Teacher's welcome

Hello everyone and welcome back to the new Summer term!

We hope you and the children are well-rested after the Easter break. The classroom has been spruced up and is ready for all the exciting learning adventures we have planned!

I am so very excited to see you all again and look forward to getting straight back into school life and sharing tales of my adventures while I have been away! 

This term's topic is called 'Our Brill Adventures' and we are hoping to share and broaden the children's own experiences of Brill and hopefully...far beyond into the wider world. I wonder where the journey will take us? 
This term the swimming pool will open and we will be experiencing our first term of lessons. Further details will follow as soon as all the checks have been completed and the pool temperature is up to the correct level. Please check bookbags for further swimming information.
PE kits should be brought in as usual, these will need to stay in school until the end of term. 
Remember to keep up to date with all our news by regularly checking out our blog and...if you have any worries or concerns or just need a quick chat, please catch myself or one of my team at drop off or collection time, or alternatively, email myself, Mrs Green or the office to make a longer appointment.  
Let the adventure begin!
Kind regards,
Mrs Gill Salt
Mrs L Green

Year R Blog

Class of 2022/2023

Summer Term Week 5

21st May 2023

Here we have some photos from last week's Forest School  - it was week 1 for this group so they got to visit the new pond. They explored and investigated the forest school space as well as learning the rules for using the space safely.  There were lots of opportunities to use their senses and tune into all that they could see, hear, smell and touch. And no we didn't miss out the tasting part either, there was delicious hot chocolate and biscuits to be had too!   

We were very excited to take part in our French lesson on Wednesday!

It was time for French Breakfast!!

There were Croissants, bread and jam and hot chocolate to drink out of bowls - the French way! The children got to practise their French vocabulary as they shared the experience -  j'aime les croissants, j'aime le chocolat chaud, j'aime la confiture et le pain. 

Merci beaucoup Madame Tate!

In phonics we have been practising writing phrases and sentences, using our phonics and tricky word mats to help us sound out words and correctly write the early tricky words. We have been also been playing some phonics based games on the smart board using Phonics Play. The children were keen to carry on with the learning games after our lesson and took turns with the ipads throughout the morning.  

And in maths we have been looking at a range of different ways of representing numbers to twenty. This is the children's first experience of place value as we explain how for example 11 is made from one lot of ten and one single one, 12 is one lot of ten and two single ones etc etc. We have also played addition and subtraction games on the number tracks and with tens frames.   

Here we have the second week of Forest School for the first group. This time the children were encouraged to use their imagination! They chose a stick each and had to imagine what it could be or be used for. They also used them as magic wands and made some potions. Some of the children spent time talking to the fairies - it was so lovely!   

Elsewhere we have seen the development of our role play areas - there has been much business in the airport with new constructions being made each day as well as a new vets which has had the toys (and children) tied up in bandages... and knots!   

And finally... a few photos of the week including making maps, roads and buildings, train tracks, model making and much more!   

Summer Term Week 3

7th April 2023

This week we have been preparing for the King's Coronation. We learnt some facts about King Charles and discovered he has two dogs called Bluebell and Beth. We then looked at where and what will happen during the coronation and found London on our map. We spoke about the ceremony in Westminster Abbey and learnt how the Archbishop of Canterbury - as the leader of the Church of England, will crown King Charles and 'anoint' him with a special oil.

We were very impressed with the amazing crowns and special jewels that will part of the ceremony and had a go at making an orb and sceptre of our own. We searched through our junk modelling materials for a long 'cylinder' shape to use for the sceptre and then found an old ball in a 'sphere' shape for the orb.  We then needed to make them very strong so prepared to use a special material called Mod-Roc, it is very similar to the material used to set broken bones and sets into a solid shape very quickly.

Once set, it was painted and adorned with gleaming jewels in readiness for our own special party on Friday. 

Then it was time to paint some union flags to turn into bunting and cut out crowns to wear on the day.  

We had just enough time to decorate biscuits as a treat to eat at the party and we were ready for our afternoon of celebrations. The children looked very splendid in their regalia as each class paraded their costumes to the rest of the school. There were some amazing costumes and everyone voted for those they liked the best. Thank you so much for all your support with this special dress up day, it certainly put everyone in a celebratory mood. 

We hope you had a wonderful weekend of celebrations at home too!   


On Thursday, we had a special visitor in school, Terry Price, a world champion scooter rider. He performed some incredible tricks where he took his hands off his scooter in mid air and also did a full back flip! The children were amazed and couldn't have looked any more impressed!

Terry spoke a lot about how he had faced lots of challenges in his time of scooter riding but with perseverance and determination he was able to now have the best job in the world! He was incredibly inspiring and taught us that practice does not make perfect, but in fact that practice helps us to make progress. We also learnt not to try this at home...YET! (Not without all the safety equipment and a lot and lot of practise!!) 


This is very much in line with our learning in school as are talking a lot about challenges in class and how to get better at what we are doing by practising and learning to develop those all important characteristics of learning. Playing and exploring, as we show a willingness to 'have a go', Active learning, to concentrate and keep on trying and finally, Creative and Critical thinking, as we try out different ideas and adapt our thinking.       

We hope the children had fun during their swimming lesson - they all listened to the instructions incredibly well and showed courage  - another of Brill's special values as they braved the water for the first time - well done all of you! This earned them their final pair of pants, so we shall vote for a special treat next week! 

This coming week, there will be forest school - delayed from last week, more swimming and some role play plans to action! 

Please remember to bring in reading/library books every Wednesday, so we can change books and update logs.

There will be new homework folders coming home this week too so please may I ask everyone to empty out their child's bookbags of all the collections of paper so there is plenty of room for the new items. 

