In the Cygnet class

Term 5, Weeks 2 & 3

An excellent couple of weeks in the Cygnet classroom. The children have been focused, diligent and full of fun. We have been learning about the Victorians and soaking up how lucky we are to live now and not then. They are enjoying researching through books all the wonderful inventions, discoveries and explorations that happened during the Victorian era. We are looking forward to our visit to Sevington Victorian School albeit a little nervous about what Miss Squire has in store for us! 

In Maths, we have been practicing a range of SATs questions in preparation for SATs next week. We have also been exploring fractions carefully and using the part, whole model and barcharts to help us understand fractions of quantities more carefully. Year one children are enjoying measuring and exploring lengths and width of different objects along with some mastery challenges thrown in to enhance our understanding. 

In English, we have just finished up a whole unit based on non-fiction books featuring dinosaurs and fossils. We even wrote a class quiz ready for the Swans next week. We will be looking at a video called Dangle and doing some story writing, exploring poetic techniques and performing too. We have focused on present and past tense this week and reminded ourselves of what verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs are. The children are honing their phonic skills and are reading nonsense words with more confidence. 

In RE we have been discussing how Jesus wants us all to be at peace all of the time and not to let our hearts be troubled. We have brainstormed all the different ways our hearts may feel sad, the year one and two children gave incredibly mature answers and we worked our way through the different ways we can put our hearts at ease. Well done Cygnets another wonderful couple of weeks of learning. 


Term 5, Week 1 and 2

The children have come back refreshed, healthy (dare I say) and ready to learn. We have hopped straight back into learning starting with Maths. Both year groups are exploring repeated addition to show multiplication, counting in steps of 2, 3, 5 and 10 and arrays. We have returned to daily Math's fluency in order to build our accuracy and speed in arithmetic. In English, we are enjoying some fiction texts like 'Harry and the bucketful of dinosaurs' and will be discussing nonfiction texts and the features of this particular text type. We will be writing fact files focusing on dinosaurs. We will continue to follow our phonics' and guided reading programme and work hard on our comprehension skills. The year one children will focus specifically this term on reading nonsense words practising their phonic knowledge. In RE, we have started our new unit exploring, what is the 'good news' Christians believe Jesus brings. This week we will be listening to the stories of Jesus' disciples. In Computing, we will be focusing on accessing the internet to research in a safe way. The children will learn how to do this using ipads and laptops. In topic, the children have really enjoyed learning about the Victorians. There is plenty of discussion and excitement and lots of conversation about how different life is now. We hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday and well done to all the Cygnets who have come back with such a wonderful attitude to their learning. ….


And the Nest....

It has been lovely coming back to school in the Spring sunshine - even if it had some time off for the last few days. Our first task was to deadhead the daffodils in our Cygnet garden. The children snipped off the heads and the beds are looking full and happy for their trim and tidy. The faded daffodils were instant ingredients in the Mud Kitchen, mixed into soup and pies and baked in sand - waste not, want not. We have opened the Nest and have started learning in there again. We very much enjoy our independence and connection with outside. We are looking at Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It links superbly with our study of lifecycles in Science, is giving us lots to talk about on healthy foods and 'sometimes foods' and we are familiarising ourselves with the days of the week and what we do when, both in school and at home. We have a basket with a knitted caterpillar and all of the fruits and scrummy Saturday delights he enjoys and we retell and act out the story - as well as the caterpillar's lifecycle. We have been looking at all aspects of the number 8 and use the cubes to make eight-part caterpillar after eight-part caterpillar using different combinations of two colours. We are getting very good at number bonds to 8. Our other favourite game is to spot the 8s in a pack of cards. We know there are four and the anticipation and tension as we turn the cards is thrilling. We then race to collect pairs that make eight. Playing cards are golden for so many aspects of Maths. I do encourage you to share a pack and play some simple games together. Forest School was delightful. We enjoyed a warm, still morning under a new, resplendent green canopy. The children all picked an adjective from the woodland bucket and foraged to match it. In the Reception display was fuzzy bark, a bumpy twig, a smooth feather and a prickly beech nut husk. Great finds, Reception!


Term 4 Week 5 and 6

The last two weeks have been busy! We have been getting to grips with multiplication and touching on division whilst the year one children work through their addition and subtraction number bonds to 15. A main focus these last couple of weeks has been Math's fluency and we have been taking 10 - 15 minutes a day to practice what we have been learning so that we become completely fluent in Mathematics. We have read many of Flat Stanley's adventures and are on our way to completing our own adventure story with a focus on a beginning, problem and resolution. The children have built up a vocabulary list and are experimenting with the use of commas and speech marks. They are excited to share these stories with the Swans next week. In RE, we spent the afternoon questioning the Swans and finding out more about how Christians celebrate Easter and how the Church prepares for the Easter celebration. We had many excited little ones talking about the prospect of going back to Church this Easter. Many lessons have been learned from the Easter Story and it is safe to say the Cygnets have remembered every detail of what happened many years ago. In Computing, we have been logging on to the laptops and practicing our word processing skills including some typing. We are getting more familiar with how to use a computer as opposed to a touchscreen device. The children have had a lovely time at Forest School this week albeit a little bit cold with a range of different weather conditions in one day. We also managed to complete Assessment week in Maths, Reading, Writing and SPAG. Well done to all the children who focused so well. We have had many children off this week and we hope you and your family begin to feel better soon. We look forward to welcoming as many of you back as soon as possible. ….


