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0.07.24 - Non-Fiction Writing in Reception!

This week we have used all the knowledge that we have learnt around our chosen European countries, to create some non-fiction writing. Children chose one fact about their class country and wrote a sentence about it on a caption frame. It was lovely to see the children apply all the phonics that they had learnt to write their ideas down. There was some super work and it was great to see and hear children expressing all their new general knowledge of the world.
Over this term we have been learning about writing recounts in preparation for our Yorkshire Wildlife Park trip. We have focussed on what the children already know and know well such as going to Tesco, going to the park or even what we do at school. We have taught the children to use the past tense when speaking to talk about their events, and to extend their sentences using 'and then'. The children have been encouraged to recount these events through writing using their best handwriting and using our 3 part writing sequence; say it, write it and read it. We hope that the children will be excellent recount writers and will be able to write their final big piece of writing after our trip! Watch this space for photos of this...



21.06.24 - Euros 2024 themed learning!

This week we have been learning all about Europe and of course the football! Each class had a different country to learn facts about and explore. This brought out many fascinations including flags, travel, vehicles, football designs, maps, globes and of course the actual game of football. We made comparisons of life here and life in our chosen countries. We learn about native animals to that country and compared them to dinosaurs! 

To help expand this we used the story “Spinderella” to facilitate our maths curriculum for the week. It allowed us to use our maths skills to solve problems and apply all the reasoning skills we have learnt this term. This went from deciding how to make football teams fair with the correct amount of players, to working out how many football boots each spider needed to play! This of course led to lots of problem solving in provision and child-led play.

Next week we will take all this new knowledge and use it to write some facts about our chosen country. 






14.06.24 - Maths through Art in Reception

A beautiful learning moment happened this week, when a child decided to turn a large cardboard box into a grid! A fascination was quickly formed around grids with lots of children choosing different ways to make grids through masking tape, pens and even pencils as sticks! The adults decided to move this fascination on further by introducing them to the artist 'Kandinsky'. We looked at his work and explored different ways of making our own representations of his pieces. What a wonderful invitation this was for exploring maths language and looking at shape and space. Children used loose parts, paint, materials and their own marks on different scales. We looked at each piece as a class and invited children to tell us about the maths that they could see within each child's picture. Children saw number frames, number combinations, patterns, shapes, lengths, positions and used ambitious vocabulary to describe them. Next week we will take this to a larger scale and work outside! We can't wait! 



07.06.24 - Past and Present!


This term we are going to explore the past through learning about 'The Prehistoric World'. Children have been so fascinated by this topic within one week of starting it. We have gathered the children's prior knowledge at the start and ensured that children revisited the word 'past' using themselves as babies as an example. The children have spent time comparing our environment with that of prehistoric times, and of course looking at animals and their differences. We introduced the word 'extinct' and what this meant in relation to dinosaurs. 

We will look at humans during Prehistoric times and explore the work of an Archaeologist and their important role. To end our topic, we will be visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park to visit their fabulous Dinosaur exhibit as well as comparing them with their African animal residents. This topic provides lots of scope for comparison, and we will be moving towards looking at the natural environments of African animals and that of Harehills itself! 

Of course, all of this is explored through provision through non-fiction texts, drawings, scaffolded word reading cards and outdoor role play. We are so excited to see what this topic brings and, how the children will shine in their final Big Create of the year. Watch this space for that! 




24.05.24 - Science in Early Years!
This week has been our "Big Create", which celebrates our key driver question. Our question this term was 'How do plants and animals change over time?' The children chose ways to represent their answers to this question. The children were very engaged in making life cycles using all the skills that they had been taught in expressive arts and design. They loved using a variety of materials to represent each part of their life cycle and make labels for their displays. Adults in the room enhanced this learning by discussing with the children what they were creating and  asking them to explain their life cycles. The children used ambitious vocabulary to share their thoughts around this. Some children moved this learning even further to make habitats for their chosen mini beast or plant. One child made tiny blue tack snails and spent the day creating its appropriate habitat and writing signs to share their views with their friends about how we look after creatures. An amazing week for reception!