We have also had a few spillages in the bookbags as water bottles have crept into bookbags for ease of carrying. We have had the discussion in class about the damage this might cause to our precious books and kindly request that water bottles are carried separately - thank you!       

Summer Term Week 2

30th April 2023

Our week has been jam-packed with activities to keep us very busy!

We started with our first session of Forest School with Mrs Keeping. The children had a super time whilst using their eyes and ears to focus on the outdoor environment. They visited our new school pond and investigated the different sections to find out what type of pondlife we are hoping to attract. They also learnt some important rules to remember when we use the pond area and generally at forest school.  Then it was time to see what we could spot! Unfortunately no pondlife yet - but there were some beautiful ripples spreading out from raindrops! 

There was still plenty of time for investigating and wondering, running up and down hill, swinging and climbing as well as some searching and finding with a game of 123 - where are you? 

Here we have lots of photos from group 1  - the fun repeats next week for group 2!  

Every year the church opens up its doors and welcomes us into 'Prayer Space'.
The Rev Gemma and a team of helpers transform the church into special zones where the children get to listen to and join in with activities linked to our school values and special motto- 'with the wind in our sails...'. 
During our session this year, the children where given the chance to think about times when they hadn't made such good choices. They were then able to draw representations of these in the sand and then erase them to show how God forgives us. In one zone, the children got to write a message to God via the 'Bubble tube' and in another, got to draw who or what they were thankful for. The beautiful light zone helped us feel connected to God and each other too - what a peaceful and calming morning we had!  

We finished the week off with a fabulous "Earthsong' workshop with stories, drums, rhythm and music in abundance - how amazing was this, the children's faces say it all!     

Next week is Coronation week! We will be searching for London on our map, finding out a little more about King Charles lll  and preparing for a special celebration here in school ahead of Saturday's special event!

Summer Term Week 1

23rd April 2023

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their kind and welcoming wishes as I returned to our lovely 'Brill' community. I would also like to express how incredibly proud I was of the way the children settled back into school after the Easter break and approached our refreshed learning environment with such enthusiasm and excitement. The children showed confidence to chat to our special 'visitors' and were able to demonstrate lovely learning characteristics as they engaged in their activities - what superstars!  


Now that we have started a new morning transition into school, I have included some photos of the classroom set up so you can see what the children experience as they come in. They have been settling back into my routines and have been taking to their job responsibilities with renewed vigour.

We have certainly been busy this week..

We will be developing themes from our new topic 'Our Brill Adventures' over the next few weeks and have started by looking at places we are already familiar with and places we have already been to visit. We will be expanding this by looking at new opportunities for adventures further afield. We started to think about some of the locations we had been to and looked at where on the map they were. We thought about the items we would need to pack for our chosen destination, articulating what we would need and why. We then cut out some pictures to stick onto our suitcases - all whilst practising those vital fine motor skills needed for writing! 

We also needed to decide upon a new Role play area, so have been discussing our ideas with one another and logging each other's choices on Tally charts. There has been much debate over the last few days on the pros and cons of each choice. A democratic vote was carried out at the end of the week and the result was...    

We will be working with the children over the next few days to develop this area.  

In literacy, we will be providing opportunities for the children to further develop their reading and writing skills. I will spend some time with each of the children to assess where they are and what their next steps are within these areas. May I ask that you  leave your child's reading books and their yellow reading log in their book bag so we can quickly access them as necessary. Whilst we have the books in school, please remember to use your child's online Bug Club account for regular practise and games that will consolidate the sound groups your child is working on.  

In phonics this week, we have been practising some of the trickier digraphs, making sure the children are pronouncing the pure sounds (see video if unsure). We have  been using these digraphs to sound out and write words, phrases and simple sentences too. We have also been looking at ways in which to practise sight recognition of the tricky words and played a great shooting game in garden, shouting out the words as we hit them with the ball - it was lots of fun!        

Luckily the weather was on our side and we were able to fully utilise the garden space with games and activities that complement the learning inside the classroom. 

Madame Tate brought along 'Barnaby Bear' who will be travelling across France and sharing some of his adventures with Year R. This week the children learnt some words to describe different modes of travel and acted out the movements - en avion, en bateau, en train and en voiture. 

I wonder if the children can remember what they were?  

In Maths we were consolidating our prior knowledge of 3D shapes and the patterns we can make with them. We also practised looking at numbers in different forms, such as the patterns and numbers on a dice, the Numicon counters and the tens frames shapes (like those we use on our self-registration chart and on the ice-cube trays in the photos). This term our focus will be numbers up to 20, however this new learning needs to be built on solid foundations and a good knowledge of the lower numbers and what these numbers represent. We will continue to provide many opportunities to strengthen and consolidate this understanding and challenge the children to explain what and how they know an answer to encourage a deeper level of understanding - what we term as a mastery approach to learning.            

Wednesday is our turn to play with the 'Loose parts' - we love this! Take a look at this week's fun - so many possibilities to make Dens and build structures from boxes, pipes, crates, tarpaulins and ties etc - our imagination and creativity is literally let loose!     

A final few photos to give you a flavour of this week's play activities - assault courses, construction site, a birthday celebrated, junk modelling, yoga, reading and the return of the much requested 'marble run'. 

Next week we are looking forward to our first Forest School, a visit to the church for 'Prayer Space' and an 'Earthsong" workshop. 

See you soon for more fun! 

 The Spring Term ends... 

What a lovely last week of term - Easter cards, Easter hats and playdough Daffodils

We learnt about Easter celebrations in the Christian faith

In maths we revised making 10 and put Humpty Dumpty together again

We looked at shape and pattern

In phonics we revised /oa/ and learnt were there some and come. The home learning revises the Phase 4 tricky words.

