Year R

Teacher's welcome

Hello everyone and welcome to Year R's class page.

We are thrilled to welcome you all to Brill school and aim to make your child's first experience at 'big' school a good one. We expect there may be some children who may be a little anxious but hopefully, once they are in class, the excitement of exploring their new environment and meeting up with friends old and new will dissipate any of these worries.   

am very lucky to be supported by two very experienced Early Years Practitioners, Mrs Cawston and Mrs Hull. We intend to provide a warm and nurturing environment that is so important to a child's experience of school and are very much looking forward to welcoming back some familiar faces as well as getting to know some families that are new to the school.  

The classroom has been spruced up and tidied over the summer and we are proud to present an enriched and stimulating classroom experience, along with a wonderful and secure outdoor area in which to enhance the children's learning opportunities right across the curriculum.

The children will have many opportunities throughout the week to develop their physical skills but will also take part in a more formal PE session. Please bring in PE kits at the start of every term and leave them on your child's peg. We will send kits home at the end of term for washing. 

Year R has a Class Blog so please check in for regular updates. We will be posting photos and info on the children's exploits so you get to see exactly what they get up to in school!

We hope to work in partnership with yourselves to develop children that are happy and confident learners. Please catch myself or one of my team at drop off or collection times if you need a quick chat or email me with any longer queries, concerns or updates you wish to let us know about. 

I am looking forward to an exciting year!

Kind regards. 

Mrs Salt



Year R Blog

Class of 2022/2023

Another busy week

The children have been been showing some fabulous concentration skills during our regular story times. They have been learning how the library is laid out and looking more closely at what type of books there are to choose from. They discovered that our yellow sticker books are 'Fiction' books - stories that are from someone's imagination and that our green stickered 'Non-fiction' books are factual books that provide us with information. Alongside this, we have red stickered 'Maths' books that help us practise our numbers, shapes and patterns. The children have also been learning how the 'Blurb' on the back cover explains what the book is about and the words 'Author and Illustrator' explain who wrote the book and drew the pictures. We even discovered, how some people are able to do both of these jobs - amazing! We wondered if any of the children would one day like to become authors and illustrators and concluded that anyone could do it if they really wanted to and put in enough practise and effort!!   

Hopefully the children enjoyed their first library book. Our book change day is Monday, so please return the library book and yellow reading reading log on this day. Please feel free to write in any comments the children have on their books. When choosing new books, we are happy to look out for favourite authors, illustrators or genres that spark an interest.  

Thank you so much for all the amazing 'All about Me' books you have created. We have loved sharing their photos and have been thrilled listening to the children as they elaborate on the text and keenly share their special family memories with us.   

It was lovely to see everyone at our phonics information evening on Wednesday. For those of you who could not make it, please check out your child's bookbag where you will find some information about our Bug Club phonics teaching and reading scheme.  There are also some top tips to help encourage and inspire our young readers into lifelong reading as well as some information to explain the new vocabulary the children will be learning over the coming weeks and months.    

There was much excitement to be had in class this week - we think there may have been a pirate in our class!! In typical EYFS fashion, when one of the children found 'treasure' (some tiny coins) in our button collection, we began to wonder where it could possibly have come from. After much discussion it was decided that a 'pirate', probably Pirate Pete from our much loved (and re-read) book by Nick Sharratt, must have broken in during the night. There were many extra clues, sea shells, palm tree, dolphin buttons too that enthused their imagination and much fun (and learning opportunities) were to be had whilst investigating. Imagine our surprise when, the next day, we found a collection of shells and gem stones, and a pirate map had also been left. What a busy day we had making our own maps and imagining where the next adventure might take us.      


On Wednesday we took part in our first PE session. There was much to remember about the new routine of the morning, as well as some very important life skills as the children began to independently practise those important dressing and undressing routines. Fastening and unfastening buttons, managing clothes that were inside out and back to front were all challenges to overcome and some of the girls found their tights a little tricky too but we won't be beaten. It did take quite a while... but as the weeks pass I am sure we will get better (and faster) at this process, please feel free to practise these special skills at home too.

In the hall we learnt that PE actually means physical exercise and how we need to move and exercise our bodies to keep ourselves healthy. We needed to remember our important school rules too, as 'be ready, be respectful and be safe' applies everywhere in school - we practised these throughout the lesson. We learnt to listen carefully to instructions and discovered how to find a good space and move safely around the hall. We moved around the hall in different ways and played a listening game called Traffic lights and started to look at what happened to our bodies as we exercised. We put our hands on our 'windmills' to feel our heart beating faster after running around and imagined the sails zooming around faster just like our heart beat.

Jeans for Genes Day

Thank you for all your donning your denim and for generously donating to our charity fund-raising day. We took the opportunity to find out more about 'genes'. We used the computer and the internet to discover they are a special part of your body and are found inside you. They are passed down from your Mummy and Daddy and determine what characteristics you are born with, for example, what hair colour you have and whether it's straight or curly; whether you are tall or short, what colour eyes or skin you have; whether you need glasses or even whether you have hairy toes or not! 

We watched a clip about a little boy who lives in Bicester who was born with faulty gene. He has a genetic disorder that means he will not grow up in the same way as us. We discovered he has great difficulty doing many of the things we find easy. There are many people in the world with faulty genes who struggle in different ways too, so we gave some thought to how lucky we all are. 

Here is the film if you wish to take a look.        

It was sad to hear how some children in Tom's school were mean to him. We thought back to the books we read earlier in the week and made a promise to always try our best to be kind. 

A few more photos of our learning week...

We have had another Birthday celebration this week too.

Thank you so much for the cake treats inspired by our 'Life on the Veg' home work task - who would have ever realised that courgette cake could taste so good?

Yum Yum! 

Next week we will be carrying out the Reception Baseline assessments. 

Further information is available in the documents on the right hand side of this page. 

Don't forget the school photographer is in on Friday!    

This week in year R

 This week we have continued to think about ways in which we can show we are ready, respectful and safe in school. 

We continue to practise our listening skills and have been so respectful as we remember to put up our thumbs rather than shouting out our responses.

We thought about how we move around the school and have been showing we are ready, respectful and safely walking through the school so as not to disturb anyone.

We also thought about ways in which we could take turns when playing with toys and games. We have been using the sand timers to wait patiently for a turn and writing down our names on the clipboard so we know who is next. We know it can be disappointing to not always be chosen at carpet times too, so we have been using lolly-stick names and practising saying to ourselves "oh well, never mind, maybe next time." 

We have been talking about lots of ways in which we can keep ourselves safe especially when moving around school such as always walking inside, picking up toys so we do not trip over them and looking out for cars and traffic when crossing the road on the way to school and in our car park.

But keeping ourselves safe involves so much more than this whether it be eating healthily or drinking plenty of water to keep ourselves 'hydrated' - one of our new wow words. 

We read a lovely book called 'Frog Hops off' which reminded the children not to wander off on their own in case they get lost and listened to the story of 'Pantasaurus and the power of pants' a book published by the NSPCC which helps children understand that their body belongs to them, and how to say No and tell an adult if anything makes them feel upset or worried. 

Here is a link to the website and story for you to take a look.

We have also introduced our new job rota and the children have been taking it in turns to help with tasks around the classroom. We are keen to instil a sense of responsibility and pride in our environment and so far the children have risen to the challenge. They have been avidly checking the rota to see if their name is listed and, when chosen, have been very conscientious when carrying out their duties. We have a special list to ensure everyone has a turn at each job, it must be fair after all!  Jobs include counting out the cupcakes, handing out fruit (and listening for lovely manners), fetching and emptying the compost bin, updating the visual timetable and much much more...

We have a few favourite jobs already emerging but all of them have been enthusiastically carried out - who would have thought putting pens lids back on could be so exciting!! 

In readiness for our first lunchtime play with the whole school (and of course our special buddies) we explored the climbing walls, field, mound, nature garden, playground and adventure play. The buddies have been doing a fantastic job of supporting the children so far. They are now eating together in the lunch hall before supporting the transition to outdoor play - thank you buddies!  

Each week Madame Tate and her special helper 'Saucisson' will be coming into class to teach us how to speak and understand French. This term the children will be learning some greetings and to explain how they are feeling. They will also be learning how to say their name, and recite numbers from 1 to 12 and back. 

