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Topic Letter for Parents & Carers

Our theme for this half-term is

Celebrate Good Times!

As autumn draws to a close, we will explore some of the festivals and celebrations that bring light to the dark winter days leading up until Christmas. It is a very busy half-term with lots of exciting activities planned in the following areas of learning:

 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

In RE, our topic is ‘Welcome’. The children will learn that, through Baptism, they have been welcomed into God’s family. They will understand that when we are baptised, the light of Jesus shines in everybody. Mr Housbey from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Church will join us in early November to celebrate a real ‘baptism’ with one of our dolls. He will support the children to appreciate and understand the special symbols used in Baptism and explain the important roles played by the parents, godparents and parishioners as the baby is welcomed into the wider family of the Church community. As the half-term progresses, our thoughts will turn to ‘birthdays’ as we light candles on the Advent wreath to begin our preparations for celebrating Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Day.

 

Communication & Language

During circle time and story-time, the children will celebrate their favourite books and practise being story-tellers as they listen to and retell a range of familiar traditional and fairy tales. Using story baskets, puppets and props, the children will be able to retell and reinvent their favourite stories. They will be taught about basic narrative structures, using and understanding the terms, ‘character’ ‘setting’, ‘problem’ and ‘solution’ as they tell their own tales. We are constantly striving to celebrate reading and engender a love for books in our children; we love sharing books from home so please encourage your child to bring one of their favourites in over the coming weeks.

 

Literacy

We will complete Phase 2 of the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme and consolidate the phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) taught so far. The children will continue to have daily exposure to practising and applying their developing phonemic awareness to read and spell simple words, as well as recognising ‘tricky’ words as often as possible.

 

Our love for reading will be celebrated during the week beginning 6th November as we participate in our annual school ‘Book Week’. This special event is a huge school celebration and will be packed with fun activities for our Reception families to join in with. Most notably, we will embrace our love of books when we embark upon our very first school trip to ‘The Story Barn’ in Calderstones Park on 9th November. Further details to follow in separate letters regarding Book Week and arrangements for our educational visit.

 

Mathematics

We will introduce the concept of counting backwards as we pretend to launch rockets on Bonfire Night and we count down the days until Christmas. The children will be invited to count backwards from random numbers between 1-10 and beyond. Early calculation concepts will be covered as we explore the idea of ‘more and less’. Using Numicon and other resources, the children will be given lots of practical experiences of comparing quantities and numerals to say which is more/greater or less/fewer.

 

Understanding the World

As we discover more about our winter celebrations topic, the children will be encouraged to use their senses to explore and describe all the things they can see, taste, feel, smell and touch as they experience different traditions and customs. They will understand how fire brings light and warmth to the dark, cold days of winter when we celebrate Bonfire Night, Christmas, the Jewish festival of Hannukah and the Hindu festival of Diwali. The children will listen to traditional stories to understand more about the meaning of these festivals and begin to understand the symbolism of light and dark in all traditions.

 

We will reflect on British cultural traditions and respect the role of our armed forces when we participate in ‘Remembrance Week’ activities. If you have any memorabilia or experiences relating to this topic that you would be prepared to share with us, please let us know.

 

Expressive Arts and Design

We will explore pattern and colour through our Diwali, Fireworks and Christmas celebrations. The children will have opportunities to use clay to sculpt diva lamps, recreate rangoli patterns with chalks and make firework transient art pictures with glowsticks. Our Christmas preparations will be the main focus of our creative work this half term as we make, create, decorate and design our own seasonal cards, calendars and gifts. We will also be singing Christmas carols and acting out the key events from the Nativity as Advent begins and Christmas draws closer.

 

Physical Development

The children will participate in PE lessons every Tuesday morning, this half-term we will develop spatial awareness and practise responding safely and appropriately to verbal directions. As ever, we continue to celebrate all the children’s efforts to be independent when dressing before and after PE!

 

We look forward to what promises to be a very busy half-term in Reception and welcome your continued help and support at home.

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