We looked at my favourite book - I am Enough - and created our own statement.

Outside we made assault courses in the sunshine


It has been a pleasure sharing the term with your children.

I hope you have a well deserved Easter break and wish you all the best.

Daphne Mckay

w/c 20th March

This week has been slightly more 'normal'!

In phonics we are revising ee ang igh whilst we continue to read and write Phase 4 words (ccvc/cvcc). The home learning sheet reflects this phase.

In English the children all created a new page for the Brown Bear story by Eric Carl (they are authors and illustrators now).

We discussed Ramadan and Holi, both of which are celebrated around the world this week.

In maths we continue to focus on making 10, as well as looking at repeating patterns.

We talked about our school value of Compassion and about showing kindness to others. The children have been handing out 'Caught you being kind' certificates to each other.

The children are continuing to develop social skills and negotiating turn taking is something we are currently supporting, helping the children to understand that everyone can have a go and we have to wait our turn.


Pictures to follow :)


Please remember that from Monday 27th March the children will be coming in from the playground like those in the rest of the school. Please rest assured that we are here to support you and them to ensure a smooth transition.

w/c 13th March

firstly, apologies for the delay in updating this blog, last week was a whirlwind!

We enjoyed science week and making Mothers Day cards, both of which were a great success.

In phonics we covered the /ai/grapheme

In Maths we looked at ways of making 10

The children wrote a new ending for Hey Diddle Diddle - there were some great ideas :)

IN PSED we talked about keeping clean, which fitted well with the science theme as we demonstrated how easily we can spread (glitter) germs, and that dangling your hand under a tap doesn't clean them very well!

Tere were lots of other experiments involving stopping Humpty Dumpty from bouncing off, colourful milk and slopes.

week commencing 3rd March   (Pictures to follow)


What happened to Spring? As we continue to look for signs of Spring and discuss Spring celebrations in other cultures (Nowruz this week, which is observed towards the end of March in many countries across the globe) we are once again enjoying the snow.


We identified features of each of the seasons and talked about the changes across the seasons - including the fact that sometimes it feels like Spring when it is still Winter.

This week we have been talking about sleeping being an important part of keeping healthy and the children shared ideas about helping them get to sleep.

In phonics we are revising ng and th whilst continuing to read and write words with consonant clusters. Our new tricky words are Like and little.

In maths we have been counting items and comparing quantities to 10 using the language of more/fewer/less/bigger/smaller. We are also looking at 3D shapes, naming them and discussing their features (eg which ones roll or stack)

In English the children ordered pictures to tell the story of Humpty Dumpty and then wrote or drew the ending. They have also retold the story using puppets and blocks with (rubber!) eggs. The children found inventive ways of stopping Humpty from falling off his wall!

We would love your child to share their favourite Nursery Rhyme with us (or perhaps you have a favourite from school?)



World Book Day was a wonderful way to end the week!

It was great to see such a wide variety of books being enjoyed by the children.

There are lots of photos below!


This week's phonics has revised ch/sh and introduce ccvc words (eg green)

We did the Nursery Rhyme Incy Wincy Spider and create lots of art around the theme.

We looked at animal babies and animal life cycles and ordered the life cycle of a frog and butterfly..

In maths we revised 2D shapes and combined groups of objects (eg 3 frogs in 1 group, 5 dinosaurs in another group makes 8 altogether). This was done with practical resources

We continue to look for signs of Spring and to investigate healthy living - we managed to think of lots of different types of exercise and to remember different healthy foods

Welcome back to Spring 2, I hope you had a good half term break


this half term we are looking at Nursery Rhymes, starting this week with Old MacDonald. We sang the song several times, as a class and in small groups.

In Maths we have been looking at the numbers 9 and 10, identifying the quantity and numeral. We also measured with cubes and some of the children enjoyed measuring furniture (and each other) with measuring tapes.

We looked for signs of Spring outside and found lots of flowers in bud - what can you see on your journey to and from school?

We talked about animal homes; I hope you managed to see the birds nest I brought in - we had a good conversation about how difficult it must be to build such a structure just with your mouth!

We also looked at healthy eating and sorted items into those that are good for us and those which should only be an occasional treat.

In phonics we have started in Phase 4 - this involves revising all previously learnt graphemes, and learning to read and write words with consonant clusters (eg tr in tree, mp in jump etc). This week we revised ck and qu. Our new tricky words are said and have.


Have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you next week :)

What a way to end the half term!

We hope you enjoyed the story of Noah's Ark :)

This week we have learnt about Christianity and shared stories from the Bible; today we learnt a little about lots of other Faiths.

This week we finished Phase 3 phonics. Next half term we will cover Phase 4 in which there are no new sounds, the children learn to identify and write consonant clusters (eg tr in tree, rk in park).

In Maths we looked at pairs (perfect for the story of Noah's Ark and the /air/ trigraph!). Next half term will start with counting and identifying numbers to 10 as well as looking at measure (taller, shorter, bigger etc)

The theme for the half term is Nursery Rhymes and our English will be themed around various Nursery Rhymes, looking at Rhyme, descriptions etc.

The role play will start as a police station as that got the highest vote from the class. Any props you may have would be gratefully accepted.

If you go anywhere over half term and would like to share these with the class, please do email or send in any pictures you have.


I hope you have a fantastic half term break and look forward to seeing you all on the 20th Of February.

2nd February

Over the last week we have continued to celebrate and investigate the Chinese New Year.

They made a dragon out of junk modelling!

We have looked at animal patterns, matching animals and their markings. We then coloured animals with their own unique patterns.

We created our own poems based on the poem 'Me' by Swapna Haddow (taken from The book of Hopes).