And the Nest

Reception has had great fun looking at fictional Superheroes. The children have been wonderfully vociferous and eager to inform me, and to retell tales of clandestine misdemeanours and heroic feats. We have hugely enjoyed the Marvel Avengers books and I was introduced to Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. The children have told me lots more about my favourite, Spider Man, too. We have a superb collection of outfits and were visited every day by these now familiar characters. The children have made their own superheroes, painting costumes onto their own outlines so they are life-size and very chic. We have Lightning Man, Spider Girl and Black Widow Hulk. The Cygnet class learnt about Inside our Wonderful Bodies and cut and stuck perfectly-sized organs (brain, lungs, heart, stomach, small intestine, large intestine) onto the superhero figures. It has been a rather smaller group of Reception children this week but the superhero enthusiasm hasn’t lessened. Lightning Man now wears a mask and a gizmo and carries a shield (all from the junk modelling corner) and bears lists of superpowers, supersnacks and secret messages. We have made up our own superhero story and I can tell you that Lightning Man saves the day by shooting his lightning at the evil money robot in the bank. Hurrah!! I am delighted by the vivid imagination, careful graphics, simple sentences and charming, confident oracy. It has been a fabulous topic. The number 8 has been our focus in Maths and we have included it in much of our superhero work. We have built towers with blocks and counted windows in cities, as well as grouping the teams - Avengers and friends. We have also looked at 2D shapes, making tangrams and colouring shape pictures.

Term 4 Week 3 and 4

In Cygnets, we are finishing up our computing unit on Programmable Toys. The children can tell you what an algorithm is, direct and program the Bee-Bot using the arrow buttons and debug their sequence if needed. They have loved learning how to do this and also enjoyed writing out their own instructions in symbols and then following them by programming the Bee-Bot.

Last week, the children enjoyed reading and writing about Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and recounted some of the animals' days then they wrote their own recount independently. Yesterday, we begun a new genre in English. We started by sorting books into categories, we then picked out adventure stories and discovered the wonderful

book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. We began reading it yesterday and acted out the beginning to show how Jeff Brown builds up excitement in the first two pages. The children are excited to read more! 

In our topic lessons, we have been focusing on Superheroes around the World. We learnt how to sing the song, 'Seven Continents' (the song can be found on youtube). The children are confident with the names of the seven continents and can also put them in order of size from biggest to smallest. We have explored Europe, North Pole, South Pole and Africa so far and look forward to finding out more about our world. 

In RE, we have been looking at the signs of Spring and new life which has led us on to the Easter story. The children are now very familiar with the events of Holy Week and they have been reading, drawing, acting, sequencing and crafting so that they internalise the events of Holy Week. We are also learning about the importance of Easter to Christians and how this story teaches us to be more and follow in Jesus' footsteps. 

In PE, Miss Belcher has been teaching the children Gymnastics. They have been learning how to roll safely and effectively. The children have enjoyed forwards rolls, teddy bear rolls, pencil rolls and sideways rolls. It is wonderful to watch the children as they grow in confidence and do the perfect roll. 

Don't forget to continue reading daily! We have a huge selection of Accelerated Reader books and have purchased some more books from the Madhatter's Bookshop for reading for pleasure. We hope the children enjoy visiting the library daily and choosing books to share with you all at home.    …. and the Nest

Reception have been focusing on food and instructions for this fortnight.  We had great fun reading the wonderful Giant Jam Sandwich with its clever rhyme and amusing illustrations.  We admired the villagers cunning plan to trap the wasps and followed them step-by-step.  We enjoyed making paper sandwiches of ridiculous concoctions but then a giant jam sandwich of our own which we shared with the Cygnets for breaktime snack. We discussed recipes, understanding they are instructions for cooking, and recognise the merit of simple, clear, ordered explanations.  And we can spread a pat of butter and spoon and smear a jar of jam in a trice.

This week, the Gingerbread Man has given us lots of opportunities to run in the playground in the March sunshine.  We have enjoyed the traditional tale but have also explored how we might make traps for him.  We have written instructions to make it clear, so be careful how you tread in our Reception Garden - look out for sticks and leaves that might conceal a hole...  We have a ginger root to plant and place in a sunny window and ingredients and cutters to follow a recipe and take home some Gingerbread Men of our own for weekend tea.

We have started Set 3 sounds in Phonics and are talking about chatty friends as well as special friends.  Chatty friends need someone between them - a and e are chatty friends in a-e, make a cake.  They need the k to separate them.  We have a few of these to come.

In Maths we are looking at the composition of 7 and calculating within 7.  We have been spreading numicon, pairing playing cards, grouping counters and building towers.  We have also been sequencing and thinking about time and what we do when in the day - the order of events.  


Term 4 Week 1 and 2

The Cygnets got off to a great start to Spring 2. Year Ones are busy learning and exploring properties of 3D shapes. Year Twos are beginning their multiplication journey. In English, we are learning the features of recounts through the book 'Farmer Duck'. The children have used time connectives to add more information to their sentences about all of the Duck's daily jobs. We have also hot seated the duck and questioned him intensely to find out how he really felt about doing all the work. This week we have had lots of conversations about how we prepare for Easter. We loved our pancake races and learned lots about Ash Wednesday and what we can do to be more during Lent this year. 

We have also had a busy week full of book activities to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of World Book Day. Each morning we have started our day with a book activity, Tuesday morning was one of our favourites. The children loved guessing who the Masked Reader was and Oscar and Charlotte guessed the best! Lovely Kim from the Madhatter's Bookshop gave us a wonderful £75 voucher to spend in Burford at her shop and some of our children will visit next Wednesday to do this. Thank you to the wonderful Lesley, Kathy, Gareth, Duncan and Kelly who all came in to read to the children. The Mystery Reader may be a regular event as it was extremely popular with the children. 

On World Book Day, the whole school came together for an assembly featuring riddles, rap songs and books. The children enjoyed numerous activities such as sharing a story with hot chocolate, scavenger hunts, dressing up as their favourite book characters, quizzes, comic writing, finding Wally, readathons and a daily Mystery Reader. World Book Day featured Mr Smith with a telehandler at the Jubilee field, he showed us what this piece of machinary can do and also raised our Headteachers to the sky. We all enjoyed storytime around the telehandler and the children had many questions to ask including how much a telehandler may cost! 

We also are really enjoying our new topic Superheroes Around the World! What a great first week back, well done Cygnets. 

