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The Mystery Box! 

It has been so exciting in Reception!

We have been reading the story ‘Dear Zoo’.  The children were really good at describing the animals before lifting the flap to reveal what had been sent by the zoo.  Lots of children were keen to talk about the story because they had heard it before, and some children had been lucky enough to see it at the theatre over Easter! Excitement loomed as the children were told that they were going to be writing their own letters to the ‘Zoo’, to ask them to send us a pet. The children thought about a pet they might like to be sent, and also described an animal they definitely wouldn’t! This really gave the children a purpose to their writing and their enthusiasm was great!

After posting the children’s fantastic letters to the ‘zoo’ a mystery box arrived! However, there were no clues as to what the zoo might have sent us, however we were told not to open the box until Friday. The children wrote down what they thought might be in the box. They also received clues here and there as Mrs Clements was in charge of taking the box home and looking after the animal!

On Friday we had a visit from Kimmy’s Zoo. They were brilliant and the children got to finally meet the animal that was in the ‘Mystery Box’. It had been a millipede all along! The children also got to meet a snake, armadillo, lizard and a skunk.  

This has really captured the children’s imaginations and it has been so lovely to see them enjoying their learning. 


Welcome to Reception!


Starting school is an exciting and important step in children’s development. Research shows that good Early Years (Nursery and Reception) provision lays solid foundations for future learning and achievement.


 At Dale Hall Community Primary School our aim is to work together with you to meet your child’s development and learning needs whilst they are in our Reception classes. We strive to provide a welcoming, safe, caring, stimulating and fun learning environment. Our activities and learning tasks are tailored to meet the needs of our youngest learners. We ensure that we provide playful opportunities that are open ended and challenge children’s thinking. We support their learning by allowing them to explore their own ideas and choose ways to do things for themselves. We encourage them to persist, take a risk, test their ideas, learn by trial and error and to enjoy a challenge when solving problems. 


 The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Guidance forms the basis of our curriculum. It is based on seven areas of learning and is broad and open-ended allowing us to follow the interests of the children. The seven areas of learning consist of Communication and language; Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. These are the prime areas. The prime areas support learning in four specific areas. They are; Literacy (reading and writing) Mathematics; Understanding the world and Expressive arts and Design.  Our aim is to provide high quality teaching and learning that enables all children to reach a good level of learning by the end of Reception.  


It is during their time in Reception that children develop self confidence and a belief in themselves. They try new things on their own and feel pride in their achievements. They become more independent and take care of their own personal needs.  They learn social skills and develop friendships. Good Reception provision prepares children for their lives ahead and enables them to take their first steps along a life-long learning journey that could lead them almost anywhere!


Mrs Kirk

Early Years Leader. Starfish Class

You’ll find lots of paint and paper and crafty bits in Mrs Kirk’s house as she loves to be creative. She also likes to cycle and cook. In the summer you’ll find her swimming in the sea, especially if the waves are big!

Mrs Brooke

Teaching Assistant - Starfish Class (Wednesday)

Mrs Brooke loves to be by the seaside where she can and sit and read a good book. She also enjoys drawing. To keep fit Mrs Brooke goes to Pilates, swimming and out for long walks.

Miss Grover

Teacher - Seahorse Class

Miss Grover is an animal lover. She has one cat called Stripey and a dog called Merlin who she likes to take for long walks in the sunshine! Miss Grover also likes to play badminton and netball. She also enjoys going to Body Balance at the gym.

Mrs Clements

Teaching Assistant - Seahorse Class

You will often find Mrs Clements in the kitchen baking delicious goodies such as brownies and cakes. She also likes to read lots and to spend time with her family and friends.

                                                         Our Story Based Curriculum

 In Reception we follow a Story Based Curriculum. Each term a range of high quality books are chosen which form our ‘termly focus stories’. Many of the activities and experiences which go on throughout the term are linked to the characters, themes and concepts which can be found within these books. Linking children’s learning to storytelling in this way provides many opportunities for children to become immersed in their play experiences having built an understanding of the accompanying book. As a parent or carer to support your children’s learning at home please see our list of books being used. You could visit the local library to borrow a copy of the book, talk about the characters and settings of the story and use the internet to search for audio stories and activities linked to the books.   


