Painting a Pebble
Week beginning 6.7.20
At Woodthorpe we love being creative, and in Foundation we are lucky to have Miss Gill who is an amazingly talented artist. Whether your child is in class 1 or class 2, they will benefit from her expertise as she always has great ideas for things that they can make or do. Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of Woodthorpe, we have purchased lots of new creative resources that all the children will have chance to enjoy over the course of next year, which Miss Gill will be introducing from September.
This week's challenge is based on an idea of Miss Gill's to create a whole-school and community art project to commemorate the situation we have found ourselves in in recent months. We have asked all our children, parents, staff, families and friends to paint a large stone or pebble with a picture showing something that meant something to them during this period of time, and perhaps a personal message on the back. Have a look at the pictures below to see some of our children painting theirs. This week's challenge is to paint your own pebble ready to add to the collection. Parents, siblings and family members are also welcome to join in!
The ideal paints to use are acrylics but paint pens, permanent markers or left over decorating paint will do just as well too. If the stone can be varnished that would be great, but we do have varnish at school so we can finish it off for you if needed, just drop it in at the school office. If you can't find a stone, walk up the driveway to the gates, and we have a box of pebbles there that you can help yourself from. I will include another picture on the website when the pathway is set up and you can come and add your pebble. We can't wait to see your wonderful creations!
Week beginning 29.6.20
At Woodthorpe Infant School we love outdoor learning, especially in the Foundation Stage. Normally, both classes share the outdoor learning area, and children can choose to play inside or outside as they wish during all of their free choice periods (3 times a day). If a “bubble” situation still exists in September, we might have to make some changes to this, but hopefully we will be able to get back to normal as soon as possible.
We have lots of exciting things in the Foundation garden to play with. Please share these photos with your children and get excited together about how much fun they are going to have. Our favourite thing is the trim trail. It was bought by the Friends of Woodthorpe last year and has been an amazing addition that the children love to use. There is a shed with lots of stilts, balls, bats, beanbags and skittles. Next to that is the chalk board. Children have to sign up for the bike they would like to use, then turn over the timer when it is their turn. When their turn finishes they need to return their bike and rub out their name (don’t worry if they aren’t sure about writing their name yet, they should just ask an adult to help them at first). We also have the construction shed, which has lots of different construction toys that the children can build large structures with. Beyond the stepping stones in the wild area and there is a secret path round the back of the bushes that leads to the mud kitchen. We have wellies and waterproof trousers to wear when you make mud pies and potions here. It is surrounded by tyres – these look a bit like trampolines but please don’t jump on them as it isn’t safe, they are actually seats you can sit on to dig. Just outside class 1 is the herb bed. You can walk through this on the stepping stones but please try to avoid stepping on the soil to protect our plants. On the opposite side near the car park is our sand pit – we’re hoping for a new, bigger one soon! And finally we have the green shed which is open for playing in and also full of different toys for the children to choose, e.g. gardening stuff for looking after the herb garden, and in September we will be getting some new water toys.
Today’s challenge is a series questions related to the outdoor learning area. Hopefully this will lead to a positive conversation with your children about how much fun they will have learning outside at school!
You should all have received your letters about the visit date in July. We’re delighted to be able to offer this and hope it helps you and your child to feel part of the Woodthorpe community. Just one FAQ this week relating to this – Does my child need to wear school uniform for the July visit? No, there is no need to come in uniform, please just come in whatever your child is comfortable and cool in (the classrooms are very warm at the moment particularly in the afternoons!) We do always have one or two children who are desperate to wear their uniform though, so if you do have it already they are of course welcome to wear it, but there is no expectation to do so. The staff are really looking forward to this opportunity to meet you all.
Week beginning 22nd June
This week’s post is prompted by an e-mail requesting to clarify the colours of school uniform (there was an error on the Just Schoolwear website which has now been resolved). When the children come to school, they can choose between a bottle green polo shirt, bottle green jumper or cardigan, black or dark grey skirt, shorts, pinafore or trousers or a green and white dress. They also need sensible dark shoes as they will be outside and active every day. You can buy these things from the official school uniform suppliers or from any supermarket or other clothing shop of your choice – most of our parents tend to buy one or two logoed items then plenty of plain ones – the children do get messy with creative and outdoor activities, not to mention whiteboard pens, so it’s best not to spend too much!
They also need a white T shirt and black shorts kept in a drawstring bag for PE, and a warm, waterproof coat for being outside – they can choose to go outside in all weathers so it’s important they are suitably equipped every day. We would recommend getting your child a coat and PE bag that are fairly distinctive so that it is easy for them to identify, or alternatively, as well as labelling it with your child’s name, using a small keyring on the zip or around the strings so that they can identify their own belongings easily.
