Welcome to Year 1
A huge welcome back to school. It’s so wonderful to finally be back at school with all of the children. I hope that this newsletter is useful in helping you to understand a little more about Year 1 at Roundwood Primary School, particularly at the present time. Please read this carefully and if you have, any questions please email the office and these will be shared with me. I will then get in touch by phone or email.
Staffing in Year 1
I will be teaching Year 1 this year with the support of Mrs Wildman. On Monday afternoon the children will be taught by Mrs Draper and Miss Connell. Miss Connell will be teaching Music and Mrs Draper will be doing a Yoga / Dance session. Mrs Wildman will also be supporting the children.
Over the course of this half term we will establish our daily routine. We will be focusing on supporting the children as they settle back to being at school full time and in the transition from an early years curriculum to the year 1 curriculum. To begin with the children will have many opportunities for child initiated learning. Over the course of the next week we will be introducing daily phonics and Maths activities, alongside writing opportunities linked to the children’s play and our theme ‘We are all Explorers’ (more details about this are given below)
We understand that the children are learning to manage their feelings and behaviours, particularly as they return to school following the lockdown. As far as possible, we focus on positive behaviour. Children are given verbal praise for following these rules and are given stickers. Their achievements are celebrated in our weekly celebration assembly. We completely appreciate that some children will take more time that others to settle back into school. At times, most children will struggle to manage their feelings and this can lead to disagreements between children, which can at times become physical. If we feel this is becoming a more frequent occurrence then we will contact you to discuss this with you so that we can work together to support the children. Equally if you have any concerns about your child’s behaviour either at home or at school I am always happy to talk this through with you and can point you in the direction of additional support if you feel it would help.
We will continue to use Tapestry in Year 1 this year. The main purpose of this is for us to be able to record your child’s achievements which we are now able to link to both the Early Years Curriculum and the National Curriculum for Year 1. It is also a lovely way for you to see what your child is doing at school and to be able to share their achievements at home, with us. Observations we make on Tapestry may take different forms which I wanted to explain to you:
- To share an activity or experience we have had as a class with you with ideas of how you could continue this at home if you would like to. These observations will be shared with the parents of all children who have participated.
- Observations of the children during child initiated activities. Sometimes these will include a narrative, where I will write what I have seen the children do and what they have said. These observations will be used to support our assessments of the children’s ‘Communication and Language’ and their ‘Personal and Social Development’ as well as other areas. These will be similar to the observations you would have seen during your child’s time in Foundation.
- I will also be using Tapestry to record their ‘work’. This could be in the form of a photograph and a brief comment, for example some of you may have seen some posts linked to sorting activities the children have done this week or it may be a photograph of a piece of writing with a caption or a description of the support the child has had. This is a great way for me to track their progress, but also serves a dual purpose of sharing what they are doing with you rather than you needing to wait until parents evening.
We will begin to introduce homework for the Year 1 children gradually over the next few weeks. I completely appreciate that the children are very tired by the time they come home and need time to relax and enjoy their time with you. The homework activities will hopefully be fun and engaging. As far as possible, they will be activities the children can do in an informal way whilst you are out in your local area.
Homework will be set on Tapestry on a Friday. Please add an observation to Tapestry to tell us what you have done, this will also enable your child to share their learning with their friends. Please upload all photographs and notes by Wednesday morning.
The first homework will be set on Friday 18th September 2020.
Spellings / Phonics
We are currently working with the children to check which sounds they remember from their time in Foundation and that they have been learning at home. We are putting together packs of letters for the children to bring home, these will contain some familiar ones and some they need to practise. For now, please keep these at home. I would recommend pinning them up somewhere so that you can recap these each day and practise building words with them.
At school, we have now subscribed to a new phonics resource called Phonics Bugs. Each of the children will have their own login details which they can then use at home to access the phonics activities they have been allocated. This is a great way for the children to get a little extra practise at home with reading and building words. We will send these details home over the next couple of weeks.
