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Week Eleven - Beginning 22nd June

We have been so lucky to have so many warm, sunny days during this time at home. We hope that you have been able to make the most of it on your daily walks or in your garden if you are fortunate to have access to one. It is always such a great time of year to explore the many changes happening outside, and we hope that our activities that have been set over the past weeks have helped provide you with some great ideas and focus for outdoor learning. 


In Reception we are always working on different ideas to develop our outdoor learning area, provision and opportunities.  Outdoor learning is highly valued by both Rhiwbeina Primary and a whole host of educational professionals, including Estyn.  It has been proven to have so many benefits and the following are just a handful...


- It allows children to experience firsthand the natural world such as the weather and the seasons.

- It helps children to find out, understand and respect nature, the environment and the many life cycles that happen within it.

- It nurtures children's creativity, sparks their interest and ideas, and develops imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness in a different way than the indoor environment does.

- It promotes a child's well-being and physical good health, just as it does with adults. Many schemes and organisations that support mental health use the benefits of gardening and being outdoors to help promote well-being as studies have shown the overwhelming success of such approaches. 

- They have a larger expanse of space to explore and discover, be active and help them to understand what they are able to do physically. Children can explore how quick they are, how high they can jump, how strong their legs are to their maximum capacity. 

- There are so many opportunities outdoors that promote sensory and physical stimulation which in turn is shown to support brain development by creating new neural networks (that's a good thing!). 

- At school outdoor learning supports children who respond better to being outdoors rather than within the classroom setting, re-motivating their learning.


Playing outdoors and experiencing all that nature has to offer can bring awe and wonder that is difficult to find elsewhere. We hope that you have been able to discover your own sense of awe and wonder this term, and look forward to being able to share this with your child when they return to school. 


Have a great week and remember to have fun and stay safe!

The Reception Team

Over the next two weeks we would like your child to produce their own Fairy Tale story in a proper book format. This is not a small task so we would suggest you do little and often over the next two weeks - see it as a literacy project!  This week we are story planning, developing ideas and learning about adjectives. The focus is on talking this week, not writing. The only writing or recording needed is on the story map they will create, and as teachers we always make our own notes or annotate with key vocabulary to ensure nothing is forgotten when we come to record. 


This week - Planning your story...


In Reception it takes time for your child to come up with their ideas and develop these enough to form a full story.  Some children have lots of ideas and just need help to develop into a story, and other children find being imaginative and making stories more challenging as it is such an abstract thing to do.  There are a couple of ways that you can plan a story with your child...

1)  Going it alone... Your child may already have a lot of ideas for their own story and be ready to develop those with your support, of which case you need to plan and sequence your story using a story planner and the resources above to develop vocabulary. See below for further guidance under 'We are - Going it alone...'

2) Boxing Clever... Your child may need support to develop 'story sense' (understanding what forms a story), come up with ideas or the next part in their story, of which case you can use the basis of a technique founded by Alan Peat called 'Boxing Clever'.  We use this in school and highly recommend it for all children, regardless of ability.   See below for further guidance under 'We are - Boxing Clever...'


Whether you are going it alone or using boxing clever, both techniques however need to be mapped out and include all ideas and key vocabulary so you don't forget it when it comes to writing your story. 


Let's get started!

We are - Going it alone...

What should our story include?

*Characters - Who is in the story?  Don't forget you will need a good and a bad character.  As this is your child's first story keep it simple and have only two or three characters otherwise it gets very complicated!

*Setting - Where is the story being set?  For example, Goldilocks was in the forest, Cinderella in a kingdom/palace.

*A problem - What happens or goes wrong?  For example, In Little Red Riding Hood her Grandma was in fact the wolf and wanted to eat her up!

*How the problem is overcome - What happened to resolve the problem? Did they run away, fight the bad character, cast a spell and turned the bad character into a frog etc?

*An ending - How did they feel at the end of the story? How does the story end?


Don't forget - developing 'wow words' (describing words) makes the story exciting and is where your child will need a lot of support. At this stage in writing children in Reception will need support to include this and you may need to spend some time modelling and using these. The vocabulary and word mats should help you with this.  Use the story maps (whichever format works for you best at home - there is a selection for you to choose from above) and annotate with details and the wow words you want to use. 


We are - Boxing Clever...

Boxing clever in school consists of the teacher having 8 bags. Each bag is individually labelled and put in a specific order... 

Who?  Where?  Where next?  Why?  What goes wrong?  Who helps?  Where last?  Feelings.

