Foundation Stage Religious Education – Our World

Our new RE topic, from Monday, 21 June, until the end of term is ‘Our World’.

Core vocabulary:   world, wonder, wonderful, care, love, share, work/play together

The children will be learning that life is God’s gift. All that makes up life – people, the earth, places, things – are part of that gift.  They will explore following scripture – the Creation story:

Genesis 1-2: 

For some children, knowledge and experience of our world may only be their immediate surroundings eg. home/street etc.  We will, therefore, be exploring many aspects of the world to widen the children’s horizons.  They will learn that God made the world and everyone shares the world.

Our teaching will draw upon many CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) resources to help the children learn how to take care of God’s world and everyone who shares it. You may wish to browse the activities for families on their website:

https://cafod.org.uk/Education/For-families

In Reception, we will be preparing for our Class Assembly on Friday, 2 July.  The children will share songs, paintings and prayers that they have been learning during this topic.  

In Nursery, the children will be reading the Creation story and working on a group project of how God made the world. 

Both classes will also be exploring the concept of fair trade and how we can look after the world, for example, recycling and saving water.

Home learning

Invite your child to choose a small world figure and hold it.  Ask your child to think about our wonderful world when they next play with this item.

Read the Creation story from your child’s Bible.

Invite your child to show you how they can take responsibility and care for God’s world.  For example, putting items in the recycling bin, turning off light switches, saving water, picking up litter, caring for animals, looking after plants.  You may also wish to point out fair trade produce and the fair trade logo next time you are shopping.  

Lastly, here is our special class prayer which you may wish to share at home:

Dear God, 
You made our amazing world and all the amazing things in it. 
Thank you for making me and loving me. 
Help us to take care of ourselves and the world. 
Amen

As usual, we would love to see your child’s ideas and home learning in their Tapestry learning journal.

Mrs Palmer and Mrs Solakova

Reception – maths and being responsible

Maths

Reception have been learning to understand the numbers eleven to twenty and what they mean. This is an introduction to place value and a little different to being able to recite the numbers names to twenty in order and count sets of up to twenty objects.  It also builds on our learning so far which has focused on numbers up to 10 and regrouping single digits in different ways. 

The children were introduced to the mathematical vocabulary of ‘ten and some more’.  For example, 12 is 10 and 2 more etc.  Activities have included using tens frames, threading 10 and some more onto beads and playing number line games.

How can you help at home

Ask your child to show all of their fingers. Clarify that there are ten. Next to your child’s hands, show more fingers.  The picture below illustrates 11 – 10 and 1 more. 

Look at numbers together and spot the patterns.  Spend some time talking about number names and saying them aloud, listening carefully to how they are pronounced. There is no expectation that the children can read all the number names but they can look for similarities and differences between the words. 

Play ‘finding one more/one less’.  This is a number line game I suggested during lockdown.  Here’s a reminder.

Play track games, such as snakes and ladders, where a player moves along a track with a counter. When your child’s counter is within the teen decade, talk to them about the next number, identify what number they would be on if they had to go back one space or what number would be needed to reach a goal eg. go up the ladder.

Any Tapestry photos that you can add to your child’s learning journal would be a great opportunity for your child to feel super proud of themselves when they show their friends at school.

Relationships and Health Education

The children have been learning that they belong to various communities, such as home, school, God’s family, swimming clubs, the wider local area and the global community.  

We talked about the fact that sometimes we go out of our way to be loving and kind to others, that’s great and is how God wants us to behave!  However, we also have ‘responsibilities’ which are special jobs or expected ways we should behave in different places.   It’s all about thinking of and respecting the other people who share spaces with us.

The children offered suggestions about how they can be helpful when at home or out and about.  For example, taking shoes off when visiting someone’s house, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, tidying up toys, washing up, helping to cook, not dropping litter, not picking wildflowers. 

Photo request!

I have encouraged the children to ask parents to send me a photo of them helping out around the house or looking after God’s world.   I would love to see some Tapestry photos of your child being responsible so I can celebrate this with their friends at school.

As always, many thanks for your support. Have a great weekend everyone!

Nicola Palmer

Reception – Happy Birthday to the Church

Reception children took part in a Pentecost party on Thursday.  Many thanks for all the vibrant outfits. Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season.   This feast, sometimes referred to as the birthday of the Church, will be celebrated this Sunday.

The children learnt that at Pentecost Christians come together to share their happiness and joy because Jesus had kept his promise and sent the Holy Spirit to be their friend.  We can all share in this happiness and tell everyone.