I wonder if they can remember any of the phrases they have learnt so far?    

We love to celebrate special days in the calendar and the children's birthdays are among these celebrations. We had our first birthday celebration in Year R  this week. Everyone wished the birthday girl a 'Happy 5th Birthday' and joined in to sing the birthday song. We heard all about the special treats, gifts and cards - what a lucky girl. It sounds as if you had a fabulous day!  

Here we have a few more photos of our week...

Wow - there has been so much to take wonder we were tired again on Friday!

Next week we will be starting our first PE lesson - so please make sure all PE kits are in school. The children will also be choosing a library book to take home.

We hope you have a lovely long weekend - Bye for now! 

First Week Fun!

Well what an exciting first week we have had - busy busy busy are the first words that pop into my head!  

The children have been exploring their new environment and becoming familiar with our daily routines and classroom rules that help us to make the space a lovely place to be. 

We have been looking at our very special rules that underpin all that we do here at Brill...

Be ready

Be respectful

Be safe

...and have been discovering lots of ways in which we demonstrate these as we play and learn.   

     The children have been finding out what it takes to be a good listener and practising these skills as they come to carpet upon hearing the shaker. They are remembering to have empty hands, cross their legs, hands in their laps, eyes to the front and are showing they are ready to listen by being quiet - great job! 

There is always much to talk about and news to share, along with some delightful songs that some of the children were keen (and brave enough) to share - so lovely! 

We have been learning to take turns in conversations and are trying to remember to put our thumbs up to our chest and wait patiently to speak rather than shouting out - this way we make sure we can hear each other clearly and is a wonderful way of showing respect to one another. 

There have been many new toys and activities to play with and to ensure our classroom doesn't get too messy, we have been trying to remember to put one box of toys away before we get out another, like all of our new learning, this will take some practise but is a way to show respect for our belongings as well as making sure the area is safe to move around in.

Here are a few photos of the first few days - some of you will have heard lots of news already but I'm aware that many children are not so forthcoming about what they have been doing!  

Buddy News

Whilst the Year R children are settling in, they have been playing in our own garden space at lunchtimes, but have been joined by the Year 5 children who are to become their buddies. 

The buddy system is designed to help children as they transition into big school and provide them with a special friend, a friendly face with whom they can turn to when faced with a sea of new faces around their new and unfamiliar surroundings. The buddies join together daily on the playground at lunchtimes, playing games and activities and are together in class for regular literacy sessions and play dates throughout the year - they really get to build a special bond with one another. The older children greatly benefit from this too and take great pride in these leadership roles as they learn responsibility and compassion, and the joy of caring for others as they unite with the younger ones. These relationships really bring the children, school and the community together. You will probably hear the children talk about their new 'buddy' or chat to the older children as you are out and about in the village - it is so lovely to see. 

On Friday the children got to pair up and choose their special Buddy. They shared their 'All about me' books, read stories together and played games. 

From next week on, our buddies will share meals with us in the lunch hall before supporting the children on the main playground during lunchtime play.  

Hopefully the children will remember the name of their Buddy, please ask one of the team if they need a reminder.

Now let's meet them all! 

It's lovely to see the children remembering the morning routines. We aim, with your help, to support their developing independence with discreet reminders to put their coats, water bottle and lunch bags into the correct cloakroom space and then bring book bags into their named drawer in the classroom.

A daily fruit snack is always available for the children, but if anyone is bringing an additional snack from home, please pop this into the cloakroom snack box. The boxes are often a little too bulky for the drawers and it helps us quickly identify who has additional food - thank you!  

Please direct your child to the self-registration cupcakes too and help them find their name and move it onto the register tens frames. We will be using these as a purposeful counting opportunity to find out how many children are here or away each day. 

Wow, what a lot of things to remember - I think everyone was very tired by Friday, we certainly had a quite a few yawns on the carpet! 

We hope you all have a lovely rest at the weekend in readiness for our next busy week!

It would be great to have 'All about me' books and any outstanding 'collection rota' sheets in by the end of the week please. Come and see a member of the team if you need a new one. 

Happy weekend - see you Monday! 

Welcome to your new classroom

We are looking forward to meeting you all again.

Come and take a look...

Class of 2021/2022

Exciting news and more...

This week we have welcomed some new life to our classroom and so far, two of the chrysalis have opened and we have two beautiful butterflies in the net. (News update - they have now all emerged!) We have been watching them carefully and allowed them time to open up their wings properly. When they first emerge the wings are soft and need time to stretch out and dry. We spotted a red liquid on the tissue and were worried it was blood but have no fear, the red liquid is know as 'meconium' and is nothing to worry about. We will have to let the butterflies go next week, but for now have been admiring this wonder of nature.  

We also have some amazing photos of a chrysalis under the microscope. The empty cocoon looked quite plain to the naked eye but was stunning under the lens.   

We made some fabulously bright and beautifully symmetrical butterflies this week too and put up our special display to make our new arrivals feel welcome.  

Life in the incubator

We have had six hen's eggs in the incubator for a few days now and have just started to investigate what the incubator is doing and what might be going on inside the eggs. We talked about how the eggs had to be fertilised eggs to grow into a chick and needed to be kept warm and turned regularly to survive, so we need not worry about the eggs from the supermarket hatching in our kitchens. 

 We read a non-fiction life-cycle book and started to countdown the days until the egg-spected arrival. We are updating the calendar daily and now have just six days to go. We are eggs-tremely egg-cited! 

We have begun to make some non-fiction books of our own. So far the children have chosen a title and drawn their front covers, next week we will be searching for chick facts and writing some fact files to go inside them. We have been very impressed with their work. 

Science egg-speriment!

We also became scientists again, this time looking at the shell of the egg which is made of a material very similar to the enamel on our teeth. Many of the children are beginning to lose their baby teeth so it seems a perfect time to think about looking after the new ones that are coming through.  

We placed eggs into different liquids to mimic the effect the liquids might have on our teeth. 

We used vinegar, milk, orange juice, cola and coffee (that one was for the adults).  

We made some predictions first about what might happen and left them for three days to see the results.

This is what we discovered...

The milk seemed to have no effect although the milk had curdled.

The orange juice had pitted the shell and had given it an orange tinge.

The cola and coffee had both badly stained the egg. 

We had a go at brushing the egg with a toothbrush and discovered it did remove some of the stains, so resolved to properly brush our teeth twice a day to ensure we don't end up with stained and damaged teeth. 

The vinegar was the really interesting one, it completely dissolved the egg shell and turned it into a bouncy ball - for a while anyway.

The children were convinced I had replaced it with a fake egg until eventually, with one bounce too many, it popped like a balloon and spilt all over the table!

It was great fun!    

We had a fabulous time celebrating 'Rock star' day, The costumes were fantastic and the children managed to keep in character for most of the day - although there were a few hair and make-up malfunctions throughout!

Of course we had to erect the stage, a team effort, and put them through their paces - the warm up was quite a spectacle - we loved it. We really couldn't recognise some of the children but counted 25 so knew they were all here somewhere!  

Thank you for your generous donations to the PTA. 


And finally we got to fly our re-cycled plastic bag kites.

We knew if we were patient enough the wind would blow...

Butterfly Wonder

Over the last couple of weeks we have welcomed some new life to our class  - some caterpillars! We have been closely watching them grow and at quite a rate! This week we came in one morning to see each one had turned into a chrysalis. 

Hopefully in the next few days we will see the next change and the new butterflies will emerge. We learnt the word to describe this change was 'metamorphosis'.  

We have been looking carefully at butterfly wings too, we noticed the wings on the Painted Lady butterfly in the picture were the same on both sides and leant another new word 'symmetrical'. 

We looked at the butterfly lifecycle too and created some lifecycle art with different types of pasta.  

We made some beautiful patterns with the gemstones and then had a go at trying to make some with a symmetrical pattern. We used mirrors to check whether they were exactly the same on both sides. In forest school too, the children used natural materials to make some beautiful butterflies.

Similarly, in maths we looked at doubling and learnt that a double was twice (2 lots of) the original number. We began finding doubles all around the environment - even during our phonics lessons where we found some some double letters!   

Here are some more forest school photos from last week and more outdoor fun! 

And finally...our '10 pair of pants' reward, the Teddy Bear's  picnic - a jolly time was had by all! 

