St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School - Wetherby
In RE we have been learning about God’s World. We have listened to the story of creation. Our World is amazing and full of beauty. We went out and about together, to explore some of its’ wonders! We marched through the woods, hunted for mini-beasts and rustled through leaves, we harvested the apples, made delicious apple muffins and even printed with them. We talked about our favourite creatures and said thank you to God for everything that he has created and we discussed taking care of these things. We looked after Mrs Reddiex’s tortoise for a whole morning. Mr Trot was treated with great care and was fed, bathed and entertained with obstacle courses designed for him and gentle hands to stroke him. We end each morning by saying Thank you to God for our friends, family and school family with our class prayer, which we have learned to say and sign.
Starting Nursery is an exciting first step on each child’s learning journey. So, it is really, important that we take time and care to get the transition process right for each of them. We begin with home visits and settling visits and these are great ice-beakers for children and parents too.
In the first weeks, the children learn the routines and get to know their classroom. Most importantly, they get to know their new teachers and begin to make friends. We have made a Brown Bear Class book with photos and played lots of games to get to know each other’s names. Slowly and steadily, we have learned what is important at Nursery to ‘Stay Happy and Stay Safe’ and agreed our class rules. In the photo Gallery, you see children getting to know routines such as snack-time, playing independently, making friends, collaborating with each other, working as part of a group and having lots of fun!
In Nursery, our play is our work! The children learn to access many learning experiences independently as they choose activities in each of the provision areas. We provide children with a menu of child-initiated and adult-led activities, and balance open-ended play and exploration with direct teaching in adult-led activities. Young children learn in an integrated way so that as they play and interact, they are developing their understanding and learning across the whole curriculum. We use flexibility to enhance our provision through developing play activities and structured tasks, in response to children’s interests.
Our Photo Gallery tells the story of learning, as children demonstrate their thinking, interacting, wondering, talking, collaborating, enjoying, creating and learning. The interests that have been sparked include: fire-fighters role play, weather watching, baking, castles, dragons and princesses and a huge appetite for stories. We have loved sharing The Bear Hunt and dramatic retellings of the story at story time and in our PE session in the Hall.
The children settled back very quickly after the half-term break. We have been enjoying learning lots of Autumn songs and rhymes, as the leaves fall down around us. We decided to share these with our special audience of parents and grand parents one morning. We sing, because children’s language development is strongly influenced by the close sharing of well-known songs and rhymes, while actions aid movement and concentration. Most important though it’s really good fun! We were very proud of the children’s confidence and ability to adapt to this new event. A room full of singing and pride!
During our learning journey this half term we have focussed on several favourite books including The Gingerbread Man and the Gigantic Turnip. Both of these stories involve repeat refrains and an easy to follow narrative, which we have enjoyed retelling through drama and puppet making. Lots of number rhymes such as 10 Green Bottles and then 10 keen footballers want to score a goal has helped us to count, order and think about the number that is ‘one more’ and ‘one less’ We asked the children to go a number hunt in the classroom and at home….we found out that numbers are everywhere! On washing machine dials, advent calendars, football shirts and registration plates!
Advent started with our wonderful Crib Service, which has been a Christmas tradition for the Foundation Stage children at St Joseph’s for many years. It was lovely to see how all of the children worked hard with their family to make their very own crib. We shared the magic of preparing for Jesus’s birth together in Church and celebrating a special sense of our own family, our school family and our Church family. Thanks to everyone for their support.
Since then- T’is the season of glitter and excitement in Nursery. We have been involved in designing and making Christmas wreaths, angels, baubles, cards and a special ginger scented tree decoration.
We have learned about the Very First Christmas through our story board. Tomorrow is our Christmas Show and the children have been amazingly patient, focussed and indeed Oscar winning in their roles as shepherds, wise men, camels, sheep, angels, oxen, donkey, inn keepers and of course Mary, Joseph and Angel Gabriel. It really is the most wonderful time of year and we have shared lots of lovely moments sharing songs and the story of the Very First Christmas together. Please look out for photographs.
Returning from the Christmas break, the children were delighted to see their friends again and quickly settled back into the familiar routines. We were pleased to introduce our two new children and we are very proud of how they have been welcomed by the children, who have helped them to feel relaxed and happy.
During this half term, we have observed how well the children are demonstrating their ready, willing and able-ness to learn. Now that they are comfortable, at ease and developing friendships, they are making their own choices, pursuing their interests confidently and developing their independence. This means that in the construction area the buildings are becoming more complex and meaningful, the story lines in role play and outdoors are more imaginative and collaborative and the talk more sustained, with children full of chat about their ideas and experiences.
The role play area has really taken off this half term. The hospital has experienced scenarios worthy of an episode of Holby City. Patients have been tended to, operations performed and many cups of tea made and patients tucked up carefully into their beds. This has promoted lots of PSED and Re learning about how we show our care for people who are ill.
Our Anti-Bullying week was successful in reinforcing learning about adults who we can trust to help to keep us safe and happy at home, in school and in the community This involved going on a tour of school to get to know some special staff members, such as Mrs Gee with her pots and pans and Mrs Skilbeck with her first aid box. We also celebrated what makes us unique and special as well as the things that we have in common. We started looking at how special children have special names and made gorgeous, sparkly names to display. In the photo Gallery, you see children showing how they are concentrating, persevering, playing independently, making friends, building up story lines together and creating and learning through their play.
The children settled back into Nursery routines very confidently after their half term holiday. Once again, it is delightful to see how well the children have gelled as a class and how much fun they have, as they play and learn together. The children are learning how to make allowances for each other and to recognise each other’s feelings. We are supporting them in negotiating with each other to sort out disagreements and more and more we hear them using words like “you can have this one” and “let’s make it your turn next.” Learning the skills of managing your feelings, getting along with each other and learning tolerance really is the bread and butter of our Early Years curriculum. Well done everyone!
The role play area changed to the Police Station and the strong arm of the law has been very much in place in Nursery. The children loved the visit from our wonderful friend PC Adam. He was subjected to a question and answer session with the children, who were fascinated by the many aspects of police work. The police station was a busy place to be with lots of engagement in arresting scoundrels, looking for lost animals and children and setting off in the police car to sort out traffic emergencies. This has promoted lots of PSED and safeguarding issues. We have talked about adults that we know and trust to keep us safe at home and in school and we spent a week focussing on road safety. Hopefully all of the children showed their road safety awareness using the rule “Stop, look, listen, THINK and hold hands with an adult” when they have been out and about.
We have shared lots of fantastic stories together this half term and World Book Day gave us chance to show case our love of books. Handa’s Surprise led us on an African trail in the garden re-enacting the story with tropical fruits and animal masks. We looked carefully at the illustrations of the African Village and made comparisons with our own community. The children recognised the importance of the friendship between Akeyo and Handa and how it is nice to show affection to our friends by sharing gifts, drawings and other signs of friendship.
The Smartest Giant in Town also met with great enthusiasm! The children love his character and how he literally gives away the shirt from his own back, in order to help others. We hid his clothes around the garden and answered book clues to direct us where to find each item of George’s wardrobe. The repeat rhyming refrains rang out loud and clear as the children stood up and acted the story out together “but look me up and down, I’m the smartest giant in town!” There is real magic and energy in the room when we share these high quality texts together.