Spring 1 2023
Welcome back! This half term our theme is “Traditional Tales”. We will be exploring Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. To find out more information about your child’s learning this half term and all the exciting things we will be up to, please see our class newsletter and half termly overview.
Please continue to share your learning and special achievements at home with us on Tapestry. The children love to share their memories with their friends in class and we love to see what you have been up to!
The FS2 Team.
In worship, we have continued to learn our daily prayers along with the Makaton signs. The children now know these prayers very well and we even have prayer monitors that lead the children at the front of the class.
In worship this week, we have been learning about Pope Benedict XVI who sadly passed away on New Year’s Eve. On the day of his funeral, we had a whole school assembly with reflections, prayers, reading and songs to remember this inspirational Christian. Miss Milivojevic taught us lots of interesting facts about him, and reminisced about how she took a group of pupils from St Joseph’s school back in 2010 to see Pope Benedict when he visited England. We watched real footage of the event in Twickenham and Miss Milivojevic shared fondly of how this experience impacted on her.
Miss Milovojevic taught us many key messages from the Bible that Pope Benedict XVI shared during his time as Pope and how he put this into practice. We then listened to readings from Corinthians, Ephesians, Isaiah and Proverbs. We gave thanks to God for Pope Benedict XVI.
Our school song ‘Siyahamba’ came as a result of this visit which is the first time that Miss Milivojevic heard it when a choir performed to Pope Benedict. We enjoyed singing the song together and finished with prayers for Pope Benedict XVI. May he rest in peace.
We had a visit from Mgr Stephens and we were very excited to meet him. He introduced himself too us and shared some stories from his wonderful life. The children shared their learning with him and together we prayed for others around the world who are struggling.
We have been working on our virtue of showing love to neighbours. We listened to the story about The Good Samaritan and shared our thoughts and feelings in assembly. We have continued to refer to this story in class and have made links during PSED circle time when talking about friendships and making the right choices to help others. To listen to the story at home, please use this link: The Good Samaritan – BBC Teach
As part of our worship, we have learnt a new song too help us embed our learning all about kindness and compassion. We have talked about the meaning behind this song and used actions to help us remember the key phrases. The children have enjoyed the happy melody and rhythm and have been heard singing this quietly to themselves during provision times. This song has become an important part of our classroom culture this half term!
We are extremely saddened by the disaster in Turkey and Syria caused by the devastating earthquake and we are keeping all those affected in our prayers during what will be an extremely worrying and difficult time. Pope Francis and local church leaders are calling for prayers for all affected following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Below are prayers you can say at home as a family to keep the victims of this devastating disaster in your thoughts and prayers.
RE – Getting to know Jesus
This half term, our topic in R.E. is Getting to Know Jesus. We started our learning journey by listening to the story of when Jesus attended the Wedding of Cana. The children first shared their own understanding and experiences of being at a wedding and we learnt that some of our FS2 children have been bridesmaids or guests during a family wedding. During the Wedding of Cana, Jesus performed his first miracle and turned water to wine. The children discussed how the disciples and guests at the wedding must have felt when they witnessed this and they reenacted the scene themselves!
Click this link to watch the Wedding of Cana again at home! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OilBJ5-GVE0
We listened to the story of when Jesus healed a man at the pools of Bethesda. We shared a time when we ourselves have felt poorly and who it was that cared for us. “My Mum” – Lucas, “My family” – Eliza. “I remember when I had a really poorly tummy.” – Albert. “You can look after others by showing them kindness.” – Emmie. We shared a prayer together in groups and prayed for those that are poorly or those that are struggling around the world. We then thought carefully about what the man might say to Jesus and how he might have felt once Jesus performed his miracle. “I think he would have been shocked and amazed!” – Henry. “Happy and excited to walk!” – Wren. We had a go at writing our ideas into speech bubbles in our R.E. books.