In each bag are a set of pictures relating to each heading. Your child dips their hand in and selects a picture. Then you talk about the picture together to form the part of the story. You continue in the order above and by the time you have come to the end you have made up your own story.  This technique provides the structure and stimuli leaving your child to then develop ideas and vocabulary to use.  The more they do this throughout their education the more they understand what goes into forming a story. 


To make this manageable at home for you, we have created 8 pages for you instead of you needing to provide bags and print off oodles of pictures! (See link above) Instead of pulling out the pictures then your child can select from the photos on the page. This isn't the most ideal way (and your child may take a while to choose!) but we hope it works better for you at home. Just remember to put the pages in the right order! 


Don't forget - developing 'wow words' (describing words) makes the story exciting and is where your child will need a lot of support. At this stage in writing children in Reception will need support to include this and you may need to spend some time modelling and using these. The vocabulary and word mats should help you with this.  Use the story maps (whichever format works for you best at home - there is a selection for you to choose from above) and annotate with details and the wow words you want to use. 


This week we would like you to explore capacity with your child.  We have covered this in both Nursery and Reception so your child may well be very familiar with capacity and simple capacity vocabulary.  By the end of this week your child should be confident identifying and making full, half full, half empty or empty.  Those Maths Wizards amongst us can even look at finer measurements such as quarter full, quarter empty and think about exact measurements for capacity of litres and millilitres.


To introduce capacity this week to your child meet our resident wizard at the castle! The wizard this week has been asked by the Princess if he can make her some potions to help her find the knight of her dreams! The only problem is that the wizard is great at making the potions, but isn't so sure about what bottles he should use to put the potions in. 


Your child needs to help the wizard but before they can do so they will need help to understand the terminology full, half full, empty.  They can do this practically - in the swimming pool, bath, or sink with a clear container.  Allowing your child to be hands-on with this activity will really help with their learning. 


Using the capacity labels and a range of different see-through containers, can the children fill a container to match each of the labels?  If you don't have any containers suitable or you would like to extend your child then please use the Capacity Matching activity sheets linked above. 


Once they have had a go at exploring capacity hands-on, then watch the Capacity PowerPoint above. This recaps full, half full, empty, but then goes on to introduce ordering by capacity and gives opportunity to practise interactively with the wizard. 


You can then have a go at the 'Ordering Capacity' sheet linked above to reinforce this skill.


Once you have explored what capacity is and is the time to start problem solving!


The Problem...

The Princess is happy because she has now got her potion from the Wizard but someone else in the castle is not happy!  The King wants to bath his dog in his royal dog bath (a sink works well for this or washing-up bowl container as you won't use too much water!) but the gold taps have broken.  His faithful servants will have to use containers to fill the bath. The only problem is is that there are lots of different containers to choose from and they don't know which one would be the best to use to fill the sink. 


Using a range of different containers you have at home ask your child to predict what they think would be the best container to use. The most important part of problem solving is asking them to explain their reasons why (that's tricky when you are in Reception). They may not choose the largest container and select another but have a plausible reason - the important part is that they can provide a reason that hopefully makes sense! Encourage your child throughout to use the correct mathematical vocabulary.  Then...get testing! 


You can measure and record information about each container you use using the recording sheet provided above. (We would suggest putting a removable marker line or tape so you have a fill line that means you don't overflow and a bucket or other source of water than the taps if you are using the sink).  


Having tried all of your different containers, was the prediction your child made correct? How do they know? Take a look at the information you recorded. There is no definite answer for this - it may not be the biggest container because although it held lots and had the least amount of refills as the neck for example might have meant that it took a lot longer to fill and empty than another one for example.  They may choose the largest because it had the least amount of refills, or they could choose a smaller one because it made less mess or spillages. As long as their selection makes sense then it can be considered good problem solving development and skills in the Early Years. 



Afterwards...If you want your child can have a go at exploring capacity whilst in the bath, making their own potions in the house, garden or paddling pools. Many children love making potions in the garden using natural ingredients such as flower petals, leaves, and even mud! Or even just water play with different containers all help embed their understanding of capacity.  It is a great time of year to be doing these outdoors in the garden if you can. Enjoy! 


What Can We Eat?

This week we would like your child to...

- Visit a local allotment, vegetable patch or raised beds if possible.

- Use a selection of real vegetables so they can identify, name and suggest which part of the plant it comes from.

- Group and sort a variety of fruits and vegetables. How many different ways can they sort them? Which are the leaves, roots, stem, flower and seeds of a plant?


You can explore the 2 PowerPoint's linked above...'Plants we eat' and 'How and where do fruits and Vegetables grow' and find out about all the different parts of plants that we eat before you begin.


