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What a fantastic first week back we’ve had in Reception! The children have come back to school from their break with a great enthusiasm and have really surprised us with how much of their learning they have remembered.
Our new topic of Amazing Animals has stimulated lots of interest, with the children getting stuck into all manner of activities related to Rainforest creatures. We took a closer look at where rainforests are situated in the world, finding the Amazon rainforest, the Congolese rainforest and the rainforests of Borneo on our world map and getting a closer look through the wonders of Google Earth. We saw some of the animals that lived in these habitats and discussed how and why the climate is different from where we live. We also took an opportunity to examine our own skills and attributes in relation to different rainforest animals, with children encouraged to consider whether they were more of a leaf-cutter ant (team-player); a chimpanzee (communicator); a sloth (quiet and peaceful); or a capybara (kind and helpful). Ultimately, we realised we are all mostly a combination of these things and are all valuable in many different ways!
There have been jungle themed arts and crafts, with children being invited to make their own tiger mask from a paper plate; to print snakeskin with bubble-wrap before testing out their cutting skills to cut out a spiral snake; build animals in the DT area; and we saw some beautiful jungle landscape paintings inspired by the work of French artist Henri Rousseau. We also followed a tutorial to draw a jaguar and the children were very proud of their final pieces!
Maths this week has seen the children investigating concepts of measurement. The children have been exploring weight by using balance scales and exploring capacity by filling and comparing different containers with water and beads. To continue this learning into their continuous provision, the children were encouraged to examine five samples of animal droppings gathered from jungle animals and challenged to compare their mass using a balance scale. Everyone agreed that the elephant dung was indeed heavier than all else!
In our Phonics sessions, we have begun learning and applying the first sounds in ‘phase 3’ of our scheme, which is ‘j’ (jet) ‘w’ (wave) and ‘v’ (vest). The children took part in reading and writing activities to rehearse hearing, recognising and applying these sounds with growing independence. As further practice, the children could engage in some rainforest themed activities to apply their reading and writing skills too. A snake’s nest full of eggs had appeared in the middle of our classroom, but mysteriously the eggs all had letters written on them and the children were challenged to make animal names from these letters by gathering eggs of the same colour (being careful not to disturb the mother snake, of course) and some children even managed to record all six animals in writing.
Pets too have been a focus this week, as our class role-play shop has transformed into a pet shop, with food and accessories for sale. Many children also helped out Mrs Arnott by mixing together some dough and cutting out dog-bone animal biscuits to sell in the shop. As a disclaimer, we feel we should declare that no live animals shall be bought or sold on the premises for health and safety reasons.
Thank you, also to those families that have been able to share photos with us of their pet animals from home. The children have loved being able to show these photos and tell us all about their beloved pets and take questions from the rest of the class. We are putting together a class folder, with all of these Cookridge pets inside to look at and talk about at leisure. Each week, we shall be looking at a different school pet too and this week it was the turn of our very own Tortellini. We watched a video and learned some facts about Russian tortoises (which Tortellini is) and how he is similar and different from other reptiles.
On top of all this, we also fitted in a session with our new Reading Buddies in Class 9, in which we shared a story and then got together with the other children to look at books. And on Thursday, we enjoyed a great Forest Schools session, where the children were invited to get stuck into animal care with Mr Gamble. Our school animals (the guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens and goats) all needed a good clean out and feeding, so the children helped in these duties as well as giving them all a lovely bit of grooming. Please see Mr Gamble’s separate website post for more details and photos from this session.
Next week, we’ll be heading to poles to explore the animals that live in the Arctic and Antarctic!
Have a lovely weekend!
The Reception Team
DATES FOR THE DIARY:
Wednesday 17th January – Reception’s P.E. day.
Tuesday 23rd January – Reception trip to Tropical World (please fill in the permission form on the website if you haven’t already).
Friday 9th February – last day of school before the 1-week half-term holiday begins.