Welcome to The Early Years
Welcome to all of our new Kingfishers and Woodpeckers as we begin an exciting new year. We look forward to welcoming your families into our school as your child starts their journey with us.
The first week of term is dedicated to visiting your children in their homes. These relaxed visits are a really valuable aspect of our settling process and are a great opportunity to re-establish those relationships that were beginning to form at the end of the summer term. Please feel free to share any information with us or to ask any questions that you have thought of since our last meeting - there are no silly questions! The primary purpose of this visit is to put you and your children at ease about starting school and to make the experience an exciting and positive one.
Part time sessions
Starting school can be an exhausting time both emotionally and physically for children (and parents!) and even those who have attended day care are often a little overwhelmed by all of the new things, people and routines. For this reason we ask that the children attend part time, in smaller groups, for their first few days followed by two part time sessions as a whole class. These sessions enable us to provide the children with the extra attention and support that they often require when starting their journey with us and we thank you for your support with this. After the first week of part time attendance, parents may choose to send their children full time if they feel they are ready or opt to remain part time for a little longer while the children adjust to school life.
Dropping off and picking up
In the interests of the children's safety, when arriving at school for drop off and collection we ask that all parents/carers and children wait at the Early Years gate until it is opened by a member of staff and then wait outside the classrooms until they are opened. In the Autumn term parents are warmly welcomed to settle their children in the classrooms, however we do ask that children are encouraged to be independent by putting away their own coats and bags. If your child is happy to enter the classroom independently you are very welcome to say goodbye at the door.
At the end of the school day we ask that parents stand back from the door and the class teachers will call the children as they see their responsible adult. This can take a little while at the beginning of term but please bear with us! We are always happy to talk to you about your child's day or any concerns, if you would like to talk to a member of staff please wait to the side of the door while the class are dismissed and the teacher will be happy to talk to you when the rest of the children have been sent out.
What are we learning?
This term we will be focussing heavily on settling the children into the rules and routines of the school, and will be working to establish and develop relationships and social skills. We will be fostering the children's motivation, confidence and ability to become inquisitive, reflective and independent learners.
Communication and Language, Reading and Writing
In the autumn term we will be focussing on developing and refining vital early reading and writing skills. The children will explore the sounds in spoken words, focussing on rhyme, alliteration and identifying individual sounds that build a word before being taught any letter shapes. This important step will equip the children with the skills needed to make sense of the letter shapes that they will learn later in the term. The children will share books every week with adults in small groups and individually, fostering an interest in a range of books and the motivation to read. Alongside this the children will engage in oral storytelling activities and learn some sight vocabulary. There will be many opportunities for purposeful mark making on offer and focussed physical sessions to develop fine motor strength and pencil grip in preparation for writing.
In maths we will be building on the children's existing knowledge of number, focussing primarily on reciting numbers to 20, accurately counting groups of objects and recognising numbers to 10 in purposeful contexts. We will also explore common 2d shapes in practical activities and develop the use of mathematic vocabulary to describe, compare and order objects by size.
In addition to the children's weekly PE sessions focussing on throwing, catching and travelling, the children will have access to a range of activities to support both gross and fine motor development.
Understanding the World & Expressive Arts and Design
The children will be supported in exploring features of the natural environment, looking at differences and similarities and changes that occur over time. We will spend time getting to know more about each other, our families, homes and customs; celebrating each others similarities and differences.
Music and singing will form an important part of our weekly activities and will also be accessible to the children during their child-initiated learning, alongside opportunities for role play, art and design.
We are very fortunate at Nightingale to have access to the fantastic resource that is Tapestry. Tapestry is an online resource for the Early Years which allows us to compile individual online learning journals for the children; it forms a integral part of our observation, assessment and analysis which ensures children are appropriately challenged and supported to progress in their learning. In addition to this Tapestry allows parents the opportunity to view their child's learning journals from their own computer or smart phone; keeping you up-to-date with your child's weekly learning. Parents are also able to upload their own observations of learning and achievements that happen outside of school which can then form a part of our assessments. If you need any help getting set up to interact with Tapestry, please talk to your child's class teacher who will be happy to help you.
Parent helpers are a valued resource in school and we are always very keen to utilise reading helpers to support the children. In addition to this we would love for our parents to get involved with other aspects of the children's learning in school. This year we will be introducing our 'Get Involved' boards which are located on the Early Years classroom windows. We will use these to 'advertise' weekly for one off helper vacancies, giving parents who are unable to commit to a regular session the opportunity to come in and be a part of our school day. Vacancies will vary and may include coming in to help with a cooking activity, some gardening, a maths activity or ball games outdoors. We would also love to hear if you have a particular skill or interest which you feel may benefit the children.
PE days - Both classes have PE on Tuesdays. It can be helpful to ensure your child is wearing clothes that they can take off and put on by themselves on PE days.
Library days -Both classes visit the school library on Wednesdays. Please ensure that your child's library book is in their bookbag, at school to enable them to change it weekly.
Drink bottles - Classroom drink bottles should only contain water.
Wellies and waterproofs - We like to take our learning outside whatever the weather; if possible please supply named wellies and waterproofs to remain in school.
Home-school diaries - Your child will bring home a Home-school diary. Please use it to record your child's home reading and send it to school daily in your child's bookbag. We will also record in it when your child reads at school.