Welcome Back

Welcome back to our last term together in Year R!

This week we have been continuing to think about the environment and have been making good use of those left over plastic bottles and bags you kindly donated.

We had already trimmed down the plastic bottles, added a funny face, some soil and sprinkled on some grass seeds before the half term. A quick water and a little sunshine was all that was needed and, as if by magic, we came back after the holidays to find some fabulous grass heads. The seeds sprouted so quickly and are already in need of a bit of a trim! 

We also began to make some kites using the plastic carrier bags. We had some breezy weather that proved very handy for testing out the designs. We experienced a few hiccups with some of them flexing too much as they were being flown. We had to re-think how they were put together and tried out some different methods to find out what worked best. We learnt that we shouldn't give up when things don't work out and to keep on trying. Because of this we managed to make our kites fly even better - great job guys! 

We will carry on with these next week too - I wonder whether anything else will need adapting?       


Our Forest school sessions started this week and appeared to be a big hit.

Upon their return, the first group were very excited to share their experiences with the rest of the class. Group 2 will go next week and are eagerly awaiting their turn exploring the space - and the hot chocolate and biscuit that they get too, I expect!

Here are a few photos of the afternoon.  

We also enjoyed our first swimming session this week too!

Luckily, the weather didn't let us down, the sun was shining and the water was warm! The children were fabulous in the water and Mrs Chettle was blown away as the children showcased our important values to 'Be Ready, Be Respectful, Be Safe.' 

Well done Year R - we were very proud of your efforts and awarded them a 'pair of pants' for super team work.  

We managed one quick photo of the first group in and will try to get a shot of the second group next week but, as you can imagine, we were rather busy making sure everyone was safe! 

Jubilee Celebrations

Well, what a fabulous Jubilee week we have had!

Here are a few snaps from our celebrations, including a look at our Year R flag, dress up day, oak tree planting and a very special lunch celebration in the hall. 

Wishing you all a fantastic Jubilee week.

Congratulations Queen Elizabeth!   


Prayer Space

This week we were lucky enough to visit the church for our turn at Prayer space.

During our visit, the children were given time to think about what God meant to them and to reflect about things that made themselves special, as well as ways to be peaceful and to show love and peace to others. We learnt the importance of forgiveness and thought of people across world wherever they may be. 

The children behaved impeccably and were keen to discuss their favourite parts back in the classroom.

We are very grateful to Reverend Gemma and Jenny, along with Martha for giving their time so generously.    


Elsewhere we have been making the most of the beautiful weather, spending much of our time in our outdoor area. We have been tidying and weeding the garden, planting out tomatoes and sowing some seeds. We even managed to use the slabs as a 'tens frame' as we estimated how many fir cones were in the pots and then checked by counting.

Our time at prayer space made us realise how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and safe part of the world and helped us to appreciate what we have right on our very own doorstep! 

This week in Year R...

Another busy week for us here in Year.

Last week we paired up with the children in Year 5 and now have buddies!

The buddy system is designed to help children as they transition into big school and provide them with a special friend, a friendly face with whom they can turn to when faced with a sea of new faces around their new and unfamiliar surroundings. The buddies join together daily on the playground at lunchtimes, playing games and activities and are together in class for regular literacy sessions and play dates throughout the year - they really get to build a special bond with one another. The older children greatly benefit from this too and take great pride in these leadership roles as they learn responsibility and compassion, and the joy of caring for others as they unite with the younger ones. These relationships really bring the children, school and the community together. You will probably hear the children talk about their new 'buddy' or chat to the older children as you are out and about in the village - it is so lovely to see. 

Thankfully, now that all year groups are fully integrating we have been able to meet together and start to nurture these valued relationships.   

Our buddies have already joined us for a shared reading session and this week have helped us learn our new Values song along with some actions to help us remember the words.

Hopefully the children will be familiar with their buddies name by now.

Here are some photos of our sessions so far... 

The new term begins...

Welcome back to the start of the new term. The children have come back refreshed and full of excitement to share their news and holiday adventures!

We have been looking more closely at where the children have been in the world and have been writing sentences that detail their travels and plotting this on a giant map. We discovered how tiny the UK is in comparison to other countries and magnified a map of the UK to show where England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were so we could see exactly where we had visited in this country. A few children were lucky enough to travel abroad. They had some first hand experiences of an airport and are now able to share and play out these experiences in our role play airport. 

Our school topic for the summer is the 'Great Outdoors' - so let's hope we get to enjoy lots of lovely sunshine this term. 

Thank you to those of you who took part in the 'Ponderful' challenge - what a super effort you made, there were some really wonderful entries!  Judging will take place over the weekend, we will let you know prize winners next week. 

This week we have focussed our attention on wider worldly issues by joining in our Brill school 'Action for the Earth' week. We have been finding out about the planet Earth and what we need to do to look after it and ensure that life still continues for millions of years to come. We read stories and watched film clips that detail how our environment is being damaged and what we need to do to look after it. We have decided upon the actions we can take to help minimise the damage caused and over the next few weeks will be working towards these goals.

This week we have looked more closely at the items we are using and decided whether we could be more efficient by reducing, reusing or recycling them. We looked at simple changes we could make, such as turning the lights off when we leave the room; using both sides of the paper when writing; re-using items for other purposes -  just as we make new toys and models out of the junk we no longer need; making sure rubbish goes in the bin and recycling it whenever possible.

 We sorted our own items of rubbish into different categories, looking for recycling labels to check we were putting them into the correct bin. We sorted items into paper and card, glass, metal and plastics and of course we made sure our fruit peelings, at snack time, went into our compost bin.

On Friday, we reduced our energy consumption and joined the rest of the school by turning off the lights and spending the afternoon without using electricity. We put this time to great use, going on a litter pick to tidy up our outdoor spaces and clear away any items that might harm the wildlife that visit the grounds.      

Elsewhere, in maths, we have been have been looking at numbers to twenty and beyond using a range of different counting materials such as tens frames, Numicon counters and Unifix blocks to represent these numbers. We discovered the teen, two digit numbers represented one lot of ten and however many single ones (or even two lots of ten in the case of 20).  

This term in PE, we will be practising our ball skills by throwing, catching, kicking, shooting and passing balls to each other. We tried some of these skills out whilst playing a tricky word game too - it was lots of fun!    

Next week we will continue with our 'Action for the Earth' challenges and hope to reduce the amount of plastic we use by printing cloth bags for us to use in class.     

Year R Easter Song

Happy Easter everyone!

Spring Festivities

Over the last couple of weeks, we have busy investigating the season of Spring; finding out what changes take place in the environment, noting the changes we see in our own garden and managed some first hand weather experiences that this changeable season brought with it! 

With the role play airport up and running, we have been looking at holiday destinations and thinking about countries we might like to visit from around the world. We thought about what we might expect to see when we get there and what we would need to pack in our suitcases. The children chose and cut out some clothing items and them wrote out a sentence to explain where they were going. It turns out, there are quite a few of you off on real holidays this Easter, so we are looking forward to hearing all about them when you return. The children will hopefully remember their holiday essentials, it seems you may be needing the sun cream too - you lucky things!    


This week, we have been reading all about the Easter story and in preparation for the Easter church service have been learning a song and making chick, bunny and Easter egg hats to wear during our performance. We learned about some of the traditions that take place during this springtime Christian celebration and discovered that Easter eggs are given as a symbol of new life and rebirth. We also made and wrote out Easter cards to our loved ones - please look in your child's bookbag for their card.     

Madame Tate shared some of the Easter traditions that children in France take part in too. Watch out for 'les cloches de Pâques' - flying bells returning from Rome that drop Easer treats for the children to collect. 

On Wednesday we joined the whole school in the Easter church service. The children behaved impeccably as they listened to each year group share their stories, artwork, poems and Easter prayers. They then performed their Easter song and took great pleasure in reminding everyone to remember to 'brush their teeth' are tucking into their chocolate Easter eggs! 

We finished the week with another Easter tradition - an Easter egg hunt. The children had worked really hard to earn their 10 pairs of pants and had unanimously chosen an egg hunt as their reward. 

There was much fun to be had searching for the plastic eggs that had been hidden all over the garden and playing field. There were seven lucky eggs that contained a piece of 'golden pasta' that was to be exchanged for a special word clue to explain where the real eggs were hidden. After much searching, the clues were put together and spelt out the sentence " The Easter eggs are in the kitchen." 

