I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to St Matthew’s, whether you are returning after a rather long break or joining us for the first time this year. We have a lot of new families joining us this term and we look forward to working alongside you all to achieve the best possible Early Years education for your children. This year Mrs Collaki will be one of our Teaching Assistants and Miss Adriana will also be supporting the class throughout the day. Our main focus for the next few weeks will be settling the children into school routines, acquiring positive learning behaviours and building friendships.
The new Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has come into place from September 2021. As a result, we have introduced some important and significant changes to our Early Years Curriculum at St Matthew’s. Some of these exciting changes have been summarised below:
- Baseline assessment of all Reception Class children will take place in the first few weeks of term
- Termly topics will be in the form of Big Questions. Our Autumn 1 Big Question is ‘Who am I?’ The big questions will allow a more open-ended approach to the topic, with learning activities largely based on the children’s interests.
- Parents and carers will be able to use Tapestry at home to document key learning moments at home, such as learning how to ride a bike or going on an outing.
- Each week we will also choose three or four children as ‘focus children’ in the class. Staff will observe and create a detailed observation of each child’s learning journey throughout that week. These will be uploaded to Tapestry at the end of the week for the child’s parents to view and comment on. Every child in the class will have a focussed learning journey completed each small term – six per year. Please see the separate letter for more information regarding Tapestry.
- Each term we will have a set of key picture books which will be used as a stimulus for discussions, writing opportunities and cross-curricular learning. This term the key texts are:
- Each term we will have a set of key skills that the children will be working on. The key skills for this term are outlined below:
Prime Areas of Learning
Communication and Language
To communicate in full sentences being able to :
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Specific Areas of Learning
Expressive Arts and Design
Understanding the World
The general pieces of information/reminders below should also be helpful as your child begins school but please do speak to me if you have questions about any of these points:
- We will be organising induction meetings with the Reception parents over the next few weeks so that I can meet you and learn more about your child. We will be in touch via email with these arrangements.
- All the children must come to school wearing the correct school uniform. Please ensure that all uniform items are named (especially sweatshirts and cardigans) as this helps to return lost items to the right children. It is important that the children wear appropriate footwear – comfortable black school shoes with Velcro fastenings help with developing independence.
- PE sessions will take place on a Wednesday. On this day, the children need to come to school wearing their PE kit - navy shorts/jogging bottoms, T-shirt, trainers and the school jumper.
- Your child will need a set of spare clothes, including an extra set of socks and a pair of underwear in case they are needed. All items must be placed in a PE style string bag which will be kept on your child’s coat peg in the Early Years courtyard.
- We are encouraging all children to bring a pair of wellies to school to wear outside when it is raining. Please label your child’s wellies with their name, put them in a bag and we will keep them on their coat peg in school.
- We provide fruit and milk for the children throughout the school day and every child must have a clearly labelled water bottle that they can use when they are in the classroom. Juice or any other types of drink are not allowed. You may wish to collect the bottle at the end of the day so that it can be washed and returned to school the following school day.
- Books will be changed once a week and will be sent home in children’s book bags. The children will be getting a picture book and a reading book. We ask that children read with an adult every evening and that these sessions are recorded in your child’s reading diary. A separate letter outlining your child’s book changing arrangements will be sent home in the next few days and we will hold parent workshops in future Coffee Mornings to share our reading curriculum with you.
- After a settling in period, homework will be given out on Thursday and collected on Tuesday each week. You are welcome to post completed homework onto Tapestry. Although homework does not need to be brought back to school, it is essential that children complete homework tasks on a regular basis as its aim is to consolidate phonics and maths skills they have focussed on in class.
- Your child will soon start bringing home a high frequency word book. Please practise reading and writing these words for a few minutes each day.
- Our Monday, Literacy during the Autumn term will be based around ‘A Box From Home’ talking activity. Each week four children will be asked to bring a box from home filled with objects that would tell us something about them. For example , it could be an object representing a hobby, a family picture, something that would tell us about their cultural background, a favourite book/toy, etc. The children will talk about why these objects are important to them and the rest of the class will learn to ask questions.
- We value parents’ contributions towards the children’s learning journey. As mentioned before, we use an online program called Tapestry to record your child’s learning journey through Early Years. Please see the attached letter with more information and, if you are new to St Matthew’s, a consent form needs to be returned to the school office so that your account can be set up. If you would like to share some great learning from home, you can also upload pictures and videos onto your child’s Tapestry online journal. Some of these will be shared with the rest of the class.
- Regular attendance and good punctuality are essential. Please do contact the school office if your child is not coming to school because of illness or if they will be late.
- If you would like to donate a preloved item in good condition to the Early Years, please speak to a member of staff first, as we have very limited space for resources. However, we always need small bits and bobs for creative work, e.g. buttons, small boxes, juice cartons, paper towel rolls and bottle tops. These will be quarantined for two weeks before the children can use them.
- We are also looking into reintroducing Early Years Open Mornings and again will be in touch with the arrangements for these over the next few weeks.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to talk to me at school at the end of the day, or make an appointment by emailing the school office. I look forward to working with you and your family.
Mrs Farida Swift
Reception Class Teacher
End of Year Expectations
Remote Online Lessons – School Guidance
- We will be operating a mixture of online lessons and paper based activities whilst the school is closed. Google Classroom will be used to set work and to deliver online lessons.
- Tapestry will also be used for children in Nursery and Reception Classes.
- Children can also use Sumdog and myUSO for other online activities. Please contact the school office if your child cannot remember their login details.
- If a child is ill, they do not have to complete remote learning. Please contact the school office as normal if your child isn’t going to be well enough to participate in the lessons.
- If a teacher is ill, remote online live lessons may not be able to take place for a short period of time. We will contact parents if this is the case.
- Class registers will be taken via GoogleClassroom meeting link every day.
- Children should wear school uniform for their online lessons.
- Wherever possible, children should sit in a communal room (eg kitchen, lounge) and not in their bedrooms.
- Children’s microphones will be on mute and the class teacher will unmute the children when it is their time to speak.
- Our Golden Rules and school behaviour expectations remain in place during online learning sessions.
- The class teacher and TA (or another member of staff) will be present in each online lesson.
- Online Safety procedures should be followed at all times.
- Parents should not participate in any online lessons. If parents have any questions about the learning, please contact the school office as usual and the class teacher or other member of staff will be in touch as soon as possible
Your remote learning timetable can be found on your GoogleClassroom stream or Tapestry.