Today’s challenge focused on this – we would like you to share this post and the accompanying photographs with your child, then ask them to either draw a picture of themselves in their school uniform, or colour in the picture of a child in Woodthorpe school or PE uniform. We can’t wait to see them in their uniforms for real!
Meet the Teachers
Week beginning 15.6.20
Many thanks to those of you who have already sent photos of your children to firstname.lastname@example.org. It has been lovely to start putting names to faces. Thanks also for the positive feedback we have received regarding the presentation, we're so pleased it has been helpful.
As part of this section I will include FAQs received from parents that may be useful to everyone. Here's a couple:
Can I bring my younger child to the settling in sessions? On day 1 (stay and play and coffee morning/ afternoon) we would ask that you bring your child alone if possible. This is to minimise congestion in the classroom and to ensure that you can focus on settling your child in. However, we recognise that this may be impossible for some people so please contact me on the newstarters e-mail if this is the case for you and we will do our best to accommodate you. From day 2 (Friday) onwards it is fine to have younger siblings with you as we anticipate this being a much quicker drop-off, but please stick to one parent per child in the classroom.
Could you clarify what PE kit is needed when? From Sept-Feb all PE will be indoors so the children just need black shorts, white T shirt and a PE bag. From Feb onwards some sessions may be outdoors so they will need both indoor and outdoor kit – shorts, T shirt, trainers and tracksuit in their bag. (Hopefully by this time they will be more reliable at putting their things back into their bags so that the extra items are less likely to be lost!)
Does my child need a particular coat or book bag? Although school uniform coats are available, in F2 we would recommend getting a coat that will be easy for your child to identify (please label it clearly anyway though, just in case!) They do need a book bag from the school office, and my top tip is, as well as naming it, allow your child to choose one small keyring to attach to their bag so that they can quickly identify that it is theirs. This might be a nice activity to do with your child in the run up to starting school.
This week I’d like to tell you a bit more about the F2 teaching team. They are a fantastic team with a wide range of skills and interests, and I know the children will have an incredible range of exciting and diverse learning experiences with them. The challenge this week is a “getting to know the teacher” challenge – you will need to read the following paragraph with your child for them to complete it successfully.
Hi children, this week you are going to find out more about your teachers. There are 5 of them altogether, and although three work mainly and class 2 and two of them mainly in class 1, you will do lots of activities all together so you will get to know them all really well. The class 1 teachers are Miss Sheppard and Miss Gill. Miss Sheppard loves reading stories and she is amazing at it. She has a little brother who she will tell you about, so she gets lots of practice! Miss Gill is a brilliant artist, and makes brilliant displays in class 1 as well as all round the school. If you admired anything on the walls when you came to visit school, it was probably Miss Gill who put it all up. In class 2 you have 3 teachers. Mrs Sellers will work Monday to Thursday, and she loves science! She’s always busy thinking of exciting ways for you to explore scientific things like the natural world, magnets, electricity and lots more. Mrs Burton will work on a Friday and she’s brilliant at computers and ipads. She’s just ordered some really exciting new toys to share with you when you start school. Mrs Offord works in class 2 every day, and she loves imaginative play. She always likes to get involved with games like schools and families, including lots of dressing up! You are going to have so much fun with all your teachers!
New Parents' Meeting
Wednesday 10th June 2020
We are so sorry not to be able to welcome you into school for the new parents' meeting this week. However, hopefully you will have chance to watch our first ever "virtual new parents' meeting" at your leisure! It can be found in our Video Resource centre at the following link: https://arnold-woodthorpe-infant-school.primarysite.media/media/new-parents-information-presentation-2020-21. We hope you find it interesting and informative. If, after watching this, you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Tyler on email@example.com. We are very happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to meeting you and your children soon.
Expressive Arts and Design
Week beginning 8.6.20
Hopefully you should all now have received a letter from the school office confirming your child's class allocation, and with a further booklet about our school. As you will have noticed, classes have been based on friendships, so if your child already knows other children coming to school, they will have a few familiar faces in their class. If they don't know anyone yet, there will be other children in their class with similar interests so we are sure they will soon make friends. Thank you so much for e-mailing us about your child. This information has been passed onto Mrs Sellers and Miss Sheppard and they are already starting to think about toys, themes, activities and stories that your children will enjoy when they join us.