Great team work guys - we hope you enjoy the chocolate!

We would like to wish you all a very happy Easter and a wonderful Easter break! 


March 18th

This week we have been thinking about updating our role play area and have been discussing options and play ideas. We brought out the picture tally charts and spent some time noting down each other's choices. We are getting so much better at managing data and numbers in this format. Have a look below at some of our ideas. Unfortunately we ran out of time this week but will be voting on Monday to decide what it will be.

I wonder what everyone will choose? 

There were a few children keen to practise their singing skills too; we thought this might be better outside -  a perfect excuse to set up a stage in the garden and the weather was on our side...

Wooden blocks were utilised and organised into a performance area, music chosen, speakers and microphones at the ready, ticket booth open for sales and the fun began...  

I think we may be seeing a lot more of this, we certainly have some keen singers this year!

Although the weather seems to have improved this week, we were surprised that officially the Spring equinox isn't until Sunday (clocks go forward on 27th). We found some spring flowers bursting open in the sunshine and used them as an inspiration for some artwork. We looked carefully at the shapes and colours before sketching them and using watercolour paints to bring our pictures to life. 

We also took a look at how to mix colours together to develop different shades. For St Patrick's day, we cut out some patterned shamrocks and painted them with differing shades of green, by adding either white or black.       

We have been playing dice games with the number tracks to practise recognising patterns of dots and to help us calculate how many more we need to throw to be the first to ten. We have also been playing a 'Dotty 6' game, taking turns to see who can win three squares in row - it is great game for developing game play and working out strategies to beat your opponent.        

Thank you so much for all the fabulous photos you sent in with the results of your own 'shiny penny experiments'.

The children have been excited to discuss their findings and have been comparing notes all week. There has been much talk about the differing choices of liquids. Some parents were even prepared to share their alcohol - now that's dedication for you, all in the name of science of course. We have all been wondering  and speculating together as to how the results have been so different - it is wonderful to see such curiosity and enthusiasm shining through - thank you for encouraging this at home.   


Year R Scientists

This week in Year R, we have been scientists!

We found that our coins were very dull and dirty looking, so decided to try and make them shiny again. 

We spent the morning scrubbing the pennies in water but couldn’t get them to shine. We had a think about what else might work and decided to try hand soap. We used up a whole bottle of soap and made plenty of bubbles but the coins were still dull and dirty looking. We decided the pennies couldn’t possibly be dirty, or have any germs on them now, as they had been cleaned so thoroughly.

We then discovered how the pennies were actually ‘tarnished’ which meant that over time and their use, the surfaces had started to corrode and had turned them a dull brown colour. We wondered whether we could remove the tarnish by cleaning them with something other than soapy water and went in search of items to try.

 Our Shiny Penny Experiment...

  1. We found cola, ketchup, oil, hand gel, false teeth tablets, table spray, washing up liquid, vinegar, lemon juice and hand soap and poured them into bowls and labelled them.
  2. We made predictions about what we thought might work best and popped our pennies into the liquids overnight to see what would happen.

This is what we discovered…  

We have been discussing our results and noted that, in some of the liquids, one penny came out shinier  than the others and speculated as to why this might be. 

There were some fantastic theories...

Could one of the coins have been submerged for longer?

Had one coin landed on top of another and not have had as much liquid on it? 

Had one of the coins been dirtier in the first place?

We talked about how scientists need to re-test to see whether they can replicate the results and have set the children a challenge to try this experiment at home.

You could try out the same liquids or choose some new ones.

There have been a few interesting suggestions; chocolate spread, jam, brown sauce, juice, yoghurt or milk.

I wonder what will happen? Will any of them have an effect? Will you have similar results to us in school? 


Please email in your results, we would love to share them with the class. 

Happy experimenting!  


World Book Day 2022

Wow - what an amazing effort everyone made with their costumes - thank you! 

We joined KS1 for a special assembly to show off each other's fabulous costumes.

It was fun trying to guess who was who! 

We had a wonderful day reading our books and sharing stories - well done everyone!  

International week celebrations

We finally got to celebrate our International day visits around the world.

It was fascinating to find out a little more about Bali (Indonesia), Japan, Italy, Greece and Poland.  

Here are a few highlights of our very own Chinese New Year celebrations. 

We made red lanterns and some rattle drums to scare away Nian, the monster from the ancient story about how the Chinese New Year celebrations and traditions first came to be. 

We found out it is customary to give gifts of money to children in special red envelopes. Circles and the number 8 are also thought to be lucky and bring good luck, so we put eight coins in our red envelopes and decorated them with Chinese letters and numbers. 

We made dragon and Lion masks too. 

Lochlan showed us his incredible Lion costume that came from the Chinese New Year procession he watched in London's China Town - it was very cool! 

Thank you to those of you who sent in photos of your very own Chinese New Year celebrations and activities - we loved sharing the photos!  

We read the story of the Great Race and discovered how twelve animals took part in a race to decide which animal would lead the new year celebrations. The Jade Emperor named the first year after the rat who came first in the race (he cheated by hopping on the Ox's back). The Emperor decided that it would be fairer to name every new year after one of the animals and did so in the order that the animals finished the race. 

We played our own 'great race' game, we had lots of different winners and the 'rat' was not allowed to cheat!  

(Unfortunately our class ipad has undergone a large update and we are locked out of it at the moment, so we only have a few photos of the completed items).   

As 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, we did some research to find out a little more about them.

We discovered that Tigers are now an endangered species as poachers kill them for their skins and for folk remedies. Their habitats in the wild are also being destroyed, which means they need to travel further afield to find food and often clash with communities when they kill livestock from the local populations. 

The children were rightly horrified that such beautiful creatures might soon become extinct so, instead of their '10 pairs of pants' class reward, offered to adopt a tiger instead. 

This week we welcomed 'Gopal' a furry, soft toy version of our adopted tiger and will be receiving regular updates of how he is doing. 

It was wonderful to see the children so passionate about supporting this worthy cause and such a lovely life lesson for them to recognise how others in the world are not as fortunate as themselves.  

Next week we will be putting together a book about our celebrations and thinking about facts and favourite parts of our time looking at China and the Chinese New Year.

February 13th

This week we have been finding out more about the country of China ahead of next week's 'International week' celebrations. 

We looked at where China was on the map and discovered it was a huge country in comparison to the UK and that it would take around 11 hours to fly there. We also found that more people live in China people than any other country in the world.

We made some Chinese flags and learnt how to say some words in Mandarin Chinese.

Hello (ni hao) and thank you (xie xie).

We also discovered that China is world famous for its food, so turned our role play area into our very own Chinese restaurant. We made some of our favourite Chinese foods out of salt dough and have been selling them in our restaurant all week. Prawn crackers, toast and some rather delicious looking spring rolls were selling very well! Business was so good, we opened up a takeaway service too and decorated boxes for the customers to take the delicious goodies home. We tried eating some noodles (pretend) with chopsticks and discovered there is quite a skill to this, as most ended up on the floor! We won't give up though - we know that we have to keep practising and persevere to get good at something. 

We also looked at the hygiene ratings that are displayed at food outlets to explain how clean the restaurant and kitchen area is. Scores are out of 5, (5 is very good) look out for low scores though, after all, we don't want to pick up a tummy bug.

Sadly, the inspector has had to close our restaurant on a few occasions, but luckily we have soon managed to make it 'spick and span' again and open back up. 

I have challenged the children to look out for these signs as they are out and about, please feel free to send in photos for us to see.    

We found that China has a rather famous wall that is the longest in the world so, not to be outdone, we decided to make our very own 'Great wall of Brill'. 

We tried a selection of building materials both inside and outdoors but soon discovered we didn't have quite have enough to compete with the 13,000 miles of wall found in China, but we had fun trying!

We then read a non-fiction book about about Chinese New Year, a special festival that is celebrated in China every year in the Spring - the start of the Lunar new year.   

We have been writing greetings cards to each other and found out how flowers and the newly growing blossom from the plum tree are thought to bring luck and hope for the new year. We painted some of our own and learnt a Cantonese phrase to wish each other 'Happy New Year'.

