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 Morris

Assistant Headteacher (EYFS and KS1). Seahorse Class

Mrs Morris loves to be outside. You will often find her walking around the coast and countryside with her family. Mrs Morris has two little boys that keep her very busy... When at home, she is usually busy in the kitchen or playing with trains, planes and fire engines!

Miss Banks

Teaching Assistant - Starfish Class

Mrs Banks enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves being outdoors and likes anything that involves food!

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 16th September

Our first story is 'One Year with Kipper' by Nick Inkpen


W/B 23rd September

This week we will be reading 'I'm Sorry' by Sam McBratney


 W/B 30th September 

Lots of our learning will be linked to 'Owl Babies'. 


W/B 7th October 

This week the children will be talking about their families. 


W/B 14th October

We will be reading the story 'Rainbow Fish' by Marcus Pfister. Lots of the children's learning will be linked to the whole school focus for eco week. 


W/B 28th October

This week we will be reading 'Aaarggghh Spider'. The children will also be using information books to help them to write some facts about spiders.  


W/B 4th November 

'Aaarggghh Spider' continued. 

The children will be talking about their pets this week.


W/B 11th November 

We will be reading the story 'MIXED'. By Arree Chung


 W/B 18th November 

This week we will be reading 'Stickman' By Julia Donaldson 

W/B 25th November 

The children will be introduced to the Nativity we will be performing to parents and carers. We will be reading stories about the first Christmas. 


W/B 13th January - The Gingerbread Man 

W/B 20th January - The Gingerbread Man continued




The Gingerbread Man 


We have had another busy week! Lots of the children’s learning has been linked to the story 'The Gingerbread Man'.

The children really enjoyed listening to the story. They joined in with the repeated words, and some children were able to talk about what they already knew about the story, while others predicted what they thought would happen next. 

After learning about non fiction books and gathering information from the internet we found a recipe for Gingerbread Men. Luckily Mrs Clements had been shopping on Monday so we had all the ingredients we needed to make some! 

The children learnt how to follow a recipe and measure out the ingredients . They used some wonderful descriptive language to describe the smells, texture and what they could see happening. 


Happy New Year to Everyone! 
The children have returned to school excited to tell us about their Christmas holiday. They were encouraged to write a sentence describing their favourite part of their holiday. We have been very impressed with their writing.  
They have also been very busy during child initiated play, constructing using the junk modelling boxes, playing counting games, threading, making up their own stories using small world resources and dressing up. 
Due to the milder weather lots of children have been keen to go outside. Ball games have been very popular this week. The children were also amazed by the amount of rain water that had collected in our water trays over the holidays! 
A Little Nativity!
The children put on a wonderful show for their families while performing 'A Little Nativity'. They did incredibly well to learn all of the songs and dances and performed with confidence in front of a very large audience!
A Little Nativity 
There has been great excitement in Reception! The children have been introduced to the story of 'The First Christmas' in preparation for our performance of 'A Little Nativity'. The children helped to count how many days we have before our performance and then helped to make a paper chain to show this. Each day we remove one of the links from our chain as we count down to show time!
The children have also been given their parts and have already been learning some of the songs and dances.  

Stick Man 


The children really enjoyed the story ‘Stick Man’. We read to the part where Stick Man is lying asleep in the grate, 'will anyone wake him before it's too late'. We then left the rest of the story on a cliff  hanger! The children then had to use their imaginations and come up with suggestions for who they thought might rescue Stick Man.  They had brilliant ideas including Captain America, a princess, a crocodile and a dinosaur!

They then used their phonic knowledge to write down their ideas. Later on in the week we revealed the real ending of the story!




