Hello and welcome to our special page for Reception Class, known as the 'Squirrels' class! The place where children have lots of fun learning through play!
In Reception, Miss Bestwick is the class teacher and Mrs Tomlinson, Mrs Rowley and Miss Renshaw are the Early Years Practitioners who will be working with the children throughout the week. We also have Miss Jenkins working with us through the week. She is our Early Years apprentice.
Miss Harrison is the Early Years Co-ordinator who will be popping in lots to check we are having lots of fun whilst we learn. She will also be taking Squirrel class for our weekly forest schools session.
We want your child to be happy and to enjoy learning so if you have any questions or concerns please come and see us! Don't hesitate to get in touch with any question no matter how big or small. Email me at Squirrels@coppice.derbyshire.sch.uk
I know next year will be another amazing year in our Squirrel class with lots of learning and laughter happening!
Meet the Squirrels Class Team
Mrs Anderton Class Teacher
Mrs Tomlinson Early Years Practitioner (every morning and Thursday afternoon)
Mrs Rowley Early Years Practitioner (Every morning and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon)
Early Years Practitioner
Apprentice Early Years Practitioner
(Various times in the morning and every afternoon)
Our topic this term is
‘Stomp, Chomp, BIG Roars. Here come the dinosaurs!’
Below you will find a brief overview of this term’s topic. Under each week, we have listed some ideas to start with and we will continue to add to them as we go through the half term. We base our learning around a theme each week linked to our topic. Within this we also follow the principles of 'planning in the moment' which means that the children guide our learning following their interests and so every day is full of surprises!
For this half term PE lessons are on a Wednesday morning. This half term our PE lessons will take place inside and outside depending on the weather. This half term’s unit will be taught by our professional sports coach, Mr Singh. This half term's PE unit is multi-skills. Please ensure your child has the appropriate clothing / uniform for each day. Please make sure that they do not wear jewellery including earrings on this day. Thank you.
This half term we will be having forest school sessions on a Monday afternoon. Please make sure your child brings their forest school kit as mentioned on the initial letter.
This half term from the 21st September we will be having weekly family reading sessions. These will take place every Wednesday from 3pm. Please see the letter which has been sent home about this.
Please click here to open this term’s ‘Stomp, chomp, BIG roars, here come the dinosaurs!' topic web.
This term's topic challenges are...
Below are 4 challenges that support your child’s learning at home and earn them points for the behaviour ladder.
1 point – bring in your favourite dinosaur story to share with the class.
2 points – create a family portrait to bring in to show and tell to share with the class.
3 points – practise writing your name. Can you use pencils? Pens? Paint? Playdough? Sticks? Mud? Anything!
4 points - choose an animal. Where do they live? Can you make a shoe box habitat to bring in and share with your friends?
These are challenges for your child to work on with you at home throughout this half term’s topic.
The children will receive a sticker for their hand print for completing each of the different challenges.
The children’s sticker total is counted up every half term. Different totals equate to different prizes!
For completing these challenges, the children also get points on their ambassador passports. Let’s keep working towards our bronze, silver and gold badges!
Autumn Term 1 – Week 1
Week Commencing Monday 5th September 2022
Dinosaur Starts School
Who are the main characters? What does dinosaur do for the first time? How does he feel? When have you ever felt that way? How do you feel about starting school?
It is the beginning of the new school year and we are so excited to welcome you all in to Reception class. We are going to have a fantastic year together as Squirrel Class!
This week you will meet your new friends and learn where all the resources are in your classroom along with learning about the rules and routines in your class. We will also start learning through our theme, read lots of books and start having some short formal whole class inputs.
In a morning, we will focus on building your independence. You will learn where your pegs are, water bottles are, name cards on, where you put your book bag and will start writing your name in your name book every day!
You will start your phonics lessons. This year we are using Twinkl phonics and a new page will be added to the website where you will find links to activities to do at home to support our learning in class. This week we will be revisiting phase 1 phonics and building upon our listening skills. We are going to complete lots of games that practise our oral segmenting and blending.