W/B 17th September - 'Kippers Birthday' By Mick Inkpen 

W/B 24th September - 'Owl Babies' By Martin Waddell

W/B 1st October - Andy Goldsworthy (non fiction)

W/B 8th October - 'The Rainbow Fish' By Marcus Pfister

W/B 15th October - 'The Rainbow Fish' continued. 

W/B 29th October - 'Aaarrgh Spider' By Lydia Monks 

W/B 19th November 'Handas Surprise' By Eileen Browne 

W/B 26th November -  'Away in  a Manger' (The story we will be performing on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th). 

W/B 3rd December - 'Stick Man' By Julia Donaldson 

W/B 7th January - 'The Gingerbread Man'. 

W/B 21st January - 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff'

W/B 28th January - 'The Three Little Pigs'.

W/B 4th February - 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'.  

W/B 10th February -  'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' continued. 

W/B 25th February - Children to talk about something they enjoyed doing during the school holidays. Pictures and videos to be shared on Tapestry.

W/B 4th March - 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. 

W/B 11th March - 'Jasper's Beanstalk'.  

W/B 18th March  - 'Non fiction books about growing'.

W/B 25th March - 'My Mum is Fantastic'.

W/B 1st April - Non-Fiction books about Easter 

W/B 29th April -'The Gruffalo'

W/B 6th May - 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'

W/B 13th May - 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' continued 

W/B 3rd June - 'My Dad is Brilliant'

W/B 10th June - 'Dear Zoo'. 

W/B 17th June - 'We all went on Safari'

W/B 24th June - 'Charlie's Superhero Underpants'  


Our Wonderful Easter Share 
The last two days of term was a very exciting time for us in Reception. Not only because we were looking forward to the school holidays, but also because we had invited Mums, Dads, Grandmas, Grandads, Aunts and Uncles to spend time with us in our classrooms.
There were so many things to do, and of course, all of the activities were linked to Easter! The children got a chance to show case their counting skills, creative skills, reading skills and writing skills. There were hot cross buns to taste and chocolate cakes to make as well as Easter eggs to decorate and a letter hunt that revealed a hidden message. I wonder if you can guess what it was!  
We all had a wonderful time. Thank you for your lovely comments. 
"It was such an enjoyable hour! Thank you to the whole team for the effort that goes into these events!" 
"Freddie’s Nanny had a wonderful time and they both enjoyed telling me all about it" 
"Lovely hour of Easter fun.. Luciano really enjoyed the Easter word hunt".       
"Was really nice to come in and see Isla and her other school friends and joining in with activities".
"It was a real pleasure to come in and I know Freya really enjoyed me coming in and doing the activities with her, thankyou to you all".
"It was a really lovely share session. The children were so enthusiastic about the activities they were doing".

Roots, Shoots and Muddy Boots!


This week the children have been using information books to find out about growing. As part of their learning they were taught about what information books are used for, how to use a contents page and in this case how to plant a seed. 

Lots of children were able to share their past experiences of planting and growing too.


The children then each planted some seeds by wetting a piece of tissue, sprinkling seeds on top and  putting it inside a bag. The bags were then hung in the window where there is the most sunlight. The seeds that have been planted include tomatoes, chives and lettuce.

The children are now keeping an eye on their seeds and making sure we remember to water them! 


Salt Dough, Outdoor Learning

On Wednesday the children had great fun making and modelling salt dough. We took the salt dough outside and the children searched for natural objects to enhance their models. There were lots of lovely ideas such as a hungry caterpillar, a tortoise, a snake and stickman!



Where’s the Monkey?

In maths the children have been learning to describe the position of an object. The words that they have been using are; in, inside, between, on, under, above, in front and behind. One of the highlights was listening and watching a song on the interactive whiteboard called ’Where’s the Monkey’. It’s a ‘catchy tune’ which encourages the children to describe where a monkey is hiding. Some of the children then went on  a monkey hunt to see if they could spot monkeys hidden around the classroom.  They then used the words they have been learning to write down where they had seen them.