Colour Mixin
The children enjoyed listening to the story 'Mixed'. This story is about the primary colours who mix together to create new colours. This inspired lots of colour mixing activities. 
The children painted their hands using 2 different colours, they then rubbed them together to create a new colour. There was lots of excitement as the children talked about the colours they had made. It also encouraged the children to ask questions and share ideas with each other. 
In addition the children have had lots of fun making mud paint outside and mixing powder paint with shaving foam! 
Aaarrrggghh Spider!
The children really enjoyed the story Aarrgghh Spider which is about a spider that really wants to be a family pet. After finding out what the children already knew about spiders they watched a short programme to find out more. The children then used what they have been learning in phonics to write some of the facts they had rememebred.  Lots of our activities and learning have also been linked to spiders.
The book also lead us on to talking about pets. In maths we made a tally chart and pictogram to show who has a pet in our class and what type of pet they have. It also showed how many children do not have a pet. 
Again the children have been busy using their phonic skills to write a sentence about their pet or a pet they would like.
Lots of our activities and learning have also been linked to pets.   
The Rainbow Fish and Eco Week 
In Reception, we used the story 'The Rainbow Fish' to help us think about the ocean for Eco week. We talked about what pollution and plastic is and how this can impact on the oceans. During child initiated learning, the children recycled plastic bottle tops to make a new curtain for our stage, used tweezers to 'collect rubbish' from our ocean sensory tray, played Rainbow Fish number games and explored lots of sensory and creative play. For our adult focus activity, the children wrote a message from the Rainbow Fish about keeping the ocean clean. Finally, we did an experiment! We filled a fishbowl with clean water and put a toy whale in the bottom. Throughout the week, we added oil, dirt (cocoa powder) and small pieces of plastic and talked about what would happen to the whale in it surfaced for air.

Owl Babies

The children really enjoyed the story ‘Owl Babies’ written by Martin Waddell. We talked about the setting of the story and the characters, and encouraged the children to think about how the owls were feeling. They were very good at joining in with the repeated refrain of ’I want my Mummy!’

Some of the activities and resources in our classrooms were linked to the story. The children enjoyed creating their own owl nests using a variety of resources including playdough, sticks and feathers. They practised using tools and scissors while cutting out owls, making patterns and creating their own pictures. They also enjoyed retelling the story and playing an owl counting game too. What a lot of learning!    


Our Book of Birthdays

As you are aware we follow a story based curriculum. Our first book of the year was ‘One Year with Kipper’ by Nick Inkpen. This led the children into a discussion about birthdays and how they celebrate. The children talked about a cake they had had, a present they had received and party games they had played. It was lovely to hear so many children speak confidently in front of a small group.   They then helped to make a birthday book which is displayed in our maths area.


Our Maths Learning Journey so far...
Numbers, numbers everywhere! 
We have been focusing on  number recognition and counting.
The children were taught one number each day using numbers 1-10. The children played games where they matched the quantity to the numeral, they have been sorting, ordering, counting and labelling in their play. They have also been counting out an amount from a larger group.  
Shapes are all around us...
The children have been learning the names of 2D shapes and their properties. They have played games that have encourage them to describe the shapes using mathematical language they have also been on a shape hunt during their child initiated play time.  
The Rope Swing
What a brilliant example of our oldest learners at Dale Hall helping our youngest learners.
The children in Year 6 were inspired by our long piece of rope and decided to make a swing.  They made sure that the swing was safe, creating knots and placed blocks underneath so that the children in Reception were able to climb on and off the swing independently. They provided help to the children if needed and encouraged them to line up to wait for their turn. The swing has been so popular! All of the children were definitely following the 4 bees, being safe, being respectful, being caring and being responsible.    

Be a Growth Hero and Challenge Yourself! 


Each week we will be setting the children a learning challenge to do over the weekend.
It would be lovely to hear all about the weekly learning challenge along with any other learning your child has been doing, or experiences they have had. Tapestry is a great way of telling us about your child's home learning. If you have any problems uploading onto Tapestry or need a little help, please do come and speak to a member of the Reception team. 
Please do not feel pressured to complete the challenges if you have a busy weekend planned. You could keep them as a bank of ideas to dip in and out of to support your child's learning at home.


This weeks home learning challenge is...

 Can you draw a picture of your favourite place? It could be the beach, your house or somewhere you have been on holiday, or it could be an imaginary place. Can you label your picture using the letters you know or write a story? We look forward to seeing your ideas.