17.05.24 - Maths in Reception!

As well as adult-led class sessions, maths is very much taught/modelled/assessed through the interests of children through provision. Staff are trained to use the SHREK approach, in which they use interactions to move learning on. This can take form in many ways, such as teaching new vocabulary, extending vocabulary, modelling new concepts or creating opportunities for hard thinking through questioning and challenges. 

This week we have enhanced our outside area with a shop. Children have had a go at buying animals for their zoos, using counters and ten frames to work out how much they need. This has consolidated their number bond knowledge and allowed them to apply it in a playful situation. 

Messy play has given us many opportunities for interactions around maths this week. Lots of children have been really interested in using the hose to fill large containers. Staff have used this opportunity to teach children about size, capacity and the tricky question of 'how much more?'. As this was done through the interests of children, children will retain this new learning and be able to apply it in other real life experiences. 

We have also had a paint theme happening outside with lots of our new to school children. Adults modelled the language of counting while they painted, allowing children to be exposed to early maths skills and be motivated to use it in their play. 




10.05.24 - Early Writing

We have two paths to literacy in Red Base; an adult-led theme that follows the work of Pie Corbitts very successful 'Talk for Writing' scheme, and also through our child-led paths of play. This term's focus text is The Very Hungry Caterpillar and children have really enjoyed the non-fiction aspect of this topic. We have explored creatures and plants through their life cycles and talked about the care of them. This has led onto many amazing fascinations such as making snail terrariums and writing letters to shop keepers to ask them to deliver food for our creatures. In true Pie Corbitt style, we have also spent time creating story maps of our story and acting it out using familiar actions. Children have spent time making their own marks to represent the story, producing some beautiful work. We will eventually move onto becoming authors ourselves and changing some of the characters in our story of those other minibeasts that we have learnt the life cycle of. 

We have spent lots of time teaching literacy skills through the interests of children. We have had lots of children making amazing creations with box modelling which has allowed adults to teach literacy through making labels and captions of their models. This allows children to be extremely motivated to write as it has a true purpose that means something to them. Children are proud of their careful marks and love to share these during our key person sessions, talking about the characteristics of learning that they have used. 





03.05.24 - Reading in Red Base

This week we have been consolidating our reading skills through exciting games. Words were hidden around our classrooms and children were set the challenge of finding ten of them, saying the sounds to read them and then write them on special paper! The children really enjoyed this and their motivation was extremely high. Other children had a go at playing the 'Teachers' special game', which was simply a game to encourage children to remember sound spellings that are made up of two letters. This again had high levels of motivation and enjoyment. 

Since September, children have been taught the art of story invention. This is where children are encouraged to use their colourful semantics to create their own worlds and stories with given props and pictures. Children have had this heavily scaffolded so that they are able to confidently retell stories using effective story language, time connectives and ambitious vocabulary. The children are then given baskets of resources within their continuous provision to have a go at this independently. Teachers will observe this play and create story scribes for the children, so they can see their stories come alive through print. It has been a joy to watch their confidence grow and to see them becoming story tellers. 





26.04.24 - The Natural World and Writing!

This week we had a sad story to tell the children. One of our chicks had hatched without its brothers and sisters, so was all alone! The children listened to this story and shared their thoughts and views about this event. This allowed the children to explore empathy and show care for creatures. It allowed discussions to be led around how chicks imprint, how they need a family to teach them how to eat and drink and why the older chicks might not accept them into their world! We compared this to our own past and talked about ourselves as babies and how our needs were met. We decided that we should write letters and cards to the chicks to say how we felt. This was an excellent hook for writing and the children were so engaged. They used the phonics that they felt secure with and our sounds write wall to scaffold some beautiful sentences and pictures. Well done Red Base. 



15.04.24 - Early Reading!

