Welcome to Reception at St John Fisher
In our class we have our Teacher Mrs Mackey, our Teaching Assistant Mrs D’Arcy, 14 girls, 17 boys and 9 goldfish.
Welcome to our classroom
Although we would love to have you come in and visit our classroom, at the moment we are following the Government guidelines to keep us all safe from Covid 19.
In the meantime, you are welcome to go on a virtual tour using the gallery below.
At St John Fisher we shine
How do we shine in Reception?
- We are engaged in our learning through: play, exploring outdoors as well as indoor provision, using our focus texts and themes as well as following children’s interests.
- We are supported, encouraged and challenged through high expectations in our behaviour and learning in carpet sessions and during play in continuous provision. This includes questioning and sustained shared thinking with staff.
- We show our respect for each other and for our school by sharing toys, taking turns, asking politely, looking after our toys and taking care of our environment.
- We use our learning powers and our Come and See experiences to help us grow in dignity. We are also encouraged to be more independent through self-registration and lunch choices, investigative play, snack time and changing clothing and footwear.
This term we will be settling into our new class, getting to know our teachers and making new friends. We will also be starting our learning journey, which along with the Early Years Curriculum also includes:
Each half term we will introduce a new learning power to our class. We talk about how we can show that particular learning power, and how it helps us improve our work. For each Learning Power we have a Learning Power buddy. Each week a child is chosen who has been the Learning Power star. We celebrate this in class and with our families at home. Our Learning Powers for the Autumn term are:
1) Listening and Empathy
We will not start to formally teach phonics until the children are settling into life in Reception. We usually start our daily phonics sessions around the end of September.
Phonics will follow this weekly timetable:
- sh rjvy
- w th z ch
- qu x ng nk
- Consolidation – digraphs
- Consolidation of all Set 1
Giving children access to good quality children’s books and poetry lies at the core of the curriculum at St John Fisher. Each term the children will explore a picture book by a renowned children’s author, a poem and a traditional tale. We will use a number of strategies to enable the children to develop their language, writing and love of reading. These include Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing and Jane Considine’s Foundation Fantastics. Both these strategies, along with the Prime area of Communication and Language support and enable our children to develop their vocabulary and oracy skills.
Each focus text will have an enticing moment at the start and experiences along the way to enrich their understanding of the story/poem.
Our Autumn focus texts are:
- Elmer by David McKee
- Little Red Hen – Traditional Tale (Russian folklore)
- Nut Tree (poem) by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Our class mantra is “Maths is everywhere!” We nurture a love of Mathematics through:
- Our everyday routines (e.g. self-registration, lining up and snack time),
- Encouraging practical Maths in all areas of our continuous provision,
- Dedicated Maths role play area (starting the year with our very own bakery.)
Alongside this we also start to deliver dedicated Maths teaching using Power Maths. The children get to know the Power Maths kids Flo and co. and help them answer questions and solve problems along the way.
Just like the rest of the school we follow the Come and See programme recommended by the Archdiocese.
The themes Early Years will cover in Autumn term are:
Myself (Domestic Church -family)
Welcome (Baptism – Belonging)
Birthday (Advent/Christmas – Loving)
And we will also explore the other faith of Judaism
Physical Development is one of the Prime areas for learning and developing good gross and fine motor skills is essential for future learning including concentration and writing. We follow the Movement for Learning programme developed by a collaboration of Early Years Development Professors and Physio Therapists at Loughborough University and Australia. Children follow this programme of dedicated Physical Development time up to 4 times a week.
This is in addition to the gross and fine motor skill opportunities throughout indoor and outdoor provision. Our tracksuit uniform is ideal for us to be physical all the time in our play.
This year in Reception we are trialling an ebook Home reader system called Phonics Bug. We believe this online system will have numerous benefits for parents and children including:
- Home readers individualised to match each child’s progress in Phonics.
- Interactive games that also enable parents to hear the correct ‘Fred Talk’ pure sounds that are taught in school and help children blend easier.
- No worrying about misplaced school books or forgot to bring it back to school.
- The book will be automatically be changed when the book has been read AND the comprehension activities have been completed.
- The system can be changed and individualised to match each child’s own pace including giving ongoing access to books already finished so they can be re-read to improve fluency and understanding if needed.
We encourage home reading a minimum of 5 times a week. The amount of the book that is read each time varies depending on the ability of the reader. To begin with we would recommend 5-10 minutes of reading, included in this time we will be encouraging parents to ask children questions about what they have read. (There are lots of advice and ideas at the start and end of every home reader book for parents to help them with this.)
We still value traditional paper books and are developing our Early Years Library as well as giving each family access to Pie Corbett’s Reading spine recommended books for Reception. These include a variety of picture books from top authors.
As a whole school we are developing our teaching of Oracy. In Reception we have adopted Voice 21’s ‘Talking Tuesday’ idea. Communication and Language is important to us every day in Early Years, but we have even more planned, focused opportunities on Tuesdays for talk. We start the day of with time for a chatter, at snack time we have our Café chat – just like many parents like to do: join with their friends and catch up at Starbucks or Costa Coffee. We also use Picture News to focus our talk on an issue that is happening right now in the news. As well as developing our children as global citizens, Picture News also includes British Values which we explore through our themed talks with the children. Talking Tuesday doesn’t stop at home time, as we encourage our families to also continue at home. This can be through any of the 4 key oracy strands: Words, Body, Feelings and Brain. For example, they could be ‘Word Watchers’ and collect words that mean the same as our Picture News story for the Words strand, or they may be asked to play a listening game to help develop the Body strand.
To ensure we gather all of the learning opportunities and experiences that your child has throughout their year in Reception, it is vital that we develop good links with every family. We do this through clear and frequent communication and developing good relationships. Methods of communication include:
A member of Reception staff will be at the school gate every morning available for day to day enquiries. We also have class dojo messaging to the class teacher and Tapestry our Learning Journal. If you wish to have a more private discussion, staff are available after school and appointments can be made through the school office, or through a private message on class dojo.
The Early Years curriculum emphasises that every child is unique, and it is important to celebrate all the achievements and progress that each child makes. If we only include the things that a child does in school in their Learning Journal, then we will only have half the story. So, to ensure that we have the full story, we really encourage parents/carers to add progress, achievements and experiences that their child has out of school to their Tapestry Learning Journal. These include travelling on holiday, having a campfire sing song when camping, doing a cartwheel in gymnastics, swimming a width in their swimming lesson, achieving man of the match in football, cutting up their own fish fingers etc. We value all parental contributions and really appreciate the support. Together at St John Fisher we will shine.