Our fabulous Reception team are
Miss Smith, Class Teacher
Every half term we have a topic which we use to plan learning experiences. Last year our topics included dinosaurs, ourselves, space and traditional tales. We also have some stand-alone topic days. We tailor learning to the children’s interest and so topics can be moveable feasts. Our learning is planned around the three prime Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas (Personal, Social and Emotional development, Physical Development, Communication and Language) and the four specific areas (English, Maths, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design). Many of the learning experiences that we plan cover more than one area.
When the children arrive in the morning, they choose their lunch and then have the register. After this we always start our morning with phonics as this is widely considered the best time of the day for this learning.
The morning is then split into two halves, with a playtime in the middle. Learning during the morning tends to include some English or Maths with a range of both child-initiated and adult-led activities. We call our learning time ‘Exploring Time’. During playtime, the children have a snack and join with Year 1 and 2 on the playground.
At lunchtime the class wash their hands and line up. We walk to the dining hall and they line up, take a plate and collect their lunch. We have a token system to ensure that the children get the lunch they ordered. They are given a token which corresponds to their choice (meat meals are red and vegetarian meals are green), they show their token to the cook when it is their turn to be served. The class have just over an hour for lunch, and they spend some of this time on the playground with older classes in the school.
After lunch we have a quiet story and some songs before afternoon exploring time, which tends to involve new activities linked to the current topic along with opportunities to practise some of the skills they have learnt in the morning. On two afternoons we have PE. At the end of the day the school has assembly time. We do not join assemblies initially, but start to attend once we feel the children are ready.
At the beginning of the year the children will be split into groups. At home time we encourage the children to collect their book bags, coats and water bottles and sit in their group’s ‘area’ ready to go. We ask them to stay sitting in their area until I have seen the adult collecting them and say their name.
Show and Tell takes place every Monday afternoon. Children can bring in a small item to show or come ready with something they want to tell their group.
Outdoor learning is every Monday – please ensure that your child has welly boots and a waterproof coat in school on that day as we do go out in all weathers.
PE is on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but we ask parents to keep PE kits in school all the time so that we are able to take advantage of any opportunities we are given for a PE activity.
We change reading books on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so please send you child’s reading book and reading record in on this day.
Library books are changed on Fridays, so please ensure that library books come into school ready to change.
Rewards and Sanctions
We have many different types of rewards at Bentley School both in class and whole school.
In class we give out smiley faces for good work, behaviour and manners. When a child has earned five of these they will receive a merit certificate during the Friday Gold Book assembly.
House points can also be earned by children both in and out of the classroom (at playtime for example). We keep a tally of these in the class and they are added to the weekly total for the whole school.
In addition, we operate a behaviour system which uses a chart similar to those in other classes in the school. Children can move upwards when displaying good behaviour, but can also be moved down. The system gives the children the opportunity to think about the choices they are making and change their behaviour, but if poor choices continue they can move further down the chart resulting in them missing some of their golden time.
Golden Time: every Friday afternoon the whole school has Golden Time for half an hour. There are a wide range of fun activities for children to choose from throughout the school, and it gives the children a chance to get to know the layout of the school and see other classrooms and children. In the initial weeks, while the children are still new to the school, we hold Golden Time for them in the Year R classroom only, using their ideas for activities.
Gold Book: this is a weekly award where one or two children in each class who have made good achievements are celebrated in assembly. They receive a special gold certificate.
STEP Awards: these are given termly to three children who show good manners. This is given in a whole school assembly where parents of the relevant children are invited. Further information about this can be found by clicking here.
In Year R we continue the great work that is done in nurseries to provide our children with the building blocks they need for all future learning. As we are the final year of the Foundation Stage we continue to learn through play, with a number of learning activities available in the classroom for children to choose from at any one time. We also take note of the children’s interests and preferred activities and plan our activities with those in mind. Over the course of the year we begin to gently introduce some more formal learning experiences to prepare the children for Key Stage 1.
We begin English by teaching phonics and encouraging children to talk about their ideas, observations and thoughts, encouraging them to start putting pencil to paper when they are ready. In maths we ensure that all children have a really good grasp of number and counting, before introducing concepts such as one more, one less, addition and subtraction. We always include within our provision opportunities to develop physical and creative skills as well as activities that allow children to investigate the world around them and introduce technology.
Every few weeks we introduce a new topic and many of the learning through play activities are linked to these. Again we look to the children’s interests and base our choice of topic as well as the direction the topic takes through these. Topics that we have covered previously include, Dinosaur Explorers, Marvellous Me, Space and Traditional Tales. We also have some stand-alone topic days which in the last year have included Kings and Queens, Winnie-the-Pooh and The Christmas Story.
Helping your child settle in
Even though many of our children are used to going to nursery, school can feel a little bit different with more children to meet and different routines. Please do not be worried if your child is very tired at the end of the school day, and particularly at the end of the week, especially in the first half term. This is because they are working hard to learn about their new surroundings and new friends. We also find that children start to feel more tired towards the end of term.
Children come to school from a range of backgrounds and no two children are the same. However, it is helpful if children have some idea of the things that will be expected of them at school to enable them to settle into school life with the minimum disruption and maximum enjoyment.
As you prepare your child for school, it is useful to talk them through the school routine so that they are familiar with what will happen throughout the day.
It will also help to prepare your child for the practical side of school life if they can:
- Use the toilet independently
- Wash and dry their hands
- Recognise their own name and their own clothing
- Fasten their clothing, especially their coat and shoes
- Dress and undress themselves
- Sit quietly for a short time while listening to others
- Hang up their coat
- Share toys and tidy away
- Eat using a knife and fork
Take advantage of the class reps who can put you in touch with other families so that your child can get to know some of their new classmates before they start. They are also experienced Bentley parents and so can answer some of your questions.
Allow your child to show you what to do when they arrive in the morning, where they put their coat and bag for example, they really enjoy this independence and will soon want to come in by themselves.
useful websites and information
Your child’s Tapestry learning journal can be accessed by clicking here. Please speak to Mrs Scott-Bromley or Miss Smith if you need the login details for your child’s account.
A great video on cued articulation (the handsigns we use to accompany our phonic sounds) can be found here.
The recommended reading list for children in Year R is below - simply click on the link!