Sounds Write is the scheme that we follow to teach children very important early reading skills to enable them to become fluent readers and writers throughout their school life. The children are encouraged to use these skills in their child initiated play to communicate their ideas through writing. Children have the Sounds Write working wall to help them remember their sounds spellings and be independent writers and readers. Children are encouraged to read back their work each time. This week there have been so many wonderful ideas in which children have linked to writing, linking print to purpose! Children have written menus for their very own cafes, using recipe books to gather ideas. There has been a fascination with vehicles and children have felt confident to label their work like super non-fiction writers. Super confident writers have even had a go at writing their own stories, showing off their fluent spelling skills that they have learnt from Sounds Write but also showing their story telling skills that they have gathered from our storytelling curriculum. Well done everyone! 






28.03.24 - Communication and Language: The Big Create
In Reception we end each half-term with a Big Create! This is an opportunity for children to express all their learning from the term in creative ways. We use this as an opportunity for children to use all the new vocabulary that they have been taught to answer the key driver question. Our key driver question this term was; What will we see on the farm at spring time? Children were asked to make masks to represent their answers to this question while practitioners delved into their brains, finding out what vocabulary they had retained in order to answer this question. Children loved making their farm animal masks and this job really tested their fine motor skills, using all the techniques that we have taught them in expressive arts and design this term such as making eyeholes and threading string. Children were encouraged to extend their vocabulary by describing the different features of the animals that they were making, such as beak and snout. We, of course, linked all of this teaching to our universal speech and language programme; Colourful Semantics. 

Lots of our communication and language teaching is through rhyme and song. Children performed songs that answered our key driver question for the parents while wearing their costumes. They especially enjoyed learning; I'm a spring chicken, a firm Bankside favourite. It was a delight to see!





22.03.24 - Expressive Arts and Design!

This week we have been working on large-scale art pieces. In science, children are learning all about growing, including the parts of plants and flowers. What better way to explore this than through sticking with gloopy glue! The children were given a range of spring flowers to pull apart and talk about. Adults sat with them, narrating their play and modelling new language to describe what they are exploring and extending their vocabulary. Children made arrangements with the petals and made decisions about what they wanted their arrangements to look like. We decided that we didn't have enough flowers to fill our large spaces, making links to maths and spacial awareness. We chose to use tissue paper to make new flowers to add to our artwork. The children used so many skills during this project; fine motor skills for cutting and sticking, planning and working towards goals, adapting and changing ideas, resilience and above all, team work! What a wonderful spring-filled week we have had! 




18.03.24 - Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

In Reception we live and breathe enhancing our provision to promote excellent progress in PSED. The children are given ample opportunities to work together, manage their own needs, create goals and work towards them and above all, be resilient! This week we have been maintaining our garden. This has allowed children to learn so many difficult skills such as turn taking, taking on the ideas of others and perseverance. We have cleared out all the weeds and replanted some beautiful new flowers. There have been many cross-curricular links through this project. The children have learnt about growing and used new vocabulary to describe what they observe and do. 

Outdoor construction has also been a big hit this week, through a fascination of cars. The children have worked as teams to build their own cars, thinking about how many children can be seated in each car and adapting their cars to make room for more if needs be (great maths links). They needed to listen and respond to the ideas of others and adapt their models based on their own goals. The teachers have learnt so much about cars through this! 

We encourage our children to use their loud and proud voice to talk about their ideas, their achievements and their goals. This takes work and so we set aside a dedicated time, every day, where the children sit with their key person groups and use the Bankside COGS to scaffold their thinking about what they have done that day, and what they would like to do to extend their learning. Their words inform our planning board so we can ensure that our enhancements provide opportunities that promote the highest levels of well-being and involvement in our children.






08.03.24 - Understanding Our World/People, culture and communities

As part of learning about 'Growing', we have been busy recreating our garden in our outdoor space. We recapped about themselves and how we grow and moved onto plants and how they grow. The children were fascinated by this and it brought about many cross-curricular links that we could pursue further. One of these links was to literacy. Children decided that they wanted to make signs to put in our garden that would stop people stamping on the seeds that we plant and more importantly, the worms that we found! We talked about the role of the gardener and what they might do each day! It was so lovely to see children becoming more confident in their phonics to be able to write sentences independently! 



