Learning at home

Hi everyone. I have added this page to the website so that I can answer peoples questions more easily. Marvelous Me is great for quick updates but I don't have enough space to respond to questions. I am aware that most of you have similar questions so this should make it easier. Fingers crossed. I can still send little updates through MM. 
Those of you who are practising phonics at home there are videos on the website of the digraphs and trigraphs we didn't get to cover in school. In school we learn only one digraph or trigraph over two days to make sure the children get a good understanding. If you are using phonics play to support phonics please use resources in phase 2 and phase 3 until all the digraphs and trigraphs are taught. Then you will begin to access phase 4. Children in reception do not access any further than phase 4. Phase 4 will be re-capped at the start of year 1 too. 
In school we record our phonics in a book each day. Feel free to use your learning log to do this if you would like a record of your learning. 
For maths at home we have included a log in and password in your packs for RM maths which is a fab resource for the children to use at home. When they move to year one next year they are encouraged to use RM maths so practising now will help ready for next year. 
It might be worth recapping numbers 0-20 with your child and encouraging them to count backwards and forwards 0-20 and 20-0 every day when possible. In class we also count in tens and fives to 100 each day and we are learning to count in twos to 20. 
If you look on you tube there is a song called 'The Big Numbers' song. The children love to sing along to that. 
Most children are able to now identify the numerals 0-20 and place them in order but keep practising this too as it will help them as they prepare for year one.  It will also help to match numerals with quantity. So pick a number card between 0 and 20, identify the numeral and then use something to represent the number (buttons, pasta pieces, counters, coins). 
In addition to this you could practise doing some practical addition, there is no need to record it. Roll a dice and identify a number, represent the number with counters and then repeat it with another number. Then find out how much the total is by counting the counters altogether. 
Phonics videos are found under Curriculum- EYFS
The children have covered most of the Reception Curriculum for maths and so the next few weeks would have been spent re-capping and embedding information. If you want to keep practising maths at home then I can post a few ideas for you. I'll write a list of suggestions and post them on this page. 
I have been asked about a timetable for supporting your child at home to help with structure. I can tell you our timings in school if that helps you to formulate a similar plan for home?
Normally we do some stretches and exercises after register at 9am.
at about 9.05 we start phonics for 20/25 mins of focused teaching. I suggest you use the little videos we put on for you to give you an idea of the structure. We normally do the flashcards on phonics play and the tricky trucks (phases 2 and 3). You could play a game on phonics play too from phase 2 or 3. 
At about 10.30 we have a break for a snack and drink. During this time I suggest that you do some reading together. Really work on comprehension and understanding of the text. Encourage your child to use the pictures, make predictions and have a go at re-telling a story in their own words. Sometimes encourage your child to read to you but also spend time reading to them. Model using different voices, expression etc. 
We stop at 11.30 and usually do a matching game on phonics play for 15 mins before lunch.
Straight after lunch we do maths at 1pm for about 25 mins. 
We tidy up again at about 2.40 and then I normally do another bit of learning- to do with our topic. I finish by reading them a story before they go home.
Between all these focused times the children are in freeflow which means that they can choose their own learning indoor or outdoor. They can play freely but we add challenges to all the areas. 
During the week we work with the children individually or in small groups to complete a writing task, a reading task and a maths task. 
Once a week we practise name writing with your child. We sit with them and encourage them to write their full name using correct formation. 
On friday morning we always do PE and singing (good luck with that one! ha ha) 
I thought that it might help you to see what we are expecting to see in reading by the end of Reception so that you know what you are aiming at whilst working with your children at home. We use the government document called 'development matters' as a way of assessing your children in all the areas including reading (you can google this document too if you like). There are 17 different areas to be assessed.
Reading is one of the areas we look at. At this point in the year we are looking for children to be working in the 40-60 months bracket. We should start to be seeing some children starting to achieve the early learning goal. This goal is ideally where we would like your child to be working before they start year one. 