As mentioned before, the coming of the Holy Spirit can be difficult for young children to understand.  We explored such things as air, wind and fire to help explain the power of the Holy Spirit.  The children made ‘tell the good news’ streamers and fiery hats.  

They also decorated the classroom with red paper chains and enjoyed healthy red snack foods; strawberries, tomatoes and red peppers.  We were blessed with an extremely blustery day and the children were so excited chasing bubbles in the wind calling out ‘Share the good news, the Holy Spirit is here!’

The children listened to the following scripture story Acts 2: 1-4

We sang ‘Happy Birthday to the Church’ and the following song is one of their favourites:

Below is our Pentecost prayer:

Thank you, God! For the Good News of Easter.
Thank you, God! For the new life of Jesus.
Thank you, God! For the Good News of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, God! For the Good News of your love.

Lastly, they have also made ‘Happy Pentecost’ cards to share with their families.  Look in your child’s book bag if you haven’t already been presented with your card.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – Saint Joseph’s Day

Dear parents,

Thank you for all the amazing Mary and Joseph outfits today.  The children enjoyed immersing themselves in our RE Curriculum Day dedicated to Saint Joseph.

We began with a virtual whole school assembly where the children learned about Saint Joseph.  They discovered five key facts:

  • Saint Joseph listened to God.
  • Saint Joseph looked after Jesus and Mary.
  • Saint Joseph trusted God.
  • Saint Joseph shared his faith with Jesus.
  • Today Saint Joseph is the patron of God’s worldwide family – the Church.

The children listened to a reading from the Gospel of Saint Matthew 1:18-25 (adapted)

Image result for gabriel visits joseph in a dream"

Joseph loved Mary and was engaged to marry her.  When Joseph found out that Mary was going to be the mother of a baby, he was not sure what to do.  He wondered ‘Should I still marry her or perhaps I can quietly break off our engagement?

They also listened to the story of  The Day Jesus was Lost in the Temple and how Mary and Joseph looked for him.

We composed our own prayers to St. Joseph and the children wrote a prayer asking Saint Joseph to look after their family.

You may wish to say the following prayer at home:

We learned that Saint Joseph worked hard as a carpenter and had our own woodwork hut.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – learning about calculation

Dear parents,

Over the past few weeks Reception children have been introduced to the fact that numbers are made up of other numbers.   The children’s understanding has been developed through a sequence of 3 steps.

Step 1 – we began by exploring regrouping a whole into different parts and identifying what values are hidden within numbers. 

Children are encouraged to use subitising (recognising a small group of numbers at a glance without counting) when looking at groups of objects.  For example, in the photo below rows of 3 and 4 were identified.

Step 2 –  we talked about combining parts to create a whole. This is the start of calculating – addition. 

The children were encouraged to notice and find different parts that can be combined to make the same whole; concluding that there are lots of different ways to make a total.  The photo below illustrates how we used a 10 egg box carton to look at multiple ways of making number 10.

Step 3 –  calculating the part of a whole that is missing.  This is the introduction of subtraction.

In the photo below the children played a game finding the missing number from a total amount of carrots.

In the photo below the children were given a starting  amount (the part), a target to reach (the whole) and they found ‘how many  more…?’ (the missing part) when building towers with Duplo.

How to can help at home

Talk about how a collection of toys can be regrouped eg. farm animals, all the animals are part of the whole farm but they could be regrouped into sheep, cows, horses, pigs and farmers (humans). Each group is part of the whole farm.  Or 7 vehicles could be regrouped as 4 cars and 3 trucks.

Give your child a target number and, using dominoes, can they try to find all the dominoes that have that number of dots altogether where either side of the domino would become a part. Talk about what they notice if one side of the domino shows 0 dots.

At meal/snack time find the total two groups of items.  For example, pears and bananas. Ask your child to find the total initially starting with the pears and then adding the bananas, then starting with the bananas and then adding the pears. Talk about how the order of the fruit doesn’t matter when adding.

Introduce a range of different problems that require your child to calculate a missing part.

  • How many more…? If we need a snack for four people and there are two bananas, how many more do we need?
  • How many left…? How many cakes left now that Mummy and Daddy have taken their cake?
  • What is the difference…? You have three sweets and Mummy has two sweets. What is the difference between the numbers of sweets you have?

Play Kim’s game. Show your child a small collection of different objects on a tray and identify the whole (the total number of items). Hide them all and remove some objects. Reveal the objects left. Can your child calculate how many have been taken – the missing part.