Today I'd like to say a few words about the final area of learning, Expressive Arts and Design. This is a great area of learning because it is so varied - it encourages the children to explore and develop their ideas in a range of creative media, such as painting, drawing, collage, construction, role play, music, singing, dancing, drama, small world and storytelling. Children will have their natural preferences for different forms of expression, but we encourage them through play and structured activities to explore them all, and they can then choose to spend more time on the activities they particularly enjoy. It is an area of learning focused on the processes rather than the outcome: for example, they may spend a long time creating an amazing, detailed painting, but then decide to paint all over it "because a storm came and it started to rain". We would encourage this: the important thing is the learning that took place throughout the creative process, not the finished product. Download the challenge to see some creative ideas you might like to explore with your child.
Lastly, don't forget to check the website on Wednesday to see our new parents' presentation, and we look forward to meeting you in person in the near future.
Understanding the World
Week beginning 1.6.20
Understanding the World is a huge part of the early years curriculum. Every day the children have long periods of time where they learn through play, and they always have the choice of whether to learn inside or outside. The outdoor learning area is open in all weathers so please make sure that your child has a warm, waterproof coat and suitable footwear, as it is always surprising how many children choose to head outside even in the pouring rain! Exploring the natural world, looking after plants and creatures, digging in the mud kitchen, exploring ice on a frosty day are all important experiences for our early years children. We also make sure we provide regular structured activities that encourage the children to explore, experiment and talk about what they can see - the pictures below show them enjoying bread making, exploring chemical reactions and making sherbet.
Understanding the World also includes learning about our own and others' beliefs, cultures and traditions and showing respect. Every week one child takes home the Family Box, and brings it back on Monday filled with toys, objects and photographs that tell us a bit more about them. They then show their things to their friends, who make comments and ask questions, and then the special things are displayed on the classroom wall that week. Every child gets a turn at this over the course of the year. The final area of Understanding the World is Technology. Each Foundation class has 6 ipads which are used independently by the children and also for more structured activities. Mrs Burton, our computing lead, will also work with both classes on Friday afternoons for 2020-21 to share her expertise. Finally, our parent group, the Friends of Woodthorpe, have kindly agreed to fund for some new programmable toys (amongst other things including some new toys for outdoor water play) which will be in place for 2020-21, so there are some very exciting times ahead for the new F2 children.
This week's challenge comprises all these elements of Understanding the World - we hope you enjoy it. Next Wednesday, 10th June, please make sure that you check the website for the new parents' Powerpoint (if you don't manage to see it that day, don't worry, as it will remain on the website for you to check right up to the start of the Autumn term).
Magical Maths at Woodthorpe
Week beginning 18.5.20
At Woodthorpe we love maths. Every day after morning break the children have a 10-15 minute carpet-based maths session. We usually start off with a rhyme or song on the whiteboard as the children are coming in and settling down. Then we do our WIS (pronounced like "whizz"!) quiz which is a pacy recap of our maths learning, where all the children join in by answering at the same time. Then we do an activity together which is based on our learning focus for that day. We also promote maths learning throughout the setting. You will notice that lots of the classroom resources are labelled with a number - usually in dots rather than the digit. At tidy up time, we encourage the children to look how many of a resource they should be, count in the correct number, and use this to identify if any are missing. Our approach to maths is about encouraging the children to be confident and secure in their knowledge of numbers and number patterns, and able to explain their understanding - we are constantly asking the children to "prove it" - "How do you know you're right?" This week's challenge aims to develop understanding of a range of mathematical concepts that will help the children to confidently access our maths learning next year.
Week beginning 11.5.20
It has been lovely this week reading so many e-mails from you about your children. It is really helping us to have a sense of what they are like, the sorts of things they enjoy and the sorts of things they, and you, might feel a bit worried about. All this information will feed into our planning for the new parents' meeting, for the induction process and our planning for September, so thank you so much to those of you who have already taken the time to reply. If you haven't already, please make sure you email Miss Tyler on firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 15th May with the information provided in Mr Hopkinson's initial letter. (If you've mislaid the letter, e-mail me anyway and I'll let you know the information we need!)
This week's challenge is based on another area of the Foundation curriculum, reading and writing. Reception is really exciting as we teach the children one way to read and spell each of the 44 sounds in the English language, and with this knowledge they are able to have a go at reading and spelling many words. We also do lots of work based around stories, so please make sure they are familiar with sharing stories as much as possible at home. We also do lots of work around early writing. We start off with lots of fun activities and exercises to build up the children's hand and finger strength and co-ordination. We then move on to learning to form the letters correctly using rhymes (you can see these on our video resource centre) - practising these with paintbrushes and water, with chalks or in messy media like shaving foam, cornflour or oats. Once the children have an understanding of correct letter formation, as well as the strength to hold and manipulate their pen or pencil, we move on to writing words and sentences, and the children make rapid progress because they have all the skills they need to become writers. Learning to read and write is a hugely exciting time for children, parents and staff, and we hope you enjoy this process as much as our 2019-20 Reception children have!
