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Welcome to the start of a new year at West Road and the start of an exciting time in the Reception class. The children have settled into the new Foundation Unit well and its rules and routines. This is a new venture for West Road having all the Nursery and Reception children together and it is already showing benefits to their learning. Thank you for your help and support settling the children in with us and supporting them coming into school. We hope now that most children in Reception can come into school confidently on their own. Please remember that all the staff in the Foundation Unit are here to help and support you at any time. No question or concern is too small.

The first half term is extremely busy with baseline assessments for the Reception children taking place and helping the children belong to a new class and setting. The children are learning to develop their listening and attention skills during carpet time (ask them about Funky Monkey’s listening rules), to play carefully with others in the new areas and to have their dinners in the hall. It is a tiring first half term for them all with so much to learn. Everyone is helping to support the children all the way.

This year the classes at West Road are named after sea animals. We have chosen to be the clown fish which the children have loved to explore especially since Nemo is a clown fish. To coincide with this our topic this term is ‘Under the Sea’.  The children are learning about clown fish through reading information books and exploring the internet. Why not ask them what they already know? During the first week the children found out that clown fish;

* Live at the bottom of the sea in the reefs.

* They live in the sea anemones.

* They are not very good swimmers

* They are covered in slime so that they do not get stung be the sea anemones.

* They are mainly orange, white and black, but their patterns make them all a bit different.

What else could you and your child find out at home?

We will be exploring many other creatures that live in the sea over the term through reading books and engaging in many exciting activities.

So what is it like to be a child in the Clown Fish class?

Every day the children practice writing either letters, their names or other words. They are helped to hold their pencils correctly and form their letters correctly. Please help them at home to write their name, and draw and colour as this helps develop their pencil control. They have phonics each day just before lunch where they learn about letter sounds and words, and how we use them to read and write. After dinner they have mental maths where they learn about numbers, shapes and measures. Daily counting helps them develop more confident and accurate counting skills. Each week the children will undertake a maths activity to extend and challenge their learning further.

PE is every Friday morning. We need to make sure they have their PE kits at school. In their PE bags should be a pair of shorts and a T shirt. We will keep their PE bags at school for the term and send them home before Christmas. The PE kits really do not get that dirty. Please could you make sure all the clothes and the bags are named. When so many children are

changing all at once clothes can get mixed up and we want to ensure all clothing goes in the right PE bag.

Every child is encouraged to bring their own water bottle to school and a piece of fruit. They are only allowed plain water in their bottle as part of the school healthy eating policy. Please DO NOT send juice, pop or flavoured water.  It is advisable that your child brings a bottle to school so that they can remain hydrated throughout the day. Please make sure that their bottle is clearly labelled for them to find on their own.

Winter is approaching this term. Warm coats are essential as they play out a lot in the Foundation Unit. Please make sure all coats, hats, scarves and gloves are named. We cannot guarantee the return of lost unnamed clothing. There is a lost property box in the unit where we place any unnamed clothing and you are welcome to have a look if your child has lost anything.

Your child will begin to take reading books, words and letters homes to practice with you a little every day. Please ensure their reading bags come to school each day. Special reception reading bags can be bought from the office. PLEASE DO NOT put water bottles in the reading bags as they leak and ruin the books. A charge of £5 for damaged or lost books is charged. Further information on reading books for home is to follow shortly.

Over the term there will be many occasions to see what your child is learning and how they are progressing. Look out for our special open weeks, assemblies and parents meetings. There will be weekly homework activities for you to complete as well as sharing reading books. Keep a look out for future information and letters on these events.

Again thank you all for supporting your child during this first term at school. Any questions please do not hesitate to myself (Mrs Heneghan), or Mrs Evans (Senior Early Years Practitioner), or any member of the staff in the Foundation Unit. We are all here to help in any way we can.