…. and the Nest

This week started with Shrove Tuesday and Reception has focused on pancakes and recipes.  We've loved it!  We have centred our learning on the clever story of Mr Wolf's Pancakes.  We admired his persistence and resilience in making "a huge pile of delicious pancakes on the table, all ready for eating" - all by himself, and considered why each of his neighbours were disinclined to help him.  We also very much enjoyed the surprise ending!  We have looked at recipes in cookbooks and know about ingredients and method and the importance of clarity and order.  We used a recipe to make maple syrup and cinnamon playdough to roll and toss as pancakes.  It smelled delicious.  We also talked about why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and looked at traditions in other parts of the world.  We will finish with the story of Mama Panya's Pancakes, set in Kenya, and compare our two books, their characters - and sharing. 

We have been comparing numbers in Maths - building towers to see whose has more or fewer bricks, or are they equal?  We have made piles of large objects and others of small ones and worked out which has more by counting.  We are also looking at sequencing and considering events in order.  We coloured, cut and pasted pictures to show the correct process for cleaning our teeth from turning on the tap to rinsing the toothpaste.   

Reception is making great ground with Phonics work and will start Set 3 sounds next week.  They are racing through Book Bag Books and very much enjoying their reading.  That is super work, Reception :-).   

Term 3 Week 6

The Cygnets have had another busy week of learning. We have been continuing our topic, Famous For More Than Five Minutes, and the children loved drawing and painting portraits of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I. The Cygnets worked together to sort and order different writing technologies. They were intrigued to find out that William Shakespeare handwrote all of his plays, imagine not being able to type up what you wanted to say! They have also chosen their favourite famous person to research further and write about in detail. They are really excited about our upcoming trip to Shakespeare's farm next Tuesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mrs Silverston from the Cheltenham Synagogue Zoomed in to speak to us about Judaism. She showed us photos of the synagogue in Cheltenham and talked us through the various festivals. Mrs Silverston also answered the Childrens' questions about Judaism. The children did a wonderful job of listening intently, asking interesting questions and were able to connect their learning in class with real life.

In English, we have been reading and discussing poetry. We have looked at lots of different types of poems: classic, nursery rhymes, funny poetry and themed poetry. The children are excited to find a favourite poem from home and bring it in next week to share with the class and explain why they chose it. We have also focused lots on writing out poems with an emphasis on handwriting. Most of the children are beginning to join their letters and are becoming competent little writers.

In Maths, Year One children have been working on number fluency. They are exploring and understanding number facts for numbers up to ten. They are using a range of resources to help them and are becoming more and more fluent in reciting these number facts. Year Two children are spending lots of time talking about and questioning the properties of a range of 3D shapes. The children are becoming confident with the vocabulary around these shapes.

In Computing, the children tried their best to direct Mrs Martyn and I around the classroom by using a clear set of instructions to program us. They found this very tricky and also hilarious when their instructions sent us off in the opposite direction. This week we explored Bee Bots and how to program them.

In Science the children have been learning about different materials.  This week they did different experiments to investigate the different properties of these materials.  We have had a huge push on using scientific vocabulary.  I wonder if they have been using any of it at home. 

… and the Nest 

Reception has been having even more fun with dinosaurs for the last two weeks. We have used colourful non-fiction books to answer our questions and explore the subject further. The children have really enjoyed turning the pages and finding dinosaurs and habitats that they are keen to share and copy. They have excavated dinosaur fossils in the sandpit and measured them with cubes. They made their own playdough dinosaurs which they embellished with spaghetti spikes and penne pasta and gave them deserving adjectives. We read and acted Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs and the children have written their first three-sentence stories using that framework. Each has a beginning, a middle and an end - and glorious illustrations.


We have nearly finished Set 2 sounds in Phonics. Today we enjoyed the sunshine and practised ‘ou - shout out loud’ in the playground, writing ‘ou’ words in chalk on the ground.


In Maths, we are looking at 6 - counting, composition and calculating within 6.  We are using our dinosaurs to add and take away as well as ten frames and number lines. We are also making super patterns, lining dinos and counters in fabulous, careful orders.


Dressing up has been our play of choice every time, every day. There are four favourite characters: William Shakespeare, Rapunzel, Tiger and Victoria (the Queen).  It is a toss who bargains which dress or suit but the conversation and imagination that follows is golden. Happy days.

Term 3 Week 4

The last two weeks, we have been reading and exploring 'The Whales' Song' by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe. We also had a go at writing our own stories about animals. 

In Computing, we have been learning about algorithms and we have made Lego models and written and followed instructions to make each other's models. We have thoroughly enjoyed finding out about Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, this week we focused on what sort of queens they were and whilst listening to Classical music did pencil drawings of our favourite Queen. We then looked at colour mixing and used watercolours to paint our portraits. 


In Maths, the children have been focusing on number facts and column subtraction, which they are mastering beautifully. The Year 2 children also enjoyed a spot of bird watching in the Great Big Birdwatch and made bar charts to represent the different species and amounts they saw. 

In RE, we have been learning about Judaism and have talked about Shabbat, the Shema and the Torah. Ask your children to find out more! They have taken part in many activities discovering Judaism and how it differs but is  also very similar to Christianity. 


… and the Nest 

Reception had a hugely enjoyable time reading The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson.  We considered Plop's apprehension of the dark countered by the support and encouragement of his mother and of the friendly characters he met.  His new friends shared their love of the dark with clear descriptions and beautiful illustrations.  We discussed our feelings about the dark and what makes us comfortable and confident.  We chose adjectives to include in a sentence about the dark and drew super illustrations of our own.  Afterwards we made gorgeous soft, cotton-wool owlets, careful tissue-paper collaged barn owl masks and scurried into a blacked-out den under the classroom tables with torches and glow stars.  


This week we have been looking at dinosaurs. The Reception children know lots already and are identifying different dinosaurs with ease.  We have a collection of non-fiction books and are considering questions and what more we would like to know about dinosaurs.  We have named our own - we have a Smithosaurus, Gorjosaurus, Reainbowsparklasaurus and a Blooasaurus - and written questions using super phonics skills ready to investigate next week.  ‘How meny spices (many spikes) does a stegosaurus have?’ ‘How hevee iz a tee rex?’ ‘What did the dinosaur do when the hubivre et meet (herbivore ate meat)?’  ‘What kind ov dinosaur eats mit?’