Reading objectives (40-60 months)
• Continues a rhyming string. • Hears and says the initial sound in words. • Can segment the sounds in simple words and blend them together and knows which letters represent some of them. • Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet. •Begins to read words and simple sentences. •Uses vocabulary and forms of speech that are increasingly influenced by their experiences of books. • Enjoys an increasing range of books. •Knows that information can be retrieved from books and computers.
The Reading Early Learning Goal-
Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
All children in my class are at different stages of their reading journey. It is important that although we are aiming for all children to be ready for their transition into Year One, we don't rush children before they are ready. Children mature and progress at different times. The most important thing you can do as parents is to instill a love of reading. Try to read at least once a day with your child whilst you are not in school. I understand that you might not have a selection of phonetic books so make the most of what you do have. Practise reading the books that you have. To begin with you might have to read to model the text and allow your child to enjoy the story. Spend time looking at the pictures, talking about what is happening, what might happen next etc. Try to spot familiar tricky words along the way (the, no, to, go). If you come across a word which is phonetical pause and allow your child to blend it for you. 
When you read, point out punctuation such as exclamation marks, question marks, speech marks. Try to use expression in your voice and model using different voices for different characters. 
When you have read a book a couple of times you could take turns to read a page or sentence. 
In school we do 'colourful stories'. That means that when we have read a book a few times we record what we know about a story on coloured paper. You could try this at home? First we talk about the characters in the story and make a list (orange paper). Then we talk about the setting/settings (red paper). Then we write our own version of events using just a few sentences, What happened? what happened next? The end? 
If you are lucky enough to have phonetical books then please try to keep practising these too. 
Try to read a variety of texts, poems, fiction, non fiction.  
Points for reading-
  • Encourage your child to follow the text with their finger until they begin to show some fluency.
  • Use phonics fingers to blend unfamiliar words. 
  • When you have read the words in a sentence, re-read the sentence again as a whole so that it makes sense. 
  • If you find any words your child is unfamiliar with in a text, spend time talking about that word and try to think of some other sentences you could include it in. 
  • Don't rush to read a new story every time. Sometimes it actually helps for children to re-read texts and build confidence and familiarity which in turn helps them to begin using fluency and expression. 
  • Always encourage children to use picture clues (it is not cheating). Spend time talking about pictures before reading a sentence as it will develop their comprehension. 
  • Reading for short good quality sessions is a lot more helpful than trying to read for long lengths of time. If your child is not settled or focused then move on and read at a different time. 
  • Try to choose a quiet time to read and sit comfortably with your child so that they enjoy sharing a book and it isn't a time that they find stressful or rushed. 
Have a look at online reading resources- Oxford Owl.
I have had a few messages regarding maths at home. I will give you a similar type of information for maths as I did for reading. The children in Reception should ideally be working within the 40-60 month bracket at this point in the year. We are aiming for the 'Early Learning Goal' by the end of the year. I will paste the objectives here for you to look at and practise where possible at home. 
40-60 months
•Recognise some numerals of personal significance. •Recognises numerals 1 to 5. •Counts up to three or four objects by saying one number name for each item. •Counts actions or objects which cannot be moved. •Counts objects to 10, and beginning to count beyond 10. •Counts out up to six objects from a larger group
Selects the correct numeral to represent 1 to 5, then 1 to 10 objects. •Counts an irregular arrangement of up to ten objects. •Estimates how many objects they can see and checks by counting them. •Uses the language of ‘more’ and ‘fewer’ to compare two sets of objects. •Finds the total number of items in two groups by counting all of them. •Says the number that is one more than a given number. •Finds one more or one less from a group of up to five objects, then ten objects
Early Learning Goal
Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing
There is a doubles song on You Tube which the children are familiar with. Just type in doubles song an it should come up. If your child is confident in most of the objectives listed above you could practise learning doubles to 10 off by heart? 