We all decided on our goals for the next few weeks and added those to a display in the classroom

Our story this week was Handa's Hen, we ordered and retold the story, then matched captions with pictures.

In Maths we looked at how we can represent numbers to 8, as well as talking about height and length.

Outside the children recorded the football and tennis scores on the board.

In phonics we have this week covered ur, ow, oi and ear; you will find the handwriting and reading sheets in your child's book bag. 

In French the children have learnt how to say the names of family members.

We were also excite to have some special guests reading us some lovely stories! A huge thank you to all those who gave up their time.

23rd January 2023

Week 3-Chinese New Year

I hope you're all as excited as I am about the revamped classroom.

This week we are celebrating Chinese New Year and there is a Chinese takeaway role play are which the children are really enjoying.

We continue to explore life in other countries, and really appreciate the maps being brought in, which allows us to compare the different types of maps and atlases.

We have also had some more fun exploring ice outside - please remember to send in gloves and hats, thank you.

In English we have started writing short captions for pictures the children have made from Handa's Surprise - some are on display as you come into the classroom.

In phonics this week we are focussing on oo/oo, or and ar; a sheet will come home to help you support your child with this.

In maths we are looking at ways of making 5 by separating groups of 5 items into two groups eg 1+4. We also matched numerals and number representation, and have done some sorting using different criteria (eg colour, size, shape) as well as making patterns.

18th January 2023

Week 2 - It's been chilly!

Another week underway and what amazing weather for exploring!

We have had lots of fun with the ice building igloos and ice palaces.

We have continued to read Handa's Surprise, and have had fun acting out the story

We discussed maps and atlases and drew a journey route for Handa, and for our trip to school.

We have learnt more new sounds in phonics (sheets sent home). In maths we continue to look at numbers to 5, thinking about comparing numbers and looking at more/less in reference to quantities as well as capacity and weight.

We have talked about the Zones of Regulation and the children are now ready to use them throughout our day.

We are learning lots of new calming and self regulation techniques alongside this.

I have sent home some home learning ideas on the info sheet, and would love to see what you have been up to :)

11th January 2023

Week 1 - Handa's Surprise

Hello everyone, I'm excited to do my first blog for you all

We have had a lovely start to the half term and I am delighted with how well the children have settled in.

Already the children have been busy exploring and of course learning on the way.

We are reading the story of Handa's Surprise and we made some puppets to re-tell the story.

We will also be using the story to discuss different environments in different countries

In maths we have been learning to recognise the numeral zero as meaning nothing or none, and revising the names and orders of the numbers from 0-10. We played lots of games with numbers outside, including throwing ne=beanbags onto the numbers. We have also been looking at repeating patterns and created some of these outside.

In phonics we have this week covered qu ch sh th and ng. Please practice the 'th' sound with your children as they need to remember to stick their tongue out to make this sound :)

Our new tricky words were he she by my

You will have noticed a few changes in the morning - as children come in we will now be asking them to write their names for self registration; we are also setting up a zones of regulation board so children can express how they are feeling as they come into school and throughout the day. We will be talking to them about how to manage their emotions and behaviours when they are outside of the 'green' zone.

Some other pieces of information/requests:

PE will now take place on a Friday

Please can you support your child in learning to do up their own zips

Please ensure children have hats and gloves in school as we go outside every day, regardless of the weather

There will be some changes to the homework over the next 2 weeks - we will be sending home a sheet with all the sounds and tricky words for you to go through rather than individual ones. I will also create a list of home learning suggestions that you may wish to do.

During the week of 16th Jan I will be listening to all children read so you may not get their reading folder back on Monday as this will take some time; thank you for your patience.

Due to a technical hitch, photos to follow !

The Class R Team

Humph the Camel and more...

22nd December

Our final week of term has been a very busy one to say the least!

We started the week on a very chilly note with our first fall of Winter snow - how exciting! It was great fun being outside although we didn't have too much luck building a snowman - maybe the wrong kind of snow or perhaps just too icy! 

Humph the Camel

Wow - what a performance that was and we couldn't have been more proud of the children! They rose to the challenge and brought it all to the stage on performance day, shining like the stars they are, as they remembered their lines and delighted us with their singing!  

A visit from the man in red!

Yes, just a flying visit at this busy time but Father Christmas made time to pop to see us here at school to say a quick hello to the children and leave a little early present for the children to open...  

Party Fun!

A final treat was in order for our last 10 pair of pants reward of the year...and so a very well deserved Christmas party was to be had! There was lots of fun and games on the day - Well done Year R you truly are superstars!   

A final goodbye!

It is with great sadness that I say a final goodbye to this wonderful class of children (and parents)! It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this special time in the children's life and I know they will go on to be amazing in whatever they chose to become. 

A huge, heartfelt thank you for your very kind words and wishes as well as the wonderful gifts and cards you gave me - I was so sad not to have said a proper goodbye on our last day but will keep in touch with everyone in school...

Let's see where the adventure takes us!! 

Au revoir for now...  

Christmas is coming to school!

11th December

This week we have been very busy getting ready for our performance next week. The children have been busy practising their lines and remembering when to say them - fingers crossed it will all come together on the day!

Please check out the homework folders where we have given you details of their play parts and any lines they may have to learn. Please don't worry if they are proving tricky to remember, we have more practises to come this week and the children are great at helping one another out should anything be forgot! 

Elsewhere our role play has been turned into a Christmas wrapping station. Much fun was had wrapping up all manner of gifts although it was too tempting for some not to open them up, so I think we will have more wrapping to do next week too! The wrapping station provides more of the important fine motor skills the children need to develop the muscles in their hands in preparation for writing - so bring on the wrapping. Some are getting very good at this, I might have to sneak in some of my own parcels that need wrapping!