Previous home learning challenges

Number bonds to 5 challenge.

How to Set up the Challenge
• Gather a collection of five small items, such as buttons, coins or pom-poms.
• Place the items into a small bag.
• Take turns with your child to take some items out of the bag.
• With your child, count each set of items and then count the total.
• Talk about the number bond. For example, ‘I have three buttons and you have two buttons. Three and two make five.’ • Place the items back into the bag and repeat the activity. Try taking different numbers of items and talk about the different ways you find of making five.

How to Get Your Child Thinking
• How many buttons do we have altogether?
• How many buttons have I got?
• How many buttons have you got?
• What number bond did we find?
• How could we rearrange the buttons to find another way of making five?
• If I have zero buttons, how many would you have?
• Can you find another way of making five?
• I can see that you have four buttons. How many are left in the bag?

Can you play some phonics games?

Look at things around the room and say the sound they begin with. Can you hear the sound they end with too? Try writing some of them down.

Play a game with your grown-up. Take it in turns to give instructions. For example, ‘Touch your f-ee-t’ or ‘Stand u-p’.

Can you look in a book and find any of these words? 'the, to. I , no, go, he, she'.
Which words did you spot the most?

We look forward to hearing all about your learning!

Can you draw a picture of your favourite place? It could be the beach, your house or somewhere you have been on holiday, or it could be an imaginary place. Can you label your picture using the letters you know or write a story? We look forward to seeing your ideas.

Can you play a game of noughts and crosses? You will need someone to play with. Instead of using a nought or a cross could you choose a phoneme or digraph that you have learnt? Maybe  you could use one of the tricky words you know.

As always we would love to see your game on tapestry!

While you’re washing up or in the bath, can you find out what objects float and which objects sink? Can you record the results? You could write a list showing all of the items that float and all of the items that sink. Could you write a sentence detailing your findings? As always you could tell us about this by taking a photo and uploading it on Tapestry

We look forward to hearing about your learning.


Do you have anything at home that uses technology? It could be an app on an tablet, a simple computer programme or a camera. Could you tell us how it works? What other technology do you have at home?

You could ask your adult to film you telling us about it or they could help you to write it down. You could take a photo or your writing or upload your video on Tapestry. 


This week to continue your reading journey we are challenging you to find words and logos you recognise. Please cut them out or print them off. You might find them on food packaging, leaflets or magazines.
We hope to make a display or a class book using the words you know.

It is also the end of a very busy half term! We would therefore like you to spend some time over the holidays having a rest and enjoy spending time with your family and friends. We shall look forward to hearing about what you have been doing when we return to school.


Next week we are going to be learning about 2D shapes. The shapes will include a triangle, circle, rectangle and square. We will also be learning how to describe the shapes using the words corner and side.
Can you become a shape detective?
Can you go on a shape hunt around your house. What shapes can you find? Can you describe them? Can you draw and label the shapes you have found? Can you make a pattern with them?

We look forward to seeing this on Tapestry!


Can you practise counting up to 10? Can you find 10 objects from around your house? 
You could ask your adult to write the numbers 1-10 on paper and cut them out. You could then muddle them up and try to put them back in order. What other numbers do you know? What else can you count? We would love to hear all about your learning on Tapestry!


Our Literacy Workshop and Share


Our fabulous Literacy workshop and share was really well attended. The workshop detailed the way in which literacy is taught in the Early Years at Dale Hall. We shared our handwriting policy and talked about how this impacts on the learning of the children. We also gave information about how we teach phonics and provided parents and carers with an interactive insight into how a typical phonics lesson is taught. Finally we talked about how we teach children to read. This included information regarding books that are sent home to read and also how we read with the children at school. The parents  also learnt about how they can support their child at home. After our workshop there was an opportunity for parents and carers to spend time with their child in their classroom sharing their learning. The classrooms were set up with lots of activities that gave parents and carers an insight into the types of things the children are doing at school, and  provided them with some ideas for what they could do at home. 


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.