If you would like to hear the song and spot the monkey for yourself, please follow the link below. 


Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum…


There has been a lot of talk about a boy named Jack, his mum, a cow, some magic beans, a beanstalk and a giant...Oh yes, that’s because the story of Jack and the Beanstalk has played a big part in the children’s learning this week!  

On Monday the children discovered that a beanstalk had started to grow in the home corner, some golden eggs had been laid in Seahorse class and a cow seemed to be hanging around! After listening to the story and joining in with the repeated words the children have been using the props to retell and recreate their own versions of Jack and the Beanstalk.


The Giant

We have been teaching the children to use descriptive words while looking at pictures of giants. They were very good at describing the giant's features, the clothes they were wearing and what their personalities might be like.  The children then had a go at creating their own giants. The end result is a colourful array of the children’s own interpretation of what a giant might look like. The children then used their phonic skills to write a description.


After a week away from school the children in Reception returned on Monday morning with lovely big smiles. They were so keen to tell us about all of the lovely things they had been doing during the holidays. Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures you shared on Tapestry. 
The Stage 
It has been a lovely week outside with the sun shining. We have been busy creating a stage area for the children to put on a show! They have had some wonderful ideas that include a back stage area and a place to sell tickets. Watch this space for an update and some photographs.     
Disco Dancing 
The children have been so excited all week about the school disco. Finally it was Friday!
The children put on their dancing shoes and showed us their best dance moves. They had a lovely time! What brilliant dancing! 

The children have had another busy week. Goldilocks and the children’s bears have continued to be a big part of their learning!  


A Porridge Party


The children used their phonics and writing skills to write about a ‘porridge party’ they were going to be having on Friday morning. The children were told where the party would be and at what time, they then had to record this information. They also had to decide what they should bring to the party too. The end result included the time, day, place and that porridge and bears were going to be in attendance!  


The children also wrote about their favourite porridge toppings which included syrup, honey, strawberries, blueberries and chocolate!  We then put all of the ideas into a hat and drew out our top 4. These were the toppings the children had at the porridge party. Ummm delicious!

Goldilocks and How Many Bears!

The children have really enjoyed listening to the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. On Monday the children bought their own bear to school, and since then the bears have been included in lots of the children’s learning. Each day we have used the bears during our maths whole class teaching. This has included coming up with different ways we could sort the bears, estimating how many bears could fit in a hoop, and adding numbers together to get the bears safely across a bridge over shark infested water!  

The bears have also had picnics, joined in with the children’s writing and they have become works of art, as the children have made observational drawings of their bears ready for colour mixing next week.


We had a lovely afternoon exploring technology on Tuesday and we were lucky to have some parents share this with us. The children learnt how to programme the beebots, played a phonics reading game on the interactive whiteboard, explored microphones that could record voices, went on a hunt for pictures that use technology, explored keyboards which made sounds and enjoyed reading stories by torch light in our darkened reading room!

Mud, Mud Glorious Mud!

Despite the cold weather the children have still enjoyed being outside. One of our learning highlights has been to follow a recipe to make mud paint. There was some incredible language and observations used by the children to describe the texture and look of the mud. They also had a go at mixing colours and were amazed when some of the colours when mixed with the brown of the mud, turned into an unexpected colour!


To make your own mud paint you will need…



Powder paint

Washing up liquid


A container to mix the ingredients in

Spoons and paintbrushes.

The Three Little Pigs 


There was lots of huffing and puffing going on in Reception this week as a lot of the children’s learning has been linked to the story of The Three Little Pigs. The children really enjoyed joining in with the repeated refrains and later on in the week we became the characters by acting out the story.

Our large wooden blocks and large branches have provided great resources to make some houses for the pigs. The children have really enjoyed working together and acting out the story using the props they had made. 

How to Make a Gingerbread Man
There was a delicious smell making it's way around the whole school on Monday.  This was because the children in Reception made some gingerbread men! 