You will also start your numeracy lessons. We will practise subitising numerals to 5 (recognising amounts without counting) and counting small groups of objects using 1:1 correspondence. We will be exploring the calculation corner and be counting anything and everything. We will also count lots of things from in our book e.g. how many eyes does the dinosaur have? How many spikes does the dinosaur have? Mrs Anderton might also share some of her favourite counting songs with you!
You will also start your literacy lessons. This week we will be focussing on developing your listening and attention skills. Can you follow the story and answer questions about it? Usually, we would complete small group tasks linked to the story but this week we are going to complete a Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle Assessment. Can you hold a pencil? Which hand do you use? Which grip do you use? Can you draw a picture of you? Can you write your name? This will be our starting point to track your writing development throughout the year!
We won’t have topic lessons this week due to only doing half days to help you settle in to the new routine. After lunch you will be picked up by your grown ups but next week the afternoons will be fun packed too!
We might not have topic lessons but we do however still have continuous access to the inside and outside areas. These areas are available for you to access all day, every day and this week the adults in the room will help you become confident in using these areas.
Some areas we think you will love this week are:
- The creative station – can you paint a picture of you, your family or a dinosaur?
- The big build – can you use the popoids to make a person or a dinosaur from the story?
- The funky fingers table – are you brave enough to use the hammer and nails to make a shape picture of a dinosaur?
- Home sweet home – can you act in role of a mum, dad, toddler or animal?
- Adventure island – can you build your house? Can you make a story using the characters?
- Dino island – can you name and describe the dinosaurs? Can you sort them in different ways? Can you make a story?
- Water world – can you use the tweezers to collect the dinosaurs? Who has most / least? Can you sort them in different ways?
- The beach – can you make a sandcastle dinosaur island?
This week you will also take home your reading folder. In this folder you will find a school reading book and a reading diary. Your grown up will hear you read at least three times a week. They will then write in your reading diary to let us know how you got on. Lilac books don’t have words but don’t panic there are lots of skills you can practise when reading. Can you hold your book? Can you turn the pages? Can you name items in the story? What noises would they make? Can you find an item starting with the sound ….? Can you make a story using the illustrations? What happened at the start, in the middle and at the end of the story?
We hope you are going to love your first week with us! We think you will enjoy it so much that you won’t be ready to go home! The staff never want to have a weekend either – school is more fun than home!
Autumn Term 1 – Week 2
Week Commencing Monday 12th September 2022
If I had a dinosaur
Why would you want a dinosaur? Where would you take your dinosaur? What would you teach your dinosaur? Would your dinosaur be kind or mean? Why is a dinosaur better than other pets? What do dinosaurs need to survive?
Last week we learnt how much you all loved dinosaurs! We need to learn lots about this so we can have our own! But what would you do with your own dinosaur?
In literacy we will explore this week’s focus text. We will use our imagination and see if we can think of any other reasons for wanting a dinosaur and any other things we would do we with a dinosaur. We will then design our perfect dinosaur pet. What colour would we want? What would it look like? We might paint pictures, draw pictures using Ipads or use junk modelling to make models. We will practise our listening and attention skills by answering questions about our dinosaurs. We will then practise labelling our dinosaurs. Some of us will copy an adults marks e.g. What sound does long start with? Once you have said it, an adult will write it and then you will copy. Some of you might find the sounds yourself on a sound mat! I can’t wait to start mark making with your each week!
In numeracy, we will be looking at different types of dinosaur and practise our counting skills. How many of each type do we have? We will practise both subitising (recognising amounts without counting) and checking our answers using 1:1 correspondence. Some of us will show how many we have on our fingers, others will make marks, some might show digit cards and some of us might even write numerals using our number formation rhymes! In Squirrel class we do so much counting each day!
In phonics, we will continue with another week of our phase 1 learning focusing on developing our listening and attention skills and practising our oral segmenting and blending. You can practise this at home .g. Which word am I saying c/a/t = cat. Can you chop up this word dog? (d/o/g) Which words start with …. Sound?