The vocabulary of parts and whole has been emphasised throughout our learning.  The children’s understanding of equal, more and less and ‘altogether’ has also been developed to describe the whole.

Maths Challenge

Your child may wish to have a go at the following maths challenge:

  • Collect a small amount of items outside eg. sticks, leaves, stones (10 items to begin and extend to 20 for extra challenge)
  • Once there are a few items, explore how they might be grouped. 
  • Create groups and then use subitising to say how many are in each group (if the amounts are small enough). 
  • Talk about the parts and the whole and then count to find the total.

I would love to hear about your child’s mathematical discoveries on Tapestry.  We always have fun sharing the children’s home learning in class. This also often inspires their friends to also ‘have a go’!

Wishing you all a great bank holiday weekend.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – amazing me!

Dear parents,

As part of our Relationships and Health teaching the children discovered how God created the world and why the Bible is so special.

Last week we read the story of creation and talked about how our bodies were created by God.  We are all God’s children and part of his special plan.

The children learnt the following song ‘If I were a Butterfly’

You may wish to share the following class prayer at home:

Dear God,
You made our amazing world and all the amazing things in it.
Thank you for making me and loving me.
Help us to take care of ourselves and the world.
Amen.

This week the children began to understand that the Bible is special because we are all in it and part of God’s family.  In the Bible we hear stories about Jesus and that still has meaning for us today.  

We acted out a story from the Bible, Jesus and his disciples during the Last Supper.  I washed the children’s feet to show the children how Jesus is our role model.  Jesus is showing us a way of behaving, he showed love to his disciples and he wants us to show that love to others.

The children made some great suggestions about how they can show love to others “You can take turns”, “You help tidy up”, “Look after someone who is sad”.  I made a suggestion that you can give someone a smile.

You may wish to share the following class prayer at home:

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for being my perfect role model.
Thank you for loving me.
Help me to share that love with others.
Amen

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend in God’s amazing world.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – The Three Billy Goats Gruff

We have had a successful start to the Summer term with the children all refreshed and eager to learn.

Our focus story for the next few weeks is a traditional tale, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The children have been learning to retell the story as part of our ‘talk for writing’ teaching.  They are learning the words superbly and I hope your child will be able to tell you the story at home.

We talked about key words and phrases within the story.  The children asked some very interesting questions: ‘Why did the troll want to eat the billy goats gruff?’, ‘Why did the billy goats gruff want to eat the grass on the other side?’, ‘Why were they hungry?’, ‘Why wouldn’t the troll let them go across the river?’ ‘Why did the troll live under the bridge?’.

The children have also enjoyed listening to different versions of the story kindly brought into school by their friends.  If you child has a copy of The Three Billy Goats Gruff at home we would love to read it in class.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – Happy Easter

Dear parents,

A big thank you on behalf of Mrs Solakova, Mrs O’Connor, Mrs Reid, Mrs McConnell and myself for the generous Easter gifts we received at the end of term. We are blessed to have such a kind and thoughtful school community.

I hope you are all enjoying the break and looking forward to celebrating Easter over the coming days.

Good Friday is nearly upon us and I thought I would share some ideas to help your child understand the meaning of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Now is a chance for you to reflect on your child’s Lenten Promise.  You may wish to encourage your child to make a special effort for the last few days.  It is a time to grow more like Jesus; in goodness, kindness, helpfulness and loving.

Explain to your child that Good Friday is a special day; when Jesus dies on the cross.   This is a sad day but part of God’s plan; he came into our lives and showed us the path to follow.  Without Good Friday we wouldn’t have Easter Sunday, a happy day.

You may wish to challenge your child to make a cross.  In my experience, children come up with some very creative ideas, I am often presented with crosses made from Lego, sticks, boxes etc. 

Enjoy hot cross buns and explain to your child about the cross on the bun. We held our own hot cross bun party just before the end of term.

If you haven’t already done this, look at your child’s Bible and read the Easter story.  Here is a video version which may help:

As we all know, Easter Sunday is the resurrection day when Jesus comes alive. The Holy Week thus ends with the celebration of Easter Sunday. The children made ‘He has Risen’ Easter cards to share with you on this special day. Have a look in your child’s book bag if your child has forgotten to give the card to you.