After learning about non fiction books and gathering information from the internet we found a recipe for gingerbread men. Luckily Mrs Kirk had been shopping at the weekend and we had all the ingredients we needed to make some! 

The children learnt how to follow a recipe and measure out the ingredients . They then helped to mix, roll and cut out.  Luckily for us no gingerbread men escaped during the making of them, and all children got to take one home to enjoy!

If you would like to make your own gingerbread men using the recipe that we used, please see the link below. 


The Gingerbread Man Experiment 

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if the Gingerbread Man had decided to swim across the river? Well, the children in Reception have found out. We conducted an experiment using a bowl of warm water and a bowl of cold water and two gingerbread men. First the children predicted what they thought was going to happen to the gingerbread men. They used some wonderful words that included float, sink, melt, dissolve, soggy, crumble and wet. The children then held one gingerbread man in the cold water and one gingerbread man in the warm water. They then watched and waited.

This is what we found out. The Gingerbread Man did get wet, and crumble and float for a bit and then sink and the water changed colour and the Gingerbread Man dissolved. This all happened much quicker in the warm water than in the cold water. The children were brilliant at making predictions, talking about and describing what they could see, as well as answering how and why questions.    

So now you know why the Gingerbread Man decided against swimming for it! 


Away in a Manger
The children in Reception put on a wonderful performance of 'Away in an Manger'.All of the children worked so hard to learn all of the songs and dances. They displayed such confidence and we received so many lovely comments from parents, carers, teachers and older children telling us how well everyone did and how much they enjoyed it. 
'All the children done brilliantly and well done to the staff too!'
'Absolutely loved it the kiddies done so well xx'
'We thoroughly enjoyed watching this! Everyone did amazingly well. So much work must have gone into the making of this - well done to everyone!' 
'All the children and staff done an amazing job it was really lovely to watch!'
'It really was a lovely Nativity, I enjoyed it so much I watched it twice! Each time with a tear in my eye! Alex bowing after every song - priceless'
'This was a great production. The children and teachers did such a great job. Thank you. And they clearly enjoyed themselves, smiling and dancing all the way through. Fantastic'.
'I really enjoyed coming to see the nativity, i thought it was great. You should be very proud of what have achieved in such small space of time'.
'All the children did amazing. Well done everyone'.
The Great Outdoors!
The children have absolutely loved exploring our new outdoor area!  There is just so much to discover and do!
Literacy Workshop 
We held a very successful Literacy workshop for parents and carers detailing how we teach children to read. We also talked about developing fine motor control to help to develop pre writing skills.      

Playdough is Brilliant!


Playdough is amazing for so many reasons. Not only is it a great way to develop the muscles in children's fingers as they squash, squeeze, roll, flatten, pinch, chop and pull it has so many other benefits too! Here is a really interesting article from the imagination tree, describing all of the benefits of playing with playdough.


And here is a tried and tested recipe that must have been used hundreds of times over the last 34 years. So many little hands have enjoyed playing with the playdough from this recipe. Why don’t you give it a try?


Cooked dough (long lasting)


2 cups flour

2 cups water

2 tsp cream of tartar

2 tbs oil

1 cup salt

Food colouring


Cook all of the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat. Keep mixing until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Sprinkle a little flour onto a board and knead well to finish.   

Our Amazing Number Day! 
We had lots of fun on Number Day. It was lovely to see the children coming into school proudly wearing a number they had made. There were lots of number badges, hats, necklaces and bracelets. 
What fun we had when lots of Mums, Dads, Grandmas, Grandads, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers and Sisters came to share the excitement and take part in all of the number and counting activities on offer. This included a number hunt in our new outdoor area, throwing bean bags into a numbered target, making number hats, reading number stories and lots of counting too!
We hope all of the adults that came to share their children's learning had as much fun as we all did.
Thank you for these kind comments.
'This was a wonderful share session. Our girls really enjoyed showing us around their learning environment and we enjoyed all the great activities on offer. Especially the number hunt! Thank you!' 
'Was really nice to come in and see how my child and the rest of class are getting on. The number game was a great idea'.