From sharing stories about the miracles Jesus performed, we have learnt a lot what it means to be kind and compassionate. To finish our learning this half term, we listened to a new story called ‘Be Kind’ by Pat Zietlow Miller. The children really enjoyed this story and shared ideas on how they can use the lessons Jesus has taught us, in our own lives and in school. Then, the children painted a picture of what they think kindness is and how it might look to others.
In Literacy this week we have started to learn a new traditional tale called ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. When we arrived to class we saw that there was a strange basket on our carpet… We looked inside and saw that there were some magic beans and a mysterious letter! The children were so excited and suggested that we plant the magic beans and see what happens. Some children made predictions and thought the beans would turn into magical plants while others thought it might turn into a magical beanstalk just like in our story. After reading the story, we were all fascinated by the idea of a majestic castle in the sky so we decided to explore our imagination and draw a picture of something we would want to find up a beanstalk – then we labelled our pictures using our phonics and fine motor skills.
In our provision areas, we have been writing postcards to the Giant in the clouds. We have explored our writing area independently and learnt how to use stamps and post letters in a post box. The children have found this very exciting and have been really keen to show us their writing! In our reading area, the children have ordering the key events from the story using pictures and have enjoyed learning new traditional tales in our reading corner.
We have moved onto looking at Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The children came into class to find porridge everywhere! We could not believe our eyes. The children made predictions about who may have been into our classroom and soon realised that the culprit was Goldilocks herself. We all agreed that Goldilocks needed to apologise to the Three Bears and so the children wrote apologies for her in their Literacy books. We have had a big focus on applying our phonic knowledge and have used this traditional tale to help us practise our reading and writing of CVC words. We have enjoyed learning the key events of the story and retelling this in the performance and story areas in our classroom. Within our provision areas, there have been lot of opportunities for writing and the children have enjoyed exploring these independently.
To finish our Traditional Tales topic, we explored the Three Little Pigs story. The children loved the characters and spent time describing the Big Bad Wolf. The children all enjoyed joining in with the repetitive language such as “Little pig, little pig, let me in!” and “The I’ll huff, and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”. The children could be heard using this language from the story during their provision time. Our writing focus for this story was to label key characters and objects from the story using our blending and segmenting skills and the children completed this in their literacy books. The children were able to say the sounds and write the words. The children then accessed lots of exciting reading and writing opportunities within provision and enjoyed exploring the story themes independently with their friends.
The writing table has been a big hit this week! The children have absolutely loved making their own books and using the key vocab from the story. Some children even made their own story maps after we drew one together as a class.
In Maths this week, we have been learning all about 2D shapes. We have named shapes, counted sides and vertices and even described the properties of shapes! The children remembered lots of shape names from their learning in FS1 and were really excited to learn trickier shape names like ‘pentagon’ and ‘trapezium’. During their Maths focus task, the children have carefully selected shapes to build their own castles to the sky just like in Jack and the Beanstalk.
We enjoyed learning a new shape song to help us with our learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTeqUejf3D0
In our construction area we have been putting our designs to the test and building our castles and tall beanstalks to the sky! The children have been able to explain the 2D and 3D shapes they can see on their building blocks and use language such as ‘flat’, ‘stack’, ‘sides’ and ‘vertices’ when talking to adults in provision. The children have had so much fun building their castles and beanstalks and have aimed to build their towers taller and taller. Some children have noticed mistakes they have made along the way and chosen better shaped blocks to make their castles more secure.
We have been learning all about repeating patterns this week. First, the children were able to spot a simple repeating pattern of colours using lego bricks and then slowly progressed over the week to creating their own patterns with various shapes, sizes and colours. Within their Maths books, the children have been designing Mummy Bear a brand new quilt and for this challenge they needed to finish the pattern on each line.
Repeating patterns within our provision…
For the last two weeks of this half term, we have been learning all about 3D shapes. We have had some fantastic discussions about vertices and even spotted the 2D shape faces!