"Gung Hei Fat Choi"     

Each year is named after one of the 12 Zodiac animals, we will be finding out more about this next week. This year we will be celebrating the Year of the Tiger, but what year was it when our Year R children were born? I wonder if they can remember?

 If they were born before 27th January 2017 they will be... a monkey. 

If they were born on 28th January 2017 or after, they will be... a rooster.

Our festivities will continue next week, don't forget to dress up in our flag colours on Friday - we will be jetting off on a whistle stop tour of the world to see what is happening in places far and wide!    

February 6th 

Thank you to all of you who took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch last weekend. The children were so excited to share their results and tallies with us and we saw some fabulous photos of the children with binoculars in hand, avidly watching for signs of birdlife - it was so lovely to see. The birdlife has continued to be of interest this week, from the window we even managed to spot a robin bathing in a bucket in our side garden. Outside the birds were a little more tricky to see, unfortunately, we do make rather a lot of noise en masse!  

In PE we took to the football field and had a go at a 'daily mile' (it will be a weekly mile for Year R). We hope to see our stamina and fitness levels improve over the coming months but are already seeing some shining running stars who showed  fabulous perseverance and were determined to keep going for the whole time, amazing!

What really impressed us too was the incredible team work and sportsmanship everyone showed. We are not all made for running, but the class pulled together to help one another out, stopping to help up some that had fallen or slowing to support those that were flagging behind - such kindness made us very proud and was rewarded with a very well deserved 'pair of pants' - I see another class treat coming very soon! We have been keeping our bodies supple with some relaxing Yoga too and joining in with antics of Pedro the penguin and Joybob the Polar bear.     

In maths, we have been holding regular Bingo games to help with number recognition and ordering numbers. They are very popular, the excitement is palpable when we are down to the last few numbers!

We have also been looking at different tools to help us with our counting and calculations. We have used number tracks and Numicon matching numbers to objects and using them to help complete our number sentences. We have also been using some balance scales to weigh and measure items. We estimated what we thought might be the heaviest and lightest items and then used cubes as a form of measurement to see if we were right.  

Jenny from the church visited Year R and talked about the value of Hope. We listened to stories that inspired us to be hopeful and discussed our own hopes and dreams for the future. There were naturally many wishes for new toys and treats but it was wonderful to hear the children make more worldly wishes and hopes for those people that were less fortunate than themselves.  

Next week, we will start our international look at China and learning more about stories and traditions that surround the Chinese New Year. 

Happy Weekend!

January 21st

Hello everyone

Over the last couple of weeks in Year R we have been finding out (and experiencing) a little more about winter. We have read some non-fiction books and have been sharing our own experiences of winter - most of which was concerned with the weather - us Brits do like to talk about the weather a lot!

We found lots of ice in the garden and looked at ways we could free the dinosaurs that had been frozen in the water overnight. We had lots of fun with the small world polar creatures too, freezing our fingers with snow and ice inside the classroom as well as outside.   

We discovered that under a microscope, no two snowflakes are ever the same. We had a go at crafting some ourselves, folding paper and cutting out shapes as well as using pastels and glitter to make our very own individual snowflake designs - just like real life. We made a terrible mess in the process but are really improving our cutting skills. 

Similarly, we have been looking at the clothing we need to wear to protect ourselves from the bitter wind, cold and rain and have been cutting out clothes to dress the cut-out dolls. We have also been practising our reading and writing skills by labelling pictures of children in their winter clothing.   

We have been reading about animals that live in polar lands and making a fact file of interesting facts about them.

Did you know...

  • Polar bears have black skin and although their fur appears white, it is actually transparent.
  • They like to shake themselves to dry their fur - just like dogs.
  • One polar bear weighs as much as ten adult humans.
  • Penguins are birds but have chunky bodies and short flat wings which means, unlike other birds, they cannot fly.
  • Penguins like to surf the waves - it gets them back to shore much quicker than swimming.
  • An Emperor penguin female will lay an egg, but hands it over to the male who looks after it. He rests the egg on his feet to protect it from the cold and ice.    

We also read a charming (and true) story about two boy penguins who live in a zoo in New York. The penguins become partners and raise a penguin chick together. We learnt that animal families can be similar to human families and made up in all sorts of different ways. 

Here we have a few photos of the Diwali dance workshop from last week - we learnt the story of Rama and Sita and found out how this special 'Festival of Lights' first came to be celebrated. It was great fun re-enacting the story through dance.   

Here are this week's Library superstars and our very worthy Tidy up award winners.

Great job guys!  

Christmas 2021

Here's to our very special Christmas Nativity superstars - we are very proud of you!

Happy Christmas everyone!

December 4th

This week the classroom has become very Christmassy and the Advent countdown  has begun -  only 21 days to go, just in case you have forgotten! Calendars have been hung and opening up the day's number has become the highlight of the day, I wonder if it's got anything to do with the little sweetie treat they have when they open it up? 

The tree has been decorated, hanging decorations are underway and the classroom is filled with joyous voices as the children sing along to our Nativity songs - such a delightful time of year for our little ones!     

Monday's snowfall was another highlight of the week, although we could barely get out of the cloakroom doors as the storm seemed to have sent every remaining leaf in our direction! Sadly, there wasn't enough snow to make a snowman but there was still lots of fun to be had. Those that wanted to keep warm did a great job collecting the leaves and showed a super determination to keep going until the undercover area was spick and span!  

In Phonics, we have been playing lots of games that practise the sounds we have been learning. Splat the sound (with fly swats) and hook a duck have been very popular. We have been using the magnets to make CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) and simple phrases, and have had a go at writing a letter to Father Christmas by sounding out the words we want to use. The children are learning ways to help themselves remember the sounds by using phonics mats and looking at the working wall displays. We took some time to reflect with the children on the progress they have made and to recognise the super effort they have put into their learning. Keep up the good work, we are very proud of you. 

On that note, it has been delightful to see some 'wow moments' coming in too, as the children start on their journey into reading and begin to wow their parents as they blend sounds together and begin to complete their first sets of books. Please keep the wow moments coming in, they are a lovely way to boost the children's confidence and also act as a super inspiration to others. 

We don't have too many photos this week - we want to keep our Nativity practises  under wraps!  Here are this week's Library superstars (and a couple from last week too) and the winners of this week's tidy-up awards - the Rainbow Circles. Great job guys, keep up the good work! 

Next week we will be filming the Nativity scenes and are looking forward to Friday's Christmas lunch and our Christmas jumper Day! 

November 27th

This week, we have been putting our efforts into the upcoming Christmas festivities and looking at some of the traditions we take part in at this time. We have been making calendars ahead of next week's start of Advent and have putting lots of practise with our cutting skills! It was not an easy job and perseverance was the order of the day as cutting out 25 little squares has been no mean feat - great job guys, your efforts will be well worth it next week!

We have been reading lots of Nativity books to give us a good understanding of the story of the first Christmas. All of the books were similar but we noticed how some of them mentioned 'wise men' whilst other books call them 'kings'. Some said Mary and Joseph were sent to Bethlehem to be counted whilst other said to pay taxes. We talked about how the story was first told a very long time ago in the bible and how people have since retold the story in their own words and made small changes. 

We then set the children the challenge of re-telling their own story of the first Christmas and putting on a special performance of the Nativity.

The children have been coming up with lots of lovely ideas about how to make the story special to them and have been making some decisions about which part they wish to play. We have a lot of work to do adapting the script, learning songs, building scenery and making props. The costumes are a work in progress, we are trying to keep them simple and make up as many as possible ourselves but we would gladly welcome the loan of any Nativity costumes you might already have at home.          

This week, work has started on the Muga (Multi Use Games Area) outside of the school. We noticed some strange beeping and engine noises coming from the site so went out to investigate. It was great to discover what was happening, we had a great view from the fence outside of the Year 6 classroom. And of course, on our way back, we couldn't resist an additional playtime on the Adventure play area!   

Elsewhere outside, we have had some new 'Go Go' pedal carts arrive. They are putting our balance and co-ordination skills to the test! The Autumn leaves are keeping us very busy too. The children have been sweeping, raking and moving barrow loads of them away this week - Mr Birt, our caretaker, has been very thankful for all their hard work, although, frustratingly, the next day they all seem to return again! 

Never mind, the children are having great fun whilst practising those essential gross motor skills needed within the writing process.   