Communication and Language
Week beginning 4.5.20
We hope you are all staying safe and healthy at home. Thank you so much to those of you who have already contacted Miss Tyler on email@example.com to provide preliminary information about your child. This is really useful in helping us to get to know your children, and will enable us to ensure that as many children as possible have familiar faces in their classes. If you haven't done this already, please make sure you e-mail Miss Tyler by 15th May providing the details requested in Mr Hopkinson's initial letter.
This week's challenge focuses on Communication and Language. Speaking and listening skills are the basis of all learning, and we do lots of activities to promote these skills. All our staff love reading stories to the children, and we take every opportunity to share stories, songs and poems throughout the day. One of our favourite activities is making up actions to help us retell stories. Sometimes we even change the characters and settings to make up our own stories, and later in the year we have a go at writing them. If you go onto Children/ Video Resource centre and click on World Book Day, then scroll right to the end there is a file called "The Little Red Hen". This is an audio book we made of the whole school telling a story together. You can also see videos of some of our staff reading stories.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Week beginning 27.4.20
Another of the prime areas of learning is personal, social and emotional development. First and foremost, we want our children to feel happy, settled and secure within the setting, because then they will be able to fully engage with their learning. The key skills we work on are having high self-esteem and positive self-image, forming positive relationships by learning to take turns, share, deal with conflict, work and play in a group, and being positive and enthusiastic about their learning, having the confidence to 'have a go' without worrying about making mistakes. Our school driver is "BE BRAVE" and every day we remind and encourage the children to be brave in different ways. In our celebration assembly on Wednesday, we celebrate children who have been brave that week and their photograph is taken and displayed in the hall. Weekly circle times encourage the children to think about how they are feeling, how others might be feeling and how their behaviour impacts others. The "Family Box" is sent home with a different child each Friday. They bring it back on Monday filled with special things that tell us about them (e.g. favourite pictures, things to do with hobbies, family photos, favourite foods) and this is shared with the class so that we get to know more about each child in turn. During free play time, one adult always acts as "play ranger" and encourages children to develop their social skills by supporting them to play co-operatively together. If you wish, download and complete the personal, social and emotional development challenge which focus on the key skills that are helpful for the children to work on before they come to school and throughout their reception year.
Week beginning 20.4.20
Physical development is a huge part of our early years curriculum. Every week we have PE, which involves getting ourselves changed and then exploring different elements of games, gymnastics and dance. Our outdoor learning area is open every day and children can explore different physical activities including bikes, scooters, the trim trail, stilts, throwing and catching, bats, balls, large scale construction and balancing toys. We sing action songs every day, make up stories with actions, and do lots of activities involving clapping, stamping and jumping in time. During the autumn term, we carry out a daily fine motor programme which enables the children to practise picking up small things using their fingers and tweezers, using scissors, dough, pinching and squeezing movements (e.g. pegging), sticking and threading. All these activities are designed to develop the key skills of strength, balance, control and co-ordination, which as well as being important skills in their own right, are essential to the development of early writing. This week's challenge encourages some of these skills, and also introduces the children to resilience which is one of the 5 learning powers we promote at Woodthorpe. If you would like to, please download it and have a go with your child.
Welcome to Woodthorpe
Welcome to all the new children who have been allocated a place at Woodthorpe from September. We are looking forward to getting to know you all over the coming months and can't wait for you to join our school community. Keep an eye on this page as it will be updated regularly with pictures and information for you to share with the children to help them to become familiar with our setting. We are currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, and during this time we will also be posting activities and challenges to support you in preparing your children to start school - please feel free to do as much or as little of this as is convenient to you.
Our office staff are currently preparing information packs which will be sent out to you in the post in the next couple of weeks, with more information about Woodthorpe and our plans for transition this year.
Thank you for choosing Woodthorpe Infant School and we look forward to meeting you all soon.
New Starters 2020
We are very much looking forward to welcoming our new intake to school. Currently, our school is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, however, we will still be working with you and your children to ensure they have a smooth and successful transition to school.
Wednesday 10th June 2020 - New Parents' meeting
Mr Hopkinson and the Foundation team will welcome you to Woodthorpe Infant School and provide key information about our school. This will take the form of a Powerpoint and video which will be posted on the school website. If, after watching this, you have any queries, please contact our Foundation lead Sarah Tyler on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transition visits and starting arrangements
We will be sending out packs to all new starters at the end of April with some initial information about our school. When we have a clearer idea of when our school will re-open, we will contact you again with some more information about transition dates, starting arrangements and class allocations. Keep an eye on this page as well as we we will be updating it with photos, videos and challenges to support you in helping your child to prepare for school.