Hello and welcome to our special page for Reception Class, known as the 'Squirrels' class! The place where children have lots of fun learning through play!
In Reception, Miss Bestwick is the class teacher and Mrs Tomlinson, Mrs Rowley and Miss Renshaw are the Early Years Practitioners who will be working with the children throughout the week. Miss Harrison is the Early Years Co-ordinator who will be popping in lots to check we are having lots of fun whilst we learn. She will also be leading our exciting forest school sessions!
We want your child to be happy and to enjoy learning so if you have any questions or concerns please come and see us! Don't hesitate to get in touch with any question no matter how big or small. Email me at Squirrels@coppice.derbyshire.sch.uk I know next year will be another amazing year in our Squirrel class with lots of learning and laughter happening!!
Meet the Squirrels Class Team
Miss Bestwick Class Teacher
Mrs Tomlinson Early Years Practitioner
Mrs Rowley Early Years Practitioner
Early Years Practitioner
Our topic this term is
Down at the bottom of the garden!
Here are some ideas to start with and we will continue to add to them as we go through the half term! We base our learning on a book/theme each week linked to our topic. Within this we also follow the principles of 'planning in the moment' which means that the children guide our teaching. This means every day is full of surprises!
Here are some ideas to start with and we will continue to add to them as we go through the half term! We base our learning on a book/theme each week linked to our topic. Within this we also follow the principles of 'planning in the moment' which means that the children guide our teaching. This means every day is full of surprises!!
For this half term PE lessons are on a Monday. Please ensure your child has the appropriate clothing / uniform for each day. Thank you.
This half term we will not be having forest school sessions.
Please click here to open this term’s ‘Down at the Bottom of the Garden’ topic overview grid.
This term's topic challenges are...
These are challenges for your child to work on with you at home throughout this half term’s topic.
The children will receive a sticker for their hand print for completing each of the different challenges.
The children’s sticker total is counted up every half term. Different totals equate to different prizes!
For completing these challenges, the children also get points on their ambassador passports.
1 point – Share a book! Find a book linked to gardening, growing or minibeasts and bring it in to share with the class. Or if you are brave enough film you and your grown up reading the book and send it us to share with the class. If you are sending in a book from home, please make sure your child’s name is in it.
2 points – Make and Bake. Can you make a breakfast / dinner / tea / desert that reminds you of gardening or mini-beasts? Perhaps spaghetti for worms or the tallest cake in the world to represent Jack’s beanstalk!
3 points – Build and Create. Can you create a piece of art? You could make a minibeast habitat, a garden, a natural piece of art like Andy Goldsworthy – in fact, you could make anything of your choice linked to our topic! I am sure you will inspire us to make different crafts in class!
4 points – Wizard Writers. Impress your grown ups by showing them how good your writing has become. What would you like to write about? Perhaps go on a flower / mini-beast hunt and take photos then type / write captions and sentences for each picture. Perhaps rewrite your story from challenge one or make up your own story! You could write a letter to Jack telling him not to sell Daisy. You could write instructions on how to grow a plant / take care of a plant. Anything you would like to do with our topic.
Summer Term 1 - Week 1
Week Commencing Monday 18th April 2021
Jack and the Beanstalk
How did Jack grow the beanstalk? What do plants need to grow? How quickly do plants grow? Are all plants the same? Can we eat all plants?
This week we are starting our ‘down at the bottom of the garden’ topic with a classic text ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.
This week, in topic and continuous provision, we will be exploring how plants grow and why we need plants. We will be working hard to get our inside and outside areas ready for our topic. This will include making a garden centre roleplay, an outdoor sensory (herb) garden and looking after our outside gardening areas including our welly wall and strawberries.
In literacy, we will be using Talk for Writing approached to learn this classic story. We will retell the story with actions. Whilst we explore the story we will be practising all of our reading skills. We will be inferring how the characters feel, predicting what will happen next, explore what vocabulary means and why it has been used – and that’s just the start! Once we are confident with the story we will be completing lots of adult led focussed writing activities and Sammy Squirrel independent writing challenges. These will include: retelling the story, writing captions, writing speech bubbles, writing letters to Jack / Daisy / mum, writing instructions and much more!
