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Topic Letter for Parents/Carers

        

This half-term, we will explore the seasonal changes that occur in the environment and appreciate the wonder of nature as we investigate living things & growth in seeds, flowers, plants and minibeasts. We will celebrate the beauty of our local environment when we participate in our ‘Nature to Nurture’ Forest School sessions, planned over the next three weeks (please see separate letter for details). Back in school, we will spend lots of time outdoors and will continue to explore our topic in each area of learning:

 

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

The children will show care and concern for living things and the environment by looking after seeds that they plant; care for the flowers in our outdoor area; continue to look after tadpoles and caterpillars and observing the changes that occur as they grow. We will enjoy a close encounter with some exotic creatures when ‘Dylan’s Reptiles’ visit on 27 April. This exciting session will offer us an opportunity to develop our self-confidence by handling and holding animals that we may be fearful of and hopefully eradicate any fears of the bug world! We will also celebrate some special dates this half term including St George’s Day and our school’s 19th birthday on Dedication Day, 5th May. In RE, we will cover the themes of ‘Good News’ and ‘Friends’.

 

Literacy

We will focus on the work of the author Eric Carle and will introduce the children to his many stories, non-fiction books and poems relating to the natural world. The children will have opportunities to re-tell the stories using words, pictures, music and writing and perhaps use them as a stimulus for making their own books related to the topic. In Reading and Writing, we will develop the children’s ability to recognise non-fiction texts as information books and use them to find out new things to answer questions about why things happen in the natural world. We will encourage the children to read and write their own captions, labels and instructions and use diagrams, photographs, the contents page and index as tools to gain further information.

 

Communication and Language

At storytime, we will share ‘woodland’ related stories every day including ‘The Gruffalo’; ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and we may even receive a surprise letter from the fairies to read and talk about! We will develop comprehension skills and the children will be encouraged to be ‘news reporters’, recalling and recounting significant events from stories and their own lives, incorporating increasing detail to engage the listener. You can help develop comprehension skills by asking ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how?’ after sharing stories and books together. These questions can really support this aspect of learning.

 

Mathematics

The topic of ‘Measures’ will be explored via practical activities as we explore growing in our outdoor area. The children will have extensive opportunities to compare, measure, estimate and record the length, weight, mass, shape and size of various objects (including themselves) and will develop related mathematical vocabulary: long (er-est), short, tall, wide, narrow, heavy, light, thick, thin, the same height/weight/length as etc. Throughout this half-term, the children will become familiar with the concept of the passage of time and understand the units of time; days of the week, months of the year, morning, afternoon and night time. This will lead into learning how to tell ‘o’ clock time later on in the summer term.

 

Understanding the World

We will develop scientific awareness of how living things change as they grow. We will plant a variety of seeds and hopefully enjoy watching flowers, herbs, vegetables and plants grow over the summer term, including a few ‘beanstalks’ if we are lucky! We will experiment with finding out the optimal conditions for seeds to grow and record our observations.  Our visit to Croxteth Park to plant bulbs this week will also support our learning in this area.  We will develop observational skills as we go on a ‘minibeast hunt’ during Science Week later this half-term. After collecting a variety of bugs and creepy-crawlies, we will enjoy looking after them for a short period and extend our understanding of the habitats of these fascinating creatures, how they feed and the different ways they move.

 

Expressive Arts & Design

The children love to sing so we will be learning even more seasonal songs this half term! We will look at the natural artwork of Andy Goldsworthy and attempt to recreate some pieces using natural resources outside. We will explore sound using simple percussion instruments and use them to accompany different parts of the ‘Bear Hunt’ story.

 

Physical Development

The children will discover what is needed for their own growth and change as we exercise in order to look after our own bodies. We will participate in weekly gymnastic sessions led by Beth Tweddle Gymnastics coaches every Tuesday this half-term. As always, we are striving to encourage the children to be independent by trying to dress themselves and take responsibility of their belongings, particularly after PE sessions; please support us by giving your child a chance to attempt putting on and fastening their own clothes, coat, socks, shoes etc before immediately doing it for them!

 

At Home… You can extend your child’s learning by:-

  • Planting seeds, observing and measuring growth, comparing sizes.
  • Getting outdoors to explore living things in their natural habitats
  • Praising their attempts to more and more independent
  • Motivating your child to ‘have a go’ at writing words and simple sentences (stressing the idea that it doesn’t matter if they make a mistake!).
  • Sharing their daily reading books every day, encouraging your child to read tricky and high frequency words ‘on sight’ and using phonic strategies to decode less familiar words.
  • Developing comprehension skills by encouraging your child to retell stories, infer information and answer questions based on what they have read.
  • Practising handwriting skills to ensure correct pencil grip and accurate formation of letters and numbers

 

We are now in the final term of the children’s first year at school! We look forward to another busy and exciting half-term together. Thank you for continuing to support and encourage your child (and us!) this year.

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