“A cube is made of squares. Cubes are the best for building and they are flat like cuboids.” – Henry
“Can you get 3D trapeziums? I bet they are like pyramids.” – Lucas
“Spheres roll around and they don’t have any pointy bits.” – Jocelyn
“Cuboids are long like rectangles. They have longer parts and shorter parts.” – Oscar
We went on a 3D shape hunt around our classroom to find different shapes in the environment. We had so much fun!
Building new furniture for the Three Bears in construction…
Building a new house that won’t be blown down for the Three Little Pigs…
Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
To begin our half term, we have used the key events in Jack and the Beanstalk to aid our discussions in PSED. We have looked closely at Jack and his Mum in the beginning of the story and thought carefully about how these characters might have been feeling. We explored our own understanding of emotions and shared our knowledge during circle time. Sharing our own understanding helped us to really understand the emotions of the characters in the story and the children were able to say that Jack’s mum felt ‘angry’, ‘upset’ and ‘annoyed’ at the start of the story whereas Jack felt ‘excited’ and ‘curious’ when he received the magic beans. In our second PSED lesson, we focused on Jack climbing his beanstalk. The children recognised that this was very challenging for Jack but realised that he did not give up even though it must have been tiring. We discussed a new word called ‘resilience’ and the children all shared a time where they were resilient and did not give up when they found something tricky.
Our British Value this half term is “The Rule of Law”. The children have thinking about the importance of following rules and how they can help to keep people safe and keep things fair. To help us understand this, we made links to Goldilocks and the choices she made in the story. The children all agreed that she was wrong to sneak into the Bears’ cottage and take their things without asking and they thought of better choices she could make next time.
“Ask the Bears for some porridge nicely” – Elliott
“You never open someone’s door you must always knock and wait.” – Daniel
“Goldilocks should have bought them new furniture because she broke theirs.” – Eliza
The children have been thinking a lot about managing their emotions. Just like the Big Bad Wolf, sometimes we can get very angry or upset easily and make the wrong choices. We watched a very helpful video and learnt all about the traffic light system to help us make better choices in the moment. Some children loved this activity so much, they made their own traffic light posters within their provision time.
Good examples of our PSED learning around our provision and classroom this half term:
During Friday P.E., the children have been learning to play team games. They have been working on travelling safely around a marked area in a range of different ways such as: skipping, running, walking, hopping and jumping. The children have then worked as team to complete a range of different challenges. There have been throwing and catching challenges, retrieving challenges and obstacle challenges. The children have had so much fun working together to achieve their targets and have already showed signs of improvement with their listening when being told important instructions. The children have then began to embed these skills further through whole class games that involve running, tagging and listening to each other.
The children have bee enjoying some freestyle dance sessions this half term. They have learnt to move differently to different types of music and share their opinions and music styles and rhythms. We have had a lot of chat about the importance of dance to help keep our hearts and minds happy and healthy. We have had so much fun!
Fine Motor Skills
We ensure that fine motor skills are embedded throughout the whole of our FS2 curriculum and in every area of provision the children are challenged to work on these skills. During our ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ unit, the children completed a playdough challenge. They kneaded the dough and carefully patted their ball into circular shapes to look like the outline of a face. They then selected different sized seeds and pressed these into the dough to create a face that represented the Giant from our story. The children absolutely loved this challenge and some children even decided to make their own repeating patterns in the dough.
This week we have been learning all about Goldilocks and the Three Bears and so our fine motor activities have linked to this. We have been using our fingers to bend, twist and shape pipe cleaners to give Golidlocks a brand new hairstyle!
Our last fine motor activities for this half term linked to our key text: The Three Little Pigs. The children were challenged to build a house from stones and playdough. This proved to be a tricky challenge but the children did not give up. Please see other sections of this webpage for more examples of fine motor activities around the provision areas. The children are always encouraged to practise their fine motor skills in each curriculum area they use.
The children have loved taking their learning outdoors this half term. They have explored, asked questions and investigated their outdoor area whilst also making links to our learning all about traditional tales. The children have continued to develop their fine and gross motor skills in a variety of different ways.
