Dear Parents and Carers
Here is your weekly bulletin about the wonderful children of Ash Class, to tell you what we have been up to this week. No week is ever a quiet one in a Foundation Stage Unit, and this is no different. I think the children will be exhausted and need a restful weekend….
So, we are really getting stuck into our topic about ‘Pets’. It is no impediment if your child does not have a pet – we have been discussing pets we would like, as well as ones we actually have living with us. We have been working on our counting skills through topic work, practising recognising numbers and counting accurately up to 10, saying a number name for each animal counted. We did an activity where we had to put the right number of dogs into each bed, and some of us played the Spotty Dog game: I taught my two sons to count using this game, so it took me back!
We also changed into our whole PE kits this week, for our Wednesday lesson. I was impressed that many children managed to get changed all by themselves, or needed only minimal help. Being able to dress/ undress independently is such a useful skill (and great for self esteem!) so if you know that your child struggles with this do support them to learn. Things like putting shoes on the correct foot, turning inside out jumpers the right way, taking off sweatshirts etc are major milestones for a young child – and it really helps us make the most of our time actually doing PE! Here we all are in our smart kits!
Also, we have been painting pictures of real or would-be pets. I will put them on display in school and take a photo so that you can see the works of art in next week’s newsletter.
Most days we have a short phonics session – we have already learned to recognise and even try to write a few sounds: m,t,a,d,i and s! At this stage it is most important that the children hear and recognise the sounds, and we don’t ‘push’ the written side of things. But most are willing to have a go! Frog has been helping us to hear words such as ‘m-a-t’ said slowly, to figure out what he is saying. This is an important early reading skill, and can be made to be fun, especially with the addition of funny voices 😊
And finally, we have been enjoying our Vets role play area. Some of our soft pets have sustained some serious injuries, but luckily the Ash Class veterinary surgeons are on hand to mend broken bones and give the appropriate (usually) treatment to the poor patients. Lots of rich language has come from this play, along with some lovely caring collaboration. It is a joy to watch!
We in the FSU team hope that you are hearing at least some snippets of what your children are up to in class. Often children don’t want to talk about it after a long day, so don’t be surprised if this happens. Sometimes this information only comes out at bath or bedtime!
As always, if you have any concerns or questions do please drop us a line, or have a word at drop off or pick up time. In the meantime, have a wonderful, restful weekend.
From us all in Chagford school FSU.
Dear Parents and Carers,
Well, we have reached the end of our first full week of school life, and the ‘Big Robins’ have coped extraordinarily well. Given that we were unable to do a proper transition, and that children have gone from the long summer holidays into full time, all day school, they have been wonderful. It is so lovely to watch them coming together as a class, learning each other’s names, playing with new friends and old, and slowly learning the ropes. They even felt confident enough to play in the ‘big’ playground with the older children, which I hadn’t expected them to be happy to try until next week!
Mostly this week has been all about settling in, getting used to the classroom, the routines, and the various staff members who work in Ash Class. The second week, I find, is often a bumpy one. I think some children don’t realise until this point that school is every day, and that the school day is long! This realisation, coupled with the inevitable fatigue, can create some emotional reactions – often manifesting as an unwillingness to separate from Mums and Dads in the morning. However, please be assured that if a child continues to be upset once they are in, I will tell you. If you don’t hear from us during the day, you can safely assume that your child has settled and is contented. Equally, if there is anything we need to know about, something specific perhaps that has upset or worried your child, it really helps us to know about it. Please either mention it at drop off time, or write a note in the yellow communication books I gave out earlier this week.
I hear that children have enjoyed sharing the picture books I sent home on Monday. I will aim to change these once or twice a week, so please ensure that you put the finished book back in the book bag on a Monday and Friday so that I can record that they have been returned. And as we get really stuck into teaching letter sounds, I will start sending home little books to share with you that practise the sounds we have been covering in class. This week we have already explored ‘m’ and ‘a’. Feel free to ask children about this! We have been writing these letters too using whiteboards but please don’t expect perfectly formed letters at this stage. Many children are still getting to grips with a strong pencil grip and the necessary manipulation skills, so the business of writing the sounds is honed with lots of practice with different writing materials over time.
Children have also been practising recognising and writing their own name, through using various writing materials, painting and drawing. If your child is ready, please encourage them to try this whenever appropriate – in my experience, it takes very little time before the children can all recognise each other’s names as well as their own!
We have started thinking about our topic of Animals and Pets! Soon, our role play area will be a fully functioning vets surgery. We also read ‘I Want A Pet’ by Lauren Child, and talked about which might be good or bad pets, and why that might be.
We will be having PE on Mondays and Wednesdays, so please ensure that your child has a kit in school. So far we have only used the plimsolls, but we are building up to the full change over the next fortnight!
We hope that your child has been enjoying their first days at Big School. As I said, if there are any problems, or if you would like to chat with one of us, do let us or Elaine know. A strong alliance between families and school is such a powerful factor in children’s education, and in their lives generally. It is reassuring for them to see that they are always surrounded by adults who care about them - their happiness, relationships and their learning.
We wish you a very relaxing weekend – maybe even with a little lie in?!
All the best from Lisa Rowe, Ed Finch and the FSU team.