In numeracy, we will be focussing on the numbers strand of learning. Again, we have ample opportunities to explore number both in adult led activities and in our continuous provision. We will be counting to 20, counting groups of items, estimating amounts, using the language of ‘fewer’ and ‘more’ to compare two sets of items, finding the total number of items in two or more groups, working out 1 more and less and exploring basic addition and subtraction. These skills are vital for Jack as he needs to count the beans and the money in the story! I know Squirrels will be able to help him with all of these skills!
WOW moments of the week: Planting our new plants. Creating our sensory garden. Creating our garden centre roleplay area! Starting to create our classroom displays!
Summer Term 1 - Week 2
Week Commencing Monday 25th April 2021
The Tiny Seed and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
What are the parts of a plant? Do humans plant every plant? What is the lifecycle of a plant? Is it only humans that need plants?
This week we will consolidate our learning around the lifecycle of a plant. In topic we will learn about the parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, pollen). This week, we will explore why we need plants more. We will think about the plants we eat, the plants animals eat and how they are needed to help us breathe.
In literacy, our two key texts provide ample opportunities for adult led and child-initiated writing opportunities. These will include labelling the parts of a plant, writing captions for the lifecycle of a plant, labelling the plants humans and animals eat, retelling the stories, writing speech bubbles, sequencing the lifecycle of a butterfly and much more!
In numeracy, we will be continuing to work in the number strand. This week we will be focussing on two key aspects of learning doubling and halving / sharing. We will think about doubling using butterflies’ wings and ladybirds’ backs. We will explore halving and sharing using food for the caterpillars and natural objects. In our daily routine, we will practise recalling doubles to 5 and halves to 10 using our fingers. We will also be learning a doubling and halving song and exploring some interactive online games. These will also be sent home in an email so you can practise them ??
WOW moments of the week: Tasting different fruit and vegetables and thinking about how we grow them and why they are important. Hopefully, having some caterpillars in class to observe and watch transform in to butterflies.
Summer Term 1 - Week 3
Week Commencing Tuesday 4th May 2021
Do plants grow in all places? How do worms help gardeners? Are worms a gardener’s friend?
For the last two weeks we have learnt how to grow plants and what plants need. This week we are focussing on wiggly worms!
In topic, we learn about the different types of worms, the parts of a worm, interesting facts about worms and how worms help gardeners! Hopefully, by the end of the week we will be able to tell you what worms do underground! We might even do worm experiments. Where do worms like to live? How can we make worms appear without having to dig? We will also discuss the question ‘do worms like to be hold?’.
In literacy, our key text ‘yucky worms’ will teach us lots of facts! This week we are going to make our own information text. We will be labelling the parts of a worm, writing facts about worms, writing instructions on how to make a perfect worm habitat and much more! We hope to share our writing with Ladybirds and Hedgehog class to teach them how to care for worms and why it is so important!
In numeracy, we will be exploring the ‘Space, Shape and Measure’ strand. This week we will be focussing on length – after all not all wiggly worms are the same length! We will be ordering 2 or more worms by length, measuring length using non-standard and standard measures e.g. counters and conkers. We will also use everyday language to talk about size, building up our vocabulary repertoire instead of just using ‘big’ and ‘small’.
WOW moments of the week: Finding worms and exploring their habitats! Being mini-beast detectives! Exploring sensory trays to represent worms and their texture e.g. spaghetti! Hopefully, making a small classroom wormery to observe.
Summer Term 1 - Week 4
Week Commencing Monday 10th May 2021
The Very Helpful Hedgehog
Which animals would we find at the bottom of our garden? Would we find the same animals all year round?
This week, in topic, we will be exploring seasons and thinking about which animals hibernate and why. We will also be learning about composting. What can we put in our compost bins? How does this help animals? How does it help our gardens? We will also learn lots of about hedgehogs and how we can be a hedgehog friendly garden!
In literacy, the children will continue to have adult led activities and child-initiated Sammy Squirrel challenges. As usual, these will include a wide range of genres including: writing a letter to the donkey / hedgehog, making a hedgehog fact file, labelling the parts of a hedgehog, writing composting instructions, retelling the story, writing captions for pictures and much more!
In numeracy, we will continue to work within the ‘Space, Shapes and Measures’ strand and focus on 2D shapes. We will revisit the shapes names and properties (sides and corners) and will use shapes to create shape pictures and repeating patterns.
This week our book also links to our PSHE lesson. We will be thinking lots about friends and helping each other. We will make a classroom kindness and helping hand display. How many times can they be kind and help their friends. We will celebrate our achievements in class and think about how having friends that help us make us feel.
