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. 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.
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
Miss Bestwick Class Teacher
Mrs Tomlinson Early Years Practitioner
Mrs Rowley Early Years Practitioner
Early Years Practitioner
Our topic this term is
Below you will friend 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. Please ensure your child has the appropriate clothing / uniform for each day. Thank you.
This half term we will not be having forest school sessions.
Please click here to open this term’s ‘Special Times!' topic web.
This term's topic challenges are...
1 point – Bring in a story linking to a special time that we can share with the class. This could be a book linking to weddings, birthdays, Christmas, Halloween etc.
2 points – Practise being independent. Can your grown ups send in photos and proud clouds showing just how grown up you are becoming? Can you zip up your coat? Can you help fold the laundry? Can you help dry the pots? Can you make your bed? Just how helpful can you be? We can’t wait to see your photos!
3 points – Create a piece of art using any media you like that shows your favourite celebration of the year. Is it Bonfire night, Fireworks night, Easter, your birthday, Christmas or perhaps some other time of the year. We can’t wait to see your master piece and hear about why you love that celebration so much!
4 points – Make a ‘memory box’ of special times in your life to share with the class. You could fill this with photos, drawings and notes including things about your life journey so far. Perhaps birthday photos, Christmas photos, pumpkin picking… any photos that show how you celebrate different times of the year and any family traditions you may have such as Easter egg hunts!
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 2 - Week 1
Week Commencing Monday 1st November
What happens at Bonfire Night? What colours can we see in the sky? Which sounds can we hear? What might we smell on Bonfire Night? What might we taste at Bonfire Night? Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night? How can we stay safe at Bonfire Night?
Please note children return to school on Tuesday 2nd November as Monday is an INSET day.
Thursday is photo day. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information about this.
For our first week back, we will be basing our learning around the theme ‘Bonfire Night’.
Our focus text for the week will be ‘Sparks in the Sky’.
In Literacy, we will be using our phase 2 knowledge to describe a fire work scene. What will we see, hear, smell and taste? We will think of adjectives to describe each item and record the sounds we can hear e.g. b for bang and p for pop.
As well as receiving literacy lessons, there will be lots of opportunities of learning within our classroom provision. We will be practising our squiggle mark making skills to represent fireworks. We will be practising our pencil control by tracing over firework patterns. We will practise making marks in different media e.g. chalk on black paper and crayons on paper.
In numeracy, we will be continuing our White Rose Maths unit or ‘It’s me 1 2 3’. We will practise recognising numerals 1,2,3 counting amounts, comparing amounts and ordering amounts. We will use the language of ‘more’ ‘less’ and ‘equal’.
As well as receiving numeracy lessons, there will be lots of opportunities of learning within our classroom provision. We will order fireworks by size, use a rocket balloon and compare distance using everyday language and of course we will use the calculation corner resources to follow the children’s mathematical interests.
In addition to phonics, literacy and numeracy lessons we will also have a variety of topic lessons in the afternoon. We will continue our weekly PSE lesson. This week’s will focus on sharing our holiday news and reminding children of the rules and expectations of school. We will also continue with our British Value fortnightly question. This week’s question is …. We will also discuss our new RE topic ‘Which times are special and why?’ and create a mind map of our initial thoughts and knowledge. We will also learn about Bonfire Night, The Gunpowder Plot and firework safety and create a classroom celebration display. This will involve large scale splatter painting, chalk drawings and junk model rockets!
In addition to this, we will also be creating a piece of art as part of a whole school celebration for Remembrance Day.
This week is certainly going to be a lot of fun! I know Sammy Squirrel will keep us busy learning with his daily Sammy Squirrel challenges!
WOW moments: Experiencing using sparklers ourselves. In PE dancing like fireworks and creating a firework dance to the song Fireworks by Katy Perry.
Autumn Term 2 - Week 2
Week Commencing Monday 8th November
What does it mean to be married? What are weddings and what happens at weddings? What other celebrations and festivals can we take part in with our families? What is an invitation? What items would we need to have a party? Who can get married?
On Monday 8th November, Reception will walk to church after lunch. Children will need picking up from church. Please refer to your letter in relation to this. If your child is at Debbie Ducks school staff will walk them back to school.
On Thursday 11th Remembrance Day the whole school will celebrate Remembrance Day.
This week, we are learning through the theme ‘Weddings’. Miss Bestwick is very excited about this topic as it is nearly her wedding! Our key text this week is a story by Miss Harrison’s favourite author Julia Donaldson and it is called ‘The Scarecrow’s Wedding’.
In Literacy this week, we will be writing a wedding guest list / seating plan using our phonic knowledge. Which friends would we like to attend our wedding? We will record the sounds we hear e.g. m/i/s for Miss. After we have learnt what a wedding is on Monday, we will write invitations for who Miss Bestwick wants to attend her wedding. We will practise counting words in sentences and using our phase 2 knowledge to recognise words and order words within a sentence.