In Maths, we have looked at the composition of 5 in every which way.  We have played games, used counters on number lines, sheep in a jeep and dinosaurs in the mud.  We have looked at one more and one less than 5 and how many remain when some are taken away.  We are learning that if we know that the whole is 5, we can work out which part is in and out of the jeep, or frolicking in the mud and resting on the bank. 

We made seed and lard covered pinecone bird feeders in Forest School last week and crossed the woods with compasses this week.  On Tuesday, Reception all visited the SCARF Life Education bus and talked and learned about their bodies.  They were model pupils, sitting beautifully for a long session and responding with interest and enthusiasm.  It has been a very busy and productive fortnight and I am proud and delighted.  Well done, Reception

Term 3 Week 2

This term the children are thinking about people that were ‘ Famous for Five Minutes’.  They started by learning about Ernest Shackleton and will move on to Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.  The children will also learn about William Shakespeare and a trip has been arranged to Stratford on the 15th February.    This topic is history based and the children will be learning about timelines.

The children have been focusing on books from different settings.  Their first book Fox by Margaret Wild is based in Australia.  They have had to describe either the Fox, Magpie or Dog using their wonderful adjectives.   In Maths the children have been continuing with their understanding of number up to 3 digit numbers.  They have also been learning about subtraction.  The year 2s are getting very whizzy at using their number facts to help them.  In science we are thinking about different materials and the children have been on a hunt for them around the classroom.  They also had to use their senses to find out their properties.  The children found it amazing that some plastic was really soft and others were really hard! In RE the children will be learning about Judaism and how Jewish people live.  They will have a zoom lesson from a synagogue in Cheltenham.

… and the Nest 

Reception very much enjoyed coming back to school, anticipating the trip to the theatre for Rapunzel.  There was great excitement and we loved reading the fairy tale and learning about pantomimes, so that we were very ready for dames, jokes, singing and sweets. It was an ideal opportunity to explore height and length, as we built towers and plaited string and chanted the chorus of the witch and prince to unsuspecting Rapunzel.  

This week we have been feeling the chill and looking at signs of Winter. We have read about what we can see and what we can feel in information books and have been outside to look for ourselves, taking photographs in the playground and Wildlife Garden. The sun was shining and we have beautiful representations of ice, frost, holly, evergreens and our wonderful oak tree with bare branches. In Phonics, we have started Set 2 sounds and are delighted to be learning ay, ee, igh and ow as these appear often in our winter sentences in see, feel and snow. 

We are having a lot of fun in Maths using dominoes, playing cards and counters to subitise and partition up to number 4.  We are also working on number formation, and looking at patterns - as colours and shapes, dabbing paint and ordering cubes. We will be looking at one more and one less in the next few sessions, ready for number 5

Term 2 Week 8

The last couple of weeks have been super busy with … Christmas.  Assessments were done and out of the way so that the children could enjoy the run into Christmas.    The children started with Experience Christmas.  A magical time at St Peter’s Church together learning about the different parts of the Christmas story and then the wonder of the gift of Jesus.  Thursday morning saw all of the Cygnets at the Woods in costume exploring the Christmas story, hunting for chocolate coins, making Christmas decorations followed by a well-deserved hot chocolate and marshmallows toasted on the fire.  One of our Governors, Mr Morris joined us for this wonderful experience.

The afternoon was filled with Christmas crafts gratefully prepared by Mrs Woodhams and Mrs Martyn. We then started working on our Christmas nativity, The King is Born!  The Year 2 children stepped up to the roles of narrators, the Year 1’s singing solos and the Reception children absolutely loving the experience of being a shepherd, Caesar, Mary and the Innkeeper.  The children kept us all entertained with an all singing extravaganza.  We hope you all enjoy your hand sewn Christmas cards and calendars that were created with the New York Ballet performance of the Nutcracker on in the background. If you are still stuck for Christmas gift ideas, the children loved the magical version of the Nutcracker, ‘The Story Orchestra’ book. Please don’t forget to pop by the Village Christmas tree to see if you can spot your child’s snowflake. Yesterday started with making Christmas crowns, sharing some wintery Christmas stories followed by the Christmas party in the afternoon with a surprise visit from Father Christmas.

… and the Nest 

Reception could not have been busier! Wow! We took a last look at Goldilocks and the Three Bears with hot seating and a very sorry Goldilocks making amends to - kerpow! - Christmas! The children have embraced everything brilliantly from Experience Christmas in St Peter's church, to Forest School, Nativity in the Woods, live The King is Born Nativity action in the village hall - two performances, no less, and Carols. There has also been much making, cutting and sticking - decorations, cards, calendars and Christmas party paraphernalia. The children listened to the story of the Nutcracker, watched some snippets of ballet and enjoyed some Tchaikovsky tunes. I hope and think this will be a very special, memorable time for them all, and I wish them, and their families, the jolliest Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Term 2 Week 5


We have begun mentioning the 'C' word this week and the excitement is building. In RE, we are delving further into the Christmas story according to the Gospel of Luke. The children were surprised to find no mention of the Wise men in this version and many questions were raised. In groups, we had a crafty afternoon and we created our own stables including all of the characters and travelled around the classroom and outside area remembering the journey that Mary and Joseph made. As Advent begins this week, we will be thinking, talking and discussing all the ways we can prepare our hearts, minds and homes for the coming of Jesus. 


In English, we are exploring poems and songs that have a repetitive pattern. We will explore poems by Pie Corbett, Michael Rosen, Kit Wright and Clive Webster. We hope to begin writing our own descriptive poems by the end of the week. We will focus on using our senses and choosing some powerful vocabulary. Hopefully the children and parents can read some fun poetry together at home. 