As part of our subscription, the children will have access to Phonics Bug reading books. These will all be online to begin with. Each of the children will have their own log in and I will allocate books which focus on the letters and sounds we are learning at school. We have already read a few of these books together and the children are loving them. At the moment we are unable to have reading records going backwards and forwards, so please upload a weekly post to Tapestry of how your child’s reading is going that week. Ideally the children will be reading most days of the week at home for 10-15 minutes.
The children will do P.E. on Monday and Thursday afternoons. The children should wear their P.E. kit to school on these days. This should include black shorts, school P.E. t-shirt, Black jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt and trainers. We will continue to P.E. inside and outside and so it is important they are dressed for both options.
As a school, we are only able to administer medication which has been prescribed for your child by a doctor and that needs to be administered 4 times a day. If the medication needs to be given three times a day we ask that you administer this in the morning, at the end of school and before bedtime. If your child is prescribed medication, please bring it to school in the original packaging. You will be asked to complete a form which gives details of the medication and to give permission for us to give it to your child. If your child has asthma please ask your doctor to prescribe an extra inhaler and to give them a spacer which can remain in school. When medication is required on a regular basis, we will meet with you to complete a health care plan. If your child develops a medical condition such as asthma or an allergy, please let us know immediately.
Please let us know if you have given your child any medication before school for example if you give them some Piriton because of a rash or some Calpol as they have a cold, particularly at the present time when Calpol or Nurofen mask a temperature if this were to develop over the course of the day.
If you feel that your child has an allergy it is important that this is diagnosed by a doctor so that we can ensure that we meet for their needs appropriately. This is in order to maintain their safety and well-being when they are with us. If a child has an allergy, it is important that we have advice from a doctor about how to manage this in school. This includes having the correct medication to administer and a clear process to follow, should they be exposed to the allergen at school. If this is the case, we will invite you to have a meeting with us so that we can collect all of the information we need to write a healthcare plan for your child.
Changes to Circumstances
If there are ever any changes to your circumstances at home please come and let us know. Often things that as adults we consider quite minor can trouble young children and can lead to changes in their behaviour. This may include things such as a pet or relative being unwell, disagreements between parents at home or moving. We can then work together to decide how to best support your child.
Trips and Events
At the present time due to Covid-19 we are unable to plan trips or visits.
We love parents and grandparents coming in to support children in school, however, at the current time this is not possible. As soon as it is appropriate to have additional adults in school we would love to have extra help to listen to children read and to support them on craft days.
This year our curriculum will be carefully planned for the children ensuring that it is developmentally appropriate considering the time the children have spent away from school and to maintain their well-being in the transition back to school. I am planning learning opportunities for the children, which take into account their interests, individual needs whilst also meeting the requirements of the Early Years & Year 1 curriculum. As the year progresses and when we feel the children are ready, we will begin to introduce some more formal aspects to the curriculum.
For this half term, we have decided to take a thematic approach to learning. To begin with we have introduced the theme ‘We are all Explorers!’ We have introduced this through a book called ‘The Great Explorer’. So far we have learnt that the story is about a little boy, whose father is an explorer. One day the little boy collects the newspaper and discovers that his father is missing! He decides that he is going to go and find him. We have been introducing the book very slowly. The children have been making predictions about what the story would be about and have been fantastic about using the pictures to inform their ideas. Over the last couple of days the children have been busy making lists of the things they think he’ll need on his expedition to the North Pole.
Through this theme, the children will be introduced to the Year 1 curriculum in a practical and play based manner. Here are some of the ideas we have at the moment, but of course this may change slightly due to the children’s interests.
Science – Learning about animals that live in the Arctic and thinking about how they are suited to living there, which animal group they belong to (mammal, fish, bird etc..) and what they eat. The children will be introduced to words such as herbivore, omnivore and carnivore to describe animals. We will also be experimenting with ice and also investigating how we can keep ourselves warm when it is very cold.
History – I am hoping that we will begin to learn about some famous explorers and how they reached the Arctic and North Pole and shared their explorations with others, so that the children begin to think about life before computers and mobile phones.
