Welcome to Reception. Our topic for this term is Castles. This topic involves work across many subject areas as we adopt a topic based approach in which we link all areas of learning together.
How is the Foundation Stage organised?
The Foundation Stage comprises of two year groups of children, Nursery and Reception. Nursery offers half-day places to 52 children, 26 in the morning and 26 in the afternoon. Children are offered a place sometime after their third birthday. Children transfer into the Reception class in the September before their fifth birthday.
The staff in the Foundation Stage Unit work very closely to ensure continuity and progression and a smooth transition to full-time school.
Settling into Foundation Stage Unit
We have a flexible start to our sessions, this helps to foster a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the children, parents and staff. It enables us to welcome everybody individually and gives your child the chance to settle into the session gradually.
We welcome parents and carers into our Nursery at the start and end of the session you are able to enter the classroom via the cloakroom. If you arrive early you are welcome to wait in the cloakroom, you will need to ring the bell to gain entry.
When your child is new to the Foundation Stage Unit, it would be a good idea if you could try to collect them a little bit earlier. Often younger children can become anxious if they are left until the end of the session. To safeguard the children in our care we ask you to complete the ‘signing in’ sheet everyday and to provide us with a list of adults you consent to collect your child from school. The hours for the Nursery children are as follows:
‘Welcoming time’ 8.40 – 9 a.m.
‘Going Home time’ 11.25 – 11.40 a.m.
‘Welcoming time’ 12.30 – 12.45 p.m.
‘Going Home time’ 3.15 – 3.30 p.m.
When your child moves into the Reception class they will attend school full time, from 8.50 am to 3.15 pm.
How can I help my child?
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. Channelling this curiosity into structured and challenging activities helps them to learn and develop. In the Foundation Stage, they will be given the opportunities to experience new challenges, they will use equipment that is new to them and they will meet new adults and lots of new friends.
We encourage the children to work together, to share, to co-operate and to help each other.
They will have many opportunities to express themselves through imaginative play, construction, drawing, painting and physical activities both indoors and out.
We encourage the development of skills which help towards an understanding of many areas such as speaking and listening, reading, writing, maths and science as we recognise how essential these skills are in your child’s future education.
We also foster every child’s self confidence, independence and belief in their own abilities.
What activities are available in the Foundation Stage?
Play is what children enjoy most. Activities which are fun hold more appeal. Children learn more readily if they are interested. Their natural curiosity is a valuable resource.
We offer the following activities to create a stimulating environment which the children enjoy exploring:-
In the mark making area and in many other areas of the Foundation Stage pre-literacy skills are developed which include pencil control and writing patterns, leading to good handwriting techniques and visual awareness of symbols, as an introduction to reading and writing.
The children write for different purposes such as signs, lists, letters and invitations, and in so doing soon begin to realise that writing conveys meaning.
The Book Area
The book area and listening area further promote understanding that written symbols carry meaning. Children can explore books independently, share a book with an adult or another child or listen to a story on a CD, initially decoding using the pictures. Using puppets the children are able to act out familiar and traditional stories.
The Maths Area
The maths area is a valuable stepping stone to the knowledge and use of number. Colour, shape and size are learnt through games and puzzles. Maths is encouraged in all areas of the Foundation Stage eg. capacity in the water area, shape in the construction area, counting and capacity at snack time.
Sand and Water Areas
Sand and water play further reinforce maths and science concepts e.g. capacity, weight and buoyancy. The children are encouraged to engage in imaginative play using a variety of resources e.g wild animals, dinosaurs, play people.
The Technology Area
The technology area develops an awareness of the proper use and control of tools using creative and junk materials.
The Construction Area
The construction area has a varied selection of building kits which are firm favourites with most children. The children are encouraged to play imaginatively using a variety of small world resources.
The Creative Area
In the creative area paint, glue and dough provide opportunities for experimental artwork. Children soon become skilled at combining colours and textures, moulding and shaping using tools such as scissors, brushes, rollers and glue spreaders. We encourage them to be creative, observe carefully and to talk about their creations.
The Interactive White Board and Computer.
The computer programmes we use are fun, colourful and animated. We aim to familiarise children with basic computing skills through regular and varied activities. The school’s e-safety procedures are strictly withheld whilst using the internet to research topics with the children.
The Role Play Area
Role play is an essential outlet for children’s feelings. The home corner is equipped with most items that ‘home’ provides. Children often choose to play here when they are unsure or anxious. The surroundings seem to have a comforting familiarity. We change the role play area regularly, linking it with our termly topic. This gives the children the opportunity to develop their imagination and learn new vocabulary.
The Food Technology Area
Food Technology is where we encourage awareness of cooking skills, working in small groups. Recipes are followed, ingredients are measured and a variety of manipulative skills are experienced such as mixing, cutting, grating, rolling and peeling. The communal sharing of food is an eagerly awaited time!