In the afternoons we will have one PSHE / RSE lesson, one RE lesson, one music lesson, one forest school lesson and one additional lesson linked to our book of the week.
This half term, in PSHE, will be all about making friendships. We will learn Squirrels’ golden rules and how the behaviour ladder works. We will also start to explore emotions and think about what makes happy and sad.
This half term in RE we will be learning through the topic ‘Where do we belong?’. We will be thinking about what makes us special, how we are similar and different to each other, which groups we belong to, sharing occasions when we have felt special and begin to think about some Christian beliefs such as people are special to God.
This half term in music our topic is ‘Me!’. In this unit we will learn to sing nursery rhymes such as Pat-a-cake, 1 2 3 4 5 once I caught a fish alive, this old man, five little ducks, name song and thigs for fingers. We will listen and respond to different types of music, add actions to songs and music, improvise and play instruments to music and songs and perform in front of others.
At the creative station we will make collage dinosaurs, junk model dinosaurs, painted dinosaurs and much more! Each dinosaur will be unique as we all want slightly different things for our perfect dinosaur pet!
At the message centre we will practise our pencil grip. We will trace lines and use stencils to create dinosaur pieces of art!
In adventure island, we will have a happyland street. We will act in role and use our imagination. Where would we take our dinosaur and what would we do?
Autumn Term 1 - Week 3
Week Commencing Monday 19th September 2022
What does drip look like? What does his mum look like? What does his dad look like? How does he feel? Are they being kind? How are they similar? How are they different?
This week we are going to be learning through the story ‘Tyrannosaurus Drip’. This story is by one of Mrs Anderton’s favourite authors Julia Donaldson! This story links nicely to our ongoing PSHE unit and will allow us to apply our prior learning and have some discussions about being unique and accepting differences.
In literacy we will be exploring what makes a good friend and making a good friend recipe. Some of us will be drawing what makes a good friend and saying the initial sounds, some of us will be copying the initial sounds and others will be finding it on the sound mat on our own and copying it.
In numeracy, we will look carefully at the pictures in the story and practise positional language. Where is Drip? Is he near / next to / under / over? We will also compare amounts. How many … can we see? What do we have most of / least of?
In phonics, we will be starting our phase 2 lessons. This week we will learn the sounds s a t p. We will learn the actions, songs, handwriting rhymes and practise identifying objects that start with this sounds!
Autumn Term 1 - Week 4
Week Commencing Monday 26th September 2022
How to grow a dinosaur
What is the egg like? Where has the egg come from? How do you look after a dinosaur? How could we sort the dinosaurs by colour? What does a dinosaur like to do? What does the dinosaur like to eat for his meals? How should you treat each other?
This week we are going to be exploring how dinosaurs started life. It will start by finding a large dinosaur egg in the EYFS outside area! Where was it found? How can we describe it? What do you think will happen? We will use our observational skills to see how it changes and see what is going to come out of it once it cracks!
Once we have a baby dinosaur we will look at what a baby dinosaur needs to live and make links to our own lives from when we were a baby! Please can parents find a baby photograph of their child ready to share in our circle time? We will look at how we have grown from a baby to a toddler to a child and how we will change into a teenager and an adult,
During the week we will look at dinosaurs and what they like to eat and what would we feed a dinosaur if we were looking after them. How would we entertain a dinosaur?
Once the children have learnt enough about caring for our class dinosaur, they will then be entrusted to grow their own dinosaur which they will then be able to take home!
In literacy, we are going to make shopping lists for things we need to buy to grow a dinosaur, write instructions for how to grow a dinosaur and write words around pictures of what’s happening to our class egg. For writing some of us will use emergent writing and have our ideas scribed by adults, some of us will verbally say initial sounds and copy them for words, some of us will independently find and record the initial sounds using a sound mat.
In numeracy, we are going to explore the names and properties of 2D shapes. We are also going to practise matching objects. Can you find one exactly like mine? How do you know it is the same? How do you know if it is different?