Geography – The children will be learning about where we live in the World. We will be looking at different maps and globes to find out where the Arctic is and how as an explorer they might travel there. This week the children have been creating their own aeroplane in our role play area. This has included learning about the different roles, making tickets and using our outside map to decide where they would like to travel to. This has been lots of fun but also a great opportunity to talk about turn taking and sharing now all of the children are back at school. It’s been wonderful to see the children referring to the map and saying ‘I’d like to go and see lions and identifying the country they could see them.
Design and Technology – The children have access to modelling and construction resources every day at school. In addition, we are planning on making vehicles using recycled materials to travel to the Arctic. We would really appreciate you collecting any boxes (smaller than a cereal box) and plastic trays (e.g. a mushroom tray) for us to use. Please do not send in anything that has contained meat or products containing nuts, even if they have been washed. Please can we ask that you collect these in a bag and keep them at home without touching them for 72 hours before bringing them to school. Then please leave them under the cover near the front door and I will collect them.
English – In the transition back to school we are introducing the children to lots of everyday writing opportunities, by now you have probably heard how forgetful I am and that they have to write notes to me so I don’t forget things. We are also linking writing opportunities to their play for example writing captions for their models, making tickets in role play and writing their own simple captions on Tapestry. Over the next week, we will be making lists and maps to plan our journey to the Arctic.
Maths – In Maths this half term, we will begin with a unit of work on Place Value. This will include learning how to count objects accurately and in a systematic way. The children will also be learning how to represent numbers using different mathematical equipment, using pictures and numbers. The children will exploring and comparing numbers including saying which number from a set of numbers is bigger / smaller, finding one more and one less than a number and putting numbers into order from smallest to largest and largest to smallest. One thing children always find challenging is counting backwards and finding the number that is one less, so any practise they can have of this will really help.
Supporting Learning at Home
There are lots of ways you can support the children’s learning at home. Including:
- Walking in the local area and talking about the seasonal changes that are happening. Encourage your children to observe the changes in plants and trees, the time it gets dark at night and changes in temperature.
- Put up or make some bird feeders. Talk about what birds eat and why those foods are not around in the late Autumn to Early Spring. Perhaps put up a bird box, these can be bought very inexpensively from shops such as Wilko.
- If you are visiting London pop in to one of the free Art Galleries and look at some of the portraits. Talk to your children about the materials that have been used. What do they think about them? Which is their favourite? Why?
- Look at photographs of your family to extend their knowledge of family relationships. Children of this age often get confused with the different roles people have for example you are their parent, but also somebodys son / daughter and sister / brother.
- Encourage them to ask questions about the world around them and help them to speculate about possible answers then find the answer together rather than telling them.
- Talk to them about things going on in the world e.g. pollution, global warming, animals becoming endangered and encourage them to think about things they can do to help. You’ll be amazed at the determination of five year olds to save the planet!
- Finally, please continue to share the things your children enjoy with us!
Children are spending more and more time online particularly during lockdown. They all have acces to smartphones, tablets & Smart TV’s which all access the internet. It’s really important to keep them safe online. As a parent myself, I have been alarmed at the dangers that exist online. So please have a look at these websites to keep yourself up to date with the most recent advice and guidance on website and apps. Even though the children are only 5 and 6 years old, many of them are using YouTube and talk about the videos they are watching and the games they are playing, which are often not designed for 5 and 6 year olds for example Fortnite.
NSPCC Online Safety
Below are some of the messages we give the children about using the internet.
- Only use the internet if you have asked an adult first and you are somewhere where an adult can see you.
- Never talk or send messages to anybody you don’t know.
- Don’t give out any personal information about you (name, age, address, school) even to people who you think you know. If anybody asks you for this information tell an adult straight away.
- If something pops up on screen that you don’t like, minimise it and tell an adult immediately.
- If you hear or see anything on the computer or TV which worries you, makes you feel sad or that you know is inappropriate tell an adult.
- If you get a mean message or email, ignore it and tell an adult so they can delete it.
- Only use websites which an adult you trust has said you can use such as YouTube Kids.
If you have any questions please come in and speak to me.