In maths this week we have been looking at different ways to represent number. We  can use our fingers, dice, Numicon shapes, a tally or the written word to name but a few. We have been playing games that practise recognising these different numbers.  

We have been practising our phonic sounds too, listening out to the sounds we hear in simple words and then writing them down. The children are learning ways to help themselves as they write and are using phonic mats and the working wall displays to help them remember the way sounds are written.

(We call this GPC - Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence.) 

We had a great day Friday, looking at everyone's "Mad Hair'. Thank you for all of  your donations to the PTA hamper appeal. We now have a new Friday afternoon hall slot for PE and this week decided to take some calm down time with a Cosmic Yoga session - hopefully the children came home nice and relaxed, or is that just wishful thinking!  

Thank you to our Library monitors and to the Green Squares who did an excellent job and won the tidy up award this week. Sadly two of our Library monitors were off on Friday, don't worry though, your certificates are waiting for you! 

Happy weekend folks! 

November 21st

There has been much excitement this week with the upcoming pop-up Literacy taking centre stage. Our chosen book featuring 'Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam' was the inspiration for our design challenge, as the children put pen to paper in a bid to design a delicious cake worthy of a place in the café of Shifty and Sam. There was much to think about...chocolate or vanilla base, or maybe a crispy cake. Then there were topping to think about.. what colour icing should they choose and would it be smarties, buttons or maybe sprinkles to complete the look. Once the decisions had been made and written up, it was over to the baking. The children had great fun putting everything together and really looked the part in their aprons and chef's hats. 

During her French lesson this week, Madame Tate taught the children how to say some special phrases from the book.

'C'est délicieux' will hopefully describe how the cakes tasted! 

Thank you for coming to the exhibition on Friday, it was lovely to see so many of you there, I know the children were excited to show off their efforts. 

Tasty treats seemed to be the theme of the week as the children voted on their next reward for achieving 10 pairs of pants. Well done Year R - what super team work! 

Doughnuts were duly bought and quickly devoured! 

We read a book called 'The Cookie', to help the children understand about food allergies and learn how to keep themselves and their friends safe. We discussed how children are often told that it is good to share, however, when it comes to sharing food this can cause problems for some children who are allergic to certain ingredients. We learnt we should never share food at school.  

This term's value of 'Diversity' was in our thoughts again as Jenny from the church visited Year R for this week's collective worship and we joined in discussions  and songs to celebrate our differences. 

Ahead of Friday's 'Children in Need' mufti day fundraiser, we read a super book called 'It's a no-money day' about a family who needed to use a food bank. It was lovely to hear the children talk about their experiences and begin to empathise with others who were not as fortunate as themselves. We also watched a video of twin boys who struggle to manage their day to day life because of a condition they were born with. They attend a special respite centre funded by the Children in Need charity and loved the freedom they experienced there. 

Thank you for your generous donations for this worthy charity.  

We continue to be impressed with the super work the librarians carry out all week to ensure our books are kept ordered and tidy. Thank you to this week's stars! 

We have now introduced a new reward for the remaining areas of the classroom too. The children have been grouped into teams and will take on responsibility for tidying one area of the class for the whole week. Each day they will earn points for their efforts and at the end of the every week the team with the most points will get a certificate and a small prize. 

Wow - what a spick and span classroom we are now seeing at the end of each day! 

The scores were very close, but this week's worthy winners were the 'Blue triangles'. Great job guys!    

A final few photos...robot models, phonics, fishing and fairyland food. 

November 14th 

This week in Year R we have been looking more closely at our Literacy Festival book, Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. We made chefs hats in readiness for next week's design and baking challenge and have been practising some design ideas with the playdough. We took part in another drawing workshop and looked at the colours we needed to paint a likeness of Slippery Sam, then experimented with the watercolour paints to mix the colours we needed. We also started work on a collage of Shifty and Sam, it took a lot of effort to cut up the materials into tiny pieces! 

Please join us if you can on Friday morning to see all of the children's work in the exhibition.      

Our castle role play has again been very popular this week. The children have been thinking about the people that would have lived inside the castle and have been keen to become kings, queens, princesses and princes themselves. The classroom has been peppered with card and paper cuttings as the children made crowns and practised their scissor skills cutting out the designs. We saw some super perseverance as the children fine-tuned their snipping actions to cut around the zig-zag patterns and intricate shapes. The royal families then had great fun directing their servants to wait on their every need. We even crowned a new King - Henry the ninth - he insists he will not be following in his predecessor's footsteps by marrying six wives and will stick to searching for a single partner to be his queen!        

Remembrance Day

We feel it is important for the children to understand the relevance of Remembrance day and to find out what happened in the past and how people fought for their country and made sacrifices to ensure its people were safe from harm. 

We have spoken about the soldiers and service people who are still here to protect us and the importance of talking with one another to solve our problems to ensure we can be peaceful - just as we do in class. We watched a special film clip that simply explains what Remembrance day is about and the traditions we take part in.

Click below to see the clip - it talks specifically about the Scottish Poppy appeal but is perfectly pitched for younger children.   

We also read a beautiful book about two lifelong friends who went to war together.

The children were very intrigued as to why one of the friends was now in a wheelchair and had a leg missing. We had some interesting conversations about how this might have happened and how it might have impacted their lives. This proved a super link to this months value of 'Diversity' and discussions about how people might look different and live lives that are different to us. We talked abut how this is ok and how we should be respectful to everyone.      

Year R then joined the rest of the school for a two minute silence on the playground. We wore our poppies with pride as we listened to the last post. The children stood still and absolutely silent showing great respect for those who have lost their lives or have been injured in battle. We were very proud of them. 

Thank you for all your donations to our school Poppy appeal. 

There was much excitement this week with the delivery of our new Didi cars. For those of you who have not seen them before, the children sit down on low level cars, resting both of their feet on the car at the front. They then move the handles from side to side in a twisting action to propel the car forward. As the children manage these movements, they are building core strength and developing the gross motor muscles in their shoulders which are needed to support their arms and hands within the writing process.

We had great fun racing the cars in teams to search for this week's phonemes. You will see in the photos that many of the children reverted to feet power but these skills take a lot of practise and will be a work in progress over the coming weeks and months. Well done to the blue team who worked well together and showed a great determination to find all the graphemes in record time!  

Here we have a few more photos of this week's activities including puzzles, junk modelling, letter writing practise, junk modelling, outdoor fun and a little peak of our PTA  Christmas card making session.    

Enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

November 7th

The children have settled back into the new term really well and are showing great enthusiasm for their learning. 

It was lovely to hear the children talk about their show and tell items and to hear them recall their half-term exploits. I was super proud of the way they showed such lovely respect to each other by listening carefully as they all took it in turns to talk. Another pair of pants on the washing line was very well earned!         

On Wednesday we welcomed the Author Tracey Corderoy into our classroom (via a live link). Tracey read us her book "Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam" before talking us through step by step instructions on how to draw Slippery Sam, brought to life from the imagination of illustrator Steven Lenton. It was lovely to see and hear her passion for her story shine through. Again, the children showed huge respect for our guest, paying great attention to her every word. At this rate, I don't think it will be too long before the children earn their next treat!

The children have been helping to bring to life the role play castle they voted for before half-term. We read a non-fiction book that explained what a castle might look like and the children have been getting involved in deciding what they need to put in the castle to enhance their experiences. We looked at the clothing they would have worn in the past and found some princess and knight costumes to wear. We also put our junk modelling skills to good use and had a go at making some shields that might protect the knights in battle. The castle will remain a work in progress and we will continue to enhance the area over the next few days and weeks.    

With Bonfire Night looming, we took some time to look at the story of Guy Fawkes and discovered how some of the traditions that we take part in nowadays first came about. We then watched a clip of an amazing firework display that was put together with the rousing music of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture. 

We discovered that fireworks are very noisy and can be very dangerous if not handled properly. We looked at firework safety and ways to protect ourselves and our pets.   

We also had a go at making some firework pictures with paints, glitter and chalks, took part in some Firework inspired Cosmic Yoga during PE and have been playing a rocket game on the Smart board. 

We have now started to include a more formal phonics session into our daily routine. So far we have introduced the sounds 's a t & p'. More details will follow soon on how you can support your child at home to learn the letter sounds.  

And finally...