Music is an enjoyable and important activity that we engage in on a daily basis. We sing rhymes and songs, we dance and learn how to handle and care for a variety of musical instruments. Self control is an essential skill as we try to appreciate the quality and feel of the music we play, rather than the volume we can achieve!
The outdoor area is equipped with resources to give the children the opportunity to practice gross motor skills such as climbing, cycling, throwing, catching and building. The children enjoy imaginative and role play in the outdoor area, using a variety of resources.
The children are, as in all areas of the Foundation Stage, encouraged to share and take turns and to work co-operatively.
Understanding of the World
Knowledge and understanding of the world is mainly linked to the topics we explore each term. We make use of the outdoor area, the school grounds and the surrounding area to study habitats of mini-beasts, plant growth, the weather and buildings for example.
All the areas in the Foundation Stage are arranged with either silhouettes or labelled storage boxes to enable the children to select the appropriate piece of equipment and return it to the correct place. The children are organised into teams at tidy-up time, to restore order at the end of the session!
How do I find out what is happening in the Foundation Stage?
We regularly send out newsletters to let you know as parents, what your child is doing at school. Talking about the current topics with your child is always invaluable.
There is also a parent’s notice board in the cloakroom where current Foundation Stage and school newsletters are displayed. You will also find a copy of the planned activities for the week.
From time to time we send out activities that you can share with your child. You will also have the opportunity to take part in several home loan schemes. A range of story books, games and puzzles are available to take home. Time spent on these activities is time well spent. We are also very fortunate to have a range of activity bags from the Sure Start scheme called SPLATT (Sharing, Playing, Laughing and Talking Together) which each child is welcome to borrow on a regular basis.
Am I welcome to come into the Foundation Stage?
We have an ‘open door’ policy, and welcome parents and other carers into the Nursery to stay and help. Parent helpers in Foundation Stage have an extremely valuable role, the quality of the children’s learning is greatly enhanced when they work with an adult. We would be delighted to welcome any parents, grandparents, childminders etc. to help with a wide variety of activities including reading stories, art activities, playing games, working on the computer, baking…. the list is endless. If you feel you would like to help, please have a chat with a member of staff and once a DBS check has been carried out you would be welcome to stay anytime.
We also appreciate any ‘donations’ in the form of boxes, tubes, bottle tops, wool, fabric or anything else you think we may be able to find useful.
What should my child wear for Nursery?
We encourage the children to learn through exploration and experimentation, and consequently they can get a bit messy! We do have aprons in the Nursery, but it would be a good idea to dress your child in practical clothes that wash easily.
It is also advisable for them to wear comfortable clothes and footwear that do not restrict their movement, and which they can manage themselves, especially when using the toilet. Outdoor play is available regularly during the week so suitable clothing needs to be worn.
When your child moves into the Reception class they will wear school uniform, some parents like to purchase the school sweatshirt for their child to wear in Nursery.
As we all know children occasionally have little ‘accidents’ when they get too absorbed in their work to realise they need the toilet! We will ask you to complete a form giving us permission to support your child in becoming independent in using the toilet and to change them if it is necessary. We have a supply of spare clothes in the Nursery to change the children into.
Please could you mark all your children’s clothes clearly with their name, particularly coats, jumpers and cardigans. The more independent your child is using the toilet, the better their experience in nursery.
To remove paint or glue from your child’s clothes:-
Rinse well in cold water. Wash with a bar soap or washing-up liquid in cold water. Our Nursery is completely free of charge. However, in order to stock up on baking ingredients, special craft materials and other luxury items we rely heavily on donations from parents. We would be extremely grateful for a voluntary contribution of £1 each week. This can be paid at any time, the fund tin is out at the beginning of each session. We often take the children on outings as part of our topic work such as, a visit to the farm, to Butterfly World, or regular visits to the local library to promote reading.
Outings and visits
We also run fund raising activities from time to time and would be delighted to hear of any fund raising ideas from parents.
Do I have to pay for a Foundation Stage place?
Once the stain is treated wash as usual. Note: Biological powders may make some paint stains set into fabric.
Keeping the peace
We find we need very few rules but we do insist:
NO SWEETS OR SNACKS IN NURSERY PLEASE. Others can become envious and sharing among a large group of children is not realistic.
Treats on special occasions are enjoyed by all the children when appropriate.
Your child will have a drink of milk and a piece of fruit during the session. If your child dislikes or is allergic to milk we will offer them water.
NO TOYS IN THE NURSERY. Please leave toys at home. We have sufficient toys in the Nursery and nowhere to store ‘personal treasures’.
Follow instructions from adults.
Do not hurt others or break equipment.