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Class R - Mrs Downes and Mrs Tassell

Welcome to all the children and families who have started with us in Reception.  The children have already settled very well and we are enjoying getting to know them.  They are enjoying our first topic “Animal Adventure” – which will evolve and adapt to the children’s interests.  Some of our core texts will be “Goldilocks and the three bears”, “The little Red Hen” and “Owl Babies”

Homework wallets – Please keep Reading books, Reading records, Name cards, number formation line, flashcards in here and bring to school daily: 

In your child’s plastic wallet, you will find their Reading books (currently wordless) and a Reading Record for you to sign each time that you read with them.  There is a note with more information stuck in the front cover of the Reading Record.  Please try to read/look at the books regularly with your child – aim for 5 to 10 minutes 5 times per week. We will be introducing phonic pots and phonetically decodable books as we start to introduce the children to sounds in a few weeks.

We have also enclosed a name card and dry wipe pen for your child to practise writing their name at home (with correct letter formation).  Please encourage them to trace over the letters, starting on the dots and working left to right. Their name should have a capital letter at the start and then all the rest should be written in lowercase.  As a next step, they could copy and then attempt to write their name without sight of the card on paper / whiteboard. For those children who can already write their names, this is still great practice for correct letter formation and to help control size.

On the letter formation sheet:

  • try and spot some of the letters in their name (although there aren’t any capital letters on there for their first letter).
  • As we start to introduce sounds to the children in the next few weeks you can play “Quick Write” – you say a sound e.g. “s” or “a” and your child finds that sound on their sheet and traces it.

There is also a number formation line enclosed to practise tracing and number formation and some number flashcards.  Some ideas for flashcard games:

  • Order them.  Hide one or two from the number line.  Can the children work out what is missing?
  • Count up pointing at each number in turn.
  • Count back down, pointing at each number in turn.
  • Find the number that is one more than number e.g. 4.
  • Find the number that is one less than number e.g. 5.
  • Choose a number, then perform that many actions e.g. pick 3 – 3 hops, pick 5 -five claps.
  • Give child a number and they have to count out / find that many objects e.g. lego bricks, buttons, teddies.
  • Count objects (in rows and then irregular arrangements), find the number to match.

Reception Baseline Assessment:

Next week I will be undertaking the new statutory government "Reception Baseline Assessment".This will be done over two or more short sessions, as appropriate to suit the children's attention span and stamina.The activities are based around age-appropriate Maths skills and Communication, language, and early literacy skills. If you would like to read more about this please copy and paste the link below to the government information for parents:

A very short set of statements will be made available to us, following the assessment, and should be ready to download in October.These provide "a narrative description of how your child performed in the assessment" to quote the government leaflet for parents. These will be made available to you (but as a pre-warning, they are not particularly informative). We will also be carrying out our own baseline assessment during the first few weeks, spending time with the children and observing their play and interactions.


This will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and children should come to school wearing their PE clothes on these days.  Thursday’s PE sessions will be taught by a specialist PE coach alongside the class teacher.

Teddy Bears’ Breakfast – Friday 15th September:

The children will be having a Teddy Bears’ Breakfast on the morning of 15th. They are welcome to bring a teddy / soft toy animal to join them for the day.  We will make an invitation for their teddy / soft toy animal next week so look out for these in their book bags. We will be making some breakfast food e.g. porridge, cereal and toast, therefore the children won’t need to bring a snack from home that morning if you think they will eat the above.  We will check allergies e.t.c. with parents beforehand where this applies.

Wellbeing Theme Week – Be the best version of me:  25th September:

Class R will be learning about managing our feelings and self-regulation via the lovely children’s book “The Colour Monster” by Anna Llenas.  We will be having a yoga session with a specialist teacher.  We will learn about taking care of ourselves and how to be the best version of ourselves. We will end the week with our Harvest Festival Assembly on Friday 29th September (for pupils only). The children will be asked to bring in donations for our local foodbank (please see whole school newsletter for details).  Our “Cressing C” value this half term is “caring” which also links in well.

“Our Families” Activity – week beginning 18th September:

As part of our topic the children will be talking about who is in their family, painting their “Family Tree” and adding photos of people (and pets!) who are important to them.  It would be fantastic if you could send in a few photographs of immediate family members; either e.g. parents or carers, siblings and grandparents.  Group photos or individual photos are fine.  These may be cut up and will be stuck onto their work and therefore won’t be returnable (although this activity will be sent home later in the term when we change the display).  4 or 5 photos will be plenty. Passport photo size would be perfect if you are sending several individual photos or a normal snapshot size is great for group photos.  These can be printed out on a sheet of normal A4 paper – it doesn’t need to be fancy photographic paper. If it is easier for you and you don’t have access to a printer, please email a few photos into us – hdownes@cressing.essex.sch.uk or upload some onto your child’s Tapestry account.  If you aren’t able to do this for any reason, please don’t worry, the children will have the opportunity to draw some of their family members. 

It would be great if we could have these by Friday 15th September ready to start the activity the following week. 

Phonics and early reading meeting – Thursday 28th September at 2.45pm

A wonderful new set of “Big Cat” Collins fully decodable books have been purchased and delivered.  This will be the second full year of using Supersonic Phonic friends our new SSP (systematic synthetic phonics) teaching programme. Alongside of starting this scheme we purchased a wonderful new set of “Big Cat” Collins fully decodable books to support the children’s progress.

There will be a quick information meeting for parents and carers on Thursday 28th September at 2.45pm regarding how we teach phonics, reading, and writing in Reception and how you can support this at home. Phonic Pots will be given out in book bags later in the term as we begin to introduce our first set of sounds. We find practising these words at home each week is a great support in getting the children to blend confidently as soon as possible.  If any families are not in a position to attend the meeting and would like to know more about this, please let me know.  I can then arrange to catch you before or after school on another day. 

“Come and Play” Session – Thursday 5th October at 2.15pm:

We would love parents to come and join your child to play. This will finish at hometime and if you are able to attend you will be able to take your child with you at 3.20pm as usual straight from the classroom. Nearer Christmas we will have some “Stay for phonics” sessions so that you can join us to see how we teach phonics in Reception.

Curriculum enhancements and visits:

We are also hoping to organise either an Animal Encounter workshop to support learning around our Animal Adventure topic or potentially a Forest School Session before half term. We are expecting either of these to cost approximately £7.00 per child. More information will follow if we are able to arrange either of these experiences.

We also have a Class Trip out, usually towards the end of the summer term in early July.  We have visited a number of different places over the years, but to give you an idea of the cost, in recent years the trips have been about £16-£18 per child – mainly because transport costs have risen so much.

Any questions please just ask. Thank you for your support.

The Reception Team

  Homework/Tests Physical Activities
Tuesday   P.E
Thursday   P.E

Reading Schemes and phonics

Go to the Learning page on the website and then select Reading and Phonics for more information.

Medium Term Plans


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