Thank you to this week's library helpers - you did a grand job! 

October 16th

This week we continued with activities based upon our Autumn theme.

With our school Harvest Festival looming, we read a non-fiction book to help us understand a little more about the celebration and so we knew what to expect ahead of Wednesday's visit to the church. Then the hard work began...

Our "Farmer, farmer, you've got dirty boots" song went into overdrive as the children began to learn the tune and memorise the words and actions. We found some props to use for the performance and then realised that we had a bit of a problem on our hands - although everyone would sing and join in the actions, there were not enough props for everyone to use! What were we going to do? It was then over to the children for their ideas.

They wanted it to be fair, but how could this be achieved? There was much discussion about taking turns, perhaps using a sand timer but none of these ideas were quite right...finally (after a little discrete shaking of my jar) the children came up with the idea of using my lolly stick names to decide. 

We calculated how many people we needed and one by one, as the names were drawn, each person chose their preferred role. For those who didn't get picked, they remembered our well used phrase, "oh well, never mind, maybe next time," to manage their disappointment - well done guys, this is such an important life lesson to learn. 

After a couple of nights of singing the song in our sleep it was time for the performance and wow, didn't they do well!

We were immensely proud of the children for the super effort they put in.  Standing up in front of the whole school was no mean feat, we feel they really shone! Two pairs of pants were awarded and were very well deserved! 

If you haven't seen the video yet click on the link below.

Still on our Autumnal theme, we have been practising our scissor skills, cutting out leaves for our Autumn tree, counting out objects and looking at produce harvested from Mrs Cawston's allotment. 

We've also been making up lots of repeated patterns! The smart board game was a big hit - here is a link if you would like to play at home.

To mark Mental Health Day, we read the story of 'Ruby's Worry'. The story tells of a little girl who, one day, finds a worry. At first it's not such a big worry, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. We found out how Ruby managed to get rid of her worry and began to feel like herself again.
We then thought about our own worries and how talking to someone about them would help them disappear. We thought about the people we might go to and these included  our family, friends or teachers.      

Here we have a few more photos from our busy week.

We finished the week by thinking about what we might like to change our role play area into. Next week we will be discussing these a little more in depth and voting for our favourite one.  

October 10th

Well, the time is definitely rushing by, I can't quite believe we have only two weeks left until the half term break!

There have been rather a lot of colds spreading through the class so we have been  re-enforcing those important hygiene rules.

Cough into your elbow.

Catch it - blow your nose on a tissue.

Bin it - tissues go straight in the bin.

Kill it - now wash or gel your hands.

We would really welcome donations of tissues as we are getting through our supplies at quite a rate - thank you! 

We have been finding out a little more about this month's value of 'JOY' and shared a super book that tells of a little girl who goes on a search to bring the joy back into her grandmother's life. 

We then took a moment to think about our own lives and what makes us feel joyful. There were some gorgeous responses from the children as they shared their own experiences...

"...when I go into Mummy's and Daddy's bed for a cuddle"

"...when my little sister plays with me"

"...when me and my friends go to play at the park"

"...when we go to Nanny and Grampy's house"

It was so lovely to see the value the children placed on their relationships with friends and family members.  

In our 'Dough Disco' sessions this week we chose some joyful songs and let our fingers boogie along to some happy songs.

The 'Happy song' from Minions was a big hit! 

Elsewhere, we have been looking outside at the changes we have noticed in the garden. We read a non-fiction text about Autumn to provide us with some extra knowledge and have been investigating how the changes of season impact us here in Brill. There were lots of discussions and anecdotes about squirrels, so we looked on the internet to search for more information and photos to help us decide if we had seen red or grey squirrels.

We decided they were probably the grey ones - they are a little larger and much more common than the red ones that are becoming quite rare and endangered.  

We also looked at changes to the weather and decided that up here, at the top of Brill hill, there wasn't enough space on our calendar to add the 'foggy, cloudy, windy and rainy' pictures that we experienced all on one day!

New Wow words

We have been investigating some new words over the last few weeks. We now know that a 'contents page' can be found in a non-fiction book. It will help us find out what information is inside and tell us what number page we can find it on. We also found out that the 'blurb' is found on the back cover of a book and will explain what the book is about. It is a good way to help you decide whether the book might be of interest to you.   

Here are a few more photos to give you a snapshot of our busy week...

We made plates of play food out of dough and then practised cutting up the food with knives and forks. We had a go at holding the food still with our fork and using a sawing action to cut up the food - a good skill to practise at home when you get the opportunity. 

We have been playing counting games and using scoops and tweezers to sort and categorise the chick peas and buttons. We also looked through the food magazines and cut out photos of some delicious treats - yum yum!

Outside we have been practising some football moves, learning to control and stop the ball with our feet. All were determined to get the ball in the net and score a goal - I see some competitive streaks showing through!    

Here are this week's Library helpers, who have managed to keep our library space 'spick and span' - thank you guys!

Next week we will be learning a little more about the celebration of Harvest and will be taking part in our school Harvest Festival in church on Wednesday. 

October 3rd

This week in PE we have learnt another movement and listening game called     'Activity Beans'.

The children practised moving their bodies into different positions, when the instructions were called. They learnt to be...runner beans, frozen beans, jumping beans, chilli beans, baked beans and broad beans to name but a few. Although runner beans appeared to be one of the favourite moves, 'French bean' came a close second and the children giggled their way around the hall with hand on hip and tilting their other hand as they exclaimed 'Oh la la'  in their best French accent - Madame Tate would be very proud!   

We have introduced a new 'Dough Disco' session into our weekly timetable this week. The 'Dough Disco is a fine motor exercise routine that involves manipulating playdough to music. The simple routines help to stretch and strengthen the hand muscles and helps the children as they begin to control small tools and pencils for writing. We then add music for an element of fun!

Through regular practise the brain learns to control the fingers a lot quicker. 

So far we have learnt to squeeze it, ball it and smack it, as well as making a disco dancefloor for our fingers along with various food items favourites including a sausage, pizza and doughnuts! Next week we will be putting these moves to music.   

We welcomed Jenny, from All Saints church in Brill, into our class this week for our collective worship. Jenny shared stories and thoughts on this month's value of Peace and taught us a song with actions - Our God is a great big God. Thank you Jenny, it was lovely to see you in class!    

At the end of every month we choose someone who displays and embodies our value of the month. Congratulations on this month's worthy winner of 'Peace'. They received a special certificate and a little prize from our prize box - Well done you! 

Elsewhere, we have been investigating the power of magnets and experimenting to see what materials were attracted to them. We made some discoveries that only items made of metal were attracted to the metal but then discovered that not all metal items worked! We looked for more information in a non-fiction book about magnets and soon discovered how the metal items needed to contain iron or steel to be magnetic. We searched the classroom and garden for such items. We found some surprises on the way too - our white boards outside look identical but one is magnetic and the other is not!  Wow what a busy day that was, it blew our minds!!  

We noticed a few of the children were interested in making dream catchers and had been using some of the modelling materials to have a go. So we investigated what we might need and brought some additional materials in to enrich their creative process. It was quite fiddly, punching holes, threading the wool, beads and feathers but nobody gave up - we saw some super determination and perseverance - well done guys!     

We have introduced a new job on our rota now too. Each day someone new will be completing the date, season and weather on our chart. We have learnt a 'days of the week' song which involves clicking our fingers, it's very tricky, but everyone was keen to have a go! We suddenly had a lot of interest in rainbows so played some fine motor games matching colours and buttons, then painted our own rainbows and had a go at mixing the paint to make the colours we needed. We then used this knowledge to paint some other pictures of our favourite characters.   

Here are a few more photos from our busy week...

Outside, our mud kitchen was a big hit in its more accessible position. Apologies to the parents of those who went home with filthy clothes but there was some super learning taking place in the process, here is my proof that they were wearing waterproofs!  

Look out for homework folders in bookbags this weekend. We have been practising in class how to get the pencil into the correct writing grip and there are instructions for parents on how to do this. Name cards and pattern sheets are there for the children to practise their pre-writing skills. These will help the children to form some of the regular shapes and patterns found within letter formations. The laminated sheets and marker pens allow the children to obtain a better flow when writing, especially when many find applying pencil pressure more troublesome. The whiteboard rubbers should erase most of the marks from these practise sheets but if you are finding some difficult to remove, nail polish remover usually works wonders! 