Oh my goodness, the rainbow photos you have sent me are so beautiful,  they have made me smile and so I'm going to share them so that you can see each other too. I miss you all lots xxxx
Word mountains
I understand from reading various messages that there has been some worry over word mountains. I just want to clarify to you all that word mountains are a Year One challenge. They are introduced and tested in year one. In Reception we usually find that a handful of children are ready to begin these a bit early. We usually start a small intervention group late in the spring term and a second small group usually during the summer term. There are sixty children in the reception cohort and on average about ten children will start word mountains early. Usually we decide on the children who will do word mountains through assessment. Before starting word mountains children should be confidently progressing through their high frequency envelope words, be reading full sentences securely and be showing a very good understanding of text through questioning. In addition to this children should independently be able to write making secure phonetically plausible attempts. This doesn’t mean writing under adult supervision. This means that your child chooses to write independently and is able to use their skills securely without prompting to write sentences, captions, lists, instructions, a short story without any adult input. If they are not secure in doing this yet then to start word mountains at this stage would not be helpful in their development. 
I hope this makes sense and you understand why we stagger the introduction of word mountains. Please don’t feel pressured to start these. All children will start in Year One. 
If you do feel that your child has recently made significant progress at home and they are writing independently daily then please do feel free to start. I will post the relevant information below so that you all have the same resources. 
I have only posted word mountains 1-4 as I would not really expect a child to be secure in more that the first four word mountains during their time in reception. In school we are very strict with how we test the children on these and we would test them in different orders to ensure children don’t just learn a pattern. If they are secure in some of these words when you have run them like a spelling test then try to encourage your child to use them when writing sentences. 
If you do complete word mountains up to number four then please go back and re test from number one to ensure that they have retained their prior learning. 
If by any chance you do achieve this and your child is spelling all these words accurately and using them in daily writing tasks then please feel free to send me a message on the website and I will give you suggestions as to what to try next. 
I’m loving the photographs of your wonderful Easter crafts and artwork. 
Another thing that you could be practising at home is forming your graphemes. Remember that when you write a grapheme (letter) you should always begin at the top. Remember that a grapheme should always sit on the line and all graphemes should be the same size as each other. Just a reminder that we don’t teach the children to use capital letters at this stage. All graphemes should be lower case. At school we learn formation in letter groups, I’ll send you the pictures. 
When you practise grapheme formation at home remember that not all children will be ready for this. If you feel that your child does not yet have the strength, control or concentration to work on grapheme formation then please don’t worry and focus more on strengthening up their writing muscles by throwing, catching, climbing, drawing, squeezing, squirting, pressing, screwing and unscrewing lids, and lots of play dough play. 
If your child is ready then just work on a couple of graphemes a day and make it fun, it should only be for a short time and it should be enjoyable. Use different pens, different coloured paper or card etc to make it fun. Always use a line to ensure they remember to place the grapheme correctly. 
Wow, look at this lovely Easter learning. I love to see all the wonderful imaginative things you are doing. 
Two children from our class have added to our flowers on the school fence. Thank you so much. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all did one? I’m back in school in two weeks and I’m going to go out and look at them. Please have a go at making one and attach it to the fence whilst you are on your daily walk. 
Oh the flowers that you are all making are absolutely beautiful and I can’t believe how many of you are joining in, please keep adding them and fill our fence with your sparkle and happiness. You will help to make everyone smile as they walk past our school. I’m very proud of you all. 
I’m seeing some wonderful learning at home. I’m so proud of you. 
I received more photos of your wonderful flowers... every time I get a new flower photo it makes me smile. 
Some children have already popped into school to collect their new packs. I was lucky enough to see some of you. Please keep the photographs and messages coming so that I can see your wonderful work at home xxx
Word Mountains
for those of you working hard on your word mountains I will add the next sets on for you you to look at. Remember that these are optional and only for when your child is ready. Xx
Here are a few more photos I have received showing me your wonderful learning at home. Thank you x
It looks like some of you have had a great time celebrating VE Day!