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Our theme for this half term is ‘Be a Light to the World’. 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. Deacon Housbey from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Church will join us in early November to celebrate a real ‘baptism’ with one of our dolls. We will sing the contemporary hymn, ‘My Lighthouse’ to remember that Jesus is always there for us, whatever happens or however we feel. 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
We will celebrate World Nursery Rhyme Week on 16th to 20th November. We will learn a new nursery rhyme by heart every day and develop crucial phase 2 phonics skills in listening for language patterns, rhythm and rhyme. Research has found that “when a child knows eight or more nursery rhymes by heart, at the age of 4, that they are usually one of the best at reading and spelling in their class by the age of 8”.
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.
The children will be given lots of practical experiences of recognising, naming and finding different ways to show the numbers 1 to 5. We are making sure that the children have a solid foundation of every number to 5, before moving on to larger numbers. Our aim is for the children to understand that as we count, each number is one more than the number before. Similarly, as we count back, each number is one less than the previous number. We will use numicon, dominoes, dice, numerals, groups of objects, songs and stories to support the children. We are teaching the children that all numbers are made up of smaller numbers by exploring and noticing the different compositions of 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Understanding the World
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, Advent, 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 Day’ activities.
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 learn traditional and contemporary Christmas songs and carols.
The children continue to explore our outdoor classroom every day and are making great progress organising their own belongings as they dress in their wetsuits and wellies. As ever, we continue to celebrate all the children’s efforts to be independent when dressing themselves: coats, hats, scarves, gloves, shoes etc. Please check that your child’s school uniform/coat/shoes are still labelled and their name is clearly visible to support them with this. In PE this half-term, we will develop ball skills: rolling, throwing, balancing, dribbling and kicking.
As we are unable to invite you to come into school for parents evening this half-term, we plan to send home Autumn Reports at the end of this month to update on your child’s progress and identify their next steps for learning.
We look forward to what promises to be another busy half-term in Reception and, as always, welcome your continued help and support at home.