The Christmas tree is now up and has been eagerly filled with Christmas baubles. Now that the chilly weather seems to be with us, our roaring fire has kept us warm in spirit and helped us give out some special reminders about how to keep ourselves safe around real fires and naked flames.

Our Christmas calendar countdowns continue, with now just 14 sleeps to go. We have been busy sorting beads and making tree and room decorations. We also had time to play with the festive fuzzy felt and telling stories about what might be happening in the Christmas scenes. On Friday the room smelt fabulous from the Gingerbread playdough and the little gingerbread people looked good enough to eat, we had to remind ourselves it was not for eating!

Thank you for all your generous donations to Save the Children, the guys all looked amazing in their Christmas jumpers - it put us all in a Christmassy mood and I could be heard singing to myself, "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."  

The early wintery weather gave us lots of fun in the garden this week. There were some huge sheets of ice created by the the change in temperature and it wasn't long before they were all shattered into tiny little pieces!

Please remember to send the children in warm coats, hats and gloves as we do go out in all weathers and it's always best to be prepared!    

Next week we have our school PSHE showcase - ours is Tuesday at 8.45 and afterwards, you are welcome to tour the special door displays for each of the other year groups.

                 We also look forward to welcoming you to our Year R performance of                  'Humph the Camel' at 2.15pm on Wednesday. 

See you then! 

This week's Learning

4th December

We started the week with a community event to plant some tree saplings. We made our way to the playing fields with Mrs Keeping and Mrs Gibson-Harris in the glorious sunshine and helped to plant a dozen or so silver birch trees. We shall be following their growth over the coming weeks, months and years and hope they manage to survive.    

We have also been putting our efforts into the upcoming Christmas festivities and looking at some of the traditions we take part in at this time. We read a non-fiction book that explained how the first Christmas came about and the children talked about some of their own Christmas traditions.  

We made a great start to our Christmas here in school and have been busy making calendars in time for the start of advent. There was a lot of snipping to be done as the children cut out and glued on the Christmas pictures they had chosen for their calendar, it was not an easy job and perseverance was the order of the day as cutting out 25 little squares was no mean feat! We have seen some super progress in their cutting skills over the past few weeks and made a point of highlighting this to the children. It is good for them to see how the effort and practise they put in to learning new skills pays off, well done guys, your calendars look great! 

The classroom has now 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? 

Thank you for the super Christmas cards, it has been lovely sharing them with them with the class at carpet times. The children have been very proud to show off their work and they make the classroom look so Christmassy!        

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 searched on the map to find Bethlehem and looked at the journey Mary and Joseph would have taken. We talked about the past and how cars and engines had not yet been invented. Poor Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a Donkey! We decided it wouldn't have been very comfortable, especially as it would have taken about 31 hours and that was without any rest stops! No wonder Mary was very tired!   

       The children's voices have been in full flow and ringing out around the classroom as they practise our Christmas songs - you may have perhaps heard some of them at home too? We have been sorting parts and costumes and think we should have all that we need. Now it's just time to practise, practise, practise in readiness for the upcoming performance!!


We have been finishing off our Diwali celebrations this week too. The Diya lamps have been painted and are now looking spectacular.      

We also took part in a Diwali dance workshop with Mrs White. She taught us some special Indian dance moves. We split into two group and performed the dance for each other. The children had the chance to critique each other's dances. it was so lovely to hear the lovely compliments they gave each other. We discovered how wonderful it was to hear nice things about your efforts and it made everyone think about how powerful their words were. 

Next week...

We will be concentrating on our Christmas performance and have some Christmas art activities planned.  

Our Diwali Celebrations

20th November

This week we have been finding out about the Hindi Festival of Diwali - The Festival of Lights which is traditionally celebrated around the end of October/November time every year. We read a non-fiction book that explained more about this special festival and watched a clip about a little girl - Jessica, who was preparing for Diwali. I wonder if the children can tell you about any of the traditions linked to this festival?


We discovered how there are many traditions that are similar to celebrations we are more familiar with. We learnt that people often clean and tidy their houses, prepare special foods, dress up and wear new clothes, welcome friends and family to visit, give presents, dance and celebrate together and visit special places of worship.  

We made lots of Rangoli patterns with a range of different medium - chalks, gel pens and play dough and seeds, and read some traditional stories, linked to the festival, that told tales of good over evil. The stories have been retold through many generations and explain how Rama saved Princess Sita from the evil Ravana - the ten headed, twenty armed Demon King. We heard how diya lamps were lit to help guide the couple back home and have become an important symbol of the Diwali celebrations.  

We made some diya lamps of our own out of clay and carved out special patterns using the tools. As soon as they are dry enough we will be painting and decorating them too.     

In PE we changed the lyrics to our song, 'there was a princess long ago', and retold the story of Rama and Sita through song and dance. We also had great fun re-enacting the story outdoors too. The children gathered some costumes for the characters of Rama, Sita, Ravana and Hanuman the Monkey king. Then built a bridge out of the large wooden blocks to rescue Sita from the Island of Lanka - it was lots of fun! 

In the Cbeebies film clip, we saw Jessica's hands being decorated with Mehndi patterns using Henna. The children had a go at designing some hand patterns of their own and then, on Friday, we were lucky enough to have two special artists in who decorated the children's hands with their chosen design. Thank you to Miss Worthington and Abby Stanyer (our year 5 teacher's sister) who donated their time to help us. The children sat so beautifully whilst having their hands decorated, although it was quite tricky waiting for them to dry. Hopefully not too many were smudged?!

The designs should now be showing up more boldly but will fade and disappear over the next few days. 