Please bring folders in every Thursday. 

Next week we will be investigating Autumn.

September 25th 

Welcome to this week's highlights. 

We started the week off with our first PE session and by discovering that PE actually meant we were going to spend some time working out our bodies and participating in Physical Exercise - but first we had to change into our kits...

We discovered that it can be very tricky managing the dressing and undressing process independently so it did take rather a long time... but we got there.

Buttons were a particular challenge for most of the children, so perhaps a good one to practise at home if you have a spare moment. We found that lots of items were left inside out too and practised ways to get them back to the right way round. Once the weather turns, I'm sure tights will become the next item on our hit list - so your child may prefer to wear socks on Monday, to ease the process.

Once in the hall, we learnt how to find a good space so we wouldn't bump into anyone and then warmed up our bodies, learning different ways to move, before playing the 'Traffic light game',  which also helps us to practise our listening skills!   

This week we have all signed our 'To be Brill' promise and have been showing many  wonderful acts of kindness and respect to others - well-done!

And...after a fabulous team effort...

I can confirm, the children managed to earn the remaining 4 pairs of pants to achieve the coveted '10 pairs of pants' reward - brilliant job Year R! 

We had some lovely ideas for rewards and introduced a tally chart to help us note down everyone's vote. 

Ice-cream won out with 8 votes and although some children were disappointed that their choice hadn't won, began to learn one of those difficult life lessons and to say to  themselves - 'oh well, never mind, maybe next time!'  

Neapolitan ice-cream and chocolate sauce was the order of the day on Friday - this should explain the chocolate moustache that some children left with! 

On the flip side of this...

We have been discussing how it makes us feel when others are not following our rules and talked about what might happen when this occurs.

We know that we have a lot to learn and 'in the moment'  sometimes forget what we are supposed to do, we all make mistakes after all. But, when we choose not to listen to reminders, or deliberately do something to hurt someone, there needs to be a consequence for our actions. When this happens, we issue an 'EEK' card which involves giving the children '5 minutes' away from the situation so they can calm down and think about their actions. We will then discuss with them what they could do next time instead.

Please don't worry too much if this happens to your child, it is part and parcel of the learning process and hopefully won't be a regular occurrence. We aim to work closely with you to resolve patterns of undesired behaviours in school, likewise, we are happy to help if you need any help at home. 

As promised from last week, our Year R self-portraits are complete and ready for viewing. We scribed the children's responses to some simple questions about themselves and their hopes for their future learning - we adore them and hope you will too!   

Thank you to our new librarians who did a great job keeping the books in order this week. Unfortunately, one of them was poorly on Friday, don't worry though, your certificate and prize are waiting for you (and the ice-cream too) - get well soon Santi.  

Here are a few more photos from our busy week.

Next week we will learning some new moves in readiness for a 'Dough Disco'... 

Have a great weekend folks! 

September 19th 

Here we have another busy week in Year R!

We have been continuing to consolidate those important 'To be Brill' rules and trying our best to be kind to each other. We have seen so many examples of children demonstrating their super manners, listening carefully at carpet times and using their words to solve problems - keep up the good work Year R, you are superstars!

You hopefully will have seen your child come home with a variety of stickers emblazoned on their jumpers. Our aim is to catch the children ‘in the moment’ when they are making good choices and reward them with a sticker. We are explicit in naming the action we have seen for example, ‘well done, you used such lovely manners’ or ‘thank you, you waited patiently to speak’. This positive re-enforcement of desired behaviours will often prompt others to follow suit and generally makes our classroom a happy place to be.

Pair of Pants Reward  

Along with individual rewards, we have introduced a whole class reward system based upon the book ‘Aliens love Underpants’. When the whole class work together as a team, they earn a pair of pants. When they get to 10 pairs of pants, they have reached their goal and have earnt a class treat. The class will then discuss their ideas and vote for the one they like the best. The most popular idea will win and a date will be set for this to take place - democracy in action! How soon this will be, will be dependent on how imaginative your children are with their ideas...and it has to be free or inexpensive too! 

The children have been pulling together really well this week and have made it up to 6 pairs of pants so far - amazing! I don't think it will be long before they get to 10! 

In the process they have been learning practical ways to engage in maths and to realise its importance. We have practising to recognise numbers and think about their shapes; whether they have curved or straight lines; whether the numbers have one or two digits; tracking the order in which they go and have been findings ways in which to calculate how many more we need to earn a class treat - who would have thought there was so much to learn within such a simple reward! 

Wow Words

Within our day to day learning and discussions or when reading stories to the children, we often come across a new word that many of them are unfamiliar with. We are never ones to shy away from a good word and, when we do find one, will explore its meaning and in an effort to broaden the children's day to day vocabulary will use these words regularly. So far we are ensuring we are 'hydrated' at snack time and drink lots of water. Our fruit and water monitors have also been making an 'announcement' to the class to ensure no one has missed out at snack time.  

This week at story times we have been discussing the role of an 'author' and 'illustrator' and have been looking at different types of books that are 'fiction' books made up from an author's imagination and 'non-fiction' books that contain information and facts about a subject. 

Many of the children were interested in becoming authors and illustrators themselves and chose to make a book. We scribed their words for them and some even had a go at writing some words themselves - great job! We shared the books with their friends and put our library labels on them once we had decided what type of book they were. Yellow stickers were for fiction books, green for non-fiction. (In our Library we also have red stickers for maths books and blue for audio books - but we have yet to make any of these!) 

We now have some weekly 'Library Monitors' to look after our library space and to ensure the books are kept ordered and tidy so we can easily find the type of book we are looking for. This week's monitors received a certificate and a little prize for all their hard work - thank you guys - what a wonderful effort you put in!

I wonder who will be chosen next week? 

Elsewhere, portraits were painted and the children got to think about what was the same or different about each other and what made them special. Here are a few photos of the process, we will blog some of the completed photos once they ready.

Jeans for Genes Day

Thank you for remembering to wear your jeans and for all your donations for 'Jeans for genes day'. We found out how 'genes' work together to decide how our body will look and what it can do, much like putting pieces of Lego together. We also found out that sometimes when genes are missing or do not go together properly it can make people's lives very difficult to manage. We watched a video about a little boy from Bicester who has a genetic disorder called 'Cockain Syndrome' and how it affected his life. We were pleased that our donations might help make his life a little easier.

We have been playing games and taking part in lots of activities that help exercise our hand muscles. We have put together puzzles, built pictures with the tap tap boards, modelled with the junk, (please keep those supplies coming in) and also had a go at writing signs to keep our models safe. We have keeping busy outside too - whatever the weather! 

Next week we will be getting the children to think about what they can already do and what they would like to get better at and helping them find ways in which this can be achieved. 

See you on Monday!  

The Year R Team

Mrs Salt

Class Teacher

Mrs Cawston

Teaching Assistant

Mrs Hull

Teaching Assistant

Year R Topic Web

Autumn 1 2022

 Supporting your child's learning at home

Nurturing a love of books is such an important skill for your child to learn and will bring them great pleasure for years to come.

Please read to your child as much as possible, sharing a variety of book genres to broaden their understanding of different texts.  

The children will chose a library book to take home each week and later on in the year will also take home a reading scheme book to practise their own reading.    

Please complete any homework activities that are sent home, these will commence a few weeks into the new term. 

Thank you.

Reading Guidance 

Bug Club Reading Scheme Information

Information for parents on the new Baseline assessments for children of Reception age. 

        A guide for parents on the new                           EYFS curriculum,                   what to expect and when. 

Useful websites


  • Some excellent numeracy and literacy resources


  • cbeebies stories

  • ABC Playschool. Videos and games

  • New and improved! Try creating your own Spot story.

  • Books for reading together with links to K&U and in particular, natural science


Information for parents on Bug Club

(Please use your child's log-in codes)

Websites for children

These offer a great number of games, songs, stories, videos etc so it is important to know the sites well in order to support and develop children's learning.

  • Nesting boxes - live streams

  • Many games, often recognised by children from their homes.                                  

  • Games of varying quality that can be played supporting areas of learning

  • Free jigsaws

  • Nursery Rhymes, including sound files for musical accompaniment!

  • Try out the Kaleidoscope painter