WOW moments of the week: creating our own composting area outside! Apple cutting and printing!
Summer Term 1 - Week 5
Week Commencing Monday 17th May 2021
Are all animals and mini-beasts meant to be pets? Is it fair to keep a worm / pigeon / snail as a pet? Where do different animals live? What habitats do they live in? Did the children do the right thing?
This week, we will be continuing to look at habitats by exploring the book ‘Bog Baby’. In topic, we will be working in small groups to choose our favourite animals and making their habitats. The habitats we make will form our new outside small world areas. Some of us might make an under the sea area, others might make a jungle – we can’t wait to follow the children’s interests!
In literacy, we will be writing bog habitat descriptions, bog baby descriptions and instructions on how to look after a bog baby. We will also be making bog habitats and labelling them; some of us may even write instructions on how to make a bog baby habitat. In continuous provision, we might also be writing speech bubbles, story captions, letters to the bog baby / children and much more! The sky really is the limit with our writing now!
In numeracy, we will be exploring 3D shapes. We will be learning their names and properties (faces, edges and vertices). We will be using junk modelling and making our own new creatures like bog babies! Do you know what 3D shape a cereal box is? Do you know what shape a pringle tube is? We will do by the end of the week!
WOW moments of the week: Creating a bog in the mud kitchen area. Creating our own animal habitats for the small world area.
Summer Term 1 - Week 6
Week Commencing Monday 24th May 2021
Percy the Park Keeper
What is a park keeper? How does Percy look after the park? Why do you think the animals are friends with him? How does he help the animals and their habitats?
This week, in topic, we will be exploring what Percy’s jobs might be. We will go to our forest school area and collect leaves, photos and natural items. We will compare leaves and think about the different types of trees. Would we find the same things in winter as we have found in summer? We will explore natural art work in the style of Andy Goldsworthy and let our imagination run wild! We will also spend an afternoon den building using our friendship and team work skills from last week. Percy always makes tents and camps out – can we do the same?
In our funky fingers area, we will also be practising one of Percy’s skills – knot tying! We will use ropes to tie around things like he does in our story! Miss Harrison might even challenge Miss Bestwick and the Squirrels to tie different types of knots!
In literacy, we will be enjoying a range of ‘Percy the Park Keeper’ books however, our main focus text is ‘One Springy Day’. We will be writing lots. This will include writing hide and seek instructions, writing captions about where the animals hid, labelling the signs of spring and summer, writing character descriptions, writing speech bubbles and of course retelling the story.
In numeracy, we will be practising positional language. In the story the animals play hide and seek. Where are they hiding? We will use positional language such as next to, behind, near, on top of, inside, under…. The list of language we will use is endless! Whilst we are exploring positional language we will also explore the language of distance, who is closer to the ….? Who is further away? I can’t wait to play hide and seek with you all – I have the best hiding places!
WOW moments of the week: Den building! A natural object hunt! A camping role play area!
Past Topic Webs
Autumn 1 - Please click here to open our Stomp, Chomp, BIG roars, here come the dinosaurs! topic web.
Autumn 2 - Please click here to open our 'Let's Celebrate' topic web.
Spring 1 - Please click here to open our 'Magical Monsters' topic web.
Spring 2 - Please click here to open our 'Twinkle, Twinkle' topic web.
Throughout the year we have lots of exciting topics planned. Click here to see an outline of our year.
Reception Important Diary Dates
Here are the dates we have so far for this half term. We will continue to add to them as the half term progresses. Also remember to check your weekly newsletter!
Monday 19th April – We return to school after the Easter break.
Monday 17th May – Travel smart week
Friday 28th May – Last day of term
Important Information for September 2020
CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION FOR SEPTEMBER:
- Squirrels class social story booklet - I am starting Reception!
- Welcome to Reception booklet
- Derbyshire Ten Keys to School Readiness!
The Early Years Foundation Stage
In Squirrels class we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage which is organised into seven areas of learning. These seven areas are as follows:
PSED - Personal, social, emotional development (developing self confidence and self awareness, making relationships as well as managing behaviour and feelings).
CL - Communication and Language (speaking, listening and understanding)
PD - Physical development (moving and handling as well as health and self care)
LIT - Literacy (reading and writing)
MATHS - Mathematics (numbers, shape, space and measures)
UW - Understanding the World (people and communities, the world and technology)
EAD - Expressive Arts and Design (exploring and using media and materials as well as being imaginative!)