Children in Need

Thank you so much for supporting our Mufti day and the generous donations to the  Children in Need charity. 

We took some time out of our day to think of others less fortunate than ourselves and read the story - It's a no Money Day. 

This is a super story that explains a little boy's experiences of having no money and his visit to the food bank. The children were very concerned that the family had no food in their cupboards and no money to buy any supplies from the supermarket. Many of them offered to bring in money from their Money box's at home - how sweet, we were very touched by their compassion. We suggested they might look out for the food bank donation box next time they go out shopping with you. 

Wow moments

It has been lovely sharing the children's wow moments this week and noting how they plump up with pride as they stand at the front and explain their achievements. Please keep them coming in; it is a great opportunity to show the children how hard work and practise pays off and is a great incentive for others to keep trying. As we say in class - you may not be able to do it YET, but don't give up!  

Next week we will be finishing off our Diya lamps and learning some Indian dance moves. 

Happy weekend! 

Remembrance Day and more

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 looking more closely at the life of a knight. The classroom has been peppered with card and paper cuttings as the children made split pin knights and Kings and Queens. We saw some super perseverance as the children fine-tuned their snipping actions to cut around some intricate shapes. We also looked at the armour the knights would wear to protect themselves in battle and some of the terrible weapons they would fight with. We decided to have a go at making some shields so we could protect ourselves from harm.  We utilised all of the cereal boxes from the junk modelling box and using a template cut out shield shapes, before decorating them with our chosen colours and affixing a special grip on the back. This proved so popular that we ran out of cardboard boxes so we would be very grateful for donations of junk modelling to fill up our stock. 

The fun continued outside as the children donned their armour and rode their (hobby) horses into battle. We even managed to continue the castle theme in PE as we donned costumes and acted out the song, 'There was a princess long ago'...           

In maths we have been looking at shapes and positional language. We learnt that circles have a single curved side and look the same whichever way they are held and  when large, small or medium sized. However, triangles can look very different! We learnt to check to see how many sides and corners the shape has and if it has three, it's a triangle. We have made pictures with the shape and tap tap boards and went on a shape hunt outside looking for circles and triangles. Once we started looking, we were amazed at how many there were!   

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 made some individual poppies and also joined together in a collaborative piece of art to make a giant stained glass inspired poppy, that we hope to display with pride -   when the gallon of glue we used has eventually set!   

We read a beautiful book called 'Where the poppies now grow' about two lifelong friends who went to war together. We decided they must have been very frightened and had to be very brave. 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 such injuries might have have impacted their lives! We also read a true story of a dog, Sergeant Stubby, who served bravely in the First World War, sniffing out gas attacks, catching spies and winning the hearts of his fellow soldiers. He was awarded some special medals for the bravery and courage he showed. We took some time to think about ways to show courage (one of our special school values) and made some medals of our own.     

Although many of our discussions were based on events that have happened in the past, we also took the opportunity to discuss wars that are happening across the world in the present day. Some children referenced the fighting that is taking place in the Ukraine at the moment and we read a book about a cat who was living in Aleppo in Syria and the changes he experienced in his life when the fighting began and how his life was transformed by kindness. We looked on a map to see how the fighting is a long long way away and to reassure everyone that we were safe here in our country.   

On Friday we walked to the Brill war memorial and found the names of the soldiers from Brill who had died in the Great War. It was sad to read many names from the same family had died - we also discovered how some of the children shared the same surnames as the soldiers and wondered if they might be related.

At eleven o clock, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we joined the rest of the country in a two minute silence to pay our respects to the people who fought or were injured in battle and to those that are still fighting to keep us safe. We wore our poppies with pride and stood very still and silent. We were very proud of the respect the children displayed. 

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

Here is a special poem we learnt.

Let's celebrate...

This week we had some very excited children looking forward to their Halloween and Firework celebrations. 

We had lots of 'fine motor' fun playing with the pumpkins, using push pins to make shape outlines and then connecting them with the stretchy bands. We also practised our hand/eye co-ordination as we tapped (or more like, banged) in some golf tees with the hammers. Getting the tees out at the end of the day was more of a challenge - I think some of the children didn't know their own strength!

The fun continued outside too, as we made shapes(and webs) with the elastic bands on a larger scale with the giant Geo board.                                                    

Our role play castle has been a bit hit this week too. The children have been queueing up to write their name on the waiting list for a turn and have been practising practical number work as they ensured there were only six children in the area at any one time. They were quick to calculate how many more could come and join them to make up the numbers or how many they needed to banish when there were too many! 

We read some non-fiction books to find out what a castle would have looked like in the past and made some comparisons to life in the present. With no electricity long ago, we could see how making a fire was very important for cooking, for lighting torches to see your way and to keep warm in those draughty old castles. So it is possible to manage without electricity but everyday life, such as managing the chores, took a lot of work and there was little time for play! 

The dressing up costumes were a bit hit and setting up the table with goblets and tankards ready for the regular banquets has been lots of fun. The king and queen have amassed quite a collection of jewellery and gem stones which are being regularly counted and well-guarded to ensure they are safe from enemy hands. Invitations to the ball are being written and crowns are being made - what a busy and industrious castle we have had!     

In PE this week, we set off in our rocket ships and zoomed off into space to explore the galaxy. We passed stars and moons, asteroids and planets before landing back on earth. We also had a great time exercising with the parachute as we explored how to  manipulate the fabric and move safely on top of the slippery surface. We pretended the plastic balls were fireworks exploding into the sky and tried our best to send them as far into the sky as we possible could - it was hard work but great fun! I am not sure about the children, but the adults certainly had achy arms the next day! It was a super way to practise everyone's gross motor skills too!   