In phonics, we are on week 2 of phase 2 phonics. This week we will learn the sounds i n m d. We will learn the actions, songs, handwriting rhymes and practise identifying objects that start with this sounds!
Autumn Term 1 - Week 5
Week Commencing Monday 3rd October 2022
Dinosaurs Love Underpants
Why do dinosaurs love underpants? How do dinosaurs move? What colour/pattern are on the pants? What happened to the cave men in the story? What is a skeleton?
This week we are going to have a pant-tastic week! Pants will be everywhere in the indoor and outdoor continuous provision!
We will explore why the cave men liked the pants and see what patterns we could make on the pants in the creative area!
In the calculation corner we will be finding out how to sort different shapes and materials can be sorted by colour.
We will begin to explore dinosaur skeletons and sort the different bones by shape and size! We will then use the art straws to make dinosaur skeletons!
In numeracy we will look at the Cave man’s pant shop and explore positional language. Which pair of pants is near, next to, under, over……? We will also practise sorting pants by different criteria including colour, size and style.
In literacy, we will be building up our vocabulary and practise describing the pants. Some of us will start to use the conjunction and to extend our sentences e.g. ‘The pants are frilly and pink’. The children will then design their favourite pair of pants and make marks to describe them! After all, all shops have labels to tell you what each item is!
In phonics, we are on week 2 of phase 3 phonics. This week we will learn the sounds g o c k. We will learn the actions, songs, handwriting rhymes and practise identifying objects that start with this sounds!
Autumn Term 1 - Week 6
Week Commencing Monday 10th October 2022
The Little Red Hen
Who is the Little Red Hen? What did she do? Who are the other farm animals in the story? What did the animals do wrong? What was the Little Red Hen making? What ingredients do we need to make bread? How do we make bread? What happens at Harvest time? What do farmers do?
This week we are going to be learning a classic story which should be read by every one - Little Red Hen! We will be acting this out using our Talk for Writing strategies where we will follow the story map and use some actions. Hopefully, we will create a video to share with you on Tapestry! I know you will be impressed! After we have read and acted out the story we will explore how poor Little Red Hen had to make the bread all by herself as the other animals refused to help her. We will discuss how this is not the right behaviour and we should always help each other and will practise this is Squirrel class.
In numeracy, we will order measuring characters and ordering them by size and measuring ingredients and ordering them by weight. These skills will come in handy for the treat of the week!
In literacy, we will create our own Talk for Writing story maps, sequence pictures from the story and make shopping lists for making bread!
In phonics, we are on week 3 of phase 4 phonics. This week we will learn the sounds ck e u r. We will learn the actions, songs, handwriting rhymes and practise identifying objects that start with this sounds!
Our wow moment of the week is that we are going to make bread like Little Red Hen! We will explore the different ingredients and find out where they come from. We will make sure that we have clean hands and discuss why we do this and wear an apron when we are cooking. As we make the bread, we will discuss how the ingredients are changing and how the dough becomes all stretchy because of the magic of yeast. We will discuss how it changes in the oven and the importance of an adult using or supervising the oven.
During the week we will also be exploring what happens at Harvest time and how we need to thank the farmers for all of the amazing work that they do to provide the food we eat. Hopefully we will share this learning with you in our annual Harvest festival assembly.
In the small world area, we will have the farm animals and buildings so we can recreate the work that the farmers do every day.
At the creative station, we will make Red Hen baker head bands to wear whilst we are chefs!
Autumn Term 1 - Week 7
Week Commencing Monday 17th October 2022
It's Autumn Time
What happens at Autumn time? What will we see in our outside area at Autumn on our walk? What colours are the leaves? What sounds can we make with the leaves? How will the weather change? How will we change our clothing?
This week it is the last week of our first half term in Reception. How did the time go so fast? We are going to find out what happens during autumn as this is the season we are currently in. We will spend time in the Forest Schools site looking at the different autumnal colours and exploring what happens to the leaves as they fall off the trees. Hopefully it won't be too wet so we can go through the crispy, crunchy leaves – we don’t want soggy, mushy leaves!
