would love! By buying a book for your child at the Book fair, you could really give their enthusiasm for reading a boost. If they get to choose a book they can keep, they will try so hard with their reading skills. It may even encourage them to want to read even more, which would be fantastic!

The book fair will be open every evening during this week, from 3.00-3.45pm and there are plenty of books which are appropriate for our children. Why not choose a book together and use it as a bedtime story each night this week? For every book that is purchased at the fair, the school earns commission, enabling us to add to our school stocks.

Friday is a busy day this week, with lots to remember! We have asked that the whole school come dressed as a character from a book. The children do not have to wear uniform on that day, but please remember that they may need a warm jumper to put on over the top of their costumes for playtimes.

The costume needn't be complicated nor expensive. It would also support the development of your child’s fine motor skills, if they help you make some props for their costumes from any 'junk' materials that you may have at home...

· a cardboard tube - sword - how else can the handsome prince cut down the vines to rescue the princess?
· a cereal box - cut up, this could become a shield, a crown; a wand
· foil - this can cover any of the above props, to transform anyone into a fairy godmother

Also on Friday, the Friends of St Vincent’s are holding a cake sale at 3pm in the hall. This is a great opportunity to have a cake and browse the book fair! In order for this to be a success, they have asked for cake donations to be sent into school on Friday morning. If you do send in a container from, could we ask that you label it with your name so that it may be returned to you. Thanks.

Communication, Language and Literacy

The children will be listening to a different story every day this week as part of our book week activities. Why not try to be letter and sound detectives at home this week and play a game of ‘I spy’ with the letters and sounds in their home reader. The children will love the competitive nature of this and will want to beat your score! See if your child can show you the movement associated with each sound, which is taught in class.

By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to name and sound the letters learned so far
SHOULD be able to use all the letters taught so far to blend and segment when reading and writing.
COULD be able to read and write captions containing words with these letters.

NEW - this is a brilliant game. Choose the vowel you want to have in the middle of the words and then put the flags on the sandcastles to make the word said by the computer.
NEW - a good website for matching lower case and upper case letters. - The children are doing well with their letter sound and name recognition so why not try out the vowels at the bottom of the page to help them use them in words. - this game is great for helping your child to blend sounds together. You can select the pattern (choose those with the letters we have been working on) and then the children have to read the word and click on the tick if it is a real word. - This again is a great website for blending three letter words together. - This helps the children see how three letter words are made up of a consonant, a vowel and then a consonant. - If your child is experiencing difficulties listening to the middle sound then this is a great game for them. - a great site for blending again. Look at the picture in the machine and click on the correct word to match it.

Problem-solving, reasoning and numeracy

The focus for this week will mainly be on the use of comparative language. When comparing size we use the language big and small. When specifically talking about height we use tall and short. Many children confuse tall and big. Any support you can give towards this is really appreciated. Thanks.

Maybe you could get your child to help to organise the kitchen cupboards after shopping this week. Ask them to put the tallest objects at the back and the shortest objects at the front. See if they can suggest a reason why they should do this.

By the end of the week, the children:

MUST be able to identify objects that are tall and short.
SHOULD be able to order up to three objects in order of height saying which is the tallest, which is taller and which is shorter/shortest.
COULD be able to compare the heights of a range of objects and use other language to compare and describe the size.

Here are some websites to support you: - This is a good website for reviewing addition and subtraction even though we are not working on it directly at the moment. - looks at big and small. - a lovely website introducing small, medium and large’ - print out and order at home. - fab!

Here I Am

We move on to our new topic of Communion this week with the children.

By the end of the week, they children will:

Recognise that being together makes people happy
Reflect on the things they do that makes other people happy
Respect and appreciate that being with others brings them happiness

Maybe you could have a look through any photographs which you have at home, of any family celebrations you have been to. Talk with your child about how they felt when they were there and maybe they can identify how the people there made them feel.

Well, it looks like another busy week in Foundation Stage! Look forward to seeing you at the bookfair !

Jayne Narraway and the Foundation Stage Team xxx