We finished the week with a look at the origins of Bonfire night and how we 'Remember, Remember the Fifth of November'. We learnt about Guy Fawkes and how he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder. We discovered that fireworks can be very dangerous and discussed some important safety rules to keep ourselves (and our pets) safe as we take part in this weekend's events. We watched a video of last year's fireworks and talked through some family traditions connected to this celebration. We then made some firework pictures to represent what we had seen, it was a perfect excuse to break out the glitter! We hope you enjoyed the weekend displays and all managed to keep yourselves safe!         

'This is Me' Board

As we now move onto our new topic - 'Let's Celebrate', I just wanted to document the children's self-portraits and showcase their own thoughts and hopes for their future learning. Our board and the children's 'All about me' books featured part of our school's Humanities showcase last term, which fits within the EYFS curriculum area of Understanding the World as our children investigate...

  • Past and present events within their lives and the lives of people around them.
  • Similarities and differences between themselves and others within their families, different communities and traditions across the world.
  • The similarities and differences between places, objects and living things. 
  • Features of their environment and how they can vary from one another.   

         We will now take the time to reflect on their hopes and aim to develop opportunities over the coming weeks and months to make their learning hopes a reality.        

Our learning week

Well done everyone - you have all made it to the end of this rather long, seven week term and the half term is holiday is now upon us - how quickly has the time zoomed past! 

The children have settled into school life so incredibly well and have made a fabulous start to life here at Brill. Our only blip has been the dreaded Chicken Pox which has just about claimed everyone in class but does now mean we should all be fit and well for next term's fun!

Unfortunately our page was down last week so here is a round up of the last couple of week's learning. 

Following on from our 'Leaf Man' story, we have been using natural materials to make our very own leaf man inspired pictures.

Come and take a look...

In maths, we looked at patterns and had lots of fun making repeated patterns with the toys and equipment both inside the classroom and outdoors.  

We have also been looking more closely at early numbers and their differing representations. For example, the number three can be represented by the digit three, the written word three, three dots on a dice, three items placed together, three fingers, as well as a range of different counting manipulatives such as our 'Numicon' counters. We have been sorting, matching and comparing numbers 1, 2 and 3 and practising our 'subitising' skills. Subitising is the ability to instantly recognise the amount of items in a group without having to count them. We played games looking at who had more and sometimes found we had chosen the same number. We had lots of fun playing a 'Lava game' with the large blocks and hoops, throwing a dice to move one, two or three spaces and to see who could make it across the playground to safety first! We even started to problem solve by calculating the moves we needed to win and to see whether or not we could win on the next throw of the dice!

Here are the links to the smart board games we played this week.




The children were amazing during our Harvest Festival visit to the church and showcased our three golden rules as they were Ready, Respectful and Safe throughout and earned themselves their final two pairs of underpants for exemplary behaviour - great job guys! I will email you all next week with more details of the chosen reward once we have mapped out next week's activities.  

We took this opportunity to practise using a tally to record one another's choice of reward and later on when deciding on ideas for our new role play area. (We also made sure we caught up with those who missed out on last time's ice-lolly treat- yum yum!) 

 We hope you enjoy the 'Skittles' challenge this week. The children all seemed very keen to have a go - I wonder why? I look forward to seeing the results and wonder if it will be the same colour that has the most or fewest in each packet?  

In preparation for our Harvest festival, we read a non-fiction book to explain what happened in early Harvest festivals and how we celebrate them today. We also read the story of 'The Scarecrows Wedding' and had much fun joining in with the 'Dingle Dangle Scarecrow' song and making split scarecrows that helped us to practise our cutting skills. 

And finally - here we are making the most of the Autumn weather - leaf collections, puddles, pirate ship play (ooh arrrh - me hearties) and more.   

Have a wonderful half term everyone! 

Our Autumn Walk & More

What a beautiful start to the week we had, just perfect for an Autumn walk. We donned our wellies and ventured out to discover what our senses would reveal whilst out in the great outdoors. We spotted many signs of Autumn as the leaves deposited a multitude of sticks, leaves, berries and seeds for us to collect. We even spotted some items of rubbish and made sure we picked them up so no harm would come to the wildlife. We were hoping to see some of the creatures we had read about in our Autumn Non-fiction book but sadly no squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes or mice were evident, although we did spot a dead vole and wondered how and why it had died! Fortunately the children had lots of tales to tell of sightings in your gardens and even one in the carpark of a restaurant chain - haha! Well, the animals do need to get their food from somewhere and scraps are easily found in this environment.     

As we walked around, we listened out for sounds in the environment and heard a tractor, a 'helicopter' (actually a microlight aircraft), children's voices, birds whistling, rustling leaves, machines from the workmen revamping the park, a car engine, a dog barking and much more.

What a busy morning.

Although the wind was quite gentle that day we have since had plenty of opportunities to feel the wind on our skin and in our hair as it flicked it in all directions this week. We also heard it's effect as the trees swayed in the breeze and spun the leaves into a whirling, swirling frenzy.   

We have now started another job role to our daily routine. A new person will be chosen each day to fill in the calendar and weather chart. We learnt a 'days of the week' song (to the tune of the Adams Family) and have to join in clicking our fingers within it. This is VERY hard and will need a lot of practise - for now most will be clicking their tongue instead but we have set a challenge for the children to learn to click their fingers, I wonder how long it will take them - It may take a while but we won't give up! 

We also have some new Librarian roles who will be responsible for keeping our library spick and span, and will get to put their favourite books in pride of place as recommendations for the other children.      

 We read some lovely Autumnal books this week including a Non-Fiction book where we investigated the use and purpose of a 'contents page'. 