Expressive Arts and Design
Music, Performance and Dance
The children in FS2 absolutely love our music area and will always create songs, use a range of instruments and perform for their friends. During our ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ topic, the children were set the challenge to make soft and quiet music to make the Giant fall asleep. Once they had completed this challenge they then changed the tempo and made much quicker and louder music to show how the Giant chased Jack. The children have also used the stage and the beanstalk costumes to act out the story and they have had so much fun performing this for the adults in class.
This week, in our Music lesson, we learnt more about keeping a ‘beat’ using a range of different instruments and we used these new skills to learn a song all about the Giant from our story. We were able to use key words such as beat, soft, hard and tempo.
The children have loved acting our our key texts on stage and they have particularly enjoyed using the puppets and props. Within our roleplay area, the children have had acted out real life scenarios and used their imagination to play and learn.
Art and Design
Inspired by the beanstalk in our story, we have had a huge focus on plants this half term. The children have observed Spring plants changing before their very eyes and have painted the plants on the painting table. They have used a range of paintbrushes and different sized paper and have remembered to look closely at the plants to ensure they have painting the correct shapes and sizes. Some children have challenged themselves to make new colours and we will be exploring colour mixing further when we learn all about Goldilocks!
Making the colour pink by mixing white and red.
Mixing the colour green to make trees from our woodlands…
Using real plants to make prints and patterns with paint…
In our creative area, the children have been busy designing and making a castle in the sky. The children were encouraged to design their models first and then choose materials carefully to construct their castles. The children have been able to develop their cutting and joining skills and have used different types of equipment such as scissors, glue and tape. When choosing their materials they were able to tell an adult the shapes they can see and also why they had chosen those materials.
The children also followed their own interests to push their learning further and they decided to make new creations that linked with our plants lesson.
After we learnt all about Golidlocks, we completed a challenge in the creative area to fix the bowls that she had broken. We had a selection of loose parts and used joining methods to piece the bowls back together again. Some children used tape whereas other tried to use glue.
Our last creative challenge was to use the correct types of materials to build the Three Little Pigs’ houses. We used straw, cardboard for bricks and lolly pop sticks for the stick house. We first needed to read the labels and then use glue to attached the correct materials.
Understanding the World
For the first two weeks of our half term, we have been learning all about plants! As a class we have learnt what plants need to grow and survive and the children have been able to use key words like: soil, seed, leaves, sun and water. The children used this knowledge to go on and collect their own pots of soil to plant a broad bean. The children have found this process very exciting and have loved to watch their seedlings grow – we cannot wait to see how tall our beans grow!
In our investigation area we have had so much fun exploring different kinds of seeds. We have used our fine motor skills to look inside sugar snap peas and sort the seeds by shape, colour and size.
This week we learnt about the life cycle of a plant and how a seed changes over time. We used words like: root, shoot, seedling and grow to explain the changes we could see. Afterwards, the children watched a time lapse video of a plant growing and were amazed by the way the seed cracked and pushed up the soil.
This week we have explored a range of materials and their properties. We made links to Goldilocks and how described different textures and materials around the cottage. The children were able to sort and describe the materials and also recognise these materials around the classroom.
After learning all about the Three Little Pigs, the children completed a STEM challenge in the investigation area. They needed to predict which materials would be blown the furthest by the Big Bad Wolf and then test this by blowing the objects carefully.
“The feather is light so it will move easier.” – Oscar
“This rolls so it will move faster because things that roll move quick.” – Henry
“I don’t think the rock will move it is heavy.” – Rupert
“The bottle rolls!” – Elliott
As a class, we learnt all about different types of houses and how houses are usually built. We revisited our learning all about Wetherby and the type of houses that we usually see in our town. The children also talked about what their houses are made from and whether it would stand still if the wolf tried to blow it down. We all agreed that using bricks and cement made their houses very secure. We learnt about the different jobs people can have in order to build and maintain houses and we had some special helpers to help us talk about the types of clothing construction workers wear and why.