We will continue to explore the happenings of the Great Fire of London through Art, Music, Design and Technology. The children did a fantastic job of recognising low and high pitches last week, they did so well that they used their voices and chosen instruments to compose high and low pieces within a group. 


In Computing, we are focusing on the basics. We have so far this term learnt how to switch on and off a computer, log on and log off, access applications, use a touchpad and will start to put all these skills into practice soon. 


Well done to all the children who have already learnt their lines for the Nativity and also to the children who have sorted costumes. We are all so excited to perform our two shows on Tuesday, 14th December and look forward to seeing you all there. 

Term 2 Week 3

We have loved listening to books all about the Great Fire of London. This week we made Tudor buildings with thatched rooves and added flames to recreate our GFoL scene in our classroom. The children are full of facts about this event and have lots more to discover and learn this term. In RE, we have begun to look at the Christmas story and we discussed how to welcome baby Jesus into our homes this Advent through prayer and song. In Computing, we are learning the basics, how to switch on the computer, log on to the computer and shut down the computer. We also used an online colouring in tool to create pictures using our touch pad. In English, the children will begin planning and writing their own fables based on a carefully selected proverb. We cannot wait to see the finished products as the children have made huge strides with their writing this half term. The Year One children have been learning their number facts to 8 and the Year Two have been perfecting column addition.


… and the Nest

Last week we read 'Funnybones' made and labelled skeletons, looked at x-rays and made handprints using cotton buds. This week, our story was 'The Three Billy Goat's Gruff',' we retold the story using actions and instruments and trip trapped over our own bridge of milk crates in the garden. When we arrived at Forest school yesterday, we came upon a fairy village and we spent our time embellishing the village using leaves, twigs and natural objects. We also looked for fungi. In Maths, our focus has been all around the number 6. We focused on counting six, number formation and played lots of dice games.

Term 1, Week 7

The Cygnets

The Cygnets have been learning about instruction writing, starting off with instructions to wash a woolly mammoth and going on to those for their own pets. In Maths they have been using greater than and less than signs <> when comparing numbers and starting to explore 2D shapes.  In our Brave topic work we have been looking at the festivals the Celts celebrated and designing our own brooches in preparation for our Celtic Day in Macaroni Woods next Thursday. In Art we have been doing self-portraits and in Science looking at the human body.


… and the Nest 

Continuing the topic Getting to Know You, Reception have been talking about their interests, I like… I dislike… and their family. We have also cooked some biscuits in the shape of figures to represent our family.

We are getting on fabulously with phonics, spelling and writing and can spell out Mum and Dad and some of the names of people in our families. Maths has been lots of sorting of Care Bears, leaves and socks.  We have also enjoyed learning some nursery rhymes and using them as inspiration for our learning. So for Sing a Song of Sixpence, we made a pie out of playdough pastry with 24 pieces of black pasta to represent the blackbirds and for London Bridge is falling down, we made a bridge out of Lego.

At Forest School we collect some really large sticks to bring back to school to make a Celtic roundhouse. We also cooked popcorn on the fire using a sieve made of sticks.

Term 1, Week 4

The Cygnets have been busy writing their own versions of 'The Tiger who came for tea' by Judith Kerr. We have had 'The Dog who came for doughnuts', 'The Bunny who came for breakfast' and even 'The Walrus who came for white wine'! The children have planned their writing in sections and have started writing their beginning, middle and endings. They are focusing on using ambitious vocabulary and remembering basic punctuation alongside letter formation...what a lot to remember! Well done Cygnets!

The Cygnets are thoroughly enjoying our new Math's scheme, Can do Maths. Each day we are working through many challenges using apparatus and ensuring each session is hands on with something for everyone. The children are loving this new way of Maths and love the games that follow on completion of the 'Solve it and Challenge it' parts. 

We have also been making roundhouses and discovering lots about the Celts. The children have been taking part in observation drawings, they have been looking at artefacts from the British Museum and asking plenty of questions about this group of people that lived so long ago. 

In RE, the children have been discussing what does God look like and using words to describe our creator. We have spent time talking about God's creation and used all of our senses to walk around the field and discover some of these creations. In Computing, we are continuing to learn how to stay safe online. 

Reading has well and truly recommenced and the Cygnets' word count is increasing hugely. Don't forget to encourage your children to read their Accelerated Reader book, quiz on it (information in the yellow reading record book) and change their book. They may even receive a certificate at Wednesday's assembly. Keep up the excellent work Cygnets, we are so proud at how you have tackled learning this term! 


Term 1 Week 2

Welcome back everybody! It's so great to be back in school after having such a strange year. We have loved welcoming and listening to the children's wonderful tales from the holidays. It has also been delightful to see parents and guardians at drop off and collection times within the school walls! The Reception children have settled beautifully and it is so lovely to see all of their smiling faces despite how exhausted they must be coming to the end of their first full week, well done Reception! 

Our priority this week has been the children's well-being and getting back into a routine however the children have managed a full week's worth of learning. The Cygnets have responded really well to all of the improvements and new zones of learning around the classroom and have been using time after lessons to explore and challenge themselves further, we are already so proud of each of them.

This week, we introduced our Celtic topic – Brave, to the children and are steadily teaching them about who the Celts were and gearing them up for lots of fun exploring different aspects of Celtic life. We have had two hot and sticky PE sessions with the fabulous Mrs Belcher and have worked really well in team games. The very famous picture book, 'The Tiger who came to Tea" by Judith Kerr has become a real hit in the Cygnet classroom this week, the children have not only written tea party invitations, shopping lists full of goodies they would like at a tea party but we have also explored the characters in detail using powerful vocabulary to describe each character. Phonics has resumed and the children loved learning a new sound and reading our Read, Write Inc books aloud and to each other and each child has worked hard on their handwriting. What a fabulous start to the Autumn Term, well done Cygnets!


… and the Nest 

Welcome to all the new Reception children.  You are wonderful!  We have had a fabulous few days. We have been Getting to Know You and spending happy times reading stories, exploring the resources in our special garden and in the classroom and chatting through it all.  This is an especially vociferous, energetic bunch and we are a busy team.  The sun has been kind and we have enjoyed learning in the new Nest with the doors wide open.  It is great to have our own space.