In Literacy we will be learning about hedgehogs and other animals that have special jobs to do in autumn in preparation for winter. We will make non-fiction books where we will make marks to explain the facts we have learnt. We will think about how we can help wild life in autumn and what we can do in our outdoor area to help wildlife and animals throughout the difficult seasons.
In phonics, we are on week 5 of level 2 phonics. This week we will learn the sounds h b f l We will learn the actions, songs, handwriting rhymes and practise identifying objects that start with this sounds!
At the end of the week, for over half term, the EYFS team will also set an autumn challenge where the children can find signs of autumn when going out with parents and carers and bring these into Squirrel Class so we can have them on our investigation table. We will look at how we have different seasons in the year and after autumn we will go into winter.
Reception Important Diary Dates
Here are the dates we have so far for this half term. We will continue to add to them as the half term progresses. Also remember to check your weekly newsletter for the most up to date information.
Thursday 1st September 2022 -School/Nursery closed to the children as it is INSET Day.
Friday 2nd September 2022 -School/Nursery closed to the children as it is INSET Day.
Monday 5th September 2022 - School opens for all children. This week children are doing half days and are collected after lunch time.
Thursday 29th September - Dinosaur dress up day in EYFS! Come dressed as a dinosaur for the morning!
Friday 30th September - MacMillan Coffee Morning. More information to follow.
Tuesday 4th October 2022 - Stay and play session for Squirrels at 2pm.
Monday 10th October 2022 - Hello Yellow Day (World Mental Health Day)
Tuesday 11th October 2022 - EYFS Harvest Festival at 9.30am
Wednesday 19th October 2022 - Phase One Phonics workshop at 11.00am
Friday 21st October 2022 - Last day of term
Monday 31st October 2022 - School/Nursery opens for everyone!
Weekly Class Newsletters
2021-2022 Long Term Planning
Throughout the year we have lots of exciting topics planned. Click here to see an outline of our year.
2022 - 2023 Past Topic Webs
2021 - 2022 Past Topic Webs
Summer 2 - Please click here to open our 'Splish, Splash, Splosh!' topic web
Summer 1 - Please click here to open our ‘People Who Help Us' topic web.
Spring 2 - Please click here to open our 'Once Upon a Time...' topic web.
Spring 1 - Please click here to open our 'Winter Wonderland' topic web.
Autumn 2 - Please click here to open our 'Special Times!' topic web.
Autumn 1 - Please click here to open our 'Marvellous Me!' topic web.
2020 - 2021 Past Topic Webs
Autumn 1 - Please click here to open our Stomp, Chomp, BIG roars, here come the dinosaurs! topic web.
Autumn 2 - Please click here to open our 'Let's Celebrate' topic web.
Spring 1 - Please click here to open our 'Magical Monsters' topic web.
Spring 2 - Please click here to open our 'Twinkle, Twinkle' topic web.
Summer 1 - Please click here to open our ‘Down at the Bottom of the Garden’ topic web.
School Starters Information
- Squirrels class social story booklet - I am starting Reception!
- Welcome to Reception booklet
- Derbyshire Ten Keys to School Readiness!
The Early Years Foundation Stage
In Squirrels class we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage which is organised into seven areas of learning. These seven areas are as follows:
PSED - Personal, social, emotional development (developing self confidence and self awareness, making relationships as well as managing behaviour and feelings).
CL - Communication and Language (speaking, listening and understanding)
PD - Physical development (moving and handling as well as health and self care)
LIT - Literacy (reading and writing)
MATHS - Mathematics (numbers, shape, space and measures)
UW - Understanding the World (people and communities, the world and technology)
EAD - Expressive Arts and Design (exploring and using media and materials as well as being imaginative!)
In school we have a set of non-negotiables for Literacy and Mathematics for the children to aspire to by the end of each year group. Click below to see what is expected by the end of their time in Squirrels class (end of EYFS).
We work towards the Early Learning Goals (ELG's) in Squirrels class. Click on the document to see what the Early Years curriculum is all about and what the children should be able to do by the end of their time in Squirrels class.