We also read a wonderful book called 'Leaf Man' by Lois Ehlert. 'The leaf man has got to go where the wind blows' and is taken across lands far and wide, past creatures and landscapes all made from leaf patterns. We plan to make some 'leaf man' inspired pictures next week and would love to receive any collections of leaves, conkers, acorns, seeds etc that you may find out on your travels - Thank you! 


In our daily maths lessons this week, we have been looking at size, length, height and amounts and have spent time making comparisons between items as we engage in activities around the environment. We used  mathematical language to explain our understanding of objects that were big or little, large or small and we measured ourselves against one another to ascertain who is the tallest and shortest person in class and who was taller than/shorter than each other. We estimated which would be the longest/shortest piece of ribbon and then checked whether we were correct and then used the measuring equipment to find the longest and shortest items we could find. We discovered how to ensure the measurements were accurate by using the same starting point for each piece. We also compared amounts, first by sight and then by counting to see who had the most/ fewest and to see who had more and fewer items than each other. Lots of children were unfamiliar with the terms, 'few/ fewer/fewest' and we talked about how it was another way of saying less/less than/least. We will be using all of this mathematical vocabulary within our day to day conversations and experiences from now on, so I'm sure it will become very familiar to them soon.  

Here is a link to one of the games we have been playing on the smart board this week, it practises some of the comparisons we have been making. 


Phonics and Literacy

Within our phonics and literacy learning this week, we have been playing a variety of games that help us tune into sounds, rhythms and rhymes. We met with 'Monty' the elephant who is a little shy and can only speak in a robotic voice. He has been helping us practise oral blending as he explained all about himself and described some of the things he liked to do. We have also been playing 'I spy' alliteration games that help us tune into the sounds we hear at the beginning of words and helped us to sort out the tiny objects to match the sound we heard to the written letter. (The I spy game is a great one to play at home or on the way to school if you have a few moments spare, as it gets the children used segmenting the sounds they hear in words in readiness for writing.) We have been practising mark-making, drawing patterns and name writing within a range of practical activities, for example, when saving our drawing and paintings, when waiting for a turn on the smartboard and this week to save the models we have made. The children now know to cut out a handprint, cross it to represent 'do not touch' and then to write their name so we know who the model belongs to. This will progress over the coming months as the children develop their phonic knowledge to write words, captions and then sentences by the end of the year.

Please check out bookbags for the new 'Homework' folders with name card and patterns for the children to practise with at home. Please return these every Wednesday. For all of those children who were poorly this week, we will send them them home next week once we have explained the contents with them.    

Pair of Pants News

Woohoo - they have made it! Some very well-deserved pant rewards were issued and the children have now reached their target of ten pairs of underpants. We took some time to discuss ideas for a treat and voted on the chosen items. Unfortunately, with there were a few children away so we needed to wait for their 'postal' votes (well e-mail really!) to come in. We are pleased to announce they are all in now and the most popular choice was...    

Yes...it's ice-cream that has been chosen this time!

Please don't feel too disappointed if your choice was not voted on this time. There are already another 3 pairs of pants on the washing line so it won't be long before there is another choice to be made! 

Am off to the shops to buy the ice-cream and we will be tasting it later on this week when everyone is back in class. Get well soon to all of you that are still poorly!  

A few more photos of our week, much of which included sweeping and composting the multitude of leaves that appear in our garden every day. Luckily it's all very good gross motor practise!

See you Monday! 

This week's Fun! 

This week 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 earned 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 7 pairs of pants so far - amazing!  Mrs Harding was particularly impressed with how quietly we walked back from the the hall after PE and came down to thank us. She was taking an important phone call at the time and was thankful for how we showed such respect, it was a proud teacher moment and definitely worthy of a pair pair of pants.

I don't think it will be long before they get to 10! 

In this process, not only have we been practising important life skills but also learning practical ways to engage in maths and to realise its importance. We have learning 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. We have also been looking at the number track to see different representations of numbers and discovering ways to help ourselves if unsure about what number comes next  - who would have thought there was so much to learn within such a simple reward! 


 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 how they can make amends and 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.

Dough Disco

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.  

Coughs and Colds

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. If possible, we would prefer a box, rather than individual packs, as this provides us with quick and easy access - thank you!

As part of our 'This is me' topic, the children used paints to make 'self-portraits'. They looked at their 'reflections' in the mirror, looking closely at their features before representing them on paper. We read a book called 'All are welcome' that looked at a group of children who are welcomed into their new class at school. It celebrates cultural diversity and belonging. We used our portraits as a talking point to discuss our differences and celebrate our individuality. We then took some time to think about what we are good at and will be developing this further next week when we think about our future learning and what we would like to achieve in school. It is a lovely way for the children to celebrate their own particular talents and to focus on specific  tasks and areas of learning they are interested in. We have the children's portraits on display in class and will be adding to this once their thoughts have been gathered. 


In MFL this week we have been learning a welcome song to help us explain how we are feeling. 

Bonjour les amis comment ca va! 

We have a few more photos for you to look at. We designed some pants to hang on our washing line and hoped the aliens wouldn't come and pinch them! We read the book 'Elmer on stilts' by David McKee and took the opportunity to try out our gross motor balancing skills on the stilts in the garden - it was lots of fun! We have also been trying out lots of fine motor activities that help exercise our hand muscles including puzzles, pictures with the tap tap boards and painting with the cotton buds. 

and finally...

Wedding news

Some of the children may have mentioned a new name - Mrs Stevens. No we do not have a new member of staff but... our very own Mrs Hull sneaked off to Scotland and got married last weekend! We wish the happy couple, Mr & Mrs Stevens, our hearty congratulations and a long and happy life together!  

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 in...no 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...