We have read The Ugly Duckling and stuck soft grey feathers to little cygnet outlines, listened to the adventures of Borka, the featherless gosling, and tomorrow we will watch delightful Whistleless, the story of a little bird who has lost her whistle.  In Phonics, we are learning the pictures of each of the letters in preparation for starting on the sounds next week.  We have already been using our new Message Centre for secret symbols.  We have built a house in our garden with milk crates and big blocks and need to present the special marks to get in - writing for purpose.  Forest School today was a new adventure.  We played hide and seek behind the beautiful beech trees and hunted for bugs under logs and leaves. 

Well done to you all.  It has been a big week and you have been amazing.  We can't wait for more!



2020/2021 Summer term


Term 6, Week 3 and 4

Continuing with our Percy the Park Keeper topic, the children and the teachers received a wonderful delivery of ducklings. Our new little class members have settled well into school life and are ensuring that the Cygnets are keeping on top of their jobs and giving them as much attention as they can get throughout the day. In Science, the children have been learning and writing about the life cycle of a duck and are experiencing this first hand. We are so lucky to be completely surrounded by glorious countryside and on Monday morning we took ourselves across the road to Thyme for a tour of the land. We were met by Charlie, the head chef who took us through the private residence where we met a friendly Mrs Hibbert, some baby chicks, saw the bee hotels, heard all about the barn owl and her six chicks, meandered down the River Leach and met Steve, the head Gardener who talked us through the gardens, the up keep, the cutting gardens and the kitchen gardens. Together Charlie and Steve explained how Thyme grow their food that they serve daily. The children learned lots about different berries, fruits and vegetables and had so many questions. We also got to meet the two rams who were responsible for the birth of forty lambs. As we were leaving Mr Hibbert popped out to say hello and brought two lambs to meet an excited Cygnet class! Thank you to Damian who organised our wonderful trip, we look forward to many more. The children have completed their wonderful information booklets which are packed with illustrations, captions and interesting facts about their chosen subject. They will be focusing on poetry about nature and dabbling with words to write their own. We have had lots of time working with the children over the last week and working out any gaps in their learning to inform our planning and interventions needed over the next year. The children have done an amazing job at staying focused and working through various assessments, well done Cygnets.

Term 6, Week 1 and 2

The children have been exploring the beloved series of Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth giving us a perfect starting point to explore wildlife and also get outdoors! The children have already visited Southrop park and used simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of our village and simple mapwork to describe routes to and from school. Today we are off to visit Pittville Park, a very different park. Not only will the children be discussing the differences and similarities between Southrop and Pittville but they will also be tree spotting, bird watching, stopping for ice-cream and a play but also discussing ways to improve our village park alongside really getting to know the role of a park keeper.

In English, we are thoroughly enjoying reading about Percy and all of his adventures but we are also delving further and further into non-fiction texts. The children are now experts in what nonfiction texts are and they can tell you the features of a non-fiction text, therefore we thought it would be only fair for all of the Cygnets to produce their own information book based on a park animal, plant, tree or flower. The children have started planning, physically making their books and will be writing and illustrating these books over the next week. It is wonderful to see the children happy, content, engaged and ready to learn!

In Science the children have been using the Percy stories as a starting for an investigation about different materials. At the end of term the children will be designing a waterproof outfit for Percy. Yesterday the children read Badger’s Bath. The badger has spilt a lot of his bath water onto the floor around him, the children had to find the best material to clean up the spill. It was the perfect weather to play with water!

In Mathematics the children have been focused on telling the time. The Year 2 children have made fantastic steps in their learning and can tell the time to 5 minutes quite accurately now. The Year 1s have been looking at the different ways to tell time and are telling the time o’clock and half past. All children would benefit from telling the time regularly on an analogue clock or watch so please keep asking the time at home.

Reception Update

Reception have made the most of the glorious sunshine (until today!) and taken every opportunity to be outside. We are very much enjoying learning about parks with Percy the Park Keeper and are each writing our own non-fiction books on park animals. Our little garden is our Reception Park for this term. We have swept it and weeded, cleared the flower beds, cleaned out the sand and water trays and every day keep it spick and span. We had a park opening party during Golden Time at the end of last week and invited the Cygnets to come and play. The Park looked splendid and the afternoon was all the more fun with Mrs Tipple’s bubble machine and biscuits, cakes and juice. There will be lots of ideas to bring back from our visit to Pittville Park.


Here are some pictures from their very soggy day.

Term 5, Week 5 and 6

The children have been creating their own castles.  They started off learning different skills to make towers, turrets, drawbridges, doors, arrow holes and windows. They then decided who to work with and started designing their castles, quickly moving onto the construction stage where the children put into practise their newly acquired skills.  They finished off the project by taking a photograph and evaluating their building. 

In English all the children have been using the story The Queen’s Knickers.  They have designed their own pair of knickers for the queen, thought about what might happen if she came to visit, written some questions, and a newspaper report.  They also wrote an information poster about castles, making sure they had added a diagram, labels and a fact box.

In Maths there has been a complete focus on fractions.  The children have been finding ¼, ½, 2/4, and 1/3 of shapes and numbers.  The Year 2s have also been thinking about equivalent fractions.  Ask the children to show you their skills with a chocolate bar!

Our lovely RE lessons have continued on the field after PE.  The children have been learning about how they should care for others and the world and why this matters.  They thought about friendship and families, and have learnt about what Christians believe about caring for the world through the story of the Good Samaritan and the Creation story. They learnt how Hindus show they care for their brothers and sisters during the festival of Raksha Bandhan.  They also learnt how Mother Teresa cared for the world. 

The children’s unit on Turrets and Tiaras has concluded with a trip to Sudeley Castle today… we will pop some more photos on the website later of their trip!