Below are some ideas for Easter activities:

Easter Activities

  • I am sure you will all be enjoying delicious chocolate eggs!  We explain the symbolism of the egg and new life to the children by telling them it’s like the egg is the tomb; break open the egg just like Jesus when he breaks out the tomb. 
  • Make a paper mache egg. 
  1. Mix up a proportion of flour and water to a gluey consistency.  If you have PVA glue this is good to add too.
  2. Blow up a balloon or use some other egg shape object.
  3. Dip strips of newspaper into your mixture and cover the egg.
  4. Leave to dry and decorate.
  • Find stories of the people who saw Jesus in those first few days.
  • Make an Easter garden.  Again, go with your child’s creative ideas.  It could be made out of Lego, recycled materials, grass cuttings, leaves, twigs etc. This will also be useful to support your child when we start learning about Pentecost upon our return to school. As you will see in the second photo, we made our own Easter garden in school to help the children learn the Easter story.
  • I am sure you will all be thinking about fashioning some form of an Easter Egg Hunt.  This could be either in your home or outside.  Possible clues your child could read using their knowledge of phonics (tricky words to learn by sight are in bold):
    • Under the mat.
    • Next look on top of a bed.
    • Go to the peg box.
    • Look in the pots and pans.
    • On top of a hat.
    • In a mug.
    • Look in your coat.
    • Meet Dad by the shed.
  • Perhaps you could number the eggs.  Tell your child how many eggs they need to find.  A great problem solving activity eg. ‘So we’ve found numbers 2, 6 and 9.  What other numbers do we need to find?’

Lastly, I hope you have been able to access Church services online www.rcdow.org.uk.  If you are able to watch an Easter Service talk to your child about the Church colours.  In class we talked about purple being is the colour of Lent, preparing for Easter.  Now it’s white and gold! 

Wishing your all a wonderful Easter celebration. 

Nicola Palmer

Reception – we’re super learners

Dear parents,

We’ve had a fantastic week at school and the children have now settled into a good routine.

Our first mystery guests joined us this week via Zoom.  The children were so excited!  They learnt all about St. Patrick’s Day and listened to a hilarious story about a hippo.  Both of these ‘parent visits’ stimulated lots of discussions and investigations about snakes and hippos.

Please do let me know if you would like to join us.  Perhaps you could talk about your job or hobby to help us widen the children’s experiences.  However, a little story time is just as much fun.

We’ve also been focusing on learning behaviours and developing the language of ‘how I am learning’.  The three main characteristics of learning taught in early years are:

  • Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and “have a go”.
  • Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy their achievements.
  • Creativity and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas and make links between ideas.

Our class learning super heroes help us talk about how we are learning:

Encouraging and praising your child at home will really support their attitude to learning in the future.  Here are some of the children’s ideas:  ‘I kept on trying to balance on the wobbly board’, ‘I thought of an idea’, ‘I decided to try another way’, ‘I changed my mind and did it a different way’. 

You may also be interested in this lovely book we have been reading in class “It’s Okay to Make Mistakes” by Todd Parr.

Todd Parr embraces life’s happy accidents and has a passion for making readers feel good about themselves, encouraging them to try new things, experiment, and dare to explore new paths.

Finally, in Letters and Sounds the children are revisiting digraphs (two letters/one sound) introduced over lockdown home learning. I’ve collected Letters and Sounds books to update.  These will be returned next.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and looking forward to another fun week with your children next week.

Nicola Palmer

Reception – welcome back to school

Good afternoon Reception parents,

Thank you for preparing your children so well for their return to school.  They have settled back into school life amazingly well.  Indeed, it was difficult to choose the Head Teacher’s Award today and I, therefore, decided to present it to the whole class for being enthusiastic learners.

Our main focus has been reminding the children of the class routine in terms of organising their own belongings, preparing for lunch time, tidying up and getting ready to go home at the end of the day.  We have also concentrated on learning through play to allow the children time to rekindle friendships and use of the learning environment.

The happy boxes have been a great success, allowing the children to develop their language skills whilst reconnecting with home.  To quote one of the children “If you feel a bit sad, you can have a look at them”.

On Tuesday the children enjoyed participating in PE and learnt how to collaborate together playing parachute games.   Getting ready for PE required a lot of concentration and perseverance.  Supporting your child to dress and undress independently will really help increase your child’s confidence.

We continued our learning about the season of Lent and the children listened to Luke’s story (based on Luke 2: 51, 52.):

The children have been sharing their Lenten promises.  Thank you to all those parents who sent their child’s Lenten promise to me via Tapestry.  If your child has not yet shared their Lenten promise with me, perhaps your child could bring into school a picture to help them talk about their Lenten promise.

Wishing all the mums a very happy Mother’s Day.  The children made cards which you will find in their book bags – they decided upon their own decorations and they are very much from their hearts. 

Nicola Palmer