01.03.24 - Expressive Arts and Design!

Each half-term we work towards a 'BIg Create' which allows us to consolidate, express and present our learning in creative ways. This term we are working towards making farm animal costumes to perform a song/dance 'Old Mcdonald' for all of our families. This will allow us to show off all the lovely new knowledge we have about life on the farm as well as fine-tuning our mask making skills and of course, singing and dancing. 

To prepare for this task, we learn a new creative skill each week which is planned out through our curriculum plans. Last week we have been learning how to draw circles and cut them out; a tricky skill that involves lots of controlled fine motor. We then moved this onto cutting circles by using folding techniques. This will of course help us to become Independent Iguanas, when we are making our costumes at the end of term. 

Each week we have a planned rhyme/song of the week, which is always linked to our topic and will help us learn the important skills of recognising rhyme, pitch and tone. There are so many lovely songs about the farm and spring and we are looking forward to being Creative Caterpillars and performing them.

Many of our Expressive Arts and Design skills taught, are through child-led projects. Children have interest led planning time to think of creations that they would like to pursue. Teachers make enhancements to continuous provision that will scaffold their thinking and creativity and allow them to deepen their learning of the many skills needed to achieve the Early Learning Goal and be ready for Year 1.  The teachers are skilled in moving on the learning through these projects and hope to expand the amount of areas that each project will hit. For example, when an interest formed around camping, one child decided to create a trap that would capture any wild animals that might approach his tent at night. As he used new skills to create this model, the teacher used carefully scaffolding interactions to introduce new vocabulary to the child and get the child to think deeply about the reasons behind each part of his trap. Moving it on even further, the teacher encouraged him to use his literacy skills to write a sign that told everyone what he had made. A great example of child-led writing with a purpose. 


19.02.24 - Understanding The World!

History (Past and Present)

Last term in reception we began to teach the children to use the word 'past' by drawing out their own experiences. We started by looking at yesterday, last week and last month and this led onto looking at their life in the past. We began with them and us as babies and looked at how different we were in the past. We used our families to support this by asking them to bring in photos and tell stories about us as babies. We then used the hook of 'Birthdays' to explore this further, thinking about Birthdays in our past and of course our present! We found maths linked really well with this and the children really enjoyed looking at BIrthday cards and exploring numerals and candles on cakes.

This term we are going to use the children's knowledge of the word 'past' to look at how objects have changed over the years. We will especially look at technology as a hook, exploring old telephones and computer systems! The children have started looking at old landline telephones and this has really linked well with our speech and language goals and being imaginative by pretending to take on job roles or speaking to our families. Super learning! 

This term we will be looked at comparing our own environments with others. We will compare the farm environment and how it differs from where we live. To start this topic we need to build on the children's vocabulary of things we might see on a farm. We have encouraged the children to explore a range of non-fiction texts and used the scaffold 'I wonder' to draw out their ideas and allow them to think hard about what they are seeing in the pictures and reading key words. We will then build on this by visiting the farm and providing first hand experiences in exploring the farm environment. Then we will be ready to compare the farm with our own natural habitats of Harehills! We look forward to seeing how this develops through the children's own interests throughout this half term. 

A Child Initiated PSED/Science/maths exploration!

A group of boys found an empty bottle outside with a hole in the lid! They decided to fill it with water and see if they could squirt water from the hole. It worked! They then spent time walking around the outside area, squirting the bottle and laughing at the noises it made. The teacher decided to extend and scaffold this play to facilitate the children to do some hard thinking about the squirting water! The teacher wondered why the water came out in a long line.....she wondered how far they could make the line go and how they would make it go further...she wondered what happened as the amount of water changed. The children were brilliant in thinking about their responses and using new vocabulary to talk about what  happened. The boys needed support in being kind to one another whilst playing with the bottle. We made some bottle rules for our game so that all children felt happy with taking turns to squirt and no one got wet! What incredible learning to come from an empty bottle! 