Reception Update

Reception have been having so much fun with English.  Continuing with our term topic, Turrets and Tiaras, we have explored everything about the Queen using The Queen’s Knickers, by Nicholas Allan, and information books.  We know the Queen lives in Buckingham Palace and has homes across the British Isles, she enjoys riding, broadcasts to us all at Christmas, has garden parties, walks with her corgis and had happy times aboard the royal yacht, Britannia. We all decorated some knickers especially for the Queen and there is a delightful string across the classroom - some sparkly, some themed and some collaged.  This week we have looked at poems by AA Milne - The King’s Breakfast and Buckingham Palace.  We had lots of fun chanting the lines, know all about Alderney cows and very much enjoyed watching the changing of the guard on the classroom screen.


In Maths we have made lots of addition stories using First, Then and Now.  We are beginning to think about subtraction in the same way too.  We are counting well beyond 20 and using number bonds wherever possible.  We have tussled with tangrams and made pictures using 2D shapes. 


We have finished our castles in DT, ticking off important criteria such as strong construction, doors and windows.  All are very different but each one is super.  Our trip to Sudeley Castle will be a fabulous finale to a great topic and a fun way to mark the half term break.


Term 5, Week 2 and 3

“Another best day ever!” A quote from a child yesterday! The last fortnight has been packed with so much learning and obviously so much fun. Yesterday the children had a STEM morning learning about coding and robots. The children were able to practise their computing, design and maths skills which resulted in a moving and talking robot that could travel across the classroom or along a map.

The children have been thinking about different habitats. They have been using their investigation skills and research skills to discover what lives where and why. They have started to create their posters about these habitats in mixed aged groups. There has been some fantastic work and the Year 2 children have really stood out as fab leaders.

In English the children have been thinking about fairy tales and traditional tales. They have looked at a range of texts, recognising that the stories are not always the same and found other versions of the stories in different settings. Snow White in New York was a favourite. They are now creating their own traditional tale based on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

In Maths the children have been thinking about pattern, shape and movement. Ask you children the best way to remember clockwise and anticlockwise, or left and right. They have also been practising their sharing and grouping skills.

On top of all this they have also had a hula hooping lesson, swimming, balanceability, PE at the field, ocarina and Numbers Day!

Reception Update

Reception have made the most of our temperate sun and rain. We have been very much enjoying Jack and the Beanstalk, and as well as telling and retelling the story in our Reception garden, we have planted beans and sunflowers (in the photo here) and are eagerly watching and waiting for shoots. We have threaded green pasta tubes onto spaghetti stems, laced golden harps, and rolled a super long stalk pressed with forty leaves from playdough.

Now we are listening to the story of Jim and the Beanstalk, a ‘sequel’ to Jack’s adventures. We have been reflecting on the sad Giant who is toothless, short-sighted and bald but is happily assisted by kind young Jim as he scales up and down the beanstalk visiting the oculist, dentist and wigmaker. We will measure our Giant’s head for glasses, new teeth and a wig and will write a thank you letter to Jim from the delighted, fully restored Giant.

We have had super ‘extra’ activities. We all picked up hula hooping very easily with great guidance and swung the colourful rings in games and challenges. The sun shone on us until the skies opened and we were sent inside by hailstones! Numbers Day was great fun. Having chalked around each other in the playground and measured and compared heights, we marched off to the fields and made shapes with flowers, leaves and twigs. After lunch, the Swans used their capacity learning to mix smoothies in the playground and we counted coins to pay for them. Thursday was coding robots - wow! First, we built a chicken with the clever robot blocks and then programmed it to move and turn and cluck. Next, we used the blocks to make a cat and steered it on a course around a map. It was a lot of fun and a fabulous all-round learning experience.


Upcoming trip to Sudeley Castle and Gardens

We will visit Sudeley Castle Gardens on Friday, 28th May. Sudeley Castle and Gardens, is setting the scene for a mighty migration of elephants grazing the grounds. We will get to see all thirty enormous, life-sized elephant sculptures from a trail through the gardens. We will be some of the first people to see the elephants before they mobilise to form a 100-strong herd in London's royal parks this summer. We will enjoy the beautiful gardens and will picnic beside the wonderful adventure playground that stands tall in castle form enhancing our knowledge from this term's topic, Turrets and Tiaras. Please ensure your children have clothes appropriate for the unpredictable weather. Thanking you, Mrs Tipple x


Term 5 Week 2 30/04/21

Our topic is Turrets and Tiaras.  The children are learning about kings and queens through British history and different types of castles.  They will also be focusing on nursery rhyme and fairy tales.  The children will be learning about the different characters in fairy tales, heroes and villains and making sure they add wonderful adjectives to their own versions.

The Year 1 and 2 children have started their swimming lessons.  Although there was some anxiety about this the children have been amazing and the swimming teachers can see some great learning too.  Please be mindful that all the children are doing a lot of sport this term so please make sure they have their water bottles, sun hats and sun cream in school.

In Maths the children will be focusing on in grouping (multiplication) and sharing (division), looking at parts of shapes and number (fractions) and making sure they know their left and right.  Ask them about the special trick!

In science we are thinking about what makes us ‘alive’.  The children have loved the word excretion! The children will be learning about different life processes and habitats.

In RE the children are learning how they are all special and why Christians believe God loves all of his children.

We are hoping to visit Sudeley Castle.  The Kitchen Club started off this topic fabulously with a feast fit for kings and queens.  The children are also be learning to play the ocarina.  


We are having great fun with our fabulous term topic, Turrets and Tiaras.  It is the perfect entry into an exploration of traditional tales.  We have read, re-read, acted, told and written the story of the Princess and the Pea, as well as given it our own twists, and enjoyed a rather tense rendition of Rapunzel at story time.  Now we can sing together again, we are enjoying nursery rhymes and have learned all the verses of Sing a Song of Sixpence.  We have the most beautiful Princess dresses and are playing castles outside in our special garden.  We have made sparkly crowns, playdough pies and pea cakes for the King and are integrating our Maths, counting out twenty at every opportunity.