Squirrels' Stars of the Week
At our school we have a special 'star of the week' from each class! In Squirrels class we have Sammy Squirrel who goes home with the star of the week for a whole week and he has a special diary for the star of the week to fill in ready to be shared with the class the following week. Sammy can't wait to meet you!
Ambassador Awards 2021- 2022
This year we have incorporated the Learning Passport within a document that recognises children’s achievements in school and the wider community. What is expected in order for children to achieve their ’Ambassador Award’ comes under 4 headings:
- Behaviour and conduct
Each section has elements that underpin the values that as a school we hold dear. We believe that learning is something that continues every minute of the waking day and it is important to recognise children’s achievements not only in lessons but beyond. Adults in school will discuss each section with the children and how they can meet the criteria identified; we are hoping that the children will be able to take some ownership of the passport themselves!
Have a look at the Ambassador leaflet to find out more and look through 'Steps to Success' passport the Reception children will be working through this year to help them achieve their Ambassador Awards!
During the last few years we have developed a way that we collect observations about what your child can do during their time in Squirrels class. We use an app called 'Early Excellence'. We will take photographs of your child completing different activities and make notes about what they are doing. One of the best features of this is that we can email you all the evidence we collect! Please make sure we have your email address and we will send you all of our observations! Don't forget to reply and let us know of any 'wow' moments you witness at home. Please see Miss Harrison for an email request form if you have not completed this in your new starters pack or you can download one by clicking on the link below.
During the year we hold workshops to support parents and carers in helping their child at home. At the moment, due to Covid 19, we have not planned these. However, we hope to run these once it is safe to do so.
Helpful Handouts for Parents
Stay and Play sessions
Each term we have a stay and play session so parents, carers and other family member can join us in Squirrels class to see what we do. The children love showing everyone their classroom and the type of activities we do every day in Squirrels class. We always end with an activity for both children and adults. This could be a story, a squiggle, a dough disco or a dance! Who knows!! We like to keep it a surprise!!
The children love showing their grown ups the Squirrels classroom and EYFS outside area. We cannot wait to welcome you to our stay and play sessions this year! We are not sure when our next play and stay session will be due to Covid 19 but we already busy planning exciting things to do.
Have a question or concern?
We understand that there are times when you might have a question or concern! You have an open door policy in our school and you are always welcome and to come and speak to any member of staff. You can email me at email@example.com or our EYFS co-ordinator, Miss Harrison, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can ring school on 01773 712840 and we will do all we can to help.
Helping at home
There are lots of things you can do to help your child. We don't have formal homework in Squirrels class but below are some ideas of what you can do which are quick and easy and will help your child consolidate skills we have taught in school. Look on each topic web for some challenges we have set the children to help them gain extra points for their reward chart in school! If you would like any help or support please ask any member of EYFS staff. We would be more than happy to help with ideas!
Your child has a reading folder which includes flashcards, a homework book and reading book. Please practise these for 5 - 10 minutes every night if possible. We will hear your child read every week in school and will practise letter sounds and high frequency words in our Letters and Sounds activities.
Every week your child will have a phonics activity to complete at home. As we move through phase 2 and phase 3 phonics they will also be bringing flashcards home to practise. If your child needs any help to record the sounds we have learnt this is a brilliant link to use at home https://lettersandsounds.org.uk/for-home/reception
Encourage your child to write their names on invitations and cards reminding them to have a capital letter at the beginning! As they learn their letter sounds help them practise writing them using the correct letter formation.
Play board games such as 'snakes and ladders' to encourage your child to count spaces to move their counters forwards or backward. When you are walking as the children to count how many foot steps from one place to another and ask the children to identify different numbers they see on doors or buses. Practise counting in order to at least twenty and backwards to zero.
Encourage your child to put on and fasten their own coat, to put on their own shoes and to get dressed and undress by themselves. Remind them to wash their hands after going to the toilet and before eating a meal. When eating encourage your child to use a knife and fork correctly.