09.02.24 - Physical Development!

As part of our Reception Curriculum we focus on two types of physical development; gross motor and fine motor. We plan to learn the skills needed to be confident movers of large body parts and small body parts through a planned PE scheme and through targeting individual needs of the children using our Seeds to Saplings programme.

This week we have been working on our skills that allow us to negotiate space around obstacles and on uneven terrain. Then children have enjoyed using our outdoor space to run down steep hills, around branches and tree stumps! The children were challenged by adults to create obstacle courses with the tyres and even make a tyre scamble! Our physical skills were definitely tested! Some children wanted to use the steps to explore this theme. They ran down the stairs using alternative feet and were challenged to avoid the tricky sticks! There was so much engagement and focus! Well done. 

Our fine motor skills have really been tested with our Big Create week! Every half term children take part in a project that consolidates all the learning that has taken place this half term and showcases their achievements. The Big Create also encourages children to answer our Key Driver question so teachers can gather knowledge of the children's learning and adapt what we need to teach next. The project this half term was to create a team display that answers the question: What happens outside at nighttime? Children used their fine motor skills to create representations of Nocturnal animals, winter trees and even emergency vehicles. We wrote labels and captions to explain to everyone what we had made and learnt. The children's attention to detail in their craft work was outstanding and really challenged their fine motor skills through cutting and joining materials! 



02.02.24 -  Understanding the World

This week, a science interest was generated about boats! We talked about the different types of boats, and we wondered why they floated! We explored this through making boats and testing them out in our stream, using new scientific vocabulary and making evaluations! As part of our science curriculum, we spend lots of time observing plants and animals. As part of our winter topic and learning about changes, we explored birds and how some of them migrate! We went outside to go on a bird hunt and wrote lists of all the birds that like our school environment. We talked about and explored nests by making them using natural resources outside. We used new vocabulary in describing the types of birds that we could see.

So much lovely new knowledge based on a familiar environment! Well done everyone!    








22.01.24 - Marvellous Maths!

This week in maths we have been consolidating our learning from last week around ordering numbers 1-5. We used a peg doll named 'Mr Wolly Bolly' as a hook, and told a story about him walking up stairs made of number blocks. We could see the progression of numbers with one more being added each time, as we built our staircases. The children enjoyed recreating these stories in provision, with Mr Wolly Bolly being a firm new character in our Red Base worlds!   



Additionally, a lovely mathematical project was developed this week! The children were fascinated by buses, so we used this as a provocation to explore and extend our maths skills. We told stories about children getting on and off the bus which helped with visualising simple addition and subtraction problems. We drew maps of our bus journeys and talked about time. We explored wheels through doubles, thinking about how many wheels a bus has altogether, even when we can only see one side. We explored shapes through wheels, looking at the size and properties of each one, problem-solving when making our own for our box model buses. We added numbers to our model buses, looking at numerals. The possibilities were endless and so much fun! 




15.01.24 - Focus on Literacy!

In literacy this week we have been using our knowledge of Nocturnal Animals, which we learnt about during our non-fiction week last week, and explored a new text: Peace at Last. We told the story through props and story maps and talked about the noises that we might hear at nighttime, building on our own experiences. This led to a fantastic interest led project about camping! We used this to encourage children to take part in activities that consolidate their reading and writing skills. We wrote lists of camping equipment that we might need and searched the internet for examples of good tents, reading the word 'tent' and other unfamiliar words. We then moved this onto the animal noises that we might hear at night and used sound books to play these noises. This was a lovely listening and attention and early phonics activity, distinguishing sounds in the environment. We then wrote lists about the types of noises we might hear at night using the phonics that we know. The children loved to use the sleeping bags in our book area to snuggle in and read stories to each other. It is so nice to see children enjoying books. A great week-well done everyone!