In numeracy, we are continuing with our White Rose Maths unit ‘It’s Me 1 2 3’ for our final week. This week we are looking at the composition of numbers 1,2 and 3. We will once again be using the part whole model and bar model to represent our thoughts and findings. We will look at the chairs on a row at the wedding and seats in a car. How many are we allowed in each area? If we have that many people / boys / girls how many more can we fit in? We will look at representing these as simple addition sentences e.g. 1+2=3. How many ways can we compose the numbers 1,2 and 3? We will also be practising the following number formation rhymes to help us when writing our numerals! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDlQp7ZGJfU
In our continuous provision, Sammy Squirrel will set lots of exciting challenges. In the Calculation Corner we will be making repeating patterns on dresses and ties. In the creative station area, we will be making bouquets. In the message centre, we will be making invitations and cards. In the adventure island we will have props to act our a wedding.
WOW moments: Acting out a wedding at church. Having a photo booth roleplay area set up and practising taking photos using cameras. In PE learning dances we may do at weddings.
Autumn Term 2 - Week 3
Week Commencing Monday 15th November
Who celebrates Diwali? How do people celebrate Diwali? Why do people celebrate Diwali? What is the festival of Diwali? What will I see? What is a Rangoli pattern? What is a diva lamp? What is a light source?
This week we will be learning through the theme ‘Diwali’. Our key text will be the story of Rama and Sita.
In Literacy and in the message centre, we will practise sequencing the story, labelling key characters using our phase 2 knowledge, writing simple shopping lists and instructions on how to make Chapatis and writing simple non-fiction books about Diwali.
In numeracy, we will be starting our new White Rose Maths unit, ‘Light and Dark’. During week one of this unit we will be exploring the numbers 4 and 5. Our key vocabulary will be one, two, three, four, five, square, rectangle, 5 frame, sides, corners, straight, long, short. We will be learning through the mathematical story ‘Pete the Cat’. We will practise counting groups of items on to 5 frames and comparing how much of the 5 frame they fill. We will match the amounts shown in the 5 frame with the numeral. We will sort groups of objects in to groups depending on the amount the represent. We will then start to think about the composition of numbers starting by looking at dominoes e.g. 4 spots on one side and 1 spot on the other make 5 in total. We will practise simple addition to help reinforce using the composition of numbers by using fireworks in the sky. E.g. We will place 2 red fireworks (counters) in the sky and 2 yellow fireworks (counters) in the sky. How many altogether? We would record this as a simple addition e.g. 2+2=4.
In topic lessons we will make Diva lamps out of clay and decorate them, make coconut sweets, cook chapatis and explore Rangoli patterns.
In addition to learning about Diwali, some of our afternoon topic lessons will be dedicated to Anti-Bullying Week. More details about this will be sent home nearer the time.
Our British Values question for the next fortnight is…
WOW moments: Exploring light sources in a dark cave, make Rangoli patterns using a range of media, make and taste Diwali treats, making Diwali cards, acting out the story and making diva lamps.
Autumn Term 2 - Week 4
Week Commencing Monday 22nd November
What is a birthday? Why do we celebrate birthdays? How do we celebrate birthdays? Who celebrates birthdays?
This week we are learning through the theme ‘Birthdays’ and we have a very special birthday in the class! Sammy the Squirrel is turning 5! Our focus text this week is ‘Kipper’s Birthday’.
In literacy and at the message centre we will be writing birthday cards, writing shopping lists, writing birthday cake instructions, creating party invites and writing a present wish list. In all of these activities we will be applying our phase 2 phonics and using our sound mats to help us record the sounds we can hear.
In numeracy, we will be continuing with the unit ‘Light and Dark’. This week we will be revisiting numbers 1 to 5. We will practise recognising them, forming the numerals, counting out amounts, ordering amounts and comparing amounts. We will then be moving on to 1 more and 1 less. We will work these out practically using birthday cakes and candles and then move to working them out abstractly using number lines and mentally without using resources. To support our learning we will be singing lots of number rhymes that count forwards and backwards to and from 5.
In the calculation corner we will be exploring 3D shapes and different shaped parcels to wrap for Sammy. Which size piece of paper do we need for each box? We will also have scales out to practise weighing ingredients for when we make Sammy’s cake in topic.
WOW moments: making Sammy a birthday cake, singing birthday songs, in PE learning birthday party dances, making party hats, printing patterns on to wrapping paper and ending the week with a birthday party!
Autumn Term 2 - Week 5
Week Commencing Monday 29th November
Are all weddings the same? Do all weddings take part in a church? Can only Christians get married? What is the same about a Christian and Hindu wedding? What is different about a Christian and Hindu wedding? Where do Hindu weddings take place? What is a Hindu?
On Monday 29th we have the Open Centre in school teaching us all about Hindu weddings and sharing with us real artefacts which would be found at a Hindu wedding.
This week we are learning about Hindu weddings. For this theme, we do not have a focus text. Instead we are basing our learning on our Open Centre workshop.
In Literacy we will be creating simple non-fiction books about what we learnt and writing simple recounts about our afternoon on Monday. In the message centre we will be using our mark marking skills to create Mehndi patterns and to design wedding clothes and jewellery.
