Welcome to the third edition of this newsletter. The children continue to enjoy their time with us in Foundation and have made huge progress in adapting to school life. Where did the month of September go? It is hard to believe the children have been in school for a whole month already! They have settled extremely well considering the situation we have all been in since March and we thank you all for bearing with us as we continue to find ways of communicating messages to you whilst still maintaining social distancing.
One of the areas in our Foundation Stage curriculum that we focus on, particularly in the autumn term, is the children’s ability to manage their own needs. At the end of the year, we have to assess the children against the Early Learning Goals and these include the following:
· Show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge
· Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices
There is one aspect in particular that some of the children need more practise at home: being able to put on coats and jumpers/cardigans. It is great practice for each child to dress themselves before school each morning so that they can take their own jumpers and cardigans off at school. As well as zipping up coats, the hardest part for the children is usually when they have to turn jumpers around or turn their sleeves out the right way. The best way to teach them at this stage is to put their jumper down out flat with the back facing up at them, then the children pick it up and put their head in first. For inside out sleeves, you could say ‘put your hand in the hole, grab the end and pull it through’. They always look so pleased with themselves when they manage to do it and it is great for their independence.
We have noticed that some parents have started trying to communicate through the windows of Blue base and Yellow base after drop off and prior to pick up times. Whilst we appreciate that you want to say hello to your children during the school day, it is actually very distracting. Trying to settle children down to start learning tasks or to prepare for the end of the day can be challenging when there are family members waving through the windows. We politely ask that you refrain from doing this. Also, we have a few parents who sometimes try to communicate by calling to their children through the fence by our outside area. Again, we politely ask that you refrain from doing this. We actively encourage the children not to communicate with any person passing along our fence on Portsmouth Road. We would appreciate your support in enforcing this important aspect of keeping your children safe.
Learning in wet weather
As the weather gets increasingly wet, windy and cold, we would encourage you to provide your child with wellies and raincoats so that they can continue accessing the outside learning areas. We often provide activities in all weathers and find that most of the children like to continue their learning even when the rain is heavy and the wind is high. This is the spirit of the Early Years Foundation Stage – learning in all weathers!
What is my child learning?
We are continuing with the learning as outlined in Issue 2 of this newsletter. The children are enthusiastic and eager to learn each day. In particular:
We have started teaching our phonics scheme, Read Write Inc. The children are excited to be learning new sounds each day. So far, we have introduced the sounds: m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g and o. This includes how to read the sounds, recognise the sounds in words, and how to write them. You may have heard your child use the phrase ‘pecky grip.’ This describes the phrase that we use to teach the children an accurate pencil grip for writing. You may also have heard phrases such as, ‘around the apple and down the leaf’ to describe how to write the sound ‘a’. These are phrases that we use to help the children to remember how to accurately write the sounds. Usually, we would invite you into Foundation for regular workshops, including how you can support your child at home with their phonics learning. As we are currently unable to host workshops, we are considering alternative arrangements and we will provide you with an update as soon as possible.
We have been teaching the children about one of our PATRICK learning attitudes – Respect. Over the year, we will introduce the children to all of the PATRICK attitudes, which support the children to remember our expectations in school and to support them to be confident learners.
P – Perseverance
A – Aspiration
T – Teamwork
R – Respect
I – Independence
C – Creativity
K – Kindness
Please find opportunities to use these words at home as it is a great way to develop the children’s vocabulary and they really enjoy using more challenging ‘grown up’ words.
In RE we have introduced the children to God as Creator - of every planet in the universe, every person, creature and plant on Earth. The other day, one of the children found a caterpillar crawling on the carpet in Blue base! We were all very excited and thanked God for His creation.
We have introduced the children to a lunchtime prayer that is often said at St Patrick’s:
Bless us O Lord as we sit together.
Bless the food we eat today.
Bless the hands that made the food.
Bless us O Lord.
The Foundation Team