In school we have a set of non-negotiables for Literacy and Mathematics for the children to aspire to by the end of each year group. Click below to see what is expected by the end of their time in Squirrels class (end of EYFS).
We work towards the Early Learning Goals (ELG's) in Squirrels class. Click on the document to see what the Early Years curriculum is all about and what the children should be able to do by the end of their time in Squirrels class.
Squirrels' Stars of the Week
At our school we have a special 'star of the week' from each class! In Squirrels class we have Sammy Squirrel who goes home with the star of the week for a whole week and he has a special diary for the star of the week to fill in ready to be shared with the class the following week. Sammy can't wait to meet you!
Ambassador Awards 2020- 2021
This year we have incorporated the Learning Passport within a document that recognises children’s achievements in school and the wider community. What is expected in order for children to achieve their ’Ambassador Award’ comes under 4 headings:
- Behaviour and conduct
Each section has elements that underpin the values that as a school we hold dear. We believe that learning is something that continues every minute of the waking day and it is important to recognise children’s achievements not only in lessons but beyond. Adults in school will discuss each section with the children and how they can meet the criteria identified; we are hoping that the children will be able to take some ownership of the passport themselves!
Have a look at the Ambassador leaflet to find out more and look through 'Steps to Success' passport the Reception children will be working through this year to help them achieve their Ambassador Awards!
During the last few years we have developed a way that we collect observations about what your child can do during their time in Squirrels class. We use an app called 'Early Excellence'. We will take photographs of your child completing different activities and make notes about what they are doing. One of the best features of this is that we can email you all the evidence we collect! Please make sure we have your email address and we will send you all of our observations! Don't forget to reply and let us know of any 'wow' moments you witness at home. Please see Miss Harrison for an email request form if you have not completed this in your new starters pack or you can download one by clicking on the link below.
During the year we hold workshops to support parents and carers in helping their child at home. At the moment, due to Covid 19, we have not planned these. However, we hope to run these once it is safe to do so.
Helpful Handouts for Parents
Stay and Play sessions
Each term we have a stay and play session so parents, carers and other family member can join us in Squirrels class to see what we do. The children love showing everyone their classroom and the type of activities we do every day in Squirrels class. We always end with an activity for both children and adults. This could be a story, a squiggle, a dough disco or a dance! Who knows!! We like to keep it a surprise!!
The children love showing their grown ups the Squirrels classroom and EYFS outside area. We cannot wait to welcome you to our stay and play sessions this year! We are not sure when our next play and stay session will be due to Covid 19 but we already busy planning exciting things to do.
Have a question or concern?
We understand that there are times when you might have a question or concern! You have an open door policy in our school and you are always welcome and to come and speak to any member of staff. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our EYFS co-ordinator, Miss Harrison, at email@example.com. Alternatively you can ring school on 01773 712840 and we will do all we can to help.
Helping at home
There are lots of things you can do to help your child. We don't have formal homework in Squirrels class but below are some ideas of what you can do which are quick and easy and will help your child consolidate skills we have taught in school. Look on each topic web for some challenges we have set the children to help them gain extra points for their reward chart in school! If you would like any help or support please ask any member of EYFS staff. We would be more than happy to help with ideas!
Your child has a reading folder which includes flashcards, a homework book and reading book. Please practise these for 5 - 10 minutes every night if possible. We will hear your child read every week in school and will practise letter sounds and high frequency words in our Letters and Sounds activities.
Every week your child will have a phonics activity to complete at home. As we move through phase 2 and phase 3 phonics they will also be bringing flashcards home to practise. If your child needs any help to record the sounds we have learnt this is a brilliant link to use at home https://lettersandsounds.org.uk/for-home/reception
Encourage your child to write their names on invitations and cards reminding them to have a capital letter at the beginning! As they learn their letter sounds help them practise writing them using the correct letter formation.
Play board games such as 'snakes and ladders' to encourage your child to count spaces to move their counters forwards or backward. When you are walking as the children to count how many foot steps from one place to another and ask the children to identify different numbers they see on doors or buses. Practise counting in order to at least twenty and backwards to zero.
Encourage your child to put on and fasten their own coat, to put on their own shoes and to get dressed and undress by themselves. Remind them to wash their hands after going to the toilet and before eating a meal. When eating encourage your child to use a knife and fork correctly.