Activity 1: Parts that we eat.

We would like your child to sort the pictures into the correct groups. Maybe your child could help with some cooking activities and discuss the different parts of fruit and vegetables that they are preparing and eating.


Activity 2: Fruit and Vegetable sorting.

We would like your child to sort the pictures into the correct groups. They will need to decide whether they think it grows 'above' the ground or is a root vegetable and grows 'below' the ground. You could then explore what fruit and vegetables you have in the kitchen and see if they can sort these practically too. 


This week we would like you to find out all about the Christian celebration which is know as a Christening or Baptism. Watch the PowerPoint presentations above and discuss with your child. It would be good to find out with your child if anyone they know has been christened.


Things you can do with your child...

*Talk about if they have ever been to a christening and discuss what they can remember, exploring what happens.

*Look at the photo pack and talk about the different pictures with your child.

*Label the 'Baptism Scene?' after having discussed that Christenings and Baptisms take place in a Church. 

*Discuss the importance and roles of the baby, the parents, the godparents, vicar, font, gown, candle and oil? There is also a match the word to the picture task if you would like to try. You could extend your learning by looking at how other religions celebrate (Weddings from last week) and Baptisms.


This week's DT activity is... Designing a crown or sword!

Last week was the Queen's birthday. We think she was hoping for a new crown but didn't get one. Her old crown is a little worn out...... Could you design and make a new crown for her?


Last week on the Purple Mash 2Do activities your child had the opportunity to become a Knight using Mash Cam. This week we would like your child to design and make their own sword. We have given a few ideas to help get your ideas flowing (see documents above) but we know you will come up with some amazing ideas and have great fun doing this. Don't forget to take pictures so we can see them when we return to school or upload them to twitter. 


If you are looking for some extra activities to do at home you could always try designing and making both. Don't forget that your child can have a try and doing the other activity independently using all the skills they have learnt already!  Have a fantastic time!


This week's music is...DYNAMICS!

Understanding the dynamics of loud and quiet

This week we will be focussing on performing sounds in time to a song.


Activity 1: There was a Princess long ago...

Watch the song above called ‘There was a Princess long ago’.

Play it again and let your child try to sing along.

Ask them to see if they can tap along in time to it quietly (e.g. 2 finger tap on their hand). Some children find this tricky. If you find that they have difficulty with this they should be able to copy you as they did in the ‘Follow me’ game played two weeks ago.

Ask your child to recap on the body percussion sounds they explored in the last session. Can they perform any of these in time with the song?


Activity 2: Loud and Quiet

Watch this short video highlighting loud and quiet.

Discuss the terms ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’ with your child. Can they think of some examples of both loud and quiet noises?


Let your child choose an item they can play as a percussion instrument (a saucepan and wooden spoon will be fine).

*How can they make different dynamics?

*Can they make a loud sound?

*Can they make a quiet sound?


Watch the following video introducing the terms forte and piano.

Can your child interpret the meaning of forte and piano?

Using their instrument ask your child to play along using the correct dynamics at the appropriate times.


Enjoy! (Adults may want to invest in some ear plugs!!)

This week's PE is...Obstacle Races!

Hopefully after the flat races in our last session your child will be feeling sporty and competitive. This week we will be attempting some fun obstacle race ideas. Please feel free to create some of your own with items you may have in your home.


Remember if your child has siblings they can race against each other. If not your child could race against themselves by timing their attempts and seeing if they can improve on their time as they progress.


Obstacle Race Ideas:

Hurdles – Children to run in a straight line jumping over obstacles in their path. Try to ensure that your child jumps with one leg in front of the other to ensure smooth transition back into their running after each jump. Different height obstacles can be used to make this race easier or harder e.g. toys, books, boxes etc.)


Skipping – If you do not have a skipping rope you could try using a long scarf.


Egg and Spoon – Don’t forget to hard boil the eggs before attempting this!


Balancing – Encourage your child to try balancing a soft toy on different parts of their body, e.g. head, outstretched arm or hand.


Dribbling using hands and feet – Initially try this in a straight line. Try to make sure the ball stays in close contact with the hand or foot.  Try dribbling around different obstacles placed along their path.


Jumping keeping a ball between the knees.


Army Crawl – Place a blanket on the floor in the middle of their path. Ask your child to run up to the blanket, crawl along the floor underneath then run to the finish line.


Allow your child to experiment and come up with their own race ideas.


Combination Races:

Using a variety of ideas allow your child to create their own obstacle course to race.


Ready, Steady, GO!!!!!!!