In numeracy, we are on our final week of ‘Light and Dark’. Our first lesson will be recapping the basic 2D shapes. We will focus on squares and rectangles in particular but will recap circles, semi circles and triangles. We will go on shape hunts and sort shapes by different criteria including by corners and sides. Our second session will be based around the story ‘Peace at last’ and we will be focussing our learning around time. We will be thinking about our daily routines. What do we do in the morning? What do we do in the evening? We will practise sequencing events that happen through the day. We will be focussing on using time words e.g. ‘first’ ‘next’’ ‘then’ ‘finally’.
In topic, we will be exploring lots of Sammy Squirrel challenges linked to Hindu weddings. We will also be furthering our numeracy knowledge by making sandwiches for the wedding. We will be thinking about what we do first, next, then etc and practise giving instructions using these time words.
Our British Values question for the next fortnight is…
WOW moments: Our visit from the Open Centre, acting out a wedding and creating Mehndi patterns for our hands.
Autumn Term 2 - Week 6
Week Commencing Monday 6th December
Why do we celebrate Christmas? How do we celebrate Christmas? Who celebrates Christmas? How do we get our houses ready for Christmas? What do we send and give to family and friends at Christmas?
On Wednesday 6th December Squirrel Class will hold their Christmas Concert. More information will be sent out about this nearer the time.
This week we start to get in the Christmas spirit. We will be learning through the key text ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’. We will also be reading a couple of additional supporting texts including ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Mog’s Christmas’. There are so many amazing Christmas texts it is hard to choose which to share with you all!
In Literacy we will be writing letters to Santa and Christmas cards to our friend. Our message centre will become a post office and we will be labelling envelopes and making stamps. We will also be weighing parcels and delivering items to different doors just like the postman!
In numeracy we are completing a winter activity week. We will be thinking about how we can use counting in every day situations e.g. showing them a picture of a snowman. Where can you see 2? (eyes) Where can you see 5? (mouth) Where can you see 1? (carrot) We will then show two pictures or three pictures and things will have fallen off. Oh no there are 5 buttons on the floor how can we share them out? How many different ways are there of making 5? We will also be revisiting lots of skills taught through the autumn term so far. For example, we will be playing a game of winter memory snap, practising positional language and making stories and maps using this and sorting numbers and delivering them to the correct houses.
This week will also be the week we make our ‘land of far away’ (home corner) feel Christmassy with our Christmas decorations. In topic we will also explore the season winter including the clothes we may need to wear in winter.
WOW moments: Daily naughty elf adventures, letter from Santa, sending letters to Santa and walking to the post box and decorating the classroom and learning a Santa dance in PE.
Autumn Term 2 – Weeks 7 and 8
Weeks Commencing Monday 13th December and Monday 20th December
What happened at the first Christmas in Bethlehem? Who was Jesus and was there with him when he was born? What is your favourite part of the Christmas story and why? Why do people celebrate Christmas now?
On Wednesday 15th December we have our Christmas Dinner Day. You will receive more information about this nearer the time.
On Monday 20th we will be doing our ambassador passport presentations.
We break up Tuesday 21st December for Christmas. Have a lovely Christmas holiday!
Over this week and two days, we will be continuing to learn through the theme of ‘Christmas’. We will be linking our learning to our nativity and learning about the first Christmas and why we celebrate Christmas. Our focus text will be ‘Jesus’ Christmas Party’. Again, as I love Christmas so much and couldn’t choose we will also be reading some additional texts. These are ‘The Christmas Crayons’ and ‘The Christmasasaurus’.
In Literacy, we will be sequencing the Christmas story, writing speech bubbles for the different character, labelling characters and writing simple character descriptions using our phase 2 phonics.
This week, White Rose Maths leaves us a gap to consolidate any learning we have taught over the autumn terms and therefore this will not be planned until nearer the time depending on the children’s needs and interests. Of course, whatever we do plan will be Christmas themed! In the Calculation Corner we will be making repeating pattern paper chains and ordering parcels by weight and size. Perhaps we will be doing this in a Santa’s grotto roleplay area!
In the creative station, we will be making stick puppets and masks so that we can retell the story and act in role.
Our British Values question for the next fortnight is…
WOW moments: Class Christmas Party, in PE completing party games and receiving letters back from Santa.
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.
2021 - 2022 Past Topic Webs
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.
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!
Monday 1st November - INSET day
Thursday 4th November – school photo day
Friday 5th November – Bonfire Night
Monday 8th November – Squirrel Class visiting church in the afternoon to learn about weddings
Thursday 11th November – Remembrance Day
Thursday 11th November – 3.30 – 5:00pm open day for Reception 2022-2023 parents
Monday 15th November - Anti Bullying Week
Monday 15th November - Road Safety Week
Wednesday 24th November - provisional date for Squirrel Class play and stay session
Monday 29th November - Open Centre visiting Squirrel Class to teach them about Hindu Weddings
Wednesday 8th December – Squirrel Class Nativity / Christmas concert in the afternoon
Monday 20th December – Ambassador Presentation Awards
Tuesday 21st December - break up for Christmas holidays
Thursday 6th January – Spring 1 term begins
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.