Next week we will start on Jack and the Beanstalk.  Our castle will become the giant’s home with golden coins, eggs and harp.  We have already explored mixing greens and painted paper sheets ready to cut into beanstalk leaves to grow up to the classroom ceiling.  We will plant our own beans both inside and out in the garden and watch how they develop.

We are getting super active with Forest School, Balanceability and PE lessons up at the field.  We are a very busy, very lucky and very happy team


Pictures of: Southrop Castle -  enjoying a hoola hoop workshop - making castles in the clouds! 

Term 4 Week 1 26/02/21

The topic this term is “We Are Britain”, looking at the geography, traditions and values of our countries. In English we are learning how to write fantasy stories through sharing stories about Dragons. They are enjoying listening to, analysing and reviewing three books, The Dragon Machine, George and the Dragon and The Paper bag Princess. They will be exploring and using descriptive, imaginative language to describe characters, settings and plots. They will create their own fantasy books complete with writing, illustrations and a blurb. 

In Maths Y2 are looking at shape and Y1 number facts to 50.


The children are continuing their phonics work and are now starting to read – how exciting as a whole new world opens up! They are looking at the Stanley’s Stick story and making dens with sticks.

Term 3 Week 1 08/01/21

We all started our Amazing Africa topic with an African day.  The children in school arrived in a range of African animals and we saw some amazing photos of the children at home. The children are sharing this topic in school with the Swans.  They have been making animal and tribal masks, dance moves and drum music, and have been learning about significant African people.  In English the children have been learning about counting books based on Handa’s Surprise, these will be put together into a book when we are all back in school.  Our maths work has been focused on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, with the reception children thinking about measuring.   It has been wonderful to have Mrs Tipple back and also having Mrs Williams teaching.

Term 2 Week 5 04/12/20

In Maths we have been using money – recognising coins, adding up the cost of items to buy and calculating change. Cygnets, why not have a go setting up a toy shop at home to reinforce what you have been learning at school? In English we have been continuing our work on the poetry of Edward Lear and writing stories in the style of Mrs Armitage and her bike. In Science with Mr Gordon we have been investigating which materials are waterproof, to make good umbrellas. In PE lessons at the hall with Miss Belcher have been devising a space dance routine. Much of the rest of our time has been taken up with rehearsals for the play.

Miss Davieseception Class

It has been great to be back in the Reception classroom again and learning together.  We are building our confidence with all things 4 and 5 and one more, one fewer in Maths. We have collected sets of items, counted each other on and off the bus and enjoyed well-known number rhymes.  

Reception has continued looking at traditional tales. Following The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the children have been building new homes for The Three Little Pigs and very much enjoyed the construction site outside, kitted with high vis jackets, red and white hazard tape, road traffic cones and new sand. The Three Bears’ cottage has settled cosily beside the book corner this week and been visited by Goldilocks. We have made porridge, mended bowls, designed new duvet covers and will be writing some full sentences with suggestions for how else Goldilocks might make amends.

We have camels, shepherds, an innkeeper and the star as roles in the Cygnets Christmas Play.  Everyone is learning their lines and enjoying rehearsals.  The next couple of weeks will be very busy but lots of fun.

Term 2 Week 1 06/11/20

What an exciting start to the new term, when a whole crew of astronauts arrived in the Cygnets! It has really enthused the pupils about the topic, if not the Smash mashed potato, the food of aliens, which they sampled on Monday! Since then we have been learning about the planets and listening to the Planets Suite by Holst. In Maths we are consolidating number facts. In English we have been writing further adventures for Baby Bear, based on the book Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. Science this term is the study of materials. In RE we are studying Festival Matters Gifts and Giving, studying festivals of giving in the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Term 1 Week 6 09/10/20

The Reception children have been very much enjoying telling us about themselves and their families.  There are super playdough cut outs of each of the groups andw e have all listend to careful explanations of homes, holidays and jobs.  I am pleased to say we all know each other very well now!  We have been matching and sorting in Maths.  How Uesful!  There have been brilliant suggestions for the presetnations of lunchtime cutlery and, at last, it looks like the brushes and pencils will have an easy-to-find system.  I am also very hopeful for a fantastic Friday Tidy.  Next week we will be going on a Bear Hunt and, in preparation, have started to collect Autumn in abudnace.  The classroom is looking especially colourful. 

Mrs Blackburn

It has been another busy week in the Cygnets classroom .... 

We have been having a Maths' focus this week.  The Year 2's concetnrating on place value and oclumn addition, using base ten to ensure they have a really good understadning of exchanging the tens!  The Year 1's have been busy thinking about subtraction using part, part whole models and counting back on number lines. 

The children ahve really enjoyed learning some new Maths games and I'm sure they will be happy to show you how to play greates number wins, roll it, draw it, write it and the snail race!  Learning maths whilst having plenty of fun has definitely been the order of the day! 

We have been lucky that the weather has held out enough for us to get out for PE this week and teh children have been focusing on the accuracy of their throwing skills as well as developing a great sporting attitdue. 

For our topic work this week the Year 1 and Year 2's have been continuing to learn about fossils and this week we had a history focus learning about Mary Anning.  In the afternoons this week we have all been busy recreating our own Literature festival, taking part in some of th eonline draw along with illustrators and enjoying listening to authors talking about some of their new books.  Each of our Claude the Dog illustrations was unique and special in its own way! 

Mrs Dawson

Week 2 10/9/20

What is under your feet?  That is our topic for this term! The children will be thinking about all the wonderful things that they would find if they just dug a little deeper, fossils, bones, insects, mud and lava.  They have made are start by looking at mini beasts, thinking about what is dead and alive.  In RE the children are thinking about God’s creations and what Christians think God is like.  The children have also been reading and writing letters.  In Maths the Year 1 children have been counting up to 100 and remembering how to write their numbers and Year 2 have been counting to 1000 and practising their skip counting in 2, 3, 5, and 10.  Reception children have had their first two days and they have enjoyed the new water tray, painting and number skittles.